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Old 04-16-2010, 04:52 PM   #1
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Default Old TIG welder--What to look for?

I'll be cleaning out some equipment and machinery on my dad's farm next week. I grew up with arc welding but I know TIG is a more versatile. I'll have the opportunity to bring home an older TIG welder that was given to dad and hasn't been used in several years, at least with gas.

I'm wondering if transporting it 800 miles will be worth it. What do I need to examine to determine if it's still working well enough for the effort? Has the "state of the art" changed enough in 20 years to pass it up? Seems like an old welder is better than none at all but that's also the scavenger in me talking.

Any problems laying the machine over in the back of the truck for the drive? It's been years since I've played with welding anything but this forum encourages the DYI in me, like that's necessary.

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Old 04-16-2010, 11:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bmwbrewer View Post
I'll be cleaning out some equipment and machinery on my dad's farm next week. I grew up with arc welding but I know TIG is a more versatile. I'll have the opportunity to bring home an older TIG welder that was given to dad and hasn't been used in several years, at least with gas.

I'm wondering if transporting it 800 miles will be worth it. What do I need to examine to determine if it's still working well enough for the effort? Has the "state of the art" changed enough in 20 years to pass it up? Seems like an old welder is better than none at all but that's also the scavenger in me talking.

Any problems laying the machine over in the back of the truck for the drive? It's been years since I've played with welding anything but this forum encourages the DYI in me, like that's necessary.
Why was it given away?
What kind of welder is it?
How big is it? (Amperage wise)
How old do you think it is?
Is it all there? (Pedal, torch, regulator)
What kind of a person are you?

I ask cause, if it was/is in a barn and hasn't been used. I would take the panels off and look inside for any chewed wires. I would also use that time to vacuum or blow out the unit. Check the power cord out, and make sure the jumpers on the machine are set for the correct voltage of your power source. After that, I would then turn it on and see if it works proper. After it is back together.

If TIG isn't your thing, then it is hard to tell if it is working properly. I can't really tell you. You'll be able to see if it does turn on and make an arc. Also with out gas you can't TIG. Or, without gas you can't check the gas solenoid.

Yes the welder will be very out of "date". It does kinda depend on what features the machine has. I myself use an old machine. My Miller Dial Arc was built in '78'. The only option I have is High Freq. My starter circuit is starting to go bad. It won't start on the lower settings. The high feq just jumps around. Other then that my unit works great. I have no reason right now to go buy a new one. I like the older machines due to all the copper in them. They seem to be smoother in arc performance over these new inverter machines. But that's just me.

Not sure how you plan to lift this unit, but if it is what I think it might be. You are gonna need a lift. I rigged up a come along from the ceiling to get mine out of the truck. Not fun.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:49 PM   #3
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Even if the welder is "out of date" doesn't mean that it's useless. Today's TIG welders (arc welder with TIG burner) have some neat features. E.g. you don't need to "strike" the electrode like a match to get it to start.

I however still use a "strike to start" welder, an ESAB 160 (high quality welders) and it has and is serving me well.
Only drawback is that it can't weld aluminium, but I couldn't care less as I never weld alu anyway.

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Old 04-17-2010, 01:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by GreenMonti View Post
Why was it given away?
I believe it came to dad when a buddy of his died and this was left in his shop.
Quote:
What kind of welder is it?
I'm wondering that also.
Quote:
How big is it? (Amperage wise)
Ditto
Quote:
How old do you think it is?
Double Ditto
Quote:
Is it all there? (Pedal, torch, regulator)
I'll be checking but I expect that it is. I don't think it has any gas container though.
Quote:
What kind of a person are you?
Well I'll be comfortable looking though it and I'll be able to tell if it's a bunch of crap on the inside. I haven't welded in ages and all of that was farm repair--nothing fancy.[quote]
...
Quote:
Yes the welder will be very out of "date". It does kinda depend on what features the machine has. I myself use an old machine. My Miller Dial Arc was built in '78'. The only option I have is High Freq. My starter circuit is starting to go bad. It won't start on the lower settings. The high feq just jumps around. Other then that my unit works great. I have no reason right now to go buy a new one. I like the older machines due to all the copper in them. They seem to be smoother in arc performance over these new inverter machines. But that's just me.

Not sure how you plan to lift this unit, but if it is what I think it might be. You are gonna need a lift. I rigged up a come along from the ceiling to get mine out of the truck. Not fun.
Well, I've got ways of getting it in and out of the truck. I've seen it once by don't remember much about it at all. I've got a cover on the back of my truck so I'd need to tip it over if I decide to get it from Missouri to San Antonio. It's not a big deal in any sense 'cause I might end up using it up there. I've got 220 in my garage so voltage isn't an issue if that's needed. I'd rather leave it there if it requires too much repair or doesn't seem a reasonable use of my time.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:31 AM   #5
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I would drag it home then find more about it before letting it go. Old, define "OLD"? I have a 1992 Miller Syncrowave 350 fully loaded except the spot weld timer feature (in a box I never never installed it). With pulser, background amps, pre & post flow, w/Hz control. My friend just purchased a newer Tig and tells me I have an old POS unit, I still see the Berleley and Livermore Radiation Labs combined have 27 350 Synchrowaves still in operation. This tells me something about this "old Synchrowave junk" when many weld shops or stainless fab shops in my area are still running mostly 250 with a few 350 Syncrowaves in this 2010 era. Granted limited with .25 to 60 Hz vs up to 400 Hz pulser of the newer machines allowing a tighter arc cone. I can live with it, a free machine for my home hobby use vs big money to replace it. A Synchrowave 250 or 350 are trouble free work horses this by what's out there as well a Miller tech repair facility friend who repairs Miller, Lincoln, Hobart as well Hypertherm Plasma cutters the past 24 years. The Dyanasty 350 Miller lists at $9,400, add a bottle and tax your over the $10K mark. This without adding stinger leads for stick. Research before you dump or sell, you may be screwing yourself. Hey it's junk i'll take it off your hands (smell sucker here?). JMO.

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Old 04-17-2010, 02:37 AM   #6
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[quote=bmwbrewer;2010409]I believe it came to dad when a buddy of his died and this was left in his shop. I'm wondering that also.DittoDouble DittoI'll be checking but I expect that it is. I don't think it has any gas container though.Well I'll be comfortable looking though it and I'll be able to tell if it's a bunch of crap on the inside. I haven't welded in ages and all of that was farm repair--nothing fancy.

Quote:
...
Well, I've got ways of getting it in and out of the truck. I've seen it once by don't remember much about it at all. I've got a cover on the back of my truck so I'd need to tip it over if I decide to get it from Missouri to San Antonio. It's not a big deal in any sense 'cause I might end up using it up there. I've got 220 in my garage so voltage isn't an issue if that's needed. I'd rather leave it there if it requires too much repair or doesn't seem a reasonable use of my time.

Thanks for the feedback.
220V comes in different flavors. There is 208 and 220. IME any machine requires a jumper adjustment between the two. Short of the new, self seeking variety. The other thing is, do you have the AMPS in your panel? My welder is on a 100 AMP breaker.

Like I mentioned, without gas you wont be able to test out the TIG feature. But by all means give the ARC a shot.

Laying it down shouldn't be of any issue that I am aware of. I never have due to the fact that I never had too. There is nothing in them though that it would hurt.

I only mention looking in and blowing it out cause dust will conduct electricity. Also the chewed wire thing. You don't want sparks to fly in what could be a good solid welder.

Depending on the unit, I think it is worth the haul. Even if you do have to have it fixed. Compared to the cost of a new one or a used one that may or may not have been abused.......Yours will have been gone through.
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewBeemer View Post
I would drag it home then find more about it before letting it go. Old, define "OLD"? I have a 1992 Miller Syncrowave 350 fully loaded except
the spot weld timer feature (in a box I never never installed it). With pulser, background amps, pre & post flow, w/Hz control. My friend just purchased a newer Tig and tells me I have an old POS unit, I see the Berleley and Livermore Radiation labs combined have 27 350 Synchrowaves still in operation. This tells me something about this "old Synchrowave junk" when
stainless fab shops in my area run mostly 250 with a few 350 Syncrowaves in 2010. Granted limited with .25 to 60 Hz vs up to 400 Hz pulser of the newer machines allowing a tighter arc cone. I can live with a free machine for hobby use vs big money to replace it. Synchrowaves 250/350 are trouble free work horses.
The ones at work run 500 hz. (if you want it too) I have run the one machine we have that will do 5000 hz. What an annoying fu#$ing thing that is. Makes you want to shoot yourself. Higher feq has its place for sure though.
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Old 04-17-2010, 03:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GreenMonti View Post
The ones at work run 500 hz. (if you want it too) I have run the one machine we have that will do 5000 hz. What an annoying fu#$ing thing that is. Makes you want to shoot yourself. Higher feq has its place for sure though.
That's getting way up there in Hz, 400 is my limit for my welding and i'm rusty as crap being away for 2 years with this bad back lifes on hold.
I have a couple so called snob want to be welders that spend near $15K on new Tig units and expect to be super welders, NOT! I have a family friend that Tig welded for the Navy on aircraft for over 40 years, this is a welder bar none. My dads HS friend now age 87 that I spent time with the past 30 years learning little secrets by him, he still is sharp as a tack with welding. I wish I had 1/10 his ability. People blame the machine, give this old fart a POS machine he can out weld a new state of the art Tig machine, pure tallent plus many years with Tig. Hell your DialArc is one trouble free workhorse it self. I know of many people that would kill to have it. One thing I found out is welding in pain results in crappy results, this with a 8 out of 10 back pain, shut down the welder and limp away. GM you damn tease, keep it up bro. I just figured it out how you can do your projects, your profile states single. My wife was all over me being in the shop for days when we had kids growing up she needing help. Can't blame the woman, aka War Department or wife.
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Old 04-17-2010, 08:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenMonti View Post
Why was it given away?
What kind of welder is it?
How big is it? (Amperage wise)
How old do you think it is?
Is it all there? (Pedal, torch, regulator)
What kind of a person are you?

I ask cause, if it was/is in a barn and hasn't been used. I would take the panels off and look inside for any chewed wires. I would also use that time to vacuum or blow out the unit. Check the power cord out, and make sure the jumpers on the machine are set for the correct voltage of your power source. After that, I would then turn it on and see if it works proper. After it is back together.

If TIG isn't your thing, then it is hard to tell if it is working properly. I can't really tell you. You'll be able to see if it does turn on and make an arc. Also with out gas you can't TIG. Or, without gas you can't check the gas solenoid.

Yes the welder will be very out of "date". It does kinda depend on what features the machine has. I myself use an old machine. My Miller Dial Arc was built in '78'. The only option I have is High Freq. My starter circuit is starting to go bad. It won't start on the lower settings. The high feq just jumps around. Other then that my unit works great. I have no reason right now to go buy a new one. I like the older machines due to all the copper in them. They seem to be smoother in arc performance over these new inverter machines. But that's just me.

Not sure how you plan to lift this unit, but if it is what I think it might be. You are gonna need a lift. I rigged up a come along from the ceiling to get mine out of the truck. Not fun.

most older tig welders use a set of spark gap contacts in the hi frequency start circuit, when these contacts become pitted or out of adjustment, arc starting and stability can become very erratic. it only takes a few minutes to pull and clean them, and reinstall them with a feeler gauge to set the gap. on old millers, the contacts are usually at the bottom front of the machine close to the torch and ground connections. there is usually a sticker or metal plate that has the gap specs on it.
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Old 04-17-2010, 03:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewBeemer View Post
That's getting way up there in Hz, 400 is my limit for my welding and i'm rusty as crap being away for 2 years with this bad back lifes on hold.
I have a couple so called snob want to be welders that spend near $15K on new Tig units and expect to be super welders, NOT! I have a family friend that Tig welded for the Navy on aircraft for over 40 years, this is a welder bar none. My dads HS friend now age 87 that I spent time with the past 30 years learning little secrets by him, he still is sharp as a tack with welding. I wish I had 1/10 his ability. People blame the machine, give this old fart a POS machine he can out weld a new state of the art Tig machine, pure tallent plus many years with Tig. Hell your DialArc is one trouble free workhorse it self. I know of many people that would kill to have it. One thing I found out is welding in pain results in crappy results, this with a 8 out of 10 back pain, shut down the welder and limp away. GM you damn tease, keep it up bro. I just figured it out how you can do your projects, your profile states single. My wife was all over me being in the shop for days when we had kids growing up she needing help. Can't blame the woman, aka War Department or wife.
My friend I am indeed married. I just didn't edit that field. Ha,Ha, for a while it said I was a Female too. I am one of the lucky ones that has a very understanding, and giving wife. "Behind every successful man stands a good woman." Not sure who said that first.......but they are so right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marzsit View Post
most older tig welders use a set of spark gap contacts in the hi frequency start circuit, when these contacts become pitted or out of adjustment, arc starting and stability can become very erratic. it only takes a few minutes to pull and clean them, and reinstall them with a feeler gauge to set the gap. on old millers, the contacts are usually at the bottom front of the machine close to the torch and ground connections. there is usually a sticker or metal plate that has the gap specs on it.
Yep, your absolutely right.

I have gone over that a few times. There are several different answers out there too. Some say that Miller got it wrong and the gap should be closer, others say it should be larger. I have tried them all once it started acting up. After speaking with several repairmen, one said there is a capacitor on the board that likes to give out over time and it can be replaced.
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