Upgrading a Clarke 151 EN welder with a Euro torch & gas solenoid

Just as I was starting the first of my EV projects, I was lucky enough to come across a welder in a skip. Story was that the garage it had belonged to couldn’t get insurance any more to weld on site. So they just dumped it. It wasn’t in amazing shape, but it worked. Well enough that we did the whole first pass of the EV project with it, with only the addition of a new earth clamp.

But throughout this process I had to constantly fix the torch. The gooseneck kept coming loose and causing the wire to snag, or a poor connection. And eventually I accepted a replacement was needed.

It wasn’t the greatest torch in the first place, so when I realised replacements were about £80, I started to look elsewhere. And I came across Euro torch conversion kits. These go for £50-75 and typically include a torch with a Euro connector, the connector end for the welder, and a solenoid valve for gas control.

This is a big upgrade. It gives better control of the gas flow. And it means future torch replacements would just mean unplugging the old one. So I bought one and this week, finally got around to fitting it.

I have to say this video was invaluable in the process, though I approached things slightly differently:

How did my approach differ?

Wiring

Rather than cut any wires, I chose to keep the old torch and existing welder cables intact.

I disconnected the positive connector on the front of the welder and then re-routed this cable to the terminal on the back of the Euro connector. I had to drill out the terminal on the end of the wire to 10mm, but this still left plenty of copper in the connection. This leaves the old front positive connector dead but I kept it in place in case I ever want restore it.

I put new terminals on the end of the switch wires – one ring, one spade – and connected them in the places where I had disconnected the old torch. This just seemed a bit neater than joining the wires – especially since the ones that came with the kit were easily long enough to reach.

Gas

It has always annoyed me that the gas connection on the welder is at the back as my gas bottle is up front in my current setup. So I used this opportunity to reroute it. I drilled out a 10mm hole at the base of the case and mounted the solenoid with one of its hose barbs outside of the case. This way I can just push on the matching hose from my cylinder (from HobbyWeld).

Wire feed

This bit I screwed up. I figured I would leave some of the plastic wire feed in place rather than file it all out so the metal to be could poke through. Not sure what I was thinking as this makes feeding new wire in a pain. Unfortunately I can’t easily redo this as I cut the feed tube off too short and I will need to get a new one to address this. Don’t be lazy like me.

Still, it all works and I’m pretty pleased with the installation. Some shorter bolts would tidy it up even more but it will do fine for the next stage of my EV projects.

Inside a clarke 151 en welder upgraded with euro torch and gas solenoid

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