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Line Power

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Line Power

Postby ThaiGuy » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:02 am

Hi all, new to the forum...a rookie TIG welder just buying my first machine. A programmable light duty Welpro TIG200P.

German spec, Taiwan built. Tests worked well on carbon and aluminum...knobs are goofy, but weld quality nice!

My issue is something I have never experienced before. We are in Thailand, where all residential and light industry power is single phase 220...or 230...or 215...or ~208. In rural provinces or counties, like ours, the peak power is a problem for stick welding, unless you don't care about quality. Our system is 220V, but runs at 228 non-peak. Peaks hours see drops to 208 or less. My new machine will choke below 208. I am not sure how it handles the fluctuations, but I have tested supply peak performance and seen 226 to 204 and everything in between.

Is the only answer to simply stop welding? During my tests...in a bigger Province, the supply never changed more than 4 to 6 volts. 222 to 228. No issues, fun welding.

I need tips regarding machine setup. If I set frequency for a particular job, how does the machine keep up with low to under voltage? Never seen over voltage. Thanks!
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Re: Line Power

Postby Poleframer » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:43 pm

Check your owners manual, see if you can wire it for 200/208 vac. Running a higher voltage (somewhat) wont cause as much problem as too low. Usually 10% either way is acceptable, so you "should" be good up to the 228 volt level.
But even if it is an option, do some checking, dont base a decision on my suggestion alone.
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Re: Line Power

Postby noddybrian » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:33 pm

I doubt very much the machine can be " wired " for any other voltage - this 200 / 208 is I believe specific to America & they're weird power supplies - most places run 230 volt single phase or 440 3phase - it's a bit late now the unit is purchased as the only solution that I know of is to buy a machine that allows 110 / 220 volt input as these require no change over - they will operate anywhere between those limits & simply restrict maximum amps if they cannot draw sufficient power - other options are contact power company to see where the nearest substation is & ask if a better cable size can be installed - but from what I've seen / heard of the countries supply I kinda doubt it ! unless close to a major power line or station - we take clean reliable power for granted in the general & I'm not sure how folks out there run industrial stuff unless they generate they're own or locate to somewhere with good power availability.
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Re: Line Power

Postby Oscar » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:41 pm

Yes, the simple answer is to stop welding if the machine is not going to operate properly. Welding is challenging as it is, you don't need someone [as in the electric power] distracting you with something you can't control.
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Re: Line Power

Postby Poland308 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:59 pm

Even in the central US it’s not uncommon to see higher voltage from the power company during peak time or before and during bad weather. I’ve seen 460 3 phz as high as 500.
I have more questions than answers

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Re: Line Power

Postby Arno » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:03 pm

ThaiGuy wrote:Is the only answer to simply stop welding?


Your problems might be twofold.

The voltage may be dropping which could cause the machine to trip out.. Although on a modern inverter machine I don't really expect that too much as it's de-coupled the input so much from the output that pretty much 'anything goes' on the input at lower voltages.. It will just try to suck more amps in..

And that may be your second problem..

The power grid may not just be dropping in voltage, but at the same time you may well not be able to get enough current into the machine from the grid anymore.

That's when things do go south as it won't be able to sustain the output current and things go wonky.

If you have very fluctuating power (volts and amps) from the grid and need to be able to weld I see 2 structural solutions that will work but will require some extra investment:

1 -> Get a generator that's sized appropriately for your welder and use that as your (reliable) 'on demand' power. Will need investing in a good, stable generator of sufficient capacity and fuel (diesel or gas). Or swap your existing weld machine for a direct engine-driven one and forego the whole power conversion hoop-jump.

2 -> Go 'microgrid' and install a (large) battery bank with a bunch of rectifiers to feed/charge them and a sizable inverter on the end to provide stabilised 220V AC power your house/garage. feel free to add a bunch of solar panels and wind turbines to add more current into the battery. This way the battery bank acts as a buffer storage so you have a certain amount of kWh available at all times at the correct voltage.

Both should 100% solve your problem and the second, if built up over time with more and more solar annd such, should make your whole house less dependent on the (unstable) main grid anyway.

Of course both carry a more or less hidden cost in maintenance and scheduled replacement costs (generators, batteries and panels don't live forever and will need replacing..), so include a certain lifespan and replacement cost in any calculations you do.

Bye, Arno.
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Re: Line Power

Postby Graveyard » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:09 pm

I’m not sure how things are wired in other countries but could it also be your supply amps. In the US your machine would require 220v volts and that 220v would require a 50amp service breaker to supply it. Also you have to be sure the wire feeding your outlet is rated for a 50 amp service and depending on how long of a run you might need to have larger wire in order to prevent currrent drop like it sounds like you’re experiencing. I’m no electrician and I am not familiar with wiring codes in other countries but where I live that is what is required. Good luck I hope you find your answer.
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Re: Line Power

Postby noddybrian » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:53 pm

There's a wring code in Thailand ? when did that happen !
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Re: Line Power

Postby Graveyard » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:55 pm

noddybrian wrote:There's a wring code in Thailand ? when did that happen !


Well let’s say they have some kind of loose guidelines to follow that hopefully doesn’t kill anyone.
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Re: Line Power

Postby kezgin » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:59 am

Maybe look into a buck/boost transformer. You would probably need to set it up so the welder runs through the transformer during peak hours and directly to the line during non peak.
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