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Another rookie question-voltage?

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  • Another rookie question-voltage?

    I'm a complete rookie, but am interested in welding and welders. One (of the many) questions that come to mind concerns the welding voltage used by stick welders.
    Can anyone tell me what range of voltages are offered by most low-end stick welders?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Re: Another rookie question-voltage?

    Originally posted by weldbob
    Can anyone tell me what range of voltages are offered by most low-end stick welders?

    Thanks in advance!
    Input voltage or output?


    • #3
      Re:Another Rookie question...

      Thanks for the quick reply. I should have clarified; I'm looking for output voltages.



      • #4
        there are two voltages we are talking. about open circuit voltage[ocv] and load voltage. most machines have an ocv @70-80 volts. just start the machine and put a volt/ohmmeter on the output terminals.
        load voltage is it's duty cycle output voltage and that's a NEMA standard. if a machine is rated at 200amps it's has 28 volts. 300-32volts, 400-36v and so on.
        in the early days, ocv was higher and output was higher too. this made good starting, smooth sma[stick-weld] machines but, they tended to electrocute people. so voltage was dropped to safer limits. [ field pipe-welders LOVE high ocv dc machines!]
        as you weld, your voltage will be something less than it's rated output voltage and will change a small amount as your arc length changes


        • #5
          Re:Another Rookie question-voltage?

          Thanks for the info. This will help with my first project, which is the welder itself. Actually, I built one abouty thirty years ago, and have never used it. I'm doing some testing, and am trying to select output taps to get the voltage I want. This will help a lot.
          Thanks again!



          • #6
            Sounds like an interesting project. Post some details and let us know how it's going.
            Whre do you get your materials? Radioshack?


            • #7
              Well, it's kind of a long story. I originally built the welder in high school. I used an old distribution transformer. You know, the kind that sits on a telephone pole, and provides power for two or three houses. I think I traded a 40m rig for it with a friend.
              I started by by unwinding the 7200 volt winding. What was left was the 240 volt senondary, which I used as as primary. I wound over that several windings of #9 magnet wire, pulling off taps here and there. Coated the whole thing with motor varnish, stuck it in a large steel box, fan on the front, and forgot about it. I did manage to test it about 25 years ago. It worked, but was not much good for welding. It drew about 300 amps on an arc (at least, that's how high the ammeter went :-), and made a mess.
              At that time, I did not know how to build a current limiter, or even that one was needed.
              Now, I want to turn it into something useful. I'm adding a current limiter, a rectifier, and come wheels or casters. It has cables, a return clamp, and a stickholder, so I think it ought to do OK.
              The genesis of the original question was the variety of windings. In my work so far, I've found windings from 4 volts to 50 volts; I want to bring out to the front panel the voltage that would be the most useful for home projects.
              I'll post more as I move this project along. It's interesting to read the archives-there's a great deal of knowledge and experience in this group!

              Thanks, WB