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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: I think I need a new welder

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Stan in Oly, WA

07-05-2013 10:58:43
174.31.201.133



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Greg,

Why do you say that aluminum windings would have really high resistance? Aluminum has the 4th least resistance of any metal (silver, copper, gold, aluminum, in that order). It was used for house wiring in the mid to late 20th century (that use was ended for problems other than its efficiency), and it is currently much more common than copper for feeder lines in residential and light commercial installations (larger installations than that I don't know).

The Lincoln Electric representative/historian who told me that Lincoln 225 buzz boxes have never been manufactured with copper windings on the transformer, said that some Idealarcs were copper and some were aluminum but that I would never be able to notice the difference. My guess is that it's a status kind of thing, as it is with most consumer products: If someone knows there's a difference, then they swear that they can detect the difference, but blind comparisons usually demonstrate that they can't. Well conducted tests have shown that people who won't drink any other vodka but Grey Goose (or any other high priced brand) are consistently unable to pick it out of a group of six brands---including really cheap ones---in blind taste testing.

Stan

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Stick welding

07-05-2013 20:22:09
96.53.210.246



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 Re: I think I need a new welder in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-05-2013 10:58:43  
Copper is better but for most projects you'd never notice any difference. The best example of why copper is better deals with Lincoln SA 200 engine drives. Pipeliners noticed that on the machines made from about 73 with aluminum shunt coils, that the machines would heat up and not keep consistent amperage settings. They'd start off in the morning and after a couple hours have to turn their heat up. Then after they had lunch, the machines would be too hot and they'd have to turn them down again. For THIS application, the aluminum was a real PIA! So much so that Lincoln went back to all copper in the Classic and later pipeliner series machines. Price out a 200D pipeliner and you'll see they cost more than a larger non true DC generator machine.

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Greg 2N (TX)

07-05-2013 17:54:09
166.147.72.44



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 Re: I think I need a new welder in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-05-2013 10:58:43  
The difference between pure copper and pure aluminum is significant when you are talking 225 Amps of current, enough to generate excessive heat.

Pure copper has about 38% less resistance than the same size aluminum.

My guess is that they are using an alloy mix that has resistance closer to copper.
The only reason to use higher resistance wire than pure copper ( other than cost) is to form a current limiting action at the cost of excessive heat.

Aluminum house wiring in the old days was downright dangerous especially with high current stuff.

BTW, I have a piece of flaked off wire insulation from my AC-225 and will check at what temperature it starts to melt. Let me just say this, i held a lighter to one of those flaked off pieces and guess what. It not only melted but caught fire too. Those engineers are not formulating the wiring varnish very well!

Regards,

Greg

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Stan in Oly, WA

07-05-2013 19:37:58
174.31.201.133



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 Re: I think I need a new welder in reply to Greg 2N (TX), 07-05-2013 17:54:09  
Well, two things (and then I'm not going to post on this thread any more---I feel like I've about run what I have to say into the ground). Pure copper may have 38% less resistance than the same size aluminum conductor, but aluminum has a moderate weight advantage and a significant cost advantage over copper so there's no reason to use the same size. Aluminum cables supplying electricity to a residence are much larger than copper cables which would carry the same load, and they're still just a fraction of the cost of copper.

The other thing is that aluminum house wiring wasn't dangerous because of heat generated by high resistance. It was dangerous because it expanded and contracted at a different rate than the dissimilar metal (i.e. non-aluminum) screws to which it was attached in outlets (and probably switches, too). This caused attachments to loosen which led to arcing which led to fires. This is still a problem in electrical service panels where the aluminum supply cables attach to the lugs. It's less serious than the old aluminum house wiring because most homeowners and amateur electricians are rightfully wary of working this far upstream, and real electricians know how to deal with it. But lots and lots of illegal and/or incompetent wiring of lighting and outlet circuits has always been done, and always will be. That's why aluminum house wiring stopped being legal many years ago.

I don't think you and I are disagreeing about anything. We're talking about different aspects of the same thing.

Stan

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Greg 2N (TX)

07-05-2013 20:11:51
166.147.72.25



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 Re: I think I need a new welder in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 07-05-2013 19:37:58  
OK Stan,

I really do appreciate your time.
I'm glad there are some good folks around to set me straight.
Thanks,

Greg



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