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  1. #1
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    TIG Welding with 120V

    At UBI we learned to weld on the Miller Maxstar 200DX. I never bothered to ask Ron how it was wired, but it looked to run on 1PH 240V judging by the twist-lock connectors. I assume it was 1PH because they needed to use a phase converter to operate the mill.

    I've since come to find out that the Maxstar 200DX and the Dynasty 200DX both also run on standard household 120V. As I am gearing up for my own framebuilding operation, I would like to hear from others who have used the Maxstar or Dynasty on 120V for steel and/or Ti. If you have successfully welded a frame without popping a breaker, what is the smallest breaker you have successfully used? My understanding is the power requirements for bicycle tubing are at the very low end of these machines' capabilities. Is that true?

    I would like to be able to weld without modifying the wiring of the garage I will be using, and the only power available is a 120V 15A outlet. There are no other options available, because this is a rental. I do not own the building, and I need to figure this out before I actually buy the welder.

    I want real-world experience here, not links you found in a quick Google search. I did that already.

  2. #2
    RCP Fabrication
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    You may be ok, but if you're planning on spending or have spent $4500 on a welder. Spend the extra $2-500 to get it wired so it can be used to its potential.

  3. #3
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    @RCP FAB

    I do not own the building, so the budget to rewire would be a quarter of a million dollars plus the $2-500 you quote. Rewiring seems to be the standard kneejerk reaction of a lot of people on forums talking about welding, and I think from a homeowner's perspective it's a reasonable thing to do, but for renters it's out of the picture. I just got out of the Army and I am not in a position to buy a house. However, I am in a position to make bicycles in the cool unused two-car garage attached to the house I rent!

    I just need to know if I'll be okay with what I have available now. Forget about the cost of the welder for this purpose.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by david lewis View Post
    @RCP FAB

    I do not own the building, so the budget to rewire would be a quarter of a million dollars plus the $2-500 you quote. Rewiring seems to be the standard kneejerk reaction of a lot of people on forums talking about welding, and I think from a homeowner's perspective it's a reasonable thing to do, but for renters it's out of the picture. I just got out of the Army and I am not in a position to buy a house. However, I am in a position to make bicycles in the cool unused two-car garage attached to the house I rent!

    I just need to know if I'll be okay with what I have available now. Forget about the cost of the welder for this purpose.



    Is there is a dryer outlet close by? If so your golden. 230 v single phase.

  5. #5
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    @Dirty $anchez

    No. See paragraph #3 from my original post.

  6. #6
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    The Dynasty draws 20.7 amps on 115v and 100 amps of welding output. You probably be less than satisfied with the welding performance.

  7. #7
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    @RCP FAB

    On your Miller Dynasty 200DX, how many output amps do you normally set? Personally, I remember using far less than 100 in class, but my memory is not perfect.

  8. #8
    I think this is a trail..
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    I've built two steel frames in my garage using a Dynasty 200 on 120V power. No problems with tripping breakers or lack of welding amperage for welding thin gauge bicycle tubing. From what I understand one advantage of running 230V is better control, more consistent amperage. I do plan to eventually have my garage wired for 230V but that is more so I can tackle bigger jobs.
    Yard Sale! Corner of Courage and Incompetence

  9. #9
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    I ran my Maxstar for ~7 years on 120V on a (I think?) 20A circuit. Might have been 15A. 70s vintage aluminum wiring FTW! For bikes, no problem. Want to make anything else? Sorry.

    But for bikes, go for it. You should be fine.

    -Walt
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
    Park City, UT USA
    www.waltworks.com
    waltworks.blogspot.com

  10. #10
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    @Walt

    Thanks! That's the kind of answer I'm looking for!

  11. #11
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    I have a maxstar 200 dx and have never plugged it into anything but 120v on a 20 amp circuit. lots of bikes with no problem. Have welded lots of heavy stuff with it along the way. Did a 2" thick solid stainless bagel hook that had twisted itself in half...
    pass after pass at 150a and never a snivel from the panel box. My squarewave doing aluminum at 180 amps (maxed out) on a 220v 30a blows regularly when you have a long pass. I know I need to put a different breaker in there but im lazy...

    You will be fine for bikes and any shop furniture you will need to build up to 1/4" thickness.

  12. #12
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    @j-ro

    Thanks for the info! I didn't want to drop four grand on the Dynasty and find out I had to also find and pay for a separate workshop just because of voltage.

    I'm meeting next week with the Clackamas SBDC (as opposed to the Portland SBDC, Clackamas has a veterans program) and sometime in the next six months I plan to be up and running in Portland making bicycles on the side while I am going to PCC for machining and the GI Bill pays the rent. Check back with me in a couple of years and see if I am the one responsible for the first 100% American-made bicycle.

  13. #13
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    I'm using 95-110amps on my steel tig bikes on a 200dx 240v 1 phase. The inverter seems to run hotter than the syncro 350 I learned on in Carl's Metal Guru class. If the option for 240v is only a few dollars more, gives you more options and maybe better resale if you move up. Heat sinks are really helpful, backpurge is good. Dang this is an expensive hobby/business
    cheers
    andy walker

  14. #14
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    I borrowed a Dynasty 200DX for a while and even though I had 220VAC in the shop, the guy that owned the welder had it wired for 110VAC and it worked just fine for all bike related stuff. I believe it was on a 15amp breaker. Now that I own one, I have it wired for 220 and have never used it any other way. I think you'll be fine on 110 though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by j-ro View Post
    My squarewave doing aluminum at 180 amps (maxed out) on a 220v 30a blows regularly when you have a long pass. I know I need to put a different breaker in there but im lazy...
    A very common classic and sometimes deadly mistake. The breaker protects the wiring at the ampacity that the wire can handle. Wire ampacity is the safe amount of current that a wire can handle without getting hot or causing a fire. Typically a 30 amp breaker is rated for use to protect 10awg wiring so if you change the breaker to anything above 30amps the wiring can and will cause over heating and possibly a fire.

    Brian

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by calstar View Post
    A very common classic and sometimes deadly mistake. The breaker protects the wiring at the ampacity that the wire can handle. Wire ampacity is the safe amount of current that a wire can handle without getting hot or causing a fire. Typically a 30 amp breaker is rated for use to protect 10awg wiring so if you change the breaker to anything above 30amps the wiring can and will cause over heating and possibly a fire.

    Brian
    Thanks for your concern. I'm safe, I wired the shop with #6 for all the welder plugs.
    the breaker box was free to me from a remodel but the biggest breaker in it was 30amp so that's what I used.
    At some point there will be another remodel with a 50a square D breaker in it for me i'm sure....

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all your help, gentlemen. I have to decide between the Maxstar and the Dynasty now, and while I doubt I will work with aluminum in the near term, it is likely I will be working with it eventually. I'd like to find a used one; other than dumb luck on eBay or CL, does anyone know of a good source to look? Do welding supply shops stock used gear?

  18. #18
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    Don't buy either one until you've got a business class or two under your belt, plus some time on whatever machines are at the CC shop(s). You should be in no hurry, especially since most CC machine shops will let you have access after hours if you're enrolled and pass the safety class. So really, there should be no particular rush to buy expensive equipment right now, IMO.

    -Walt
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
    Park City, UT USA
    www.waltworks.com
    waltworks.blogspot.com

  19. #19
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    How about getting a little gas/diesel generator to run it?

  20. #20
    The dirty knacker
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    I run a Dynasty dx on 110v without any issue whatsoever. I have run the machine at various facilities at various input and really the only difference you'll see is the duty cycle go down. Which is a non-issue for what we are talking about. At the moment I use a 20a line at 110 and it's fine for steel. No bueno for AL though. You'll need some juice if you want to go there.
    Rosko Cycles Inc.
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