Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER' - Page 2
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  1. #26
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Pic#18 and #19 shows side-by-side comparison photos of a weld made with the arc-stabilizer coil (left side) versus the weld made with no arc stabilizer (right side).

    So where to next?
    Firstly, I need better electrical connections - the fastest way to deliver more welding current.
    Secondly, I'll keep scrounging for more copper wire - as every foot I can add to the coil will increase the coil inductance and smooth the arc - albeit at the penalty of somewhat reducing the welding current.
    Thirdly, I'll keep looking for a source of that magical 'soft' ferrite - as that would really boost coil inductance and help smooth out the arc - without dropping the welding current!

    OK folks, I think I have beat this welding with two car batteries to death.
    It works - you just need to lug around 20 pounds of a home-made arc-stabilizer coil!
    Still, with car two batteries, the stabilizer, some booster cables, a rod holder - BINGO - you have a truly portable 150-amp DC welder.

    As for me, I now have a 150 amp pure DC welder that cost me - nothing - but days and days & night and nights of play time!
    Hey, maybe I also have an inductor that I can use to smooth the arc of any DC welder - I can just add the coil between the work piece and the ground cable of the welder. Might come in handy should I ever want to push my SP-175T MIG welder to its upper limit.

    Hmmm... I wonder how Arc-Stabilizer Coil #2 would work running 36 volts - with 3 car batteries???
    Na - who would want a portable 150-250 amp DC welder for cheap?
    (I wonder how much current such a 'puppy' would really deliver? ... and I do have those batteries just sitting there.... )

    Cheers,

    Rick V
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  2. #27
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick V
    This time, I set my digital camera in 'Movie Mode' and the camera recorded the image of the voltmeter display while I welded - it worked great! I don't need the wife - no more!
    Don't tell her that !
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  3. #28
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Oh Yeah - like now you tell me!
    Actually MicroZone, I did tell her - in a different way we Men have.
    She was so pleased that she would no longer have to stand in a freezing garage that I received cudo's... as in, "Oh honey, you're so smart. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

    Rick V

  4. #29
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Arc Stabilizer Coil #2 - with Three 12 volt Car batteries!
    Hi Folks - I could not close out this post and leave 3 batteries undone. So here it is - all welds here are done with the arc stabilizer (coil #2) in the circuit. If you want to know what welding is like using three batteries without an arc stabilizer - go backwards in the posts to find that info.

    Connections
    Firstly, the last connections that I made going to/from the arc stabilizer coil used with 2 batteries was not touched; I did these three-battery tests the day after the 2-battery tests. I didn't want to risk creating lower-conduction connections. So realize that all the amperage values that you will see below could well be increased with better/proper connectors.

    Batteries
    For these tests, I used three identical 12 volt deep cycle marine batteries, each rated at ~100 amp-hours. I connected them in series using 16 inch lengths of #4 booster cable equipped with standard car cable battery terminals - you know, the lead ring, turn-nut-to-tighten kind.
    The rest of the wiring was pretty much the same as the previous tests with the two 12 volts battery (banks).

    Volts and Amps
    This time, as well as measuring the amperage delivered, I monitored the voltage between the rod holder and the ground clamp (negative) on the work piece. So I was able to display, on side-by-side multi-meters, the readings of welding voltage and welding current. I recorded the displays while welding by using my digital camera in movie mode. I wrote down the readings during playback - after welding.

    Test Pieces - Weld Configuration
    As before, the test pieces are 1/4 inch thick mild steel plates, 1.5 inches in width and about 2 inches in length. I am making filet 'T' welds in the down hand (easiest) position.

    Welding Rods
    Rods used were Lincoln 7018AC 3/32 inch diameter and Forney 6013 1/ 8 inch diameter

    Weld #1: 7018 AC, 3/32 inch
    Volts versus Amp Chart
    Voltage.........Amps
    40...............0
    32...............185
    32...............117
    32...............137
    32...............150
    32...............175
    32...............137
    32...............118
    32...............142
    32...............120
    32...............112
    32...............144
    32...............162
    30...............178
    30...............199
    31...............156
    30...............150
    30...............146
    31...............136
    31...............149
    31...............155
    31...............145
    30...............169
    30...............175
    32...............112
    32...............118
    32...............140
    32...............142
    31...............127
    31...............145
    31...............162
    31...............156
    30...............150
    30...............155
    30...............158
    30...............160
    Average welding current = 148 amperes.
    Pic#20 shows the resulting weld #1 from using Lincoln 7018AC, 3/32 inch diameter rod.

    Compared to welding with two batteries (~22 volts), with three batteries (~31 volts in my set up), the arc force was much stronger and focused; there was no problem with the arc going out - but one has to be very wary of undercut. Undercut - see the vertical plate, those dark lines above the weld are the edges of the base metal below which the arc has melted valleys into the base metal about 1/16 to 1/8 inch wide and ~1/16 inch deep just before the weld metal begins.

    With so much melting power, my tendency was to back away - but this was bad as it can introduce porosity and blowholes - as you will see later! You have got to do the opposite and continually push the rod in - as this increases metal transfer because more arc heat goes into the melting weld metal, not melting the work piece (to a point).

    Weld #2a: First Pass - 6013 Forney 1/8 inch
    Volts versus amp chart
    Voltage.........Amps
    38...............0
    29...............210
    29...............244
    30...............176
    31...............168
    28...............244
    31...............138
    31...............138
    30...............172
    30...............174
    31...............156
    31...............139
    29...............161
    30...............176
    Average welding current = 176 amperes.
    Pic#21 shows weld #2a (first pass) using Forney 6013, 1/8 inch diameter.

    OK, I have about 25 more amps flowing - that is about 175 amps of welding current. I was worried about undercut and the rod still didn't seem to burning down that fast. I felt I was not laying down much weld metal - but when I knocked the slag off - ta-da, not too bad.

    Weld #2b: Second Pass - 6013 Forney 1/8 inch
    OK, so I made a second pass.
    Volts versus amp chart
    Voltage.........Amps
    37...............0
    28...............215
    28...............222
    28...............215
    29...............215
    30...............193
    30...............183
    30...............154
    30...............171
    31...............168
    30...............186
    30...............198
    Average welding current = 192 amperes.
    Pic#22 shows weld #2b (second pass) over weld #2a using Forney 6013, 1/8 inch diameter.

    On this second pass, I felt that I had lots of welding power - at least that was what the microphone on the digital camera recorded. The chart readings showed that I sure did at 192 amps - up about 20 amps over the first pass. The left side of the weld (bullet head appearance) is quite concave (U-shaped) with ~1/16 inch undercut into the vertical plate. The middle of the weld is fine - not a lot of metal and a mite more laid down on the horizontal plate than the vertical. You can see a small amount of slag trapped above this area. The right side of the weld shows the effect of too much heat; it is concave and you can see that weld metal flowed over the right edge of the horizontal plate. However, the two plates are definitely fused together.

    Weld #3: Single Pass - 6013 Forney 1/8 inch
    Up to this point on weld #2, I had made two passes and still only used half the long 6013 Forney rod (1/8 inch diameter). I decided to start a new test piece and to burn up the other half of the rod in one pass - and not worry about undercut.
    Volts versus amp chart
    Voltage.........Amps
    37...............0
    28...............273
    28...............287
    28...............236
    28...............242
    38...............248
    28...............299
    28...............273
    28...............236
    28...............229
    28...............252
    28...............207
    29...............187
    29...............184
    28...............207
    28...............206
    28...............270
    28...............214
    28...............205
    28...............220
    36...............0
    Average welding current = 235 amperes.
    Pic#23-combo shows weld #3 made using 1 pass (1/2 rod) of Forney 6013, 1/8 inch diameter.

    Wow - running at an average of 235 amps DC! The picture on the left gives you some idea of the significant heat input into the test pieces - and the photo was taken ~40 seconds after the welding was done! Remember the plates are only 1/4 inch thick, 1.5 inch wide and ~2 inches long. The picture on the right shows to finished weld - and yes, 'The Slag is Removed!'
    That weld - well it sure looks Ugly - with a Capital U!

    Left end of the vertical plate - that short horizontal trough is 1/3rd the way through! At 200+ amps, 1/4 inch thick steel can just melt like butter when passed by this focussed arc.

    Left end of plates to middle: There is hardly any weld metal but massive undercut; the base metal has been gouged out. Why? I think too much heat and too long an arc; the long arc lays down little metal mixed with a lot of slag. When you beat off the slag, you knock out the loosely fused metal/slag leaving behind craters and holes created by too much heat input.

    Right end of plates: The vertical plate is undercut ~1/16 inch while the weld metal below has simply flowed like lava over the edge of the horizontal plate.


    Weld #4: Multi-pass - 7018 AC, 3/32 inch
    Volts versus amp chart
    Voltage.........Amps
    37...............0
    29...............215
    29...............214
    30...............160
    30...............184
    31...............142
    31...............134
    32...............116
    31...............140
    30...............151
    30...............186
    30...............158
    30...............165
    31...............143
    31...............149
    32...............126
    30...............158
    30...............138
    30...............168
    30...............174
    31...............142
    30...............186
    30...............165
    32...............114
    36...............0
    Average welding current = 158 amperes.
    Pic#24combo shows:
    A) Top - Weld #4a made using 1 pass of Lincoln 7018AC, 3/32 inch diameter rod.
    B) Bottom - Weld #4b, a second pass over weld #4a.

    Folks, I was having some problems here. I was intending to do a single-pass weld and lay down the whole rod. No way - the arc was just too fierce and focussed. Right near the beginning, on the right side of the weld, I just blew a hole right through the 1/4 inch thick vertical plate - yep just pop, looked like a 3/32 inch drilled hole! Hey, when you pump a concentrated 160 amps out the end of a 3/32 inch diameter rod bad stuff can happen real quick. (On the other hand, if you want to drill holes real fast...)

    Blowing holes was not what I was trying to do, so I backed off - another bad move as the arc got too long - and that's where all that porosity came from! Hey, the weld reminds me of my early welds made with my 80 amps output AC welder - with too long an arc... the difference here is that I have FUSION! Porous or not, that weld is not going to come apart!

    OK, second pass - see that mmm-shaped line above the weld on the vertical plate - severe undercut to a depth of 1/16 inch. On the right side of the weld, the weld metal has flowed like lava over the edge of the horizontal plate - a sign of too much heat input. I tried to blend in the blowholes and shallow craters with this second pass, which sure did pump in the heat, but once the slag came off, well it looked like a frozen volcanic lava flow - that might be still gassing. I call this work of arc - Porosity City!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    LESSON LEARNED
    OK, were done: Both 2 Batteries and 3 Batteries.
    Which is Better?
    A side-by-side look at the test pieces makes that decision easy - 2 batteries!
    The 2-battery welds look way better than the 3-battery welds!

    So my personal preference is for two batteries - but only with an arc stabilizer. The low open circuit voltage (~22 volts) forces you to drag the rod over the work piece producing a short arc - that gives good metal transfer and good fusion, producing welds with little porosity. Blending of passes is very good. Now some of the welds appear a mite proud but I think that attention to proper electric connections might squeeze a little more voltage and current and flatten down the weld.

    The 3-battery welds show too forceful an arc and too much heat input for the 1/4 inch thick plates used here and that created a string of problems: undercut, concave weld surfaces, arc gouging, porosity and slag entrapment. Me, I can't quite handle the higher (28-32 volts) open circuit voltage produced by three batteries - I tend to run with too long an arc and "Welcome to Porosity City!"

    I think 3-battery welding may have its place in welding thicker material - like say 1/2 inch or thicker thick steel where an experienced welder could better control and benefit from that 230+ amps of pure DC power - avoiding undercut, not creating volcanic craters or fields of gaseous blowholes nor carving swaths in the base metal!

    What I find real interesting is to compare 2-battery welds #2, 3 and 4 (Pic#11,12 and 13) with 3 battery welds #1 and #4 (Pic#20 and 24) made with the same Lincoln 7018AC 3/32 inch rod. The two battery welds are way better. Why?
    If you look at the amperage:
    - the 2 battery welds were made running about 120 to 130 amps (125 amps average).
    - the 3 battery welds were made running about 148 to 158 amps (153 amps average).
    Ok, the difference is only about 30 amps of current. Heat input is I^2R where R is the resistance across the arc - the same for both battery systems. The relative heat input is the ratio of current squared or I^2: 153^2 / 125^2 = 1.5. This means that with 3 batteries, we have 50% more heat input into the weld than with 2 batteries.

    But that is not the whole story. The critical factor is the extra 10 to 12 volts of arc voltage that changes things so dramatically! The extra 10volts 'speed-blows' the electrons, filler metal, burning gas and slag particles across the arc gap. This material pounds into the base metal - creating the host of problems noted. 24 volts to 36 volts: it's like changing from a garden hose to gently water plants compared to using a pressure washer to attempt the same thing - blowing the heads of the flowers and digging trenches in the soil!

    What is needed for a 3 battery system is a softer arc and that can be obtained (see earlier in this post) by employing an inductor coil wound from steel cable instead of copper cable - the higher electrical resistance of steel dropping the arc voltage by about 6 volts (producing a softer arc) while the inductance helps stabilize the arc.

    In conclusion, welding with car batteries can be done - and done well... as long as you got an 'Arc Stabilizer' to maintain the arc. It definitely has a place in my welding arsenal.

    Folks, this has been a voyage - a Journey of Discovery!
    It's a good thing I am relatively immune to critics - as there is much to feast on herein!

    Just one thing more; I do apologize - I realize that it would be much better to see the photo's right in the text as you read the post, something other guys do regularly. However, try as I might (and I read all the posts on that), I just can't seem to manage it.

    Rick V
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  5. #30
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick V
    Oh Yeah - like now you tell me!
    Actually MicroZone, I did tell her - in a different way we Men have.
    She was so pleased that she would no longer have to stand in a freezing garage that I received cudo's... as in, "Oh honey, you're so smart. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

    Rick V
    Hahaha, there you go!
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  6. #31
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Wow, I got all excited yesterday!

    While returning the borrowed inductance meter to the electronics shop, I described my arc stabilizer and my desire for a ferrite core. A fellow in the shop said he remembered seeing a 2 inch diameter rod of ferrite at another site across town and that he would be going there in the afternoon; he would have a look. A few hours later, I got an email, "I got it."

    I rushed over, there is was - black and long...measured exactly 2 inches in diameter and was ~30 inches long! It was kind of light though - but what do I know about ferrite? My hands got black handling it too. Anyway, this fellow got excited too and pretty soon we made a test coil - wrapping 15 feet of small wire around a cardboard form.

    We hooked up the inductance meter to the coil and got an air reading, then shoved the handle of a Crescent wrench in the coil and the inductance went up. OK, I grabbed the ferrite rod and waved it past the coil... strange no response. I shoved the rod into the coil expecting to see the inductance soar! Nada - nothing! Looks of confusion!
    I hefted the rod in my hand, looked at my blackened hand - then we said it together..."A Carbon Rod!"

    Close but no Tee Shirt! Rats!

    Rick V

  7. #32
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    If that had been a ferrite rod, you'd have been medium rich.

    bytemark.com has a 3/4" by 12" for $75.
    --
    Sandy

  8. #33
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Thanks Sandy,
    Yes, I've been looking around locally - the electronic shops don't carry ferrite rods for AM radios like in the old days. EBay has a handful (18) of ~1/4 inch diameter x 7 inch long rods for cheap but out of Lithuania!

    Geez, I may have to hit the Salvation Army Thrift stores on 1/2 price electronic days and buy up used AM radios or stereo receivers. Each contains a ferrite rod with several turns of thin wire around it - used for an AM antenna. I'd end up with a lot of junk for each rescued rod.

    The problem is, these signal 'receiving' rods never see high magnetic fields; I don't know if that type of ferrite is suitable. I'm certain it will raise the inductance of my coil, but I'm not certain if it can handle the intensity of the magnetic field that will be created when I pass 100 to 200 amps through the coil. If the ferrite 'saturates', it kicks back into 'normal' state - becomes just as magnetizable as air!

    I also noticed on EBay other forms of ferrite such as bags of surplus toroidal forms; I wonder if I could just smash those into granules and use that?

    Open to suggestions...

    Rick V

  9. #34
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick V
    I also noticed on EBay other forms of ferrite such as bags of surplus toroidal forms; I wonder if I could just smash those into granules and use that?
    I don't know enough electronics to answer that, but I was thinking the same thing, buy one of those bags of small toroids or beads, and pack a tube of PVC for a core.

    This is an interesting discussion to me, because I may have a line on a 180 amp 24V alternator for cheap, and was thinking of building an underhood welder. Same concepts.
    --
    Sandy

  10. #35
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Update...
    Recall I had Arc-Stabilizer Coil #2 (58 feet of #1 cable) using a 2 inch diameter, 12 inch long hollow core stuffed with two 7 inch long ferrite rods (~3/8 inch diameter), electrolytic iron flakes and iron oxide powder. Coil #2 had an inductance of ~480 uH and a resistance of 0.0075 ohms.

    OK, An electrical contractor was in at work today and when they were finished, they gave me about 31.5 feet of #1 gauge wire. I measured the resistance of the wire - and it checked out as #1 gauge at 8,118 feet per ohms (Theory is 8,070 ft/ohm). I added that wire onto the 58 feet of #1 wire on Coil #2, giving me a total of 89.5 feet of #1 wire on the coil. See Pic#25.


    This new Coil #3 is rather a beast - weighing in at 34 lbs and the wire now overflowing the wooden sides of the form. Coil #3 has a measured inductance of 0.869 uH, about double that of Coil #2. Resistance measured as 0.014 ohms, a bit higher than I had expected - more like I'd expect from #2 gauge wire...maybe I have some issues with the two wire spices? Anyway, if correct this coil will be dropping 1.4 volts when 100 amps passes through.

    You might have noted that I replaced the former lug terminals with proper welding connectors. I modified my battery jumper cables as well. Actually, this has been my only expense so far - as I scronged pretty much everything else!

    So, next chance I get, and it will be a few weeks, I'll take Coil #3 for a test drive and let you know how she drives.

    Rick V
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  11. #36
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Ok folks, here some welds made with Arc Stabilizer Coil #3 and two 12 volt Car batteries!

    Weld #1 – No Coil, Lincoln 7018AC, 3/32 inch diameter, new rod
    No load ((not welding) voltage at the rod holder was 24 volts.
    Voltage at rod holder while welding was 23 volts.
    Amperage varied between 109 to 142 amps; average welding current was 130 amps.
    Same problems as before – impossible to maintain the arc, scrape on floor, stab on weld – ad infinitum. The short weld in Pic#26 is the result of about 8 scrap and 15 stabs! I just gave up. Funny though - when the slag came off, what there is of the short weld doesn’t look too bad.


    Weld #2 – Coil in +ve lead to the rod holder, Lincoln 7018AC, 3/32 inch diameter, new rod
    Voltage at rod holder while welding was 21 volts.
    Amperage varied between 110 to 140 amps; average welding current was 123 amps.
    I was able to maintain the arc – with only a few scrapes along the floor from time to time.
    However, I was not laying down a lot of metal – as you can see in Pic#27.
    I had 1/2 the rod left when I reached the end of the pass.


    Weld #3 – Coil in +ve lead to the rod holder, Lincoln 7018AC, 3/32 inch diameter, 1/2 used rod
    Voltage at rod holder while welding was 21.5 volts.
    Amperage varied between 103 to 129 amps; average welding current was 112 amps.
    I was able to maintain the arc – with only a one scrape of the rod tip along the concrete floor.
    When the slag came off, Pic#28 shows I started out very well, laying down a nice looking bead but an inch in, the arc went out. After scraping the rod tip on floor, it looks like I was going way to fast – as hardly any metal was laid down the last half of the weld length – then the rod was used up. I had a really short arc and not much light was escaping, so it was hard to see (#9 auto darkening shade) was going on.


    Weld #4 – Coil in +ve lead to the rod holder, Lincoln 7018AC, 3/32 inch diameter, new rod
    Voltage at rod holder while welding was 21 volts.
    Amperage varied between 105 to 130 amps; average welding current was 115 amps.
    This weld was pretty much a repeat of weld #2 – didn’t lay down a lot of metal and only used 1/2 the rod. So, I cleaned the slag off and lay down a second pass using up all the rod.

    The second pass seemed quite different, I was able to maintain a longer arc and the arc seemed really stable. Voltage at rod holder while welding was still 21 volts but the amperage was higher, varying between 105 to 130 amps with an average welding current of 125 amps. Pic#29 shows this two-pass weld – not super pretty but not too bad.


    I have to say that the higher inductance of Coil #3 (869 uH) as compared to Coil #2 (480 uH) didn’t seem to make any really noticeable difference. Maybe it’s a law of diminishing returns; you need sufficient coil inductance to stabilize the arc – but after achieving that minimum any increase just doesn’t show too much effect.

    That’s it for now…
    Rick V

  12. #37
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    No pics viewable in post # 36.
    John
    - fabricator extraordinaire, car nut!
    - bleeding Miller blue!

    http://www.weldfabzone.com


  13. #38
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Hey John C... that is strange.
    I can see the pictures when I log in.
    If I leave the site and then return as an unknown person, not logging in, I can still see the pictures.

    Now prior to post 35, I was simply attaching images using the Managing Attachments feature. The trouble was the pictures were not within the text; you had to go to the end of all the text and click on the images. That was a pain - disconnected description from the pictures.

    So, in post 35, I did the same attachment thing for one picture file, but I got the welding web's url address of that picture. Then in the text of the file, I added an image - using the Mountain Icon; when asked for the url address of the picture, I popped in the welding web's assigned url adress for that picture.
    What happened there, at least when I viewed the post (logged in or not logged in), is I saw two pictures - one in the text and the second one below all the text... the second image being the actual viewable picture and not just a file name that had to be clicked on.

    So... in post #36, I first attached all the pictures, then returned to the text with each of their url addresses and used the Mountain Icon to insert them into the text - just like with post 35. However, to stop all the pictures being shown again at the bottom of all the text, I deleted each of the 'attached' images. When I previewed the post, it looked fine - just the pictures within the text were there. It was the same when I submitted the post too.

    This is wierd; I can see the pictures (logged in or not) and you can't.
    Sounds like one for the Web Administrator.

    Rick V

  14. #39
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Even Stranger...
    I almost almost always enter the Weldingweb.com through my workplace server. Even when I wrote the last post 38 today from France, whether I logged in as a weldingweb member or not as a member I could see the pics - when entering the site Http://wedlingweb.com from my workplace server.

    However, I just tried going in direct from a different server here and - no pictures, whether I was logged in as a weldingweb member or not logged in as a member. Just like you said!
    Crap, I don't know what is going on!

    For now I'll just try attaching the missing pics - at the end of this post.

    Rick V
    Attached Images Attached Images     

  15. #40
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Just a couple of little update items...

    A) I was able to make a better measurement of the resistance of Coil #3.
    Old value was 0.014 ohms; new value is 0.0123 ohms or 11% higher than theory for 89.5 feet of #1 gauge wire. This means that with two 12 volt batteries driving a Lincoln 3/32 inch 7018AC rod to a maximum of 150 amps of welding current, the coil resistance is dropping 1.85 volts, leaving about 22 volts across the welding arc.

    B) I compared the two battery Coil #3 welding system to my small AC welder (117VAC 30 Amps input, 85 amps AC max output).

    The small AC welder was quick to set up and I was up and welding quickly, easy to start the arc but I stuck the rod a number of times. I burned about three rods (Lincoln 3/32 inch 7018AC) making about four 2.5 inch long fillet welds in 1/4 inch thick plates - as before. But - it was like the old days; all those welds were mostly crap... fused to the vertical plate or to the horizontal - but seldom to both. I could hammer the welded plates (welded on one side only) apart in a my 5 inch vice. I had good fusion only in spots along about 10% of the weld length.

    Alright, I hauled out the jumper cables, configured the battery bank for 24 volts and hooked up Coil #3 and made some welds using the same kind of 1/4 inch thick plates. Like before, I had to scrape the rod on the floor a few times and the arc was real short. But - the welds were a Heck of a lot Better than the AC ones - good fusion of both vertical and horizontal plates though out the length of the welds. I could not hammer the plates (welded on one side only) apart in my vice.

    So, there it is - homebuilt DC battery welder defeats commercial AC welder. Of course thats likely 140 amps DC versus 85 amps AC - but so what?

    Rick V

  16. #41
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Update... Ferrite is coming for new cores!
    Ebay is wonderful...
    Yes Sir - one order to Lithuania for 16 rods ~3/8 inch diam x 8 inches long.
    A second order to PA USA for 11 bars 1.25 inch square x 6 inches long.
    So... in a few weeks, we shall see if I can significantly increase the inductance of my arc stabilizer!!!

    Rick V

  17. #42
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Rick V - Over 30 years ago I was in Soviet occupied Europe. Advanced tools like welders and such, unheard of in the hands of commoners.

    Anyway, I met a capitalistic local village repairman who among many ingenious creations, had hand built a welder out of the lowest forms of crude junk. It was mounted in an open wooden apple crate sort of a box. His welds looked great, can't recall what he used for electrodes.

    I wonder what he would think if he knew that in America with it's gold paved streets (he heard!) people would still be hand winding welders in 2007!

    We're impressed, keep it up!

  18. #43
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Hey denrep,

    RE: Over 30 years ago I was in Soviet occupied Europe. Advanced tools like welders and such, unheard of in the hands of commoners.

    Hey, it will be like old times... the ferrite rods are coming from Lithuania - formerly in the Soviet Union. According to the Lithuanian seller, the rods were "originally manufactured for old medium wave transistor radio ferrite antennas. I received them from a no longer in business plant in Russia."

    Well Hammer & Sickle me. Yes siree, don't want a technology gap.. I gotta get myself "an open wooden apple crate sort of a box" to house this in. Hey we Capitalists must contribute - my lowest forms of crude junk!

    Laugh but.. you did say, "His welds looked great" There it is - the bottom line.

    RE: can't recall what he used for electrodes.
    Too bad, hmmm wonder if I can home-make those myself???

    Great fun - and we learn...

    Thanks,
    Rick V

  19. #44
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Changing out the core material of welding coil #2

    Well, one order of ferrite came in – the one from Pennsylvania USA. The second order from Lithuania (Russian Ferrite) is appears to be delayed in shipping. I wanted to wait in order to compare both ferrites, then use the better one but time was passing…. so I decided to get on with it!

    Test Coil #2
    Picture Fer-1bs shows:

    Upper Left: New USA-source ferrite core materials for coil #2. I used two bars of ferrite of dimensions 125 x 1.25 x 6 inch (placed end-to-end) plus a third bar that I had cut up into smaller bars to help fill the 1 7/8 inch internal diameter of the 12 inch long core (hollow plastic tube - vacuum cleaner pipe) of welding coil #2 (arc stabilizer).

    Upper Right: I made new test coil to more closely mimic the behavior of welding coil #2. Test coil #2 was 25 feet of #16 insulated wire, wrapped (~7 rows x ~6 layers) round a short length (2 inches) of the same vacuum cleaner tube that formed the core tube of welding coil #2. The inductance in air was measured using a BK Precison 875B inductance meter as 0.090 milliHenries.

    Lower Left: One ferrite bar in test coil #2, showing inductance of 0.359 milliHenries.

    Lower Right: One ferrite bar with smaller ferrite bars round it, showing inductance of 0.409 milliHenries. Ratio in Test Coil #2 of ferrite/air = 0.409/0.090 = 4.54X increase in inductance.

    Welding Coil #2Picture Fer-1cs shows:

    Upper Left: The inductance of welding Coil #2 was measured with the BK inductance meter as 0.876 milliHenries.

    Upper Right: Removing the core materials: flakes of electrolytic iron and iron-oxide powder.

    Lower Left: View of the original two small-diameter ferrite rods inside the hollow core.

    Lower Right: The empty air core inductance of welding coil #2 = 0.316 milliHenries.

    Picture Fer-1ds shows:

    Upper Left: I glued the ferrite bars together into a solid assembly with epoxy cement.

    Upper Right: The assembly of ferrite bars was slid inside the hollow core; the new inductance measured as 1.4 milliHenries.

    Lower Left: Powdered ferrite. To obtain the smaller ferrite bars, I cut up a 1.25 x 1.25 x 6 inch ferrite bar using a wet saw normally used for cutting ceramic-bathroom tile. When finished, I saved the wet sludge in the basin of the saw, dried it out, and thus had ferrite powder from the saw cuts. I poured this dry ferrite powder into the core to fill in the air gaps between the ferrite bars.

    Lower Right: With the ferrite powder added to the core, the final inductance measured 1.436 milliHenries.

    Change of inductance of welding coil #2
    I went from using electrolytic iron & iron oxide powder to ferrite bars/powder; this raised the inductance from 0.876 to 1.436 milliHenries, a factor of 1.436 / 0.876 = 1.64X. Not too bad.

    From an air core inductance of welding coil #2 = 0.316 mH, I went to ferrite core inductance of 1.436 mH, a ratio of 1.436 / 0.316 = 4.54.
    Note: this value of 4.54X was the same as Test Coil #2! So test coil #2 was a pretty good simulation of the actual welding coil #2 (arc stabilizer).

    When the Lithuania (Russian Ferrite) material arrives, I will be able to use test coil #2 to accurately predict what increase (if any) I would get if I change out the USA ferrite for the Russian ferrite.

    Rick V
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  20. #45

    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick V
    Hey awright - nice to hear from you...as always.

    Where in the world did you come up with an "H" core in steel?
    The 'H' core...I had to make a spool to hold the coil wire. I didn't have anything suitable so I went 'a-welding'. I welded four 1.5 x 3 x 3/32 pieces of steel together to form a square core/hub 1.5 x 1.5 inches square and 3 inches long. Then I welded up 4 pieces of the same material to form the square sides ~6 x 6 inches (left side of the letter H, and right side of the letter H) with a hole matching the core in the middle. I welded the sides to the core - forming a flat sided wheel - looks like an 'H' - a square wire spool viewed on the side view, wires are wrapped around the horizontal bar of the letter 'H'. Anyway, I did it to make a rigid spool. My wires didn't like bending 90 degrees around the square hub - so I built it up with layers of tape and strips of steel on the four sides to approximate a round core.

    Later, playing with small coils, I discovered that the magnetic field formed in the ends of the core flows into the H sides and this is not so good for getting high inductance values. e.g. I should have made the form out of plastic or wood - then loaded the hollow core with steel/iron. Mine - you could load the hollow core and it made zip difference.

    Is this made up of steel transformer core laminations?
    Nope - mild steel... as described above.

    is there any reason one cannot use plain steel bars to form an inductor core?
    I didn't have a suitable junk transformer around; I used mild steel bar stock.

    Eddy currents - I agree with you... since we are not running 60 cycles here, I don't expect much eddy current heating, as in "the only AC components in the magnetic flux are due to current transients during the initiation and termination of the arc".

    Yep, I think " mild steel just doesn't have the properties to do a good job as a magnetic core" for this application. Playing with several smaller air wound coils, stuffing the core with steel would get me 5 to 7 times the inductance with the core empty (air). A couple of 6 inch long 1/4 inch diameter ferrite antenna rods (Old am antenna rods radio's) would push the inductance up 10X - and the rods were filling only say 20- 30% of the core.

    Anyway, I am checking into core materials now - Internet is great for looking for tech info! This application is a mite different and I'm not certain what will work best in reality. The ferrite looks good on the BK inductance meter but what happens when one wacks 100 amps around it? If a ferrite core is going to saturate, then it kicks back into being like air - and one looses the high inductance seen at the very low test currents used by the inductance meter.

    I want to run this down; this welder runs real sweet and could be sweeter yet! Hey every time two fellows (or gals) get together, there are likely two car batteries just waiting to be used! I am quite amazed that the arc stabilizer has such a positive effect of the arc quality from the batteries - turning the battery welding from next to useless into quite a viable approach.
    This this thing has real potential! It just need some optimization.

    Awright, if you got some pointers or suggestions, I'm listening.

    Rick V




    Rick,
    would it be possible for a set of step by step pics?

  21. #46
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    so you basically built a huge choke coil?

    I have welded many times with 3-4 large semi truck batteries, at 48 volts with 3/16" 7018 you can weld 1" thick material without a problem.... in 1 pass if you wanted

  22. #47
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Rick, would it be possible for a set of step by step pics? – paulbanks
    Well if you follow this thread from its very beginning (and maybe its predecessor “welding with Car Batteries”), this is pretty much a step-by-step with photos of coil construction details and resulting welds.

    so you basically built a huge choke coil? - bigNATE
    Yep, I basically built a huge choke coil. Why? To stabilize the arc: I was blowing the end off rods when I first stuck the arc and when welding, the arc kept going out. The choke coil acts like a storage device, limiting the current on striking the arc (don’t blow ends off rods) and providing increased voltage to maintain the arc (when the arc gets a mite too long and threatens to go out).

    I have welded many times with 3-4 large semi truck batteries, at 48 volts with 3/16" 7018 you can weld 1" thick material without a problem.... in 1 pass if you wanted - bigNATE
    Yep, I don’t doubt your claim at all! With rods that big in diameter (3/16 inch), you re going to flow big amps and 3-4 large semi truck batteries will certainly deliver the current. I’ve only gone as high as 3-batteries (36 volts) and I got severe undercut on 1/4 inch plate using 1/8 inch rod – looked more suitable for doing 1/2 inch plate. With 48 volts, big batteries and big-diameter rods, I imagine doing 1 inch in a single pass might be possible – and somewhat frightening!

    Rick V

  23. #48
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Hi Folks… the Russian ferrite rods arrived from Lithuania!
    Each rod is 10 mm (3/8th inch) diameter by 200 mm (~8 inches long).
    I purchased a lot of 16 rods off the internet.
    So the big question was – would the Russian ferrite rods exhibit way more inductance than the USA ferrite bars?

    I performed some comparison measurements with Test Coil #2: 25 feet of #16 gauge insulated copper wire, 39 turns wrapped around a 2 inch outer diameter plastic pipe.
    Check out the photo below.

    Upper Left: Measuring the inductance in air of Test Coil #2, L = 0.091 milliHenries (mH)

    Upper Right: A bundle of 16 Russian ferrite rods inserted into Test Coil #2, maximum L = 0.445 mH. Ratio of Russian ferrite rods to air core = 0.445/0.091 = 4.9X

    This value (0.445 mH) of inductance was higher than the L = 0.354 measured when the 1.25 x 1.25 x 6 inch long USA ferrite bar was inserted in the same test coil. However, the square bar had a poor fill factor in the round coil; the bar was also 2 inches shorter that the rod bundle. Four smaller bars placed about the square bar to give a better fill factor; this gave an inductance value L = 0.401. Ratio of USA ferrite bars to air core = 0.401/0.091 = 4.44X.

    These inductance values (0.445 mH and 0.401 mH) are pretty close and could be very similar if ferrite length and coil fill factor are considered.

    In other words, the Russian ferrite is not vastly superior to the USA ferrite – so there is nothing to be gained by changing out the USA ferrite bar core that I installed on the weekend into welding coil #2. Besides, I need 12 inches of ferrite for my core; I don’t have enough of the Russian material.

    However, I was very interested to see how the Russian ferrite rod performed against my unobtainable legendary Aramco FBE Ferrite rods!
    Lower Left: Russian ferrite rod raises inductance of Test Coil #2 to 0.194 mH
    Lower Right: Aramco FBE ferrite rod raises inductance of Test Coil #2 to 0.172 mH
    The Russian ferrite is ~13% better than the Armaco rods that I purchased 42 years ago!!!

    Well, where does that leave us? Let’s review where we have been.

    Welding Coil #1: Steel H design, hollow steel core
    39 feet of #1 equivalent copper wire, R=0.00492 ohms
    ~36 turns of wire (~8 turns/layer x 5 layers) on core diameter of 2.6 inch
    Inductance: Lair(theory) = 0.070 mH, Lactual = 0.138 mH, Ratio Core/Air = 0.138/0.07 = 1.97X

    Welding Coil #2: Wood Frame design, 12 inch long x 2 inch outer diameter plastic core tube
    58.5 feet of #1 copper wire, R=0.0075 ohms
    ~50 turns of wire (~8 turns/layer x 7 layers) on core diameter of 2.0 inch
    Inductance:
    Core:
    a) Air: L(theory) = 0.160 mH, L(measured) = 0.145 mH,
    b) Electrolytic iron flakes: L = 0.297 mH, Ratio = Core/Air = 0.297/0/145 = 2.05X
    c) added steel plates on coil faces of wooden frame: L = 0.327 mH, Ratio = 2.26X
    d) added 2 ferrite rods (10mm x 200 mm long): L = 0.433 mH, Ratio = 2.99X
    e) added iron oxide powder: L = 0.481 mH, Ratio = 3.32X

    Welding Coil #3: Same as Welding Coil #2 except more wire, 89.5 feet of #1 copper wire
    ~65 turns of wire (~8 turns/layer x 9 layers) on core diameter of 2.0 inch
    R= 0.0123 ohms, Air L(theory) = 0.317 mH, L(likely) = 0.265 mH,
    L = 0.869 mH, Ratio = 0.869/0.265 = 3.28X

    Welding Coil #4: Same as Welding Coil #3 except core changed to ferrite bars and ferrite powder
    R= 0.0123 ohms, L = 1.436 mH, Ratio = 1.436/0.265 = 5.42X

    Summary
    Stuffing the core with mild steel appears to double (2X) the air inductance. However, short of having access to some miraculous magnetic material like ‘Supemalloy’, the best us home-folk are going to approach is stuffing the core with ferrite to get 5 times (5X) the air inductance. Well, at least ferrite is about 2.5 times better than mild steel, so it’s likely worth the effort.

    Now we know...

    Rick V
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  24. #49
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Wow, Rick V, what an overwhelming amount of information. Thanks for the massive effort. Still trying to digest it.

    Is anybody else finding it impossible to access the first page of this thread? My screen just cycles between the Welding Web header with blank page and a full screen blank page continuously. Is it me or the WW?

    awright

  25. #50
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    Re: Welding With Car Batteries – 2 'ARC STABILIZER'

    Hey awright - very nice to see you looking at this as you were the first to comment way back in post #2!

    Digestion is pretty easy - welding with batteries is much easier if one uses a good arc stabilizing coil and a good summary of what makes a good coil is at the end of post #48.

    As for accessing the first page of this thread, I have no problem.
    However, that may mean little since this site, from time to time, seems to display pictures differently depending if I sign on through the system I used to post the pics or from a different site. You might want to send a private message to Microman and have him take a look.

    Rick V

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