# Can I use a MIG or TIG Welder with a 12V-230V Power' Inverter?

Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭
edited May 2020 #1
This is probably a tricky one.
I would like to use my welders on an off grid or mobile installation, which I still have to put together also.
The biggest one is a 'Cebora MIG-802 Special Car', 220V, 9A to 18A Prim.
A few parallel batteries can deliver some serious Amps and there are some inverters which can, on paper, supply some more power than others.
But it's the starting current that worries me. I'm afraid the inverter will go in safety and cut off.

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We had one member from Hawaii that ran a fabrication business on old/recovered forklift batteries and AIMS AC Inverters (AIMS--Not the best inverters out there). Last we heard years ago, he was very happy with the setup.

This is always the issue with making your own power--You are experimenting with out of the box usage, and if something does fail, it is your \$\$\$ and time used to recover if there are any issues/failures.

My suggestion would be, if you try the welder(s), just don't have anything else expensive on the AC output of the Inverter while trying welding (like your laptop computer)--And see what happens.

I cannot figure out the minimum input AC rating of the welder--Is it 1-50 Amps @ 60 Hz and 220 VAC?

You can always start at low welding current and see how the inverter behaves. Have a pocket full of DC fuses or use DC breaker on the inverter DC power input for testing. At 150 Amps @ 19 volts, that is ~2,850 VA (sort of Watts), So, you are probably looking at a 4,000 Watt (VA) rated inverter minimum to run at near full output current. Not a small inverter or battery bank (suggest ~800 AH @ 24 volts or 400 AH @ 48 volt DC battery bank for running at full power for extensive amounts of time--You might try 1/2 that AH if you are going to experiment with new/fully charged battery bank).

There is a Cosine (power factor?) on the bottom of the welder label... That would tell you a bit more about the AC power requirements... VA=Watts/PowerPactor -- VA is either same value or larger than Watts (2,850W/0.9PF=3,167VA). And most "residential inverters", their Watt rating equals their VA rating (commercial inverters and generators can have higher VA ratings).

-Bill
Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
• Solar Expert Posts: 3,820 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
Using an inverter to power a welder really doesn't make much sense, it involves converting DC to AC then back to DC, perhaps with an extremely large inverter, along with a substantial battery capacity, the conversion losses may be trivial, however doing so on a marginal system is not something I would recommend or consider, welding is, after all,  an intentional controlled short circuit, keeping the arc between the feed wire and the work piece.

For this reason I personally use a generator to power the MIG welder, it is able to maintain a controlled arc without the sags that would  occur with a limited battery / inverter combination.The generator obviously should be sized accordingly to the welders demands to avoid the same voltage sag issues.
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5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
• Solar Expert Posts: 1,386 ✭✭✭✭
You could measure the startup and operating currents and compare to available inverter specs.  I'd also consider upgrading to an inverter welder - it's likely to cause less stress on the DC->240VAC inverter.

I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

• Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭
edited May 2020 #5
I've found this inverter online:
If I read correct, I can connect solar panels to it also. So It's an Inverter and controller in-one. If I'm correct.
I also think it wil be beter to put some batteries is series and make a 24v or 48v system
About using and electronic inverter welder. I heared it wouldn't be a good idea. If the power inverter and inverter Welder for example both use pwm and chop the current, the welder might need electricity the most when the inverter issupplying none at that moment. I havend looked at the schematics of such appliances yet, so I don't know it is so. But I saw someone try to use a 12V- 230V electronic inverter in a car to feed the electronic switching power supply for his laptop and this did not work. It would not work at all.
edited February 3 #6
Normally, PSW/TSW AC inverters work fine for powering laptops and other AC power supplies.

What can work/sort of work/or fail are MSW (modified square/sine wave) inverters--The "square wave" output of these types of AC inverters can cause some AC power bricks to overheat and fail, or even fail almost immediately. And for induction motors, make those run hot.

The problem is, there are different ways to make the front end of AC power supplies... The older/cheap/easy way does not like MSW input (run hot, MSW peak voltage is lower than PSW sine wave peak voltage)... The newer Power Factor Corrected input AC supplies, usually work very nicely with MSW input.

Lightly loaded induction motors will usually work OK on MSW. Dedicated/designed for grid use (like integrated refrigeration compressors), are usually operated near their design loading. And the 10-20% extra heat that comes from operating on MSW can be enough to cause hot running/shorter life.

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/wind-sun/Pump-Inverter.pdf

-Bill
Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
• Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭
edited May 2020 #7
Thanks for the pdf.
The reason I would first opt for a 12v system is that many appliances and electric tools are available in 12v versions, so no inverter will je needed at all.
But something like a welder which needs a big current as is, this would be multiplied a lot on the 12v side.
A refrigirator with a compressor wouldn't ask for so much and a 12v inverter will suffice, but still I will have to choose a compatible type to avoid problems, as you mentioned, running hot. I would place a dedicated inverter for the fridge, so the thermostat will switch the inverter on and off, not the fridge itself.
It will probably be better to weld with a generator. But there the startup is a huge problem. That's why I would have liked to try an big inverter.

• Solar Expert Posts: 9,276 ✭✭✭✭✭
I have used a large arc welder (240V 30A) with my XW6048.    I'd prefer to use a generator in the future.
I don't see a good result using a 12V inverter with a welder
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|| Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
|| VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

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• Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
mcgivor said:
For this reason I personally use a generator to power the MIG welder

I have welded for a long time. Stick, MIG and a lot of TIG. I would NEVER weld via an inverter.

It is really inefficient to create power and invert it just to go back to DC if off grid. But even if you are AC welding there is a power factor on the reverse side of the AC (like a diode) and of course, what you are welding. Some welders have power factor correction built in. Even then the physics are curious. I would never do that to and inverter OR an inverter generator. What you want is a big 'ol tank of a constant RPM generator OR plug into the grid. Or buy a portable welder.

We won't even much speak of the high freq generator for non-scratch TIG. I could wipe out electronics and blow power amp breakers when keying the start switch, let alone holding it for aluminum and this was on grid and to my neighbors dissatisfaction and mine. And this was with a high end welder - not a harbor freight whatever.

Be carful. This is an old post but hopefully others may see it and be forewarned.
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• Solar Expert Posts: 5,580 ✭✭✭✭✭
A bit of an old post, but I'll chirp in. I'm NOT a welder, but I have a friend who uses an 'Under-Hood' welder. It can do Mig, Tig, Stick and is basically a high output amperage alternator that you add to your engine. He actually will install the alternator and remove it as needed, but it can be left in place and taken out of use with a different drive belt.

On-Board Welding Systems - Premier Power Welder, LLC
Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
- Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
• Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
Photowhit said:
A bit of an old post, but I'll chirp in. I'm NOT a welder, but I have a friend who uses an 'Under-Hood' welder. It can do Mig, Tig, Stick and is basically a high output amperage alternator that you add to your engine. He actually will install the alternator and remove it as needed, but it can be left in place and taken out of use with a different drive belt.

On-Board Welding Systems - Premier Power Welder, LLC
Sigh.
Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFX 3648, FM80, FNDC, 240 xformer, three SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. Miller Bobcat.