OK, call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first) but this is something I’ve wanted to try for years, and I bet I’m not the only one. Each time a new power supply comes across the lab bench with ever increasing output capacities, I find myself thinking, “I could weld with this beast.” Well the AX1600i pushed me over the edge and I decided to give it a go; what could possibly go wrong?
133.3 Amps on the +12V outputs!
The Corsair AX1600i Digital power supply can deliver up to 133 Amps on the combined +12V rails, more than enough amperage for welding. There are dozens of PC power supplies on the market today that can deliver 100 Amps or more on the +12V output, but the AX1600i has another feature that might help make this project a success, the ability to manually set current limits on the +12V outputs. Thanks to the fact that the AX1600i is a digital power supply that allows manually setting the current limits on the +12V outputs via the Corsair Link data acquisition and control software, I might be able to add the ability to select a desired amperage to weld with. Yes!
Just because the AX1600i “can” deliver 133A doesn’t mean I want that much current available for welding. I typically only use that much power when I’m welding heavy steel pieces using ¼” rod. For this experiment I would like to be able to start out at a lot lower amperage, and I’m hoping the Corsair Link software will provide that ability.
Stick Welding with a PC Power Supply!
My first thought was to try to adapt a TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welder for use with the AX1600i. I figured using a TIG torch (Tungsten electrode shrouded with Argon gas instead of a flux coated rod) might give better control especially at the lower voltage and currents where I plan to start testing. TIG welders are commonly used to weld small stainless steel parts and sheet metal. But then I remembered the TIG welder power supply has a high voltage pulse built-in to initiate the plasma arc. Without that extra kick-start, it might be difficult to strike an arc without damaging the fine pointed tip of the Tungsten electrode. So I decided to just go with a conventional stick welding setup. The fact that PC power supplies put out DC voltage will be an advantage over the more common AC buzz-box arc welders for better stability and producing higher quality welds.
Obviously, trying to convert a PC power supply into an arc welding power supply will require a few modifications. Here is a quick list of the main challenges I think we will have to overcome.
• Higher capacity fan for better cooling
• Terminate all the PSU’s +12V cables into welding leads
• Disable the Short Circuit protection feature
• Implement selecting the desired current output
• Strike and maintain a stable arc with only 12 volts
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 12:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: PSU, corsair, CES 2014, CES, Arc Welding, 1500W PSU
Yadda yadda arc welding yadda Allyn yadda yadda podcast bingo.
For the last seven or eight years, Corsair has released a boatload of power supplies, running the whole gamut of potential customers, since their initial HX620W release in 2006. Their current line-up is broken into eight distinct series. Some are modular, some are fully modular, and others are not. Several models hold the lowercase "i" suffix which signify USB connectivity to monitor and adjust the unit from their Corsair Link utility.
Today, Corsair is announcing the AX1500i fully modular power supply. At 1500 watts, this should be an effective upper limit on desktop power consumption. The real news is its efficiency: 94% efficient at half load on 115V input (North America). The PSU exceeds the specification set out for 80 PLUS Platinum and falls within the current draft of 80 PLUS Titanium (consumer).
It is also designed to be quiet and even fanless when drawing under 450 watts.
The suffix on the AX1500i signifies that it also integrates with Corsair Link through USB. Temperature, draw, loads, fan speed adjustments, and power efficiency are exposed to the user who wants to see a few more graphs in their secondary monitors... because if you have a single 1080p panel then you are doing something wrong somewhere.
The AX1500i is expected to retail for $449.99 in Q2 2014 and is backed by a 7-year warranty.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!