120volt 30amp extension cord
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  1. #1

    120volt 30amp extension cord

    I have the Lincoln Electric 125HD Mig Welder and I read a thread where someone recommended that when using an AC extension cord, to make sure it uses heavy gauge wire and rated for pulling 30amp. I found the brand "Woods" AC extension cords with heavy 12gauge wire and rated for 15amps, BUT where can I find an extension cord rated for 30amps?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    Quote Originally Posted by Alec217 View Post
    I have the Lincoln Electric 125HD Mig Welder and I read a thread where someone recommended that when using an AC extension cord, to make sure it uses heavy gauge wire and rated for pulling 30amp. I found the brand "Woods" AC extension cords with heavy 12gauge wire and rated for 15amps, BUT where can I find an extension cord rated for 30amps?

    Thanks in advance.
    That welder is rated for 20% duty cycle at 90A.
    I would say that a 12 gauge extension cord is just fine for 25 feet (and maybe even 50 feet), and if you need a longer extension cord, you're going to have to make something yourself.

  3. #3
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    12g is just fine but if ya really want a 10g Cord Home Depot carries a Ridgid 10g Cord with 5-15 Connectors on it.

    The cord will have a 15amp rating on the packaging due to the 5-15 (15amp) plugs but the 10g wire inside is good for 30amps and the 12g wire is good for 20amps.


    Buy the 12g Cord and be happy
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  4. #4
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    The extension cord is rated at 15 amps because of a combination of the plug/outlet (standard NEMA 5-15) -AND- the wire size (wire not overheating from the amperage and the wire not having too much voltage drop at that amperage).

    How long of an extension cord are you looking for? For that size of welder and the duty-cycle, the limiting factor on an extension cord is not so much the cord overheating but the voltage drop.

    RTFM. Most of the Lincoln manuals list what length cord and what gauge is needed/allowed/recommended.

    I don't feel like pulling the specific manual for your machine off the Lincoln website, but the manual for a similar Lincoln machine (3200HD) says a 14 gauge or larger extension cord for up to 25 ft in length and a 12 gauge or larger extension cord for up to 50 ft in length.
    The best laid schemes ... Gang oft agley ...

  5. #5
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    Keep in mind the 'duty cyle' rating for those cord sizes. That Manufactured cord is rated at 20 amps continuous duty, which your machine will never see.

  6. #6
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    One of the things you want to be aware of is not just the thermal rating of an extension cord, but also the voltage drop. When I had my 120v Hobart Handler I tried using it off a 50 foot too small extension cord and it welded like crap. Eventually, I went to Harbor Freight and bought a 10 ga 50 foot RV extension cord for $30 and put new 20 amp house type ends on it. It welded like a much better machine with adequate voltage in the input.

    Many 120v house and garage circuits (especially in older homes) are pretty weak. Add to that a long extension 14 or 12 ga extension cord and you are definitely not giving the welder a chance.

    Most people recommend no more than 3% voltage drop to the device. Use a calculator such as this one to figure out what size wire you need for your welder. A 50 foot #12 extension cord will drop the voltage on a 50 foot extension cord about 3.2% at your rated 20 amp draw, but at balls-to-the-wall on the highest setting, at 30 amps it will be 50% more. I'd go with a 10 ga if you are going that far. Remember, you have some wire between the main panel and your outlet to factor in too.

    http://www.csgnetwork.com/voltagedropcalc.html
    Last edited by smyrna5; 04-30-2009 at 01:33 PM.
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  7. #7

    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    I plan on using an extension cord of 25-feet to my mig welder when I need more room and must weld outside. One other thing I plan on having done, is hiring an electrician to install a new dedicated outlet for my mig welder in the garage. Can you guys advise me on what amp breaker I should have installed in my breaker box,. and I suppose I should use 10gauge or 12gauge wire from the circuit breaker to the outlet. I should say that all my welding is strickly art pieces consisting of 1/8 - 1/4 steel.

    Thanks again guys.

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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    RTFM Alec.

    It's in the manual.

    20 amp 120V breaker, NEMA 5-20R outlet. Remember that the garage/outside use circuit has to be GFCI protected, so either a GFCI breaker or a GFCI outlet. For making it easy and avoiding the whole 'welder duty-cycle ampacity exemption in the NEC' and letting the outlet be usable by anything 120V you want to plug into it and not restricting it to welder use only, just run it with #12 AWG copper wire to meet general NEC requirements.
    The best laid schemes ... Gang oft agley ...

  9. #9

    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRise View Post
    RTFM Alec.

    It's in the manual.

    20 amp 120V breaker, NEMA 5-20R outlet. Remember that the garage/outside use circuit has to be GFCI protected, so either a GFCI breaker or a GFCI outlet. For making it easy and avoiding the whole 'welder duty-cycle ampacity exemption in the NEC' and letting the outlet be usable by anything 120V you want to plug into it and not restricting it to welder use only, just run it with #12 AWG copper wire to meet general NEC requirements.

    OK SO I UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS,...... "20 amp 120V breaker, NEMA 5-20R outlet. Remember that the garage/outside use circuit has to be GFCI protected, so either a GFCI breaker or a GFCI outlet."

    BUT WHAT IS,..... "For making it easy and avoiding the whole 'welder duty-cycle ampacity exemption in the NEC' and letting the outlet be usable by anything 120V you want to plug into it and not restricting it to welder use only," If I understand this correctly, are you saying that I should have the outlet installed with GFCI outlet so that I can use the outlet for other things as well.

    I really do appreciate your suggestions. Thank you.

  10. #10
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    Alec,

    Because the welder has a duty-cycle (of around 20-30% at 'rated' power and even less at higher power/amps), the NEC has exemptions to the usual breaker amperage/wire size code rules.

    The purpose of the circuit breaker is to protect the wiring in the wall from overheating and melting or starting a fire. To do that, the NEC has sizing rules for breakers and wires. So the typical household 15 amp wall outlet has a 15 amp breaker and is (usually) wired with #14 AWG copper wire. A 20 amp breaker would be connected to #12 AWG copper wire. And so on.

    But those sizing rules aren't really applicable to a short duty-cycle machine like that welder. So there is an exemption along the lines of 'for a DEDICATED outlet used ONLY for the limited duty-cycle machine and labeld as such, you can put a 20 amp breaker and have #14 AWG copper wire (typically used only for a 15 amp circuit) and a 15 amp outlet'. The note about labeling is just that, the DEDICATED single outlet wired to the breaker (no string of outlets all wired/connected to that breaker/circuit) is supposed to be label something like "For Welder Use ONLY!"

    If you want to avoid the whole 'welder use only' thing and just make the outlet/circuit be usable for the welder AND whatever else you might want to plug into it, then you have to meet the wiring code requirements. Since the welder needs a 20 amp circuit, that means the wire has to be #12 AWG copper IN THE WALL.

    But no matter what, since this 120V outlet is in the garage or outside or used for outside things, the code says that it has to be GFCI protected. That's a safety rule, to protect YOU from getting shocked. The other sizing rule is to protect the wiring.

    So that means you'll need either a 20 amp GFCI single-pole circuit breaker and an outlet (a NEMA 5-20R outlet, if you go to buy one just ask for that and you'll get the 'right' one) OR a 20 amp single-pole circuit breaker and a GFCI outlet (there are some/many that are 20 amp rated, just read the specs on the box/package/paperwork) with 5-20R 'sockets'.

    To connect the breaker and the outlet, you need wire (in the wall).

    If you want the 'welder only' outlet, you can use #14 AWG wire in the wall with the 20 amp circuit. That's safe and code-legal, if you label the outlet "For Welder Use ONLY!" and use it pretty much only for the welder.

    If you want the outlet to be usable by/for pretty much anything 120V that you can plug into it (the welder or some big work lights or a circular saw or pretty much any other 120 electrical tool/appliance), then you have to use #12 AWG copper wire in the wall.

    The electrician should be able to handle all that for you. You tell him/her where you want the outlet and that it's to be a 20 amp circuit and they should take care of the breaker/GFCI and wire sizing.

    The extension cord aspect is separate from the breaker/outlet/wall-wiring aspect.

    But unless the distance fom the breaker panel to the desired outlet is really far or you forsee a need/desire to run some biga$$ 120V tool/appliance/device, #12 AWG copper wire in the wall for a 20 amp breaker/circuit is fine. #10 AWG copper is usually overkill for a 20 amp circuit, but if you want to do that you can. The price difference from 14 AWG copper wire to 12 AWG copper wire isn't all that much. It takes a bigger jump when you get to #10 AWG copper.

    I've gotten into the habit of only using 12 gauge extension cords for all my 120V power tools. I now only use the 14 gauge extension cords for tools with smaller amperage needs. And that's just 25 or 50 foot cords. For 50-100 ft cords, I just use the 12 gauge cord for most of the tools. For a 100 ft distance and an amp-hungy tool, the 10 gauge cord come out.
    The best laid schemes ... Gang oft agley ...

  11. #11

    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    Moonrise THANK YOU. Your explanation with respect to amps, duty cycle and "Welder Outlet Only" now make sense. And yes it does make sense to have the outlet GFCI so that I can use it for other 120AC tools/appliances. As for the extension cord, on the occasion when I need to weld outside I would need no more than 20feet. I guess I'll go with a 12gauge 25ft extension cord.

    One last question, just a little confused about the new outlet I'm going to have installed for a 120AC outlet,...is household current 110AC? Fortunately my circuit breaker box is on the outside wall of my garage. And I plan on having the outlet installed pretty much on the inside opposite wall. Sorry for such novice questions.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Alec217; 05-01-2009 at 12:08 PM.

  12. #12
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    110/115/120v all da same thing
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  13. #13
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    Like the screaming veggie said , for all practical purposes 110-115-120 volt is all the same thing.

    About the GFCI, not only does it make sense but it is required. No choice or option on that one. The only choice/option is whether the breaker is the GFCI or the outlet is the GFCI.
    The best laid schemes ... Gang oft agley ...

  14. #14
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    If you go with the GFCI breaker, be sure to read the wiring instructions. They only work if they are terminated correctly with respect to the neutral.

  15. #15
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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    I have a question for Moonrise cuz it sounds like you know your stuff. I have a sub-panel in the garage. It is fed from a breaker in the main panel in the house. Is it possible to replace that one breaker with a GFCI one to protect the entire garage? It's a sizable breaker, like 50amp double throw. Yes or no would make me happy.

    Sorry for the hi-jack by the way.

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    Re: 120volt 30amp extension cord

    Boost,

    I know some things.

    I don't know lots of things.

    I don't know if a breaker feeding a subpanel may be a GFCI breaker or if it must be a 'plain' breaker. Mac or some of the other electricians who post here should know. Post your question in a separate thread.

    I do know that a 50 amp double-pole GFCI breaker would be rather on the expensive side, if you can even find one.

    Unless your subpanel is so old that it somehow predates the garage/outdoor outlet GFCI requirements, your garage/outdoor outlets should already be GFCI protected either via GFCI breakers in the panel/subpanel or via GFCI outlets as the first outlet in the branch circuits.
    The best laid schemes ... Gang oft agley ...

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