powercraft 160 amp arc welder

  1. soups05 New Member

    Hi all,new to this site and need advice. I purchased a powercraft 160a arc welder for a couple of small jobs. upon upnacking the machine and reading the manual (yes i'm nerdy like that lol) I have read in the manual that it MUST NOT be connected using a 13amp plug.
    I checked various forums to find out what i need and mention is made of just using the 13amp plug but keeping the welder on low power. others recommend getting a sparks to install a 30 amp socket in the house but this would lead to me using a 20 metre extension lead to get to the job site at the end of the garden which some posters say is dangerous.
    I have seen inverters(?) which weld by plugging into a domestic power supply and was wondering is there an inverter which would allow me to plug my welder into a 13amp plug.

    any suggestions would be helpfull. at this point i am thinking it would be easier to give up and hire a pro but I have always been a keen diyer and hate to throw in the towel.
  2. rtbcomp

    rtbcomp Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome to the forum.

    They're all right really.

    There isn't such a thing as an inverter to allow you plug you're machine into the mains. Inverter describes the technology used in some types of welder.

    Do you need an extension if you use it on a 13A supply?

    Any wiring from the house will have to be of sufficient cross sectional area to carry the current and avoid a voltage drop, DIY type extensions may not be suitable.
  3. soups05 New Member

    hi, yes would need some sort of extension. the main job is to weld a gate post that some fool hit with his daddies car. 16 yr old punk who laughs at the thought of paying for repairs combine with law enforcement who basically slap his wrist and tell him he is a naughty boy.

    I called a local welder who took 5 weeks to come out and access the job. hmm and haa and shaking of the head. mutters of a complicated job etc. quoted almost 1000 euro.

    no way i could afford that so i pushed my budget to the max getting the welder at 60 euro lol
  4. PTvor Member

    Posts: 1,204
    UK
    Do a search on the site for "Aldi arc welder" or just "Aldi", and "fuse". There are one or two threads started by people who've bought these welders and gone through a learning process.

    Extension leads are another topic.

    You can use it with a 13 amp socket, but at much over 120A it will blow fuses. You may have problems anyway if you have MCBs.

    Aldi are covering themselves by not fitting a plug, but you really ought to have a better connection than a 13A socket.

    I think you have some understandable confusion about the word 'inverter'. There are inverters which convert DC, say from a car battery, to AC, say at 240V 50Hz, to run a telly in a caravan.

    Inverter welders are like the switch mode power supplies in a computer but handle much higher power. They convert AC from the mains to DC at about 340V and then use electronics to switch the DC into a waveform for a transformer at 25000 Hz or so, and the transformer steps it down to about 25V at welding currents and it's rectified to DC.

    There are electronics and increasingly a computer, in the inverter welder to control its output for welding. Basically, a transformer handling 3KW say, can be a lot smaller and lighter if it operates at 25KHz than a similar one operating at 50Hz. However, inverter welders are more expensive and have their own problems, working on long extension leads being one.

    You might find this useful

    http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/arc-tutorial.htm


    Lots of people weld and do useful work which saves a lot of money and hassle with welders such as yours. It's just that it's as well to be aware of the limitations. You can't weld more than about three rods before they overheat and you have to wait about a quarter of an hour for then to cool down. You need some decent rods and the Aldi and other cheap rods are at best variable. Practically, you can only weld mild steel 3mm and thicker, but that includes quite a lot of useful work. The little plastic hand shield is just about usable, but not much good, likewise the wee brush/chipping hammer. Clamps are incredibly useful.

    Welcome to the forum. If you look with the search you will find threads by a few people who've gone the same way before.
  5. soups05 New Member

    thanks pt used the search and found some usefull info. it seems like i could weld with just the 13 amp plug on a low setting but not using the extension lead. this is very little practical use to me as the gate is not something i can move into the house lol. i may need to call a sparks to price fitting the 30 amp socket. but would that allow the use of a 30 amp extension lead running out to the garden?
  6. Robotstar5

    Robotstar5 Casanunda

    Posts: 9,179
    Birmingham
    You can use an extension lead but not one of the standard 1.5mm² DIY types, you will need to make one using 2.5mm² 3 core (preferably blue "arctic" type) cable, this is the biggest you can get into a 13A plug, or make up an adapter like this

    13A-16A.JPG

    you could then use 4mm² cable into 16A plug/socket and fit a 16A plug to welder.

    Note: you are still restricted by the 13A fuse so cannot run high power, but at least get to end of garden for the job :laughing:
  7. PTvor Member

    Posts: 1,204
    UK
    Before you start worrying about the gate post, long extensions and 30 amp supplies, I think you should do a little reading, get some scrap, clean it up, and try it out either in the garage or on a short extension outside the back door with a 13 amp plug. The worst you can do is blow the fuse.

    Try running beads on the scrap first with 2.5mm rods at about 80A or 3.2mm rods at about 120A. If you can't consistently lay down nice beads on the flat and not get the rod stuck or burn through, there's not much point in tackling the gate post.
  8. shenion

    shenion Tool Pack Rat

    Posts: 7,596
    Stone Mountain, GA USA
    you might try practicing with yours on the bench.

    Then when you are ready to do the repair, rent a portable engine-driven welder.
  9. Dogbreath23 The legend of the black bogey...

    alright there Soups. Dont worry. Ive run welders loads of time off 13 amp and on long extensions 30/40 foot, obviously dont go running the lawn mower over the cable you'll be fine. If you're just welding up a gate post you wont have to have the thing on full whack anyway.If you can run the lead from the kitchen try pluging it into the cooker socket because that'll be on higher amps and have more welly.good luck with it.
  10. brightspark

    brightspark Member

    Posts: 10,470
    yarm teeside
    why do people think a cooker controll unit with a socket supplys more power than a socket on the ring main :laughing:just make sure your 13 amp plug is plugged in to the ring main and not a spur of it ;)
  11. Robotstar5

    Robotstar5 Casanunda

    Posts: 9,179
    Birmingham
    Because it supplies 30A for a cooker so it must be better :whistle: :laughing:
  12. brightspark

    brightspark Member

    Posts: 10,470
    yarm teeside
    :laughing::laughing:the best ive heard is 2 people bull****ing i.got a shock of the lighting circuit the other said thats nowt lights are only 5 amp i got a got a shock of the cooker that was a 30 amp shock:whistle: i just stood there and said bet that hurt :clapping:pair of spuds:laughing:
  13. Dogbreath23 The legend of the black bogey...

    I dunno. thats just what I was told. seemed to work better...maybe I'm imagining things.whats the difference then? all I know about electrickery is burning rods mate:welder:
  14. PTvor Member

    Posts: 1,204
    UK
    If you put a 13A plug into a 13A socket with the maximum authorised fuse value for the plug, the most you can take from it is 13A (a bit more because fuses have a bit of leeway). It doesn't matter if the socket is in a cooker point or on a ring main.

    I think what may be causing confusion is that it's possible to wire a welder directly into a cooker point in place of the cooker, in which case the circuit is protected only by the cooker fuse in the fuse box, 30A or 45A from memory.

    Whether this is good practice, I wouldn't like to say. It's certainly a very inconvenient way of doing things, unless you live with a very unusual household set up, or it's a dire emergency.
  15. keith19 Forum Supporter

    The cooker wall unit will usually have a 30 Amp dedicated supply. This means nothing else feeds out of it except an electric cooker if you have one, and sometimes a 13 Amp socket. Like any other 13 Amp socket, this is only designed to supply 13 Amps, and you can only use a 13 Amp plug in the socket.
    However, if you want to get into the borderlands of what is and isn't electrically politically correct, and if you don't use an electric cooker on the unit, it is quite possible to use the cooker connectors to fit a 20 Amp or heavier cable (depending on your welder) to a 20 Amp or heavier socket, into which you plug your 20 Amp plus extension cable to your welder.
    One cannot advise this course of action for everyone, because there are particular electrical criteria which need to be checked, like the type and amperage of the cutout on the circuit in the consumer unit, and the actual size and carrying capacity of the cables supplying the cooker circuit as opposed to guessing them, etc.
    But it has been done and is being done by those who know what they are doing and are careful about doing it.
  16. brightspark

    brightspark Member

    Posts: 10,470
    yarm teeside
    a supply can be taken of the cooker circuit to either a 30 amp or a 16amp socket only providing the cooker circuit isnt being used for a cooker or anything else conected and the supply fuse down rated to 16 amp if needed. dont just conect in and hope for the best without checking 1st.: our lass wouldnt let me in to conect owt with me boots on in kitchen :laughing:
  17. Dogbreath23 The legend of the black bogey...

    what about if you take the 13amp fuse out of the plug and replace it with a nail?
  18. brightspark

    brightspark Member

    Posts: 10,470
    yarm teeside
    dont even go there:rolleyes:it defeats the object
  19. Dogbreath23 The legend of the black bogey...

    only joking!
  20. andrewcbr86 New Member

    Posts: 1
    uk
    just recieved one of these welders,,, your best bet would be put on of those large round industrial plugs on end of your unit's power wire, have an extension with opposite industrial plug, then bare wires at other end. connect the bare end to cooker outlet, if your cooker has its own switch in kitchen and own circuit in consumer unit then that would be ok. Just check the main CU trip switch is rated at no higher than 32 amp.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
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