Does your machine need to be self-powered, or will AC power be available at the location where it’s primarily used?
- For locations where an electrical hookup is not practical, consider a gas- or diesel-powered engine-driven welder/generator to supply welding and auxiliary power.
- For locations where AC power is available, you need to know its type—and whether it’s a match for the machine you’re considering:
Single-phase power is found in most homes and garages. Check to see if the machine you’re considering requires single-phase power, and whether its voltage requirements (120 or 240 volts) are met by the electrical service at the intended location.
Three-phase power is common in industrial settings. Check to see if the machine you’re considering requires three-phase power and whether its voltage requirements are met by the electrical service at the intended location.
About duty cycles
Duty cycle is an indication of how long a power source can continuously weld (at a specific amperage and voltage) in a 10-minute period of time before it needs to cool down. For example, a machine with a 60 percent duty cycle at 300 amps and 32 volts of welding output can be used (at 300 amps and 32 volts) for 6 minutes out of a 10-minute period. When comparing two similarsized power supplies it is important to pay close attention to both the amperage and voltage values that determine the rated load.
When considering duty cycle for a Stick machine, note that most Stick electrodes are consumed in less than two minutes. Further about 80% of all Stick welding is done with a 1/8-inch diameter electrode, which takes about one minute to consume.
To see if a machine meets your needs, consider the following power classifications.
- Light Industrial products typically have a 20% duty cycle and a rated output of 230 amps or lower.
- Industrial products typically have a 40-60% duty cycle and a rated output of 300 amps or lower.
- Heavy Industrial products typically have a 60-100% duty cycle and a rated output of at least 300 amps.
Out in the field, you may need an engine-driven welder to supply 120- or 240-volt AC power to run tools and lights, or supply 12-volt DC power to charge automotive batteries and jump-start vehicles. Miller engine-driven welders are packed with auxiliary power; larger units even offer option packages that add 10 to 20 kW of auxiliary power.
Can you bring the work to the machine, or does the machine need to go to the work? Check the product detail pages for types of portability:
- Shoulder strap, handles, running gear, carts, etc.
- Many engine-driven welders fit in the back of a pickup truck, enabling them to be driven to wherever the welding is needed. Heavy-duty trailers are also available for engine drives.