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Arc Welding Power Source

By: Nanaksharan Singh Welding Technology CBL

Welding is a process of joining two metals. To make a joint of two metals immense heat is required. This heat is created in the form of an electric arc. To create this arc a Power Source is required. An arc welding power source is designed to change high voltage low amperage current into a safe low voltage (between 50 and 100 volts) heavy current supply (even above 500 Amperes) suitable for arc welding. Power source is required to supply the current that supports the arc column for fusion welding

power sources can be divided into three main categories

AC Power Source e.g. Transformers and Alternator DC Power Source e.g. generator and Rectifier

Combination AC & DC Power Source e.g. AC transformers with DC rectifiers.

AC- Power Source

A welding transformer changes high voltage, low amperage power to low voltage, high amperage welding power.

For a Transformer, the significant relationship between voltages and current and the turns in the primary and secondary winding are as follows:-

N1/N2= E1/E2 = I1/I2

DC Power Source
The This type of power source is operated from the mains supply. transformer steps down the mains voltage to a suitable welding voltage, The rectifier changes the alternating current into direct current. Very often this type of machine can be switched to give either alternating or direct current as required.



The d.c. generator is a rotating machine which can be driven by an electric motor, petrol or diesel engine.

The engine driven type is generally used for site work.

Inverter Power Source

An inverter power source is different from a transformer-rectifier type in that inverter rectifies ac line current, uses an inverter circuit to produce high frequency ac, reduces that voltage with an ac transformer, and rectifies that to obtain the required dc output. Changing the ac frequency to a much higher frequency allows a greatly reduced size of transformer & reduced transformer losses.

Basic relationship that applies to all transformers: V=NAfK Where:The magnitude of voltage to be transformed (V) is proportional to the no. of turns of wire on the transformer coil (N), the cross-sectional area of the transformer core (A), the frequency of the AC Voltage to be transformed (f) and various design constants (K)

Duty Cycle
Fundamentally, the Duty Cycle is a ratio of the Load- On Time allowed in a specified time interval time. National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) specifies duty cycle based on a test interval of 10 minutes in an ambient temp. of 400C. A 60%NEMA duty cycle means that the power source can deliver its rated output for 6 out of every 10 minutes without overheating

Duty Cycle at other than rated outputs as follows:-

Ta = (I/Ia X T

2 )

Volt-Ampere Characteristics

Types of Welding Power Source

Constant Current Power Source

Constant Voltage Power Source

Constant Current Power Source

A welding power source which will produce a relatively small change in amperage despite changes in voltage caused by a varying arc length. Used mostly for welding with coated electrodes.

Constant Voltage Power Source

A welding power source which will produce a relatively small change in voltage when the amperage is changed substantially. Used mostly for welding with solid or flux cored electrodes.

The term Polarity is used to describe the electrical connection of the electrode in relation to the terminal of a power source. With direct current (DC), when the electrode is connected to the +Ve terminal, the polarity is designated as a direct current electrode positive (DCEP). When electrode is connected to the Ve terminal, the polarity is designated as a direct current electrode negative (DCEN). When alternating current (AC) is used, the polarity changes every half cycle of 50Hz

DCEN (Straight Pol.) DCEP (Reverse Pol.)

Safe practice and accident avoidance

Make Sure all insulation is tight & secure before turning on Power. Dont touch electrically live parts with bare skin, Do Not work with wet gloves, shoes or clothing. Welding leads and return leads should be insulated and thick enough to carry the current safely; connectors should also be insulated to avoid inadvertent access to live conductors and adequate for the current being carried. The welding return lead should be connected as near as practicable to the welding arc; metal rails, pipes and frames should not be used as part of the welding circuit unless they are a part of the workpiece itself. The welding leads, connection devices and electrode holder or torch should be checked at regular intervals for 'fitness for use'; repair or replace damaged or worn components. Inspect frequently and immediately replace worn or damaged parts. Always disconnect power source before performing any maintenance.

Recommended Welding Cable Size

Total length of copper cable in weld Ckt.

15 m
16 mm2


200 250

25 mm2
35 mm2 50(mm)2

350 400 500

70 mm2
95 mm2 95(mm)2 105 mm2

30m 25 mm2 25 mm2 35 mm2 50 mm2 70 mm2 95 mm2 95 mm2 105 mm2

45m 25 mm2 25 mm2 35 mm2 50 mm2 70 mm2 95 mm2 95 mm2 105 mm2

60m 25 mm2 35 mm2 50 mm2 70 mm2 95 mm2 105 mm2 105 mm2 ------

Reference : WELSPRING UNIVERSAL (Govt. Recognized Export House) New Delhi (INDIA)