How to Wire an Extension Cord for a 220-Volt Welder

Written by michael logan
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How to Wire an Extension Cord for a 220-Volt Welder
Using an extension cord extends the reach of your electric arc welder. (Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Between the 10-foot cord on the 220-volt welder and the 15-foot reach of the ground clamp and work cable, you have a maximum of 25 feet between the wall receptacle and the work. If it isn't enough, you need an extension cord. Welders are high-current devices and most operate on 220 to 250 volts and require special wiring, receptacles and plugs for extension cords. Extend your working distance by making a 250-volt, high-amperage extension cord.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 50 amp, 250 volt plug
  • 50 amp, 250 volt receptacle
  • 6 gauge extension wire
  • Wire stripper
  • Long-nose pliers
  • Screwdrivers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Disassemble the plug and receptacle by removing the screws that hold them together. Insert the cable through the strain relief and rear cap on both. Remove enough insulation from the cable on each end to access the wires inside and strip about 3/8 inch of insulation from each. The following steps apply to both the receptacle and the plug.

  2. 2

    Connect the bare or green ground wire to the ground terminal. Loosen the terminal screw and insert the end of the wire. Tighten the screw firmly. The ground terminal is attached to the D-shaped prong or slot.

  3. 3

    Connect the neutral wire (on four-wire plugs only) to the W terminal, which should be silver coloured. Loosen the terminal screw, insert the end of the wire and tighten the screw firmly.

  4. 4

    Connect the two coloured wires to the X and Y terminals -- either wire can go on either terminal. Loosen the terminal screws, insert the wires and tighten the screws firmly.

  5. 5

    Reassemble the plug and receptacle and tighten the strain relief on each to keep the cable from being pulled out.

Tips and warnings

  • High voltage welders operate on 220 to 250 volts. Calling a welder a 220-volt welder is simply a convention; there is no difference between a 220-volt and 240-volt welder.
  • Match the plug and receptacle to your welder and existing wall receptacle. If your wall receptacle and welder plug are 40 amp or 30 amp, then purchase those along with 8-gauge or 6-gauge cable respectively. Likewise, if your welder has a four- prong plug, then your extension cord should have a four-prong plug, a four-prong receptacle and a four-wire extension cord.
  • Do not use a smaller wire than the gauge specified for your welder. Do not attempt to connect a welder with a four-prong plug to a receptacle with three slots.

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