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Up Topic Welding Industry / General Welding Discussion / Altering Regulator Operating Pressure
- - By Vinny (*) Date 09-02-2018 03:02
Hi everyone. For me welding is part of my hobby of building cars and off road vehicles. I've been using mig and tig welding but I'm beginning to try my hand at custom bodies which is torch work. I have quality high pressure regulators but I don't have anything that is low pressure, <5 lbs. I'm wondering if I can alter high pressure oxygen and acetylene regulators that I already have to work at low pressures? Is it just the gauge or is there more to it? Because there are low pressure regulators from $20 to more than $300 can I maintain the quality I already have but still get what I need? As a disabled vet I live on a set, limited income and every dollar counts.

I've searched the internet for the answers but haven't found any direct answers. A lot is ambiguous, at least to me, and I assume that's because I'm self taught. From friends I've gotten both answers I like and answers I don't. I don't want to burn the garage down or worse because I like someone's answer.

If anyone has answers they can offer, thank you.

Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 09-02-2018 16:02
I'm confused. You ask about low pressure gauges. Are you asking about the input or the output?

You mention "torch work". Are you talking about oxy-acetylene welding? In the case of OAW, the gases are supplied in gas cylinders that are well about the pressure of 20 to 30 psi when they are "full". The regulators reduce the high pressure to the "working" pressure needed for either welding or cutting. The acetylene working pressure is typically around 7 psi, like wise for the oxygen if welding and as high as 45 to 65 psi if cutting. In either case, when the pressure in the cylinder drops below a threshold, the gauge no longer provides the working pressure need on a constant basis. In short, the cylinder is "empty" for all practical purposes. The cylinder should not be depleted completely. Some pressure needs to be retained so air (with the accompanying moisture) doesn't enter the tank, in short, close the cylinder valve and return the cylinder to the supplier with some positive pressure. 

Parent - - By Vinny (*) Date 09-03-2018 03:25
Hi Al,

Thank you for your time in answering. Yes, I am asking about OA welding. Except for occasional cutting everything I've done until now has been MIG or TIG welding. Neither is appropriate for custom body panels. I can't explain the nuance of why this is beyond that's just the way it is. I only say that because I'm repeating what the Masters doing this work say. I don't even rate as an apprentice but I trust what they say and I enjoy the work.

Honestly input or output never crossed my mind but I assume output. I bought a Detroit Torch DHC2000 which operates at 4 psi for both the oxygen and acetylene. I have a Victor regulator set for a small cutting torch I use primarily on frames. The oxygen range is from zero to 200 psi with numbered markings at 40 psi increments. According to Detroit Torch the 4 psi is critical and I can't verify what the psi actually is. I feel confident I could trust the regulator enough to say it is set to less than 8-10 psi but my attempts to nail the 4 psi haven't gone well. I'm basing this on my attempts to get what seems to be a consistent looking flame from the area of 4 psi per the gage. Above about 10 psi the flame seems to become reliably consistent and repeatable but not at 4.

I'm hoping this is all an issue with the gage and not the regulator. Can I just change the gage to one that operates at something like 0 to 15 psi. Victor literature states the regulator is accurate from 0 to 200 psi but than again I wouldn't expect Victor or anyone else to state something like, "Not accurate below 10 psi." I understand how you could be confused with my question and you have helped me to realize already that I don't know if I'm trying to solve a problem with the gage or regulator. I have the same issues with the acetylene regulator\gage.

I hope I've answered your questions.

Parent - By 803056 (*****) Date 09-03-2018 14:06
Most instruments are accurate to some percentage of their full range. They are most precise around midrange and least precise toward the low end and high end of the range.

Consider changing the output pressure gauge for one that is say 0 to 25 psi rather than 0 to 200 psi. The other thing to consider is the regulator may simply incapable of delivering low pressure on a consistent basis. The regulator may be intended for cutting where the pressure is on the order of 50 psi and higher flow rates than the low pressure, low flow rate required by your torch.  You may need to replace it with a regulator that is intended for low flow rates and low delivery pressure.  

I know that using my regulators, intended for cutting heavy steel, would not be appropriate for a oxy-acetylene torch used by a jeweler.

Parent - - By Northweldor (***) Date 09-03-2018 20:50 Edited 09-03-2018 21:57

From reading the above (and between the lines), it sounds as though you are trying to use the latest version of the old Henrob/Dillon torch, and you are discovering, as so many others have in its nearly half-century history, that it is not really the torch, but a skilled demonstrator, that makes the difference.  I hope you didn't pay full price to learn this, but the Henrob/Dillon will do very little that you can't do with an ordinary small or medium Victor outfit, at much lower cost.

List the Victor equipment you have, with model nos. for both torch  and regulators, and I can tell you how to set regulators at the exactly the right welding pressure for every tip-size, without even looking at the regulators, if the equipment is in good condition.

The modification suggested by Al can be done if you are determined to use the Henrob, but I would have it done by a pro (Bill's Welder Repair). Even though  it is not rocket science, they have better gauges, and test equipment you don't have.

The Victor G-150 guage below reads to 1 LB. The oxygen regulator can just be balanced to it and does not need a gauge change.
Parent - - By Vinny (*) Date 09-04-2018 01:36

You are right. I have heard the torch also referred to as a Henrob. I have mobility issues that gets worse with the years and the pistol grip design of the  torch was attractive. Fortunately I paid about 60% of the retail price.

If you don't mind I would appreciate it if you could be more detailed about your "skill of the user," comment. Am I spinning my wheels giving this torch any time?

Thank you for further educating me about regulators. What I have is a hand me down from probably the 60's and I had already resigned myself to updating the regulators. I'm grateful for the direction you have given.

Al, thank you also.
Parent - - By Vinny (*) Date 09-04-2018 10:17
I've been offered the Victor OA regulator set, ESS3 for what seems to be a good price, $250. Would that be a recommendation you (anyone) would make? I like how it appears to be more protected than a typical regulator is.

The G-150 series is available but not in stock. I can't find out what the wait will be until later today. The G-250 and 350's are available.
Parent - By Northweldor (***) Date 09-04-2018 20:06
Since budget is a factor, your most economic course would be to contact Bill's and ask for a price on overhauling both of the Victor regulators you already have, and installing a new G150 low-pressure gauge on the acetylene regulator.

Also, are you using flash-back arrestors or check valves? These could be causing problems with the Dillon /Henrob, if springs are too stiff.
Parent - - By Northweldor (***) Date 09-05-2018 01:55 Edited 09-05-2018 02:06

You are apparently going to be using the Dillon/Henrob since it is what you have, and have paid too much for. However, most modern OA torches are equal pressure just as the D/H is  and the following method of balancing gases might work for the D/H as well.

"Back in the” old days”, before the widespread use of check valves and flashback arrestors, beginners were always taught to balance gases. This is a procedure I still use today, not only because of safety, but because it is a good way to check on the current condition of your equipment, and guarantees the correct setting with any tip size or regulator gauge peculiarity. With a little practice, it only takes a minute, and accurately gives you the proper setting with any make of equipment, with the max. and min. of the heat range of any tip. The instructions I usually give an OAW beginner are below.

With both bottles on, and regulator adjusting screws turned out (“off” position), turn the acetylene torch valve wide-open (3 half turns is usually enough). Then, turn your acetylene regulator adjusting screw in until gas starts to flow and light the torch. Continue to turn the adjusting screw in until the flame just blows away from the tip, then back off the screw until the flame just returns to the tip. Your acetylene pressure is now set for that tip.

Then , open the oxygen torch valve wide-open (3 half turns) and slowly begin to turn your oxygen regulator adjusting screw in until you you have a blue feather extending from a blue cone at the tip. Continue to add oxygen until the feather just disappears into the inner cone, giving you a neutral flame. You now have the torch set for maximum heat for that tip. (Wiggle both torch valves at this point to make sure you have them wide-open: if you do, the flame will not change)

Finally, turn your oxygen torch valve off. Then, close your acetylene torch valve until the yellow flame starts to produce smoke, and immediately open it just so it is not smoking. Slowly open your oxygen torch valve until you again have a neutral flame , and you now have the minimum flame you can use on that tip without backfires.

This seems like a lot of trouble, but only takes 1-2 minute with practice and only needs to be done once each session, unless tips or regulator settings are changed. Also, note that at no point are you depending on or even looking at regulator gauges, which can be very unreliable when abused. This method will work with all standard OA equipment for welding."

Try it and see, since it is the tip size you are setting to on both D/H and Regular torches,

In the future, never deal with a company that does not provide a warranty, a manual and a repair network, before purchase.
Parent - - By Vinny (*) Date 09-05-2018 05:15

I hope you realize how much I appreciate you taking your time to write this out and share it with me and others.

Budget is an issue but it's not the only issue. Between you and Al I understand much better what it is I'm dealing with. I have already disregarded my strict adherence to the manual and started paying more attention to the flame and my AOW welding has made a marked improvement. My welds are anything put "pretty" but I am consistently getting metal that stays welded. I spent some time on YouTube watching the flames and not the welds and what I was seeing was nothing like what I was using. I also got a lot more liberal with my experimenting and give it a try, see what happens side.

Maybe TMI, Too Much Information, as my kids use to say but I've dealt with the urge or need for the best and brightest that led to some bad decisions. I don't mind getting something justifiable. I just want to make sure I look before I leap and the value of repeatable regulators has become self evident. I also want to consider my grandkids and some neighborhood kids that like to hang out in the garage at times. There are some tools that I don't want them learning how to use with their quirks and I now think regulators is one of those tools. New regulators is now a trade off I don't mind making.

"In the future, never deal with a company that does not provide a warranty, a manual and a repair network, before purchase."

Good advice but I'm not sure what you're getting at. Do you think this applies to my torch? The Dillion/Henrob torch is now the Detroit Torch DHC2000 or Cobra Torch. It comes with a manual although I was adhering to it too strictly. It also comes with a DVD. It has a lifetime warranty but I confess "lifetime warranty" has a lot of meanings depending on the details. Finally, in heavy traffic the company is an hour and a half away. A repair network is available.

The biggest appeal of the torch was it's size and shape. I deal with mobility issues that aren't going to get better. A 12", 15" or 18" torch can limit my ability to use it or they can easily turn what for most would a 15 minute job in to hours for me. I don't mind and I deal with it but I'm not a masochist happily pursuing discomfort and frustration. I'm not proud of it but I've thrown my share of tools because of frustration. Hopefully I'm past all that. Swearing, that's something else but still working on it. Finally, the price of the torch wasn't an issue for me. If I need to notch a chassis for a new suspension and I can do in an hour what would take most 15 or 20 minutes, the torch has paid for itself.

If you think I'm off base somewhere feel free to say so. I'm not offended by criticism. I've always appreciated it. Now to print your post and get it in the garage.

Sincerely, Thank you.

Parent - - By Northweldor (***) Date 09-06-2018 18:12 Edited 09-06-2018 18:23

Yes, I do think my statement applies to your torch. Also, large #'s of the welding community agree with me, since in the almost 1/2 century that this torch has been on the market, it has yet to gain a major market share. There are many reasons for this, which I will discuss sometime in a separate thread.

Why are you keeping the makes and models of your Victor equipment secret? There is a good possibility that this is better quality than the new regulators being sold by Detroit at exorbitant prices, similar to their other equipment. ( The new Victor Edge is overpriced too, and will do nothing to solve your problem).

I understand why you want to use the Dillon, and I finally managed to download a free manual fom Eastwood ($11 on the Detroit site!). If you check page three, you will find they recommend a poorly written pressure-setting procedure similar to what I wrote, but less detailed.
Try this with your old regulators and you may need nothing else! However, I see Bill's sells new Edge guages  for $14.
Parent - - By Vinny (*) Date 09-07-2018 19:01

Had a brownout here Tues. and power has been on and off since. Seems to be fixed now. I hope.

Sorry, not a secret about the regulators, it just didn't seem critical. I'll verify later but I believe one is a 400 and the other a 410. I'd guess they're from the 60's, maybe older. The oxygen has to go on just right or it leaks. They are beat up.

I don't doubt your experience or wisdom about your profession but from my own experience I have to say, market share is not a reliable indicator of anything. If it were Craftsman tools are the best tools available and we all know that's not true.

I'm interested in your thoughts on the torch.
Parent - - By Northweldor (***) Date 09-08-2018 22:27 Edited 09-09-2018 01:23
Well, I think your analogy is totally invalid, since Craftsman (Sears) never made any product in its existence, and simply marketed the brand, and had numerous companies make everything for them(some, like Harris, who made  low-priced OA equipment for them for many years, were excellent quality). However, in market share of OA manufacturers, the Dillon/Henrob concept never really took any of the market from Victor, Air Liquide, Purox, Uniweld, Smith, Harris, Forney, etc. or any of large European companies ... in almost 50 years. In fact, in my 70 years of welding experience, I never encountered a single LWS that carried this torch, or, any other company that tried to sell, at a high price, "all you need" to OA weld, without including regulators and hoses.

However, the above has little to do with your problem, and I said I would deal with it in another thread.

If your regulators are Victor 400 series, they are good medium-duty regulators which were used for a variety of gases, and there are kits still available to overhaul them, and have them working like new, while a little brass polish - elbow grease can take care of appearance. You might pay $200 each for similar quality (there is one on eBay now for $69 untested), What I think you have is a gauge scale problem, not a  regulator problem, that is caused by the low pressure used in the DH torch.

Below, you can find  a 400 seres blow-up and parts list, dated 1977.  Can only post one page at a time, so, let me know if you want to see the rest. Are yours A,B,D, or E, range?

BTW, I notice the Detroit site is making a massive price cut to $ 416 US, Canadian price, remodeling their Website ("Weld Like A TIG!... Cut Like A Plasma!..."), and they are now putting out what looks like  a completely conventional torch, as well (WITH hoses and regulators).
Parent - By Vinny (*) Date 09-09-2018 00:38 Edited 09-09-2018 02:30

I did start another thread on the torch titled Henrob\Cobra Torch. If there is a letter I can't make it out. I will look later with a magnifying glass.
Up Topic Welding Industry / General Welding Discussion / Altering Regulator Operating Pressure

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