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Thread: Running welder off generator?

  1. #1
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    Running welder off generator?

    Very simple question... is it okay to run my mig welder off a generac 6500e. I also have a thermal dynamics cutmaster 42 that i was wondering if it was safe to run off the generator?

    Is the power off the gen 'clean' enough? or will a bad sine wave or something along those lines screw up my equipment. The generator by all counts is rated to power both machines and has full 6500 running watts 8000 surge

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    I use a Honda ES 6500 to run a Hobart 187 and a Hobart 125 with no problem.
    Last edited by runningjalapeno; 09-12-2013 at 09:46 PM. Reason: wrong model of generator its an es6500 not an 6500 es

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Hi, I'm told that an inverter generator is almost a pure sine wave output.....just bought a MTM 4.4Kva one with two 240 volt 15 amp outlets and a 12 volt 8 amp one from EBAY.

    It was bought virtually "as is", as the side of the plastic casing had a crack in it from handling at the warehouse.......full "buy it now" price is $579 and I won the bid at $290 with $100 delivery, so now I'll have to see how it works with my plasma welder.....giving it the once over with the casings off to check for any other damage.
    Ian.

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    A gasoline or Diesel generator's power is just as 'clean' as the stuff coming off the power grid.

    When the armature shaft is spinning at 3600 RPM, it is giving you the same 60 Hz as the wall socket.

    It is important that you make sure that the generator is oversized enough so that the engine does NOT slow down significantly while you are actually welding.

    For example: a 110V 15A MIG welder should not be used on a generator of under 6000 Watts continuous.

    Read the maximum power needed by your welder and go with a generator that has a continious rating of at least 120% of that figure

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike837go View Post
    A gasoline or Diesel generator's power is just as 'clean' as the stuff coming off the power grid.
    This is true for inverter generators, but not the garden-variety. We have four generators--two inverter, two standard. I have looked at the standard generators' outputs with a scope, and they are downright ugly. Not square waves, but very noisy sinusoids. That said, my 220V standard generator is my go-to power source for my small mig welder and it works fine.

    Tim

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    I ran my miller 185 off a Honda 6500 watt for about 6 months. No problem at all, and with a very long extension cord for the welder.

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Can't help ya on this one, but my newish Lincoln power mig 256 isn't supposed to be run off a generator.
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    There's nothing inherent to an inverter that dictates that it will be cleaner power simply because it carries the label. Generator/alternators either. It's all about $'s and quality. You can't build, market and sell a quality gen-set for little to nothing but on the other hand raising the price doesn't necessarily make it higher quality. Home & portable power plants are extremely popular now and an extremely attractive market for the corporate world. The old standard producers woke up one day and found the market flooded with low budget look alike sets at 1/2 the price they had been traditionally selling their tried and true quality units for. Big box stores, hardware stores, sporting goods stores, auto parts stores, chain saw shops, every where you go there are gen-sets. The plethora of names and models is mind boggling. A corporation like Toro could very likely to contract out to 'me-dang-good' from South Korea for a low budget set who then consolidates parts from India, China and the US to put a package together and slaps the Toro label on it. The consumer assumes it is a good set because Toro has a good rep for mowers. 90% of them will never know because they won't run the dayem thing anyway. They only bought one because their neighbor bought one. Big corps know this and pray on it. Even if it was a good model this year doesn't mean it will be next year. Next year they find a new source for piece parts that ups the bottom line a few points.

    Bottom line, it's a dart throw with out a bunch of research into specific brands and models. I sure wouldn't pick one off the shelf simply because of the glossy brochure propaganda.
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike837go View Post
    It is important that you make sure that the generator is oversized enough so that the engine does NOT slow down significantly while you are actually welding.
    This is really the key. Voltage can vary 10% without a care in the world but if the frequency goes crazy high or low you're in trouble. Generally you want the frequency within 5%. I use an old electric clock with a second hand and a wrist watch to check the frequency under load on generators without electronic governors. The process is simple, when the second hand passes 12, start your timer. When the second hand reaches 12 again, stop the counter. Ideally you should be 60 seconds dead on (for 60Hz). If not adjust your throttle until it's true. If running motors, you can sometimes hear if the motor is running fast or slow. Overheating is the greatest concern with the frequency out of sync.

    One time I walked into the shop and realized something was wrong (by ear). Motors were going fast and slow. You've never seen a sprint to the main disconnect! The next day my allen-bradley controls recorded frequency greater than 77Hz (the max it records). Later I discovered the power company had gone wild on the frequency. Poor fellows with electric clocks... I bet they got up early then next morning.

    Can't really say if you can run your welder on your generator. You'll have to try it. We run a big Esab off a PTO generator at a farm I work at. No issues.
    Last edited by forhire; 09-14-2013 at 08:22 PM.

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Later I discovered the power company had gone wild on the frequency. Poor fellows with electric clocks... I bet they got up early then next morning.
    Complete thread drift...

    Last park I worked at we had a golf course. They'd apparently been having some problems with the fancy schmancy sprinkler control system, including having to have it repaired. One of the things that was going wrong was the timer setup on it would not keep time for anything. This whole control system was hooked up in the golf course maintenance shop. I didn't work there but was in another department so I had little interaction with the golf course side.

    Well one day bossman mentions to me that he's about to pull his hair out from the problems with this uber expensive system. I ask him what's wrong and he describes to me the symptoms. I look at him and go "Your power frequency is all f***ed up. Something is very wrong with the power".

    Bossman looks at me like I'm Rainman or something.

    He says "how do you figure?" and I say "Well first thing is the clock won't keep time. That's controlled by the frequency and is designed to keep time to the 60 hz standard. Then you say your computers power supply keeps burning up, so something is wrong with the power"

    He calls power company. They tried to put off coming out here. I told him to insist they come out and check it out.

    Sure enough there was something wrong and it was kicking the frequency way off normal. Think it was the transformer.

    .
    Last edited by JD955SC; 09-15-2013 at 12:56 AM.
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by sparky24 View Post
    Very simple question... is it okay to run my mig welder off a generac 6500e. I also have a thermal dynamics cutmaster 42 that i was wondering if it was safe to run off the generator?

    Is the power off the gen 'clean' enough? or will a bad sine wave or something along those lines screw up my equipment. The generator by all counts is rated to power both machines and has full 6500 running watts 8000 surge
    Another very simple question that I am surpised no one else has asked yet. What type of MIG welder do you have that you are wanting to run off this generator? I am asking about brand and model of the MIG. This will help determine what the max power consumption of the unit will be and whether the generator can produce the power needed to run the MIG from it. Since we don't know what MIG you have, it's kinda hard to give you a definitive answer on if it can be done or not. Of course you could always just plug it in and try it, to find out if it will handle the load.

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    I never put these together before....

    A single (or even twin) cylinder engine does not rotate smoothly.

    It slows significantly during the end of the compression stroke and speeds up during the power stroke. The pistion is 'drawing power' from the flywheel (slowing slightly) during the exhaust-and-intake strokes.

    That will produce a very distorted sine wave since each rotation of the engine is exacly 1 cycle of the AC power output.

    More noise will be introduced depending on the condition of the brushes and slip rings.

    The DC voltage regulator that controls the intensity of the magnetic field in the armeture to set the actual output voltage can introduce noise as well.

    Will that damage a welder? Probably not, especially when the AC is being converted to DC for MIG or TIG (DC to HF AC in an inverter welder). However, it may produce a peculiar arc if you are using a transformer only AC welder.

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike837go View Post
    I never put these together before....

    A single (or even twin) cylinder engine does not rotate smoothly.

    It slows significantly during the end of the compression stroke and speeds up during the power stroke. The pistion is 'drawing power' from the flywheel (slowing slightly) during the exhaust-and-intake strokes.

    That will produce a very distorted sine wave since each rotation of the engine is exacly 1 cycle of the AC power output.

    More noise will be introduced depending on the condition of the brushes and slip rings.

    The DC voltage regulator that controls the intensity of the magnetic field in the armeture to set the actual output voltage can introduce noise as well.

    Will that damage a welder? Probably not, especially when the AC is being converted to DC for MIG or TIG (DC to HF AC in an inverter welder). However, it may produce a peculiar arc if you are using a transformer only AC welder.
    This will keep ya busy for a minute

    http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...enerators.html
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    This will keep ya busy for a minute

    http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/ht...enerators.html
    A "minute"?

    It's a friggin' college-level 5-session seminar course!

    I haven't tried to read anything that information dense in years.

    There is some good info on the quality of power from protable generators in there, though.

    I didn't know brushless generators were that 'bad'.

    Keep in mind that the posting was put up by a company that is selling portable 'clean' power.

    Now, what does all of this have to do with welding?

  15. #15
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Welder plugs in to generator

    Screenlight is only selling their method of getting the most 120v amperage out of a small clean power genset- there are other methods but their set up is pretty good.

    We use lights that are anywhere from 150 watts up to 10,000watts on 120v :0 Obviously the 10k isn't going to run on a 6500watt genset.

    Your comment on "Enough" is dead on for using Welding machines on portable power- the inrush of current on a small generator is like a kick in the nuts to the motor.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    Welder plugs in to generator


    Your comment on "Enough" is dead on for using Welding machines on portable power- the inrush of current on a small generator is like a kick in the nuts to the motor.

    If you buy a properly designed welding machine, then generator size becomes less of a issue. You would be shocked how well a small plasma ,mig or tig machine will do off of a smaller generator. Outputs pushing 200 amps mig with 4 k generator. Perfect arc starts/etc..
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    We still don't know what kind of MIG he is wanting to use with this generator. It could be a little 120 amp run by 120V 15 amp circuit, or a 300 amp MIG needing 50 amps of 240V power. Who knows what he wants to plug in to this genset?

  18. #18
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    ok the simple rule to follow
    AMPS X VOLTS = WATTS

    ok check the back of the toaster.... if it rated 30 amps .... and runs on 220 volts you need a need a 6600 watt generator...

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsywanderin View Post
    ok the simple rule to follow
    AMPS X VOLTS = WATTS

    ok check the back of the toaster.... if it rated 30 amps .... and runs on 220 volts you need a need a 6600 watt generator...
    It is not that simple with loads like welders, motors etc
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  20. #20
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    It is not that simple with loads like welders, motors etc
    Yup, what he said

    gypsywanderin - look up "inrush current" in general and "welder inrush current" more specifically (google)

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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    This might help. I'm running a Honda EU6500is that I'm borrowing from Ed and it hasn't burped in 2-days with compressor, plasma cutter, 180 Lincoln and assorted hand tools. The revs don't even drop. Go here
    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php...les&highlight=
    We're looking VERY closely at a generator and buying one in the next month and Ed was good enough to lend me one knowing well both the electrical demands of on-set lighting for the entertainment industry's location as well as welding and knew this one would serve my purposes. Believe me, a quality inverter generator is the way to go when you need field duty. Yes, you'll pay more but in this instance, it has nothing to do with the Honda name; it's the performance.

    By the way, the plasma was running at 40 and the 180 was dialed all-in.
    Last edited by jlames; 09-19-2013 at 01:27 AM.

  22. #22
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Wrong thread...
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  23. #23
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Well i went ahead and tried it today with my miller 211 and it performed good. The machine is rated at 24 amps 240v so a 30 amp circuit is perfect. The generac has a 240v 30 amp circuit. Like i said orignally im not so much concerned with the amperage requirements the machines are matched as far as the specs go. I was more concerned with problems with dirty power with a screwed up sine wave or something like that. I checked the HZ and volts before i plugged in and it was at 54 HZ and 243 volts. I dont have the tool to check the sine wave but maybe i should buy one??

    Anyways it seemed to run good but the genset did step up rpm when i struck an arc, is that bad?

    Im am going to try the thermal dynamics cutmaster 42 as well, I figure if anything the plasma is more sensitive to input power than the mig welder
    Last edited by sparky24; 09-22-2013 at 10:46 PM.

  24. #24
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    Quote Originally Posted by sparky24 View Post
    I checked the HZ and volts before i plugged in and it was at 54 HZ and 243 volts. I dont have the tool to check the sine wave but maybe i should buy one??

    Anyways it seemed to run good but the genset did step up rpm when i struck an arc, is that bad?
    It's normal to step up under load. This is a good sign. Does the generator have a frequency needle with a fine adjust or did your measure it with a meter (or clock)? Maybe you can have someone check the frequency when loaded. Ideally you want the frequency +/- 5% so 57Hz. to 63Hz. I don't think looking at the sine will do much except make you worry... small gensets are typically noisy. Proof is in the function.

  25. #25
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    Re: Running welder off generator?

    I checked the hz with an ex tech pocket meter not sure how accurate it is. The hz were jumping around but I thought I saw 54 the most

    The main answer im looking for is it bad for the life of the machines to run them like this?

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