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Extension cord, incoming or outgoing?

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IF your electric welder is tethered too far away from the electrical outlet, which is better:

to insert a properly sized extension cord between the wall outlet and the electrical input to the welder,

to purchase an additional set of leads to extend the reach of the welding cables? If this is the choice, can you use the same size leads as an extension? Or do you need to purchase heavier cables to carry the longer distance and do the heavier cables need to be in line first coming off the welder or can they be last in line just before the grounding clamp and stinger?

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Although I've seen lots of guys extend their welding leads, I use a 50 ft. extension cord,and move the welder closer to the work. The cord is 3 *8 solid copper wire(the same wire used in a home to connect your electric range to the breaker box.) It's connected to a 50 amp breaker. If I recall correctly, 50 ft. of no. 8 wire.....at 50 amps is about the limit as to what is recomended to operate my Lincoln AC 225.
Your welder may have different power requirements.

By the way, I put a range/electric cookstove plug on my extension cord so I could take my welder to jobs away from my shop. I've had a call or two to bring my welder to a neighbor's home and repair something that could not be easily brought to the shop.
I have unplugged someone's stove,and ran the extension cord through the kitchen window to get power.

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If you are using the "solid wire, same as in a building" you will have problems sooner or later, as the solid will crack/break,fracture from movement, it is made to be installed, and not move at all once in use.

SRO also known as "Drop cord" is what you should use, as its strands are made to survive motion. Flexing of the solid wires does not exist when properly installed in a building, as it is attached.

When using leads to extent the stinger, remember to use welding leads, which is DC rated wire, with fine strands, built to resist the problems of the electrical skin effect

IBEW 305 Electrician. Please don't guess when it comes to electricity, and I wont pretend to be a heart surgeon :)

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Steve, you're absolutely right about solid copper wire NOT being a proper extension cord for a welder( or anything else , for that matter). It should be braided/cable wire of proper size and current carrying capability for it's intended usage.

I've 'gotten by' with the solid 3 x 8 simply because I'm careful not to roll it up too tightly........and I don't use it often.
I figure at some point it will fail......and I'll have to get the right cable for the job.
Of course, the reason I used it at all was because.......It was free.

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I like free.

An easy way to monitor the safe operation and prevent fire, every so often, while its been running, touch with bare hand the outside jacket of your cord.

If operating properly it wil NOT get warm, part of the wire rating formula is to prevent electricty heating the wire, so size is calculated to prevent this, In essence it wont get hot in normal opperation if functing properly.

Why would this change if it worked fine at the start ? because at the start its fine, after a few cracks it heats up due to the simple fact of the crack is a reduction of the wire size at that point of the crack, a bottle neck for the electrons. a few cracks will cause restriction in the flow and the wire will start to heat up, ALSO heated wire will not pass electricty as well as cooler wire, so it restricts passage of current even more. thus this is a self compounding problem, and a fire can start. also a risk of burning out the machine.

as long as the wire is not heating as its used, then for the most part you are fine, and reasonably safe from risk of fire.

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