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Can I safely power a Syncrowave 200 from either a Bobcat or Trailblazer?

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  • Can I safely power a Syncrowave 200 from either a Bobcat or Trailblazer?

    Howdy all.
    I am a complete rookie here so go easy please. I am retired, and only a hobbiest, and I do the odd job for neighbors and friends now and again. I also have done some small paying jobs as well, and I do have my AWS D1.1. I have a Syncrowave 200, Millermatic 211 w/ Spoolmate 150, and a 375 X-treme plasma torch. I also have an air compressor. All of which require single phase 240V at either 30 or 50 A. I re-wired my garage with a sub-panel to feed my power needs with 2 30A and 1 50A receptacle(s). I am a retired controls engineer so I pulled my own permit and did the electrical myself. Everything is just peachy and I love the way I have it set up. Unfortunately, my wife has a job change and it looks like we are moving. Worse, it looks like we will have to rent for the next 2 - 3 yrs because she is also retiring. That means no 240V shop power of any kind for me ... boo hoo.
    My question is; Can I safely power my gear with a Bobcat or a Trailblazer? Does the 10KW Gen output have "clean" enough power, and the stones, to run my gear without drfiting to far out of frequency or voltage and fry my gear? How "delicate" is this Miller gear on gen power? At a minimum, I would want the ability to TIG 3/8th material and I think this would be a workable solution for me with the added bonus of allowing me to be mobile. I would look for something used, not too many hrs, maybe an NT or later vintage machine. Any ideas or constructive feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    Give a call to Miller and speak with the tech support guys. Great bunch of people, and usually very helpful. 1-800-4-A-MILLER and ask for tech support.

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    • #3
      From what I've seen, for transformer machines, you need to upsize the generator by a fair bit over the rated kW of the welder if you want the welder to work at full power. The Millermatic 211 is an inverter unit and should run happily off whatever you plug it into, same with the plasma cutter. The problem is going to be the syncro. While it only uses 6kW, which sounds like it should run fine off a 10kW genny, it needs close to 13kVA... and generators don't do well with horrible power factor loads like that. It needs 54A of supply current to get its 25A of real power! It'll probably work off a 10kW generator at most power outputs, but might trip the breaker or have the output dip at full power. Unless someone has tried this exact combo, you might have to try it yourself and see if it works well.

      If you get a trailblazer (not a bobcat) and an arc starter, you can TIG directly off it, although without any of the fancy features of a real TIG machine. This is usually considered a works-but-suboptimal setup.

      You could also use this as a good excuse to upgrade to a Dynasty.

      Are you sure you won't have 240V power while you're renting? You can often steal power from a dryer or range outlet, with a quick wye cable so you don't need to swap plugs every time you want to use the appliance. Flat submersible pump cable lets you run 240V under doors and such neatly. Or just pop an extra breaker into the main panel with the cable running out the front...
      Last edited by Bushytails; 06-11-2020, 12:28 PM.

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      • #4
        The Millermatic 211 may or may not be an inverter machine. My 211 is the old transformer variety. I have run it quite effectively off of my Trailblazer 280NT, but I'm sure with Bushytails on the Syncro. (Oops--wrong thread) I doubt it. That's why I recommended calling Miller. The others are not a concern in my thinking.
        BTW, the TB does run my Dynasty 200 quite nicely. Great time for an upgrade......
        Last edited by Aeronca41; 06-11-2020, 04:53 PM.

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        • #5
          Maybe on low amperage and for a short time. That transformer pulls a lot of power. I run mine on a 60 amp breaker and it’s very common for me to overheat the breaker when I’m full bore AC tig.

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          • #6
            From the Owners manual for the Syncrowave 200:

            3-15. Electrical Service Guide
            Input amperage may be higher than shown in table when Balance control is in an unbalanced position. All values calculated at 40% duty cycle. Actual input voltage cannot exceed ± 10% of indicated required input voltage shown in table. If actual input voltage is outside of this range, damage to unit may occur.
            Failure to follow these electrical service guide recommendations could create an electric shock or fire hazard. These recommendations are for a dedicated circuit sized for the rated output and duty cycle of the welding power source.
            In dedicated circuit installations, the National Electrical Code (NEC) allows the receptacle or conductor rating to be less than the rating of the circuit protection device. All components of the circuit must be physically compatible. See NEC articles 210.21, 630.11, and 630.12.
            50/60 Hz Single Phase
            Input Voltage 208-230
            Input Amperes At Rated Output 54
            Max Recommended Standard Fuse or circuit breaker Rating In Amperes Time-Delay 60
            Min Input Conductor Size In AWG 4 8 12 14
            Max Recommended Input Conductor Length In Feet (Meters) 147 (45) 249 (76) 256 (78)
            Min Grounding Conductor Size In AWG 4 8 12 14


            Assuming watts = amps X volts (54 X 220 =11,880 ), does this mean I need a 12KW generator output for the Syncrowave? Does this little brute actually need that much power (jeez!)? I think I could run my entire house w/HVAC on that.

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            • #7
              You calculated VA (apparent power), not watts (real power), which is a good thing for this discussion. Watts=VA x cos theta, the power factor (phase angle), and will always be less than or equal to the apparent power, since cos theta has a max value of 1. However, the reason power companies hate poor power factors is that even though they get some of the current back in the next half-cycle, they still have to provide it in the "first" half cycle. So, they have to generate for apparent load, but actually only get paid for real load, because your meter measures real power, not apparent. And there are more issues it drives into the distribution system.

              With that thinking in mind, my response to your question would be yes, I agree completely, it's just unbelievable. Due to power factor and surges on arc start, you really do need that much power. And I would suspect if you attempted to run your Sync at max load with a 12 KW generator, you might just find it to be inadequate. So, again, I recommend a discussion with Miller tech support. My concern is I don't know what happens to the output waveform of the engine drive units when they get hit with surges and poor power factors--I would ask them for guidance on types/models of engine drives, because a Bobcat generator may respond differently from a TB generator, and perhaps within each type, it may differ depending on any design changes to generators over the years. If you generate enough harmonic distortion, there is the possibility you could damage some of the electronics in your syncrowave--I don't know how sensitive it might be. Sometimes things are pretty robust, and sometimes you run across a model with a known sensitivity to poor input power. Just not something I would mess with without a discussion with the folks who know. You can bet I had a nice conversation with them before plugging my $3+ grand Dynasty 200 into my Trailblazer 280NT. Turned out they said it was fine, and all has been well, but as an old retired systems engineer, one of my few remaining duties in life is to remember not to do something crazy (or very costly to a guy on a fixed income!) :-)

              And, your (and my) dismay at the power requirements is part of what set the stage for the field to move to inverters. Far, far more efficient as far as operation is concerned....until something inside lets out the magic smoke and you have to pay to repair it, which often means just don't bother-- go buy another one. Engineering is all about compromise--purchase cost, repair cost, operating cost, efficiency, reliability, maintainability. Pay me now or pay me later. But I have to tell you it sure is cool to throw a 200 amp Dynasty over your shoulder and walk up to something that needs repair, plug into whatever voltage/phase power happens to be available, and weld away! Wow!
              Last edited by Aeronca41; 06-11-2020, 04:49 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                I had a reply, but it apparently got deleted as spam? huh? It shows up from here, but not from anywhere else? Well, that lets me copy it, let's try again...


                From what I've seen, for transformer machines, you need to upsize the generator by a fair bit over the rated kW of the welder if you want the welder to work at full power. The Millermatic 211 is an inverter unit and should run happily off whatever you plug it into, same with the plasma cutter. The problem is going to be the syncro. While it only uses 6kW, which sounds like it should run fine off a 10kW genny, it needs close to 13kVA... and generators don't do well with horrible power factor loads like that. It needs 54A of supply current to get its 25A of real power! It'll probably work off a 10kW generator at most power outputs, but might trip the breaker or have the output dip at full power. Unless someone has tried this exact combo, you might have to try it yourself and see if it works well.

                If you get a trailblazer (not a bobcat) and an arc starter, you can TIG directly off it, although without any of the fancy features of a real TIG machine. This is usually considered a works-but-suboptimal setup.

                You could also use this as a good excuse to upgrade to a Dynasty.

                Are you sure you won't have 240V power while you're renting? You can often steal power from a dryer or range outlet, with a quick wye cable so you don't need to swap plugs every time you want to use the appliance. Flat submersible pump cable lets you run 240V under doors and such neatly. Or just pop an extra breaker into the main panel with the cable running out the front...

                Comment


                • #9
                  That post WAS here--I made reference to it in Post #3. First time I can remember seeing that happen.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I was wondering what you were talking about in your first post, Wayne. Strange.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      YeS-I went back and edited in “Oops—wrong thread” because I thought I must have messed up and referred to something that didn’t exist but it turns out I’m not crazy! Well, at least in this instance .....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I got a message saying my post had been flagged as spam, and now it shows up for me here, but not elsewhere, inside a green box, saying "unapproved". I assume that means there's supposed to be some moderation process to approve it... Oh well.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I thank you all for your insight. You gentlemen have been very helpful. <Sigh> It appears I'm stuck putting my gear in storage and sitting on the couch changing thumbs while my welding skills whittle away (welding is a perishable skill, especially stick and TIG). Interesting idea on using the dryer service for a 240V power source, however most dryer circuits are only 30A. I was tickled with the idea of setting up my welding table and my little syncrowave in the laundry room, though. Maybe put casters on the dryer to roll it out of the way when I wanted to weld. My wife is fairly tolerant of my buffoonery, but I think this idea would cross a line and also affirm her suspicions that I have a screw loose. An extension cord (a heavy 6-3 S00 type) is also an idea. But depending on the proximity of the laundry room to a more suitable welding venue (i.e. garage), it might have to be lengthy, and would defeat the purpose. I also had not considered that running a Trailblazer in my driveway at all hours would not go over well with my prospective neighbors. <Sigh again> I think I am just going to have find something else to do with my time while we run out the clock on my wife's career. Maybe I can find a good Machining Technology program at the local community college. My wife will just be thrilled when I buy that vertical turret lathe I've always wanted. Do machine mills use 240V? </sarc>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You don't need to move the appliance each time you want to plug something in... Just get an appliance cord, a box, and a receptacle and make a little extension for the appliance with your welder supply coming out of it. Electric ranges are usually 50A. For running cords around, flat submersible pump cable will fit under many doors, behind things, etc, and can be ran through windows with a little wooden shim to keep the cable from being pinched. See https://www.rcworst.com/6-awg-4-wire...es-c/600v.html for an example. You can also simply add another breaker to the main breaker panel, knock out an extra slot from the dead front, and run your cable through the cover, for temporarily adding a circuit without adding any wires to the walls. When you move out, either buy a couple snap-in covers for the slots you knocked out of the cover, or just leave a pair of breakers for the next person to do any wiring to use. A run of 6 gauge to a garage probably won't cause excessive voltage drop with the equipment you have, and if you get good SO cord, you'll have a nice extension cord to use after you move too. If you're going to be living in the same place for a couple years, you can also try asking the landlord about installing a welding circuit to the garage for you, assuming you're renting from an individual and they seem like a reasonable person, not from a property management company or a ****head. A dynasty 200 has much more modest power requirements than a syncro 200, and will run off 120v for lighter work, if you really can't arrange a reliable 240v supply.


                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JohnChimpo View Post
                              ...Interesting idea on using the dryer service for a 240V power source, however most dryer circuits are only 30A...
                              If you could dedicate the dryer receptacle to the welding machine, and not have to also have it available for the dryer, you could replace its 30A circuit breaker with a 50A (and maybe even a 60A) and it would be perfectly safe and legal. The welding machines have a duty cycle that allows this because they can't overheat the wire.

                              HOWEVER, it would not be legal to do this in a place you rent. Your landlord would be required to have it done by a licensed electrician. I provide this for informational and entertainment purposes only. In full legal reality, it's probably difficult to get a permit for it, too, either because of ignorance or apathy, and depending on whether the dryer receptacle is required by your codes.

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