taping welding leads
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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    taping welding leads

    Been trying to figure out what to do about this at work recently. We have our welders inspected quarterly by an outside repair shop to find any problems with our welders before they bite us in the rear. They always write up the fact that nearly every one of our welders have electrical tape on the welding leads as a deficiency. This causes a problem because it would cost thousands to replace every lead every time they get a knick in them. I read the OSHA regulations that seem to say that a repair can be made to welding leads as long as the ten feet closest to the electrode holder is repair free, but I wonder if I'm interpreting this properly. We used to repair small knicks and cuts to the leads insulation by simply taping them but we have decided from now on to wrap these areas with a rubberized insulating tape and then seal it with shrinkwrap. This makes for a very effective fix in my opinion and I believe it will hold up to the abuse that we put them through better than just tape.
    What do y'all think? Should we repair them at all? What's the best way to repair a knicked line?
    Last edited by superglider1550; 05-17-2011 at 06:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: taping welding leads

    Thats about the best way I know of. The only other solution I've used is to cut off a badly damaged area and install Tweeco QD's. Thats basicly the way I've gotten all my "short" lenghts.
    .



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  3. #3
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    Re: taping welding leads

    You're doing pretty much the same thing that we do...

  4. #4
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    Re: taping welding leads

    By shrinkwrap I assume you mean shrink tubing? Get the heavy wall shrink tube and it will take a fair amount of abuse.

    Al
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  5. #5
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    Re: taping welding leads

    I was told by OSHA and Army Corps that "shrink" type fix on welding lead was not acceptable. They offered no alternative. I rolled up the leads until they went back to the office then went back to work.

  6. #6
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    Re: taping welding leads

    Yeah, I meant shrink tubing and we are using the thick wall stuff that you can get from fastenal.

  7. #7
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    Re: taping welding leads

    On Ft Carson, the US Army Corps of Engineers accepts shrink tubing as a fix. On Peterson AFB, sometimes, sometimes, not.

    You are reading the OSHA reg properly - the first 10 feet from the electrode holder must be repair free.
    We were 3rd party audited back in November. That was the only negative comment we got. It seems the OSHA language says damaged lead SHALL be replaced; leaving no wiggle room.
    Enforcement is another story though...I guess if your lead arced out and caused a fire, or an injury, that would be something to go after.

    As long as your insurance rates are not going to be increased, then its kind of a moot subject.
    Weldanpower 225 G7
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  8. #8
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    Re: taping welding leads

    Straight from OSHA (they will reply in this manner and post it for clarification):

    http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owad...ONS&p_id=25149

    Adding Tweco/Dinse connectors is the only legal fix because it creates new cables.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2004
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    Re: taping welding leads

    I really don't understand the logic involved in such insulation concerns. If good quality tape is used to wrap the cable that should be adequate. I can see the day when we will have to wrap the complete weldment with electrical insulation before we start since those nasty electrons could go anywhere.
    We are dealing with relatively low voltages. The only time I have seen Canadian workers compensation inspectors raise concern is when they see bare copper cable from a missing section of insulation.
    There are some very good tapes out there that create a very durable bond over the damage.

  10. #10
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    Re: taping welding leads

    I think the biggest concern is that the taped sections are not waterproof and tape can peel off relatively easily. I had a buddy get knocked out cold while kneeling on wet concrete while welding, His taped lead dragged through a wet spot and shorted to the workpiece when he broke his arc, put him right out for a few minutes

  11. #11
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    Re: taping welding leads

    I suggest that a lead that shorted to the workpiece would not be a hazard to the welder. If however the wet concrete was connected to the weldment and the welder was making contact with the welding lead via wet gloves or bare power lead touching his body then he could get a jolt. The welding current would go through him to the wet concrete and then to the workpiece and back to the welding machine.
    His welding lead shorting to the work would be an identical situation to when he was welding. There was more to the story.

  12. #12
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    Re: taping welding leads

    The bigger issue is the government assuming all us ignorant lowly citizens are too stupid to take care of our selves.

    And the government not ending the morons that are suit happy.

  13. #13
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    Re: taping welding leads

    Quote Originally Posted by lotechman View Post
    I suggest that a lead that shorted to the workpiece would not be a hazard to the welder. If however the wet concrete was connected to the weldment and the welder was making contact with the welding lead via wet gloves or bare power lead touching his body then he could get a jolt. The welding current would go through him to the wet concrete and then to the workpiece and back to the welding machine.
    His welding lead shorting to the work would be an identical situation to when he was welding. There was more to the story.
    He was changing rods and took his glove off to get a hold of a new rod while kneeling on the wet pavement, Not sure how it happened from there other than the ground was damaged and repaired with tape and he got blasted good, He thought he was dead when he felt the hit, took him most of the day to recover fully

  14. #14
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    Re: taping welding leads

    Quote Originally Posted by ironmangq View Post
    I think the biggest concern is that the taped sections are not waterproof and tape can peel off relatively easily.
    Then explain why we can wrap connections with rubberized tape for use underwater in commercial diving and not have any issues. The connections we do that way are waterproof. It's not so much about shocks as it is about electrolisis. Unsealed DC current connections have a bad habit of deplating especially in salt water.
    .



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  15. #15
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    Re: taping welding leads

    Quote Originally Posted by fat bastard View Post
    the bigger issue is the government assuming all us ignorant lowly citizens are too stupid to take care of our selves.

    And the government not ending the morons that are suit happy.
    exactly!!!

  16. #16
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    Re: taping welding leads

    This isn't the first time I've tried to decipher OSHA regulations at work. I truly belive the IRS learned how to write tax code by using the osha guidelines for inspiration.

  17. #17
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    Re: taping welding leads

    I think that osha should allow "some" kind of repair. For example, knick in the insulation down to copper - First, liquid electrical tape. Second, rubberized electrical tape. And then third, wrap with Scotch 33 regular electrical tape. I think that would be very sufficient in saving a lead. It's just gross ignorance on osha's part to require leads to be replaced. But then again, beurocrats....... need I say more?
    "Where's Stick man????????" - 7A749
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  18. #18
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    Re: taping welding leads

    You could send pics of the proposed repair method with all specifics and see if they'll buy off on it and implement the change.

    Regs aren't carved in stone.

  19. #19
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    Re: taping welding leads

    It drives me nuts to have repaired cords on anything! I am very very careful all the time not to damage any cords. A buddy that was helping me during a busy time dropped a hole saw on my drill press cord popping the breaker. It was just two little puncture marks in the cord and could have been easily repaired but then I would have to look at it all the time. I replaced the cord.

  20. #20
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    Re: taping welding leads

    Quote Originally Posted by VPT View Post
    It drives me nuts to have repaired cords on anything! I am very very careful all the time not to damage any cords. A buddy that was helping me during a busy time dropped a hole saw on my drill press cord popping the breaker. It was just two little puncture marks in the cord and could have been easily repaired but then I would have to look at it all the time. I replaced the cord.
    That drill press's cord wouldn't cost as much at 3 feet of good welding lead. I bet if you had to shell out about $350 to replace that cord you'd think about fixing it.
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  21. #21
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    Re: taping welding leads

    An approved repair procedure would solve the problem of idiots making dangerous repairs and allow return to service of valuable equipment.

    Stick-mans procedure modified with a tough heat-shrink outer sleeve (no tape to unravel) ought to work fine, and specifying a contrasting color sleeve makes inspecting repairs easier.

    If you folks want to turn this into a "best practice insulation repair" thread we could do that and then an interested party could send a letter to OSHA. A REQUEST for approved repair options is reasonable.

    Even (most, thou shall not splice flight control wiring) aircraft wiring harnesses have approved repairs!


    SPECIFIC suggestions on sealants, tape, heat shrink, and some pics would be a good thing.
    If it gets approved it could save many people a metric a$$load of frustration. References to any other codes etc would be supportive.

  22. #22
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    Re: taping welding leads

    I doubt you'll be able to certify a repair procedure. The FAA allows wiring repairs, because procedures have been carefully worked out, ONLY trained and certified mechanics are allowed to execute the procedure, there are penalties for not executing the procedure as required, there are many levels of oversight, and only certified parts can be used (no substitutions of equivalent parts, no matter how much it makes sense to allow).

    BUT, that's not to say that some company couldn't invent, and get UL/CSA certified, an acceptable product for welding cable insulation repair. There are plenty of cable splicing kits that are acceptable, which require cutting the copper. I'm not sure why they cannot make a slip-on, or wrap-around kit, which doesn't require cutting the cable, that just repairs the insulation. Maybe companies just didn't see enough call for such a kit.

    Oh, and there's shrink tube, and there's shrink tube. They're not all created equal. The good stuff has hot melt adhesive lining the inside, which bonds to the insulation for a watertight seal.

  23. #23
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    Re: taping welding leads

    My background on this is from microwave and RF cabling. We have to penetrate the outer insulation to install grounding kits, and our cabling is bolted to the outside of towers in Alaska...

    The current 'state of the rat' last I knew was to build-up the area to a matching profile with gumpucky or gorilla poop, use-names for a black tarry insulator, then to seal with a scotch 88 or comparable electrical tape in a 100% overlap wrap, starting from 'down', wrapping up, then making a 'smooth transition' back to down with the same wrap - this is referred to as the 'courtesy wrap'. The next step is a 'live' butyl rubber tape or silicone tape, which gets wrapped with the same 100% overlap. The final step is normally a third wrap with the scotch 88. You end up with almost a 100% profile increase once everything is said and done, but I have removed 20 year old wrap jobs with shiny metal underneath them (uncoated copper).

    For a welding lead, I would not hesitate to first inspect the cable for copper damage. If there was any damage to the copper, chop splice done.

    Provided that there is no copper damage, I would pack the profile with gumpucky, courtesy wrap (given the use pattern of welding cable, I would be willing to do a single down-to-up wrap with a 100% overlap), then an appropriately sized heavy duty glue-melt heatshrink, contrasting color.

    my extension lead for my primary power is similar. It's 8/3 spliced onto the 10/3 'range cord', so the splice area is three staggered individual splices, consisting of an uninsulated crimp-type splice, soldered, taped, then heatshrinked. The entire splice bundle was then taped and heatshrinked in red, and a second 'paranoia cover' was put on in yellow, approximately 1" shorter than the red heatshrink.

    (the cabling in question is light grey sheating on one end, light blue articflex sheathing on the other)

    Looks like a damn hot dog, but I trust it (to be inspectable, and to fail when absolutely needed).

  24. #24
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    Re: taping welding leads

    Tape is cheaper than new lead.
    Disclaimer; "I am just an a$$hole welder, don't take it personally ."

  25. #25
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    Re: taping welding leads

    How about sliding that thin cheap plastic water hose over the first ten feet?

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