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Thread: Help welding thin Aluminum PowerTig 250EX

  1. Default Help welding thin Aluminum PowerTig 250EX

    Trying to weld pieces of 1/16"x1/2"x1/2" angle. I am having problems getting a stable arc.

    I have no issues with high frequency start as it well initiate an arc with ease. It seems as though, when running low amperage the arc will begin to pop and crack.
    They best way i can describe it is sputtering. I hqve noticed it will begin to sputter and pop right as the weld pool forms or right before.

    While it's sputtering, i can hear the high frequency buzzing coming from the machine. Similar to the sound made when first initiating a spark.

    If anyone can help i would greatley appreciate it.

    Setup details.

    Powertig 250ex

    Cleaned aluminum with stainless brush and acetone.
    I've tried adjusting gas flow from as little as 8cfh to 20cfh
    Tried a watercooled 20 torch and an air cooled 9 series. Same problem with both.
    Tried both the foot pedal and the torch mounted switch. Same problems.
    Lanthinated tungsten. Sizes .040 and 1/16". Same problem with both.
    Using gas lenses with a size 4 and 5 cup. Problem still present with each.
    20-35% balance. Makes no difference in regards to sputtering.
    I tried running the frequency from 60Hz all the way up to 200Hz. No change in problem.
    Pre flow was tried at .5 all the way up to 2 seconds. No change in problem.
    Post flow has been tried at 2 seconds all the way to 5 seconds. Problem still exist.
    When using foot pedal, up slope, down slope, start amps, end amps each turned all the way down.

    Ive also tried using varying pulse settings with no change in the issue I'm experiencing.

    For those of you who are more experienced than myself, is it me or the machine? Anything i can try to look at on the machine to verify no problems exist?


    Thanks in advanced foe any help.

  2. #2
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    Default

    .062 does take practice. What arc length are you holding? What amperage are you running? It sounds like you might be losing the arc and the HF kicks in to restart it. Typically that is from too long an arc length or a draft blowing away your shielding gas. How are things with thicker material? 1/8" is a good thickness for learning.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    .062 does take practice. What arc length are you holding? What amperage are you running? It sounds like you might be losing the arc and the HF kicks in to restart it. Typically that is from too long an arc length or a draft blowing away your shielding gas. How are things with thicker material? 1/8" is a good thickness for learning.
    I've tried really close and kinda far on yhe arc length...and everything in between. I notice the sputtering much more once I'm below 50amps. The machine does fine on 1/8" plate. I can run perfect beads on higher amps. As soon as i turn the amperage below 50 it begins to sputter. Even on thicker material. No drafts in the garage as there are no windows, doors are closed and no heat/ac running.

    Could it possibly be moisture in the gas cylinder? I've been running on the same 80cf cylinder for well over a year.

  4. #4
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    May 2012
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    Could be bad gas, but not very likely if the arc is nice and clean over 50 amps. No soot on the welds on thicker plate?
    One thing you can do to get you over 50 amps on that material is to move up to a 3/32" tungsten and adjust your AC balance more towards 50%. That will make it so you need more amps to get the same heat in the part. But it's more of a kludge and you shouldn't have to do that. But you can see if things smooth out with the increased amperage. It sounds like something is a little unstable at low amperages. Maybe call tech support and see what they say.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    Could be bad gas, but not very likely if the arc is nice and clean over 50 amps. No soot on the welds on thicker plate?
    One thing you can do to get you over 50 amps on that material is to move up to a 3/32" tungsten and adjust your AC balance more towards 50%. That will make it so you need more amps to get the same heat in the part. But it's more of a kludge and you shouldn't have to do that. But you can see if things smooth out with the increased amperage. It sounds like something is a little unstable at low amperages. Maybe call tech support and see what they say.
    Yep. No soot. I'm fairly certain something is wrong with the machine. I can hear a buzzing sound coming from the machine whenever it sputters. It isn't the sound high frequency makes. When i first bought it, i was able to see sparking through the vents in the case of the welder. Anytime i saw the sparking in the machine i also heard the same sounding noise as I'm currently experiencing when it sputters.

    I know it isn't the gas. I exchanged the cylinder for a new one this afternoon and I'm still having the same issue.

    Guess I'll be calling tech support in a bit. Super frustrating.
    Last edited by joshtodd1984; 04-07-2016 at 10:33 PM.

  6. #6

    Default

    The buzzing would be the HF. It doesn't sound like other units. Try using the torch switch and see if it clears up. If it does, it's probably the foot pedal.

  7. Default

    Just got off the phone with twch support and was told the PowerTig 250ex only goes down to 20amps in a/c and that something is wrong with my welder. He said when i flip the rocker to go from dc to ac and with the amperage knob turned all the way down, the amp display should switch from around 6 amps to 20amps because the 250Ex doesn't go lower than 20amps in A/C.

    Is this true? The advertised output rating is 5 amps minimum in both ac and dc. I specifically purchased the Powertig250ex rather than other models becuase of the lower amperage ability in a/c.

    Can someone from Everlast Tech Support or customer service please chime in here.

  8. Default

    I've already tried the torch switch. It didn't make a difference in regards to the sputtering/popping

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joshtodd1984 View Post
    Just got off the phone with twch support and was told the PowerTig 250ex only goes down to 20amps in a/c and that something is wrong with my welder. He said when i flip the rocker to go from dc to ac and with the amperage knob turned all the way down, the amp display should switch from around 6 amps to 20amps because the 250Ex doesn't go lower than 20amps in A/C.

    Is this true? The advertised output rating is 5 amps minimum in both ac and dc. I specifically purchased the Powertig250ex rather than other models becuase of the lower amperage ability in a/c.

    Can someone from Everlast Tech Support or customer service please chime in here.
    My 5 year old 250EX goes down to 6 amps on the display in both AC and DC. I just went out and fired it up and turned it all the way down to 6 amps on DC, then flipped the switch to AC and the display still showed 6 amps. Mine will stack mini dimes on the bottom of a beer can.
    Gerald

    Millermatic 251
    Spectrum 300 Plasma
    Everlast PowerTig 250EX
    Everlast PowerCool W300
    Harris / Victor OA
    Craftsman 13 Speed Drill Press
    ProTools Air/Hydraulic Bender
    48" Brake, 72" Brake, 52" Stomp Shear
    Mitler Bros. 36" High Throat Bead Roller
    Compressor, Notchers, Grinders, etc.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joshtodd1984 View Post
    Just got off the phone with twch support and was told the PowerTig 250ex only goes down to 20amps in a/c and that something is wrong with my welder. He said when i flip the rocker to go from dc to ac and with the amperage knob turned all the way down, the amp display should switch from around 6 amps to 20amps because the 250Ex doesn't go lower than 20amps in A/C.

    Is this true? The advertised output rating is 5 amps minimum in both ac and dc. I specifically purchased the Powertig250ex rather than other models becuase of the lower amperage ability in a/c.

    Can someone from Everlast Tech Support or customer service please chime in here.
    No. It is not true. It is 5 with an allowance of 2 to 3 amps either way.

  11. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by performance View Post
    No. It is not true. It is 5 with an allowance of 2 to 3 amps either way.
    Not sure why i was told otherwise. I was also given a return authorization number to return the machine for a warranty claim based off the amperage not changing to a higher number when switched to a/c.

    Can someone else from tech support assist me? This seems like a huge oversight. I was also told i was using too small tungsten. I've tried everything from .040" all the way up to 1/8" and still have the same problems. I've also tried varying the stickout amd arc length in hopes of figuring this out. Still no change.

    Also, i've posted a couple videos to better show the problem i'm experiencing.

    https://youtu.be/NqPRyyU4LYc

    https://youtu.be/kuQYbUa5E4Q

  12. #12

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    From the video, you are holding way too far off the metal. That is a huge arc gap. That is a primary issue. You are overheating your tungsten in the next one. And you are welding indirectly through it which makes low amp welding really dicey. You have to attach directly, and clean the metal better. Sounds like you have too low of frequency as well.

  13. #13

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    Josh, been checking on your unit and trying to figure out the confusion. Don't worry, you WILL be taken care of. I need to fill in a couple of blanks here. When did you buy it? Where are you located? And can you post up a picture of your spec panel ( the graph on the side of the welder)?

    If it is one of the new digital units, it should be an easy fix with the programming.
    250EX's are spec'd to weld down to 5 amps...digital or not. (Plus/minus 2-3 amps).

  14. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by performance View Post
    Josh, been checking on your unit and trying to figure out the confusion. Don't worry, you WILL be taken care of. I need to fill in a couple of blanks here. When did you buy it? Where are you located? And can you post up a picture of your spec panel ( the graph on the side of the welder)?

    Welder was purchased in 02/15/2015. Was purchased under my g/f's name as it was a surprise gift. Order #59648366. This is the 3rd time I've used it in a/c since owning it. The first time trying something this thin in a/c. I welded razor blades together in DC so I'm fairly confident in my abilities and knowledge with setup.

    I assure you the arc gap is not excessively large. If for some reason it appears that way, it must be attributed to trying to capture the unusual problems I'm experiencing on film. I would not contact external assistance over something that would be considered a rookie mistake. That is one of the very first things i ruled out of the equation.

    This is beyond my realm of knowledge. I tig weld every day as part of my scope of responsibilities as a Maintenance technician at a major auto manufacturer. I've tried everything that would be considered elementary to most of the welding community.
    Last edited by joshtodd1984; 04-08-2016 at 04:06 AM.

  15. Default





    Frequency was set to around 120hz in the videos as you can see in the photo above.
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    Last edited by joshtodd1984; 04-08-2016 at 03:58 AM.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joshtodd1984 View Post
    Welder was purchased in 02/15/2015. Was purchased under my g/f's name as it was a surprise gift. Order #59648366. This is the 3rd time I've used it in a/c since owning it. The first time trying something this thin in a/c. I welded razor blades together in DC so I'm fairly confident in my abilities and knowledge with setup.

    I assure you the arc gap is not excessively large. If for some reason it appears that way, it must be attributed to trying to capture the unusual problems I'm experiencing on film. I would not contact external assistance over something that would be considered a rookie mistake. That is one of the very first things i ruled out of the equation.

    This is beyond my realm of knowledge. I tig weld every day as part of my scope of responsibilities as a Maintenance technician at a major auto manufacturer. I've tried everything that would be considered elementary to most of the welding community.
    In the video the standoff was greater than the diameter of the tungsten by several times. A rule of thumb is to keep your standoff approximately the distance of the diameter of the tungsten. I have seen lots of videos like this and learned how to judge the distances. The stickout was quite small as well. You could use a little more stickout if that was an issue. But you also did not have a direct connection with your work, something I have personally observed that will give issues.

    Your unit isn't a digital unit, but it should weld at 5 amps regardless of being digital or not...and it probably should hold a better arc, but there are some issues there that need to be corrected and reshot to see visually if anything improves. You can see for yourself on the spec panel that the unit specifically shows 5 amps minimum in AC or DC. And, again, we will take care of you as quickly as possible. You won't find too many companies that care enough to reply to a tech support issue well past midnight.

  17. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rugar View Post
    My 5 year old 250EX goes down to 6 amps on the display in both AC and DC. I just went out and fired it up and turned it all the way down to 6 amps on DC, then flipped the switch to AC and the display still showed 6 amps. Mine will stack mini dimes on the bottom of a beer can.
    Quote Originally Posted by performance View Post
    Josh, been checking on your unit and trying to figure out the confusion. Don't worry, you WILL be taken care of. I need to fill in a couple of blanks here. When did you buy it? Where are you located? And can you post up a picture of your spec panel ( the graph on the side of the welder)?

    If it is one of the new digital units, it should be an easy fix with the programming.
    250EX's are spec'd to weld down to 5 amps...digital or not. (Plus/minus 2-3 amps).
    Quote Originally Posted by performance View Post
    In the video the standoff was greater than the diameter of the tungsten by several times. A rule of thumb is to keep your standoff approximately the distance of the diameter of the tungsten. I have seen lots of videos like this and learned how to judge the distances. The stickout was quite small as well. You could use a little more stickout if that was an issue. But you also did not have a direct connection with your work, something I have personally observed that will give issues.

    Your unit isn't a digital unit, but it should weld at 5 amps regardless of being digital or not...and it probably should hold a better arc, but there are some issues there that need to be corrected and reshot to see visually if anything improves. You can see for yourself on the spec panel that the unit specifically shows 5 amps minimum in AC or DC. And, again, we will take care of you as quickly as possible. You won't find too many companies that care enough to reply to a tech support issue well past midnight.
    Thanks for the tips. I can tell you without a doubt it isn't related to arc length or stick out as I've tried extremely large values for each and extremely low values...and everything in between. I have tried for two solid days to troubleshoot the issue.

    My next day off is Monday. To prove it is not user error, i will rig something up at work that will take the human touch out of the equation entirely. I can machine a fixture that will hold the torch at a specific distance from the workpiece and use calipers to meticulously adjust the stickout if that is whats needed to show i am not making an error on something as simple as arc length and stickout.

    The problems i am having occur regardless of balance, frequency, gas flow, arn length, stick out, tungsten size, cup size, gas lens size, torch type, gas cylinder, pulse settings, switch types (foot or torch switch), etc.

    There is an issue with the machine at low amperages. I appreciate the effort and dedication by the tech support here. Undeniably, no company I've had experience with would be up at 1a.m. assisting customers with issues. It is certainly refreshing. Everlast has helped me out in the past with a torch problem with lightning speed. I'm not doubting I will not be helped and the issue resolved but rather just a bit frustrated as you could imagine.

    Had a project i needed to complete for a customer by the end of April. It isn't looking too promising right now. My machine has not let me down on any jobs until this point.

    Staying hopeful my issues will be resolved for now.

  18. #18

    Default

    Be sure to indicate exactly what amperage you are having this happen at while welding...i.e. take a peak over at the display.

  19. #19

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    Anything change since the last project? The unit will do 5 amps AC or DC like Mark said. Looks like you were inside so no breeze I would guess. Know anyone that can loan you an argon tank? How much argon is left in the tank. Jody posted up a homemade filter a while back. That is an option to check the gas. Does it weld OK over 50 amps or so.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
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    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  20. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Anything change since the last project? The unit will do 5 amps AC or DC like Mark said. Looks like you were inside so no breeze I would guess. Know anyone that can loan you an argon tank? How much argon is left in the tank. Jody posted up a homemade filter a while back. That is an option to check the gas. Does it weld OK over 50 amps or so.
    Yeah, no breeze. I went ahead and got a new cylinder so i don't think it's related to gas. It does seem to do ok with higher amperages. I stacked dimes on 1/8" plate without any issues. I just get the sputtering when dropping down to do thin stuff.

    I'm currently working so i am unable to try anything at the moment. I could possibly try a few things when i make it home this evening. I was thinking it might be the material i was trying to weld. I found some similar material i can try when i get home.

    Is there anything i can check on the machine itself? Anything adjustable on the internals of the unit or maybe some diagnostic stuff i can try on the boards?

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