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Knucklehead97

New to me house, need help setting up welder.

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Howdy guys! 

 

So about 2 months ago I moved into a new to me house in Birmingham. Finally got myself and my wife (that happened 2 weeks ago!) settled in. We're only renting the house, but we love it so much that we're talking to the owners about purchasing it from them after our lease is up. 

 

My issue is that I have no idea how I'm going to practice welding at this house. I have my 110v welder but I was overloading the 20AMP breaker at my old house whenever I had it set to 3/4 power or higher. This house I'm renting is older and does not have a breaker box, it only has an older style fuse panel with 2 big fuses for the stove, water heater/clothes dryer, and a big fuse for the total houses power. Then 4 30AMP fuses for individual circuits around the house. My washroom is part of my little workshop area where I plan to weld and I could easily get to the 220v plug for my dryer. Is there a such thing as an adapter for the 220v outlet so I could plug my welder to it? If so, do yall believe this is the best route? Otherwise, what ideas do y'all have? 

 

If we buy the house after our lease I plan to have the fuse panel replaced with a new breaker box and will have multiple extra circuits installed. Including 2 more 220v circuits, 1 for an air compressor and 1 for a bigger welder when I get the chance to purchase it.

 

Hopefully I explained my situation well enough, sorry for any confusion.

 

 

Thanks! :))

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Are you comfortable opening up and wiring in a live service panel, breaker or fuse panel?

 

Are you still going to maintain a 110 welder or are you going to a 220? 

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I would be very worried about 30-amp fuses for the domestic circuits, because I've never EVER seen or heard of a house wired for 30-amp circuits. 30-amp circuits require 10-gauge wire. Most houses are wired with 14-gauge wire (15-amp circuits). In newer houses, the electrical code requires a 20-amp circuit in the kitchen, and a 20-amp circuit for the washer (IIRC).  One of the problems with fuses is that when somebody frequently overloads a circuit and blows the fuse (which is what's supposed to happen), the occupants too often just stick in a larger fuse and think they've "solved" the problem.

 

They haven't solved it. The fuse is to protect the wiring. Put in too large a fuse, and now the wires can overheat and cause a fire.

 

Post a photo of the 220-volt outlet you have, and the 220-volt welder you're looking at.

 

BTW -- congratulations on the wedding.

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-make friends with an electrician

-new breaker box for whole house

-a 40amp from that main box that feeds a small breaker box for the garage. 

-install separate 220 and 110 outlets as needed.

 

:L: 

 

the fact that you're asking this question makes me wonder if you're up to doing this task alone. 

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Congratulations on the new house and new wife!  Take care of them both and try not to burn the place down :) 

 

What you've got is a very old configuration which definitely would not be up to building codes in 2019.  You've got to follow building codes - 2019 codes - when you do the work.  The codes will tell you how big a wire to run for different amperages depending on the length of your runs.  Dropping in a sub panel is not hard work, and it's not complicated.  You're dealing with three wires, have to make sure the power is off, all your connections are tight and all your wiring is up to par.  You know how much juice you want to run through it - build for that. 

 

But, since it's not your house, and you might not be technically capable of doing the electrical work, consider a gas generator with 110/220V outlets on it and run that with the welder.  Electrical components, especially the actual wiring, can be downright expensive these days.  But not as expensive as a fire.  Do it right or don't do it.

 

I did this a few years ago in my garage.  I wired in a subpanel right next to the main box, which luckily was right in the garage in a closet.  For my application, I used a 100 amp subpanel and wired breakers in for a 20A/220V air compressor circuit, 30A/220V circuit for the plasma cutter (also switched to a 30A electric heater - so I can run one or the other, but not both at the same time), a 20A/110V welder circuit, and a 20A/110V circuit for garage outlets.  Works like a charm:

 

20151221_160440.jpg 

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There isn't one of us here who would get past/passed a current electrical inspection, so, let's let compliance rest. 

 

 

I was only going to suggest he do one of two things-

 

Either surface mount a 220 and 110 plug  at the existing service panel.

 

And-Or,

 

Get a 20-30 foot length of 8/2 w/ground cable and make his own extension cord.

He can use one leg of of the 220 dryer connection for his current 110 welder then simply convert the cord over to 220 when he gets the new welder. 

 

 

 

It's not his house, until it is, he works with what he's got. 

 

 

Mine is hardwired to the panel, runs both my welders just fine-

 

oCkMwBv.jpg

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Jeep Driver said:

There isn't one of us here who would get past/passed a current electrical inspection, so, let's let compliance rest. 

 

My house is wired properly. Every time wiring had been added or modified, it was done by a certified electrician and/or myself to adhere to code.  The code at the time of modification dating all the way back to 1956 when the house was built.  No way it stands up to 2019 code.  Would pass home inspection, though.

 

I was kind of taken back by what you said here, but you're right. 

 

I like the quick and dirty solution you propose here.  For the extension, some people buy RV hookups and hack them instead of buying all that copper straight up.

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31 minutes ago, kryptronic said:

 

My house is wired properly. Every time wiring had been added or modified, it was done by a certified electrician and/or myself to adhere to code.  The code at the time of modification dating all the way back to 1956 when the house was built.  No way it stands up to 2019 code.  Would pass home inspection, though.

 

I was kind of taken back by what you said here, but you're right. 

 

I like the quick and dirty solution you propose here.  For the extension, some people buy RV hookups and hack them instead of buying all that copper straight up.

For example-

 

Service panel cannot be installed in a closet where flammables/combustibles MAY be stored.

Panel must also have a clearance of 3' in any direction, no obstacles and must be in plain sight. 

Panel must be behind meter can, if not, a disconnect must be installed outside at the can.

Bridge must be removed and neutral and ground wires must be separated on separate bus bars. 

 

 

Just a few I can think of.........foundation must also be tied to ground.......etc.......

 

 

 

My meter is in the garage, I have been grandfathered in, electric company makes appointment with me to inspect the can every so often. 

 

I'm not an electrician but I've been around this stuff everyday of my working life.......I've wired a few buildings myself. 

 

 

I've also pulled a few meters to service panels.......just call the electric company the next day and tell them what you did, they swing by and install a new seal. One of those things whereas it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. And as a homeowner you have every right to act as your own contractor.......pull your own permits, get your own inspections. 

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36 minutes ago, Jeep Driver said:

For example-

 

Service panel cannot be installed in a closet where flammables/combustibles MAY be stored.

Panel must also have a clearance of 3' in any direction, no obstacles and must be in plain sight. 

Panel must be behind meter can, if not, a disconnect must be installed outside at the can.

Bridge must be removed and neutral and ground wires must be separated on separate bus bars. 

 

 

Just a few I can think of.........foundation must also be tied to ground.......etc.......

 

 

Check.

Check.

Check.

Check.

 

My house was built in 1950 and it satisfies all those requirements -- and a lot more. The original setup was a fuse panel such as Knucklehead described. It finally started creating brownouts, so I replaced it with a Seimans breaker panel, then a few years later I added a subpanel to get a few more spaces for things like a generator tie-in and a welder outlet. All work done by me, to code.

 

I found a questionable connection to ground when the satellite TV guys were doing their install. And the way they wanted to do it wasn't to code. So I kicked them out, prewired the house with coax to have it done right, and installed new grounding rods to ensure that the service was properly grounded, and then that the satellite dish was grounded and that ground was properly bonded to the primary grounding electrode system.

 

In general (unless local rules dictate otherwise) a homeowner who lives in the house can perform his/her own wiring, but it still requires a permit and an inspection. Knucklehead isn't the owner, so he can't [legally] do it himself. And, since the owner doesn't live in the house, the owner can't do it, either (unless he's a licensed electrician).

 

I like the suggestion of the patch cord from the 220 outlet to provide a 110 outlet for the small welder. But I have a concern: electrically, that works. 220 volt circuits have two "hot" wires, and the circuit is 220 hot-to-hot and 110 from either hot to neutral. All the 110 volt circuits in a house are 110 from one side or the other of the 220 volt input from the street to neutral. The concern is that with a patch cable like that you're running a single pole circuit off a 2-pole fuse or breaker. I would say go ahead and make up the cable, but test it by intentionally shorting it or overloading it to verify that it trips properly. Making an extension cord doesn't require an electrician or a permit, but replacing or adding an outlet does.

 

 

Also: The electrical code is not retroactive. A house built in 1950 does not have to meet the 2019 electrical code to be legal, it only has to conform to whatever code was current at the time the house was built. Any repairs or replacements must meet the 1950 code. Any new work (added circuits or additional outlets on an existing circuit) have to meet the new code.

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The bigger welder is very far in the future, I just want to plan ahead since I like to weld and don't want to be limited to my little 110v in the far future. And no I do not plan to do any of the wiring myself as far as replacing/adding a panel to get the wiring up to code. That all will be professionally done if we buy the house. This house is in fantastic condition inside and underneath. The roof was replaced just before I started renting it and the interior was almost completely remodeled. The only thing that is lacking is the wiring. But if we buy it then my wife and I plan to stay here for a long time considering it's in a GREAT area for us. But anyways, back on topic. I just really am looking for a possible quick, yet safe solution to continue practicing with my 110v without breaking the bank (marriage is pricey). If there isn't a quick and easy solution then I guess I'll just have to wait and see if I get to buy the house or not.

 

Also thanks for all the congrats on the marriage!

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1 hour ago, Jeep Driver said:

There isn't one of us here who would get past/passed a current electrical inspection, so, let's let compliance rest. 

 

 

I was only going to suggest he do one of two things-

 

Either surface mount a 220 and 110 plug  at the existing service panel.

 

And-Or,

 

Get a 20-30 foot length of 8/2 w/ground cable and make his own extension cord.

He can use one leg of of the 220 dryer connection for his current 110 welder then simply convert the cord over to 220 when he gets the new welder. 

 

 

 

It's not his house, until it is, he works with what he's got. 

 

 

Mine is hardwired to the panel, runs both my welders just fine-

 

oCkMwBv.jpg

 

 

I really like this idea, not too sure on the wiring for that though. I can take a picture of my 220 plug when I get home tomorrow.

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If you are going to install a new circuit for a welder. Have them put in a 50 amp circuit if possible. Most 220v welders pull 30-50 amps. I would rather have extra power available I didn’t need than have to redo everything if I got a bigger machine. Plus the cost difference is next to nothing to pull #6 instead of 10 gauge. The labor is the same  just a few extra bucks in copper. 

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1 hour ago, Knucklehead97 said:

I really like this idea, not too sure on the wiring for that though. I can take a picture of my 220 plug when I get home tomorrow.

 

Please post the picture. It'll help.

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Managed to get a couple pictures before work this morning. Hope they help. And yes, the workshop/washroom is quite dirty. Got some work to do on it :applause:

IMG_20190413_024455.jpg

IMG_20190413_024436.jpg

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1 hour ago, Knucklehead97 said:

Managed to get a couple pictures before work this morning. Hope they help. And yes, the workshop/washroom is quite dirty. Got some work to do on it :applause:

IMG_20190413_024455.jpg

IMG_20190413_024436.jpg

30 amp dryer plug. Easiest is to buy a dryer pigtail. And put a receptacle on the other end. Quick adapter 😀

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On 4/12/2019 at 4:09 PM, Knucklehead97 said:

. Then 4 30AMP fuses for individual circuits around the house. 

Almost for certain, some prior tenant/owner got tired of replacing overloaded fuses and put a very unsafe 30 amp fuse where a 15 amp fuse should be.  Check the wiring.  Most likely it is 14 awg. If you are don't know the wire size by looking at it, trace it back to the jacket and it will be marked.  Most likely 14 awg.  A major, major fire hazard. If any circuit becomes overloaded, the fuse ( or breaker) should be the weak point and blow.  With the  30 amp fuse the wire is likely to burn in two (if very lucky) or set the house on fire.  Replace the fuses with 15 amp fuses.

 

On 4/12/2019 at 4:09 PM, Knucklehead97 said:

 I have my 110v welder but I was overloading the 20AMP breaker at my old house whenever I had it set to 3/4 power or higher.

What is the draw in amps from your unit? The rating will be on the plate on the unit.  The unit might be designed to work on 110 or 220 volts and the plate will indicate that also.  Amps draw will be twice as much at 110 volts as 220.  Tell us the amps it draws (at each voltage if rated for 110 and 220) and we can tell you what is needed.

 

The cartridge fuses in the panel should be rated 30 amp for a dryer and 50 for a stove in the kitchen.  The L neutral on the plug in the pic above is a safety feature to prevent a 30 amp rated plug (with 10 awg wire) from being plugged into a 50 amp receptacle.  If something goes wrong with the welder, you want the circuit to fail quickly before you electrocute yourself or burn up the unit.

 

FYI, fuses are safer than circuit breakers, so no need for concern there.

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As 1989commanche and Manche757 have commented, you have a 30-amp, 125/250 volt receptacle, wired for 250 volts. You can make up a patch cord and put a standard 120-volt receptacle on the other end. 1989comanche suggests buying a 30-amp dryer cord and just putting a receptacle end on that. That will work, BUT ... you will then have a cord that has two hot wires running the full length, and you'll only be using one of them. You will have to isolate the unconnected end of that unused hot wire very well, and be sure that it can never come in contact with anything.

 

The other issue is that the receptacle you have isn't grounded, and the plug for your welder is probably a grounding (3-wire) plug. You need to come up with some way of making a connection for the grounding electrode in the welder plug. For this reason, I would go in an opposite direction for the patch cord. I would make up my own. You will need the correct plug -- it's called a NEMA 10-30 plug (and the corresponding receptacle is the same -- https://www.stayonline.com/product-resources/nema-straight-blade-reference-chart.asp ). Your new 120-volt cord will have three wires -- black, white, and either green or bare. Black is hot -- connect that to either of the slanted contacts in the NEMA 10-30 plug. White is neutral -- connect that to the L-shaped contact in the NEMA 10-30 plug. Do not connect anything to the second slanted contact. That completes the electrical power to your patch cord.

 

But you still have to worry about completing the ground. If you use 12-gauge, 12-2 Romex cable or 10-gauge, 10-2 Romex cable for your patch, it should be yellow. Inside the yellow outer jacket it will have an insulated black wire, an insulated white wire, and a bare ground wire. That's fine as long as the bare ground stays in the jacketed cable, since normally the ground wire doesn't carry any current. However, if you have to split that off to make a ground connection, you probably don't want a length of bare wire running to who knows where, since in the event of a short circuit at the welder that bare wire will become energized. If it contacts anything between the welder and the ground connection -- the stray current will try to ground through whatever that bare conductor touches.

 

You need to identify where you can make a connection to ground, then connect from that bare conductor in the Romex to the ground. I would do that by buying a sufficient length of 12-gauge or 10-gauge green-insulated wire (green is for ground -- black is for hot, white is for neutral) and splicing that to the bare conductor at the NEMA 10-30 plug and then running it to wherever you can make a connection to ground.

 

I doubt that your hobby welder is a 30-amp unit. It's probably designed for a 20-amp circuit, in which case 12-gauge wire is all you need for the draw. BUT -- if the dryer circuit has a 30-amp fuse, then you should use 10-gauge wire for your patch cable because 30-amp circuits should be wired with 10-gauge wire.

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8 hours ago, Eagle said:

As 1989commanche and Manche757 have commented, you have a 30-amp, 125/250 volt receptacle, wired for 250 volts. You can make up a patch cord and put a standard 120-volt receptacle on the other end. 1989comanche suggests buying a 30-amp dryer cord and just putting a receptacle end on that. That will work, BUT ... you will then have a cord that has two hot wires running the full length, and you'll only be using one of them. You will have to isolate the unconnected end of that unused hot wire very well, and be sure that it can never come in contact with anything.

 

The other issue is that the receptacle you have isn't grounded, and the plug for your welder is probably a grounding (3-wire) plug. You need to come up with some way of making a connection for the grounding electrode in the welder plug. For this reason, I would go in an opposite direction for the patch cord. I would make up my own. You will need the correct plug -- it's called a NEMA 10-30 plug (and the corresponding receptacle is the same -- https://www.stayonline.com/product-resources/nema-straight-blade-reference-chart.asp ). Your new 120-volt cord will have three wires -- black, white, and either green or bare. Black is hot -- connect that to either of the slanted contacts in the NEMA 10-30 plug. White is neutral -- connect that to the L-shaped contact in the NEMA 10-30 plug. Do not connect anything to the second slanted contact. That completes the electrical power to your patch cord.

 

But you still have to worry about completing the ground. If you use 12-gauge, 12-2 Romex cable or 10-gauge, 10-2 Romex cable for your patch, it should be yellow. Inside the yellow outer jacket it will have an insulated black wire, an insulated white wire, and a bare ground wire. That's fine as long as the bare ground stays in the jacketed cable, since normally the ground wire doesn't carry any current. However, if you have to split that off to make a ground connection, you probably don't want a length of bare wire running to who knows where, since in the event of a short circuit at the welder that bare wire will become energized. If it contacts anything between the welder and the ground connection -- the stray current will try to ground through whatever that bare conductor touches.

 

You need to identify where you can make a connection to ground, then connect from that bare conductor in the Romex to the ground. I would do that by buying a sufficient length of 12-gauge or 10-gauge green-insulated wire (green is for ground -- black is for hot, white is for neutral) and splicing that to the bare conductor at the NEMA 10-30 plug and then running it to wherever you can make a connection to ground.

 

I doubt that your hobby welder is a 30-amp unit. It's probably designed for a 20-amp circuit, in which case 12-gauge wire is all you need for the draw. BUT -- if the dryer circuit has a 30-amp fuse, then you should use 10-gauge wire for your patch cable because 30-amp circuits should be wired with 10-gauge wire.

I think I get the wiring now. So, for the ground, considering I have a 110v grounded outlet nearby, could I just  use something like this to connect ONLY the ground terminal to the 110 outlet? So basically neutral to the L-shaped terminal of the NEMA 10-30 plug, then the hot wire to ONE of the slant terminals, and then a separate 110v plug with only 1 wire connected for the ground circuit to be complete. Lastly, I'm guessing this all needs to be stranded wire, not solid?

Screenshot_20190413-200308.jpg

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43 minutes ago, Knucklehead97 said:

I think I get the wiring now. So, for the ground, considering I have a 110v grounded outlet nearby, could I just  use something like this to connect ONLY the ground terminal to the 110 outlet? So basically neutral to the L-shaped terminal of the NEMA 10-30 plug, then the hot wire to ONE of the slant terminals, and then a separate 110v plug with only 1 wire connected for the ground circuit to be complete. Lastly, I'm guessing this all needs to be stranded wire, not solid?

 

 

Yes, that would work. One path to ground is as good as another -- as long as it doesn't run through you (or your wife).

 

Just remember that there's no way (that I can think of) to make this work-around have ground fault protection. It's not required unless you're using the welder on an outdoor receptacle, but it's never a bad idea.

 

That said, I have a 120-volt (note: 110-volt and 120-volt get used interchangeably. It was 110 volts when I was a kid, but I think if you put a voltmeter on one of your circuits today it would show 120 volts) hobby welder that I run on a garage outlet. The house was built in 1950, so about 50 years before the advent of GFI protection. It works.

 

Solid wire or stranded -- it doesn't really matter. Romex is solid. Stranded will be much more flexible and easier to handle and to coil up when the welder isn't being used.

 

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I like going to the garagejournal.com for my electrical stuff. Sometimes it's frustrating because they are professional electricians and most of our stuff isn't code, but it's a very nice place to browse for electrical knowledge and such.

 

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