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Thread: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

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    Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    hello,
    I'm happy to join the forum!. I know that many people like to choose their machines for all sorts of implements, but most have sufficient electrical service. One day in the future, I plan on getting a 240 V 60 amp subpanel in the garage. Unfortunately it is not in the cards right now. I do not have the extra space for large gas cylinders for oxyacetylene. I would also like to do this outside for better ventilation.

    This is the reason why I am leaning towards using stick welding at a recommendation from my former coworker. I vaguely remember him saying that stick welding requires slightly less electricity than mig. he was also a big stick welding fan for learning.

    The answer to the question of what I my welding? Mostly simple projects in the shop, mild steel, none with required very High safety factor. low duty factor on the welder. Small custom parts. nothing stronger than a steel support for a workbench. ideally, I do not envision any Other parts being thicker than a 1/4" plate. 3/16 inch will probably be more common.I suppose I can go with an eight of an inch.

    of course none of this might be possible without getting a subpanel. But I'm having a little bit of difficulty finding The correct information of
    1. are there machines that run on this 240 V, 15 amp? safely?
    2. What is the maximum thickness of plate of mild steel that can be welded using my power?


    my gut is telling me SOL.

    Thank you
    Last edited by metreek; 06-03-2021 at 04:04 PM.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    You should be good for close to 140-150 amps of output with a stick inverter. The Esab 180 rouge will do the job at around 650$. There are lower cost inverter machines but many don't have the power factor correction to output decent power at low input current.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    What makes you think your limit is 15 amps? I have never heard of a 240 volt/15 amp circuit in the US. What country are you located in?

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    15 X 240 is 3600 watts. That is not a lot of energy.
    I am not aware stick welding requires less energy than MIG.
    Inverter welders make more efficient use of power than transformer welders. In example: I had a 310 amp transformer TIG welder. It peaked out at 105 amps input. I now have a 280 amp inverter square wave. It produces nearly as much energy. It peaks out at 37 amps input.

    You will be limited with 15 amps at 240 volts, but you will do more with an inverter.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    You should be good for close to 140-150 amps of output with a stick inverter. The Esab 180 rouge will do the job at around 650$. There are lower cost inverter machines but many don't have the power factor correction to output decent power at low input current.
    I checked the tech specs of this unit. It is not clear how much input current will come out for 140 At that current, what size plate can be welded?

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    With stick your pretty much unlimited. You will need multiple passes or additional beveling for thick material. 140 amps will let you run an 1/8" 7018. On structural steel, the unlimited thickness test is typically 1/8" 7018. If you put in the correct bevel you could weld 2" or thicker steel. Of course it would take forever and require countless passes, but it COULD be done

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Edited, I misread

    At that voltage/amperage, if indeed correct, would allow for quite a bit as MJD said. Once you eclipse the 125A threshold where 1/8" 7018 likes to run most of the time, there is plenty of opportunity. 6011 will easily run, even 5/32" if you need a forceful, digging arc for deeper fusion, and 1/8" 7018 for a nice smooth bead if you don't need the forceful dig of a 6011/celluose rod.
    Last edited by Oscar; 06-04-2021 at 11:34 AM.
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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    There is no way he is getting anywhere near 140A on a 120V / 15A circuit. Not even on a 20A circuit. A 20A circuit would allow perhaps on a super efficient inverter, about 105-110 amps maybe, but most are near 90-95 A.

    So all is not lost because 6011 will most definitely work with lower amperage levels.
    No kidding, maybe you could make a spreadsheet.🤣. Seriously did you read the title, he said a 240 volt 15 amp circuit.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    No kidding, maybe you could make a spreadsheet.��. Seriously did you read the title, he said a 240 volt 15 amp circuit.
    I hadn't had enough coffee yet, lol. I edited my post soon as I saw the blooper, lol. And yes I love making spreadsheets. In fact most of my work is spreadsheets. Those stupid little nerdy things earn me a pretty good darn salary. So yep, bully away. I'll keep making spreadsheets.
    1st on WeldingWeb to have a scrolling sig!



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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    You should be good for close to 140-150 amps of output with a stick inverter. The Esab 180 rouge will do the job at around 650$. There are lower cost inverter machines but many don't have the power factor correction to output decent power at low input current.
    A quality inverter (like the ESAB 180 or the older Thermal Arc 161) is your best chance. They are more expensive but they tend to have properly designed power supplies that are more efficient and have power factor correction. Some of the really cheap inverters seem to have high input current requirements.
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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    I am still stuck on the 240 v/15 amp circuit. What size wiring feeds the receptacle, and could this be a dedicated welder circuit? Chances are if it is a dedicated welder circuit, it can be done with 14 gauge wire. The electrical code allows for over rating the breaker relative to the conductors based on duty cycle. Normal amperage charts don't work for a dedicated welder circuit. For instance the owners manual for a Miller Maxstar 161S only calls for 14 gauge feeders in a raceway installation and a 25 amp breaker. I'd really like to know why the OP thinks it is only a 15 amp circuit and what gauge wiring is in place.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    I am still stuck on the 240 v/15 amp circuit. What size wiring feeds the receptacle, and could this be a dedicated welder circuit? Chances are if it is a dedicated welder circuit, it can be done with 14 gauge wire. The electrical code allows for over rating the breaker relative to the conductors based on duty cycle. Normal amperage charts don't work for a dedicated welder circuit. For instance the owners manual for a Miller Maxstar 161S only calls for 14 gauge feeders in a raceway installation and a 25 amp breaker. I'd really like to know why the OP thinks it is only a 15 amp circuit and what gauge wiring is in place.
    Not unusual to have a residential garage intended for storage only to have a 3 wire #14 supplying the whole thing. It also makes sense to upgrade.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    A dryer outlet is 240 vac Thirty amps

    An electrical stove outlet is 240 vac 50 amps.


    That and some GOOD Extension cord can do damn near anything.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Very few dedicated 240 volt lines are going to be run in #14 gauge. I would pull it out and verify if it may be #12 wire. Breaker/outlet swap and you will have 20 amp. Worth a look. 240 at 15 amps is a little bit of power. It would be close to 125 amp output available continuous. Short welds up to 160 may be possible even.
    Last edited by danielplace; 06-05-2021 at 09:22 AM.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    I will take a closer look. Maybe I am wrong about the gauge I need to take a closer look. Part of me thinks it's not worth the effort and I should just wait. My dryer outlet is About 30 feet from the door. I didn't know they made extension cords for such high amperage ratings. I suppose you mean to make one myself? that might be the easiest issue way To make one.

    In my area, I often see used welding units for significant reduction in price. I always intended to go that route.
    Last edited by metreek; 06-06-2021 at 05:00 PM.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    As a matter of interest, in Australia, the ESAB Rebel 235ic is sold with a 15A plug (GPO) and a slightly lower duty cycle (the machine is the same) than in the US.

    Typically, a 15A GPO is fed from a 20A CB via 2.4mm2 (#14 gauge) twin and earth and is ubiquitous in "man spaces" for welders. A thirstier welder would require a 32A outlet and from there it would be 3 phase.

    As long as the circuit in question is supplied by at least 2.4mm2 twin and earth and there are not significant other concurrent loads, I think your present requirements will be satisfied.

    Eventually, you might want to upgrade but by then you will know if welding is a path you want to follow.

    Jack

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Where is your dry or range to your garage.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by metreek View Post
    hello,
    I'm happy to join the forum!. I know that many people like to choose their machines for all sorts of implements, but most have sufficient electrical service. One day in the future, I plan on getting a 240 V 60 amp subpanel in the garage. Unfortunately it is not in the cards right now. I do not have the extra space for large gas cylinders for oxyacetylene. I would also like to do this outside for better ventilation.

    This is the reason why I am leaning towards using stick welding at a recommendation from my former coworker. I vaguely remember him saying that stick welding requires slightly less electricity than mig. he was also a big stick welding fan for learning.

    The answer to the question of what I my welding? Mostly simple projects in the shop, mild steel, none with required very High safety factor. low duty factor on the welder. Small custom parts. nothing stronger than a steel support for a workbench. ideally, I do not envision any Other parts being thicker than a 1/4" plate. 3/16 inch will probably be more common.I suppose I can go with an eight of an inch.

    of course none of this might be possible without getting a subpanel. But I'm having a little bit of difficulty finding The correct information of
    1. are there machines that run on this 240 V, 15 amp? safely?
    2. What is the maximum thickness of plate of mild steel that can be welded using my power?


    my gut is telling me SOL.

    Thank you

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    We use stick welders on 3.2mm rods (1/8") up to around 125 amps, on 13 amp fused plugs over here... Never a problem, unless running long extension leads. The 160 amp stick inverter machines are usually specified with a 16 amp commando plug.

    A decent modern inverter MIG will run 200 amps on a 16 amp 240v supply... it shouldn't, but it will.
    Murphy's Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    What makes you think your limit is 15 amps? I have never heard of a 240 volt/15 amp circuit in the US. What country are you located in?
    Hey Louie, I actually have seen 240/15 circuits here in the USA!
    They were on 1/4 and 1/2 hp Welch vacuum pumps!

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by rexcormack View Post
    Hey Louie, I actually have seen 240/15 circuits here in the USA!
    They were on 1/4 and 1/2 hp Welch vacuum pumps!

    Fair enough, but you have to admit, in a residential setting they are pretty uncommon. I think Metreek would get the best advice if he posts some pictures of the circuit in question with close ups of the breakers and the wiring/conductors. I am willing to bet there is an easy way to convert whatever is there into enough of a circuit to safely run most modern stick inverters or even a mid sized MIG welder.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by metreek View Post
    I will take a closer look. Maybe I am wrong about the gauge I need to take a closer look. Part of me thinks it's not worth the effort and I should just wait. My dryer outlet is About 30 feet from the door. I didn't know they made extension cords for such high amperage ratings. I suppose you mean to make one myself? that might be the easiest issue way To make one.

    In my area, I often see used welding units for significant reduction in price. I always intended to go that route.
    Amazon and others sell them. This is just one example. You might still need to fashion a pigtail to connect the far end of the extension cord to the plug style on your welder. https://www.amazon.com/Miady-Welding...068576&sr=8-16

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    Amazon and others sell them. This is just one example. You might still need to fashion a pigtail to connect the far end of the extension cord to the plug style on your welder. https://www.amazon.com/Miady-Welding...068576&sr=8-16

    It isn't the welder end as much as the dryer end. Welder might already be a 6-50p but the 6-50p on the cord isn't going to plug into a dryer outlet for sure.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    About 40 feet. I never planned on welding in the garage for better ventilation.40 feet is behind the garage where I plan on doing the work. I checked my panel, my dryer the 240 30 AMP, but I can't read the cable gauge. There is also an unused stove in the basement also 40 feet which is a 8 gauge 240 V 40 amp.

    getting an extension cord from the stove is probably my best bet. I can leave that appliance unplugged for a time and bring the extension cord back into the house.
    With 240 V 40 amp, but should be sufficient, right?At least until I get a proper dedicated 60 amp subpanel to the garage
    Last edited by metreek; 06-07-2021 at 10:58 PM.

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    Sounds like you fix for now.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by metreek View Post
    About 40 feet. I never planned on welding in the garage for better ventilation.40 feet is behind the garage where I plan on doing the work. I checked my panel, my dryer the 240 30 AMP, but I can't read the cable gauge. There is also an unused stove in the basement also 40 feet which is a 8 gauge 240 V 40 amp.

    getting an extension cord from the stove is probably my best bet. I can leave that appliance unplugged for a time and bring the extension cord back into the house.
    With 240 V 40 amp, but should be sufficient, right?At least until I get a proper dedicated 60 amp subpanel to the garage

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    Re: Existing electrical 240 V 15 A - what can be welded or am I out of luck.

    You will do what you will do. I believe a cord is a dangerous solution. Under certain circumstances a range outlet is not grounded as a welder should be. Running it rthrough a door or window risks it being damaged, across the ground it'll get run over by mower or car. Rain is a concern.

    In general extension cord circuits are supposed to be GFCI protected.

    GIVE IN. RUN A CIRCUIT FOR A WELDER. IDEALLY, A #6 CIRCUIT WITH A 60 AMP BREAKER. IT LIKELY WILL POWER ANY WELDER YOU BUY AT ANY TIME.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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