4WD BAT­TERY-POW­ERED WELDER

Camper Trailer Australia - - BUSH MECHANICS -

Here’s a bril­liant, al­beit last-re­sort, option for a DIY welder us­ing your 4WD’s bat­ter­ies. The idea is pretty sim­ple but some weld­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is def­i­nitely an ad­van­tage and safety is ab­so­lutely paramount. If in doubt, don’t at­tempt it.

1. Start by hook­ing two to three bat­ter­ies up in se­ries. That means link­ing the pos­i­tive ter­mi­nal of one bat­tery to the neg­a­tive ter­mi­nal on the next bat­tery us­ing a jumper lead ca­ble (or sim­i­lar).

2. Con­tinue the same pro­ce­dure if adding a third bat­tery but, re­mem­ber, you’ve now got 24-36V, which is noth­ing to sneeze at.

3. Next, run a sep­a­rate jumper lead from the un­oc­cu­pied pos­i­tive ter­mi­nal of the bat­tery to the metal you’re about to weld.

4. Be­fore con­nect­ing the neg­a­tive bat­tery ter­mi­nal up, you’re bet­ter off set­ting up your weld­ing rod so no ac­ci­den­tal con­tact is made. You’ll need to se­cure the weld­ing rod to the jumper lead clamp nice and tight, so you can ei­ther use a pair of vice grips or file out a groove for the weld­ing stick to sit in nice and snug.

5. Then it’s as sim­ple as con­nect­ing the jumper lead to the neg­a­tive ter­mi­nal on the bat­tery and start­ing the weld. It’s also a very good idea to throw a pro­tec­tive cover (fire blan­ket, etc.) over the bank of bat­ter­ies to pre­vent sparks ig­nit­ing the fumes from your bat­ter­ies and help pro­vide some pro­tec­tion if they were to ex­plode.

Con­trol­ling the cur­rent: If the cur­rent is too high, you could in­tro­duce some re­sis­tance in the cir­cuit by re­plac­ing one of the ca­ble links be­tween the bat­ter­ies with a smaller di­am­e­ter ca­ble – even fenc­ing wire will do. But be warned, it will heat up very quickly, and could melt in an in­stant, so keep a close eye on it!

Can I spare the rod? Although a few spare sil­ver coins have been known to get the job done (roughly), it’s il­le­gal to de­stroy cur­rency. You’re prob­a­bly bet­ter off us­ing 1/8in (6011) weld­ing rods, which work best for this volt­age and cur­rent.

RE­MEM­BER, SAFETY FIRST:

• Over­heat­ing the bat­ter­ies could cause them to ex­plode. Any bulging, a strong chem­i­cal smell or heat can be an in­di­ca­tion.

• One bat­tery alone will not sup­ply the power re­quired for this tech­nique.

• All bat­ter­ies should be fully charged and rated at 700 CCA or above.

• This method will dis­charge the bat­ter­ies within a few min­utes of con­tin­u­ous use, so make it count!

• Al­ways carry and use safety gear (gloves and weld­ing mask at a min­i­mum).

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