Generators are a great way to power tools, equipment, and other devices when the grid isn’t available. But can you use a generator for welding?
Stick welders require high voltage electricity that is typically hardwired at construction sites.
It’s possible to run a stick welder on a generator, but it’s not recommended because the quality of your weld will be reduced significantly.
Also, if your generator is not compatible with your welder, it can be proven dangerous.
An efficient way to run a stick welder is with the help of an external generator. Stick welders that are compatible can be used safely and without worry about power fluctuations for them to work correctly.
What does this mean? It doesn’t matter if that has you confused right now because we will be using the next few paragraphs to explain it in more detail.
We’ll be taking a look at what this stick welder does, as well as giving you a little refresher on generators.
You might not think these two things are related, but they certainly can make your job easier!
We will then show how you can use the generator to power up and run that welding machine for hours of uninterrupted work time–now it’s back to business!
What Is a Stick Welder?
A stick welder is a welding device that uses two electric arcs to weld pieces of metal together.
It’s so-called because the arc, or line of electrically heated gas, resembles a stick. It’s typically used to join pieces of metals like steel and cast iron or to weld thermoplastics.
The arc heats up the molecules within the material being welded and causes them to bond with each other into a solid mass.
Without any filler wire, it can create seams in frames, pipes, or barrels from materials such as mild steel.
There are three main components needed to use a stick welder. The wire feed lever controls how much electrical current reaches the electrode tip to strike an arc.
With a stick welder, you can create the strongest welds in the industry. This means that they need equally potent sources of power to fuel their greatness.
What Is A Generator?
The generator is a device that converts high-pressure, low volume gas and turns it into normal atmospheric pressure, high volume gas.
The fuel source is used to power the generator with gasoline, diesel, natural gas, or propane.
Typically generators are used as an alternative power supply for households that live in remote locations and use electrical appliances as their standard power feed.
Generators also work well to provide emergency backup power to recreational vehicles when they break down on the side of the road, such as RVs, since there is no access to electricity or fuel stations nearby.
Powerful generators are capable of powering large appliances, while the less-powerful ones can only power small equipment.
Now you know all about what a stick welder and generator are. It’s time to explore the question, “can you run a stick welder on the generator?”
Things to consider
To safely run a stick welder on a generator, there are some essential factors to consider.
First, it is necessary to find the balance between voltage and current for the machine in question.
Your next step is determining what type of supply voltage you need from your generator or its output voltage for your welding machine.
Consider the wattage of the generator.
It’s essential to know the wattage of your generator.
This is given in watts, and it represents how many average times you can power something with a particular voltage before recharging or refueling again.
A generator is a valuable power source for any type of event.
For example, if you have an outdoor concert and the generators are rated at 4800 watts, they can provide 480 amps on 120 volts or 240 volts on 20amps, respectively.
The output rating of a generator will typically be the running watts and peak watts. Peak watts can also be called start-up or surge ratings.
The average is usually higher than the running one, but this may vary depending on your needs for power usage.
The output is at a higher frequency to handle the brief spike in power when starting up.
Consider the wattage of the stick welder.
The next step is finding out how many amps of electricity a welding machine draws. You can either consult with our website or ask around if anyone has any idea about their wattage usage.
To have a well-informed discussion about power, you need to know how much it is and your welder’s voltage. There’s no uniform standard for wattage or amperages in welding equipment, so make sure that if there isn’t information on the data plate, look through manuals or find out from people familiar with this process before plugging anything into an outlet.
When it comes to wattage, you needn’t guess.
There are simple calculations that can be done to accurately determine the number of watts required for your task at hand.
For example, if I give a figure of 6000 and want an answer as close as possible without using any calculators or estimations, what should I do? You would take our advice on overestimating by multiplying this number with ten.
The wattage of your welder will determine the power it needs when you’re using a generator.
For example, if you have 6000 watts incapacity for welding use and need to operate at that level from a generator, then this is precisely what’s required or more than that.
Any other things to keep in mind?
To ensure that your generator will last for the entirety of an emergency, you should also be considering what other devices and tools it will power.
If multiple items are being powered by a single generator, then you should calculate how much energy each item needs from one another.
For example, if two laptops require 100 watts but three lights only need 30 watts combined. So make sure not to overload the machine’s capabilities with too many demands at once.
Keep in mind the details from the last section. It is often far more advantageous to overestimate than underestimate. Underestimating these figures can prove challenging!
You may also want to keep in mind the place you will be working. In higher altitudes, the air is thinner, and there’s less power for generators.
Suppose your generator model has an altitude kit or is made with one of these kits available as a purchase option.
In that case, this could help compensate for weaker performance due to thinning air pressure at higher elevations!
Final word On Running a Stick Welder on a Generator:
This article has touched on some of the key points to consider when looking at running a stick welder from your generator, and hopefully, it’s proved helpful.
If there is one takeaway that we hope you have taken away from our post today, it would be to follow any safety instructions set out by the manufacturer of both your welder and generator.
In fact, they may even recommend specific generators or welders that are compatible with each other.