I have a Princess Auto 120V Stick welder.
I've been using it pretty hard for 8 years or so.
I could make decent welds with 5/64 rod if I cranked it up. But no way could I burn 1/8 or even 3/32 rods
The other day, I went to turn it on and nothing happened.
A little investigation revealed that the connections from the switch to the primary windings were really poorly crimped and badly corroded. The resulting heat had heated one of the terminals in the switch. causing it to lose its connection.
I messed with the switch until I got it working again. Then I replaced and crimp/soldered all of the connections in the welder.
Now I find that I can turn it down considerably and still burn a 5/64 rod, and with the amps cranked, even managed to strike an arc and lay a short bead with a 1/8 6011 rod I had here.
I'm quite happy with it now, and I was pretty happy with it before.
After some discussion with the engineers at work, It was determined that the current loss caused by the loose/corroded connections on the primary windings was causing a loss of current at the output. The heat from the bad connections caused the switch to melt. I'm betting that the connections were bad from the beginning, and I never got full amps from it.
Added bonus, I don't pop the breaker as much now, which means my power requirements have gone down to do the same work. Also , less heat = less resistance increase,
Edited by Chopperhed, May 10, 2014 - 10:00 AM.