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Open engines vs enclosed engines?

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  • Open engines vs enclosed engines?

    This is just a curiosity question for some of you techy people out there. I read on the forum that heat is an enemy of these welding/generator engines and that makes sense. People are even choosing oils that will help them run cooler. With that being said why are the manufacturers enclosing all of the newer model engines? Most of the websites that sale them claim it helps protect the engine from damage. I assume that means damage from impacts. I know the newer welders are lighter, does this have something to do with the engines being lighter and cooling themselves better or do the manufacturers enclose the engines mostly just for looks?
    Thanks...

  • #2
    I can only speak for my equipment experience in this realm, and that is with a Hobart engine drive and an onan genset. Both say they need the panels in place during operation to force the cooling air to circulate in a specific manner. Makes sense. You need a shroud on the fan for your car to do a similar thing.

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    • #3
      Yup, the owner's manual for my Miller Big Blue 251D with air-cooled diesel specifically says NOT to run it with the doors open (I thought HEY that would help cool it better!) but as Ryan said, the housing helps direct the airflow in the way it needs to go to cool the engine properly. If you run it with the doors open, the air can "cheat" and not flow over the heat exchanger...kinda like ripping out all the ductwork in your central HVAC system in your house and then expecting it to heat and cool properly...it ain't gonna work right.
      Last edited by Helios; 07-10-2021, 09:56 PM.

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      • #4
        Do they come with oil coolers? It seems like a oil cooler would be more important than a small foot print with all the expensive boards and electronics in todays welding machines.

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        • #5
          Heat truly is the enemy of electronics. When you are running the math calculations for reliability predictions, the temp is a big factor.

          So, here's another vote for the enclosure being essential to proper cooling. This is also true in a lot of electronic equipment. Some stuff I've worked on will be fried in short order if you run it out of the case without providing additional cooling. Seems counter-intuitive--seems having it open all around should cool it better, but it's just not so.

          Oil coolers may or may not help the high-priced electronics in the electrical end of the machine--will keep the engine cooler, but not a lot of help to the electrical end, most likely. However, they add complexity to the design. Coolers may be great in the hot summer, but if you're running in the winter in the cold north, an oil cooler may be the last thing you want, depending on the design. Oil that's too thick (cold) obviously doesn't flow well. So, now you have to add some sort of thermostat to the oil cooler system, and a flow control valve...doesn't help overall reliability when you start adding parts. If you can get away without additional doodads, it's always a good plan to avoid them. Especially if there's a chance the flow control could stick "closed" and cause overheat and potential damage to the engine--the mechanical and electrical design would have to be fail-safe--open the flow valve all the way if something goes wrong. Of particular concern on a welder, where it's sitting on the truck or trailer unattended while the guy is off under a piece of equipment or in a ditch--a failure warning light is of no use like it would be on a piece of heavy equipment or a truck where an operator is sitting there.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Aeronca41 View Post
            Heat truly is the enemy of electronics. When you are running the math calculations for reliability predictions, the temp is a big factor.

            So, here's another vote for the enclosure being essential to proper cooling. This is also true in a lot of electronic equipment. Some stuff I've worked on will be fried in short order if you run it out of the case without providing additional cooling. Seems counter-intuitive--seems having it open all around should cool it better, but it's just not so.

            Oil coolers may or may not help the high-priced electronics in the electrical end of the machine--will keep the engine cooler, but not a lot of help to the electrical end, most likely. However, they add complexity to the design. Coolers may be great in the hot summer, but if you're running in the winter in the cold north, an oil cooler may be the last thing you want, depending on the design. Oil that's too thick (cold) obviously doesn't flow well. So, now you have to add some sort of thermostat to the oil cooler system, and a flow control valve...doesn't help overall reliability when you start adding parts. If you can get away without additional doodads, it's always a good plan to avoid them. Especially if there's a chance the flow control could stick "closed" and cause overheat and potential damage to the engine--the mechanical and electrical design would have to be fail-safe--open the flow valve all the way if something goes wrong. Of particular concern on a welder, where it's sitting on the truck or trailer unattended while the guy is off under a piece of equipment or in a ditch--a failure warning light is of no use like it would be on a piece of heavy equipment or a truck where an operator is sitting there.
            Good and sensible points.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ryanjones2150 View Post
              I can only speak for my equipment experience in this realm, and that is with a Hobart engine drive and an onan genset. Both say they need the panels in place during operation to force the cooling air to circulate in a specific manner. Makes sense. You need a shroud on the fan for your car to do a similar thing.
              I never thought of the air shroud thing. Makes sense, now I wish mine was enclosed

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              • #8
                Also, it is very difficult to run an oil cooler when you have no oil pump because the motor is splash lubricated.

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                • #9
                  Interesting article on oil cooling pumps, perhaps a model for fling oil cooled engines could be manufactured to send oil through a oil cooler for engine drives welding machines, and not have an impossible great footprint.. https://rbracing-rsr.com/oilsystems.htm

                  Last edited by tackit; 07-13-2021, 01:50 AM.

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                  • #10
                    We gonna fix them better? These are well designed machines with a long history. Are we really going to wear them out? Maybe we gonna race them?
                    Last edited by Sberry; 07-13-2021, 07:05 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by walker View Post
                      Also, it is very difficult to run an oil cooler when you have no oil pump because the motor is splash lubricated.
                      Most engine drive welders except the very smallest have positive pressure oil systems, generally with full flow filters.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sberry View Post
                        We gonna fix them better? These are well designed machines with a long history. Are we really going to wear them out? Maybe we gonna race them?
                        I don't know, Innovation is what made... made in American mean something, just like Miller is always updating their products when machines built back in the 90's got the job done,

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                        • #13
                          They have invented this,,, called the water cooled engine.

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                          • #14
                            I am with Aero a bit on this. I am all for innovation but they got enough crap on them now. Seems if we were after indestructible we could simply beef up the electronics. Detune it all so its not working so hard.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sberry View Post
                              They have invented this,,, called the water cooled engine.
                              And then there's a water pump that can be the part to fail...

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