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electrical question?? IBEW ???

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  • electrical question?? IBEW ???

    Hey Guys,
    I'm in the process of moving my shop from my run-down barn into my fairly well-appointed two car garage built on to my house. (wife out machinery in!!).
    Anyway, a couple years ago I replaced the ceiling in the basement (its finished) and at that time ran a length of three conductor BX cable, 8 gauge, the length of my house from my 200 amp service panel (still using fuses) out into the garage "for the future". Its now the future. I've installed a 100 amp square D "pony panel" in my garage and I've got 6 15 amp breakers and one 40 amp breaker in this panel. Most of the 15's are just for receptacles, etc, MAIN question: I'm looking to power a welder, nothing fancy, just a typical "farm style" AC/DC stick machine (presently DONT have one) from this 40 amp brkr thru a short length of 8 ga wire. Looking at the catalogs from Miller & Lincoln most of their machines of this type operating at 208~230v seem to draw in the neighbourhood of 50 amps PLUS !! Granted, thats "flat out" at capacity. I realize that I'll probably have to resize my 40 amp brkr in the pony panel (as I can only double up two 30 amp screw in fuses at the main panel...unless they make a "gizmo" for this)....but what kind of wire size and capacity am i looking at for a decent welder??? I'm not a shipyard....max welds would maybe be on 1/2" plate from time to time......appreciate any advice/comments...don't wanna burn my place down!! Thanks,

  • #2
    They upped the ampacity of all the cables in the code book.

    The old current rating on a #8 was 40 amps. #6 is what is recomended for a stove pulling at times, 50 amps. Bx cable has some issues cooling so I would surmise you probably need to refeed the panel in your garage.
    I recomend 50 amp circuit to the plug for a welder. THOU they rarely do draw that much current and the cord is a #10 (30 amps continous) rubber cord.

    Fuses burn lots of houses down. While you are redoing, I'd upgrade to a new panel. trouble is they arc, dust in the panel catches up or the insulators break down and continue the arcing till power is removed or the fire ensues.

    Mikey just called on his way to the supply house to purchase a panel and fixtures for his 200k subdivision home. He is putting in a Homeline panel from Home depot. At $99 with most all the breakers you need already supplied it is a bargain. (he said now it is $114)

    The main difference I see with the homeline Square D versus the QO is the lil trip indicator in each breaker and the bus is narrower in a HOM panel. I see little other difference. QO is more common to purchase breakers for.
    I have one in my home.



    • #3
      Lemme back up.. I have never worked in Canada. (I peeked to see where you are)

      Electricity is the same all over, but laws and regulations and availability of "brand" devices is not.

      With anything Make sure before you purchase if a device, panel or service meets the local code.

      Here, when you upgrade a old fuse panel you get to put the incoming lines into a conduit, entrance weatherhead meeting local specs of 4' above roofline or 11' above a driveway, or 14' above a roadway. Usually the inspector or electrical co-op engineer tells you where to place the meter.
      Sometimes you are not allowed to feed another panel or outbuilding with a single service. They want thier money by renting you another meter.

      As with everything check local code and county-municipality requirements before doing any work on your home.



      • #4

        the panel in my garage is on a separate 100A service. it is an old Square-D panel with fuses. the main feed comes in through two 60A ones. then there is another double fuse for the 50A welder plug right next to the panel. then four screw-in fuses of various size (10 to 20A). are you saying this is kind of dangerous? should i be cleaning the dust out of the panel every year? should i change fuses every few years (especially the cylindrical ones on the main and welder outlet)? i know you aren't here looking at the panel, but your comments raised some questions for me.

        andy b.
        The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining


        • #5
          Fuse panels exist in working condition today.

          Loose connections, old corroded bus bars, corroded/burnt fuse connections are the worst culprit, (they make heat with poor connection and only degrade more) then the newer fuse panels have different sized holes so you can't swap fuses and put a "too" large fuse in for a smaller circuit and overheat the wire.

          I think the worst thing was the common "put a penny behind it" till you get more fuses. I have never gotten over it. A common thing when I started electrical work. The wire would be so hot the insulation would be in the bottom of the panel. Just a hummin when you walk up..

          Fuses work, as long as everything is right.
          Fuses wear out just like light bulbs also. The filament just grows weaker and weaker till it pops. IN actuality, fuses are a dependable trip for a overload condition. Breakers can weld themselves shut and never trip. Keeping a panel clean once a year is a good ideal, check for rodents, bug nests, etc. I find snakes in them down here. Sometimes dead ones, sometimes rats get in there and fry. PLUG all non-used holes, duct tape just makes a good rat-door.

          Not sure what is the standard "up there". So take everything I say with a grain of Canadian salt. Fuses may still be common.


          • #6
            Hi David, thanx for the info! Much appreciate it, and no...fuses aren't that common in houses up here anymore either. This place was "handbuilt" about 20 yrs ago by an old Instrument/Electrical Mechanic from a local chem plant. I figure alot of the materials were "surplus" ... if ya know what i mean!! Alot of the lumber was milled from the stuff right here on the lot. Anyway, I thought I'd ask an "honest-to-god" Electrician and thanks again!! Guess I'll either have to look for a decent welder that'll operate within the limits of my wiring OR try and pull some heavier stuff through all the joists (damn, did I run it in a more or less straight-line??? don't remember...) Take care all, I'll be off the board again for another month or so (gotta go back o'seas and earn some ca$h, pay for this massive shop reno AND an ex-wife). You all take care meantime....