Overview of inverters for home and garden

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In the article, we will consider the features of three inverters that are unlike each other with a maximum operating current of 160 amperes. All of them are perfect for home use, but each device has its own flavor and belongs to different price categories.

Having become the happy owner of a summer cottage or a private house, we, in addition to beautiful lawns and clean air, receive a fairly extensive scope of work, and many repair and construction operations are associated with metal. However, not all of them can be done using power tools and hardware. The classics of the genre are the construction of a new frame fence, the assembly of a simple gate. And also: welding a roof truss, tacking reinforcement, repairing a pipe, cutting metal parts, heating … Everything is done quickly, the connections are monolithic. For this reason, every homeowner sooner or later thinks about buying a welding machine..

Why an inverter

The good old transformer current sources, due to their reliability and relatively low price, are quite suitable for household welding. But as a liability, they can bring a large mass and impressive dimensions, as well as low energy efficiency: they consume a lot of energy and greatly squander the network. In addition, transformers are not easy to work with and some experience is required. Another thing is inverter welders, characterized by simple control, miniature size and moderate weight. It is important that the inverter is good for its high efficiency, so it can be plugged into a regular household outlet, it will not burn wires and will not have a significant effect on the network. Such units are not as expensive as they used to be, and not as capricious. As for household inverters, they acquire many useful functions that were previously inherent only in professional models..

Overview of inverters for home and garden

The list of advantages of the inverter is quite long, but for an ordinary summer resident or a person who occasionally engages in welding as a hobby, some positions may be especially in demand. For example, in our gardening associations, there is often an extremely unstable voltage, and the unit must withstand its surges, appropriate protection is needed. It is desirable that the welding machine can operate at reduced voltage, which is the number one problem. It is worth noting that some inverters can be powered from generators (but not all), which is very good when there is no power supply on the site yet, and work has to be started. Various auxiliary systems will not be superfluous, which allow a beginner to quickly ignite and control the arc. The cooling system should work without problems, the overheating protection should work perfectly. It is great if the controls of the machine are informative and help you choose the optimal welding modes. It’s good if the inverter is sold with the necessary components and has a reasonable price tag.

Fast and Furious 161

This inverter is the brainchild of the Ryazan State Instrument Plant. It is the most compact manual arc welding machine from this manufacturer. Naturally, he is also “junior” in power. Any properly organized outlet will withstand its 5.5 kW..

Fast and Furious 161

As you can see from the name, the maximum current at which it can cook is 160 amperes, its adjustment is smooth, set by a “twist” from 15 A. Meanwhile, this indicator is quite enough to weld with electrodes with a diameter of 1.6 to 4 mm inclusive … By the way, almost any coated electrodes can be used, and when connecting the appropriate TIG accessories, this inverter will work in argon-arc welding mode, which means it will be possible to cook cast iron or stainless steel.

The device is not the simplest in terms of electronic stuffing. Here there are ARC FORCE, HOT START, ANTISTICK systems that are important for an inexperienced user. The welder is protected from overheating and overvoltage, his fan operates in automatic mode, in critical situations the inverter simply turns off.

Welding machine “Forsage-161” without any significant changes in performance, cooks in the voltage range 187–242 volts, when the voltage drops below this level (up to 160 A), the largest available electrode will be “three”. The device remains operational up to 140 volts. The chip of the model is considered to be the “standby mode”, into which the inverter switches if the voltage approaches 100 V. Then, when the network is restored to 140 V, the device is again ready for operation.

Another highlight of this inverter is its layout. Of course, the indication, current control knob and connectors for connecting wires are located on the front plane, but the case itself, compared to other inverter machines, is more squat (wider and lower). It turns out that due to the lowered center of gravity, the device is more stable, although perhaps not so convenient for those who are used to working with a welder on the shoulder. In any case, the dimensions are modest, the weight of the device is slightly more than 4 kilograms, there is a belt for carrying.

Fast and Furious 161

The set with the inverter does not come with any masks, gloves, hammers, brushes. Separately, you need to buy wires for the electrode and ground. There is an input wire, but note that the length of the power wires can be up to 50 meters. By the way, this inverter is suitable for working with generators, but their power should be quite high – from 9 kW.

The Forsage-161 inverter welding machine belongs to the class of “intelligent” devices. It is quite versatile in functionality and “well built”. As some drawback, you can perceive its cost in the region of 11,600 rubles, but this product is manufactured in our country, and not in China, the warranty for it is 3 years.

ARC 160 PFC

For manual arc welding (MMA or RD) with covered electrodes, the Svarog company offers more than 10 models with a low welding current (125–250 A). For domestic use, we are interested in more or less universal models that can pull electrodes up to 4 mm in diameter. In this case, one of the most interesting in the line is the ARC 160 PFC..

ARC 160 PFC

The main mode of operation of this inverter is conventional arc welding, but TIG and TIG welding are available as an additional mode. It is only necessary to connect special hoses, a valve burner and turn the toggle switch to the appropriate position. Interestingly, when working with TIG, ignition will be obtained from.

The ARC 160 PFC consumes a little, only 5 kW, the idle voltage is 70 V. The network needs a single-phase. The device can be connected from generators.

The inverter is protected against overvoltage and overheating (there is a corresponding LED indicator on the control panel). Naturally, the design has a built-in fan. The model has the basic IP-21 enclosure protection for most inverters. There are not a lot of auxiliary functions, but the HOT START system is available.

Traditionally, for a modern inverter, the current strength is regulated, and this is done with a handle steplessly – in the range of 10-160 A. Therefore, depending on the operating conditions, we can supply an electrode with a diameter of 1.6 to 4 mm.

ARC 160 PFC

The main technological feature of this inverter is its outstanding ability to operate at extra low voltage. For most welding machines the formula “220 plus / minus 15%” is the norm, and the threshold for performance at 140-150 volts is already an achievement. In this case, you can cook even at 90 volts. This function is implemented using the PFC module “power factor correction” (indicated in the name), which, in fact, is an additional switching power supply unit, but only a step-up one. To cook at a voltage of 90-110 volts, the same current adjustment knob is used, but you need to focus on an additional scale. It must be said that PFC technology is used by other manufacturers as well. For example: GYS Gysmi E200 PFC or Telwin Advance 187 MV / PFC.

As for the ergonomics, there is nothing special here, only the dimensions are larger: compare its performance of 365x135x277 mm with the dimensions of the “Forsage-161” (295x155x160 mm). Also, for the ability to cook at low voltage, you will have to pay with the weight – for this inverter it is 6.4 kg, which is about 2 kilograms more than that of the Fast and the Furious-161 or the 160-ampere analogue from the same Svarog (EASI ARC 160 – 4 kg).

The cost of this welding machine is in the region of 14,600-15,000 rubles. The package includes an electrode holder, ground terminals and wires 3 meters long. The device is made in China, but the company promises a 5-year warranty for this model.

FUBAG IR 160

Let’s say right away that the Fubag company offers the consumer two series of inverters IR and IN. The second series (IN) are high-tech devices made in Europe, more focused on professional use, including TIG mode. The FUBAG IN 163 model is not much different from the Forsage 161 in terms of technical characteristics and functionality. The IR series is a household product, created on the principle of “nothing more”, which is exactly what we need, especially since the price should be attractive. Let’s see how the manufacturer has assembled the FUBAG IR 160 inverter.

FUBAG IR 160FUBAG IR 160

This power source can be welded with a “four” electrode without any problems, for this it consumes only 5 kW of power. The inverter is assembled according to the “new” IGBT technology, which allows achieving high quality of the seam. It also provides ease of operation for unprepared users, despite the absence of known auxiliary systems such as ARC FORCE, HOT START, ANTISTICK (they are in the FUBAG IR 200 model).

The device is equipped with automatic protection against overheating and overvoltage, forced ventilation is switched on simultaneously with pressing the “mains” button (there is an LED indication of the mains and thermal protection on the front panel). This welding machine remains operational at a mains voltage in the range of 150-240 volts, which is pretty good for a budget model.

To cook with an electrode with a diameter of 4 mm, the maximum current is required, but in other conditions the current can be smoothly adjusted and an electrode up to 1.6 mm can be applied. By the way, the minimum operating current of the device is the lowest among the inverters presented today, you can even set 5 amperes. It is convenient that for novice welders on the scale, in addition to the current strength indicators, the optimal electrode cross section is indicated.

FUBAG IN 163FUBAG IN 163

The FUBAG IR 160 inverter is not designed to work in TIG mode (argon arc welding) and is not adapted to be powered by gasoline or diesel generators.

The ergonomics of this welding machine is satisfactory. The ends of the metal case have rounded plastic bumper pads that turn into a convenient carrying handle. You can thread a belt through this handle and work with the device at the ready. By the way, the case itself has a decent degree of protection IP21S. The mass of the inverter is not a record low, but it is quite adequate – 4.6 kilograms. The FUBAG IR 160 is supplied with a cable with an electrode holder (13 mm2 – 3 meters) and cable with “mass” (13 mm2 – 2 meters).

If you need a simple and understandable welding inverter for home and summer cottages, and the budget does not allow you to roam too much, then the IR 160 from Fubag will be a good option. The cost of this unit is only about 5,000 rubles, the warranty for it is 2 years. And if you need advanced capabilities of the power source, and you are not constrained in funds – consider the models of the IN series.

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