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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 01:44 AM
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Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

First of all thank everyone on the list who helped me make a decision. Not 100% made, but almost. Have learned a lot and researched a lot on other parts of the net.

Here's some things I found out. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG.

1) Hobart did not buy Miller or visa versa. They are both owned by a parent company and share some parts, but they are still different companies, although some of the various units are made in the same building.

2) 110 v units are good for light work, but are not nearly as versatile as 220 v units.

3) The 170 amp units from the 3 mfgs are quite similar: The Millermatic 172, The Hobart Handler 175 and the Lincoln 170T. They all have a 30% duty cycle at 130 amps which means that they can run continuously for 3 minutes out of 10 minutes at 130 amps. As you get into the industrial class the duty cycle generally jumps to 60% or better at slightly higher to much higher amps. Example the Millermatic 185 has a duty cycle of 60% at 150 amps.

4) The 170's class, all 220 volts, are "portables", "small shop", "hobbist", "farm" or "home" type machines. They will generally handle 1/4" mild steel, but the short duty cycle prevents them from being classified as "industrial" grade. I guess the one pass 1/4" limits them too.

5) There are Q&A sites on the net regarding welders just like there are about Jeeps. In fact I found one that had some recognizable names from the 4x4 community. It was part of the Hobart site. Address if you are interested:

http://www.hobartwelders.com/talk/

6) Prices:
Haven't done as much research here but have gotten a ball park feel for it. The retail prices of the 170's units are about the same - $600/$700 range. The Miller, however, does not include the gas regulators and gauges. Street prices are lower, but still equipped the same way. Hobart and Miller ship for free. Not sure about Lincoln.

Here's what I found and the unit that is now on the top of my list:

Hobart 175 Handler put on by doorstep for $529. It includes the regulator and gauges, a roll of wire and everything else to plug in and start welding immediately. It does not include any gas cylinder or safety equipment - helmets, gloves etc.

The Q&A sites I visited had a good deal of talk about the 130's class of machines as well as the 170's class. The 130's are generally 110 v machines. A lot of interest in sheet metal - car body pannels etc. - as well as frame type Q&A - trailer frame work, bumpers, tubing and such - all part of our world. Lots of satisfaction with the 130's units as well as the 170's. All this is MIG, BTW.

I saw this question asked, and not answered, several times. The duty cycle is listed as how many minutes out of 10 minutes the machine can operate at FULL power, 30% in the 170's class, but those machines had a FULL OUTPUT OF 170, 172, AND 175 yet each was listed at 130 amps at 30%. So the questions were asked in different ways whether the 175 was really a 130. Question wasn't answered that I could find, unless you consider a political type answer to be an answer. This was true all across the board too it seemed. The Millermatic 185 has a duty cycle of 150 amps at 60% and a maximum output of 185 amps.

So, unless y'all can point me in another direction in the next couple of days, it looks like a Hobart 175. Would appreciate any other comments.

Oh, almost forgot. When you get into the 180 to 200 range the price jumps to retail in the $1,200 range with a street price of $1,000. Let me know if you know of better prices on any of this stuff.


Doug '97 TJ
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 06:09 AM
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Re: Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

I just got my Hobart 135 about 3 weeks ago. Even though its a 110v I have been very happy with it. I have made nerf bars, a winch mount, and a few other things. Right now I am working on a rack for my CJ.

I have been able to weld up to 1/2 but it works great with 1/4 or less. This welder is perfect for me since I am just learning.

Just my 2cents.


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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 06:29 AM
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Re: Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

Doug,
Unless they've made alot of improvements to the 170's, your better off with the 220v.I had a miller cricket that worked fine for sheet metal and similar.Believe me, the duty cycle sucks on those small rigs.Just when you get to laying it down good and hot, it shuts off.The more times it shuts down,the closer the time get's to when it does it again.I'm not completely sold on miller, but I bought the 185 and I have yet to shut it down under full power.Next to the 250, it's the best machine I've used, but that isnt saying a whole lot.I say save your cash and go for the bigger machine.I dont believe you'll regret it.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 07:51 AM
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Re: Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img] A very astute and comprehensive write-up Doug. I think you have really done your research and homework here. One comment on the duty cycle thing.... The ONLY time I have ever run up against the limitations of a welder with respect to duty cycle was when we used our WWII vintage Sears Roebuck AC only buzz box for building up tracks on the Caterpillars, or running harfacing rod on subsoiler shanks. This was a welder without a cooling fan; a machine which relied on a huge mass of copper to do the job of transforming without overheating. Unless you have a huge project that requires running four-foot beads at max amps hour after hour, you probably will never "bump the governor" on that Handler. If, for example you weld on a trailer hitch which has 3/4" material on the insert, the weld would not last more than half a minute AT THE VERY MOST. Three minutes of welding on a regular-guy, non-industrial project is A LOT of welding. I'm sure that you will be happy with the Handler. Just remember....you can go from Aluminum to mild steel with the same liner, but not the other way around. You MUST swap out to a new, clean, liner if you set up to do an Aluminum welding job because of the impurities remaining in the grooves of the liner. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img]

CJDave
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 09:21 AM
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Re: Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

Dave,
Mine must have went to crap!! It had a fan, and I swear I couldnt weld more than 3in. with it before it shut down.You had to wait for a click, then it would work for another second.I did run a couple of 2ft. beads on my frame only stopping to get repositioned with the 185 and it never missed a lick!!

post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 10:09 AM
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Re: Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

Leader, I also have the handler in 110v. I have never had a problem with limiting out with the duty cycle. A lot of my welding has been at highest heat and fastest wire speed. When I built my winch mount, towbar, bumper assembly, I fit all the pieces together, clamped them up, and laid about 16 feet of bead & machines highest settings in less then one hour. (All with CO2, no flux core) Mine worked great. The great thing about the smaller machines is you can weld sheet metal, such as your tub.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 10:14 AM
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Re: Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

Mine has yet to shut off while I have been using it. And I have been using it everyday for some reason or another.


Hobart 135 Handler!

1997 TJ w/ 33's
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 10:20 AM
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Re: Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

I also use the MM 185, what a welder. Sure, it's more money, but it's lasted for years and been used a lot. It's also nice to weld forever and not worry about it. I've never had it "shut down" and welded until I couldn't see through the smoke. It happens to be my brothers, (I always seem to have it) but I'll get one without a doubt. This is the 4th jeep it's done, from the ground up, and it'll weld bottle caps together or 1/2" steel. I highly recommend it.

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 11:15 AM
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Re: Which Welder - CON CLUSIONS

CJDave,
Thanks. Yes, I did learn about the aluminum liner. That was another point of interest because I can see doing some, maybe a lot, of aluminum work. Have a bunch of aluminum on hand at all times to keep up with custom CBrack orders.

Doug '97 TJ
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2000, 11:51 AM
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Re: Which Welder - MM185

Leader,

The MM185 is high on my list too, but here's what I have to balance: The 170's I mentioned are all 220 v machines as is the MM185. The 170's have a duty cycle of 30% at 130 amps, the MM185 boosts that up to 150 amps and 60% duty cycle. The smaller Millers, the 172 for example, does not come with regulator and gauges. I can't tell from the literature whether the MM185 includes the regulator or not - a simple question to get answered. Something I forgot to mention earlier - the HH175 has all copper windings. The smaller machines are not 100% copper.

So here's the bottom line. I have found the MM185 for $1,070 and the Hobart Handler 175 for $529. For double the price I pick up the ability to weld 3/8" at one pass instead of 1/4" (they both gear down to 30 amps on the low side - "crawl ratio???" [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]), 20 amps on the high side - 130 amps vs 150 amps or 1/4" vs 3/8", and double the duty time - 30% vs 60%. Also pick up running gear on the MM185, which is probably one of the first projects for a new welder with a new welder.

No question, the MM185 is a bigger, more industrial type welder than the HH175, but my over 60 year old body can't stay in one position for a very long time (recliner is the exception), so the actual act of welding will very likely be interrupted frequently. I think my "duty cycle" is probably a good bit less than 30%, and I quit putting out 130 amps a long time ago. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img]

That being said, I am having difficulty justifying spending an extra $541 even though I know it is a first class machine.

Again, thanks.


Doug '97 TJ
Creator of the CBrack
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