TIG remote DIY/ config ideas
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  1. #1
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    TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Right now I'm playing with an ergonomically reasonable current and on/off switch combo, current on bottom (East/West knob) and switch on top seems to feel good.
    (Thumb on top/on off and finger can roll current if desired on bottom)

    Looks like most (all?) of the ones on the market try to do it with one control like a foot pedal.
    IMHO that's silly for a hand control setup, as at least I still have 4 fingers and a thumb on each hand.
    (Machinists might have issues with it >-) )

    This will allows remotely setting your current (OR roll up down) but also allows simple on/off with whatever current you set last w/o having to "find" it again.

    The only issue I have found is finding a really small 2W pot I can make work for the Synchro too...


    Has anyone repaired (or just taken apart to look at) the Miller E/W control?
    Happen to recall the part# or manufacturer of the potentiometer?
    All the 2W single turn pots I have looked at so far are probably too large to be comfortable.
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-27-2012 at 08:43 PM. Reason: I guess I can't delete a dupe, sorry. Mod please delete dupe thread,

  2. #2
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    2 watt pot for a remote control? wtf...
    What is the pot's resistance? Also what's the voltage across the pot if you can measure it/find out from a manual?
    Welding/Fab Pics: www.UtahWeld.com

  3. #3
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeGyver View Post
    2 watt pot for a remote control? wtf...
    What is the pot's resistance? Also what's the voltage across the pot if you can measure it/find out from a manual?
    I'm going by what Miller used on the foot pedals for the non-inverter machines.
    Seems like serious overkill, which is why I ask.

    If I am not mistaken it's a 2W 1K pot/switch combo, but some may have separate pot/switch setups.
    Looks like 15v, from the schematics, still need to get power hooked up.

    I'll get an actual current reading once I get power in for it at home.
    The inverter machines also IIRC are similar resistance, but are not 2W pots, not sure as to voltage on those, likely 10v or less.

    If I can get away with 1W or even 1/2W, smaller physical size makes it more comfortable to wrap you hand around..

    I suppose I can just try it and see if it smokes, I very much doubt the Synchro will care.
    (but it will be next week before I can try it, back to work tomorrow)
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-27-2012 at 09:59 PM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  4. #4
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Any thoughts on the usability just using the pot for a remote fine tuning Amptrol, with a separate on/off thumb switch for the contactor??

    I'm trying to come up with something that won't drive me nuts, as the footpedal for mine probably hit ebay a few years ago via someones lunchbox.
    (I'll be making one, but this looks a LOT easier and more usable for the welding I've done to date.)
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-27-2012 at 11:48 PM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  5. #5
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Doing a bit more research, it seems many of the newer inverters even get the 2W potentiometer.
    It varies from 1K -10K depending on what particular model, and depending on the current draw, may not even matter.

    Edit-- Looks like conductive plastic type (as used by Miller AFAICT) is the way to go, lowest noise..

    I guess I should be happy I didn't buy a Dialarc HF and need the 130W wirewound resistor.
    (pedal RFC-23A)

    I'll probably try a 1W pot and see if the magic blue smoke leaks out.

    Anyone have the std part# for the remote side 14 pin connector?
    (From Mouser etc?)

    Ah... From http://www.craftkb.com/Uwe/Forum.asp...-amptrol-plugs
    ###############
    "The connector used by Miller for all 14-pin connections is a
    #97-4106A-20-27-P,
    with strain relief #97-3507-12

    I just ordered 4 of each from Powel, at $18.20 each for the connector
    and $7.05
    each for the strain relief."

    ###############

    That's for the metal ones, the plastic version Miller uses now should be considerably less.
    (above prices/post from 2004, so YMMV)

    I probably have the pins and the correct crimper handy
    note you sometimes have to buy them separately.
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-28-2012 at 02:05 AM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  6. #6
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Still looking for the plastic version part#, must crash.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  7. #7
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by waferhead View Post
    Looks like 15v, from the schematics, still need to get power hooked up.

    I'll get an actual current reading once I get power in for it at home.
    The inverter machines also IIRC are similar resistance, but are not 2W pots, not sure as to voltage on those, likely 10v or less.

    If I can get away with 1W or even 1/2W, smaller physical size makes it more comfortable to wrap you hand around..
    15v across 1000ohms is 15mW, which means you'll need a pot rated for at least 1/6 watt.
    It would help so see the schematic.
    Welding/Fab Pics: www.UtahWeld.com

  8. #8
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeGyver View Post
    15v across 1000ohms is 15mW, which means you'll need a pot rated for at least 1/6 watt.
    It would help so see the schematic.

    I know, I plan to order the technical manual today.
    ...and a pair of those nice feeling (but really cheap) Chinese paddle switches for $3 to play with.
    Still can't find the plastic 97 series-compatible connectors (except from Miller for stupid $$)

    I wired/fired her up yesterday and burned some stick, but I have to get a connector for the remote plug...and a big argon bottle or two cheap.

    I tried stick with the HF on, 3/16" stick crammed in the TIG torch... Worked awesome, like melting a thin stick of butter in a hot frying pan, looked better than my MIG welds

    (why are you supposed to turn off the HF for stick?
    I never had to touch what I was welding on trying to get it going, was nasty old rusty crusty junk... much mo betta. With a trigger I'd never do it any other way now.)

    I think I have the right size AMP pins floating around, so I'll try and get an actual current measurement, it's possible the actual current draw is much higher OR lower than your back of the envelope calculation as I have no idea what the impedance of the circuit is, and resistance can go to ~zero...

    I'll make a WAG and say all we are doing is feeding an op amp and it doesn't really matter WHAT pot is used, as long as it's physically studly.

    I'll attempt to get a meter on it this afternoon before work.

    I had another Bad Idea last night that I will be trying, 2 pots, 2 switches... Think manual pulser.
    (OTOH, if it turns out a ~555 will drive this, it would all easily fit in the handle )

    Insane? Of course... But I'm getting too old to keep walking back and forth to tweak junk on the machine to find the right settings, I do not have them memorized. Yet.

    I designed/made a really decent high power diode laser driver setup the size of a small postage stamp in a previous life, this should not be rocket science.
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-29-2012 at 09:25 AM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  9. #9
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Why don't you just make a pendant that you can lay on your welding table or where ever with your pot in it? On off switch on the handle. Seems like you are trying to cram a lot of bulk and control on the torch. Otherwise I'd use a pedal.
    Hammer
    File
    Big Hammer
    ------------------------------
    Here, let me Google that for you...

  10. #10
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    I'd use a pedal if I had one, but most of my welding to date has been on sheetmetal crawling around in/under/over cars, an th pedal is a tad challenging to use from Yoga positions.

    It will probably end up on the bench way if it gets to the point of being bulky.

    If a simple electronic pulser ends up being practical, there would be little need to fiddle with it once set most likely, just perhaps a way to trigger it remotely perhaps.

    ..but If it turns out you can actually use tiny pots, it won't necessarily have to be any bigger that the simple amptrol Miller sells... with the single 2W E/W pot.

    Maybe even smaller.

    Gotta crash, strange ideas welcome.

    2 switches are on order from US based vendor, at least.
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-29-2012 at 10:54 AM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  11. #11
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Shipping to 77401?......


    I would like a tiny dial, or slide closer to the end of my torch (above my on/off switch). i would like to be able to drop the amps 5-10. I use the switch 99.5% of the time and after i get a lot of heat into the piece i usually just speed up. Would be nice to be able to take it down a notch without having to walk to the machine. I don't need it to be able to "pulse". It would also be nice to be able to jack the amps up a little on the starts. Would this be possible?

  12. #12
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by travisc454 View Post
    Shipping to 77401?......


    I would like a tiny dial, or slide closer to the end of my torch (above my on/off switch). i would like to be able to drop the amps 5-10. I use the switch 99.5% of the time and after i get a lot of heat into the piece i usually just speed up. Would be nice to be able to take it down a notch without having to walk to the machine. I don't need it to be able to "pulse". It would also be nice to be able to jack the amps up a little on the starts. Would this be possible?
    Yes, trivial, whether it goes up or down is simply a matter of which way it's wired and how the pots are set.
    How much high/low are would be set by the pot(s) only one and a swicth would be needed if your welder sets max amps on the panel..

    The "manual pulser" would just be tapping the second switch in a rhythm ... It would change settings as described.
    (it would be more natural to do this setup in a simple footpedal on/off setup, but the POTS could be in the handle)
    You could set them up (with a SPDT swicth) so it's either/or setting, or you could tie them together like the panel/pedal (would) work now.

    I have no intention of selling anything, the fun is in the planning/collaborating and making it work.
    Making/selling them would be like ... work or something, no fun.

    I weld as part of a hobby, (mostly) so if anyone wants to start making these in their moms basement in Joplin Mo, knock yourself out and maybe send us a few.
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-29-2012 at 11:29 AM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  13. #13
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    I know, I plan to order the technical manual today.
    They are a free download.

    http://www.millerwelds.com/service/ownersmanuals.php

  14. #14
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Technical manual, AKA service manual, not owners manual, the OWNERS manual is a free download.

    The tech manual they sell most folks has a set of schematics including for the boards (IIRC the component values are missing), scope traces and real diags, probably TSBs etc too.

    Miller seems to prefer you to order them through your LWS. $15 supposedly.

    I'd prefer a real service manual including component values, alignment specs/procedures etc, but I'll take what I can get.
    For all I know they may not even give that to anyone outside the factory.

    I work on far more complex stuff ~every day, and spent many moons doing component level repair on weird stuff.
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-30-2012 at 08:31 AM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  15. #15
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Ran over to my sons farm after work, fired it up, burnished the HF contacts with some paper, works peachy.

    Made a quick measurement of current 10V ref direct through DMM, I read .37mA, that would be WORST case current.
    Later decided not to post up, as I didn't actually recall reading the range, but it's .37mA or a very very unlikely .37A...
    Was planning on repeating measurement to double check, but ...

    Doing some more research (and looking for schematics) stumbled across this thread http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=26125&page=4 has a detailed circuit description/theory of operation from a very, very good old hand.
    (That might not be the post that describes the footpedal, it's just the one I was on when I copied the link)

    It appears ~any reasonable unit >1/4W in the right range will in fact do.

    The only criteria are size, reliability, noise (electrical) and how it "feels", which may be largely why Miller picked that nice 2W milspec unit.

    Still haven't sourced a reasonably priced connector, may have to bite the bullet as I want to get on with this.
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-31-2012 at 02:42 AM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  16. #16
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    I've often though of using a resistive flex sensor vel-crowed to your pinky and an on/off switc on the torch for safety instead of a thumbwheel, that way you can shoot to your desired current instantly and w/o adding unwanted motion to the torch.
    Welding/Fab Pics: www.UtahWeld.com

  17. #17
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeGyver View Post
    I've often though of using a resistive flex sensor vel-crowed to your pinky and an on/off switc on the torch for safety instead of a thumbwheel, that way you can shoot to your desired current instantly and w/o adding unwanted motion to the torch.
    Probably workable with a strain guage setup and minimal electronics...
    I was thinking of one stuck in your mouth like musicians use to control effects, but the thought of putting something in my mouth electrically connected to a 11KW power supply kinda put me off that... (what could possibly go wrong?)

    I had an even more bizarre thought along those lines, they make programmable control/effects boxes musicians (literally) stomp on on stage ...
    Visualize one that could record and play back a particular pattern you like, and you could toggle between your favorite riffs...
    Heat up initial puddle, back off, slow taper as the work heats up, taper off at the end, like a macro recorder... So simple even a musician can use it!!! ;-) ,
    You could just use switch(es) on the torch to toggle through the steps... and "play back."
    On an inverter box you could probably program the torch to play a tune as you weld... (bead might look funny hooked up to your iPod playing Metallica)

    Went back over to my sons and this time was not pressed for time.
    0.87mA at 310a on the panel, dead short through the meter 10V reference to remote input.
    (real worst case)

    I forgot the pedal is always a percentage of the max set on the panel on this one.
    This Actron meter is the one I use to work on cars, (has RPM/TC temp, duty cycle/freq counter etc)

    I'm too used to using my Fluke at work, this one has a seperate "mA" range that reads up to 999.9 and that setting only autoranges in mA.
    (had to play with it to be absolutely certain)

    It looks like the old Sync will be trivial to remote control by whatever means.

    Work on hold for torch paddle switches...

    I wonder if SSC will sell just parts... I'll probably still get a foot pedal for benchwork, and I'd hate to hack up a nice new setup adding external circuits.
    Last edited by waferhead; 01-31-2012 at 10:43 AM. Reason: formatting
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  18. #18
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    for a 14 pin plug, SSC controls seems to be ~as good a price as it gets, 21.25 in singles for the plug and backshell, solder cup style, metal plug.

    They carry others as well
    http://www.ssccontrols.com/homepage-connector.htm
    Last edited by waferhead; 02-01-2012 at 12:07 AM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  19. #19
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeGyver View Post
    I've often though of using a resistive flex sensor vel-crowed to your pinky and an on/off switc on the torch for safety instead of a thumbwheel, that way you can shoot to your desired current instantly and w/o adding unwanted motion to the torch.
    This if workable could make you some serious part time work.I believe you have a doable item here .Much more convenient than those nasty wheels or the north south slider finger control.Improvements to a simple slide north and south hand controls could be as simple as a spring that would allow you to taper off like a foot pedal.How complicated could that 1.00 spring really be??Keep thinking out of the box.

    V

  20. #20
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    I'll make a prototype for my Maxstar 150STH soon.
    Welding/Fab Pics: www.UtahWeld.com

  21. #21
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeGyver View Post
    I'll make a prototype for my Maxstar 150STH soon.
    Let us know results please.

    V

  22. #22
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    I tried to get a free sample of the flex sensor to play with, but I think I'm getting a 2-20 PSI film pressure sensor.
    Current would be based on how hard you squeeze or push, like an F16 control stick... No motion required.
    Last edited by waferhead; 02-02-2012 at 11:42 PM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  23. #23
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Just for reference, a very nice fellow at SSC gave me the part#s for plastic Miller 14 pin and plastic TA 8 pin plugs, with backshells.

    (I went ahead and ordered from him anyway as it's rare to get anyone on the phone who actually speaks English and knows anything, and I get a metal 14 pin/backshell)

    Miller 14: AMP 213571-2 BS 206070-8
    TA 8: AMP 206434-1 BS 206358-5 pins 1-658539-2, the -2 is pin material. crimp type.

    Mouser lists the connectors for ~$10 and ~$7 respectively, the TA connector pins must be ordered as well, I suggest getting 10 unless you do it all the time.
    Last edited by waferhead; 02-03-2012 at 02:52 PM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  24. #24
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    OK, here's the evil plan:

    Typical torch contactor switch.
    Under the switch paddle, out of harms way, lives the pressure sensitive resistor, with a small spring or bar to do the actuation.

    The pressure sensor could also literally be the thumb pad, the most common ones are round and about dime sized, and the resistance range is 100K-200 ohms, should be a direct plug-in at least on my SW250.

    How hard you pushed on the paddle would control the current- no motion, just pressure. (if you used a spring you could have motion if desired)

    You would also have a small recessed pot (hard to hit accidentally) to set sensitivity/span.

    Optionally, another pot to set min (or max) current (zero) and a switch to change whether more pressure on the contactor paddle means more or less current.

    MAY need at least a transistor or op amp for the active electronics, so we are probably up to about $25, including the switch and connector... It should all fit in/under the switch body easily.

    Of course one could put this whole contraption in the wire feed hand or whatever.

    Switch/connector on order, Sensor Products has returned my inquiry to figure out required part for a sample, in progress.
    If all else fails I'll order the one from Sparkfun.

    Interestingly, Google holds a patent on using a pressure sensitive resistor for current control, but it miserably fails the "obvious" test.
    (obvious in this case would be to someone well versed in the art of electronics. Varying a voltage or current with a variable resistor was likely done by Volta or Ohm, and using a pressure sensitive resistor to do the same is as bloody obvious an application as there is, as that is what happens whether you want it to or not--- the inherent function of the device)

    OT: Does anyone have a part# for a Tweco#2/4 to Euro adapter? (machine side, gun is Euro)

    TA doesn't seem interested in or willing sell me the factory Euro adapter for a 181i in the US, and I won't buy one until I can do it.
    It's getting to the point I have contacted places in the UK to buy the "missing" part in US units...
    Last edited by waferhead; 02-04-2012 at 12:13 AM.
    1999 Synchrowave 250, Bernard cooler.
    TA 181i, US version, with TA 181i Euro connector, Euro on torch.
    Firepower spool gun w/Euro connector, modded to suit 181i
    Pressure controlled TIG amptrols.

  25. #25
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    Re: TIG remote DIY/ config ideas

    Hey I got your PM but couldn't respond. Send me your phone # and I'll call you to discuss. Pretty sure I still have one of those adapters.

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