Combo Welder Arc Start Fix (Aug 24th , 2010) I am testing out this combo welder...the Everlast powerpro 256 that is an ac/dc tig, stick, plasma cutter unit.

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I initially welded some steel and used both the torch switch with upslope and downslope settings to taper amperage up and down.

you can see the first video here...

multiprocess welder PowerPro256 part 1

That worked pretty ok, but when i hooked up the foot pedal, it reminded me why i like a foot pedal much better than a torch just cant beat a foot pedal for precise amperage control.

I think the foot pedal that came with the powerpro 256 combo welder is a better design than the one that came with my everlast powertig 250ex. Both of them work fine, but the earlier version seemed to be less durable. I am pretty sure that the newer design is what you get now with all Everlast Tig inverters.

When I got around to trying the Everlast powerpro 256 combo welder on aluminum, I had some arc start every other arc start was a misfire with only high frequency current.

That's annoying.

So I fired off an email to Everlast about my problem and waited.

less than one hour later I got a response from Alex saying he was on it... Wow. that was quick.

the next day, i got a phone call from a fellow named Mike from Everlast tech support.

Here is how that conversation went...

Hi Mike, I have an arc start problem. On DC, its fine ...but on AC, its very inconsistent. Like 2 good arc starts out of 10.

Ok Jody, it is one of 3 things.

1. Either one of the heavy copper wires is too close to the L angle bracket

2. or the high frequency point gap is out of adjustment.

3. or you need a new arc start board.

It was #2 the arc gap...I adjusted it to a bit more than .030" (around .76mm) and all my arc start issues disappeared.

So I thought to really show how well the arc start works now , I decided to show a welding technique called bumping.

Bumping means using the torch switch to cycle the arc off and on many times to produce a stack of dimes weld bead...kind of like pulse welding except you actually break the arc and start the arc over and over again. Any false starts would be a problem for this welding technique.

Fortunately, the arc starts were 100% true. Zero misfires.

Bumping the arc might be a great way to show awesome arc starting on a combo welder, but where would you use a technique like that?

Clear anodized aluminum tubing. Thats where.

weldcraft article on bumping

this is the technique used for welding tuna towers, marine ladders, ski rope mounts, fishing rod holders etc.

It is how you make a good looking weld without baking the weld area into a wrinkly pile of snot...

Rich Boat owners want everything to look just so and wont tolerate a weld that looks like a scrotum.

Bumping breaks thru the anodized coating quickly and also allows the metal to cool briefly before you hammer shock it again with a blast of amperage. Its like walking a tightrope,and you have to experiment with how often to bump, how far to advance the arc between bumps etc. And you can leave crater voids if you do it wrong. But when done right , it leaves a stack of dimes that looks awesome...a weld that will catch the eye for years to come.

Some tuna tower welders also use a argon/helium mix along with the bumping technique to further aid in breaking thru the oxide layer quickly.

Here are the settings I used with the Everlast 256 combo welder:

Everlast PowerPro 256 settings for bump welding aluminum

• Set current to AC

• HF start

• Select 2t

• Use torch switch , not foot pedal

• A/C balance set to around 75 percent electrode negative

• A/C frequency set to around 150

• 3/32” 2% lanthanated tungsten sharpened to a point

• Upslope set to 0

• Downslope set to 0

• Start current set to max

• End current set to 0

• Amperage set at around 160-180 for 1/8” 3003 aluminum

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