Solar Power to provide 220 to barn for welding, etc.

Is it possible to use solar power to run 220 in my barn for a welder?
Will I still need to have 220 run out to the barn from the house or
will solar handle the load by itself?
rvb
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Solar power panels usually charge a bank (or banks) of batteries so you'll have power available at night and on cloudy days. It's certainly possible to setup a 220V solar system. Only you can decide if it's worth the cost. Sometimes it's one of the few options for remote locations. Compare the initial cost against a generator. Solar has huge 'up front' costs and relatively small operating costs.
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Probably not. Welding takes heavy power consumption. Even a small 120 mig welder takes 1500 watts and up. 240 volt MIG will want 20 amps, stick welder up to 50 amps/240 volts.
Rick Barter wrote:

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If you decide to do a cost analysis, there will be a big number for the cost of batteries. Don't forget to amortize them over a reasonable period. In my own calculations, I have found that battery life/replacement cost is a killer.
OTOH, it's possible to weld with two car batteries hooked in series, using a wire-feed welder. If you go to a wrecking yard you might be able to get a few batteries cheap, and trickle charge them with solar panels.
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"Rick Barter" wrote: (clip) Will I still need to have 220 run out to the barn from the house or will solar handle the load by itself? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Another possibility would be to keep some storage batteries on a charger in the house, and wheel them out to the barn when you want to weld.
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On Sat, 03 Jun 2006 22:53:05 -0400, Rick Barter
Yes.

That greatly depends on how much acreage you have and how many million dollars you have for a solar farm the size of a football field.
Now you can charge some batteries with it..and weld with 2-3 12vt batteries in series, directly from the batteries,,but amperage control is a bit tough this way.......
You can also spend a couple grand and buy a decent 4000-8000 watt inverter to get AC out of your battery bank to run a mig welder of modest size. I suggest a couple forklift battery banks..which only weigh about 2000 lbs each if you plan on doing any serious welding with that MIG. Then , depending on how many amps your solar field provides at charging voltage..you may be able to weld again in a week to a month after the batts charge back up again.
The cheap way of course is to put in a 22 vt 60-100 amp subpanel and run 220 out to the barn..or pick up a gas powered welder.
Unless you win the Power Ball...the last two may be your best options....
Gunner
"If thy pride is sorely vexed when others disparage your offering, be as lamb's wool is to cold rain and the Gore-tex of Odin's raiment is to gullshit in the gale, for thy angst shall vex them not at all. Yea, they shall scorn thee all the more. Rejoice in sharing what you have to share without expectation of adoration, knowing that sharing your treasure does not diminish your treasure but enriches it."
- Onni 1:33
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Gunner wrote: <snipped>

Thanks for the info everyone. Gunner, you mention the 'cheap way' is to put 100-amp sub-panel. That's what I'm in the process of trying to do and when I got hit with the estimate of $1200 to go 150' I almost shit myself. Then I just started thinking of alternatives.
I thought of buying a Miller Bobcat or something similar, but it seemed if I was going to spend $4000 or more on a welder, I should just spend the $1200 on getting the sub-panel installed and then buy a Lincoln Tombstone or something. I figured it was worth asking about solar.
In any event, I'm thinking of trenching the whole thing myself and finding out what size wires and what conduit I need. Getting it ready and then just calling an electrician to hook it up. Problem is I don't know how deep to go and I have gas and some water lines in the way.
I guess I could just call up digsafe and get them to mark the locations of the pipes, dig around them by hand and trench the rest. My father-in-law rents equipment so I can rent the trencher pretty cheap. ;)
Anyone have any advice on how sound my plan is here? I've been learning Oxy/Acetylene welding and am doing pretty good with that, but I really need to be able to arc weld and run an air compressor out in the barn. I'm looking to get the electrical upgraded, setup a chimney for my coal forge, and build my workbenches and tool racks before winter.
Thanks,
rvb
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Used to be 18" for underground electrical wiring. Can't see any reason they'd change it.

Around here, the utility line locator folks have made a few mistakes, which can get pretty interesting when the excavators hit a gas pipe while digging on a "safe" line. :)

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The parts for a 60 amp sub panel run about $100 and $1.50 to $2 a foot for 6/3wg USE copper. 100 amp panel isn't much more, #2 Copper USE is outta sight price wise lately. In many jurisdictions you can do your own wiring, just need to have it inspected.
The big deal is trenching. Hand digging is a PAIN, a 4" trencher goes down up to 30" or so, can be rented for around $100 for 4 hours. You need to get any water or gas pipes marked, hand dig those at your liesure, then do the main trench in one sitting. Your inspector will tell you how deep they want it.
If you are going to all the trouble of a trench, toss in an extra piece of 1/2" or 3/4" ABS water pipe. Really cheap, you can use it to run phone line, CATV, ethernet, whatever. As far as that goes, it isn't an all bad idea to run the wire in conduit. Makes repairs or upgrades Soooooooo much eaiser.
Rick Barter wrote:

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I definitely second Roy's comment of adding stuff now, while the trench is open, even if you never think you'll need it.
Steve who hand trenched between the house and the barn--twice--because the first time he didn't know how much fun and how useful electric welders were.
RoyJ wrote:

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I would put, at the least, the following:
0) power 1) Ethernet 2) Coax (TV) 3) phone 4) compressed air line
i

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On Sun, 04 Jun 2006 17:02:58 GMT, Ignoramus21252

Just remember to put the low voltage stuff at minimum...8" away from the power lines..and preferably as far as you can. 150' of power line makes a nifty linear transformer and can induct a heck of a interference signal in a phone line or even a Cat 5 cable.
Gunner

"If thy pride is sorely vexed when others disparage your offering, be as lamb's wool is to cold rain and the Gore-tex of Odin's raiment is to gullshit in the gale, for thy angst shall vex them not at all. Yea, they shall scorn thee all the more. Rejoice in sharing what you have to share without expectation of adoration, knowing that sharing your treasure does not diminish your treasure but enriches it."
- Onni 1:33
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Gunner wrote:

compressed air line? what would i need that for from the house to the barn? oh wait, to be able to run air tools in the house from my compressor in the barn? hmmmmmmm interesting.
rvb
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i have a question. i hand dug a 100' trench (2 feet deep) from the house to the barn/workshop, ran a 220 line inside pvc conduit and put a separate pvc conduit for a telephone line and tv coaxial cable. the 2 conduits are right next to each other in the trench. sometimes i get a terrible buzz in the phone, i wondered if running a phone line so close to a large electric line could cause interference in the telephone line.
b.w.

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to
pvc
right
line
Ding Ding Ding. We have a winner!
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Putting the phone line directly next to the power can give you theinterferane that you mentioned. But unless it does it ALL the time, I'd be looking at a bad phone line or phone.
William Wixon wrote:

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"RoyJ" wrote: (clip) But unless it does it ALL the time, I'd be looking at a bad phone line or phone. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I don't think the power line will act as a transformer primary unless it's carrying current. If you have hum some of the time, see whether that correlates to how much current is flowing in the power lines.
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On Sun, 04 Jun 2006 19:26:13 GMT, "William Wixon"

A possible..possible..usually but not always fix...is to suck out the original phone line and use it to pull in Cat 5 or Cat 6 network cable., then hook the Cat 5 or Cat 6 up as you had the original phone wire. Its quite good at filtering out a lot of EMI. Not perfect of course..but actually quite good.
Hit up one of the network guys you see running around in the Network/Telephone service trucks for a partial box. Tell em a sob story and give him a $5 and they will generally cough up a decent quantity.
Most phone system guys have gone over to Cat5/6 now days for phone system wiring, least in the L.A. area where Crom knows what is running in the cable next to his.
The stuff used to be expensive, and now days by the box is nearly the same price as regular 4 pair phone cable.
Sometimes...if you have a 60 cycle hum on your phone..if you have the multiple conductor cable with the blu/white, or/white etc pairs..if you take an unused pair and run a jumper to a GOOD earth ground..it may knock out a bunch of the hum as well. Only ground the cable pair on ONE end. Never on both. Ground loops are another bitch of a subject...sigh
Gunner, Sr. Engineer for a data/communications company in another life....who still keeps his hand in the biz.
Gunner

"If thy pride is sorely vexed when others disparage your offering, be as lamb's wool is to cold rain and the Gore-tex of Odin's raiment is to gullshit in the gale, for thy angst shall vex them not at all. Yea, they shall scorn thee all the more. Rejoice in sharing what you have to share without expectation of adoration, knowing that sharing your treasure does not diminish your treasure but enriches it."
- Onni 1:33
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I'd buy an old Lincoln SA200 pipeline welder - about as good a stick welder as you can get, much cheaper and better than the Bobcat - runs quietly; doesn't use much fuel and is easy to fix. You can find a great one for less than $2,500; I've bought several that lacked cosmetics but ran well for well under $1,000 in the last 5 years. If you want to weld with MIG, you can buy a suitcase wire feeder (either Lincoln or Miller) that will hook right up to the SA200 and run either fluxcored or gas shielded wire. Then, if you want to fix something outside the barn, you have that option.
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Rick,
Just buy yourself a used Lincoln SA200 pipeline welder and be done with all that other stuff. You'll have a far better welder and it'll be portable to boot. You can get a great one for less than $2,500 and one that either works or could easily be fixed for $1,000 or less although it may be cosmetically challenged. If you want to use it for MIG you can attach a suitcase wire feed unit (Both Lincoln and Miller make them) directly to the output leads and you'll then have a portable wire feeder capable of using either flux cored or gas shielded wire.
Bruce
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