Welder and GFCI problems
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  1. #1
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    Welder and GFCI problems

    I'm stumped on this one. I have a Lincoln 210mp that is tripping all of the GFCI outlets in my house.

    The house has a 200 amp main panel and then goes to a 100 amp sub panel in my shop. No GFCI's in the shop.

    They only trip when I weld not when the machine is just plugged in and running.

    I sent the machine off to be repaired thinking it was a problem with the machine since my other tig, mig, and two plasma cutters have never caused a problem.

    While the machine was out being repaired I had a licensed electrician come out and check everything and it all was good.

    I got the welder back plugged it in and same thing is happening. I tried all 4 separate 220 circuits in the shop and all cause the GFCI's to trip in the house when I start welding.

    What am I missing and is there any tests I can do to determine what is happening?
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  2. #2

    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    How old are the GFCI

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Fabworks View Post
    I'm stumped on this one. I have a Lincoln 210mp that is tripping all of the GFCI outlets in my house.

    The house has a 200 amp main panel and then goes to a 100 amp sub panel in my shop. No GFCI's in the shop.

    They only trip when I weld not when the machine is just plugged in and running.

    I sent the machine off to be repaired thinking it was a problem with the machine since my other tig, mig, and two plasma cutters have never caused a problem.

    While the machine was out being repaired I had a licensed electrician come out and check everything and it all was good.

    I got the welder back plugged it in and same thing is happening. I tried all 4 separate 220 circuits in the shop and all cause the GFCI's to trip in the house when I start welding.

    What am I missing and is there any tests I can do to determine what is happening?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Strange , Can you try it at someone else’s house and see what it does? Just one other thought. Is your house well enough grounded? Just a wild guess in your case but having my house sitting 3’ above solid shale lead me to have a lot of odd electrical issues.
    I couldn’t get more than 4’ into the ground so cut i the grounding rod in half and linked them together. Every other year or so we would lose TVs, vcrs and such to lightning strikes coming in on the power lines. It got old. We also had trouble with our electric fence not working reliably and I found a web page by some old timer who’d strung fences for 50 years. He said in some places that you just had to string an array of short rods to finally get an adequate ground. His contention was that it was very hard to get enough grounding and that most people’s problems with fence was lack of it. He said something about setting them in a circle linked together working best in those circumstances.
    I tried it with the fence and it seemed to work far better (zapping horses) so decided to add another rod to the house itself. So I took another rod cut it in half and drove them in at a slight angle and linked it to the existing 2 pieces of rod.
    Long story short no more blown TV , stereo, vcrs in 15+ years. No more lightning flying into the house via the power lines either which had happened on 2 occasions. If you can’t find anything else wrong it’s not much hassle or cost,$25 to add another rod, Good luck.




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  4. #4
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    I had a treadmill that would do that on one branch circuit in my basement. Worked fine on non-GFCI outlets. I ended up replacing the GFCI outlet to fix it. My house was built in 2003, so the GFCIs were old.
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  5. #5

    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    I agree with you
    Odds are it old GFCI
    Some low cost will last less than 5 years
    HOW old are GFCI'S

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    I had a treadmill that would do that on one branch circuit in my basement. Worked fine on non-GFCI outlets. I ended up replacing the GFCI outlet to fix it. My house was built in 2003, so the GFCIs were old.

  6. #6
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    The 210 mp is a modern inverter machine. That is, it is a switching power supply, probably running at a fairly high frequency, perhaps 100 kHz to 1MHz. It is probably putting some kind of interference on the power line. When you weld, the current goes up, causing more interference than at idle.

    The suggestion to change GFCI is not a bad one. Do not buy cheap GFCIs. Buy one and try it. The article below is relevant to this discussion.

    http://www.arrl.org/gfci-and-afci-devices

    Since you have tried it on different 220V circuits, that takes the circuits out of the equation, but there could still be something going on odd on the connection between the shop and the house. You probably have a subpanel in the shop, but you did not say.

    Another approach would involve building a filter on the welder AC cord. It might involve toroids with the power cables routed through them several times.

    http://palomar-engineers.com/rfi-kit...er-line-chokes I would just route all three power wires together, and wrap them as shown in the photos. To get them around the toroid you would need to remove the sheath on the cable. The FT240-77 covers the right frequency, (0.1 to 10 MHz) but you might ask if they have one like it, a little larger.

    You pretty much always want to run the power wires close together to minimize interference, including in the house wiring.

    I am going back to my radio amateur days, which leads me to think toroids.

    Good luck.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    I appreciate the replies the GFCI'S are about 3 to 4 years old. I was not thinking it was a problem with them since I have a Miller tig and a hypertherm plasma cutter that are not causing a problem.

    I have 2 8 foot copper ground rods so I believe my grounds are good.

    I went and got new GFCI 's today just to try. Going to install them and see if anything changes.

    After that I'm going to unplugging everything. In the house and shop and isolate circuits and see if there is possibly another device.

    And trying to find a neighbor with a 220 welding plug is proving tough
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  8. #8
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Fabworks View Post
    And trying to find a neighbor with a 220 welding plug is proving tough
    you could make a pigtail for a dryer style plug...

    but then again Its probably cheaper to buy a few new GFI's.

    if they are on separate circuits, buy 1 gfi and swap it out and test...
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  9. #9
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Sounds like you need to sell the Lincoln and get a Miller. Many ground faults just don't like red.
    Somebody had to say it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    It sounds like you need to check your wiring carefully, particularly the neutral circuits. It sounds like the neutral isn't connected well somewhere between the welder and your main box and that current is flowing from your welder and into the neutral but then through your other electrical devices (and their GFI circuits) and back to the box via the ground circuits instead of through the neutral. Your neutral might be connected well enough but be undersized for the PEAK current that the welder is drawing at startup. The best cure for that is a completely separate power line (power, neutral and ground) directly from your electrical box and to your welder. You want the welding circuit to be connected as close as possible to your incoming power and away from the circuits that supply the rest of your home.

    Switching power supplies have HUGE power demands but only for a few milliseconds. Ordinarily they're too fast to even make your lights blink, but GFIs are designed to react VERY quickly and and they do sense the power surge and respond by shutting down.

  11. #11
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    I replaced all the GFCI'S on the property found one outlet with a loose ground. After replacing them all It seems to have fixed the problem although I'm still suspect of the Lincoln welder. My Miller tig and Miller mig are larger and pull more amps but never tripped the GFCI'S . My cnc plasma system is on the same sub panel and never tripped the GFCI'S very strange that it only started happening with the Lincoln.

    Seems to be working for now. Hope it stays that way.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    I'm an electrician by trade. I've made my living since 1969 that way. Yet, I've never seen a welder trip a GFCI it isn't plugged into. There may be issues like redundant GFCI outlets in the circuit, or the welder could have internal issues.

    My theory is that since GFCI protectors work on magnetic field, turning it off, or breaking an arc can cause sudden collapse of magnetic field. This induces high voltage in magnetic coils, and zaps the GFCI. I have not seen, but I still imagine other circuits could be affected.

    Hayward has provided a good explanation. Here is a picture:Name:  Snubber.jpg
Views: 176
Size:  101.7 KB
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  13. #13
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    I'm an electrician by trade. I've made my living since 1969 that way. Yet, I've never seen a welder trip a GFCI it isn't plugged into. There may be issues like redundant GFCI outlets in the circuit, or the welder could have internal issues.

    My theory is that since GFCI protectors work on magnetic field, turning it off, or breaking an arc can cause sudden collapse of magnetic field. This induces high voltage in magnetic coils, and zaps the GFCI. I have not seen, but I still imagine other circuits could be affected.

    Hayward has provided a good explanation. Here is a picture:Name:  Snubber.jpg
Views: 176
Size:  101.7 KB
    Ya its really weird to have something affect a gfci on the house circuit since the shop is on a separate panel. The shop panel is grounded with an 8 ft copper rod its about 15 of wire to the main panel where it has an individual breaker for the sub-panel and the main panel is also grounded. I had a good electrician that I trust come out and check everything and she said that it was all correct and everything was isolated. I suspected the welder at first and had it sent off for service. They said it was fully tested and everything was perfect with it. But still very strange in my book, Have to see if things stay working. If it was just an arc causing the problem I would fully expect the plasma, my other mig or tig to cause the same problem.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Ground fault protectors have a coil of very many turns of very fine wire. Both conductors pass through. Despite it being AC, at a given instant, current flows in opposite directions. The magnetic field in one, balances the field in the other. There is no apparatus to recognize or react to arcing, unless you have also an arc fault circuit interrupter.

    Like the coil in a gasoline engine, a transformer builds a magnetic field. The field is invisible, but think of "lines of magnetic flux" as many layers of tube each a bit bigger than the next. When the magnetic field collapses, (turning it off) or partially collapses, (ending an arc), the collapse causes an instantaneous higher voltage surge of induced voltage in the primary coil. This ripples throughout your home's system.

    Just a guess on my part, no fact here; I guess that ripple heads for mother earth, where a capacitor effect stores electrons. If my theory is correct, it might explain why we don't hear of 240 volt welders causing this problem.

    Where I've seen the phenomenon for many years, is bath fans. These are only required to have GFCI protection if they are within 3' horizontally of a shower. Inexpensive models of Broan, and Nutone, along with all prices of Panasonic fans are notorious.

    Fan manufacturers assure me I'm crazy, they've never heard of such a thing. GFCI manufacturers say the same. Lately, I've been seeing new models of fans with snubber capacitors. I've been reluctant to add them, as such a thing voids the UL approval, and leaves me liable in the case of fire, or shock. I have used models of fan equipped with a night light. Switching the night light with the fan is legal, and corrects the problem. A double pole switch, simultaneously disconnecting the neutral also, is another cure.

    Willie
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  15. #15
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    This welder is 240 volt though
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  16. #16
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Fabworks View Post
    I replaced all the GFCI'S on the property found one outlet with a loose ground. After replacing them all It seems to have fixed the problem although I'm still suspect of the Lincoln welder. My Miller tig and Miller mig are larger and pull more amps but never tripped the GFCI'S . My cnc plasma system is on the same sub panel and never tripped the GFCI'S very strange that it only started happening with the Lincoln.

    Seems to be working for now. Hope it stays that way.
    I'd be looking for a new licensed electrician and asking the other one for your money back.

    Just curious - do you have the ground and neutral bonded together in the shop's sub panel? Shouldn't be.
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  17. #17

    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    I'd be looking for a new licensed electrician and asking the other one for your money back.

    Just curious - do you have the ground and neutral bonded together in the shop's sub panel? Shouldn't be.
    Do not connected ground and neutral bonded
    This only done at meter

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  18. #18
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    That's why I said they shouldn't be bonded at the sub panel. Only at the main service entrance panel.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Bonded ground and neutral at sub panel is what I'm thinking the problem may be.

    For the OP, since the 210MP is multi-voltage does the problem occur on both 120 and 240VAC operation?
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  20. #20
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    They are not bonded at the sub everything is separate and per code. All connections are tight and nothing is mixing. Yes it happens on both 240 and 120
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  21. #21
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Fabworks View Post
    Ya its really weird to have something affect a gfci on the house circuit since the shop is on a separate panel. The shop panel is grounded with an 8 ft copper rod its about 15 of wire to the main panel where it has an individual breaker for the sub-panel and the main panel is also grounded. I had a good electrician that I trust come out and check everything and she said that it was all correct and everything was isolated. I suspected the welder at first and had it sent off for service. They said it was fully tested and everything was perfect with it. But still very strange in my book, Have to see if things stay working. If it was just an arc causing the problem I would fully expect the plasma, my other mig or tig to cause the same problem.
    YOu are in the desert right? It could be because the earth around your ground rod is dry. Try pouring water around it, and keeping it wet.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Welder and GFCI problems

    I thought the OP said the problem was fixed?? (post #11) If it is really fixed, the problem had to be one of the two conditions he corrected...loose ground wire or bad GFCI outlets.
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