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I happened across an add for a Lincoln Welder for $50 in our local "iwanna-esc" publication. I called and the guy said it was an old 180 amp box that ran off a 220 outlet. I ran out to see it. It has a little play in the switch (have to wiggle it a little to seat in the amperage slot) but it touched off fairly well, even at the low amperages with the old stick in it that looked like it was in there since he last used it 2 years ago. Granted this is what my buddy told me to do since I have very little clue as to what makes a good welder. I was just looking for a cheap buzz box to get started when I saw this. I ended up walking with it and a couple pounds of old rods and a promise from the guy that as soon as he finds it, he will give me a call to come and pickup the new switch he had bought for the unit, but didn't have time to install.

The son of a gun is heavy as anything for what I was expecting. The guy told me that it's because it's got the old copper core in it. Which from what I've heard is a good thing to have.

So I guess it's a little late to ask but did I get taken for a ride? That and any other advice to someone who is new to welding would be great.




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Newbiesmith.......looks like you got a pretty good deal. I have a Lincoln 225 AC that's about the same vintage as yours. I don't know about your particular model, but a new AC 225 costs $300+.
They're tough old machines.
Oh, by the way, make sure the cooling fan is working!
Good Luck!

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Thanks guys. From what I've understand from reading is that with it's vintage and amperage and being a copper core, it doesn't have a cooling fan. I'll need to pop the top and doublecheck. The only noise I hear is a light buzzing from, I believe the transformer.

Unfortunately I've got a little bit of a setback. I just went out to look over the shop/shed and found that there is no 220 outlet out there. My landlord said that he had an old welder he used and it ran off of 220. He used it in his shed back when he was living in the house we are renting off him. I traced a heavy duty wire from the sub-panel out there and found that it ended, hanging on a post, with it

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I do a little digging and find out what happened to the plug.

Is the post outside? Any where near where you want to weld?

Is there a 50 amp breaker in your box?

Do you have any electrical aptitude?

Do you have any freinds with electrical aptitude?

I would not let this stop me.

If it is inside a outlet could be quickly re-installed.

If it is outside the outlet could be installed in a weather tite box and an extension cord run to the garage.

If you have a electric dryer in your house you could make an adapter to adaptor to adapt from the 30 amp dryer circut to a 50 amp plug. This probably would cause some discussion with your local inspector if they find out. But this is probalbly safe as 30 amp breaker will still protect 30 amp wiring to the dryer plug.

A 30 amp breaker will generally hold a Lincoln 180/225 amp unless high amps settings are used. (ask me how I know)

If you are short on cash and not up to spending huge dollars on 50 amp SO cord, you can observe that per the code, #12 AWG Copper THHN is good for either 25 or 30amps (I don't remember which) However it is only good for 20 amps when serving outlets.

I can not recomend that you construct an extension cord made from 2 of 2-12 with ground romex cables to carry 50 amps as this would violate the National Electric Code which does not allow parralleling that small a conductor.

Let us know how this turns out. But don't get in over your head. Electricity can kill and burn down structures.

By the way grat deal on the welder!

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Yes that is a good deal. You can put longer leads on the box to reach bigger projects, which I am unable to do with my aluminum core.

I have done as Rfunk suggests and have extension cords that allow me to run from my dryer outlet to the front of the garage. One of the wisest uses of time and money for me to date was to take a code class for home wiring. There were mostly maintenance guys and young wannabe electricians in it. fertile ground indeed. Not only that but I have the Electric codebook and familiarity enough with it that I feel confident on most single phase problems. Pursuing this hobby or vocation means you will be dealing with electric loads more and more.

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Terrible deal; I paid US$40 for my own tombstone---getting close to 10 years ago though. I expect to pass it on to my grandkids someday.

I run mine off the kitchen stove plug via a very heavy extension cord built for it by the previous owner. Usually means that welding has to be planned for when SWMBO is away for a while. I gotta work on getting the shop wired!

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Wire it up right. Lowes or Home Depot carries the receptical for the welder: buy two 25 amp breakers and some 6 gage romex. YOu can have it wired up in under an hour for less than $50 and you shouldn't have to worry about a fire in the wall. I have an AC 225 that I am going to sell because I don't want to punch a hole in my brick wall to bring the wires through from the outside of the garage. What were they thinking?

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If you are short on cash and not up to spending huge dollars on 50 amp SO cord, you can observe that per the code, #12 AWG Copper THHN is good for either 25 or 30amps (I don't remember which) However it is only good for 20 amps when serving outlets.

This is BULL CRAP, it says NO SUCH THING do NOT listen to amatures about electrical; unless you like getting people killed.

#12 copper is rated for 20 amps Max. Period. no exceptions. Many amatures assume that because the NEC chart 310.16 states 25 amps under the insulation rated THHN that is the amperage answer, but that is NOT the rating for Fuse (breaker, same thing) protection. That chart is a starting point of the calculations of voltage drop. #10 is rated for 30 amps. the fuses/breakers are for protecting the wire from over heating and causing a fire. It state this in the fine print at the bottom of the page.

I have had too many jobs replacing burnt wiring from people guessing they can do it them selves. If you have to ask then Hire a professional.

Also beleive it or not, If you jury rig your own stuff, and there IS a fire because of it, not only can you be sued by any one injured, but the Insurance company MAY refuse to pay for "not to code wiring practice". That is why contractor's carry Liability Insurance, because property insurance by the owner does not cover mistakes by installers.

Do what you want to, But I get mad when I see people pretendung to know electrical codes. even tho they may mean well.

and I think QuenchCrask meant a double 50 amp breaker NOT 2 25 amps breakers. I amso know typos when I see them, as I make many of those.

Florida Block rated Master Electrician
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Thanks guys for all the wiring advice. Before I do anything I'm going to get in touch with the landlord since it's his house and "Liability" is a big thing I deal with every day. It's not something I want to take on lightly.

And when/if I end up finding a house in our area that is affordable and we do move on it this year, I'll be setting up some kind of shop outside, even if it is a $240 Lowes tin shed. When I do that I will do as I always done with wiring. I'm planning on sucking it up and buying the biggest baddest mother of a cable to run from the main box to the sub box in the shop. Then I'll be very cautious about ensuring that there is consistency in the wiring (ie. not trying to run a 50amp sub box off a 30 amp breaker in the main panel). This is the kind of stuff I was taught when I "assisted" in the rewiring of my uncle's house after he passed away. I worked under a master electrician who I then contracted with for the oversight of the rewiring project on my first house. So electrical work is not something I'm new too. However at the same time I know there is a lot that I don't know and when it comes to the thought of peeing sparks or catching my house on fire I siss out pretty quick.

There's a few things I never skimp on: Tires, breaks, wiring and plumbing. And before my big snip, Trojans were in there too, but no more ;-).

Thanks guys for all the advice as always its appreciated.


P.S. Rich I'm hoping mine isn't like yours ;-). If it is I'll be buying a new fan ;-(

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Steve Sells,

You obviously did not read my post carefully.

First of all I was no where near coming close to suggesting to tie into a to 20 amp breaker or anything close with a #12 wire to run the welder as I beleive your post indicates.

I was observing but not recommending that #12 copper THHN conductors are rated for 25 amps. And simple math would indicate that 2 of them in parallel would carry 50 amps enough to power the welder and that using them in this configuration is a violation of the National Electric Code.

What does table table 3.16 mean if it does not mean that the NEC allows 25 amps for # 12 copper THHN insulated wire "for no more than 3 current carrying conductors in raceway, cable or direct buried"?

And yes the code does permit the installation of an overcurrent device (fuse or breaker) up to the allowable ampacity of the conductor.

The exception is that inspite that the NEC clearly permits #12 THHN Copper wire for 25 amps, the code requires outlet circuts protected by a 20 amp breaker must be fed by by #12 copper wire.

Steve, I suggest that you pull out the code and read it and understand it and not accuse me of being an amatuer.

I have work with union eletricians for 20 years as a project manager and have pointed out to them violations of the code that they have installed. Union electricians are on the average better trained than non union eletricians. But I have seen them make mistakes just like others. As an example your misinterpration of the the ampacity of #12 wire.

I admit I did discuss some things that were controversial such as pluging a 50 amp load in a 30 amp circuit. However this will not create a safety issue as the 30 breaker protects the 30 amp wiring between the breaker and the 30 amp plug at its rated ampacity.

Per article 310 of the code it is not permitted to to run parrellel conductors smaller than 1/0. If you notice I said I cannot recommend this. But if each #12 THHN copper is rated for 25 amps as listed, simple math indicates that 2 will carry 50 amps and not overheat and melt down the insulation on the conductors at a substantiatly less cost than cost of #6 THHN Copper SO. And if used as an extension cord, either a 30 amp or 50 amp breaker is protecting the conductors, assuming that they are plugged into an apropriately wired 30 or 50 amp receptacle. Again I did not recommend this I simply made the observation and assumed that reciprient would evaluate and use their own judgement.

Someone suggested #6 romex. This is also a violation of the code as it not listed for "extension cord" duty and must protected from physical damage if permantly installed. But romex may be considered by many as acceptable for extension cord type duty if it is appropriately protected by using care and caution and regualarly inspected for damage.

But hear comes the bigger issue:

Do we as blacksmiths follow all the codes and standards?

No if we did every one of the gas forges that we now own would need to be destroyed. The NFPA of which the National Electric Code is section 70, requires that all fuel buring appliances, in buildings, must be equipped with a fuel train with auto gas shut-off, fire eyes to detect if the flame is lit, timers to make certain that relighting is not attempted until all the potential for a combustible or explosive atmosphere is gone etc, etc.

Further more it is a violation of codes to have a 25# or any similar LP tank in an enclosed building. (also the warning label on the tank warns of that as well) A single 25# propane tank on a popcorn popper in an Indianapolis IN arena killed 10's of people and injured many more when the tank malfunctioned in the 1960's.

Further your city can require that the Forge be UL AGA, CSA or ETML listed unless operated outside only. The installation must have a double or tripple wall vent pipe thru the roof depending on requirements or exhaust temperatures as published by the listing agency.

Further codes require that all solid fuel burning appliances must be equipped tripple wall UL, ETLM, CSA listed vent pipe. Some inspectors could insist, with some basis that a solid fuel buring appliance be UL, ETML, or CSA approved. A UL listed forge??? I will most likely never see one if they exist at all.

No we don't follow all the codes, we believe we know and understand the risks and hazards of this equipment and we believe that we have and will continue to manage these risks.

I would certainly rather face my insurance company after a fire with a substandard extension cord, properly protected for its ampacity, than face them after my gas forge malfunctioned and blew up my garage (and possibly attached house)

Perhaps I should not have brought up the composite extension cord. But it is no futher out of bounds than many of the code violations we as blacksmiths rotinuely do every time we fire up the forge.

Steve lets please keep the discussion on a fact based, non-emotional basis.


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Please evaluate with care the size cable you run to the shop out back when you build it.

Copper is very expensive these days so you want to select the size carefully for a cable.

However do not only look at ampacity but also voltage drop as this can be a factor and result in poor performance and burn out of tool motors etc.

I am certain that Steve Sells or I can assist with voltage drop calculations once you have the specifics.

Also instead of a cable look at the price of PVC conduit and individual conductors as opposed to cable. PVC conduit is cheap and allows to to repull the conductors should they fail without digging up the yard. Just make certain that your wires are correctly color coded with electrical tape at each end.

Of course Aluminum Triplex run overhead is a lower cost option but may not be permitted in the neighborhood. Also the whole issue of aluminum wiring comes up and there may be local restrictions on the use of aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring has caused many fires due to high resistance connections generating heat.

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This is not a you or me thing, its the US national electrical code (NEC), and as your address as posted is in the states, it applies, no matter what degree you may have. If it is not according to the NEC then it is "not to code", as that is what wired to code means.

I was trying to prevent a person from following your advice as to wire gauge. I know that the code is not easy to understand, that is why I said avoid amature electricians. NEC section 240.4 sub D is clear about 12 gauge wire and max amperage allowed as 20 amps. NO exceptions, and I did post that 310.16 is for calculation the voltage drop only. it IS NOT a chart for breaker sizes. I was correcting your misstatement of "...#12 can carry 25 amps.." and that is false. Under ANY condition.

I stand by what I said, #12 must NEVER be fused above 20 amps. period. I am sorry you took this as a personal attack,

If you looked at the chart in question you would see the asterisk beside the gauge size, that asterisk calls attention to read what is known as a fine print note. the NEC is full of them, and a qualified Electrician should know. Most amatures do not,. Maybe you have a different definition of amature than I do.

I do electrical work for a living. Florida block, and the California block License exams test the skill of looking up the codes rules and conditions and exceptions. the Exam is a pain to pass. many/most fail the first time.

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Steve Sells,

I am sorry if I took your comments as an attack but the posting seemed to me to be very emotionally laden and accussing me of being an amature, not knowing what I was doing.

Facts and errors can and should be comunicated, However high emotional content often clouds the meassage.

I am currently hospitalized and I was going by memory as I did not bring my NEC code book to the hospital with me and I did not remember the exact exceptions.

I now remember the basic contents of 240.4 after reading your reply and I admit that 240.4 limits a #12 Copper conductor to 20 amp overcurrent protection in most situations.

So in most situations your are correct on the NEC (National Electric Code) limit of 20 amps, but this is based on reasons other than the amp carrying capacity of the wire.

However their are mutiple exceptions addressed in 240.4 that allow more than 20 amps for #12 Copper conductor so your comment that the NEC never allows more than 20 amps is not accurate. In wiring a house are you are correct.

But the entry of 25 amps as an allowable ampacity in table 310.16 clearly means that #12 copper with THHN wiring is good for 25 amps without the damage of overheating of the wire or the insulatation when used as indicated. (no more than 3 current carrying conductors in raceway or cable etc).

Do you agree that the ampacities listed in table 310.16 are the ampacities so that the conductors will not overheat and damage the insulation?

I was simply observing that a #12 can safely carry 25 amps which is true. Simple math would further indicate that if you were to desire to run parrallel #12 romex cables that they would carry 50 amps without overheating or burning but I clearly stated that this would be CONTRARY to the NEC. This was in the context of a "cable assembly" to power a welder when not near an outlet, not as permanent wiring, if you reread my original posting.

I don't want to get in to a nitpicking mode here, but table 310.16 states the allowable amp carrying capacity of the the conductor and does not provide the information required for voltage drop calculations. This information is elsewhere in the Code.(near the back of code if I remember correctly with tables of Ohms values for the conductors and Impeadance for wire and raceway assemblies, again I don't have my NEC book with me)

I understand your somewhat porochial view of electrical wiring systems and the NEC code. This has been a key message of the Union to which you are a member. And in general my expereince is Union electricians are better trained and provide better work than most others.

But what do we do with mechanical codes and trained mechanical trade techicians?

The balance of the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) of which NEC is only one section, is generally as applicable in the most local governemental jurisdications as the NEC. The alternate name for the NEC is NFPA 70

Is your forge a portable forge that is only operated outside your blacksmith shop? If not, it most like a fuel burning appliance whose "installation" must be in compliance with the all provisions of the NFPA codes. Further most goverment authorities will insist that fuel burning appliances be listed by the UL (Underwriters Lab), ETLM (Energy Testing Lab of Maine) or CSA (Candian Standards Association). If it is a gas burning appliance then it must be a tested and listed by the AGA (American Gas Association)

As I have previously indicated nearly everytime we fire up our forge we violate the Mechanical Codes which are just as important or in some cases more important than the NEC.

But I will admit that most inspectors will "wink" at a forge installation if basically safe as they don't want the hassle digging thru all requirements and most appreciate at some level the craft we are involved in.

We as blacksmiths are somewhat a fish out of water and would fit in better to our society 100 years ago than in today's highly regulated enviroment.

Bottom Line: We must understand the risks, manage the risks and behave appropriately. If we do not understand the risks we should not play.

Keep Forging!

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My forge is coal, and it is outside. I have a roof no walls. 2 weeks ago I got permission to raise an 11 x16 building at the rear of my property, and brick a side draft forge. But I am building a 3 burner gasser, with a bit of help. I will get the permit and lay foundation after the weather warms up, in a month or 2.

Part of the issue is my training, part is the job I am currently on, 2 days ago of an 8 hour day I spent 3 doing what was called for in the print, the rest was repairing what some one else had done over the past years.

Wire sizes, colors all mixed, not even neutrals in same conduit, they used what they had, in what ever manner worked for them. yes there are burned wires. even long screws through the conduit. and a few fused/melted breakers, so at present I hate all Hack Jobs. Most of these bad circuits I have to trace and correct while hot, because it is an operating business. we only de-energize if no other option. like to replace the wire, until then I work them hot. I am ok with live work, just not this xxxxxxxxxxx of a wiring mess the 3 of us have to address and correct with minimal disruption of the business.

I don't like hiring others to do work either, but I do it because its far safer and cheaper to get a pro, than to do it myself and maybe save a few $$ now, then maybe suffer later. I also get permits to secure my legal interest in my house, and to appease zoning.

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Steve looks, like you have got some interesting days ahead of you correcting other's rat nests and cobbles. This must be the most frustrating part of an electricion's job, rework where you can't trust that appropriate wire materials and methods were used nor that the current state of the installation will allow a safe working enviroment. And drawings, are they an aid or hindrance? Some drawings are so far out of date they can be a hindrance.

NFPA 70E has really changed the way our electricians and electrical contractors work. We just about never work hot anymore. We just insist to production that the power must be off to comply with OSHA (NFPA 70E) requirements. As a contractor, which I assume you are, your leverage as less there will always be some contractors who are less safety conscious than you and your company.

A side note to all non-electricans: Many electricians are killed from burns. Some studies show that more are killed by burns than by shock.

If you inadvertantly drop a tool in a breaker box or a loose wire gets out of control shorting out the breaker box, you have just created an electric arc furnace. This happened to one of my friends, a Union Electrican foreman and a loose piece of steel that had been in the box for years and un-noticed fell across the conductors. He had 2nd and 3rd degree burns or the most of the front of his body amd was off work for months.

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R. Funk, Do we as blacksmiths follow all codes? I would certainly hope so. Codes are not suggestions or ideas,nor are they rules to be bent or broken,winked at etc. Do it right or do not do it. My old johnson gasser could not be run inside, so I run it outside.

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Something a lot of people tend to neglect is keeping welders clean, wether it has a fan or not, once a week or so (more if your in a especially dust area) take your air hose and blow them out, the dust and such that collects inside greatly reduces the cooling which is important if you want the unit to last a long time.


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