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Thread: Strange problem with my welder

  1. #1
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    Strange problem with my welder

    I inherited an old Montgomery Ward ac/dc welder. It works and welds but one of the first things I noticed about it was that current is flowing through the ground. So if you hook up your ground clamp and touch your work piece you get a feel of it.. the electricity. It's wired up correctly to a 220 plug. Something is causing some current to flow through the ground inside the machine. Any ideas?

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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    I zapped some pigs in the barn when I was welding pens in the barn with a bad ground connection inside the welder of my Forney buzz box. Check your ground connections everywhere... right back to the clamp. It's seeking a new ground because the correct one isn't working.
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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    Yea I'll take a look.. seems like somehow elect. Is leaking into the ground in the machine making it somewhat hot. I did do some welding without blowing anything up lol but that's how I discovered this issue.. I kept getting shocked from the ground end..

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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    Not to harp on the old “ground” clamp vs “work clamp”
    argument, but in this case, calling it a ground could lead
    to some confusion.

    Maybe something in the welder is conducting to ground like:
    secondary winding, rectifier or welding cable connector, giving
    voltage between ground and the work clamp?
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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    It might be helpful to see if the problem happens when the leads are reversed. Try both DCEP and DCEN...might help you narrow down what to look at first.
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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    How were you were you wet? How were you completing the circuit... When moved the clamp, touching the work? Is the welder on the table or work?

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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    It likely has nothing to do with the ground (work) clamp. YOU must become part of the circuit to feel/receive a shock. That means you must have come between the stinger and the ground somehow. Normally with a stick welder, current doesn't flow from one lead to the earth. A TIG welder with HF is a different situation. In any case, check your stinger for bare metal that is putting you in the loop of the circuit. I had this happen once and it was the set screw in the electrode holder handle, and it had backed out enough that it could be inadvertently touched while holding the stinger. Check the insulation on your leads too.
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  10. #8
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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    If I had something that old do that to me, I might give it a quick look for something Obvious, but then it'd be a trip to the Dump

    Today's welders are Much Improved, get a nice little inverter...

  11. #9
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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    I thought it was pretty common to get shocked wiled wet and sweaty leaning on the work. Many times I as many others have creatively put a rod in the stinger.

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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    It likely has nothing to do with the ground (work) clamp. YOU must become part of the circuit to feel/receive a shock. That means you must have come between the stinger and the ground somehow. Normally with a stick welder, current doesn't flow from one lead to the earth. A TIG welder with HF is a different situation. In any case, check your stinger for bare metal that is putting you in the loop of the circuit. I had this happen once and it was the set screw in the electrode holder handle, and it had backed out enough that it could be inadvertently touched while holding the stinger. Check the insulation on your leads too.
    I had that happen with the set screw in the stinger handle too.... tightened it back in and wrapped it with electrical tape. Never happened again, but loose connections inside the welder on the ground sockets will actually give sparks when I touch the ground to a building ground.
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    The ground may have a internal ground .
    Transform secondary side to ground or the welder needs cleaning

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by justawelder View Post
    I inherited an old Montgomery Ward ac/dc welder. It works and welds but one of the first things I noticed about it was that current is flowing through the ground. So if you hook up your ground clamp and touch your work piece you get a feel of it.. the electricity. It's wired up correctly to a 220 plug. Something is causing some current to flow through the ground inside the machine. Any ideas?

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  15. #12
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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    Quote Originally Posted by justawelder View Post
    Yea I'll take a look.. seems like somehow elect. Is leaking into the ground in the machine making it somewhat hot. I did do some welding without blowing anything up lol but that's how I discovered this issue.. I kept getting shocked from the ground end..
    Is the welder frame grounded to the green (should be) wire in the supply cord, and does the welder outlet have a valid ground? Check all that first, because if the welder has a fault then the electrical ground either solves that or blows the breaker! Some of those old rectifiers failed that way..
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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    I will harp on the terminology here a bit too. When there is a problem and someone uses the term 220 I get suspicious. Both the machine and the electric service.

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    Re: Strange problem with my welder

    Find a test meter. Unplug the welder and measure from the line plug ground pin to the case of the welder should be 0 ohms. Then measure from the ground pin to each weld terminal should read OL or open. Then plug welder in and turn on. measure volts between the case and each weld terminal. both AC and DC.
    Post here. also If the labels are still readable find the model number and serial number. being what store sold it. it could have been made by one of two different companies. If you can't find anything take a good clear picture of the front of the welder and post it here. Then I can find a diagram and with your measurements might be able to direct you to where to look for the problem.
    Send me a PM when you post so i will see to come look at it.

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