powercraft 160 amp arc welder

  1. Ddave73 Member

    Messages:
    24
    United Kingdom
    I realise this is an old thread but hopefully you guys can help.

    I have bought a Powercraft 160A Arc Welder from Aldi, it was only £29.99 and I have been very tempted to start some kind of welding for years so I couldn't resist.

    After being confused at seeing no plug on the wire I have spent a few hours now reading up and trying to figure out what I need.

    My house is rented so major electrical work is out of the question, minor stuff I think I could get away with if that helps.

    This is my power board or fuse board or whatever it is its called if this is also any help.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I am pretty sure I wont be needing to weld anything huge just yet and only want to mess about with an old metal bed frame and a few bits and bobs so I was thinking about just buying a handful of fuses, fitting a regular 13amp plug and giving it a go.

    Worst case scenario? My mains box trips (like when one of my lights blow) and/or the fuse in the plug simply blows?

    I can live with that if I can at least try something light before investing in this whole thing without being fearful of breaking something important with the house electrics.

    Any help or advice would be superb.
     
  2. Wozzaaah

    Wozzaaah The wizard of woz Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,310
    Wiltshire, UK
    If you can't mess about with the electrics to sort out the required supply then stick a 13A plug on it and see what happens.
    The worst case scenario is the fuse in the plug blows, if it does, don't run the welder so high. ;)
     
  3. Ddave73 Member

    Messages:
    24
    United Kingdom
    Cheers, that's pretty much what I have gathered so far but just needed a little confirmation as I really didn't fancy trying to explain to my landlord why the electricals in his house have been destroyed haha

    I'll go and buy a heavy duty plug and a bag full of 13a fuses tomorrow.

    I am going to spend the night watching tutorial video's I think.

    Many thanks :)
     
  4. Ddave73 Member

    Messages:
    24
    United Kingdom
    Today I fitted a good quality 13 amp plug and turned it on on the lowest setting.

    Everything was fine but I am thinking that once I start making a spark it will start drawing more power and could blow the fuse, is this right or can I be pretty safe in assuming that its going to work on the lowest power setting at least?

    I wont be trying to weld until next week when my new mask and gloves arrive.
     
  5. Wozzaaah

    Wozzaaah The wizard of woz Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,310
    Wiltshire, UK
    You won't know until you try it but it's lowest setting won't be any good to you anyway, rods need a certain amount of juice in order to start and maintain an arc.
    The electrode box will tell you the current range required. ;)
     
  6. Ddave73 Member

    Messages:
    24
    United Kingdom
    Cheers. I think I'm starting to understand how this works a bit better now.

    Cant wait to give it a go, hurry up delivery man!! :)
     
  7. rich r

    rich r Member

    Messages:
    635
    North Yorkshire
    I've had one for a couple of years, and yes you can stick a 13A plug on it.

    However, you'll only be able to take the welding current up to about 110A or it'll pop the fuse fairly often. But if you only need to use 2.5mm rods you'll have no problems.

    If you stick a 16A commando plug on (and wire a 16A spur from your fusebox), you can go up to 150A without any problems. That's enough for 4mm rods.

    The other thing to watch (as with most welders) is that if you have B type MCBs, they'll trip occasionally as the initial surge of current is very high (>20A) for a fraction of a second. If this proves to be an issue, change the MCB to the slower rated C type.
     
  8. rtbcomp

    rtbcomp Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    18,615
    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    Another advantage of the 16A plugs is that they have a larger contact area than the 13A plugs and don't have a fuse. This means less chance of a voltage drop & power loss in the plug & socket.

    The fuse holders in a lot of 13A plugs leave much to be desired.
     
  9. Ddave73 Member

    Messages:
    24
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for the advice chaps :)
     
  10. PTvor Member

    Messages:
    1,863
    UK
    Get a good quality 13A plug and a stock of 13 amp fuses, which should be marked BS1363. You will blow fuses when you are finding out how high you can go with the current and when you get the rod stuck, which you will.

    Don't be tempted to use a bit of thick wire in place of a proper fuse.
     
  11. seanspotatobusiness New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Edinburgh
    According to Wikipedia, BS 1362 allows a 13 A fuse 1–400 seconds to melt at 30 A so its conceivable that it wouldn't melt at all at 16 A? Also, a ring should be able to supply 26 A (13 A from each arm of the ring). If it were me, I'd try a regular 13 A fuse and if that kept blowing I'd search eBay for a 16 A in the same dimensions.
     
  12. rtbcomp

    rtbcomp Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    18,615
    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    I think you mean 1-400 mSec?

    The current isn't split evenly down each arm of a ring main, it's split in proportion to the resistance (= length) of each arm.

    A ring main is usually fused at 30 amps.

    You shouldn't fit a 16A fuse in 13A plug. They're designed for 13A, and some of them run warm at less than that.
     
  13. rich r

    rich r Member

    Messages:
    635
    North Yorkshire
    If you want to run 16A, use a 16A plug and socket (eg blue Commando type). They're not expensive, and ensure the plug won't melt. Putting anything larger that a 13A fuse in a BS1363 plug is not clever.

    My Aldi welder is connected by a 16A plug to a spur that's on a 20A MCB on the garage consumer unit. When I need to do welding away from a 16A supply, I have a standard caravan-type 13A BS1363 plug to Commando socket adapter with a 13A fuse in the plug. I cannot use larger than 2.5mm rods when running off 13A, as I have to limit the welding current to around 75A.
     
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