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skot88
10-07-2009, 09:26 PM
After borrowing a Campbell Hausfeld FLuxcore 80 mig welder from my brother-in-law last weekend I tried a little practice welding. I will need a lot more practice. I was about ready to give up and have someone do my welding for me but what's the fun in that? It seemed like I was not getting good flow or penetration. After reading some welding discussions on here it seems like part of the problem is that I was using a light ext. cord and maybe not a strong enough circuit. I was only using the lower of the two settings. I am thinking if I get a heavier duty cord and choose a 20 amp circuit I will have better results. Is this correct? I was just practicing welding 1.5" x 1.5" tubing together. Any suggestions? Thanks Skot

p.s. Any builders in sw Florida?

trikeman
10-07-2009, 10:46 PM
Yes. You will get a lot better welds with a good circuit driving the welder. Especially with these inexpensive 110v welders it is critical to have enough voltage on the high end. Going to a 20A circuit means larger wire to the receptacle and less voltage drop. I have posted my experiences in the forum with poor garage circuits and my 110v welder. Building a good 10ga extension cord and moving to a 20A circuit was like buying a new welder.

Also don't be afraid of using too much power at first. For good penetration it is usually good to weld as hot as you can handle. Don't be afraid of blowing holes when you practice. You learn a lot by watching the puddle under all sorts of conditions, such as too hot, too cold, too fast, too slow etc. I think a lot of new welders are afraid to experiment (and thus learn) because they jump too soon to real projects they are afraid of messing up. Get some scrap steel, cut it into 2" coupons and practice. Cut some welds apart and polish or etch them with acid to see what kind of penetration you are getting. Some people say keeping a log helps.

Of course the biggest problem we have welding 16ga tubing is blowing through, but you still need to learn to get good penetration.

skot88
10-07-2009, 11:08 PM
Thanks for the advice. Do I need to replace the cord on the welder or just make a heavy gauge extension cord? I look forward to more practice now that I know part of the problem. I also need to get a helmet / visor. What I have that i borrowed is simply a face mask with a handle. I would like to have my other hand free.

trikeman
10-07-2009, 11:46 PM
Thanks for the advice. Do I need to replace the cord on the welder or just make a heavy gauge extension cord? I look forward to more practice now that I know part of the problem. I also need to get a helmet / visor. What I have that i borrowed is simply a face mask with a handle. I would like to have my other hand free.

It depends on how small the cord on the welder is. Most of them are pretty short, so I would worry a lot more about either plugging it directly into a good strong circuit, or getting a beefy extension cord. When I had problems, I had my son measure the voltage at the receptacle and at the welder while I welded. I was pretty shocked at how crappy my garage circuit was. I ended up buying a 10ga RV extension cord (used to run power to recreational vehicles) from Harbor Freight and putting some good 20A ends on it. Its cheaper to buy a good 10ga extension cord from some place like Home Depot and replace the ends, than it is to buy the wire. 10ga is probably overkill for these welders, but the cost difference between them and a crappy extension cord is pretty small.

The funny thing is that I went with a 110v welder (a Hobart 140) to start with because I have an old house and the cost of getting a 230v circuit put into my garage was prohibitive. In the end, I found that have to use a big extension cord anyway to get to a good circuit was as much trouble as making a 230v extension cord to use with my wifes dryer circuit. Eventually, I moved up to a 230v welder (both MIG and stick) to be able to weld thicker metal on things like trailers without worrying about too little power.

lonegunman88
10-09-2009, 10:27 PM
i used a cambell hausfeld wire welder for years without any problems, the gear on the deck drive finally stripped out, called their 1800 number had a new deck drive within a week, took 10 minutes to change out, didnt cost me a dime, with these lower powered units just make sure your weld area is clean as possible and take your time

skot88
10-10-2009, 02:40 PM
I just checked the electric panel in my garage--the circuit I was using is 15 amp (that's what the breaker is labeled for that slot) The other outlet I can use in the garage is also 15 amp. I don't know much about this stuff. Is it easy just to plug in a 20 amp breaker in place of the 15 or is there more to it? In any event either outlet is about 10-15 ft. from where I want to weld. If I make a heavier cord as suggested do I replace the cord of the welder or just make a heavy gauge ex. cord? The one the welder is only about 6' long.

Racer46
10-10-2009, 03:08 PM
I just had a 20 amp circuit installed in my garage. Along with the breaker the electrician used 12 gauge wire to the outlets. The 15 amp circuits used 14 gauge wire. I also had him install a 220v 30 amp outlet and he used 10 gauge wire for that.

locolarry
10-10-2009, 03:18 PM
Skot88,
Re: Welding helmet...I bought a Self-Darkening Helmet for $49.00 at my local Northern Tool. What a deal! Works really GREAT and took away a lot of the clumsiness and all with the regular hood....Let's me concentrate on the bead and get on track and STAY on track more easily! It's money well spent for a novice in my opinion..What say, Guru's?
LocoLarry
Self-taught welding Novice

skot88
10-10-2009, 03:31 PM
There is a GFI outlet right beneath the elec. panel. The breaker for it is 15 amp. Do you know if I could just replace the 15 amp breaker wit ha 20 amp?

TheKid
10-10-2009, 03:34 PM
How many spaces are in the panel? If you could add another breaker, run a new outlet using 12ga wire. This would give you a dedicated circuit for the welder, and two outlets for all the other tools.
On the other hand, if the wire to the garage is 14ga, you may have to replace it, or run a new circuit from the house using heavier wire.
In my situation, running a new circuit would involve a lot of work, so I just replaced the 14ga wire from the box to an existing outdoor outlet, with 10 ga, and use a 25' 10 ga extension cord I bought from Home Depot. I cut the socket end off the extension cord, then used it to replace the cord that was on the welder.
In this way, if I ever do go to a 220v welder, all I have to do is add a breaker to the box and change the outdoor outlet.

locolarry
10-10-2009, 03:38 PM
I'm a little leary of up-sizing the circuit breaker only... I'd check with an electrician, first. Better safe than sorry 'cause the consequences of a mistake would be awful....

skot88
10-10-2009, 04:17 PM
Thanks. I have some electricians where I work. I'll get their prof. advice. I can still get all my parts ready to weld.

TheKid
10-10-2009, 08:47 PM
There is a GFI outlet right beneath the elec. panel. The breaker for it is 15 amp. Do you know if I could just replace the 15 amp breaker wit ha 20 amp?


Piece of cake. Turn the breaker off, pop it out, remove the black wire from the breaker. If it's 12ga, install the hot wire to the new 20a breaker, making sure the switch is in the off position. Replace the GFI outlet with one rated for 20a, then turn th breaker on.
If the wire is 14ga, proceed to remove the white wire from the neutral bar. Loosen the clamp screws holding the wire to the connectors, and remove the wire. Then install a new length of 12 ga.