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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Ground for a welder

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John T

02-25-2013 05:45:36

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Stan, good question and those are legitimate concerns, heres my engineers perspective.

To lay persons, calling what most people call the GROUND CLAMP makes sense to them just as they call a tractors frame GROUND. You may confuse an untrained person if you go over their head trying to define terms that engineers and electricians and electrical techs commonly use. I call my welders ground clamp a ground clamp and did BOTH before and after my engineering career and call the other the stinger (electrode holder) BUT ALL ARE FREE TO CALL THEM ANYTHING THEY PLEASE LOL

Ifffffffff youre talking about a cheap basic Lincoln Tombstone or other AC Buzz Box Welders, they are basically a simple isolation transformer and their output voltage is across their leads. The safety Equipment Ground is bonded to the welders metallic case to provide an independant dedicated low resistance path to carry FAULT CURRENT ONLY NOTTTTTTTTT Neutral current.

As far as voltage potential from the ground clamp or stinger to mother earth or safety equipment grounding conductors or gas or water pipes or building steel or a concrete floor that depends on the welders design and the branch circuit wiring and length of wire (capacitance or mutual inductance) and I just cant say what it might be BUTTTTTTTTTTT I DONT LIKE THE IDEA OF TRYING TO USE OTHER THEN THE WELDING CABLE AS ANY RETURN PATH even though in theory (depends on welder) there should be low potential and low current.

I cant speak for my friend the good Buick man, but the reason I tell people to NOT use the GroundING conductor for the Neutral (A GrounDED Conductor) and vice versa or to mix n match or swap or substitute one for the other IS TO EDUCATE THEM AND SAVE LIVES but I also say do as they well please, Im here to try and help maybe save a life, NOT argue or tell them what to do

John T Long retired EE

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Stan in Oly, WA

02-25-2013 08:59:24

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 Re: Ground for a welder in reply to John T, 02-25-2013 05:45:36  
Thanks for the information, John. As far as terminology is concerned, I'm far from being a stickler about it. Insisting that aspiring metal artists say GMAW, GTAW, and SMAW rather than MIG, TIG, and stick is a non-starter, in any case. If the popular terminology has the potential to confuse understanding of the process, as in the ground vs. work lead issue, I try to mention it, but that's all. Insisting on using technical terminology (i.e. DCRP rather than just electrode positive) in setting where it's unfamiliar and unnecessary, can be a good way to cause confusion and reduce clear communication.


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John T

02-25-2013 13:41:47

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 Re: Ground for a welder in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 02-25-2013 08:59:24  
Youre welcome. As far as electrical terminology, Im convinced where the uneducated are concerned its because Dad and Grandpa called that white wire GROUND is why they do the same and when educated and experienced Electrical professionals say the word Neutral it just flys past them and they run to the panel and say seeeeeeeeeee the whites and grounds all go to the same place SO BY GOLLY THEY ARE THE SAME LOL

John T

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