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Thread: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

  1. #1
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    Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Hello there. Here is my situation.

    I am working on an old model a frame. Right now I am just welding in rust pits and grinding them flat; for aesthetics as well as a good surface to weld to later. The frame was blasted and then zinc coated. I thought it was the paint's issue, but the problem persists even after taking off the paint. I am running a Hobart 140 and on a 30 amp circuit, 120 volt of course. I am using argon carbon mix, a little less than 20 cfh. Hobart .030 solid steel 10 lb roll being used on my fully stock machine. I have a Coleman 8 gauge 20 ft extension cord, and two one foot long 10 gauge adapter plugs on each side to step up to and then down from the dryer plug of the Coleman.

    Here is the issue. I do not know if it is just how old steel acts, but I am getting a lot of popping and the wire sometimes pushes my gun back, suggesting the arc is not completing. Spatter is actually pretty intense as well. What could be the issue, as I need to box the frame soon and need the ability to lay a consistent bead?

  2. #2
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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Is the ground clamp on clean and shiny metal? Try turning down the wire speed or turning up the volts.

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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    I put it on my new metal and it didn't seem to make a difference. Furthermore, I use speed 3 out of five for the wire speed and I am welding on 50 volts, as recommended on the welding cheat sheet. I could go any try again, but this is pulling me for a loop...

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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Did the machine come factory set for flux core? Did you set it to the correct polarity?
    Did you try plugging it directly in the wall out let?

  5. #5
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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    The wire pushing the gun back would mean too high wire speed or too low amps/voltage.
    What does welding on 50 volts mean ?

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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Well, I mean setting no. 50, not necessarily 50 volts, but the suggested settings are set. I just tried setting it to 70, and it performed the same. I have of course switched the polarity. I would much rather run it directly to the wall, but I am outside welding in a carport and the outlet is inside the garage; my frame would be a lot of work to put in there.

    And I just tried again, as stated, and the splatter is really bad. Could it be the extension cord adapters I made? If so, what is a suggested cord for a 110 volt?

  7. #7
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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    +1 on what BlueWelders said. Popping and pushing the gun back means wire speed is too high. 3 is your voltage setting, 50 is the wire speed. Turn it down to 40 or 30 and see if that helps.

    I'm confused about the cabling, what's this about stepping down from a dryer plug?

    Welding on galvanized steel can make you sick if you're not careful and breathe in the fumes. You'll know its zinc coated if you see little white spiderweb thingies floating around in the air when you weld it. Make sure you wear a decent respirator and have adequate ventilation. Also, as was mentioned, it might help to grind off the coating wherever you clamp your ground.

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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Quote Originally Posted by Jieve View Post
    +1 on what BlueWelders said. Popping and pushing the gun back means wire speed is too high. 3 is your voltage setting, 50 is the wire speed. Turn it down to 40 or 30 and see if that helps.

    I'm confused about the cabling, what's this about stepping down from a dryer plug?

    Welding on galvanized steel can make you sick if you're not careful and breathe in the fumes. You'll know its zinc coated if you see little white spiderweb thingies floating around in the air when you weld it. Make sure you wear a decent respirator and have adequate ventilation. Also, as was mentioned, it might help to grind off the coating wherever you clamp your ground.
    Oh, that is what those spiderweb things are... lol. I bought the coleman welder cord and thought it was a regular head, and it ends up being a nema 6-50 I believe. I just made an adapter set of plug ends that switch the head types back and forth from edison to nema and then nema back to edison for the welder to plug into.
    3 is most definitely the wire speed, and 50 is the power setting. I tried slower speeds and it doesn't change much, still popping. I have the area down to bare metal where the ground is clamped. Here are some videos on my situation. Welder cord in second half of first video. What is the suggested 120 volt welder extension cord????


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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    For metal that thick you will probably need to turn the voltage up to about the maximum, and even that may not be enough.
    Why don't you leave the wire speed on 50 and try voltage setting 4 or 5.
    I won't even get into the heat treating aspects of frame welding.

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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    I understand what I am kinda doing on the frame... kinda. I am not putting a chevy small block in it, so I will hopefully be ok. It is only 1/8 inch, so I should be able to get burn through as the welder is rated for quarter inch. Sorry for my poor posts, but thanks a lot for the advice. Will give you an update on how it works. I just jumped to the conclusion that it was my cord adapters...

  11. #11
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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Really the small welders won't do 1/4 in. in any reasonably convenient fashion.
    They usually do well on 1/8th inch, but that is only on the highest settings.
    I looked at the manual online for 1/8/.125 and it says heat 4 and wirespeed 50 as a starting point.:https://www.hobartwelders.com/pdf/sp...andler_140.pdf

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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Quote Originally Posted by BenLeBlanc View Post
    the welder is rated for quarter inch.
    1/4" on 140 amps no way, never.

    My 210 amp machine will run 5/16 maxed out. On 1/4" I think my machine runs at like 185-190 amps or so.

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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Quote Originally Posted by BenLeBlanc View Post
    Oh, that is what those spiderweb things are... lol. I bought the coleman welder cord and thought it was a regular head, and it ends up being a nema 6-50 I believe. I just made an adapter set of plug ends that switch the head types back and forth from edison to nema and then nema back to edison for the welder to plug into.
    3 is most definitely the wire speed, and 50 is the power setting. I tried slower speeds and it doesn't change much, still popping. I have the area down to bare metal where the ground is clamped. Here are some videos on my situation. Welder cord in second half of first video. What is the suggested 120 volt welder extension cord????

    Wrong, 50 is wire speed, 3 is voltage. If that's 1/8" you'll have to crank it up. That machine will put out 140A which maxes out around 1/8" despite the marketing claims I just read on the Hobart website that it will do 1/4". Maybe if you were butt welding a 1/4" V-joint in a couple passes it might be ok if it'll put out enough voltage.

    A NEMA 6-50 is for 240V, 50A. The handler 140 runs on 120V. Dryer plugs usually run 240V, I think 30A. Havent watched the videos so not sure if you show the plug setup, but the way you describe it, it sounds like you tried to use some kinda of adaptor to attach a 240V plug on one end and a 120V on the other. If this is what you've done, I'd rethink that before you fry your welder.

    Also NEMA stands for National Electrical Manufacturers Association and sets standards for all electrical outlet plugs used in the US. All plugs have a NEMA specification regardless of 120V or 240V. You can google this and find a chart of all the plug types and their designations.
    Last edited by Jieve; 05-31-2015 at 07:12 PM.

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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Get away from that. 030 wire and to 024, 115v Welder doesn't have the guts to make your filler fluid you should have used a weld through primer, or left the frame bare till your fab was done, if you have to get a small spot sandblasting gun to clean your welds.

    Sent from my SGH-I747M using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Re: Mig welding- inconsistent arc

    Every post here is good. I can lay pretty good beads, but getting the welder dialed in is what pulled me for a loop here. Welder speed 30 with the power being 4 worked very well, thanks for the tip.
    If you were to watch the video, I am using a regular outlet but just want to ensure no current drop, that is the only reason I am using that nema 6-50. I am not jimmy rigging my machine at all, as much as I would rather it be a 210...
    So yes, now I know how to tune in my welder, and how to diagnose what I needed. Thanks for all the replies, as I was just going to assume it was my cord, and now I learned something. Thanks a lot, and I plan to keep learning from this site.

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