Will high frequency TIG damage nearby computer?
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  1. #1
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    Default Will high frequency TIG damage nearby computer?

    I was doing a bit of tig welding about 6 feet from computer that was drip feeding the EDM. Machine stopped didnt think much about it restarted and kept welding. Stopped again but this time no joy. Computer had red light on and was beeping. Took it in motherboard bad. Old computer so maybe a coincidence just wondering if the tig fried the computer?
    Bob

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    I have heard horror stories about high freq but never seen any evidence of it in person. Smoked a few turn table power cords from forgetting to ground the table but thats all.

    Not saying it couldn't happen just never seen it. I don't think the distant has anything to do with it. Grounding paths do but I doubt you were using the edm as a grounding path.

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    I have a lap top music server sitting right above my racked Miller inverter tig machine, and it's been that way for a couple of years, no issues. That said the bench and the rack and the everything else is well grounded and all bonded together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob View Post
    I was doing a bit of tig welding about 6 feet from computer that was drip feeding the EDM. Machine stopped didnt think much about it restarted and kept welding. Stopped again but this time no joy. Computer had red light on and was beeping. Took it in motherboard bad. Old computer so maybe a coincidence just wondering if the tig fried the computer?
    Bob
    Last year I replaced the exhaust on my truck. To be safe, I disconnected both batteries before doing any welding. When I was done I hooked to batteries back up and started the engine. I heard a little pinhole exhaust leak at one spot that I missed. I shut it off. All my tools were still laying there on the ground, and I quickly got under there and made a tiny weld on the pinhole.
    The next time I started the engine, the alternator light came on and was not charging. I knew exactly why: forgot to disconnect battery for that last one-second weld.

    At home I have a dual voltage tig welder. I often use it on 120v for thin materials. It often trips the GFI when I let off the pedal.

    So there is certainly potential to damage sensitive electronics.

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    I doubt it. I had an old Acramatic 900 with a BTR, when it was dripfeeding from the BTR, and I struck a HF AC arc on my old 2000 lb dinosaur Lincoln TIG 300/300 about 8 feet way, it would drop the program. since I got rid of the old tech machines, the only issue we've ever had was some static on the phone lines when conditions were perfect.

    Old PC motherboards die every day for no reason.

    The car ECM issue is heavily debated. I killed one, I won't weld on a car now without disconnecting the battery. But that's different, you are arcing right on the vehicle.

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    The computer in my shop is about 5 feet away from my TIG welder. I just came up from laying down a whole bunch of turkey shit on some aluminum while the computer was streaming Pandora over the speakers...not even a hiccup, and this has been done hundreds of times in the past. The only downside is after all that time I can't TIG weld aluminum any better than when I started doing it years ago.

    Stuart

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    The correct answer is maybe.It depends on the shielding within the computer and the design of the high frequency generator in the welder. The cheap ones can be real RF transmitters depending on the waveform of the HF and internal conductor sharp edges and quick turns, as they can act as antennas.

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    I've done lots of TIG welding and had no computer issues. My shop is not exactly big enough that I can isolate all the vehicles from the welding area, and I'm not about to disconnect any batteries prior to welding...especially on modern vehicles where disconnecting the battery might well cause the car to get unhappy.

    I do have a stereo system, and if I forget to attach the ground on the TIG, it will raise the volume on the stereo, fast and loud. But that only makes me laugh as nothing perks me up faster than even louder Duran Duran.

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    Em..

    PC´s are supposed to be isolated from the ground at their PSU, but it is not unknown for the PSU the have shorts to the chassis.
    The PC will work fine, but sometimes things like disk drives could have heavy sparks when connected to the chassis.
    An isolated mount would fix that.
    All a bit old school, when I fixed around 2000 PCs and sold around 13.000 PCs, 2-3 decades ago.
    Maybe 1/500 might do that.
    Rare, but not unknown.

    With a PSU that leakes to the ground, TIG or any heavy interference can/could leak into the PSU or the MB.
    It´s an abnormal condition.

    Normally, the interference wont matter, and normally, most interference gets filtered by the PC PSU.
    The PC PSU is really very clever, and sophisticated, and got that way by being made in the hundred millions ++ qty for 3 decades.
    For about 30$ each, sometimes less or down to 10$ or so, depending.

    Laptops are a special case.
    Their PSU transforms the mains power into DC, and at the same time isolates the laptop from any electrical noise.

    In general, heavy electrical noise wont matter, and really heavy spikes should only kill the PC or laptop PSU.
    A used on-line (broken batteries, very very cheap) USP will totally isolate any PC or electronics from interference.
    Note on-line, these are the bigger better expensive UPS systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    Em..

    PC´s are supposed to be isolated from the ground at their PSU, but it is not unknown for the PSU the have shorts to the chassis.
    The PC will work fine, but sometimes things like disk drives could have heavy sparks when connected to the chassis.
    An isolated mount would fix that.
    All a bit old school, when I fixed around 2000 PCs and sold around 13.000 PCs, 2-3 decades ago.
    Maybe 1/500 might do that.
    Rare, but not unknown.

    With a PSU that leakes to the ground, TIG or any heavy interference can/could leak into the PSU or the MB.
    It´s an abnormal condition.

    Normally, the interference wont matter, and normally, most interference gets filtered by the PC PSU.
    The PC PSU is really very clever, and sophisticated, and got that way by being made in the hundred millions ++ qty for 3 decades.
    For about 30$ each, sometimes less or down to 10$ or so, depending.

    Laptops are a special case.
    Their PSU transforms the mains power into DC, and at the same time isolates the laptop from any electrical noise.

    In general, heavy electrical noise wont matter, and really heavy spikes should only kill the PC or laptop PSU.
    A used on-line (broken batteries, very very cheap) USP will totally isolate any PC or electronics from interference.
    Note on-line, these are the bigger better expensive UPS systems.
    I guess you are assuming damage can only occur through the power supply of the PC. If so, you could not be more wrong. If the RF or EM radiation is strong enough, every conductor in that PC is a transformer secondary and can fry almost every active component in that PC.

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    These new sports cars are covered with black boxes along with the ECU. If I have to weld on the car the data guys spend about a half hour disconnecting every box. There is almost never a battery in the car when it is in the shop.

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    Back in the 80’s we had a Lincoln Idealarc 300 HF and when tig welding alum you could hear the circuit board crackling on our alarm system. We opened up the alarm box and it fried the PC board from 30’ away.

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    Sorry to about your misfortune, my initial thought would be how your power system is configured. You may have had the won key frequencies sneaking to the confuser through a ground or neutral. IMHO
    If anyone with better knowledge of this situation has any thoughts, I would like to hear your take on situation.

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    Never had an issue with the computer in the shop. but I went through 3 iphones before I realized it was the TIG high frequency start was the culprit. The phone worked, but the speaker for the earpiece would fail. After the second time I would keep the phone away, until once or twice I forgot it was in my back pocket. Switched to another brand and no more issues.

    J.

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    Disagree.
    I pointed out how most-all likely damage will or can get into a pc.
    Via the PSU and typical problems in typical PCs.
    Based on 13.000+ PCs experience of mine.
    (Errors via ethernet are also relatively common. It should be isolated, but sometimes is not).


    Plus I somewhat supported about 12.000 simultaneous users across 130 enterprises and 400+ routers in real-time with expectations of having near-zero downtime. 24x7365.
    I had several people run front line support for me at the time.
    We were the best NSP/ISP in Spain, in the 2000 year timeframe.
    Our clients wre fortune 500 companies, a large part.

    RF or EM strong enough to get into a PC can certainly happen.
    If the PC has a metal case, this is almost impossible, before You fry just about everything else as well.

    Any EM strong enough to damage (not error) a component in a pc with a metal case is likely to damage everything else nearby first.
    Cell phone chargers, led light controllers, any kitchen stuff, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    I guess you are assuming damage can only occur through the power supply of the PC. If so, you could not be more wrong. If the RF or EM radiation is strong enough, every conductor in that PC is a transformer secondary and can fry almost every active component in that PC.

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    Whether high frequency could affect a nearby PC might also depend upon the nature of the high frequency. Older, transformer-based TIG welders are limited to 60 Hertz. Modern inverter-based units can got to 200 Hertz or even higher.

    I'm guessing that the higher frequency would be more likely to bother a PC.....just a guess. FWIW, I can hear the 60 Hertz coming from the overhead fluorescent lamps in my shop.

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    The only damage I can remember to a PC has been through the serial port. I've lost at least a dozen serial ports, and a few motherboards, and one CNC motherboard, through RS232 cable induced damage. All happened without any other damage to anything, and all after thunderstorms. My guess is it is RF induced into the RS232 cables from lightning strikes. Now I disable the ports on a new PC and install serial port cards so they are easy to replace. And keep spare identical cards on hand. (yes we unplug the cables too, but sometimes we forget)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob View Post
    I was doing a bit of tig welding about 6 feet from computer that was drip feeding the EDM. Machine stopped didnt think much about it restarted and kept welding. Stopped again but this time no joy. Computer had red light on and was beeping. Took it in motherboard bad. Old computer so maybe a coincidence just wondering if the tig fried the computer?
    Bob
    Certainly it can. And probably DID.

    "Industry" has been dealing with this as a high priority since the introduction of the electric telegraph. There are library shelves full of books on it by now.

    IF/AS/WHEN a(ny) device is NOT damaged?

    It is because many brains and hands have been working for more than 180 years to protect their devices from damage by both internal design, protective devices, inbuilt and add-on, and improvements to the "practice" of site and equipment connecting, shielding, bonding, and grounding.

    Read: "highly variable environments result", one to the next.

    The physics don't go on holidays.

    Some setups are simply more susceptible than others, even with identical equipment.
    The equipment is rarely identical, anyway, the wiring even less-so.

    "King Kong" and hardest to deal with amongst the roster of pee-bringers is not your welder, nor even kiss-your-equipment-goodbye direct, but very RARE, lightning strikes.

    It is the COMMON "air mass thunderstorm" and FAR, FAR more common "near miss" not-EVEN full-bore lightning strikes that affect points quite a distance up or down the wire. Ben Franklin as his kite and door-key, by all rights should have been a dead man. He got lucky. Very.

    You cannot AFFORD perfection in protection.

    Apply common sense. Expect to replace affordable goods "now and then" rather than stick with obsolete technology because...

    .. even NASA, DoD, or MoD CANNOT afford to armour the piss out of every inch of wire ELSE weld only with coal forge and gas torch, motor about in a hand-crank-started compression-ignition Diesel with mechanical injectors and Acetylene headlamps .... just so there IS NO electrical system.

    SOME risk is always involved in "affordable" goods as deliver progress.

    "Mostly" even our throwaway-cheap goods are rather good at survival.
    More than just the one part-time guy has been working away, those 180-odd years, and damned few were idiots.

    Thankfully.

    JFDWT with the cost of the odd 'gap' in the armor, be more careful next time.

    S**t will still happen, but it need not be often, nor expensive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomarc View Post
    The computer in my shop is about 5 feet away from my TIG welder. I just came up from laying down a whole bunch of turkey shit on some aluminum while the computer was streaming Pandora over the speakers...not even a hiccup, and this has been done hundreds of times in the past. The only downside is after all that time I can't TIG weld aluminum any better than when I started doing it years ago.

    Stuart
    Spool up this song whilst "dipping the rod":
    The Happenings I Got Rhythm - YouTube

    They even sing "Dip, Dip, dip..."...

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    Was there a cable connecting the computer to the EDM that communicated the drip-feed program to the EDM?

    If so, that's the area where I'd estimate the highest vulnerability to EMI would be, especially if it was a RS-232 interface.


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