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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

I know I've got to get some other things taken care of...but was thinking ahead a little bit...a trip to the Rockies summer 2008...

I'd love to put an on-board air system on my CJ...I've got an ac compressor already on there not being used...that compressor is the bulk of the cost for doing that project right?

I'd also like to add an on-board welder...I've got an air pump on the jeep also that's not doing anything...would that be a spot where I could take the pump off and put on a second alternator to power a welder?

Any helpful tips, thoughts, planning suggestions, links would be appreactiated!!

Thanks!
Patrick
 

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I finished my welder about month or so ago. Building the bracket for the 2nd alternator was the hardest part of the project and that was pretty easy. The bulk of the cost was actually in welding lead($120), and welding accessories($75). I run mine with a single V-belt off the primary alternator. I was too cheap to buy a combination serpentine/v-belt pulley $60, so I took my serpentine pulley off my primary alternator and a v-belt pulley off of an old alternator slipped them both on a mock-up shaft and stitched them together.

Do a search there are some pictures from my build a few months back.

Brad
 

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I really considered doing a similar project. But --

I opted for the on-board-air with a 2nd compressor, a small Sanden - a very handy thing for sure! (I love my air conditioner.)

The welder I chose to use a Ready Welder - it's a wire welder (MIG) in a suitcase. The reason was portability - if a friend was stuck in a bad place on a trail, I could carry the welder to him, rather than drive up to where I may not be able to get close enough anyway.
Plus I can switch it from vehicle to vehicle, since I wheel several different vehicles that's a real plus!

With the extra unused room under the hood (HA - extra - where??) I mounted a smaller 12v tractor battery. It can be used in series with my stock battery for 24 volts for the welder (in case I'm alone) or used to "jump start" myself if my regular battery fails, or I accidentally drain it too much with the winch.

Yes, the Ready Welder costs more than an alternator conversion, but so far it's proved it's weight in gold. Seems like somebody is always breaking something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi

So how does the Ready Welder work?...Do you just hook it up to the battery? You mentioned you have a two batteries...are they always tied together in series or do you just do that when welding, jump starting, winching...

Thanks,
Patrick
 

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Go their website - you'll like it.

Yes, you use alligator clamps to hook it to the battery - easy.
Then it acts just like a regulal MIG's spoolgun.

It will work on just 12 volts, but it's hard to get the arc going. 24 volts is easier.

My 2nd battery - a small 12v tractor battery fits in front of the stock battery, I made a new tray for it.

I leave it disconnected normally - every once in a while I throw a charger on it.

When I need to weld, I disconnect both battery terminals from the stock battery - that isolates the welder from the Jeep system. Then use a short jumper to jump the aux battery (-) to the stock batt's (+). Then hook the welder to the aux (+) and stock (-). That puts them in series for 24 volts.

The tractor battery gives enough current to weld with, not as long as a real battery, but always has been enough.
If needed, I can always start the Jeep and recharge it by jumpering it in parallel with the stock battery.

I only use it for trail fixes as I have better welders at home. But I know a couple guys that use the ready welder all the time at home too.

The Ready Welder can use gas or flux core wire. I use flux core in it so I don't have to carry the gas.

I suppose you could get creative with an old spoolgun too. The only rub might be the voltage needed to power the spool feed.
 
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RRich....fantastic idea.....gave this thread 5 stars....one of the best trail ideas I have seen....and for the reasons you pointed out....ok, so you spend a few more bucks.....but, if you are at the lead on a narrow trail and the breakage is 10 jeeps back....geting that welder back down is a lot easier than your jeep....
 

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Quite true!

The only thing I don't like about the Ready Welder - at 24 volts it's hot! Too hot for easily doing a tie rod or thing things. At 12 volts it's hard to get it started.

Sooo - I took apart a battery tester with a carbon pile load. I mounted the carbon pile in a smaller box with the leads sticking out.

I put it in series with the batteries. What it does is it cuts down the current so it's not as hot. Striking the arc is still easy because it's still 24 volts open circuit, but the added adjustable resistance cools it down.
Tie rods - welding a Hi lift handle in place, reattaching a shackle bracket etc is easy now. I just trim it by turning the knob until I like the heat - it's OK to adjust while welding. He He usually I'm too far away to reach it, so I get someone else to turn it up or down.
But if you really need the heat it's there.

24 volts gives about 200+ amps = hot.
At 36 volts I did a hunk of railroad tie - for fun!

Harbor freight has battery testers with the carbon pile for about $50. They have the big knob in front.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
At 36 volts I did a hunk of railroad tie - for fun!

[/ QUOTE ]

That's quite a trick! Was it a wooden tie, or one of those new concrete ones? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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He He -- Wood of course! I didn't have any cement rod handy!


It wasn't a tie anyway, it was more like a scarf!



Typo - mind not connected to the hand - It wasn't a tie - it was a hunk of narrow gauge rail.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
it was a hunk of narrow gauge rail

[/ QUOTE ]

I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to poke a little fun at ya. The debil made me do it! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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There are such things as metal ties. The oh-so-wise /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif Union Pacific put metal yard ties in the tunnel here because there wasn't enough clearance to use full height wood ties and they didn't want to completely shut down the railroad to remove more rock from the floor. The yard metal ties are stamped with a little recess under them but are so thin they don't have a lot of side holding ability. There is a permanant 25 mph speed restriction there due to those now.

Slightly more off topic, this train came through town yesterday. Pretty rare to see two together.

 

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If he welded those engines to the Ties, how are they going to bring me peanut butter!/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif

Sure going to make them engineers scratch their heads!
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Rich makes good points about being portable.
I never thought about not being about to get to 'Someone elses' vehicle...

I wheel in just one vehicle, and I look at my welder as a 'Self Rescue' device, much like my winch...
My welder will provide AC, both Straight and Reverse DC, and AC outlets, And I can TIG or Gas weld from it.

BUT...

It won't work with the engine off, it won't reach very far and it won't transfer from one vehicle to another.

It does excellent work, but limited in it's sphere of travel.
Mine only cost about $40 too, so that's a plus, but you have to pay for portability & convenience in one form or another...
 

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I never did like to have to wear a tie, much less welding it on every morning!

JYG your welder is obviously much better - you can do a far better job - make it a permanent fix rather than an emergency fix.

And your friends can always ask you to come over to weld things for them.

Hmmm, come to think of it, that may not be such an advantage all the time!

He He - kinda like having a swimming pool in the summer - you suddenly have lots of friends.



The Ready Welder - mods for those that have them - things that are NOT good about it. The gun is bulky - hard to get into tight places.
Welding shops have a nice long tip about 5" long from an old Miller. Thread the end and use it - I think it's 1/4 20. Make a shield over it from a copper tube. The extended end really helps with the "reach."

The feed knob is in a bad place - it keeps getting bumped. Put a piece of tape over it covering most of it. You can still adjust it, but the tape holds it in place.

And the best mod - the gun is "hot" all the time. Even just getting it into position it's hot. You accidentally bump the wire to the work or something else and burn the stick-out off without feeding. Ready Welder has a mod to make it "cold" till you pull the trigger. It's well worth the cost.
 

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Mine is more of a 'Power Supply' than a 'Welder'
I still need to get all the ends, cables, TIG rig, ect.

Rich Wrote:
"And your friends can always ask you to come over to weld things for them."

You never seen me weld! NO ONE would ask me to weld up anything!
I'm just trying better equipment trying to find something to make up for my lousy welding abilities (Or lack of 'abilities')

Mine is very large for an alternator, like it said, it's more of a 'Welding Power Supply'...

What does a 'Ready Welder' in the boxed kit cost?
Not MSRP, but what you can actually get one for?
 

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I got one from a friend that was a distributor for them - I think he isn't anymore. He did a big purchase - he needed my order t help with the volume, so I got it about 20% off as I recall. I got several for my local friends at the same time.

You can find them on E-bay fairly cheap - sometimes even below his cost - if you aren't in a hurry.

I think I paid somewhere around $400 for it.
The "cold" switch I think is another $100 or so. The long tip is probably about $2 at your local welding supplier.
The tape across the knob - priceless!

It comes with the hose for gas, but you have to get the bottle and regulator from your local welding supplier. Otherwise you can use flux-core wire - I use that on the trail - and I hate it! Gas is sooo much better, but inconvenient on the trail.

As far as learning to weld with it - practice practice practice is always the advice given by everybody - it's true. But the Ready Welder as a tool to learn welding with - no - it's a PITA! Yours is probably much easier to use.

I only use it for trail fixes, as I have much better welders at home.

Ever try a makeshift carbon arc welder with 2 batteries, jumper cables and the carbon out of a flashlight battery? It works - kinda like a TIG - sorta kinda like.
I welded a frame back together once on the trail with that method - while lying on an anthill! Not fun! There was no other way to get him out of there!
 

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I paid over $180 for the TIG rig alone!
I'd have more than $400 in cables, clamps, stingers, ect. if I had to pay retail for everything, so that doesn't seem like too bad of a deal...


Is the continously hot wire a big deal?
If so, why not wire in a starter solenoid in the positive cable and wire it to the switch for the spool motor.
Couldnt' cost more than $20 to do and would cut the juice off to the gun when the trigger wasn't pulled...

Can you do gas shield with that gun, or is it just spatter wire welding? (can't think of what you call the spatter wire right now...)
 

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He He - the constantly "hot" gun is a real pain!
Consider trying to sneak it between tie and drag links to get to an axle mount. Bump the tie rod on the way past - spark - the wire burns short because you weren't feeding it with the trigger. Now ya gotta pull back, and feed it a little, then trim it for another stick-out.
Over and over again.

On a flat easy to reach place the hot gun is not really troublesome. But it seems trail fixes are never in easy to weld places - there must be some kind of a law requiring them to be difficult. Always upside down, dirty, hard to reach, lying in mud, sharp rocks under you, or an anthill, scorpions crawling up your shirt, and the sun in your eyes. Not to mention people standing around saying "what's taking you so long?"

Carrying an auto helmet helps, but still a cold gun is nice.

The solenoid idea is a good one - it should do the trick fine.

Not sure of what you mean by spatter weld - it's a MIG. The trigger's not just a wire feed, it also opens a valve for gas (if you use it) to flood the weld area.
But like I said, I use the flux core wire for the trail since I don't want to carry a bottle of gas - space in a Jeep is limited. KISS

It would be nice if the entire welder was smaller, and in a smaller case, but the case is full now. It has barely enough room in it to carry extra tips, gloves, and clipping pliers. Most of the room taken is by the short cables - 15 feet?


Overall it's a very handy thing to have. Since I got it I think I've used it on nearly every run I've been on - and that's a bunch!

He He --- There is a trick too - when I get it hooked up, often there's somebody in the group that wants to "try" it - so I let them! Sometimes I feel like Tom Sawyer and his whitewashing a fence trick. Sure saves ant bites!
 

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"The solenoid idea is a good one - it should do the trick fine."

Of course it's a good idea!
They are all 'Good Ideas' right up until the time you find a reason they won't work... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif

Serously, a starter solenoid should take the current required, be easy to install and shut things down when you aren't ready to weld...
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"Not sure of what you mean by spatter weld - it's a MIG. The trigger's not just a wire feed, it also opens a valve for gas (if you use it) to flood the weld area."

FLUX core, that's what I was trying to think of!
I call it 'Spatter' wire. (no 'L') For obvious reasons...

You answered my question. You don't use gas on the trail...
I use Flux wire when doing field welds because you never know when it's going to be windy and the gas wont shield anyway... Good back up and a little slag chipping in the field doesn't bother me.
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"It would be nice if the entire welder was smaller,"

Too bad there isn't a way to move the spool housing down the cable about 4' or 6'...
I think I'm having an idea!.... Nope! Just gas.../ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
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"Most of the room taken is by the short cables - 15 feet?"

I carry a set of pretty heavy jumper cables, so they would work like an extension cord with some secure, high amprage connectors.
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"often there's somebody in the group that wants to "try" it"

My welding sucks so bad I often have my welder friend come over and do the honors.
Most of the time it sticks, but it's REAL UGLY!
I don't weld unless it's an absloute emergency!
 
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