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Electrical plug on welder

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  • Electrical plug on welder

    Hey All,

    I just got a Craftsman stick welder from a guy and when I got it home I noticed the plug was not what I was expecting.

    I know I probably should have checked it out beforehand but when I heard that it was a home use type that ran on 115v, I just figured it'd have a regular old three prong plug.

    This one has three prongs but one of the flat prongs is turned ninety degrees. I tried to look online for what type of plug this would be and if there is an adaptor for it....with no luck.

    If anyone can tell me what type this is, and if there IS an adaptor I would muchly appreciate it.

    I would post a pic, but my wife's not home right now and I have no idea how.

    Thanks for any help, I always get some good guidance by checking in here.


  • #2
    If what you're saying is that it's just like a conventional 3 prong grounded plug, but that one of the flat prongs is 90 degrees to the other, ie. it's facing athwartships, then what you have is a 20 amp grounded plug. It only fits in a 20 amp outlet.

    Look in your service panel. Do you have a 20 amp circuit where you intend to plug the welder in? if you do, get a 20 amp socket, and replace the 15 amp socket you've got there.

    You can plug a regular (15 amp) plug into a 20 amp socket as it accepts either, but not vice versa. I wired all the 110 sockets in my new shop at 20 amps, and fitted new plugs to the tools that should have 'em.
    "Lay on ground-light fuse-get away"


    • #3
      People often look for adaptors to let them do something they shouldn't be doing. My dad made up a pair of adaptors that let him use a standard 110v extension cord with his 220v wired radial arm saw. One day he forgot that the other end of that extension cord was plugged into 220v and plugged in his orbital sander. Fortunately it survived a couple of seconds of being turned on and was double insulated so he was not shocked. Sadly, he probably could have bought a section of cord and made a valid extension cord for the saw for what he spent on the extra hardware for the adaptors, anyway.

      I too would guess you have a 20A 120v plug. They are so close to the standard limits of power draw on a 110v circuit with a 110v welder that they usually exceed 15 amps.

      Do *not* just put a 20 amp receptical on a 15 amp circuit to solve this problem. Insure that you have a 20 amp breaker *and* at least #12 wire serving this outlet. You may find that easy to accomodate as it meets code to have run a valid 20 amp service and installed 15A outlets. You may find that you have this scenario. I did it myself as it keeps me from running close to wire limits in the shop. A breaker trip is a not-so-subtle reminder of just how many things I have on any one circuit in the shop. This is safe because by design, you will never plug in anything that exceeds the 15 amps the outlet will allow for if plug standards are observed. Its often done because the electrician can use the $.39 15amp cheapy outlets instead of 20A outlets that may cost $2.50 each (because they are not available in the lower-quality variety). On the other hand, you may only be wired for 15 amp service on that circuit. Check it out.

      I could not find an on-line reference showing all of the NEMA outlet standards that define voltage and current limits by placement and orientation of the prongs, but I have one or more in a book somewhere. You may want to look for this. Most plugs and outlets will have a NEMA standard number that will absolutely confirm what you have.

      Paul Carpenter
      Mapleton, IL


      • #4
        Electrical plugs and outlets are categorized by Volts aand Amps sanctioned my NEMA so no interchange is possible. The standard two pole grounding wall outlet (receptacle) is designated as 5-15R and the plug is 5-15P. The 20 Amp version is called 5-20 and one (the line) blade is turned sideways but the neutral remains in the original orientation. The 230 V 6-20 has the neutral blade turnes sideways. It's confusing without pictures but a knowledge of the different plugs and receptacles is important to know, The home shop owner should have in his three ring binder lots of things handy to know organized by tabs for ready reference. Among these should be a sheet of the NEMA plug and receptacle styles.

        Here's a handy reference:


        • #5
          Thank you gents!

          It turns out that I'm an idiot and that it is in fact a 20 amp plug and the line my Grizzly mill/drill is on is 20 amp....I just remembered that the Grizz is a standard three prong but the receptical will accept either.

          On a side note, I just tried the welder and it was pretty cool!

          Up until now I have only used oxy/acetylene so it was very cool to just wave the wand and melt some metal (I'm sure the practice weld is total crap, but it seems like it will be a nice alternative to gas welding for me....less heat and distortion anyway), now I can get some use out of those old navy welding manuals that my father left me from his time shipbuilding in WWII.

          Thanks again for taking the time to reply, and thanks for the link Forrest.


          ps, I got the welder from a Craigslist transaction (trade for tattoo work) I also recently got a plasma cutter the same way too.....I'm lovin' the "list"!


          • #6
            I bought one of those big Craftsman stick welders back in the 70's and it is 220 volt and needed a 50 amp circuit breaker. I hooked it up a few years ago down in my little basement workshop and I had to use a heavy duty adapter for that special plug and I also had to install a 50 amp breaker in my main panel. The welder is large. The size is about 20"X20"X24 tall. The power cord is about 3/4" to 1" in diameter. My works very well when I nned to use it over the MIG welder or torches. Good luck and be careful.


            • #7
              The DC/MD/VA Craiglists have given up, in past 2 years:

              100# vanadium steel anvil
              35 gallon real Safety Kleen tank
              5hp 60 gallon Speedaire vert. compressor
              Millermatic 185 Mig welder
              Diacro 24" shear
              Diacro 24" finger brake
              TIP pressure sand blaster
              Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 38 plasma cutter
              Generic Chinese 1 ton engine hoist
              Dayton pedestal grinder
              Big stack of hot rolled tube, bar and flats
              huge stash of copper tube, fittings, and ball valves
              More stuff I can't think of...

              Gotta love the Craigslist!
              "Lay on ground-light fuse-get away"


              • #8
                How many plugs and socket do you have over there ?
                One for each state of the Union ?

                Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                • #9
                  Hey Zinom - i have a craftsman stick welder with the same deal. I suspect we have similiar models, if not the exact same since craftsman doesn't offer to many 115v stick welder units.

                  Anyhow, i run mine on a 30 amp breaker which lets me weld 1/4" and even 3/8" plate very effectively. I looked up the inards of the welder on the internet - they were manufactured by generec and they were rated pretty heavily. The craftsman ratings come from the work cables. I fried my ground cable and intend to replace soon with a longer and thicker one. If you can safely replace a breaker with a 30 amp breaker or run a new circuit you'd be happy! On a 20 amp breaker i couldn't weld much over 90amps for an extended period of time before it tripped the breaker

                  Look in a electrical code book for wire gauges and lengths for different amperages and see if its possible. For example the distance my outlet is from my circuit breakers was like 50'. It was on a 20 amp breaker but the wire is 12 gauge. According to the code book, 30 amps can be safely run in a house up to 60' with 12 gauge wire. Or something like that - i don't know the exact numbers but you get the idea.


                  • #10
                    John these are for your question

                    and the third page

                    Nothing is easy LOL
                    Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                    I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                    All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only


                    • #11
                      Yup, one for every state except Texas who need two


                      Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                      • #12
                        While there's a bajillion different ones, John, 98% of the ones seen in the average home is the familiar 110v, 15amp outlet(Nema 5-15, interestingly, a NEMA 5-20 is designed to allow 5-15 plugs as well). Usually there's also a 220v outlet for the Washer/dryer, and one for an electric stove. Both of them are the same style, I think.(I have gas for both)

                        Then there's the commonly seen plug used for 50 amp 220 "industrial" applications, like Welders(NEMA 6-50). I had to add one in my garage for my Lincoln buzz box, but since I now have a 220v, 50 amp outlet in my garage, I may have other uses for it, like an electric logsplitter.

                        EGO partum , proinde EGO sum


                        • #13
                          John Stevenson. There's also a bunch of UL approved shell and tube connectors for industry; probably enough for the nations in th EU. There's a shore power connector the Navy uses on their submarines. It's a whopper, 3 pole with ground, 500 Amps at 440 V, 3 phase, delta, 60 Hz I think and the SO cable connecting it to shore is about 3" in dia.


                          • #14
                            Yes, many different styles of plugs and receptles, unfortunetly not all used properly. Working in different manufacturing facility, on a daily basis, I find 480 vac receptles wired for 208 vac, or 208 vac receptles wired for 480 vac. 3 phase receptles wired for single phase. Some plants standardized 20-30 years ago to a certain style, and keep using it, even though the electrical supply systems, are either change to a different voltage, or to upgrade electrical feeds and panels. The power utility in upstate NY has slowly changed the 3 phase voltage from 208 to 480 vac as transformer and/or power lines are changed, the equipment is rewired but the plugs and receptles remain the same. I have to constantly check the voltage, as the style of the plug or receptle may not have anything to do with the actual voltage.

                            I know many home shops, that have the 50 amp welding outlets, as their only 240 vac outlet, regardless of what's plug into it. Is running a 10 amp 240 vac milling machine, on a 50 amp breaker, really a good idea? I don't think so.