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  1. #1
    Bill D is offline Titanium
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    Default extending welder, cord or leads

    If I want to use my welder further from the outlet is it better to use longer leads or a longer power cord and move the welder closer to the work. Seems the power cord would be cheaper since it is a smaller gauge wire. But are power loses less in the leads since this is a dc welder or does the higher amps negate that(if it is true).
    Of course it is probably easier to move longer leads then to haul the welder around over rough ground.
    Bill D.

  2. #2
    Carl Darnell is offline Titanium
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    Default

    Make an extension for the power cord. Cheaper and safer and you need the welder close to the work to adjust it, etc.

  3. #3
    N2IXK's Avatar
    N2IXK is offline Stainless
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    Default

    I agree. Extend the power cord. The wire is cheaper, more easily available, and it puts the welder closer to the work area for adjustments.

    If you are making a really long cord, you probably want to upsize the conductors to reduce voltage drop.

  4. #4
    macona's Avatar
    macona is offline Diamond
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    Default

    Heavy gauge SO cord aint cheap, but probably cheaper than longer leads. You will most likely need 6 ga SO cord.

    It is nice to have longer weld leads though. Then you dont have drag the machine everywhere.

  5. #5
    JunkyardJ's Avatar
    JunkyardJ is offline Titanium
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    Arrow Go to the scrapyard for wire.

    I've always had good luck going to the scrapyard to get heavy guage wire. I picked up some 6ga SO cord that I made an extension cord for my welder with. It was CHEAP, about $1/ft, they sell it by the pound. I got a whole 1000' spool of 10ga black 600v wire for $20, BRAND NEW! Had a price tag of almost $70 on it! Last time I went, I was looking for wire to hook up my RPC. I scored 35' of this special shielded cable they use for VFDs, and servo motor power leads. It's designed to be flexible for use in applications where it will move a lot. Anyways, I got it for about $1/ft, dunno exactly what it costs new, but I know it's somewhere over $5/ft!!! This was still coiled up with some of the original plastic shrinkwrap stuck to it! It's metric, but the internal conductors are about like 6ga. They call it tray cable. It would make a good extension cord for a welder. Go see what your local scrapyard has.

  6. #6
    Limy Sami is online now Diamond
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    Default

    Having spent enough energy for several lifetimes dragging welding sets around, I go for longer leads and to **** with the cost, + you can stick weld in the rain but having an air cooled set out in it ain't so good

    FWIW Use heavier cables to lessen any amp drop and connect your original lighter leads on with the push n twist plugs & sockets,...... also available at your local vendor of previously enjoyed goodies

  7. #7
    Tdkkart is offline Aluminum
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    Iowa
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    Default

    Last weekend Home Desperate had 6-3 SO cord for $4-something/ft.
    I need to make up a cord also but I'm hearing the price of copper has come way down so maybe we'll wait a bit, and keep an eye out for awhile.

  8. #8
    dwilliams35 is offline Aluminum
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    Simple answer in my book: voltage drop. Higher voltages have less effect from voltage drop. The "supply" side is at the very least 208 volt; welding leads will top out at a quarter of that or so depending on the welder. Unless there's something I'm missing, it's going to be a whole lot harder to maintain full voltage on the secondary side than on the primary. (as in BIG, expensive lead cable)

  9. #9
    Jeff D. is offline Aluminum
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    Default

    If I remember my electrical stuff right, power losses are proportional to amps squared. And in this case, those losses show up as heat. So from that standpoint, you want to lengthen the cord with the lower amps, which is probably the power cord.

    One other thing can happen when you have really long leads. If you're a neat freak, most of that lead will stay neatly coiled on a hook somewhere when you don't need all that length. If you are welding with high amps (like aluminum) you can set up a wicked magnetic field in that coil of lead, and generate enough heat to melt the rubber jacket where it is contacting your metal hanger/hook.

    Edit - Sorry for the repeat. dwilliams35 must type faster than me!

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