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Erratic arc

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Re: Erratic arc

Postby Least honorable » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:49 pm

Jim FLinchbaugh wrote:Do you have a magnet anywhere near what you're welding?
Like holding 2 pieces together?


i've (and im pretty sure many people have) welded with magnets less than an inch away from my weld zone and i've never seen any magnet screw up a weld like that at 10 amps, though thats just me. unless he owns a really powerful rare earth magnet, i doubt its the issue, but what is happening to OP really does puzzle me
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby Rick van winkle » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:33 pm

Update for anyone who might be interested... no obstruction was found in the gas lines or regulator. The argon solenoid isnt a type that looks easily rebuildable so i didnt take it apart with the machine being so new. The screen on the inlet of the solenoid is clear though. The argon tube inside the machine isn't pinched. I went back to my LWS today to return the torch they loaned me. They insisted i borrow a regulator from them and try it. So i did but no improvement was seen. The LWS has offered to let me bring the machine uo there so they can see the issue first hand and maybe understand what the issue might be. We will also try another argon bottle when i bring the machine up to them. Anyone in the north georgia area should consider lanier welding supply in gainesville. They didnt sell me the machine but have been nothing but helpful in figuring it out. I called ahp today and talked to their tech support, he was also baffled and thinks i have a bad argon tank.


I did notice today when messing with the new regulator that if i turn the argon flow up the arc stops wandering and instead focuses in one spot that is at least 1/8" from where the tip of the tungsten is. Turn argon down to 15-20 cfh the arc stays close to the tip of the tungsten but wanders all over the place. Get the cfh up over 40 and the arc is blowing off the side off the tungsten 1/4" and is loud like a gas torch with a big arc plume and tons of heat. If i try to puddle the base metal with the high 40cfh setting i get less porosity but still not near acceptable.
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby raticus » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:33 am

well so much for my theory... too bad you don't have a welder friend you can bribe to come over (beer is a good bribery) and let them go at it... if they get the same results at least you can't blame yourself.
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby WVJay » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:10 pm

I know I am new, but this sounds just like what I did last weekend when I installed the stubby gas lens kit. When you installed the collet in the collet body did you put the slit end in first? I put mine in with the slits up toward the cap and it did the same thing. Arc would jump all over the place due to the tungsten not being tight enough creating a poor connection in the torch. I hope you find your issue.
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby raticus » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:00 pm

just thought of one thing, not sure if it was talked about or if you used some different scrap... but is this problem occurring on any steel you use? or is it just on this one piece of steel? i'm wondering if you're only having this issue on the one piece of scrap, that maybe there's an issue with it... maybe it's not even what you think it is (i.e not carbon steel)...
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby Rick van winkle » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:36 pm

WVJay wrote:I know I am new, but this sounds just like what I did last weekend when I installed the stubby gas lens kit. When you installed the collet in the collet body did you put the slit end in first? I put mine in with the slits up toward the cap and it did the same thing. Arc would jump all over the place due to the tungsten not being tight enough creating a poor connection in the torch. I hope you find your issue.



I'll double check tonight, but i dont have an issue with the tungsten being loose in either gas lens or standard collett body configurations.

As far as the base metal im using ive tried multiple pieces, but im not using scrap steel either. Im using welding coupons that lincoln sells through their james f lincoln foundation. The problem started on a piece that i had been welding on fine the day before. But none the less ive tried three different coupons. Im a little frustrated at the lack of support im getting from AHP on this now even though they cant think of anything else to try they are saying they dont want to try to fix it either because it still turns on. Hindsight being what it is i would probably spend the extra for the lincoln machine if i had it to do all over again.
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby Rudy Ray » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:19 am

I am looking forward to learning what the problem is. It's been on the back of my mind for weeks now.
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby Rick van winkle » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:26 am

Rudy Ray wrote:I am looking forward to learning what the problem is. It's been on the back of my mind for weeks now.


AHP says they are sending me a pre-paid shipping label but that was first thing friday and i havent heard back on it yet. Hopefully they will let me know what they find.
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby MarkL » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:27 am

You mentioned your LWS offered to let you bring the machine over and they'd help you diagnose the problem. Did you ever get a chance to do that?
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Re: Erratic arc

Postby entity-unknown » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:36 pm

I believe I'm late to the show but you never posted your success so perhaps you're still hunting...

The three common things for bad arc that I've found are:
1: Bad Grind
2: Bad Ground
3: Bad Gas

Specifics of the 3 Bad Things:
1: Tons of arguments here but a bad grind gives bad arc. If you have a flat spot, the arc will focus there. What seems to be the "trick" is getting a perfect grind and spiral all around. The more concentric, the better the arc. If you half ass it you will have wander. If you do a decent job on a bench grinder, you'll have a decent arc with some noticeable wander. If you become an expert (in time) on grinding, in my personal experience you will never experience arc wander. What does a perfect grind look like? I dunno but a consistent/concentric pattern all around your tip seems to be the key. Whether it be CONSISTENT straight lines, or a fancy CONSISTENT curve all around, as long as the spacing and pattern is 100% consistent all around your grind, life should usually be good.

2: Make sure you have a good flow of electrons to your piece. Basically you need to make sure things are clean, clamped tight, and you have a good gauge/quality wiring for your ground clamp. In the end the truth is electricity is resilient and will find a way if it's possible but if you have crap/paint/anything but bare metal, TIG'in will present problems.

3: If you're not getting enough gas, life will suck and you'll have the worst experience ever. How do you tell if gas is running? give a quick push to your pedal or trigger and listen. If you hear it blow air(gas) out the cup, you're good. If you don't, then maybe it's too low. Either way give a feel with another "push" and hopefully you feel something come out. If not, it's too low or clogged. Argon isn't something that "clogs" up so if this is an issue you've got a pinched line or bad regulator. If you suspect either then crank the gas up real high and give a quick hit. If you still don't feel or hear anything then you've got some issues with a regulator up to the components inside that control gas flow including leak control from those internal valves. What should you be "feeling" with the gas hitting your flesh? The lightest breeze or one of the lightest pressures your air compressor can put out is very similar. Even pursing your lips and blowing on your finger tips should be similar.
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