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"Kevin's devotion to good craftsmanship combined with his amazing imagination has added immeasurably to the sensory experience of our students and other visitors."
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How to Troubleshoot a Bad Switch - and Fix It

Kevin was using his Everlast PowerTIG 255EXT and his TIG torch was clicking, but it wasn't working. He decided to call on the skills he used as a mechanic and troubleshoot the problem.

He can hear the switch clicking, but the machine is not responding. He unhooked the finger trigger from the welder and connected the foot pedal. The machine worked just fine. He hooked back up the trigger, and it didn't work. That isolated the problem to either the switch or the wiring.

When Kevin has a problem, he always looks for the most used part. That's the one that's going to be bad more often than not. In this case, that suggests the trigger or the wires right where it bends and kinks all the time as he works to get the torch into tight places.

Next Kevin opens up the switch. One of the first things he notices when he removes the sheath and the two spot-ties that were holding the switch to the body itself is that there is a lot of movement in the wire that goes into the plug. He compares it to the same plug on his air-cooled torch, and there's no movement. Aha! He's found the problem.

Kevin shows the panel on the back of the switch and the the small catches that he pops open with a small screwdriver. Lo and behold, there's a broken wire. He says it was probably because of the way the wire gets pulled as he works.

Now it's time to solder the wire back onto the plug. He pops the switch out of its housing and clamps it lightly into a vise. He twists the end of the wire, then dabs some Uniflux soldering paste onto the wire and plug. The paste cleans both sides so the solder will stick to the copper contacts.

The soldering iron has been warming up. First Kevin gets the wire hot and coats the copper with solder. Then he melts some solder onto the switch, lines up the wire and switch, and solders them together. When you first solder anything, it looks shiny. When it looks dull, the solder is hard. Caron tugs at the wire gently and sees it is firmly soldered to the plug.

Kevin reminds viewers to turn off the hot soldering iron and put it out of the way.

He puts the switch back into its housing and checks to make sure that the switch still clicks when he squeezes it.

Kevin reconnects the torch to the machine BEFORE he puts the sheating back on - he wants to test it before he puts it back together entirely. He turns on the machine and says he just needs to listen for gas coming out of the torch nozzle or make sure the ball in the flowmeter goes up - which means you have gas. Success!

Now he just needs to put some spot-ties back on it and put the cover back on.

Kevin says he uses the heck out of this welder and torch, which explains why the wire came loose. He'll look for a way to clamp the wire to the torch body and clamp the trigger to the body so it isn't pulling on the electrical connections.

So if your torch ever dies, look at the most used part, usuallly the trigger or the wire.

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