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  • A safe pigtail?

    Alright, a question for those with experience with welder plugs!

    I just bought a maxstar 150 sth, but it is older with the 20 amp male plug on it, however it still has autoline (115/230volt). (I don't want to cut off the 20 amp plug if possible).

    Question 1. For low amp work (i.e. less than 70amps output) I made a pigtail that goes like this... the pigtail is the sum of parts between the brackets.
    = 20amp 115v male welder plug >( 20amp female socket>3/12awg 4'cable>15amp male plug)> 15 amp 115v female socket in wall. IS THIS SAFE for low amperage work? Many other posts seem to show it is okay, I just want to confirm.

    Question 2. Can I make a pigtail from my 20amp (3 prong plug) to a 4 prong 230 volt (e.g. 14-30 or 14-50) modern dryer or stove style plug?
    I've read that you can, and that you just don't connect the neutral (L shaped prong) on the plug. Am I correct, is this safe? Can the 20 amp plug handle 220-250 volts, especially the fact (I think) that both prongs are hot?

    If any experts at miller want to chime in on this, I would love to hear it.
    Side note... I phoned a technician at Miller and he said ( unless I missunderstood) that you shouldn't make a pigtail that allows a connection to more than 20 amps input power as this could fry the machine). This seems odd since the machine can draw as many as 28 amps on 115 volts and the saleperson at my welding shop said a welder will only draw the amperage it needs. If this last paragraph seems like nonsense please disregard and only answer the first 2 questions.

    Thank you very much in advance to those who will help me on my way to melt some metal!

  • #2
    I have the same machine,I ordered a new cord for it a few months ago due to the old one was in bad shape.This time I just took a pair of pliers and twisted the prong to fit a 15 amp circuit .Now it can be pluged into a 15 or 20 amp without an adapter. As for the 220just make an adapter as long or as short as you need.115 volt 20 amp plug on one end and 220 on the other to fit your dryer plug.You only need 3 wires.
    Last edited by fabricator; 02-27-2010, 04:28 AM.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by YvesVT View Post

      Question 2. Can I make a pigtail from my 20amp (3 prong plug) to a 4 prong 230 volt (e.g. 14-30 or 14-50) modern dryer or stove style plug?
      I've read that you can, and that you just don't connect the neutral (L shaped prong) on the plug. Am I correct, is this safe? Can the 20 amp plug handle 220-250 volts, especially the fact (I think) that both prongs are hot?

      the NEMA 5-20 will handle 240v with no problem. yes it's safe, though make sure you don't plug ANYTHING else into it..
      Bobcat 225NT
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      • #4
        Yes, I try to avoid making adapters that allow that to happen but if you want a 120 plug on the machine there is probably no way around it. Make a big label for the adapt.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sberry View Post
          Yes, I try to avoid making adapters that allow that to happen but if you want a 120 plug on the machine there is probably no way around it. Make a big label for the adapt.
          yep, because the op wants to retain the 5-20 on the maxstar it's pretty much unavoidable... if it was mine, i think I'd cut off the 5-20 and replace it with a twist lock and make two adapters.... that way another tool doesn't get vaporized accidently...
          Bobcat 225NT
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          • #6
            clarification

            Originally posted by bretsk2500 View Post
            yep, because the op wants to retain the 5-20 on the maxstar it's pretty much unavoidable... if it was mine, i think I'd cut off the 5-20 and replace it with a twist lock and make two adapters.... that way another tool doesn't get vaporized accidently...
            Thanks for the replies,

            I was just wanting to clarify,

            when making an adapter using the 20 amp plug to a 4 prong 230 volt one,
            which cables must I connect to which.
            I'm pretty certain green goes to ground and and that the ground on the 20 amp plug should be connected to the ground on the 230 volt prong.
            But what about the prong that is rotated 90 degrees, should that one be connected to black or white, (i.e. are there any polarity issues of which I should be aware).

            Secondly, I read that I should just not connect the L shaped prong on the 230 ( which I think is for the red wire) Am I right?

            thanks again, this is an amazing forum, I last night and already got a bunch of answers! (It really helps me as a beginner.)
            Last edited by YvesVT; 02-27-2010, 08:58 AM. Reason: forgot a word

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            • #7
              on your adapter... hook the green screws together with green wire... that is your ground... hook the gold screw in the 5-20 to either of the gold screws on the 14-30/50 with black wire... that's hot #1... hook the silver terminal of the 5-20 to the OTHER gold screw on the 14-30/50 using a red wire... that's hot #2. if your cord only has black/white/green, re-code the white with a red marker on both ends. the silver screw (terminal W), aka the l shaped one on a 14-30, is NOT used...
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              • #8
                Thank you

                Thanks Brestk 2500, that seems to explain it very well!

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                • #9
                  I would put a 240v Plug on the machine and then make an adapter to go from 120v receptacles to the 240v plug on the Machine.

                  Less chance of screwing things up- the other adapter you wanna make will allow a 120v tool to be plugged in to 240v= Smoke
                  Ed Conley
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                  • #10
                    thank for the reminder!

                    Originally posted by Broccoli1 View Post
                    I would put a 240v Plug on the machine and then make an adapter to go from 120v receptacles to the 240v plug on the Machine.

                    Less chance of screwing things up- the other adapter you wanna make will allow a 120v tool to be plugged in to 240v= Smoke
                    Yes, as others have mentionned, there is the risk that someone could unwittingly use the extension with another tool and fry it! But I'm the only one using it (I'll make sure to put warning labels on it though) and it will likely only get plugged in the stove or dryer outlet on special occasions! I might change it in the future though, thanks for the messages that keep my mind on safety.

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                    • #11
                      another question

                      Hello again,

                      I was just wondering, for the 220 volt pigtail I plan on making (for the autoline equipped maxstar 150 STH) is it safe to use a 20 amp/120 volt rated plug for the female end of the pigtail? This seems inevitable if I want to keep the 120 volt plug on the maxstar, right?

                      I've seen it done on this forum,
                      but I just wanted to check before making the purchases.

                      Also, I've done a lot of research on cable size and it seems you need
                      12 gauge for 20amps and lower
                      10 gauge for 30 amps and lower,

                      for my 220 volt adapter for the maxstar 150 (which draws a maximum of 21.6 amps on 220 at 150amp output [email protected] 30% duty cycle) .....if I use 10 gauge, is this overkill or will 12 gauge suffice? This all seems confusing as it was recommended to me to use 12 gauge for my (strickly 120 volt) pigtail when, in reality, it can draw up to 28 amps at full power,,albeit for a short period of time. Any advice? It seems like 12 gauge should be fine for this?

                      thanks

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                      • #12
                        I don't mean to jump in, But I just wanted to throw something in.. I made one of those adapters for an air compressor on purpose, so if the thing ever walked off............ And it did.. I hope they smoked it.
                        CFFC..Cross one, Cross us all..

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                        • #13
                          The pre-MVP maxstar 150 pigtails worked!

                          Here is a summary of what I did, and what has worked very well for me on my pre-MVP maxstar 150 STH with AUTOLINE, which came with a 20 amp plug)

                          (note, the welder must have autoline for both 110 and 220 volt for these to work)

                          (I'll try to post pictures later)
                          For situations where only a 15 amp receptacle was available, here is the pigtail...
                          I plug my welder into a 20amp female socket>3/12awg 4'cable>15amp male plug into 15 amp 115v female socket in wall. This has worked well for short periods of time at up to the 105 amp setting on the machine, but I wouldn't push it or you trip the breaker..
                          (Cost = 8$ receptacle + 15$ (4' of cable) + 7$ for plug = 30$)

                          For 20 amp receptacles,...just use the plug..

                          (SAFETY NOTE!!! this next adapter/pigtail uses a receptacle which can potentially accept a 110V male plug so it is important to CLEARLY LABEL the receptacle as being only for 220 VOLTS!!! )
                          For use with regular 3 prong 220(230) volts receptacles I plug my machine in a..
                          20 amp (this one is still the 110 volt model to accept the welder plug)female receptacle connected to 10/3AWG connected to a regular 220 volt, 50amp "welding style" male plug and plug it in.
                          (NOTE: the 10/3 gauge wire will most likely come with a green, white and black wire: connect the green to ground on both receptacle and plug,
                          your white wire must be relabelled as red at both ends, then connect red to red, and black to black; both red and black prongs are HOT in a 3 prong 220 volt connection, there is no neutral.
                          (Cost = 8$ receptacle,+ 75$ 10gauge cable (for my example 45') +16$ male plug = 99$ plus tax)

                          There's more!! ---For a 4 prong plug (30 amp or 50 amp)

                          I plug in the previous pigtail in a 3 prong 220 volt female receptacle and this is connected to an old dryer (30 amp with the L shaped neutral prong) or stove plug (50 amp with straight neutral prong) with the male plug molded to the cable. (note... I just removed the neutral prong so it fits in both my stove and dryer receptacles for jobs where there is no other access to 220volt. If you can purchase a stove or dryer plug without the cable attached this works as well with a thick enough cable.
                          (note= in the dryer/or stove cable there will be 4 cables; do not use the white/neutral wire as it will not be connected to the prong, simply connect red to red and black to black and green to green) this is only valid for the maxstar.. some other welders may require the neutral prong.

                          (Cost = 15$ receptacle+ 20$ for molded dryer plug = 35$ plus tax)

                          Just a note, I only tried my last pigtail on the dryer plug, it worked great, (I haven't tried with the stove yet, but I don't see why it wouldn't work, I was told that the welder will only draw what it needs)
                          Miller recommends a 30 amp breaker for the machine so it is probably best to stick with the dryer receptacle if you can..

                          I hope this helps someone with the same problems I had in making this machine work for me. It works now!

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                          • #14
                            Please Be Careful

                            I've done the same things myself and those adapters work, but you must think of the people that follow in your foot steps, they might not know what those adapters do. Someone might get hurt or worse.
                            I would use those adapters as a short time fix, until you get the proper power installed. Then cut the ends off just to be safe.
                            Again Please Be Careful,
                            Bob
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                            • #15
                              For my 220V to 20amp 110V adapter, I obtained a female socket that will accept the 110V 20amp plug, but NOT a standard 15amp 110V plug. As there is only 1 piece of equipment at the house with a 20amp plug, I don't have to worry about the kids smoking something else. But to be safe - I labelled it, connected them, then taped the connection closed. If I ever need to plug into 110V, I can remove the tape but in the meantime it's essentially part of the welder cord.

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