Common Problems encountered with TIG - Part 1

“What happened to my tungsten? It balled up and then disappeared.” This is a common question I get when I field tech calls regarding a customer’s perceived issue with his or her new Everlast TIG welder. Almost never is it a machine problem. Only once over the past 7 years that I have been with Everlast have I seen a machine problem being the actual cause of this problem. And even then it was easily cured. But there are several possible causes that can create this condition. The first and most common problem is that the customer is welding in AC mode and has the AC balance turned up too high but does not occur in DC. Ordinarily there is no reason to exceed 40% AC balance. Usually 20-35% is more than enough. This may be opposite than some brands, but because we use a value of percent of positive electrode, our settings would be the reciprocal value. Another common cause is that polarity has been reversed. This is identified by the fact that this happens in both AC and DC modes. This means that the work and the torch locations are backwards. The TIG torch should always remain in the negative, regardless of process used (AC or DC). And of course the work clamp should be in the positive. This usually occurs when a user has switched back over from stick welding to TIG welding and they forget to relocate the work clamp and simply disconnect the TIG torch. Less common, but still a significant cause of this is that the wrong type of tungsten is used. This is usually caused by using pure (green stripe) tungsten or Zirconiated (white or brown) tungsten with our Everlast inverters while welding in AC mode. These two types are simply not suitable for use in our inverters and cannot stand up to use. These are well suited for transformer TIG welder use, but are not typically a good choice for an Inverter TIG welder.