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How do I know when my welding tank is getting empty?

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by dremu, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    um... Lincoln SP135, running solid wire and 75/25 gas mix.

    Anyway, I run maybe 12psi indoors and say 24 out, and I can't decide if the gauges on my regulator are actually useful for determining if the tank is about to go empty. Generally the dead giveaway is that (1) I'm in the middle of a project and (2) the welding store is closed. :mad:

    The gauge is reading maybe 50psi in the tank right now, and my last welds were getting a bit contaminated, but that was outdoors and it might have been the breeze :dunno:

    Since I think what I want to know is the *amount* of gas left in the tank, is the pressure of any interest at all?

    -- A
     
  2. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I refill mine WAY before they get that low. As I recall, seems that if you over drain them, you start getting ascetone(?) and screw up the bottle so they charge you to fix it?
     
  3. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Err. Well, neither of the two shops I've used has bitched at me about it ... and I should hedge and say (1) it's 65psi (just looked) and (2) it's medium-sized bottle, I guess, fills up to 135scf, I think it is? It's maybe 9" diameter and four feet tall, I would guess.

    -- A
     
  4. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    My bottle is about that size and aluminum. So nice and light. :D Anyway, when I get it fresh, it's around 2000 psi+ IIRC. I usually start watching it when it gets down to the 7-800 range because it starts dropping fast. And, again, IIRC, the lowest I've ever gone before I started noticing trouble was around 200 psi. I could have "corrected" by adjusting the regulator, but when it gets that low, it drops so fast, I just make sure to get it swapped before I get to that point. It's just not worth it to risk the beads to get an extra 20 minutes flow from the bottle (if that, as fast as it drops). And that’s set for about 25 cfm in general, though it's around 20 when I swap, and I never adjust it unless I'm outside with any wind. No idea if that is "best practice" or not, never had any formal training or pro experience, it's just what I do. Maybe Rene or some of the pros will weigh in and we might both learn something. :D
     
  5. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    i run my tank at home till it almost hits 0, then swap it out. at work i do the same thing, when the guage is just about to 0 is when i change it out, and boy is the one at work heavy. probably 250 lbs when full.
     
  6. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    Uhhh, are you guy's talking about the same welding bottles? The first post stated a CO2/Argon mix, BadDog, it seems you're talikg about acetylene bottles. Or, am I just talkin' out of my ass?
     
  7. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Nope, 75/25 for me. I thought maybe I was getting mixed up, so I went and checked. My bottle at this moment is setting with 1800 psi on a somewhat fresh bottle with 25 cfh showing on the output. I mistakenly use cfm for cfh, but the meaning should be obious I thinik. What part sounds wrong to you?
     
  8. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    I didn't know there was acetone in CO2 bottles. I knew it was an issue with acetylene bottles. I'm a noob when it comes to welding, though I can lay a decent bead, I'm a novice as far as the 'tech' goes.
     
  9. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    yea the acetylene bottles will draw acetone if used at an angle or near empty, not an argon/co2, argon or co2 bottle. ive never heard of it messing up the bottle, or them charging you to fix it.

    i don't know what PSI it is when i change the bottles, but it is before i get any problems with the weld. its just when i notice the bottle guage is dam near on the peg.
     
  10. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Oh, I wasn't sure if they had acetone or any other vapor buffer in 75/25 tanks, that's why I put the (?) in there. And AFAIK, it does not mess up the bottle itself, but they have to replace the acetone. May damage gauges or valves too, I don't know, but I'm told they do charge when you empty the bottle and start loosing acetone. <shrug> Again, no idea if this applies to shielding gas or not...
     
  11. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    the acetone has something to do with stablizing the acetalyne or something like that so i dought any other bottle has it in it.
    i had a line leak on my torches (was my grandpas at the time, its fixed now) and left the bottle open, it completely drained it, a couple times actually (was forgetfull about doing that) and everytime i got it changed, nothing was said and i was not charged any more than normal.
     
  12. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Acetylene is the only gas I don't run down to 0 psi. Everything else is fair game though. A smaller bottle will give you a lot less warning near empty though. We use the large bottles at work also. Very rarely will I swap out a bottle with 20-50 psi in it, only if I'm doing some semi-automatic work and feel i might run out of shield before the weld will be done.

    The acetone is a stabilizer, and if you aren't watching the guages and get low enough to start drawing the acetone up you'll notice the flame color take on a purple hue.

    Rene
     
  13. 85mudblazin

    85mudblazin 1/2 ton status

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    My guage on my 10lb Co2 bottle doesnt move until it is about to run out.
    I just fill it when it runs out:D
     
  14. Jonny-K5

    Jonny-K5 1/2 ton status

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    i was taught in school to run around 15cfh for flat or horizontal welding, 20-25 for vertical/overhead. too much flow and you'll get turbulence, which will actually bring in the air your trying to shield.

    BTW you should always loosen your regulaters adjustment knob back to zero pressure when your finished. just unscrew it counterclockwise til there's no pressure on the internal spring. leaving it at a set pressure all the time will shorten the life of the regulator, plus it could explode when opening up the bottle. always crack open high pressure cylinders slowing .
     
  15. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Well, and just to show how dang clever I am, I'm gonna point out that my tank is actually at ~1000psi, as somebody :whistle: was reading the wrong scale on the gauge :doah:

    Anyway, thanks all!

    -- A
     
  16. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Well, I guess that's my one new thing to learn for the day. :D Run my shielding gas to 0 psi (or close so I don't get stuck).

    And on the regulator. That's what I've always done in the past, but this reg that came with the 175 came with only a phillips screw and lock nut. Never had one like that before. I complained about not having a knob, but Miller tech says specifically to set it and leave it unless you need a flow change. I've thought about buying one like I've had before, but never convinced myself it was worth the cash. But I guarantee I'm not getting out the phillips and wrench every time I do a little welding... ;)
     
  17. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    We leave all our flowmeters set at work. I've never had one go 'bad' in 18 years. It's not in the same catagory as a torque wrench IMO. 10-15 cfh I'd be nervous with. I absolutely loathe grinding our porosity. i run my Miller 135 at 25+ (75/25 with .024) without any trouble. Work machines are set closer to 40 cfh, but our shop can get a bit breezy now and then.

    Rene
     
  18. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    yea i like the flow meter at work alot better than my regulator at home. only thing is i waste a few feet of wire setting the flow. we run i think its about 50-55 cfh, ill have to look tomorrow.
     
  19. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Your machine at work doesn't have a purge button? Most machine have a purge/jog feature so you can set gas flow without creating a birds nest on the floor, or spool out the wire without wasting the gas when you put a new roll on.

    Rene
     
  20. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    ive never looked, i only mess with it once a week and a half when i change the bottle. where would it be? i use this welder with this wire feeder.
    when i left today, it looks like i may have to change the tank tomorrow, so i could save some wire.
     

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