So you just went out and bought yourself a brand new AHP Alpha TIG, 203xi. It’s a brand new machine that’s only been on the market a few months.
You plug it in your wall socket and it goes “Poof!” Smoke comes out, and it won’t turn on. Is it cheap Chinese junk? Or is it you?
Keep in mind that Kevin Caron has never, ever had a problem with any of these AHP machines in his studio. “They have never blown up. They have never failed me. They are absolutely awesome machines,” he says.
But he keeps hearing, “It blew up!” “I blew a capacitor!” “The capacitors went!” “The capacitors are junk!”
Well, maybe not. Fortunately, there’s a way to test.
Before Kevin Caron ever plugs in a new machine – and actually this is something he does about once a month – he uses a voltmeter to check the power coming out of the plug. Is it the right voltage? Is it the same voltage on each side of the plug?
If you get 2 different voltages, you’ve got a bad plug, a loose connection, or you might have a bad circuit breaker. By testing, you know if there’s something wrong in your electrical system before it ever actually affects the machine.
If you have the wrong voltage or inconsistent voltage – say, 120 volts on one side and 90 amps on the other – these electronics are not going to put up with that.
What do you do? Kevin Caron shows a Fluke 323 True RMX Clamp Meter (the clamp is for putting around a wire to tell how many amps are going through it). He shows the bottom of the machine and how the red and black cables plug into the red and black ports.
You turn on the voltmeter and let it boot up. Kevin Caron shows how to set it up for volts AC, then volts DC.
The black is ground, the red is hot, or positive. There are 3 wires in the plug: ground, common and power. Kevin Caron goes to a 120 volt wall plug. He shows how to plug the black cable into the wall plug’s ground and the red 1 into either of the other 2 plugs, and sees it has roughly 120 volts.
To hook up the AHP Alpha TIG 203xi, you just put the special connector on the end of the plug to fit into the socket, and the welder will fire up and run perfectly. Remember, it’s a dual voltage machine, so it’ll run on 120 or 240.
Next Kevin Caron goes to the 240 plug he plugs his welders into. You test it pretty much the same way, plugging the black lead into the plug ground. The red lead can go into either of the blades. He measures 121.4 on 1 blade and 121.4 on the other. If you put your black lead into the other blade, now you have 242.8, or 240 volts. Plug in the AHP Alpha TIG 203xi, and you’re running on the full 240 volts and get the full performance out of the machine.
If either blade had shown 120 on 1 and only 90 on the other, you’re going to blow up the machine.
Kevin Caron shows the ohm meter, or voltmeter (same machine). He got this one at the big orange box store for about $35 or $40.
You sometimes can find them at places like pawn shops for half that – it’s a very handy tool to have around!
Kevin Caron appreciates you watching. Before you go, stick around for another moment to see Kevin get all esoteric ….