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Thread: Running my PA160-STH on a 100v extension cord (no bueno)

  1. #1

    Default Running my PA160-STH on a 100v extension cord (no bueno)

    EDIT: I typoed and made the subject line "100v extension cord". Obviously, I meant 110v.

    In response to Mark's request for shots of customers using Everlast products, I staged some shots today of me "welding on my trailer" (actually a piece of scrap that I clamped to the trailer, but I thought it would look better than just welding up a piece of scrap). In order to get power over to where the welder was, I ran a 110v extension cord--14 gauge, probably. Maybe 12 gauge. 50 feet. No, it's not rated for the 20+ amps that the welder is going to pull, but for a few seconds at a time of arc just to take a shot, I figured no big deal.

    Man, it was no good. The arc was incredibly erratic and sputtered and died within a second or two of being struck. I normally run 3/32" E6011 around 75 amps at most, but I had to turn the welder all the way up to its 110v max of 96 amps just to get the arc to stay lit that long. I could tell things weren't right when I could hear the welder's fan slow down about a half-second after the arc started up. We managed to get a few shots taken within that half-second, and there was a total of maybe 10-15 arc strikes, so I doubt any real damage was done, but it was no good. No good at all. It goes without saying that the "welds" were total garbage.

    Most likely, the long, thin-gauge extension cord was causing voltage drop when the amperage kicked up. Take it as a lesson, folks: if you're going to run your welder on an extension cord, feed it with a big fat one! Don't pussyfoot around!

    Interestingly, I never popped my breaker, even with the welder maxed out. It's a 20 amp breaker at most, so I'm frankly a little surprised. But oh well... there you go.
    Last edited by joshuab; 08-10-2013 at 11:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    Probably not a typo after all. You probably were running at less than 100V. The longer the distance, the larger the cord needs to be. While the current would go up, it might not be enough to trip a breaker. The big problem is voltage drop. That's another advantage of using 220V, not only will the current required be lower, the voltage drop over a long distance will be a lower percentage. 10V drop on 100V = 10%, same 10V drop on 200V = 5%.
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  3. #3

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    tl;dr - If, while you're welding, you hear your welder's fan slow down, you're under-voltage!


  4. #4

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    One of the best investments I have made is a 100ft 10 gauge heavy duty extension cord. I have an air compressor that will trip its breaker with any cord thinner than 12 gauge. You would probably be better of with a shorter cord, & longer welding lead.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanMurphy265 View Post
    One of the best investments I have made is a 100ft 10 gauge heavy duty extension cord. I have an air compressor that will trip its breaker with any cord thinner than 12 gauge. You would probably be better of with a shorter cord, & longer welding lead.
    Honestly, I am going to invest in a good 10/3 extension cord with 6-50 ends some time soon. I have always heard that, given the choice, you should get a longer power cord and use shorter welding leads. 220v does a better job keeping the voltage up over distance, it's only one cable, instead of two, and the amps are lower, so the gauge is smaller. I reckon 25-50' of 10/3 will do me just fine. This isn't the first time I've wished I could move the welder further from the outlet.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanMurphy265 View Post
    One of the best investments I have made is a 100ft 10 gauge heavy duty extension cord. I have an air compressor that will trip its breaker with any cord thinner than 12 gauge. You would probably be better of with a shorter cord, & longer welding lead.
    Amen to that brother. 10 gauge 100ft cord is heavy to haul around but helps bring the welder to the work. Voltage drop can ruin a lot of good equipment.

  7. #7

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    I've got 2 ext cords, 1 30' 10ga & 1 25' 6ga that I use. Both plugged together the voltage drop is roughly 3v at a 40a load. Main thing is heat build up in the cord.
    If you use a cord reel, make sure you pull all the cord off it if you going to be using it for awhile.
    A 100' 10ga cord at 20 amps will drop roughly 4 to 5 volts, at 30 amps it will drop over 6 volts.
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  8. #8

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    I have a 10awg SOOW cord that I made. I got the wire from work as it was headed for the scrap yard (we never use wire that small for our equipment when hard wiring). Got about 110ft for a tick under $30 (scrap value at the time).

    It is heavy, but it is capable of running my 200DX at full load without a hiccup from my 30A 240V dryer outlet and I am still over 240V at full load (about 244 at the source).
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by sportbike View Post
    I have a 10awg SOOW cord that I made. I got the wire from work as it was headed for the scrap yard (we never use wire that small for our equipment when hard wiring). Got about 110ft for a tick under $30 (scrap value at the time).

    It is heavy, but it is capable of running my 200DX at full load without a hiccup from my 30A 240V dryer outlet and I am still over 240V at full load (about 244 at the source).
    You can't beat $30 for 100 foot 10 gauge wire. I picked up one for about $85 quite a while back and thought that was a good price.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr120 View Post
    You can't beat $30 for 100 foot 10 gauge wire. I picked up one for about $85 quite a while back and thought that was a good price.
    Yeah, this has a very heavy insulation on it as well. Probably 50% larger diameter than the typical 10awg extension cord. Not that it helps much with heat dissapation, but it is pretty abrasion resistant.
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