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Hot Rods Electrical expert needed

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by woodiewagon46, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Danny Brown
    Joined: Apr 26, 2016
    Posts: 136

    Danny Brown

  2. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,942


    Your 120s the same phase? Should be different. What's the breaker look like in the house?
  3. My new 200 Amp service was wired by an electrician and inspected by the regional inspector. All the white wires in the box and the white wire from the service, are all connected to the neutral bus, and this is also connected to the spike in the ground. Call it what you want.
  4. A fair amount of misinformation goin' on here... And I AM an electrician with 30+ years experience who also taught AC theory.

    Bubba, your diagram is wrong, sorry. At one time, running all four wires to a sub-panel in a separate structure was legal, but they changed it a number of years ago; you DID NOT drive a ground rod with four wires, as you could create a 'ground loop'. Granted, I'm retired and have been for about 10 years, so there's a possibility it's been changed yet again. Every time they revise the code, grounding has the most changes. Current practice at the time I retired was that any sub-panel that's in a separate structure was treated as a new 'service', so you took the hots and neutral to the panel (no ground wire), then bonded the neutral and ground, and drove at least one ground rod. Now, local utility practices vary, as do 'local' codes. While the NEC is a 'national standard', it has no force of law unless a local authority adopts it, and they're free to change things to suit local conditions.

    DO NOT use rebar for a ground. And unless the local water table is at about 3 feet, you need a minimum of a 8' rod, either hot-dipped galvanized or copper-clad. Some places require two rods, separated by a minimum distance, generally 6'. There may be an exception if it's still legal; you used to be able to use rebar if it was a minimum length (20' IIRC), was encased in concrete in contact with earth, and cad-welded the bonding conductor to the steel.

    Danny Brown.... Yes, the utilities have hellacious ground grids... at their substations. Once you leave there, they can get pretty minimalist. Locally, all they use at residential service poles is a #8 bare copper, stapled to the full length of the pole. Between 5 and 6 feet will actually be in the ground, and each pole typically services two homes. It's primary purpose is to ground the transformer. There is no 'code' for utilities, they can do whatever they want and as long as they don't kill civilians, nobody cares. They're allowed to do things that would lose me my license...

    Woodiewagon, if the install is what you say and as old as it sounds, you could have multiple issues. One, if it's fused at 30 amps, that outlet has probably been overloaded multiple times and may be bad. Those old two-wire outlets were only rated for 15 amps. Two, it was very likely ran to the shop in black iron pipe (no direct burial cable in those days) which by now is probably no more than a rust trace in places. The wire is probably deteriorated with corrosion also, it may not be full size everywhere anymore. It's obvious that it needs replacing, anything you do will be mickey-mouse at best, possibly dangerous. I'd plug a work light into it, any big loads, no.

    Want an absolutely guaranteed solution? Go buy/rent a 50' 12 gauge extension cord, plug it into a inside wall plug, and string the cord out to the shop. Plug the welder into that, and go. If it STILL doesn't work, either he needs to call an electrician, or your welder is fouled up. This will give a 2% voltage drop, well within specs.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    Blues4U likes this.
  5. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,155

    from So Cal

    Yes, and it was quite common decades ago for buildings to have the outlets miswired, which caused a lot of problems. And even newer dive bars you'll still find the outlets wired with reverse polarity, because they don't pay a skilled electrician to install them. Old tube guitar amps had polarity reverse switches on them up until the late 60's or 70's, so that if you plugged into an outlet that the polarity was reversed vs other outlets that other amps, or the PA, was plugged in to, you could flip the switch to reverse it. Otherwise you get a nice shock when leaning into the mic! Damn that hurts! Get zapped in the lips once and you don't forget it. After that you'll always lightly slap the mic real fast with one hand while holding your guitar strings with the other, to see if you're gonna get a shock, before you lean it to test it with your voice. A light tingle in the fingers aint bad compared to a spark jumping across to your lips! :eek:
    K13 likes this.
  6. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 1,687

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    That was code here when I put the sub panel in my garage. Two hots and neutral from the breaker in the house, and two copper ground spikes for the sub panel in the detached garage.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  7. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 747


    The neutral at the sub panel has to be grounded to earth by a ground rod. You're right that is is not bonded to the can at the same panel. Bonding is a mechanical connection, while grounding is an electrical connection.
  8. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 747


    Steve, you are right in that the NEC changes often and most times it is with grounding/ bonding. Any time a multi conductor feed is run, it must have an equipment bonding wire included. When a service feed is run to a panel in another separate building such as the detached garage the neutral must "not" be bonded to the can and that neutral must be grounded to earth with a ground rod. If the neutral going to the garage is lost for any reason, the supplemental ground is supposed to replace the path back to the neutral for the over current protection to operate. It is only the equipment bonding conductors that are bonded to the can by means of another bonding bar installed into the panel. I'm still doing it after 46 years! I'm very close to retiring soon. Looking forward to it.
  9. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,625


    I am no electrician. I can do basic wiring, more than that my electrician friend comes and explains what to do or does it for me. The problem sounds like low voltage. He stated the welder was dual voltage. If it is wired inside for 220 and you plug it into 110 you will have this problem. You need to change the wiring inside the welder for 110. That is the way it is with small air compressors. Now if the welder has a switch on it to change the voltage my guess could be wrong.
    Elcohaulic likes this.
  10. old sparks
    Joined: Mar 12, 2012
    Posts: 414

    old sparks

    i am a retired electrician of 45 years in the trade. the other sparkys that have responded are correct your problem is is to small of a wire size on your 30 amp 2 wire service for distance of travel. yes you need a proper ground but thats a mechanical safety. use a generator until your friend gets his service upgraded. at least 4000 watt unit
    Blues4U likes this.
  11. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,248

    from New York

    Thanks to all the people that responded to the issue. I just talked to one of the tech people from our local Miller distributors. He feels that it is, a ground issue, a polarity issue or a combination of both. Now I need to get my welder home and hope I didn't toast anything.
  12. After thinking about this more, this is your 'problem'... you have a dual-voltage machine. If it was a straight 110/120 volt unit, it probably would have worked. Everybody (including me) missed this.

    The reason for this is the manufacturers 'cheat' and use a code exception that allows them to use the equipment ground as a neutral. This is not common anymore, it used to be a typical practice with electric ranges. If you've ever bought a range and the sales guy asked you if you needed a 3-wire or 4-wire cord for it, this is what's going on. The 3-wire cord uses the ground as a neutral, which by the way is no longer allowed when wiring in a new range outlet; the 4-wire outlet is now required.

    Why they do this is because the controls on dual-voltage appliances (or even ones that operate only on 220) are typically operated on 120V, not the higher voltage. This probably includes your welder. This is done for multiple reasons; cost and life safety are the main ones. Usually, these control circuits will draw very low current so introducing that into the grounding system is acceptable. So when you plugged in your welder, you have power to the welder circuits, but lack the 'neutral' (ground) to complete the circuit for the controls. No controls, no welding...

    As a temporary expedient, you could install a 3-wire outlet in place of the 2-wire and connect the neutral wire to both the neutral and ground connections, just make damn sure you get the 'hot' on the hot terminal. Disconnect it when you're done. Don't try installing any sort of ground rod, that could smoke your controls...
  13. Rather than wire the garage right now, can you run a heavy gauge extension cord from the house to garage area, just to run welder for now?
  14. vintage6t
    Joined: Jul 30, 2007
    Posts: 283

    from CT

    When I take my welder on a field trip, I use a generator to power it. To me that's by far the easiest solution here rather than deal with an unknown power source.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app

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