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Help with welder extension cord?

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  • Help with welder extension cord?

    I just bought a Miller Thunderbolt Xl 225 AC/150DC welder and I'm a total newbie. I just registered on the forum tonight so I could ask these questions. I did some stick welding when I was a kid, but it's been about 20 years or so. Hopefully it's just like riding a bike . Well I'm planning to run a 50 amp circuit for the welder and my welding will have to be done outdoors, on the side of the house opposite our electric panel. That means I'll need about 75 feet of extension cord, or so, to get me comfortably outside. I looked into buying some #6-2 Romex that I could use to make an extension cord, and it'll cost just about 130 dollars or so for the length I need. I'm not too happy about using the Romex for an extension cord because it's so stiff and not really the stuff to use for an extension cord. It's really meant for permanent wiring. With the welder's 20% duty cycle, can I use a thinner gage wire than #6? Would a 75 foot long generator cable with 10 gage conductors and rated for 30 amps be adequate? Is there anything else anyone would recommend for an extension cord of this length? Thank you very much for any help you can provide.

  • #2
    I have a 50' extension cord that I use on my MM251 its #10-2 and it works great. its some of that black "colored" (stranded wire) outdoor wire off a roll that you can get at home depot .and I put a male plug on one end and a female plug on the other, its flexible. and I can role it up like a big extension cord and store it. so I believe that you could get some of that # 8-2 wire at home depot . put some ends on it and use that

    maybe some of the other guys would have a better solution than what I am saying. I'm not a electrician

    also welcome to the forum , their are some great guys here
    log in often , learn, and have fun

    Welcome


    .............
    Richard

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tube_guy View Post
      ... Would a 75 foot long generator cable with 10 gage conductors and rated for 30 amps be adequate? ...
      I have the same welder. I think you'll be happy with it. As far as your question on wire capacities is concerned, you're pushing 10ga pretty hard at 50 amps and you'll get more than 2% voltage drop over your 75 ft distance. 8ga would be better and the voltage drop would be right at 2%. (assuming 220-240 supply voltage)

      I'd be a little concerned drawing a continuous 50 amps through permanent 10ga circuit wiring, but the welder isn't going to draw 50 amps unless it's cranked up to it's maximum amperage. The duty cycle will limit how long you can do that before the welder shuts down to cool off. Besides that, an extension cord is out in the open air and much less likely to overheat than Romex cable buttoned up inside a wall.

      Bottom line: Use the 10ga wire and enjoy your new welder.

      BTW, I bought a 50' 10ga heavy duty extension cord from Home Depot and replaced the plug and receptacle ends with NEMA 6-50 devices to match up to the welder and the shop outlet. Works fine.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had to build an ext cord for a Lincoln 225 stick welder (50a) coming out of my dad's workshop so we could work in the driveway (also had to re-configure the panel but thats another story). I used 6-3 (stovewire), installed a plug on one end and receptacle on the other, it's about 16ft long. Trust me-this stuff is tough to work with. I've had to "train" the wire so I can roll it up but now that its done I don't think twice about it. Works good, probably cost about $40 total but I had to have it, the wire has a thick black insulated skin on it and I also put some electrical tape on the ends for a little added protection. Works great, handles the load fine-no problems. This will last me forever. Good luck!!

        Comment


        • #5
          #10 is very practical and common for this application. No way is it possible for this machine to overheat that wire. Do not use Romex as an extension cord, however. And since you won't use Romex, you'll need a 10-3 SJOOW service cord, also easily available at Home Depot and the like. Cords count the ground wire, Romex does not. (A 10-3 cord = 10-2 Romex for wires inside). Extension cords must be stranded wire. #10 Romex is not.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have the same machine and have been using number 10 wire and have never had a problem and I push my machine to the limit and again have never had a problem.

            Wheelchair

            Comment


            • #7
              Extension cord

              tube guy,

              I bought one of these in 25' length for my 5 HP table saw and my Hobart 187. They have 25' and 50' lenghts listed.

              http://search-desc.ebay.com/8-3-mig-...tensionQ20cord

              Have a great weekend, Jerel

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MAC702 View Post
                #10 is very practical and common for this application. No way is it possible for this machine to overheat that wire. Do not use Romex as an extension cord, however. And since you won't use Romex, you'll need a 10-3 SJOOW service cord, also easily available at Home Depot and the like. Cords count the ground wire, Romex does not. (A 10-3 cord = 10-2 Romex for wires inside). Extension cords must be stranded wire. #10 Romex is not.
                mac.. when did you get back to vegas?

                Comment


                • #9
                  what wire

                  I have a 50' extension cord that we made with 10-3 and don't seem to have a problem with voltage drop or over heating of the wire. Dave

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by beamwalker View Post
                    mac.. when did you get back to vegas?
                    Wednesday. I was just telling Scott today that I needed to E-mail you. Made a ton of money with the Trailblazer today. Want it?


                    Oops, hijack! I'll E-mail you, Dave.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a 10 ga stranded cable but its 25'. seems like 75' would be a long way. Good thing is you probably wont draw 50 amps if you dont turn it all the way up, which you probably wont anyway, so maybe like 30 amps on it that long you could get away with


                      Good luck with your new welder

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you all for all of your help. I'll try to find some reasonable cord with 8 gauge conductors, but I'll probably end up with the 10 gauge conductor cord. I'm still a bit worried about the length, though. I measured everything out over the weekend and I'll need an extension cord 85 feet long to make it to my driveway. I hope that won't be a problem.

                        The Chinese have really driven up the price for copper, and other materials. I priced out a 6 gauge three conductor cord, 85 feet long, with no plug or receptacle ends. It was more than I paid for the welder. The 8 gauge cord is $240 locally. I haven't priced out the 10 gauge cord yet, but that'll probably be more reasonable for a middle-class working guy like me. If only I knew a few short years ago when copper was "cheap."
                        Last edited by tube_guy; 05-07-2007, 08:40 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey, why you knocking the Chinese!!! My last name is wong!!!
                          If you don't like it, YOU go get 50 billion of YOUR family members to buy copper, than maybe the price will come down!!!! Sorry, laughing too much while I'm typing this.... I get VERY p'd off too, everytime I buy metal...US sells it to them in raw form, then we BUY IT BACK FROM THEM!!!! YEESH!!!
                          Parents went to China last year. Average commoner makes $1.00/day.....
                          oh sorry, btw, I had an electrician hook up a 50amp 220 volt circuit to my dad's garage. He used #6ga romex. Didn't bother me though...would've used SO cable myself, but it's only 20ft long, and protected inside the storeroom.
                          bert

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Please go out and get a copy of the NEC (National Electrical Code) . 50 Amp. circuits use 6 ga. wire.

                            I No Longer give electrical advise, as I let my license expire in 1996. Use whatever you like, but when it get's HOT look for a FIRE.

                            Wishing you the best of luck,

                            Mike

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I do have a copy of the NEC. It's from 1999, so it's not the latest copy. The NEC allows much lighter cable for welders depending on the duty cycle of the welder. Both the NEC and Miller, in the manual for the welder, indicate that 12 gauge conductors are acceptable for the welder due to the 20 percent duty cycle. In fact, the power cord attached to the welder from the factory uses 12 gauge conductors. To me that's awfully thin wire for a welder that could draw 47.5 amps and I just don't feel good about using an extension cord with 12 gauge conductors. I was also a bit worried about the voltage drop along 85 feet of it. I wanted 6 gauge wire for the extension cord, like would normally be used for a 50 amp circuit, but locally I priced it at over 500 bucks for 90 feet! With the information Mac702 provided, I was able to search around online and found prices to be much cheaper. I just bought some 6 gauge flexible cable to wire up the extension cord. With shipping, it was just over 200 bucks. Now I feel much better about it and the price only made me cry for a little while. I would like to thank everyone for their help. It really was helpful and made a big difference for me. Thank you.

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