Why Won’t My MIG Welder Arc?

Posted: April 24, 2019 By: MattM

Things to Check When Your MIG Welder Stops Working

Your welder is an integral part of the workshop and it can help you make almost anything you can think of. But when it stops working it seems to be at the worst time and there isn’t always someone available to troubleshoot with. We decided to give a quick checklist of potential reasons your welder isn’t striking an arc that you can fix yourself.

  1. Ground Connection– A MIG welder needs a good clean ground connection. This starts at the welder itself. Your ground cable needs to be secured tightly to the inside of the welder. Check your connection inside the machine and make sure the wingnut or fastener holding the cable in place hasn’t worked itself loose or broken. The next thing to check is the ground cable and clamp itself. A ground clamp takes a lot of abuse and can get debris on it or the cable itself can fray and break over time. If you notice your ground cable is frayed or the clamp is dirty don’t hesitate to replace or service the ground cable and clamp. Finally make sure you check the area on your work piece where you’re attaching the ground clamp. It needs to be clean and free of any rust, paint, or coating.
  2. Power Input to the Welder- Does your welder power up and feed wire but won’t strike an arc or will only make a small spark? You may have insufficient power coming into the welder. It requires little power to turn the welder on and run the internal fan and drive motor but if you have poor wiring at the receptacle you could have this problem. Use a multi-meter to check that you have around 110V-120V at the wall outlet. Another common issue we see is running too long or too small of an extension cord. If you’re running an extension cord it needs to be as large as possible to avoid voltage drop at the machine. The small extension cord you use for your Christmas lights probably isn’t up to the task of running a 135 Amp MIG welder. Try plugging your welder into the and test if it will arc. You can get a 110V Extension Cord acceptable for a MIG welder HERE and a 220V Welder Extension Cord HERE.
  3. Welder Consumables- Believe it or not the consumable parts in your MIG welding torch can cause a no-arc issue in a welder. All of these parts help conduct the power through the wire that is leaving the torch. If your tip is clogged or contaminated with weld spatter it can cause an issue. Also if the tip is the wrong size and too large it might not make a connection with the wire and cause an unstable arc. We suggest keeping a MIG welder consumable kit on your welding cart.
  4. Clean Weld Surface- A MIG welder needs a clean surface to make a quality weld or a weld at all for that matter. If you’re trying to weld on an area that has rust, old paint, seam sealer, oil, or any other coating your welder might not be able to start an arc. We suggest cleaning the surface with a sander or grinder to remove all coatings and then wiping the metal down with PRE Low Voc to clean any oils or grease off the metal. If the weld surface and the ground clamp area are clean you should be able to start an arc if all of the above things are ok.

If you’re still having problems with your Eastwood welder you can call our tech team at: 1-800-343-9353 to further troubleshoot the welder. We’ve found that most welder issues are small and can be corrected with the steps above.

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