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Thread: Amp Meter for A/C welder

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    Supporting Member drivermark's Avatar
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    Amp Meter for A/C welder

    Hey Guys,

    I have an old A/C buzz box that I would like to install a meter/gauge/readout of some type to indicate the amperage output.It is an old Campbell Hausfield unit that Walmart used to sell back in the '90's. The "indicator" it came with is just a pointer and to adjust amperage you turn a little crank/handle that makes about a turn and a half before the needle starts to move, so I have no idea what the actual amperage is.

    So my question is ... How can I make, beg,borrow, buy, steal a readout (preferably digital but I'm not picky) that will indicate the amperage fairly accurately.
    I've tried the search feature on the sight and Google but so far no luck.

    Thank you in advance for any help on this.

    Mark

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    Mark,

    since you have an AC welder, a clamp-on AC ammeter will do the trick. i use one on my Lincoln AC-225, and it works fine. it only reads when the arc is struck, of course, but that's the nature of the beast.

    another option is units like this from Amazon, ebay, etc. I bought a 300 Amp analog meter for my Lincoln, but don't have it hooked up yet. here is a link to a 200 Amp item (i have not tried this one).

    https://www.amazon.com/DROK-Multimet...52-spons&psc=1

    Hope this helps: good luck.

    Bob R

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    greyhoundollie (02-28-2019), Sleykin (02-28-2019), TilenThaler (03-03-2019)

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    Hi Mark,

    I just read Bob's Reply and his clamping ammeter is probably the easiest and quickest item for you. However, I am not sure if you are aware of how the amps work while you are welding. The amps flowing will vary by a bunch of different factors, the change in the difference of the gap between the end of the rod and the surface you are welding to. The temperature of the rod as it heats up/ cools down while welding. Difference in temp of the surfaces you are welding. Temp of the welding leads changing as the amp flow changes while welding. And about 10 or 20 more things. It will always be a "dance" to watch while things are in motion. Then of course, it is hard to look at the amp meter while you have your hood on while you are welding. It will probably require a "buddy" to watch the meter while you are welding. The "sound" of the arc, the "hum" of the welding machine, the "sticktiscity" of the rod to the work surface etc are the things that regular welders learn by experience to "feel" if things are set right for each particular job are things that a meter has trouble teaching you. I really am not trying to shoot your idea down. I just want to add a few things that you will need to get you amp meter to help "tell you" as you tackle each project.

    Good luck and have fun with it!

    Richard

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    Sleykin's Tools
    As others stated, a clamp on amp meter is the quick and dirty way. I would use a carbon pile to watch the amp meter as you adjust it so you know how to match your needle adjustment to an actual amperage. Then just use the needle. You may also find the the needle creeps down more after you lower it so bang it a bit to see what the backlash does and where it is.

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    Frank S's Tools
    A volt meter to read the open circuit voltage will be more useful but you will have to learn a correlation with the OCV and the actual heat you are welding at by welding up several test samples at various settings until eventually you will be able to adjust the meter to where you want it AN AC amprobe hung on the lead while welding will give you a general idea but you really need someone else doing the welding while you read the meter. if you have that and the volt meter you can see where the volt meter reads while welding as well But you need someone who can actually weld not just dab while trying to strike an arc.
    Once you have everything figured out you can buy or make a relunctance coil to place around 1 lead connected to 1 side of your meter and the other side connected directly to the other lead you will have to figure out how many ohms of resistance you will need to get the correct reading on the amp meter you mount on the machine
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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    Your question states AC buzz box. I am assuming it is not a rectified DC voltage welder? If it is true AC like the others have stated works good. But I will add, if you spend a few dollars more than the cheapest you can buy, pick a meter out that has a MAX HOLD feature. That way you can attach the clamp around the welding lead and start to weld. After a short bead is laid down, stop and check the max amperage on the meter, then you can “titrate for effect” adjust accordingly.

    Now if it is a DC voltage welder, you will need a meter like these, https://trumeter.com/apm/products/shunt-meter/.

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    Sleykin's Tools
    Or there are a wide variety of panel meters on eBay. one like this would be a cheap and dirty way to go too.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-LCD...:pf:1&LH_BIN=1
    Don't know the seller, but it is a good example.

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    Damn ain’t we all so smart! Haha

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    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the responses, I didn't even think about using a clamp on meter I guess that was to obvious. I was just hoping to find some way that would indicate an amperage setting with some degree of accuracy,like I said it's an old welder I bought a long time ago and yeah BigSexy it was a cheapy but it is what I could afford.
    One of those digital meters looks like it would do and not cost too much. Wouldn't want to really spend too much on it kind like the old lipstick and pig thing.

    Thanks again everyone this was a big help. Now when the meter arrives I'll be back for help to wire it up

    Mark

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    Oh Yeah it is just AC

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