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Electronics Forums > Newsgroups > Electronics Newsgroups > Electronic Design > Arc welding transformer? Ads by Google

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Eric Y. Chang

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09-03-2003, 07:08 PM Hi. I was wondering how an arc welding transformer works. According to many posts on newsgroups, the output has a constant current behavior due to weak coupling between the primary and secondary. A typical small hobby buzz box welder is rated at 120 V @ 20 A input and 70 A output at an unspecified voltage. This voltage is probably approximately 20 V for the typical metal arc. At first glance, the power in and power out seem reasonable, since this looks like 1400W out, if the load is approximated as purely resistive. But, a real transformer does not multiply current (past that done by the ideal transformer embedded within it). In other words, it should not be possible to increase output current by drawing down on the output without also increasing primary current. Note that this behavior is fundamentally different from a buck converter. By decreasing the duty cycle, the buck converter can actually multiply current when the output is drawn down. The magnetic transformer cannot, aside from the amount produced by the turns ratio. These small buzz boxes typically have an open circuit voltage (OCV) of about 80 volts, to aid in starting the arc. Obviously, the rated 70 A is not delivered at 80 V. Instead, the voltage sags according to the non-ideality (regulation) of the transformer, down to the arc voltage. But, if one considers the ideal transformer model, the internal ideal transformer is still producing 80V (and the voltage drop is across the leakage inductance). There is still 70 A flowing through the output winding of the internal ideal transformer. Therefore, there is 70* 80/120 = 47 A flowing through the primary. Since there is no current multiplication in the primary either, this means that 47 A is being drawn through the mains circuit. This will surely trip the breaker? Conventional magnetic transformers, no matter how they are constructed (leakage vs. magnetizing inductance) cannot multiply current above the amount given by the OCV (ideal transformer) rating. A simple example can be given by the 1:1 ideal transformer. The schematic will be omitted, since the transformer model is already familiar to the newsgroup. There is a leakage inductance in series with the parallel connected magnetizing inductance and load. The current is Im + Ir = IL (magnetizing, load and leakage, resp.). By the triangle inequality, which applies to complex addition: |Ir| <= |IL|, so the current flowing in the mains portion is always greater than that flowing through the load, regardless of the nonideality of the transformer. Thus, no current multiplication occurs due to drawdown. Can anyone who knows more about the subject please help clear things up? Does the welder draw these large currents from the mains without tripping breakers, or do they just produce less than their nameplate rating? Note that this does not apply to the newer inverter powered welders, due to the true current multiplying effect

http://www.electronicspoint.com/arc-welding-transformer-t17654.html

11/1/12 07:38:00

inverter powered welders, due to the true current multiplying effect alluded to earlier. Thanks, Eric

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mike

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09-04-2003, 04:24 AM Eric Y. Chang wrote: > Hi. I was wondering how an arc welding transformer works. According to > many posts on newsgroups, the output has a constant current behavior due > to weak coupling between the primary and secondary. > > A typical small hobby buzz box welder is rated at 120 V @ 20 A input and > 70 A output at an unspecified voltage. This voltage is probably > approximately 20 V for the typical metal arc. At first glance, the > power in and power out seem reasonable, since this looks like 1400W > out, if the load is approximated as purely resistive. But, a real > transformer does not multiply current (past that done by the ideal > transformer embedded within it). In other words, it should not be > possible to increase output current by drawing down on the output without > also increasing primary current. Note that this behavior is fundamentally > different from a buck converter. By decreasing the duty cycle, the > buck converter can actually multiply current when the output is drawn > down. The magnetic transformer cannot, aside from the amount produced > by the turns ratio. > > These small buzz boxes typically have an open circuit voltage (OCV) of > about 80 volts, to aid in starting the arc. Obviously, the rated 70 A > is not delivered at 80 V. Instead, the voltage sags according to the > non-ideality (regulation) of the transformer, down to the arc voltage. > But, if one considers the ideal transformer model, the internal ideal > transformer is still producing 80V (and the voltage drop is across the > leakage inductance). There is still 70 A flowing through the output > winding of the internal ideal transformer. Therefore, there is 70* > 80/120 = 47 A flowing through the primary. Since there is no current > multiplication in the primary either, this means that 47 A is being > drawn through the mains circuit. This will surely trip the breaker? > > Conventional magnetic transformers, no matter how they are constructed > (leakage vs. magnetizing inductance) cannot multiply current above the > amount given by the OCV (ideal transformer) rating. > > A simple example can be given by the 1:1 ideal transformer. The > schematic will be omitted, since the transformer model is already > familiar to the newsgroup. There is a leakage inductance in > series with the parallel connected magnetizing inductance and load. > The current is Im + Ir = IL (magnetizing, load and leakage, resp.). > By the triangle inequality, which applies to complex addition: > |Ir| <= |IL|, so the current flowing in the mains portion is always > greater than that flowing through the load, regardless of the non> ideality of the transformer. Thus, no current multiplication > occurs due to drawdown. > > Can anyone who knows more about the subject please help clear > things up? Does the welder draw these large currents from the mains > without tripping breakers, or do they just produce less than their > nameplate rating? Note that this does not apply to the newer > inverter powered welders, due to the true current multiplying effect > alluded to earlier. > > Thanks, > Eric > I don't have the answer, but am pretty sure you need to account for phase angle in the AC analysis. mike

http://www.electronicspoint.com/arc-welding-transformer-t17654.html

11/1/12 07:38:00

Page 3

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Yzordderex

Guest Posts: n/a

09-04-2003, 02:57 PM The sears buzzbox I use has a moveable core. When you turn up the amps the core goes inwards to increase the reluctance. If I've got that right. Does this help at all? regards, Bob

mike <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<(E-Mail Removed)>... > Eric Y. Chang wrote: > > Hi. I was wondering how an arc welding transformer works. According to > > many posts on newsgroups, the output has a constant current behavior due > > to weak coupling between the primary and secondary. >> > > A typical small hobby buzz box welder is rated at 120 V @ 20 A input and > > 70 A output at an unspecified voltage. This voltage is probably > > approximately 20 V for the typical metal arc. At first glance, the > > power in and power out seem reasonable, since this looks like 1400W > > out, if the load is approximated as purely resistive. But, a real > > transformer does not multiply current (past that done by the ideal > > transformer embedded within it). In other words, it should not be > > possible to increase output current by drawing down on the output without > > also increasing primary current. Note that this behavior is fundamentally > > different from a buck converter. By decreasing the duty cycle, the > > buck converter can actually multiply current when the output is drawn > > down. The magnetic transformer cannot, aside from the amount produced > > by the turns ratio. >> > > These small buzz boxes typically have an open circuit voltage (OCV) of > > about 80 volts, to aid in starting the arc. Obviously, the rated 70 A > > is not delivered at 80 V. Instead, the voltage sags according to the > > non-ideality (regulation) of the transformer, down to the arc voltage. > > But, if one considers the ideal transformer model, the internal ideal > > transformer is still producing 80V (and the voltage drop is across the > > leakage inductance). There is still 70 A flowing through the output > > winding of the internal ideal transformer. Therefore, there is 70* > > 80/120 = 47 A flowing through the primary. Since there is no current > > multiplication in the primary either, this means that 47 A is being > > drawn through the mains circuit. This will surely trip the breaker? >> > > Conventional magnetic transformers, no matter how they are constructed > > (leakage vs. magnetizing inductance) cannot multiply current above the > > amount given by the OCV (ideal transformer) rating. >> > > A simple example can be given by the 1:1 ideal transformer. The > > schematic will be omitted, since the transformer model is already > > familiar to the newsgroup. There is a leakage inductance in > > series with the parallel connected magnetizing inductance and load. > > The current is Im + Ir = IL (magnetizing, load and leakage, resp.). > > By the triangle inequality, which applies to complex addition: > > |Ir| <= |IL|, so the current flowing in the mains portion is always > > greater than that flowing through the load, regardless of the non> > ideality of the transformer. Thus, no current multiplication > > occurs due to drawdown. >> > > Can anyone who knows more about the subject please help clear > > things up? Does the welder draw these large currents from the mains > > without tripping breakers, or do they just produce less than their

http://www.electronicspoint.com/arc-welding-transformer-t17654.html

11/1/12 07:38:00

>> > > I don't have the answer, but am pretty sure you need to account > for phase angle in the AC analysis. > mike > > -> Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below. > laptops and parts Test Equipment > 4in/400Wout ham linear amp. > Honda CB-125S > 400cc Dirt Bike 2003 miles $450 > Police Scanner, Color LCD overhead projector > Tek 2465 $800, ham radio, 30pS pulser > Tektronix Concept Books, spot welding head... > http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Monitor/4710/

Page 4

Yzordderex

Guest Posts: n/a

09-04-2003, 06:30 PM Eric, Sorry for the two posts. I had a work related interruption that prevented me from a full answer. It's really very simple. Assume you have a 120v:80v transformer ideal if you wish. Now if arc voltage is 20v and xfmr secondary is 80v, you have to drop 60v. If you need say 60amps then you need to put an inductor worth an ohm at 60hz in series with this ideal transformer. With me so far? Ok, so if you move the iron slider into or out of the core, you can change the leakage inductance. Your 'ideal' transformer becomes less ideal as you move the core out. The leakage reactance exists because some of the flux lines which are generated by the primary turns do not intercept the secondary turns. As you move slider out some of the flux lines go outside of the core, and leakage inductance increases. Current goes down on BOTH primary and secondary. So what you've in effect done (when moving the slider outwards) is place an inductor in series with the transformer - added impedence to tame the current. I hope this answers your question. regards, Bob

(E-Mail Removed) (Yzordderex) wrote in message news:<(E-Mail Removed). com>... > The sears buzzbox I use has a moveable core. When you turn up the > amps the core goes inwards to increase the reluctance. If I've got > that right. > > Does this help at all? > > regards, > Bob > > > > > > mike <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<(E-Mail Removed)>... > > Eric Y. Chang wrote: > > > Hi. I was wondering how an arc welding transformer works. According to > > > many posts on newsgroups, the output has a constant current behavior due > > > to weak coupling between the primary and secondary. >>> > > > A typical small hobby buzz box welder is rated at 120 V @ 20 A input and > > > 70 A output at an unspecified voltage. This voltage is probably > > > approximately 20 V for the typical metal arc. At first glance, the > > > power in and power out seem reasonable, since this looks like 1400W > > > out, if the load is approximated as purely resistive. But, a real > > > transformer does not multiply current (past that done by the ideal > > > transformer embedded within it). In other words, it should not be > > > possible to increase output current by drawing down on the output without

http://www.electronicspoint.com/arc-welding-transformer-t17654.html

11/1/12 07:38:00

> > > These small buzz boxes typically have an open circuit voltage (OCV) of > > > about 80 volts, to aid in starting the arc. Obviously, the rated 70 A > > > is not delivered at 80 V. Instead, the voltage sags according to the > > > non-ideality (regulation) of the transformer, down to the arc voltage. > > > But, if one considers the ideal transformer model, the internal ideal > > > transformer is still producing 80V (and the voltage drop is across the > > > leakage inductance). There is still 70 A flowing through the output > > > winding of the internal ideal transformer. Therefore, there is 70* > > > 80/120 = 47 A flowing through the primary. Since there is no current > > > multiplication in the primary either, this means that 47 A is being > > > drawn through the mains circuit. This will surely trip the breaker? >>> > > > Conventional magnetic transformers, no matter how they are constructed > > > (leakage vs. magnetizing inductance) cannot multiply current above the > > > amount given by the OCV (ideal transformer) rating. >>> > > > A simple example can be given by the 1:1 ideal transformer. The > > > schematic will be omitted, since the transformer model is already > > > familiar to the newsgroup. There is a leakage inductance in > > > series with the parallel connected magnetizing inductance and load. > > > The current is Im + Ir = IL (magnetizing, load and leakage, resp.). > > > By the triangle inequality, which applies to complex addition: > > > |Ir| <= |IL|, so the current flowing in the mains portion is always > > > greater than that flowing through the load, regardless of the non> > > ideality of the transformer. Thus, no current multiplication > > > occurs due to drawdown. >>> > > > Can anyone who knows more about the subject please help clear > > > things up? Does the welder draw these large currents from the mains > > > without tripping breakers, or do they just produce less than their > > > nameplate rating? Note that this does not apply to the newer > > > inverter powered welders, due to the true current multiplying effect > > > alluded to earlier. >>> > > > Thanks, > > > Eric >>> >> > > I don't have the answer, but am pretty sure you need to account > > for phase angle in the AC analysis. > > mike >> > > -> > Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below. > > laptops and parts Test Equipment > > 4in/400Wout ham linear amp. > > Honda CB-125S > > 400cc Dirt Bike 2003 miles $450 > > Police Scanner, Color LCD overhead projector > > Tek 2465 $800, ham radio, 30pS pulser > > Tektronix Concept Books, spot welding head... > > http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Monitor/4710/

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