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Old 1st April 2013, 15:18   #1
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Default Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

During OTR's, or some other times, I'm sure that most of us has seen a broken tie rod end, or a broken steering rod, or leaf spring perches, or leaf spring itself, which renders the Jeep/vehicles useless and STUCK!. Now, how would you like to weld them (at least temporarily) ON-THE-SPOT till you get out of the sticky situation??!!

Well, here's HOW

All you need to carry is the welding electrode(s) in your glove box (Assuming, your friend will loan you his Jeep battery, and you or someone would have a pair of jumper cables).

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Quoting some noteworthy points from the article.
Quote:
Most DC welders work at around 40 volts, and a general purpose electrode of 3.25mm will need about 120 amps for good penetration of weld. 36 volts is available from three automotive batteries connected in series. The batteries we use in 4WDs are more than capable of supplying the amperage for an ample amount of time for a repair weld; after all, they supply winches at up to 400 amps, and starters on diesels at 300 plus!
There is no danger of electrical shock using automotive batteries in this manner; however, the batteries should be disconnected from the vehicle, and protected from welding sparks.
Quote:
You will notice that the earth to the work is positive. This is the norm in DC welding.
One would normally keep the work as far as possible from the batteries, and cover the batteries with a ground sheet or blanket. This reduces the possibility of sparks from the weld igniting the hydrogen gas produced by the batteries.
Batteries do not need to be all the same size. If three batteries are not available, 24 volts can be used, but it will be difficult to hold an arc unless you are an very experienced welder.
Quote:
One method of introducing resistance to the circuit to reduce amperage for small diameter electrodes is simply a piece of "good ole" No 8 fencing wire. It can be increased/decreased in length to change resistance, and held to battery post by vice grips or tight twisting. Be aware that this piece of wire will get very hot; perhaps to the point where it will droop and melt the plastic battery case(s). KEEP AN EYE ON IT!
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The final outcome. Pretty good considering the limited resources, and the need to get out of the situation!

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Now, I haven't tried this, but will be doing so very soon. Just to check out how it works. In the meanwhile, would love to know more about the pro's and cons of this, if someone has in fact tried this out.

- Hope this helps someone in getting out of a sticky situation.
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Old 1st April 2013, 21:25   #2
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Default re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

Just one doubt .

They say do not check the battery condition by Short circuiting the poles . It affects battery life . A battery can work hard for winches etc , but that is some proper circuit .

Sudarshan
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Old 2nd April 2013, 10:06   #3
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Default re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

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Originally Posted by Sudarshan View Post
Just one doubt .

They say do not check the battery condition by Short circuiting the poles . It affects battery life . A battery can work hard for winches etc , but that is some proper circuit .

Sudarshan

Yea, i was having a gut feeling that this is not a right way to test the battery. But most(read all) road side battery wallas who dont have access to "Hydrometer" to measure the specific gravity test batteries by shorting the terminals. If the water in the cell starts boiling then that cell is dead is what they say.My bike battery was tested by the battery fellow like this before it was replaced. Thankfully, the battery was already on its last leg and showing signs of weakness and had to get it replaced!
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Old 2nd April 2013, 17:49   #4
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

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Originally Posted by Sudarshan View Post
Just one doubt .

They say do not check the battery condition by Short circuiting the poles . It affects battery life . A battery can work hard for winches etc , but that is some proper circuit .
Hmm.. yes, considering the high cost of batteries.

However, with three batteries in series and some proper resistance wires, me things, this too behaves like some kind of a circuit, and not like shorting the poles of a single battery, where most of the resistance is internal.

Experts can shed more knowledge.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 20:59   #5
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

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Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
Hmm.. yes, considering the high cost of batteries.

However, with three batteries in series and some proper resistance wires, me things, this too behaves like some kind of a circuit, and not like shorting the poles of a single battery, where most of the resistance is internal.

Experts can shed more knowledge.
All said & done .

Dhanush Sir , I will bring all the welding gear , the mask , the rod holder , the rods , clamps everything .

when shall we start

We only need a broken vehicle & few batteries , these will be hard to bring to your place for me . Can you arrange that ? please


Apart from Jokes ; I am still NOT convinced about the battery damage point . Please convince me , find some way out . I am actually eager to to do this experiment .
I do the welding job once a while , with the equipment I have for 15 or so years .

Sudarshan
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Old 6th April 2013, 04:42   #6
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

wouldn't it be easier to carry spare tie rod ends and tie rods? easier to carry and make a trail fix than trying to make a weak weld with a method that will probably ruin more than one battery and will be unsafe in the bargain?

I have snapped both tie rods on the AKC jeep in Jaipur while stuck on a very sand incline.

We replaced the tie rod assemblies and got the jeep going in less than half an hour while working in the dark.
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Old 6th April 2013, 09:17   #7
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

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Originally Posted by motocamp View Post
wouldn't it be easier to carry spare tie rod ends and tie rods?
Hi motocamp,

If it were only tie rod end failure we are looking at, then you are right. But, there are so many parts that break in a Jeep, for which carrying each and every spare is not practical. For example, I have never imaged that I would break my leaf spring perch.
Quote:
probably ruin more than one battery
Well, yes, this matter needs to be discussed in more detail.

While shorting the battery, whats the resistance (current flow), and what is the resistance (current flow) when three batteries are connected in series + jumper cables + resistance wires + welding stuff . And, finally, when a heavy duty winch is operating, what is the current flow.
Quote:
and will be unsafe in the bargain?
If the batteries are in a safely places, why would this method be unsafe sir?
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Old 6th April 2013, 09:21   #8
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

actually my reference to it being unsafe was not about shorting the battery, but actually the strength of the weld which would be highly suspect even for a trail fix.

its a novel idea but one that i feel would be highly impractical in the real world.

another thing , you might end up with more than one disabled jeep if more than one battery went flat

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Old 6th April 2013, 11:16   #9
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Originally Posted by motocamp View Post
actually my reference to it being unsafe was not about shorting the battery, but actually the strength of the weld which would be highly suspect even for a trail fix.
I somehow agree to this , welding itself is a skilled job & more particularly when you work on assemblies which are on the vehicle & in odd places , not to mention the uncomfortable angles & conditions in which the work is demanded .

I have my own welding machine since 15 years & I use it once a while . Let me tell you frankly my first year or so ( may be less ) was quite ' Frustrating '.

There is a lot to 'Learn ' even if you do it as hobby basis . For example to begin with setting / selecting current , to rod thickness ( for appropriate current ) to material of rods & to be welded parts , to cleaning surfaces , connecting earthing ( Yes one needs to take care that the current does not 'earth ' through any electrical component of the vehicle ) .

Welding , if not done properly can do more harm than the hassle of walking 15 km out of nowhere .

Quote:
its a novel idea but one that i feel would be highly impractical in the real world.
Yes it is & I surely want to experiment it some day .

Also you are not wrong about its practicality.

No Offence to anyone but particularly WRT the 'Indian' offroader's mindset of using Card Money for everything 'readily built '. There is something required for welding , which is called as skill ( which is NOT rocket science ) , Firstly who is going to acquire one ??

Quote:
another thing , you might end up with more than one disabled jeep if more than one battery went flat
Yes its a chance here .

But as Dhanush said , this needs to be discussed in detail , unfortunately my ' electrical ' knowledge is limited to just connections & common sense .

Sudarshan
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Old 12th April 2013, 19:09   #10
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

Dear Dhanush / Sudarshan and all - I am happy to learn this welding technique, so thank you.

I very regularly use battery power to solder the electrical joints. You need a partially charged battery, two stout wires and two dynamo commutator brushes (old ones will do perfectly). Attach the brushes to the two wires, just touch them, they will glow red hot, you can easily use the heat generated to solder the electrical joints. This is especially useful when you want to solder on the car after assembling. If you use a fully charged battery, the brushes will burn to cinders in seconds, please don't even try!

We have been using this technique for soldering our rally / race car wiring harnesses for years. In rally cars, reliability is of utmost importance so there are no connectors at all, every single wire has to be painstakingly joined by solder and double taped for perfect insulation. Even spark plug wires used to be soldered on the plugs themselves after completing all testing. I took 24 days to complete one car!

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 13th April 2013, 12:11   #11
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
While shorting the battery, whats the resistance (current flow), and what is the resistance (current flow) when three batteries are connected in series + jumper cables + resistance wires + welding stuff . And, finally, when a heavy duty winch is operating, what is the current flow.
At full load a 8000lb winch can draw around 400A. That is why the winch wires are really thick, to offer really low resistance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudarshan View Post
There is a lot to 'Learn ' even if you do it as hobby basis . For example to begin with setting / selecting current , to rod thickness ( for appropriate current ) to material of rods & to be welded parts , to cleaning surfaces , connecting earthing ( Yes one needs to take care that the current does not 'earth ' through any electrical component of the vehicle ) .
Once needs to learn under an expert, or be ready to have many accidents. Welding is not a trivial trick.

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Originally Posted by Sudarshan View Post
No Offence to anyone but particularly WRT the 'Indian' offroader's mindset of using Card Money for everything 'readily built '.
I only use cash, my Mechanic doesn't take card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudarshan View Post
But as Dhanush said , this needs to be discussed in detail , unfortunately my ' electrical ' knowledge is limited to just connections & common sense .
Common sense can only take a person to some extent. After that one needs to understand theory. My uncle is a life long tinkerer, he opens everything mechanical/electrical and puts it back in his efforts to learn, whether it is his scooter or 3-phase pump motor. We kids thought he knew everything since we saw him working on everything. Then in my 2nd year BE (electronics) I was once helping him draw some electric wires through the ancient walls of the ancestral home. After 4 hours of work, we lost a wire instead of adding one. But then my curiosity got better of me, and I asked him about the circuit he was planning. He reluctantly shared his plan and I was stunned. He was adding phase and neutral wires to for an extra lamp. After inspecting the existing circuit (which he had installed few years back) I told him that he already had redundant wires (before we lost one), which could easily accommodate the new requirement. He was crestfallen to realise that his teenage nephew knew more than him. So he put back the wire somehow and left the remaining work to me. When I finished the rest, he didn't look too cheerful. I actually felt sad about his state of mind that day. But he recovered from it after a while, and starting asking advice from me on electrical stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
I very regularly use battery power to solder the electrical joints. You need a partially charged battery, two stout wires and two dynamo commutator brushes (old ones will do perfectly). Attach the brushes to the two wires, just touch them, they will glow red hot, you can easily use the heat generated to solder the electrical joints. This is especially useful when you want to solder on the car after assembling. If you use a fully charged battery, the brushes will burn to cinders in seconds, please don't even try!
Behram, you are talking about soldering, the discussion is about welding. I used to lot of soldering right from my highschool days since I was into science modeling. Also did lots of soldering in my BE project. But never tried my hand at welding though, looks quite complicated.

Last edited by Samurai : 13th April 2013 at 12:18.
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Old 13th April 2013, 13:32   #12
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Question Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post

I only use cash, my Mechanic doesn't take card.===

===Also did lots of soldering in my BE project. But never tried my hand at welding though, looks quite complicated.
Ok , so all said & done , card-cash , solder-welder , common sense-some sense-non sense etc & etc

The question now still remains , who is going to try this ? Who is going to find more information on this ?

Looks like I need to do something . BTW welding is not 'that' complicated as I have experienced . Some practice ,some experiments , good safety precautions for your eyes only & one can do it .

But here I think I am stuck at the point of short circuiting batteries

Anyone has better info to sort this out ?

Sudarshan
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Old 13th April 2013, 14:52   #13
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

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But here I think I am stuck at the point of short circuiting batteries

Anyone has better info to sort this out ?
What is your question?
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Old 13th April 2013, 20:30   #14
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What is your question?
My question is
Can this really be tried without posing any kind of danger to batteries ? Can experts verify this can be really done without harming the Batteries ?

If someone knowledgeable in electrical field assures me for that,( with some reasoning suitable for a layman) I want to do this experiment , as welding itself is not new to me .

Sudarshan

Last edited by Sudarshan : 13th April 2013 at 20:32.
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Old 13th April 2013, 22:20   #15
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Default Re: Emergency Welding using a Jeep Battery!

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Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
I very regularly use battery power to solder the electrical joints. You need a partially charged battery, two stout wires and two dynamo commutator brushes (old ones will do perfectly).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Behram, you are talking about soldering, the discussion is about welding.
Hardly the forum for discussing the similarities/ differences between soldering, brazing, and welding.

Watermark on a dandy roll (pls. look both up) was affixed by similar methods. It was not reliable. And mind you, this was done by experienced operators. So we designed a system in which the current could be operator set/ controlled. No problems after that. Sold quite a few!
The reason for using carbon electrodes (in our case, the +ve terminal of dry cells) was that oxidising would lead to CO2 and no residue.

One gets inverter based welding sets working on a 12VDC input. But the ones I've seen don't inspire much confidence. Can someone check out whether reputable manufacturers (say Lincoln/ Miller/ Kemppi/ Fronius etc) have such equipment?

Regards
Sutripta

Last edited by Sutripta : 13th April 2013 at 22:28.
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