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Body shop in the yard: test of the Soviet welding machine powered by the on-board network

The automotive welding set-top box ASP-1 produced by AVTOVAZ is an exotic accessory for its time, and even more so for the current one.

A welding machine that is powered directly from the on-board network of the most ordinary passenger car is a very rare thing and is not produced today.

However, in the early 90s, such a gadget could, if desired, be purchased by any motorist.

It’s been a long time since we updated the exposition of our editorial museum of Soviet automobile retro accessories and gadgets!

A new addition, another “time capsule” found in garage attics, was a unique device – a car welding machine!

It was a three-kilogram metal box of a desperate red color with dimensions of 260x190x110 mm, with two powerful bolted terminals for connecting welding wires on the front panel.

With this device, it was allowed to cook with an electrode with a diameter of up to 3 millimeters in the “2.5 minutes welding – 2.5 minutes rest” mode.

In the fashion of the naive era, when every village village tried to call itself a “shop” and “market”, the inscription on the device is duplicated in English. On the front panel of the welding machine, there is a large word “AVTOVAZ” and the familiar logo of the Tolyatti “rook”.

However, of course, this device was produced not by the automobile plant itself, but by its subsidiary-PTO VAZ, founded in 1972, six years after the launch of the main plant in Togliatti.

“PTO” stands for “Production of Technological Equipment” – this auxiliary enterprise made metal working machines, paint and other technological equipment for the main Zhiguli conveyor, which was also supplied to other automobile plants of the USSR.

In the era of perestroika, all state-owned enterprises were voluntarily and forcibly focused on expanding the range in the direction of” consumer goods”, within the framework of which the TPO VAZ was born an automobile welding machine ASP-1 – for citizens and, as they would say now, for” micro business ” – cooperators working in the field of small services to the population..

The huge plafond of the red light bulb on the top cover looks like some kind of artisanal refinement – strange and ridiculous.

However, this is a standard design element, the role of which is reflected in the instructions. It burns brightly until the electric arc on the electrode is lit, indicating that the battery is charging, and goes out when welding begins.

Why, instead of such a hefty “lantern”, an LED or at least a miniature incandescent indicator light was not used-it is unclear.

On the nameplate of the device, the weight is stamped – “5 kg”. However, the device itself weighs about three kilos; five is a mass with welding wires, an electrode holder, and a “crocodile” of mass.

Those familiar with electronics may think that under the cover of the TSA-1 there is a pulse converter-inverter, as well as inside most modern inverter welding machines operating from a 220 volt network.

But do not forget – this is the very beginning of the decade of the 90s, when most people continued to call their country by the habit of the USSR, all cars were carburetor, and computers were found only in large research institutes..

. Powerful pulse technology, as well as its corresponding powerful power transistors and diodes were rarely found at that time in household devices, even abroad – not like yesterday’s scoop. So it was much easier!

There were no voltage conversions inside the welder-of all the electronics, it contained only two powerful thrusts.

In order to be able to cook from the passenger car’s onboard network, the TSA-1 did, in fact, only three simple things:

Raised the voltage on the generator ,intercepting the role of the regular relay-regulator.

I connected the battery in parallel to the generator, if the current was not enough.

Automatically switched to charging the battery as soon as the welder removed the electrode from the part and stopped working.

That is, in fact, 90% of the welding machine was a car generator, the positive output of which was directly connected to the welding electrode.

The engine of the machine during welding had to work, of course, and to ensure the maximum output current, the instructions prescribed to turn the crankshaft to 2500 revolutions with the help of a suction pump or an assistant pressing the pedal. And the role of TSA-1 was “auxiliary-switching”, so to speak.

Welding with the TSA-1 is quite simple. The motor of the machine starts, 2500 engine revolutions are set by suction, a powerful terminal-“crocodile” is connected to the welded part, an electrode is inserted into the handle-holder, a shield or mask is lowered to the eyes, and the process has started.

But if you thought that before this you need to simply connect the power supply of the device “crocodiles” to the battery and then you are seriously mistaken!

To connect the TSA-1, serious interference with the electrical wiring under the hood was required.

Actually, the first point of the installation process required fixing the welding machine permanently under the hood of the “classic” or “nine”.

Yes, it was assumed that the welder would become a permanent “under-hood resident”, like a carburetor or a gas pump, because its electrical introduction into the electrical system of the car had a number of features.

It was necessary to disconnect the power positive output wire from the generator and connect it to the welding machine.

Thus, the welder was switched on between the generator and the battery. Then it was prescribed to disconnect the relay controller from the generator, the role of which was assumed by the welding machine.

In short, to connect the welding, the car owner made a good dozen switches in the electrical wiring of the car – something opened, something vice versa-connected with jumpers.

Everything necessary for this, including wires, terminals and all sorts of cambric’s, was included in the delivery of the welding machine.

At first glance, it may seem that even for a short-term use of your own car as a welding machine, you needed a long fuss under the hood, and then a similar fuss in reverse order to return the wiring to its previous state in order to leave. And here it is not!

It is no secret that the Soviet engineers in the development of consumer goods often spartanly ignored the issues of basic comfort in use, but not in this case!

The TSA-1 kit included a special pigtail of wiring with an 8-pin connector, which was connected to the electrical wiring of the car.

When you had to cook, you plugged the plug from the welding machine into this connector, and when you had to go – a special closing pad. The pad was a mate of the same connector with jumpers in a certain order, and, being inserted instead of welding, completely restored the factory wiring of the car in normal mode!

So what is TSA-1? An ingenious development , indispensable in a number of extreme cases, or a strange miscarriage of the clumsy industry of the era of the nascent market economy?

Why are such gadgets not produced today, because the periodic need for simple and easy mobile welding where there is no outlet, many still arise?

The reliability of the device itself was extremely high, but the stator windings and the puny Soviet rectifier diodes of the Zhiguli and Muscovite generators worked with welding almost in short-circuit mode, at the current limit, and even with an increased voltage!

The battery, which was also constantly included in the welding process, lost its resource from high discharge and charge currents.

Welding ASP-1 was developed and sold in the era of carburetor cars with a minimum of electronics, and, oddly enough, somewhat “ahead of its time”, because today even on many budget cars there are generators for 120-160 amps with much more powerful diodes, which would just be much better suited for use in conjunction with the electrode and mask.

But on a modern car saturated with electronics, such an introduction to the electrical system is extremely dangerous, and often fundamentally unacceptable, so analogs of the TSA-1 are not produced or sold these days. “Red Box” has passed into the category of collectible curiosities.

 

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