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What's the best practice for installing a code-compliant 50A 240VAC welder plug outlet on an exterior wall? I can run 6/3 90°C wire to the location from an appropriate breaker. Where should conduit be used (along cinder block wall?) and plastic or metal? I presume it's unnecessary with wire running through holes in joists.

Do I have to/should I install a GFCI? The breaker box is old and new breakers are virtually unobtanium so anything like that would have to be installed outside the breaker box.

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    Being outside a GFCI is mandatory now. There are GFCI outlets, but expensive. Type of panel might be more important. There are a few names of old panels that are basically stop using and replace right now, yesterday is not soon enough.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 23:51
  • @crip659 It's a Commander QM32200 200A panel. Last time I replaced a single GFCI breaker it was almost impossible to find. Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 0:01
  • The panel is one I don't recognize so think it is safe. Might be able to power the welder from a newer sub panel. Add the sub panel between the panel and welder.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 0:09
  • Good answer on this question that deals with wire types to use, might save some money. diy.stackexchange.com/questions/253437/power-to-garage
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 0:17
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    @crip659: Would a GFCI even work or is the welder too hostile to it?
    – Joshua
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 20:03

1 Answer 1

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First and foremost, use a NEMA 6-50 or 14-50 outlet - never a 10-50 outlet, which has neutral and does not have ground. (super bad). For some reason, welder enthusiasts have "adopted" the NEMA 10-30 and 10-50 as their "private socket/plugs". This is crazy, don't buy into that nonsense. The NEMA 6 series is designed for welders with no neutral.

For Commander breakers, talk to an Eaton dealer. They make a selection of breakers for Commander that are readily available. If you just can't get breakers for it, it's time for a new panel.

If your state has adopted NEC 2020, then any socket will require GFCI protection as of right now. And as of January 1 2023, even hardwired 240V loads will require GFCI protection. If you can avoid a socket, you will sidestep the need for a GFCI, as long as your permit is pulled before January 1 2023.

However, electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) that is hardwired will never require GFCI protection regardless of that deadline. Because it is a GFCI (among its other tricks), and you don't need to put a GFCI on a GFCI.

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  • Just a ha-ha moment. I assumed that I was using 10-50 for my welder. A bit of googling proved the saying about not assuming. Turns out I was using 6-50 all along.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 20:27
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    @crip659 Yeah, that's why your 6-50 socket has been making that grumpy face :) Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 2:40

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