Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests - Page 7
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  1. #151
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    May 2009
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Did you get it going ?

  2. #152
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    San Diego
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    12

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewelders View Post
    Did you get it going ?

    I did get it working but only did so briefly as I am having some issues. For one I used 8 gauge wire for the + cap run (both to toggle and rec. plate) but used thinner 10 gauge for the neg run only because that's what I had on hand. I also used thinner 12 gauge for the resistor.

    Suffice to say it seemed to perform wildly (and not in a good way). For one I've determined that I need a different bleed resistor. It doesn't seem to work at all. The flux-wire remains electrified until I tap it on my welding table once or twice and then when you go to start welding it would do it again after a false start so I was constantly having to re-trim my wire and start over. After doing this for 20 minutes I gave up entirely and just toggled the cap off. At least I could confirm that my 50amp toggle works really well as everything was instantly back to normal when switched off. I had also felt the resistor by hand touch and it never felt warm after a weld attempt so I just think it's bunk. Obviously so considering the hot tip issue. It never appeared to bleed off any energy whatsoever.

    So,..#1 - if I have slightly varied gauges of wire thickness will that affect the capacitor performance? Should the bleed resistor also be the same wire thickness to or is 12 gauge ok for that? I know I have everything wired up correctly but again..just using slightly different gauges.

    As for the performance of my initial test, I did notice that the welding noise was much more of a desired hiss with less crack and pop but it just seemed so out of control power-wise that I couldn't get a good looking weld. It seemed really erratic. I did much much better once I just switched off the cap and went back to the standard power settings using the standard recommended feed rate, although I usually turn it down just a little below the sticker specs. I'm also using a new spool of Lincoln .035 flux which with the mod turned off did seem to produce a little less spatter than the stock spool.

    I know people are saying you will need to turn down the power/feed with the mod engaged..but how much on average? 10%? 15%? 20%?

  3. #153
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    The power will probably be about 25% higher, so you will need to run the wire faster to keep it from burning back.
    When it burns back it will stop the arc until the wire pushes into the work, then it will burn it off again.
    Just try turning the wire feed up until the wire comes out fast enough to start pushing the gun away from the work, then back the speed off a little.
    Someone said that their power settings moved up one setting with the capacitor.
    Different wire gauges won't hurt as long as the wire doesn't get hot.

  4. #154
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    Dec 2013
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    San Diego
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    12

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewelders View Post
    The power will probably be about 25% higher, so you will need to run the wire faster to keep it from burning back.
    Ok, so the power settings for each thickness of steel should remain the same but you are supposed to just increase the wire feed speed rate. That makes more sense I suppose.

    Lastly, I also wanted to look at installing a bank of two smaller capacitors instead of the honking 32oz beer can I have now. I'd like to install a 10lb spool but with the huge capacitor there's no way. If I was to use two smaller ones in series or parallel (not sure of how they would wire) what would be the recommended values for them? I know one guy earlier in this thread mentioned doing the same. Any thoughts on this?

  5. #155
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Not there
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    You're a fantastic photographer !

  6. #156
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    You would need a couple 40,000-50,000uf capacitors, wired in parallel.
    I used two capacitors in my 131 welder,they were mounted like this one, but one in the front and one in the back. http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php...321#post989321

  7. #157
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    21

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Just a quick reply. I added a 100,000uf 100v cap, it's big , and experienced some problems.
    The 6 gauge wire from the cap to the rectifier heartsinks would get warm..

    I recently blew 2 of the 8 diodes on the bridge rectifier assembly. The puck on one appeared to have arced/fried and the other appeared to unsolder itself..
    I might have been running with only 7 diodes in the bridge and the addition of the cap stressed it to the max?
    That might explain the warm wires from the cap? HIGH ripple current?

    I now have the 180, but haven't done the cap mod. The rectifier on the 180 is MUCH beefier, 16 diodes.. The CAP mod on the 180 should be a beast!

  8. #158
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    May 2009
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    Wyoming US
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Even the 170s have a relatively low duty cycle at full power.

  9. #159
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    I had hit the overtemp maybe once or twice. I know that's abuse as the duty cycle times should prevent any overheating.
    Mostly Harbor Freight
    170a mig,cap mod, broken rectifier
    180a mig,stock, works well, still hate the wire feeder
    100a mig. kinna crappy
    165a tig/stick, high frequency start. LOTS of stick time, works GREAT!
    Vulcan 200a multi mig + 200a ac/dc tig

  10. #160
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    May 2009
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    Wyoming US
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Yeah, that's hard on them.
    Never liked that type of diode assembly, and the fans seen a bit wimpy.

  11. #161
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    I bought a china 200 amp one piece bridge rectifier to fix the 170. Hopefully it'll last.. I liked that welder, bought it as a store return for $75!
    I ran about 30lbs through it before one day it just started welding REALLY bad, ZERO penetration. I knew when I started testing it using a multi-meter, it showed 60 hz output vs 120hz. Bingo.

    Thought it was a 300, but it's a 200 amp unit. $36
    Last edited by Nowhere; 09-05-2017 at 10:34 PM.
    Mostly Harbor Freight
    170a mig,cap mod, broken rectifier
    180a mig,stock, works well, still hate the wire feeder
    100a mig. kinna crappy
    165a tig/stick, high frequency start. LOTS of stick time, works GREAT!
    Vulcan 200a multi mig + 200a ac/dc tig

  12. #162
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wyoming US
    Posts
    3,315

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    I used a couple of these and a bigger heatsink in mine,total of 360A worth
    http://media.rs-online.com/t_large/R1358226-01.jpg

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