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Old 04-20-2008, 10:54 AM   #1
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


Hello, I'm a newbie here.

I want to wire up a welder, need advice on how to best do it and what size service I probably have

I just purchased a 1989 Miller Syncrowave 350 to do some tig welding in my garage. the power requirements listed on the welder are 200/230/460 volts and 139/118/59 amps, it's single phase AC/DC machine capable of over 400 amps output but I will be welding at or below 200 amp output.

My main distribution box is directly on the opposite side of the garage wall from the power meter. Wires coming into the box are 2/0 AWG THH(M or N) cant quite tell if its M or N. I had a tree come down a couple of years ago and pulled the mast down and shorted out one of the incoming wires from the pole to the meter, had an electrician come out and do the repair, I think he told me he upgraded the line so I could upgrade to 200 amp service box in the future.

The circuit breaker box has no main breaker, I have never liked this about the box, always have to wire live! here is a picture of the box.
<a href="http://s276.photobucket.com/albums/k...t=100_0115.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/k...l/100_0115.jpg" border="0" alt="Electrical service pannel"></a>

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/k...l/100_0115.jpg

I'd appreciate any recommendations for how to add a 230 outlet to run this machine

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Old 04-20-2008, 11:37 AM   #2
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


I see what you mean. Is there not a disconnect outside? This is a clear violation of the NEC. Are you sure this is your main distribution panel? You cannot use a lug panel for your main service panel. The electrician that was there before should have warned you about this. How are you working things hot. You can turn off circuit breakers for everything in the house.

You need to put the welder project on the back burner and get this issue cleared up before proceding. Get this service right before you do anything else. Call an electrician first thing Monday morning, unless you are confident you can do the upgrade yourself. If you are going to do it yourself, we can help you.

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Old 04-20-2008, 12:21 PM   #3
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


Yes this is the main panel, the only way I can disconnect power to it is by pulling the meter. I've done this a few times, last time I did it to install a Guardian 16kw Natural Gas back up generator and its transfer switch.

Sure I'd like help in fixing this problem, and at the same time help in adding a disconnect switch and outlet for my welder.

A couple of facts to consider, first of all, as I mentioned above I installed a backup gen set and a transfer switch. The transfer switch now houses most of my circuit breakers, so if I need to change the main distribution box, I don't think I need room for more than a dozen breakers, I'll count them up to check and leave a little room for expansion if needed.

Second, like I said I'm unsure of the service I have, I know I have 2/0 to the box from the meter and it looks like that is what I have from the utility poll to the meter but I cant see the labeling on it even under close inspection. The run from the utility to the meter is a short 30' ( I have a utility easement right at the rear of the garage)

My guess is that I will need to replace the entire panel, I have not seen where I could install a main breaker in the box I now have. Would another option be to re route the power from the meter to a separate disconnect box then to the panel I now have ? This would save the expense of all new breakers in the case that the old ones were not compatible with the new box.

I'm confident with a little instruction, mainly what to get and and a little info confirming my wiring choices I can "getter done". I use to work hooking up 440 3 phase machines and cranes, but that was 30 years ago so much as been forgotten, I also wired and installed my Guardian generator and transfer switch and did some regular 110vt home wiring in my house....no expert here and I'm sure I've made a few mistakes but thats why I can use help form you and this board.

Thanks

Big Al
Conroe, TX
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Old 04-20-2008, 01:58 PM   #4
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


If you are going to upgrade this service I recommend a 200 amp breaker panel for starts. The existing panel has a nipple (2" it looks like) from the meter can through the wall to the existing panel. It would be very easy to install the new panel right there. The new panel will have a knock out in a similar position. You will need clearance on both sides and bottom. The new 200 amp panel will most likely come with 40 spaces. It will be taller than the one you have? I think you would be able to accomplish this job in one day.
If the wire is #2 copper it is too small for a 200 amp panel, you need #3 copper or #4 aluminum as shown in table 310.16 in the NEC code book (2005).
You could go with a 150 amp service but I would not. 200 amp is the norm for most single family dwellings and will provide you with room for expansion.

Can you pull a homeowners permit in your area. If so, pull one for a service change. Once you are permitted come back to the forum for further instructions. You can email me at jvaldes@windstream.net I am a master electrician and contractor. I am now disabled and would have time to help you.

Your idea of installing another panel next to the existing panel does have its merits. If that is the route you want to take let us know.

Last edited by J. V.; 04-20-2008 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:55 PM   #5
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


I will agree with J.V. on the issue and soon i saw the photo you provied for us to take a look i say oh oh no main brekaer in the box at all and i really super strongly advise you to change the breaker box and get the correct one to slove the issue you got there first then we can able help you with large welder.

Merci,Marc
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:37 PM   #6
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


I believe this is a Challenger panel. If appears to me to be one that will accept a main breaker kit. Notice the main breaker vertical stop inbetween the service entrance conductors. Also the studded bus bars tell me that a main can be installed in the panel.
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:41 AM   #7
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


Stubbie, I think you are right. I took a second look at the panel yesterday and noticed all the room between the breakers and the lugs. He might just be able to install the main and be done with it. I would still wonder what size this panel is? #2 copper upgaded the poster said. What's your guess? I say 100.
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:49 PM   #8
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


Well from what he says the electrician installed 200 amp service entrance to upgrade the panel to accept a 200 amp service. So I am assuming as you that it was something smaller than 200 amp. He would have to have the cover sheet for the panel to get its rating. But a main breaker kit would be great once he figures that out. Simple and gives him that disconnect. The only way he is compliant is using the 6 handle rule without the main disconnect between the meter and the panel. He obviously isn't using that rule from all the romex coming into the panel.
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Old 04-21-2008, 01:02 PM   #9
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Help with wiring a welder into garage.


JV

I should note though that the welder is a serious user so a 100 amp panel likely is not going to cut it considering everthing else. I beleive that is what your trying to tell the op.

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