At some point most gearheads can no longer resist the urge to make two pieces of metal one. And why not? Decent welding equipment is now inexpensive and accessible to enthusiasts of all experience levels. I inherited a gently used Lincoln Electric AC-225 stick welder, which gave me a good excuse to step away from my MIG welder and master the ancient art of stick welding. It also required I install a 220v outlet in my garage.
I must preface this by saying that I am NOT a licensed electrician. I’m not even an unlicensed electrician. In fact, I once electrocuted myself installing a dishwasher. That’s a true story. Electricity can be dangerous, and the power supply running through your electrical panel is more than enough to kill you in a spectacular show of light and fire.
So, with that said, and with a healthy fear of electricity, let’s proceed – at your own risk! Though the dishwasher incident is now a fading memory, it left enough of an impression on me that I sought the expertise of the electrical professionals in my local hardware store for this project. I would suggest you do the same, or consult the manufacturer of the equipment you intend to use on the circuit prior to purchasing your materials.
- Before you touch anything else, turn off the main power to the breaker box.
- Remove the metal cover to gain access to the breakers. You’ll need to identify the make and model of your box, and determine if there is room for a two pole breaker in the box – they take up two spaces. If you’ve made it this far you’re ready to take a ride to the hardware or electrical supply store to purchase a breaker, a length of electrical wire, and an outlet.TIP: Pay close attention to the grade of materials you purchase for this project. An overloaded circuit is a clear fire and electrocution hazard, and can also damage your equipment. Be sure to purchase a breaker rated at or above the required amperage for your welder, the proper gauge wire for that size circuit, and the appropriate outlet to match your welder’s plug. If you’re unsure of exactly what to buy, ask for help.My Lincoln Electric Arc 225 requires a 50 amp 2 pole breaker and a three prong outlet with minimum #6 wire connecting the two. It’s important to note here that in the photos of my installation both the black and white wires are hot. In a four wire circuit the white would likely be neutral with black and red being hot. Green or bare copper are normally your ground wires. Since this is a three wire installation we’re using white for the second hot wire.
- On the breaker side of the wire, connect a hot wire to each screw on the breaker and snap the breaker into the box. BE SURE THE THERE IS NO POWER SUPPLY TO THE BOX FIRST! Then find an empty spot in the ground bar and connect your ground wire. Be sure you’re connecting the ground to the ground bar and not the neutral bar.
- Now, double check your connections to be sure the wires are routed correctly and everything is installed securely. If you’re satisfied, connect the outlet to a stud on the wall and install the outlet cover.
- Reinstall the outlet box cover, turn the master breaker back on, plug in your welder and check for power! Good luck, and happy welding!