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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. A welding power supply is a device that provides an electric current to perform welding.

12,000 amperes in spot welding. 5 amps with gas tungsten arc welding is a good example. A welding power supply can be as simple as a car battery and as sophisticated as a high-frequency inverter using IGBT technology, with computer control to assist in the welding process. Shielded metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding will use a constant current source and gas metal arc welding and flux-cored arc welding typically use constant voltage sources but constant current is also possible with a voltage sensing wire feeder.

The nature of the CV machine is required by gas metal arc welding and flux-cored arc welding because the welder is not able to control the arc length manually. If a welder attempted to use a CV machine to weld with shielded metal arc welding the small fluctuations in the arc distance would cause wide fluctuations in the machine’s output. With a CC machine the welder can count on a fixed number of amps reaching the material to be welded regardless of the arc distance but too much distance will cause poor welding.

A rectifier converts the AC into DC on more expensive machines. This design typically allows the welder to select the output current by variously moving a primary winding closer or farther from a secondary winding, moving a magnetic shunt in and out of the core of the transformer, using a series saturating reactor with a variable saturating technique in series with the secondary current output, or by simply permitting the welder to select the output voltage from a set of taps on the transformer’s secondary winding. These transformer style machines are typically the least expensive. The trade off for the reduced expense is that pure transformer designs are often bulky and massive because they operate at the utility mains frequency of 50 or 60 Hz.

Such low frequency transformers must have a high magnetizing inductance to avoid wasteful shunt currents. The transformer may also have significant leakage inductance for short circuit protection in the event of a welding rod becoming stuck to the workpiece. The leakage inductance may be variable so the operator can set the output current.

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