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Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

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Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:41 pm

I have a Hypertherm Powermax 65 with a machine torch connected to a CNC.

I am only using pins 3 and 4 on the cnc connector to star and stop the arc.

I am trying to cut a full circle where only about 90% of the circle is on the metal. It starts the cut but when the cut leaves the edge of the stock, the arc goes out and there is not pilot arc. I have the selector set to continues pilot for this particular application but it does not matter.

FYI, it does work as expected with the hand torch.

Here is a picture of a test cut where this happens. The CNC completes the circle of course but the arc is dead as soon as it exits the metal.
_MG_3717.jpg


Note that I have an EverLast 50s that when connected to the same setup (with tip saver turned off) and it works just fine.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby sphurley » Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:53 pm

The arc ok will go out if there is no metal under it. You can put a switch on the arc OK and "fool" it into thinking there is metal there.
Once you leave the metal the arc voltage will change. Do you have any form of THC?
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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:39 pm

I'm not using Arc ok or any THC. By all rights it should work the way it does with the hand torch or on my Everlast unit. It seems as though the continuous pilot arc feature does not work when using a machine torch and a remote trigger.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby sphurley » Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:16 pm

I would look for a schematic on the Plasma machine. I know on Hypertherm there is an extra jumper to ID a machine vs hand torch. You hopefully can do the same thing.
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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby sphurley » Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:29 pm

Now that I read your first line you have a Hypertherm. Are you using Mach to start the machine?
The manual mentions the remote control icon, when it's on the local front controls have no effect.
I think Jim Colt needs to answer this one. I would think the continuous arc mode would have worked.
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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:44 am

This unit got banged around before it got to me. So I am curious how this is supposed to work.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby jimcolt » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:46 am

The continuous pilot works exactly the same with a hand or a machine torch. Do the cut again...and when it extinguishes take a look at the LED display on the plasma....any error code? If there is an error code....what is it? If no error code then that means the start signal dropped out.

Details about what machine you have connected the Powermax to will help. Are you in Auto air pressure mode? What amperage, what thickness, what consumables?

Jim Colt Hypertherm

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:29 am

It is a CNC machine I built, converted to plasma. It has a relay that energizes on M03 and turns off on M05. Two normally open contacts are connected to pins 3 and 4 of the CPC port.

Its all shielded and works very well except for this problem. It is a simple circle that it started at the top right with a .3" leadin and leaves the stock near the bottom of the circle.

I'm using AutoPresure mode, 40 Amps at 95IPM. The stock is a piece of 12 guage painted angle. My ground clamp is connected to the vise holding the stock and I have a good contact. I'm using finecut consumables with a ohmic sensor.


The cut is darn near perfect. The cut edge is square, and I get zero dross, save for a little at the pierce point.

I have checked the Gcode, it fires the the machine at the beginning of the cut and stops it when the complete circle is complete so its not a software problem. I hear the relay engergize at the start. I also hear it turn off when it does complete the circle.

I did not notice any error codes, but I will set up the test again and pay closer attention.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:14 pm

I repeated the test. No alerts or warnings on the machine. Note that I also repeated the cut, but instead of letting the computer trigger the plasma cutter I used the Hypertherm remote pendant. Note that I pushed and held the momentary contact switch on the pendant at the pierce point. I let off of the button when the cut was complete. (at full circle).

To further help with a diagnosis, I made a little video:
https://youtu.be/2ikWgtwfG88

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:52 pm

OK, did one more test. I changed over to 45Amp consumables and shield. tweaked the speed/heights/kerf settings and reran the tests.

The pilot arc does indeed stay on now. You can see it.
result3.jpg


When it gets back around and engages the stock, the arc restarts and it finishes the cut. Works perfect.
result4.jpg


Here is the piece cut with the 45Amp consumables.
result2.jpg

It looks good but not as good as with the FineCut.

I know this is not good for consumables, but sometimes its the easiest way to make certain cuts.

Looks like the problem is with the FineCut consumables. The ones I am using are brand new. I only used them for this cut and a couple other off edge cuts shown here:
https://youtu.be/ZzLqptx8XCU

Any Ideas?

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:34 pm

Does not look like anyone wants to comment on the fact that continuous pilot arc does not work with the Finecut consumables. From what I can piece together from others is that I am not the first to have this problem. If that is the case its fine, but a little transparency on the part of Hypertherm would be appreciated.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby sphurley » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:13 pm

Jim Colt has an email which he responds to.
[email protected]
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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby jimcolt » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:49 am

msimpson99,

Actually for quickest answers regarding Hypertherm systems you should contact technical service at Hypertherm. I monitor these forums daily....but my responses are nowhere near as fast as contacting the group that is there to help (they are good, friendly and free!) with these types of issues.

While I have never used my Powermax85 with finecut consumables in the expanded metal mode....it should work. I will head out to my shop and try it out a little later to see what is going on.

If I can I will video this and post.

Jim Colt



msimpson99 wrote:Does not look like anyone wants to comment on the fact that continuous pilot arc does not work with the Finecut consumables. From what I can piece together from others is that I am not the first to have this problem. If that is the case its fine, but a little transparency on the part of Hypertherm would be appreciated.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:59 am

Thanks Jim, that will be extremely helpful. If my machine setup or parts are faulty, I will need to address them as I use the FineCut consumables in most operations. It will also keep me from chasing my tail if that is just the way it is.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby jimcolt » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:39 am

OK....I drew a 1" circle and emulated the cuts you did...and videoed. The first cut was at book specs on 1/8" steel, 45 amp shielded continuous pilot mode. Worked fine, the second and third were done with 45 amp, Finecut, books specs...the Finecuts worked fine in continuous pilot as well. Here is the video link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrjLTM8 ... load_owner

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby jimcolt » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:48 am

I would suspect that maybe the issue with your Finecut / continuous pilot did not work because:

- Cut height? Are you piercing higher than .06" and staying at that height? This may cause the arc voltage to be very high...and the electronic pilot arc controller may not be able to handle the voltage variation as well as if it was at suggested height. Just a guess.
- You said you were running at 40 amps....maybe try 45? Again just a guess.

Transitioning from cutting to pilot arc, then back to cutting arc is pretty tough for the electronics. The arc voltage has to shift from attachment to the plate....very quickly to the nozzle. At the same time the cutting current (45 amps) must reduce to pilot current (around 15 amps...and the arc voltage must drop very quickly and then rise again. At the same time the electronic air pressure regulator tries to reduce cut pressure from cut pressure to pilot pressure. When the pilot arc finds metal again....it has to reverse this process.

Most plasma cutters take the easy route and simply (using an FET or IGBT switching device) simply switch the positive side of the circuit from plate to nozzle and back...at essentially full current (or through a resistance)...this is extremely tough on consumables. Powermax has a pilot controller circuit that tries to switch rapidly while causing the least amount of damage to the nozzle orifice.

Jim Colt Hypertherm

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby sphurley » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:36 pm

I think we should take up a collection to clean up Jim's table!
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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby jimcolt » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:49 pm

Its not money...its is time! The slats are 10 years old. Every 3 years or so I take them out and drop them on the floor, whack them with a hammer....and generally clean them up. I still have not flipped them over.

The video was in the corner closest to the control where 99% of small "one off's get cut. The rest of the table is not so bad...

Jim

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:57 pm

Thanks Jim. Im making the same cuts except I am at a cut height of .075 as per suggestion. I read a forum post where you said you may have to raise the cut height to .075 on the FineCut consumables if you get penetration issues. It dis solve the penetration issue.

I will go back and tray it again at .06 cut height.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby Nacs Fab » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:04 pm

Jim,

On your machine with Fine Cut Consumables - what Sheild do you use? I have one (220948) like that one and have never used it when using finecuts on my Hypertherm 1250 with Duramax Torch. Is your's the same shield and my next question is do you recommend using Sheilded or Non-Sheilded for Fine Cut Consumables? I have been using part number 220955 with my finecuts. My machine is non-ohmic.
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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby msimpson99 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:35 pm

I just repeated the process with book specs. Still no go. I just cant get the FineCut consumables to do a continuous arc.

Even though the consumables are in real good shape (like new) I replaced the electrode and nozzle with new ones.

I will also add that the Fincut is having problems with the cut. IT gets all the way through but the cut is not straight. At .075 it is a perfect cut.

This now has me concerned about my machine that came banged up. Now what to do?

My gut feeling is that this was a returned machine that had some issues and was repackaged and shipped out to me.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby tnbndr » Sat Jul 23, 2016 6:53 am

This may be a dumb question but how do you get "continuous Pilot arc" selected or turned on?
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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby jimcolt » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:08 am

For best results for mechanized cutting use the 220948 shield either the 220953 (ohmic retaining cap) or 220854 (non ohmic cap), 220930 nozzle, 220842 Electrode, 220857 swirl ring.

The 048 shield extends slightly beyond the nozzle...so the nozzle cannot touch the material. With my experience I get much longer life with this combination as compared to using the 955 deflector.

From the operator manual:
all finecut cons.jpg







Nacs Fab wrote:Jim,

On your machine with Fine Cut Consumables - what Sheild do you use? I have one (220948) like that one and have never used it when using finecuts on my Hypertherm 1250 with Duramax Torch. Is your's the same shield and my next question is do you recommend using Sheilded or Non-Sheilded for Fine Cut Consumables? I have been using part number 220955 with my finecuts. My machine is non-ohmic.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby jimcolt » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:25 am

Finecut consumables are touchy in regards to height. When plate chemistry has higher levels of silicon or manganese...especially on 14 gauge and thicker you need to raise the cut height to about .075" from the book spec of .060". Every time I use Finecuts on 14 ga through 10 ga I do this for best results. In reality, I prefer the cut quality of the 45 amp shielded consumables on 14 ga and thicker....and these parts provide better life than Finecuts. I use Finecut on thinner materials (thinner than 14 ga.) so you can keep the speeds to a reasonably low level for better accuracy.

The only two things I can think of to attempt to make your Finecut consumables work with the continuous pilot would be:

- Try the swirl ring that is designed for hand cutting with Finecuts. It is listed in your operators manual with the suggested hand torch cutting consumables, part number 220947. It changes the air flow and swirl rate inside the torch to make edge starting more reliable.....and issue that we occasionally see when hand cutting...only with Finecut consumables. This might make your process work better.

-You also could reduce the cutting air pressure a bit by putting the air system in manual and reducing pressure maybe 3 to 10 psi lower than the "auto" pressure. This allows the pilot arc to maintain more easily.

I doubt there is anything wrong related to the shipping issues you had with your unit. The Finecut consumables were not originally designed for mechanized usage in continuous pilot mode. I suspect that any factor (slightly high air pressure, lower line voltage, air humidity, atmospheric pressure, etc.) will stress the already difficult process of trying to re-ignite the pilot arc when the torch is travelling at relatively high speed and at low current levels/low load voltage.

It may be a good idea to contact Hypertherm tech service and tell them what you are doing (show the results of this thread). With the number of these systems in the field....they likely have run into this before...and likely have suggestions that will help make the Finecut consumables work in the continuous pilot arc mode. While I have 39 years of plasma cutting under my belt....I have never had the need to use the low amp Finecut process in the continuous mode.

Jim Colt Hypertherm




msimpson99 wrote:I just repeated the process with book specs. Still no go. I just cant get the FineCut consumables to do a continuous arc.

Even though the consumables are in real good shape (like new) I replaced the electrode and nozzle with new ones.

I will also add that the Fincut is having problems with the cut. IT gets all the way through but the cut is not straight. At .075 it is a perfect cut.

This now has me concerned about my machine that came banged up. Now what to do?

My gut feeling is that this was a returned machine that had some issues and was repackaged and shipped out to me.

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Re: Hypertherm Continuous Pilot Arc issue.

Postby jimcolt » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:29 am

There is a mode switch on the front panel of the Powermax 65 /85 and 105 that allows you to select "normal" cutting, "continuous" pilot, or "gouging". When this switch is changed it changes the air pressure, the pilot current and the current/pressure ramp up / down profiles to make each process work best.

Jim Colt Hypertherm

tnbndr wrote:This may be a dumb question but how do you get "continuous Pilot arc" selected or turned on?


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