Thermal Arc 185 Stick Question

I've been experimenting with my new Thermal Arc 185. When stick welding I have been trying to figure out how to change between DCEN and DCEP. I have the thing set on DC and I have the stinger plugged into the +torch and the work lead plugged into the other receptacle. I think this is DCEN but I don't see anything in the manual specifying this. It just shows how to set the machine up for stick and that's it. I can't find anywhere that shows how to reverse the polarity to DCEP. So the question is how do I change the polarity between DC- to DC+ and when do I use one or the other?

Also, what amperage range would I use for 1/8" mild steel using 6011 or 6013 in 3/32" rod? I haven't seen a chart in the manual either that explains what amps and rod size should be used for different thickness of metal. It would be nice if they provided a chart the way the Miller's do. Since they don't, at least as far as I can tell, is there any place where I can find a chart that would give me ballpark settings for different materials?


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I got used to having a polarity switch on my old Lincoln Square Wave

175 welder and I kind of miss it on my TA 185 as well. On the TA 185 you change polarity by reversing the leads.

Your stinger is the electrode so plug the stinger into the +torch receptacle for: DCEP (Direct Current Electrode Positve) DC+ DCRP (Direct Current Reverse Polarity)

Plug the stinger into the -work receptacle for: DCEN (Direct Current Electrode Negative) DC- DCSP (Direct Current Straight Polarity)

I don't do much stick welding but 3/32" 6013 has a listed range of 40 to 80 amps and I usually run at about 70. Someone else should be able to give you a more definitive answer.


Hawke wrote:

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Switch DC polarity by moving the leads around as required.

Typical DCEP stick required the stinger to be plugged into what would normally be the work lead in DCEN TIG mode.

Look at the first entry (a .PDF file) that comes up in this google search:

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It has a chart for amperage ranges for 3/32, 1/8, & 5/32 diameters of 6010, 6011, 6013, 7014, & 7018 rods. I printed one for me, too.

It's great to be able to do stick on the TA185. I got a nice supply of 3/32 "farm rod" (6010) from Ernie a while back and it has proved very usefull repairing all kinds of crap that people bring me. It doesn't care about grease, dirt, paint, etc.

Jeff Dantzler Seattle, WA

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Jeff Dantzler

Thanks for the info. I thought that switching the leads might be how it was done. What's irritating is that I couldn't find it anywhere in the instructions where it told how to switch polarity. Maybe I missed it but you'd think something like that would be made clearer.


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thermal arc manual is pretty lame, however they are not trying to teach you how to weld or give you info on electricity.

DC =direct current , onelead is positive the other is lead s negative , the curent only flows in one directtion, = direct current. switching the leads will make it flow the other way around.

AC= alternating current = does not matter where the leads are because the direction of the current will switch from positive to negative very rapidly, 60 times /second in the USA. (60 Hz)

next time you are at home depo pick up a "welders hand book" by Richard Finch, it can be found in the welding section.

Please don't be offended, I am not trying to question your welding skill , but this book will give you lots of good info about arc welding , charts about setting up a TIg , what filler to use and so on.

good luck

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acrobat ants

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