Posts Tagged ‘generator’

Using a Portable Power Center with your Leister Varimat V2

July 25, 2011

We’ve stated before that you can only use 100′ of extension cord running from your generator when running your Leister Varimat V2.  Some contractors would rather leave their generators on the ground, or wish to have a larger welding radius to work with on the roof.  In order to add an additional 100′ of cord, you need to use a portable power center, also known as a spider box.

Spider BoxDrop cord

The generators we sell come with several different receptacles.  Generally, if you’re running your Varimat directly off the generator, you’ll use the 230V receptacle (L6-30 type plug).  If you want to run off the portable power center, you’ll need to run a heavier 8 gauge drop cord from the generator to the spider box, and then you can run your 10 gauge extension cord from the spider box to your Varimat.

When using a power center between the generator and a Leister Varimat V2 or V the following is most important.  The power box has the one 220-240 outlet for the Varimat and some number of 120 outlets. When using a 12kw generator you can run the Varimat and 2 hand held Triac-S if connected properly.  The 120 outlets are arranged in side A and B, which are on each leg of the 220 circuit.  Between the 2 legs you have a 50 amp service with the Varimat requiring 20+ amps and 2 Triacs requiring 14 amps each.  There is sufficient power if only 1 Triac is on side A and the other is on side B.  If both Triacs are on side A or side B, the amperage is cumulative and 28 amps are being consumed.  This leaves only 22 amps for the Varimat.  With just a little voltage loss the Varimat could be short of it’s required amperage and will cause circuit board damage.

The moral is, remember to divide the 120 power usage between the side A and B.  Additionally NEVER use screw guns on the same generator that is powering a Leister Varimat V or V2.

Why isn’t my new Varimat V2 working??!!

September 20, 2010

I was called to the roof of a 5000 square TPO job recently where the contractor had called frantically, saying he couldn’t get his brand new Leister Varimat V2 to power on.  Before I got there, we went over a quick checklist to try and eliminate problems.

  • Do you have the right generator (click here for more info on selecting the right generator)
  • Do you have the right extension cord and plugs (to fit your generator)
  • Are you getting power at the end of the extension cord
  • Is the plug installed correctly on the Varimat cord
  • Is all your equipment free of visible signs of wear and/or damage
  • Are you separating load types

The answer from the roof was “yes” to all these questions, so I headed out.  Once on the roof, the picture started coming together.  I reworked the list, starting last to first.

The Leister Varimat V2 and Triac S handgun are both linear loads.  You shouldn’t run non-linear loads (on/off equipment) such as screw guns, radios or Saws-Allz when working with linear loads (the Leister equipment).

The Varimat, plugs and extensions cords looked brand new.  The generator also seemed to be relatively new.  I took apart and inspected the Varimat’s plug, insuring that the wires were solidly connected.  I then checked the extension cord, since the plug to the generator was an L14-30 (4 prong).

We’re used to the L6-30 (3 prong) plug and socket, so this means that the L6-30 plug was switched for the L14-30 plug.  Again, all wires appeared to be properly connected.

At this point, I was scratching my head.  To this point in my checklist, everything the contractor had said, was true.  Maybe this V2 was the “exception to the rule” that all Leister products are built with superior technology and expertise.  I ran through the checklist in my head again, and realized what I missed…power.  He said he had power.  I’d checked and re-checked everything else…time to pull out the volt meter and see for myself.

Results of testing ground/first hot socket

OK, good start.  There is power.  When I moved to the second hot socket, I got a big fat goose-egg. 

So, we’re getting power, but only getting 120V off one of the two hot sockets.  The V2 won’t power up with only 120V, it needs at least 200V to start up.

Now it was time to move to the generator.  I checked the output of the generator, and found 120V off one socket, 0V off a neutral socket, and 120V off the 3rd socket.  So the generator was putting out 240V.  This lead me to the extension cord’s plug.

I took apart the plug, and realized that someone had incorrectly wired the plug.  The three wires were connected to the ground (correct), one hot (correct) and the neutral (incorrect).  I re-wired from the neutral to the other hot and reassembled the extension cord.  I tested power at the socket end of the extension cord, and got 240V.  Plugged in the V2 and away we went!

Not all Generators are created equal!

June 3, 2010
With the new Leister Varimat V2‘s now in stock, we should look at some of the critical pieces of equipment necessary to run your Varimat V2.  What you do next could affect how much performance you receive out of your new Leister welder.  Do you have the right generator?  Many generators look alike, but they’re not all the same!  Some questions to ask when looking for a generator:
  1. Does it have enough continuous wattage?
  2. Do they have a Power Saver switch?  If not, it may not be an automatic power saver
  3. Does it have an L6-30A outlet for the Varimat?
  4. Does it have an 50-60 amp outlet for the Spider Box?
  5. What engine does it have?  Do you have a local factory trained service center?
  6. Will it run 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?
  7. Do you have the right extension cord and plug?
These are all questions you should ask before buying a generator to run your Leister hot air welders.  Roofmaster stocks and services the Winco brand generators, available as 12kW with a 20HP Honda engine and an 18kW with a 31HP Briggs & Stratton engine.  Roofmaster also has the distinct advantage of being able to offer their flat proof Non-Flat Lite tires on their generators (also available individually as replacements).
  • You see generators in the big box stores advertised for $2000.  Those are great…for running a couple hand guns.  The Varimat V2 requires 4600 watts with 230 Volts.  Some of these generators may meet these requirements with their peak output, but the internal components of the Varimat can be damaged and will shutdown if continuous wattage and voltage requirements aren’t met.
  • Does it have a Power Saver switch?  If it does, you’ll want to turn the Power Saver switch off, so you won’t experience a fluctuation in voltage.  If your generator doesn’t have a Power Saver switch, it will most likely run in a power saving scenario.  The Power Saver switch fluctuates the engine speed according to voltage/amp draw.  With most equipment this saves fuel, but with a Varimat this fluctuation is hard on the electronic boards.
  • Does it have the right outlets?  The money you “save” on a bargain generator may be offset by expensive cord conversions and adapters.  And your equipment may not run properly if not using the correct plugs/sockets.
  • What kind of engine is on the generator?  Will it run all day?  Is there a local factory service facility to get your generator back up and running if you encounter any problems?  Roofmaster is Honda factory trained, so we can handle any problems on the Winco generators.
In addition to generators, Roofmaster carries all the necessary extension cords, plugs, sockets, and Portable Power Centers (Spider Boxes) to help you get the most out of your Leister equipment.

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