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Old 07-17-2019, 11:07 AM   #1
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Generator Power for Welder?


I've got a couple of 5.5 Kw portable generators. My son-in-law called me last night to ask if he could borrow one for a while. He just bought a small flux-core welding machine from Harbor Freight (he's a reasonably good DIY welder) specifically to attempt some fence repairs on some acreage he owns. There's no electric power in the area, so he assumes he can power the welder with the generator. Is this doable without harming either the generator or welding machine?
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Old 07-17-2019, 11:16 AM   #2
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


The generator should be fine. It has a breaker that will trip if he overloads it.
5.5Kw is about 22 amps at 240 volts. Depending on how much power he needs it will likely work for small power, short duration welding.
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Old 07-17-2019, 11:46 AM   #3
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


You need to tell him to check the generator instructions. I looked at the manual for a Chicago 125 amp flux core welder sold by Harbor Freight. One of the electrical safety instructions for that welder was “do not use outdoors”.
Why they have it, IDK.

If he’s has a similar warning on his machine, I’d call the tech support and at least ask why they say that. Then make a decision.

This particular machine has a duty cycle of 20% at 90 amps. That means weld 2 minutes, give it 8 minutes not welding.
Depending what repairs he has in mind, that may slow him down.
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:56 PM   #4
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


I ran a Miller 135 amp MIG off my 5500 watt Generac with no issues. Just keep good gas and tune on the gen, as it really makes it hunker down once a person starts running some long bead.
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:58 PM   #5
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


Quote:
One of the electrical safety instructions for that welder was “do not use outdoors”.
Why they have it, IDK.
Most likely don't want you using it in the rain.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:58 PM   #6
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


Quote:
Most likely don't want you using it in the rain.
It would be easy to say “don’t use outdoors if raining, or if rain is expected”.

That leads me to believe that there may be other reasons/concerns. I could be wrong, but I think it’s worth a phone call to check it out.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:38 PM   #7
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


The manufacturers probably are just doing a CYA in case someone brings a indoor rated arc welder back to them for 100 % replacement. And they find the unit got soaked in the rain and when it was turned on it cooked its self. As they know not all people use their tools responsibly.

Because if anyone is welding outside and it starts raining, it will not take them long to figure to put that electrode down and turn the machine off.

Just a few good shocks from them picking up some welding currents through the wet metals they are trying to weld, will do that to a person. Been there done that one. JMO
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:00 PM   #8
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


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Originally Posted by Oso954 View Post
It would be easy to say “don’t use outdoors if raining, or if rain is expected”.

That leads me to believe that there may be other reasons/concerns...
Could be the fumes(?)
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:02 PM   #9
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


Fumes are more dangerous indoors, than outdoors to the one welding. Especially if the welder is used indoors and there is no forced ventilation to remove the fumes from the welding space being used. .
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:41 PM   #10
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Re: Generator Power for Welder?


Your fine!!!Even if the thing was "rated" for 100A welding, it is from HB!! It will either only do half of name plate, OR it WILL do full name plate for 13seconds, then never work again.

Either way, I highly doubt there is enough guts in it to labor a 5.5kw genny. However, if you can wire for either 120V or 240V, use 240V. This will half the primary amperage in the welder and genny so they don't heat up as much.
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