New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Vermont, USA
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    New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    About a month ago I bought a Hypertherm Air 30. Much of my other equipment (of all sorts) has been secondhand, sometimes resembling rescue/ major rehab, and/or, occasionally, import/ discount. After reading up a lot on this forum and other online sources, I decided that a plasma cutter really fell in the "buy once, cry once" category, where it made sense to get the best out of the gate, instead of flubbing around with junk, spending lots of money along the way on the junk, and then eventually having to buy the good one anyways.

    I have not been disappointed- this is a terrifically capable, versatile, convenient, and well made machine.

    I have a question- if working in limited space, where there is other metal behind the metal being cut, and which can't be moved out of the way, how far does the clearance need to be in order to prevent structural-type damage (not just spatter) from the plasma arc?

    I'd also like to make a suggestion. I actively use the 'portability' aspect of the Air30, one reason being that my workspace is hard to secure well, the Air 30 stands out as one of my newer/nicer pieces of equipment, and I am not in a position to replace it if someone helped themselves to the Air 30, So I keep it secured in my home.

    What I find is that the bundles of all three cords, power, ground, and torch cord, make it clumsier than expected to pick it all up and move it around. I recognize that on this model the torch is not removable, and I am OK with that. What _would_ be really sweet, though, is if the ground cable was disconnectable, such as with a Dinse 25, and if the power cord were disconnectable at the back of the Air 30's back panel, with one of those panel-mount AC twist connectors. Then all you'd need to deal with in a single armful was the machine and the torch cord/torch. The back panel mount power disconnect would have the additional benefit that you could make one extension cord with the appropriate twistlocks at each end and then the Air 30's "plug end adapters" for 120 and 240 could interchangeably work with your single extension cord (I guess you could sort of do that now). I realize that there might be some added cost to the panel connectors for ground and AC, but I'd think, on a production scale, that it would not add prohibitively to the cost.

    The above is not intended to be a complaint, just a suggestion to make an already awesome product a slight bit more awesome.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    New Hampshire
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    3,209

    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    kd1yt,

    Thanks for the suggestions. As you know we do have quick disconnect torches and Dinse style connectors on the work cables of all of our Powermax products starting at the 45 amp level. The twist lock idea for power is good as well, however we have to build our systems to meet demanding CSA and CE (Europe and other parts of the world) electrical safety requirements which can include some testing for durability by pulling the power supply across a shop floor by the torch and the input power cable....and I suspect that a twist lock panel mounted connector may not hold up as well as the short pigtail that we supply! We did work really hard to build the Powermax30 Air to be the most powerful 120 /230 volt plasma cutter with a build in compressor....and in order to keep the unit within the accepted price range of this segment of the hand plasma cutting market....we had to save some costs on things like the work cable (no effect on performance and the torch leads without quick disconnects. I would suggest adding a cable to cable Dinse connector on your work lead...it should be easy to do, and since it is only 30 amps wouldn't require a very large connector! I have passed your suggestions on to our Powermax product team! Best regards, Jim Colt Hypertherm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West of Minnesnowta, USA
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    417

    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    I would suggest adding a cable to cable Dinse connector on your work lead...it should be easy to do, and since it is only 30 amps wouldn't require a very large connector! I have passed your suggestions on to our Powermax product team! Best regards, Jim Colt Hypertherm
    That is a good idea, and use a flexible cable. The default PMax30Air work cable is stiff and won't uncoil flat and presents a trip hazard.
    Tim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Vermont, USA
    Posts
    3

    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    I would suggest adding a cable to cable Dinse connector on your work lead...it should be easy to do, and since it is only 30 amps wouldn't require a very large connector!
    I think I am going to do exactly that, just wanted to float the idea to make sure there wasn't some downside that I was overlooking. I hope none of my remarks came across anything like a complaint- this is a FANTASTIC machine and I admire your company and its products.

    I had one other question that maybe got lost in the mix of my suggestions. When cutting a surface with the 30 Air, how far of a distance behind the cut should I expect to be a serious "damage zone" (structural damage, not cosmetic)? I realize that the best thing to do whenever I can is to avoid that, or try to place some sort of shielding in place, but when working on existing assemblies that can't always be easily dis-assembled, it's not always going to be avoidable. I realize that the answer may depend on the amperage setting, and the materials being cut. Just wondering if there is a rule of thumb or ball park estimate, without having to run a bunch of "what happens when?" on scrap, or finding out the hard way.

    Thanks again

  5. #5
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    Oct 2007
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    New Hampshire
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    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    The arc will not attach to any other surface that is more than about 1/2" away from the surface you are cutting. Of course you will be spraying molten material on the secondary surface....but the cutting arc will not affect it. Jim Colt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Vermont, USA
    Posts
    3

    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    Jim- I got sidetracked with some other things- but thank you very much. It's great how accessible and active you are in providing information and support on your company's products. Thanks again

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Eastern Pa
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    88

    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    It is possible to create your own removable torch lead if you look hard enough in the Home Depot. I only know this because I accidentally severed my lead and can't really justify replacing it even though I use it every day. $10 in parts, 2 hours of searching for the right parts and 20 minutes later its good as new. Although now its kind of a pain to stuff the cord back in the case with this splicer thing in it. If the air line is the same as the 30 xp you should have a 3/16" air line and 6-8 20ish gauge wires running up the lead. make quick connect air fittings and connect the wires to some sort of wire harness like that off of a trailer or something if the leads must come off. Although I wouldn't recommend doing that unless like me you just dropped a huge ac compressor right on your torch lead.

    Thank you Jim and all the others at hypertherm for making a torch that I can splice back together myself. I've seen some come in the junk pile that were different colors and all of them had some fancy coax type mesh running up their leads. no way could I fix that myself.
    Last edited by Scrapman Industries; 06-16-2018 at 04:36 PM.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    Keep in mind that there is 300 Volts DC (lethal level) in the torch leads of every plasma cutter. There also is adequate power if there is a short that can burn stuff up real quick if you are not careful. Jim Colt Hypertherm



    Quote Originally Posted by Scrapman Industries View Post
    It is possible to create your own removable torch lead if you look hard enough in the Home Depot. I only know this because I accidentally severed my lead and can't really justify replacing it even though I use it every day. $10 in parts, 2 hours of searching for the right parts and 20 minutes later its good as new. Although now its kind of a pain to stuff the cord back in the case with this splicer thing in it. If the air line is the same as the 30 xp you should have a 3/16" air line and 6-8 20ish gauge wires running up the lead. make quick connect air fittings and connect the wires to some sort of wire harness like that off of a trailer or something if the leads must come off. Although I wouldn't recommend doing that unless like me you just dropped a huge ac compressor right on your torch lead.

    Thank you Jim and all the others at hypertherm for making a torch that I can splice back together myself. I've seen some come in the junk pile that were different colors and all of them had some fancy coax type mesh running up their leads. no way could I fix that myself.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Eastern Pa
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    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    Keep in mind that there is 300 Volts DC (lethal level) in the torch leads of every plasma cutter. There also is adequate power if there is a short that can burn stuff up real quick if you are not careful. Jim Colt Hypertherm
    Yeah i got every connection soldered and wire nutted. then went through an entire roll of tape to make sure that nothing could short out.

    Question for you Jim, if i had to splice the leads back together again, I noticed theres 3 white wires that are run right next to each other. would it matter which white wire I connect together? and is there a wire diagram I could find somewhere for the 30xp? I'm hoping I don't ever have to repair it again, but I'm also using it in a kind of destructive environment where things occasionally break. Been cutting apart around 1000 lbs. of ac compressors a night with it. I also melted the work clamp off once too when I first started learning plasma. That was simple to fix as well.

    Oh and is there a secret method to getting the shell off the 30xp? I did what the instructions said to do but couldn't seem to get it off. It felt like it might come off with a bit more force but I also break things pretty easy and wasn't about to force it. I tried looking for a video on youtube but only found the one with you and that Chucke2009 taking apart the powermax 85 I think it was. Just trying to see if theres something I missed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    3,209

    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    The white wires in the torch lead are the current carrying negative side of the power to the electrode. They are separate wires to keep the lead as flexible as possible, but must all be connected together otherwise they will overheat and fail. You can download the service manual at www.hypertherm.com , go to downloads library, choose the system, then choose manuals, then service manual. There are wiring diagrams in the service manual as well as detailed component breakdowns. There is a breakdown on the torch as well. I have never had the 30XP torch apart....so I cannot offer you advice, however we have a very good tech service department that can help. There contact info is in the front of every Hypertherm operators manual. technical.service@hypertherm.com or 1 800 643 9878 Jim Colt




    Quote Originally Posted by Scrapman Industries View Post
    Yeah i got every connection soldered and wire nutted. then went through an entire roll of tape to make sure that nothing could short out.

    Question for you Jim, if i had to splice the leads back together again, I noticed theres 3 white wires that are run right next to each other. would it matter which white wire I connect together? and is there a wire diagram I could find somewhere for the 30xp? I'm hoping I don't ever have to repair it again, but I'm also using it in a kind of destructive environment where things occasionally break. Been cutting apart around 1000 lbs. of ac compressors a night with it. I also melted the work clamp off once too when I first started learning plasma. That was simple to fix as well.

    Oh and is there a secret method to getting the shell off the 30xp? I did what the instructions said to do but couldn't seem to get it off. It felt like it might come off with a bit more force but I also break things pretty easy and wasn't about to force it. I tried looking for a video on youtube but only found the one with you and that Chucke2009 taking apart the powermax 85 I think it was. Just trying to see if theres something I missed.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Eastern Pa
    Posts
    88

    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    Thank you Jim. I will look for the the service manual as you have described. I'm really hoping I don't have to make any more repairs, but with everything I put this machine through its bound to break again sometime. These units are definitely worth the money though. I can't see how I made it 8 years in the scrapping business without one. Hoping to someday try out the 125. That thing looks pretty beastly. I could've used it today too, as the oxyfuel set up we have at work couldn't get through the old cast iron tractor frame I was trying to cut.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Eastern Pa
    Posts
    88

    Re: New Air30 owner, question and a suggestion

    downloaded the service manual just now. Its extremely helpful.

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