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Old 12-13-2006, 09:05 AM
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Welder problem - I think

I am having some difficulties with my Astro 110V welder. It has been working fairly consistantly for quite a while. The last day or so I have had a problem.

The welder seems to be having less and less power. I have learned to keep my weld area clean, to the extent, that I even sandblast difficult areas between welds.
Normally some of the higher settings would just burn right through sheet metal. That doesn't seem to be happening most times now. I have to turn up the power just to weld! It's almost as if the welder has reached it's duty cycle, but the welder has just been turned on so that doesn't seem right either.

I opened up the box, checked for loose connections, changed cords etc.

Any other thoughts on this?

I know it's a low cost welder, but I'd like to nurse it along, until I can trade up to a miller or something like that.

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Old 12-13-2006, 09:59 AM
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It could be one of several things but the first thing I would check would be the ground cable. Look at the cable where it is crimped at the clamp and the attachment to the clamp itself. If this is loose and/or corroded it will cause a loss of welding current due to a lack of proper grounding. If this is the problem you may notice the cable becoming hot at this connection almost as soon as you start to weld so after welding for a short time check and see if it is getting hot.
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:10 AM
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Another thing you can look at is your wire speed. On occasion my drive roller slips and the wire doesn't feed at the rate its supposed too. The result is a "hissing" sound and the weld bead doesn't penetrate at all, making the welder appear like it is running on a lower power setting
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Old 12-13-2006, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modas
Another thing you can look at is your wire speed. On occasion my drive roller slips and the wire doesn't feed at the rate its supposed too. The result is a "hissing" sound and the weld bead doesn't penetrate at all, making the welder appear like it is running on a lower power setting
not only the roller but the wire feed hose going to the gun...is the nozzle clean? also check to make sure that the nylon nut that fastens the wire spool on isn't over tightened stopping the wire from feeding properly
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Old 12-14-2006, 06:13 PM
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Not sure if this is the problem your having,,,BUT,,, on my welder one time the roll of wire got a light coating of rust on it from moisture and from not being used in a while so the wire wouldn't slide through the cable to the handle (it would stick) so sometimes it would weld and other times it just hissed. Also, if the cable that the wire slides through gets kinked the wire won't slide either. I ended up taking the handle apart and cleaning the cable and I found a kink that I straightened and it works like new again
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Old 12-14-2006, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripped

The welder seems to be having less and less power. I have learned to keep my weld area clean, to the extent, that I even sandblast difficult areas between welds.
All my books say sandblasted metal does not weld very well at all. When welding sandblasted metal you have to grind smooth the textured area to be welded.
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Old 12-15-2006, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdbeard
All my books say sandblasted metal does not weld very well at all. When welding sandblasted metal you have to grind smooth the textured area to be welded.

Why Care to elaborate
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STATUTORY GRAPE
Why Care to elaborate
NO. jk. I looked but could not find where I read that. Dangit! It had something to do with certain types of blasting media impregnating in mild steel and causing weld failure.... I think.. I googled and only found lot of people USING sandblasting to clean metal to be welded. Just ignore me. I am confused.
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Old 12-15-2006, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdbeard
NO. jk. I looked but could not find where I read that. Dangit! It had something to do with certain types of blasting media impregnating in mild steel and causing weld failure.... I think.. I googled and only found lot of people USING sandblasting to clean metal to be welded. Just ignore me. I am confused.
The sand will contaminate the steel and make it hard to weld. You need to grind the metal till its shiny.
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Old 12-15-2006, 05:30 PM
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Silica embedded in the metal surface. It does not seem to be much of a problem on thick stock but on something as thin as body panels it probably is not a good idea, however it is easy to remove so if you clean it good before welding it should not be a problem.
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Old 12-16-2006, 05:15 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I have read through the posts. I tried to make certain my ground was better, prepped the welds a little differently. Tried a couple welds, then promptly ran out of wire. Tried again the next day, and ran out of gas!
So I had the tank filled today. I asked the tool place (where I bought the welder) about a trade up to a new welder. It's funny how the story changes, from when I bought the used welder off of them, how it was no problem to trade in/upgrade. Today it's a little different story, surprise -surprise Anyway, got a recharge, and I bought some new contact tips.

I told him that I'd come back and check out the new welder at another time (NOT)

So I'll try again, tonight, after xmas shopping.
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:39 PM
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Sandblasted metal not easy to weld? That blows me away, I have never noticed!

Have you changed the tip? If you tip gets worn out (its hole gets larger where the wire comes out) it can't transfer the amperage to the wire.

Brian
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
Sandblasted metal not easy to weld? That blows me away, I have never noticed!

Have you changed the tip? If you tip gets worn out (its hole gets larger where the wire comes out) it can't transfer the amperage to the wire.

Brian
Brian , I have not had a problem ether welding metal I just sandblasted. I have a cheapy Century 100 and I use the JW Harris Twenty guage wire with gas.

Ripped What kind of wire are you using ? I read throught this thread and don't see this mentioned . Hope you get it sorted out .

Take Care
Earl
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Old 12-17-2006, 12:33 AM
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I am doing my best imitation of Homer Simpson,
Doh ( :o (|)

it was the contact tip
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:12 AM
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I too have used sandblasting to prep weld areas for years and welding body sheetmetal that has been blasted is about as common as anything can be. There is a theory (or rumor) that the silica embedded in the metal can cause a loss of strength on body panels because the amount of silica will be high in proportion to the size of the weld puddle. Personally I think this is a bunch of bull and is of no real concern but since it is so easy to remove it may be a good idea to do so, as far as being able to tell a difference in the welding characteristics I can't see much if any difference.
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