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Thread: Generator and welder

  1. #1
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    Generator and welder

    Have a question regarding running a welder on a generator. Picked up a used generator 5500 continuous 6500 surge watts. Have a little 170 amp inverter 240/120 volt stick welder ( razorweld) Was hoping I could run it high enough to run a 1/8th 7018 but tried it on 120 volt and only gets to80 amps and will trip the 20 amp breakers.

    Have a generator cord that plugs into the 4 prong twist lock that gives 3 120v receptacles on the end, tried that and it will trip the main generator breaker just over 80 amps. Before I spend the money on a twist lock plug and another 3 prong 50 amp to make an adapter to run off the welder off 240 on the generator will it give me any more welding power before the breaker trips? I know 240 will reduce my amp draw by half vs the 120 so breaker shouldn't trip at least.
    Manual does say 8000 watt generator require for full output so hoping 5500 can get me 120 ish amps.

    I do have access to use engine drive welder anytime I need for serious welding but I usually have the generator in the truck all the time and the little stick welder weighs nothing and easy to just grab for a quick repair in field.

  2. #2
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    Re: Generator and welder

    Yes, running off 240V you'll have a much better chance of success. What really taxes the generator is the hot-start, but 5500 running watts is plenty to run a 1/8" E7018 at 120A with the welder on 240V (so long as the welder is not terribly inefficient). Your current cord that plugs into the twist-lok but provides 120V outlets is likely a small gauge? Voltage drop really does consume more power in the form of losses within the wire that the generator must provide, but is not actually utilized by the load (the welder)! IF you make an adapter cord/extension, I highly recommend 6gauge wire. That is what I used on my L14-30R twist-lok with some custom-made fork-terminals. A lot of people will tell you you can use a much smaller wire, and you can, but then you're back to square one - losing valuable generator power through wire losses that you don't get to use. It's quite different with power from the utility co., as our little welders won't be taxing the massive generators at the power stations.
    Heavy gauge wire will minimize those losses. You need to transmit as much power as you can from the twist-lok outlet to the welder. Also, have a look at the circuit breaker on the generator. If it is anything like the one on my generator, it's pretty whimpy. Who knows how much power is lost as heat through the likely small contacts it has inside. I replaced it with a much heavier duty breaker that is use in DIN rail set-ups. $10 on Amazon/Ebay.

    This is how I make my custom fork terminals. From 3/8" copper coil tubing. Flatten it out on one part, grind a slot for the screw in the twist-lok plug, and then crimp the wires. This is actually twin-8 awg wire.



    Hog out the plastic in the slots if needed.


    Used it for a 6-50P plug



    add some black expanadable sleeving, and bam, nice pigtail.



    If you wanted to take it a step further, you can still add silver solder to the terminals (like the electronics type, since its a thinner gauge) to get even better conductivity).
    Last edited by Oscar; 04-12-2020 at 12:08 PM.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Generator and welder

    Does your generator have a switch for 120v vs 120/240v. Are you in the correct position for higher amp before tripping? Mine will work in both positions but at 120 it is a difference of 15 amps vs 20 amps. I suspect with 3 plugs you are only getting 15 amps max to share between small appliances or a cordless tools.?

    I run mine off 240v, typically since both require special plugs. Though I have 4 adapters for various outlets.

  5. #4
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    Re: Generator and welder

    So made a adapter cord, I needed exactly the opposite as yours Oscar, with my 4 prong being the plug and the 3 prong being the receptacle but same thing. And of course it's a good recommendation using a large wire for less resistance, but on this Easter Sunday I used what I had, A 3 wire cord cut off a old scrap buzzbox welder.
    Plugged it in and had no problems running the welder now at 130-140 amps easy. I tried it at the full 170 and it ran pretty good and didn't trip the breaker, but don't really need that much and rather not push the generator too hard don't want to burn it up.
    Pretty happy with this setup.

  6. #5
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    Re: Generator and welder

    Sounds good!
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  7. #6
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    Re: Generator and welder

    I am curious to know how your setup runs 6011, if you have any...

  8. #7
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    Re: Generator and welder

    Did a quick test and it ran 6011 good, The generator does bark/change tune with the rod manipulation as arc length changes but this setup actually works better than expected. I think 5500 watt generator (continuous) is kind of the minimum to have good results. I ran a 1/8th 6011 at the high end of it's amp range so probably could run a 5/32 at lower end pretty decent too.

    And Like I said I do have access to a engine drive welder but It's more of a pain loading it and takes up most of the bed space etc.
    I do some part time farming and usually have a generator in the truck at all times for block heaters when it's cold/battery chargers/air compressor etc, and this little welder and cables weigh nothing and have a nice carry case that's easy to throw in the truck and have welding ability in the field.

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