I have some good things to say about my Hydroflux Welder along with
a couple of warnings and questions:
I have been using my Hydroflux exclusively on my fabrication bench
for about the last 5 years. The largest tip is sufficient to solder
a large heavy man's ring or to harden and temper 1/4 inch drill rod.
I like it because it requires less space than welding tanks and
does not require a time consuming trip to the welding store for
refills. It also is able to achieve smaller more focused flames
than most oxy-acetylene.
Problems: My first problem was that I noticed that the maximum heat
available for my larger tips was diminishing. The flame would start
out large then gradually reduce in size. During maintenance, I found
that the nuts that fastened the secondary transformer coils to the
reactor chamber electrode circuit had become loose. Loose connections
in a high amperage circuit produce a lot of heat. The heating and
cooling probably caused the connection to become looser over time.
Tightening the nuts solved the problem. I now check them during
A problem that continues to bother me is the sight tube to check the
level of the electrolyte. It is a short length of clear polymer
tubing connected to the reaction chamber so that the electrolyte in
the tubing maintains the same level as in the reaction chamber. The
user is supposed to maintain the level in the chamber by frequently
checking the level in the sight tube. However, the electrolyte
becomes discolored over time and discolors the sight tube until it
is very difficult to determine the electrolyte level. I correct
this problem by replacing the sight tube during annual maintenance.
However, the sight tube is located in a place where replacement is
difficult and somewhat frustrating. It is important to note that
the handle hose and sight tube are not made from the type of plastic
tubing that is available at the hardware store; the manufacturer
should be contacted for the tubing specifications. (I found an
industrial polymer tubing called "Tygon" that might work but have
not contacted the manufacturer about it.)
My third problem occured just last week when I struck up my torch
after several days of inactivity. After a period of inactivity, the
mixture in the line becomes less flammable. (I'm not sure of the
reason, but suspect that alcohol and water vapor replace the
oxy-hydrogen mix) When striking the torch after a period of
inactivity, I usually let the gas generator run for a minute or so
to build up pressure, put on the largest tip and flush the line with
fresh gas before striking. In this case, I was in a hurry and tried
lighting the torch too soon.
The mixture in the chamber, the hose, and the handle is generated as
a perfectly proportioned flame reaction mixture. The torch must be
designed in a way to prevent the flame from following the perfect
mixture back to the source. The first defense against a "backfire"
is the velocity of the gas as it is ejected from the tip. It
literally "blow out" any fire that tries to follow the mixture back
to the source. In my case, the unit had not come up to pressure and
the flame was able to follow the mixture back into the inside of the
handle. my hose was saved from the fire by the second line of
defense: a sintered metal filter in the handle.
When the fire first started, I was not aware that there was a fire.
Only when the handle began to get too hot to touch did I realize
what happened. I turned off gas generator as soon as I became aware
of the problem. However, by now a supply of gas had built up inside
the generator that continued to feed the fire. The handle continued
to grow hotter. When I realized that the fire was continuing to
burn, I detached the hose from the handle. I had a bit of
anticipation over this, knowing that the gas in the hose would be
released in the vicinity of my too-hot-to-hold handle. Hopefully, I
can repair the handle by replacing the melted O-rings. I have
e-mailed the manufacturer for specifications and instructions.
This accident was caused by my failure to follow the manufacturer's
instructions which clearly stated that I should allow the pressure
to build before striking the torch. I came out with only minor
burns on my hand from detaching the hose from the hot handle.
Please believe me, I will not forget to follow this particular
My question: does anyone know on which end of the sintered filter
in the handle that the O-ring goes? I was a little hasty
dissembling the handle. Does it go on the tip end or the hose end?
If you know, please respond off-forum.
feeling somewhat foolish and
Anticipating the spring bloom in my Eagle Idaho garden.