What size ground wire for tig?
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  1. #1
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    Default What size ground wire for tig?

    I just bought my first Tig machine and it seems to have a rather large ground wire.

    I bought a HTP 221 unit with a water cooled torch. I was unpacking and putting it all together when I was greatly surprised by the size of the ground cable. It's as big as I run on my Bobcat! All the other lines are small and flexible. The ground is stiff and about 4 sizes too big , in my mind.

    I got the 25' option on the torch lines and was asked if I wanted the ground upgraded also. I said no to that as I figured it was not needed. I now want the extra length as I can leave the machine in a clean room and just run the cables out to the welding area.

    Is the heavy ground really needed for Tig? Is it just there incase I wanted to run rods with the machine? It will never be used for that so I was wondering if I could downsize the ground cable. If I have to keep it that size I will probably get some spaghetti cable for easier use and rolling up.

    I've been playing around with a new camera and took a video of the machine ....


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    Ground cable should be sized to fit the max amperage of the machine. The mfg needs for it to not melt when you run the machine at full power. No problem using a smaller lead when making lower power welds. Size will depend on weld power.

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    That machine goes up to 225 amps. looking at this page shows I'm good up to 50 feet with a #3 wire size... I wonder if they make spaghetti wire that small?

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    Quote Originally Posted by swatkins View Post
    That machine goes up to 225 amps. looking at this page shows I'm good up to 50 feet with a #3 wire size... I wonder if they make spaghetti wire that small?
    Spagetti wire? like this? Cobra X-Flex Battery Cable #2 AWG Black - Titan Solar Supply
    The one with bundle of smaller bundles instead just a one huge bunch of wires?

    Super flexible silicone cables are commonly available up to at least 2AWG with 10 000 40AWG strands.

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    If your cable says something like "3/0 FLEX-A-PRENE Heavy Duty Welding Cable" then you don't change it.

    I'm using 2/0 and I can coil the cable into a 16" circle for storing. I remember that it wasn't cheap.

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    I think this is the one I'm using on my Bobcat... Wire FLEXWHIP™ WELDING CABLE - Kalas Wire

    Always heard it called spaghetti wire because it was so flexible and coils great. I think I put 2/0 on the machine because it was all the local supply had in stock and I never go up higher than it can handle on stick and my 12v suitcase uses even less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swatkins View Post
    I think this is the one I'm using on my Bobcat... Wire FLEXWHIP™ WELDING CABLE - Kalas Wire

    Always heard it called spaghetti wire because it was so flexible and coils great. I think I put 2/0 on the machine because it was all the local supply had in stock and I never go up higher than it can handle on stick and my 12v suitcase uses even less.
    It doesn’t matter what type of welding you are doing, all that matters is the amps and the duty cycle. There is no problem going heavier on the ground cable unless you are doing sprints with the leads. “Spaghetti wire”? WTF is that? No benefit going smaller, unless some weight issues apply. ( welding on the international space station?)


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