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Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

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Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby Richr » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:31 pm

does anyone have a clue what the spark gap does.... Just adjusted it on my Everlast power TIG 200..
it was .038 and adjusted it to .030.. Made the arc steady on the min setting of 20 amps.. At the original setting the arc was cutting out, sounded like I was losing the ground clamp connection.
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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby Lightning » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:57 pm

It's used (with other components) to make the high-frequency pilot arc used to start welding, and to keep the arc lit when using AC. On my older transformer machine (Miller 330A/BP), you can make arc starting more reliable by increasing the spark gap.
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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby Richr » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:16 pm

vary confusing, the tech folks at Everlast just had me decrease the sparkgap to make my arc more reliable
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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby Lightning » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:57 pm

Richr wrote:vary confusing, the tech folks at Everlast just had me decrease the sparkgap to make my arc more reliable


Well, the optimal spark gap depends on the electronics, and you can make it too large, too. A three-foot spark gap would probably not be reliable. My 330A/BP calls for a spark gap of .010" and the manual notes that it can be increased to .013" with the caveat that doing so "increases high-frequency radiation which increases interference with communications equipment."
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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby aland » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:22 pm

Richr wrote:does anyone have a clue what the spark gap does.... Just adjusted it on my Everlast power TIG 200..
it was .038 and adjusted it to .030.. Made the arc steady on the min setting of 20 amps.. At the original setting the arc was cutting out, sounded like I was losing the ground clamp connection.


I have a Power i-Tig 201, very similar as your unit. I haven't opened it yet, but it's on my list of things to do...I want to check the gap. I think it's good to be able to adjust it, as it could help with specific welding tasks possibly, but in general it seems people set it to hold a tight arc.

My 201 goes down to 5 amps, that was one things they changed.

So far I have used it mostly for stick, but have tig welded with it a couple times. I am starting a welding cart build that will be tig'd together. Thanks for mentioning this, I'm going to check mine.

You might ask Mark over on the Everlast forum about the gap also, I've seen different gaps recommended depending on the model.

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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby Lightning » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:50 am

If and when HF arc starting quits on your machine, the spark gap is probably one of the first things you will want to check. They can get mucked up with dust, condensation, corrosion, etc., and sometimes they need to be dressed (some recommend nothing more than paper for this, sometimes I use 1000 grit sandpaper, and a Miler tech told me not to use anything coarser than about 600 grit IIRC) before re-gapping.

Or at least this is the case with my older transformer-based machines...
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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby aland » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:51 pm

Lightning wrote:If and when HF arc starting quits on your machine, the spark gap is probably one of the first things you will want to check. They can get mucked up with dust, condensation, corrosion, etc., and sometimes they need to be dressed (some recommend nothing more than paper for this, sometimes I use 1000 grit sandpaper, and a Miler tech told me not to use anything coarser than about 600 grit IIRC) before re-gapping.

Or at least this is the case with my older transformer-based machines...


Lightning,

Let me ask you this, cause it's something I haven't seen discussed too much.

I have an Everlast i-Tig 201. The machine discussed in this thread is an i-Tig 200, the predecessor to the i-Tig 201, but to make it more confusing Everlast came out with an i-Tig 200t which is fully digital. The i-Tig 201 is digital but has an analog interface on top of it, so it has knobs to turn rather than digital settings that require stepping through menus to set. The i-Tig 200t does have a bit better capability in regard to cellulose electrodes, specifically 6010/6011, where the i-Tig 201 will only do 6011.

What I'm wondering is if there is any advantage in being able to set the point gap, where you could adjust it narrower or wider depending on specific material one is welding? In general is there any advantage or disadvantage to having a settable point gap opposed to being handled entirely by digital ?

Thanks for any insight.

Alan
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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby Lightning » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:02 pm

Sorry, Aland, I have no clue about that. Are you saying that some of these machines set the spark cap digitally, rather than manually (IOW with screwdrivers wrenches and feeler gages)?
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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby aland » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:12 pm

Lightning wrote:Sorry, Aland, I have no clue about that. Are you saying that some of these machines set the spark cap digitally, rather than manually (IOW with screwdrivers wrenches and feeler gages)?


Yeah, that's my understanding, that the newer digital machines don't have a point gap that can be set and they handle that digitally...but if I'm wrong, someone will hopefully correct me.

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Re: Whats purpose of the Spark Gap

Postby Richr » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:57 pm

My understanding is that the digital machines have a solid-state sparkgap that needs no maintenance

My machine a Everlast Power TIG 200 has points, easy to adjust with a screwdriver, seven screws the back comes off, 10 screws the cover comes off leave the front cover alone.

Welding on DC no problem. Can get a steady arc at 5 amps..
On AC is a different story.. Adjusted the gap from .038 to .030 fixed the problem on AC...

Need a Circuit description to find out what's really going on with the spark gap or do, I care its working
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