Purchasing and installing an arc welder for home use can save a lot of cash for the homeowner. The arc welder can join many types of metal together, and the skill required is generally easy to accomplish. Wiring an arc welder to an existing house wiring system takes some insight into what is required for a safe and economical installation. You may also be responsible for following any state and local wiring codes for their area.
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Arc welders require a heavy draw of electricity for the proper operation of the welder. The arc welder uses a heavy-duty transformer that converts the voltage, 240 volts alternating current (VAC), down to 24 to 36 VAC. During this transformation of electrical power. it also coverts the input amperage from approximately 50 amperes to as high as 200 amperes. This heavy input and output of electrical power requires some special considerations.
Before any electrical installation, the homeowner should check with the state and local codes to be sure of conforming with the rules. The wring that is installed for an arc welder must also be heavy duty enough to withstand the power requirements. Basic household wiring for 240 VAC circuits generally does not meet this requirement. The wiring for most homes uses a solid copper wire for the electric stove and hot water heater. These two devices generally are connected to 240 VAC circuits.
Due to the heavy draw on electrical power, arc welders require a braided or stranded type of wire. These types of wire allow for a greater flow of electricity through the wiring system. The grounding system must also be maintained to a full wire size. Household grounding systems do not require a full-sized grounding wire for the common household device. The grounding wire is best recognised as the bare copper wire that is electrically tied to any device or the green insulated wire in any modern electrical system.
The grounding wire is what helps to create the "arc" in the arc welding process. It is this direct short to ground, at a low voltage and high amperage, that melts the arc welding rod to join the metal pieces. Without a full grounding wire back to the electrical circuit breaker box, there would be no arc. If you were to touch the electrically energised welding rod, you would receive a very nasty shock or electrical burn.
The circuit protection for the arc welder must also be large enough for the arc welder specifications. If the circuit is too small, the breaker will continually trip, and you will not be able to maintain an electrical arc to melt the welding rod. If the circuit is too large for the electrical system, you could melt the internal bus bars of the circuit breaker box. This could create permanent damage to the electrical system, or worst yet, a fire.
Follow all the manufacturer's recommendations when installing the arc welder. Many big box home stores will have qualified staff to guide you in the proper direction. If you are not sure that your household wiring can handle the electrical load for an arc welder, consult an electrician. An hour of the professional's time is well worth the investment in the use of the arc welder for the home.
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