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I am wanting to use an inverter based TIG welder as a constant current power source for anodizing aluminum.

The main hurdle I suspect I will be facing is that the amperage of the welder may be difficult to control at low amperage settings. The current required for anodizing one of the parts is 6A the lowest I suspect I can set on the welder is 15...... If I add in a small stove element as a resistor (guessing at about 10A load) in series I can just set 16A on the welder and have 6A flowing to the part...... Is my thinking flawed?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Series connection has to have the same current in each component. You mean in parallel. \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    May 24, 2019 at 22:57

2 Answers 2

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Do you have an ammeter to measure precisely how much current the tig welder outputs at its lowest 15A settings?

Generally welding machines output current is not so well regulated in tight margins especially at such low settings.

To answer your question, YES, you can use nichrome coil from stove heaters to get the current you want if you follow these steps.

  1. Connect your 50A fullscale ammeter across the welder's output which is already set at its lowest current setting and mark the reading. Let say it reads 15A.

  2. Now break the circuit and connect the anodizer to the welder and see how much current flows thru the anodizer. This current reading will definitely lower than 15A. Let say it now shows 10Amps.

Now you know that you need to dump 4Amps of current thru shunt the tig welder with some dummy resistance in order to get only 6Amp into the anodizer.

  1. While keep observing the ammeter, connect the stove elements across the tig welder's output. Lower the resistance of the shunt to reduce the ammeter reading of the anodizer.

Adjust your resistance accordingly to get your desired current for proper anodizing process.

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TIG (Tungsten-Inert-Gas) supplies are CC (Constant Current) more or less, anyway.

Series or parallel resistor won't be much help because the voltage has to increase as the anodized layer forms.

Maybe you could parallel the anodized part with a dummy part to use the excess current.

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