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Old 01-24-2016, 09:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What's the amp capacity on this circuit?

Sorry to start another electrical thread, I didn't want to hijack the other one or ten that are going right niw. I'm looking at picking up a 220v welder, what's the capacity of this circuit, 30a or 60a? I'm not an electrician, and never will be, my Google fu has also failed me today. I lost our house to a fire in 2014, I'd like to not repeat it again.

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Old 01-24-2016, 09:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Looks like 60 amp dryer and 100 amp A/C. I've never seen those tie bars used before, though though type of breakers are pretty rigged IMO. Should use a larger panel instead.

Least they did use those connectors though, I rented a house that they just used 2 single buss (120v) breakers to feed the kitchen stove, baseboard heat, etc. Couple times I had just one breaker trip and still have 120v feeding. That was the house that with every breaker turned off half the house still had power somehow.

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Old 01-24-2016, 10:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like a way to add two 240V circuits to a panel that only has enough room for 1 left.

So what you have is a 240V 30A circuit and a 240V 50A circuit. The metal thing is suposed to pull the other breaker off like the pin does between the 50's.

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Old 01-24-2016, 10:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That a quad breaker. 220v 50 amp a/c ,and 220v 30 amp dryer. There is nothing wrong with that breaker.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Just what it says on the breaker, it doesn't double. They are made that way to split phases. If they were side by side on a double breaker like that both would be on the same phase.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That a quad breaker. 220v 50 amp a/c ,and 220v 30 amp dryer. There is nothing wrong with that breaker.
*

* depending what wire is connected to it.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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oh god, challenger breakers. when alot of current flows through them, they have a weak connection to the bus bar. Take the cover off and make sure there isn't any scorching. That said, i have a challenger panel and its basically obsolete. Breakers are pricey as hell and hard to find locally. I buy em off ebay for cheap. The eaton branded ones are the best.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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to think of it simply: a 220v appliance whether it's a welder, dryer, whatever uses TWO 110volt circuits to power it (that are on different phases). each of the 110volt phases has to be circuit protected in case it shorts out, and since the machine uses those two phases as a pair, when one phase shorts out and trips the breaker, they want the other phase to shut off also automatically or it could create a dangerous condition. the '30' or '50' on top of each leg of the 110v side of that breaker is the amps at which either leg will trip the breaker.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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*

* depending what wire is connected to it.
Well without tearing the panel apart,and fawking inspecting the thing,he has a quad breaker.His question is very vague. He's asking about "this curcuit ", when in fact there are 2 curcuits on that breaker.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well without tearing the panel apart,and fawking inspecting the thing,he has a quad breaker.His question is very vague. He's asking about "this curcuit ", when in fact there are 2 curcuits on that breaker.
going to assume that he's talking the 30 amp dryer circuit as it's the only one shown that should be powering a plug.

OP: if that's the case, you may want to pull the cover and see what guage wire is hooked to that breaker. I suspect its only going to be 10 guage, which will be fine for an average small homeowner size mig if your not running the welder on the high settings.
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Old 01-24-2016, 11:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
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When breakers are locked together like that, the max amp rating comes from a single pole. One corcuit will do 30, the other will do 50.

And yes, those breakers are properly locked together.

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Old 01-24-2016, 11:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Sorry, my vague question was referring to the 30a portion of the breaker/breakers. I wasn't sure if the amp capacity was limited to one of the breakers or if it doubled. The panel was gone thru after the fire, a few circuits were added to the garage, but I believe the panel is maxed out at this time.

Can a sub panel with a dedicated 60a circuit be ran from this box, or would a new main panel be needed? I'm looking at a 180a 220v mig, everything I'm reading says a 50-60a circuit is needed firvthexweldervto work it's best.
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Old 01-25-2016, 12:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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By maxed out to you mean no more spaces for breakers or maxed out on ampacity? Whats the main feed to the breaker box rated at? Depending on what the service to the box is you could wire in a new remote panel with a 60 amp breaker. But being that Square D homelite panels are cheap and your box is obsolete might be easier to put in a whole new box.
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:06 AM   #14 (permalink)
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a new sub panel would be the way to go.

how big is the main panel? how many amp main breaker does it have? 200 amp would be pretty standard.

the other question is: does your main panel have any more room to put in a 220v breaker? I see that you only have a single slot left, and the quality of your panel was questioned by yozsi earlier.

don't know the legalities of this but you might be able to do this: put in a sub panel right next to that panel, move the dryer circuit over to it and feed that new panel from the space where the dryer circuit was. that new sub panel would have a 30 amp dryer circuit and a 50 amp circuit for the welder. I like to make sure to way overwire to that sub-panel by putting in oversized wire. I don't have my electrical book in front of me, but if it calls for 8 guage then put in 6 guage.

maybe this: swap out a couple of single 20 amp breakers for a twin 20 amp breaker that can feed two circuits and replace that 30/50 breaker with a single 50 amp breaker to feed the A/C and move it up one space. now place in a 60,70 or 80 amp breaker in the bottom slot to feed a sub panel and wire the dryer into that sub panel.

like I also said earlier: that welder will more than likely not draw the full 60 amps ever unless you've got it all the way cranked up. the dryer will not be drawing a full 30 amps (unless it shorts out). if you are running at full welder power, then put a note on the dryer so that no-one uses it until you're done. the likelihood of both being on at the same time isn't very likely, as most welds are only a few minutes in duration. plus, if you pay attention to it, most machines have a duty cycle and you should let it rest. 40% duty cycle means weld for 4 minutes out of every 10 minutes of use.
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:22 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I've used the twin 20s to make more room.

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Old 01-25-2016, 07:28 AM   #16 (permalink)
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a new sub panel would be the way to go......etc., etc.
All good points, but what the OP needs to hear is he's likely gonna be running new, larger wire to his welding spigot.

10 ga. wire ain't gonna support a 50A circuit.
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:42 AM   #17 (permalink)
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All good points, but what the OP needs to hear is he's likely gonna be running new, larger wire to his welding spigot.

10 ga. wire ain't gonna support a 50A circuit.
he could do a surface mount sub panel and a welder plug right off of that panel. easy. actually, re thinking this (now that I've had my first cup of coffee), just get a twin 20 amp breaker, move the 30/50 amp breaker up one and now you have enough room for a 70 or 80 amp breaker to either directly feed a 60 amp welder plug or a sub-panel to feed that plug. either way not that difficult.
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:45 AM   #18 (permalink)
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30a dryer, 50a A/C
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:54 AM   #19 (permalink)
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All good points, but what the OP needs to hear is he's likely gonna be running new, larger wire to his welding spigot.

10 ga. wire ain't gonna support a 50A circuit.
It all depends on the duty cycle of the welding machine. 10 AWG could be plenty for a 50 amp circuit if the duty cycle is relatively low.
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Old 01-25-2016, 08:22 AM   #20 (permalink)
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he could do a surface mount sub panel and a welder plug right off of that panel. easy. actually, re thinking this (now that I've had my first cup of coffee), just get a twin 20 amp breaker, move the 30/50 amp breaker up one and now you have enough room for a 70 or 80 amp breaker to either directly feed a 60 amp welder plug or a sub-panel to feed that plug. either way not that difficult.
True. Not enuf data to know what he's got.

Wouldn't you be more inclined to swap out the panel, rather than tack a sub onto a small obsolete one?
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Old 01-25-2016, 08:24 AM   #21 (permalink)
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It all depends on the duty cycle of the welding machine. 10 AWG could be plenty for a 50 amp circuit if the duty cycle is relatively low.
This doesn't sound right...
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Old 01-25-2016, 08:33 AM   #22 (permalink)
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This doesn't sound right...
Because it's not. I believe Peak and Continuous operating amperage of the unit dictate if it can be run on a given circuit, assuming the circuit is designed properly to begin with. I would hope that a 30 amp circuit (according to breaker selected) would have wire sufficient enough to support 30 amp continuous. But I'm no electrician...
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Old 01-25-2016, 08:43 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Because it's not. I believe Peak and Continuous operating amperage of the unit dictate if it can be run on a given circuit, assuming the circuit is designed properly to begin with. I would hope that a 30 amp circuit (according to breaker selected) would have wire sufficient enough to support 30 amp continuous. But I'm no electrician...
I am no electrician either, but there is a NEC code that specifically deals with welding machines and how the circuits can be de-rated by duty cycle.

I wont deny that it would be better to wire it up for full potential in case he wants to plug something else into it besides a welding machine. But, if it is hardwired without a plug, it is not required.

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Old 01-25-2016, 08:50 AM   #24 (permalink)
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30,505,030 amps. Duh
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Old 01-25-2016, 08:51 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I am no electrician either, but there is a NEC code that specifically deals with welding machines and how the circuits can be de-rated by duty cycle.
I still disagree. Duty cycle, to my knowledge, is machine specific. Regardless of duration at peak amperage the machine can handle, the circuit still needs to be able to handle peak without tripping, and continuous without burning up, whether that's for 10% duty cycle or 100%... But I cannot argue that there are specific wiring codes for welders; I'm just not familiar with them....therefore I digress.

I'd personally prefer a circuit to be able to handle maximum amperage draw of a unit assuming 100% duty cycle at full blast. But, again, no electrician.....
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