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Abner
12-02-2017, 07:24 AM
I press the button and I get air but no arc.
Called around and got a recommendation for a shop 50 miles away. Young man helping me check it in makes the comment
"Wow this is old".
Old? What do you mean old?
"I didn't say that you were old."
No I got that, it's maybe 15 yrs old. You are older than that aren't you?

My wife thinks I'm turning into a cranky old man.

I'm thinking do they only work on new ones? That doesn't sound so good either. I can find more ways to be cranky if that is what it is called. :(

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-02-2017, 09:01 AM
I press the button and I get air but no arc.
Called around and got a recommendation for a shop 50 miles away. Young man helping me check it in makes the comment
"Wow this is old".
Old? What do you mean old?
"I didn't say that you were old."
No I got that, it's maybe 15 yrs old. You are older than that aren't you?

My wife thinks I'm turning into a cranky old man.

I'm thinking do they only work on new ones? That doesn't sound so good either. I can find more ways to be cranky if that is what it is called. :(

Wow, I bought a Hypertherm 1000 back around 2005 and it still seems like new (to me). It's almost 15 years old too.

CCWKen
12-02-2017, 09:22 AM
Wow, I bought a Hypertherm 1000 back around 2005 and it still seems like new (to me). It's almost 15 years old too.

Of course it seems new. I've seen your shop. You probably just found it. :)

plastikosmd
12-02-2017, 02:58 PM
On the subject of a hypertherm 1000, mine was bought from the same era and had minimal use. one day it wouldn’t work, took it to the local Miller dealer That serves as a dropship for hypotherm. They shipped it out to the repair facility who called me promptly. They told me that it looked it had like it had only been used lightly (dust free/clean etc) and that the board was completely cooked. they then said they were were going to replace it all for free and shipped it back for free as it shouldn’t have broke

Magicniner
12-02-2017, 03:42 PM
I press the button and I get air but no arc.

Mine did that last week when I dug it out for the first time in months, after thinking "It's Broke" I swapped all the torch consumables for new parts and it worked fine, I assume you have tried swapping out the torch consumables?

- Nick

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-02-2017, 04:13 PM
On the subject of a hypertherm 1000, mine was bought from the same era and had minimal use. one day it wouldn’t work, took it to the local Miller dealer That serves as a dropship for hypotherm. They shipped it out to the repair facility who called me promptly. They told me that it looked it had like it had only been used lightly (dust free/clean etc) and that the board was completely cooked. they then said they were were going to replace it all for free and shipped it back for free as it shouldn’t have broke

I haven't fired mine up since 2005. I probably only used mine like 3 or 4 times. I'm planning on getting my welders and the plasma running soon. Hopefully I won't have to get anything fixed.

barracudajoe
12-02-2017, 07:15 PM
The company I worked for spent $300,000 on a Esab CNC burning table, 20 ft wide X 27 ft long with one Hi-definition plasma, one standard plasma and 4 oxy-fuel torches and while we can still get consumables for the torches, Esab no longer supports it with parts or service.

Abner
12-02-2017, 08:22 PM
Mine did that last week when I dug it out for the first time in months, after thinking "It's Broke" I swapped all the torch consumables for new parts and it worked fine, I assume you have tried swapping out the torch consumables?

- Nick

I haven't used it for months so at the time I remember trying all new parts. I have had that happen to me before as well. I opened the case up before I sent it in and looked. Looked slightly dusty but no obvious burned parts. I didn't do any electrical testing. The shop told me there are 2 issues mainly with mine (Thermal dynamics), one being the main board. :(

Abner
12-02-2017, 08:24 PM
The company I worked for spent $300,000 on a Esab CNC burning table, 20 ft wide X 27 ft long with one Hi-definition plasma, one standard plasma and 4 oxy-fuel torches and while we can still get consumables for the torches, Esab no longer supports it with parts or service.

How old is it? I never considered shop tools to go the way of computers, maybe they have, that would be very disappointing.

macona
12-02-2017, 08:54 PM
The company I worked for spent $300,000 on a Esab CNC burning table, 20 ft wide X 27 ft long with one Hi-definition plasma, one standard plasma and 4 oxy-fuel torches and while we can still get consumables for the torches, Esab no longer supports it with parts or service.

That is very unusual. When I worked as a tech I could get support for machines way back into the union carbide/linde era from ESAB without any problems.

barracudajoe
12-02-2017, 11:07 PM
The $300,000 Esab is 13 yrs old.

wierdscience
12-02-2017, 11:21 PM
What pisses me off are what the parts cost.Our little Miller 375 at work need s a new torch and whip,a replacement is $642.85

https://store.cyberweld.com/mipltoic202.html?utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=googlebase&cvsfa=2530&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=6d69706c746f6963323032&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqsSppv3s1wIVSrnACh1FwA5LEAQYAyAB EgJMF_D_BwE

A whole new plasma cutter costs $1419.00

https://store.cyberweld.com/miplcusp375x.html

And of course the newer model torch that is 1/2 the cost won't work on the older model plasma :mad:

danlb
12-03-2017, 01:56 AM
Over on welderweb.com you often hear of people with good quality commercial welders that need a board (or two) that cost half as much as a new machine.
Some of the pro welders just take it in stride, figuring a $3,000 welder earned them hundreds of thousands of dollars while they were still working.

A few confess that they keep a cheap $1000 import as a backup for when their main machine is in the shop.

Dan

wierdscience
12-03-2017, 02:09 AM
Over on welderweb.com you often hear of people with good quality commercial welders that need a board (or two) that cost half as much as a new machine.
Some of the pro welders just take it in stride, figuring a $3,000 welder earned them hundreds of thousands of dollars while they were still working.

A few confess that they keep a cheap $1000 import as a backup for when their main machine is in the shop.

Dan

That is the worst of it now,getting a machine fixed locally is difficult if not impossible.In my area there are probably 100+ full line dealers in the big three brands,but only a couple shops that do any service work and they mostly just shotgun the system until it works.

I wonder if it would be feasible from a business standpoint to have one of the more popular boards copied in China or Taiwan and sold as an aftermarket replacement?

I recently bought an aftermarket control board for an Electrolux refrigerator like that.The dealer wanted $450 for the board,this one was $95 including shipping.If it lasts 18 months it will beat the OEM one.

Dave C
12-03-2017, 02:43 AM
My $699 Horror Freight plasma is looking better all the time. :p

DR
12-03-2017, 01:09 PM
Hobart Handler 120 MIG...maybe 20 years old with limited use. Now I find Hobart no longer supplies tips and liners. The good news is others have stepped up with consumables for it. Probably not any internal electronics though.

H380
12-03-2017, 01:42 PM
You can at least get replacement parts and consumables for the Hobart, Miller and Lincoln machines. Harbor Freight does not even sell replacement parts on the day you buy one. What are your odds in 10 or 15 years finding anything for them? Absolutely zero. Do your research and put replacement parts and consumables price and availability at the top of the list. MIG gun, gun tips, cables and drive components are wear items. Find welders that use a standard components available from the aftermarket. More so with the Plasma cutters. The no name machine might be 25% cheaper. But they are basically disposable if you have a big problem years from now.

metalmagpie
12-03-2017, 06:45 PM
I press the button and I get air but no arc.
Called around and got a recommendation for a shop 50 miles away. Young man helping me check it in makes the comment
"Wow this is old".
Old? What do you mean old?
"I didn't say that you were old."
No I got that, it's maybe 15 yrs old. You are older than that aren't you?

My wife thinks I'm turning into a cranky old man.

I'm thinking do they only work on new ones? That doesn't sound so good either. I can find more ways to be cranky if that is what it is called. :(

Uh, you did check your ground lead, right?

metalmagpie

BigMike782
12-03-2017, 06:50 PM
Hobart Handler 120 MIG...maybe 20 years old with limited use. Now I find Hobart no longer supplies tips and liners. The good news is others have stepped up with consumables for it. Probably not any internal electronics though.
The Hobart company that made your machine disappeared. Hobart had a third party make their mig guns, ITW(Ilinois Tool Works) decided it was cost effective to use the guns made by Miller......shocking? fact of life these days.

Magicniner
12-03-2017, 07:09 PM
Uh, you did check your ground lead, right?

metalmagpie

:D
Did half a cut last week on Pilot Arc and noticed - the earth clamp had fallen off ;-)

Abner
12-03-2017, 07:58 PM
Uh, you did check your ground lead, right?

metalmagpie

yup, first thing I checked. Even installed a heavier clamp as the original was a little cheesy.

vpt
12-03-2017, 09:25 PM
Over on welderweb.com you often hear of people with good quality commercial welders that need a board (or two) that cost half as much as a new machine.
Some of the pro welders just take it in stride, figuring a $3,000 welder earned them hundreds of thousands of dollars while they were still working.

A few confess that they keep a cheap $1000 import as a backup for when their main machine is in the shop.

Dan

And don't forget us that just use the older transformer machines. I have one inverter and it has been in the shop more than all the transformer machines I have ever owned combined.

J Tiers
12-03-2017, 09:51 PM
And don't forget us that just use the older transformer machines. I have one inverter and it has been in the shop more than all the transformer machines I have ever owned combined.

And if the transformer machine goes out, you may find another used one with a different problem, that you can reliably and fairly easily use for spare parts... On inverter machines, the same stuff usually goes out on most, so spares are not easy to find that way.

Just figure that any inverter machine becomes disposable either when the warranty ends, or after about 6 years, which is about the lifetime of any particular power device, assuming that it is made for 10 years, and you bought about 4 years "into" the production lifetime. After that time, getting replacement boards will fairly quickly become difficult.

Some parts are not even made for 10 years, perhaps 5 or 6, sometimes much less. At the music company, we designed a product around some new parts that we thought were great. A year later, BOTH manufacturers discontinued them within 3 weeks of each other. Turns out we were almost the only buyers for the parts, and our volume, although not small, was not large enough.

danlb
12-04-2017, 12:46 AM
And don't forget us that just use the older transformer machines. I have one inverter and it has been in the shop more than all the transformer machines I have ever owned combined.

Yep. As long as you have a machine with no smarts to it, there is very little to go wrong. OTOH, start adding lots of features and the possibility of failure goes way up.

I must have extremely bad luck with commercial grade transformer based machines. I've only been in places where a dozen or so were in use, a couple in fab shops, an industrial arts training class and a tech shop. One MIG of the 3 at the tech shop was broken. One TIG at a fab shop was stopped working as I chatted with the owner. A couple TIG at the training class (out of 10 work stations) were down for repairs.

I suspect that they were not breaking every day. It's more likely that the tech shop and school were too cheap to get them fixed in a timely manner. I have great luck at home, where my 3 year old import inverter TIG welder and my 25 year old Lincoln 100 amp MIG machine have given me no problems at all.


Dan

Abner
12-04-2017, 07:59 AM
And if the transformer machine goes out, you may find another used one with a different problem, that you can reliably and fairly easily use for spare parts... On inverter machines, the same stuff usually goes out on most, so spares are not easy to find that way.

Just figure that any inverter machine becomes disposable either when the warranty ends, or after about 6 years, which is about the lifetime of any particular power device, assuming that it is made for 10 years, and you bought about 4 years "into" the production lifetime. After that time, getting replacement boards will fairly quickly become difficult.

Some parts are not even made for 10 years, perhaps 5 or 6, sometimes much less. At the music company, we designed a product around some new parts that we thought were great. A year later, BOTH manufacturers discontinued them within 3 weeks of each other. Turns out we were almost the only buyers for the parts, and our volume, although not small, was not large enough.

Seriously? Why buy a good machine and not just a harbor freight one? If I'm going to throw it away after 6 years then I can save myself about $1000.00.

J Tiers
12-04-2017, 08:34 AM
Seriously? Why buy a good machine and not just a harbor freight one? If I'm going to throw it away after 6 years then I can save myself about $1000.00.

Obviously you do not have to toss it if it works. That is silly.

The point is that after that time, you have a significant risk that it will not be repairable. Maybe not at all, maybe just not at a sensible price. So if it goes "down", you may be forced to replace it.

Frankly, if you have not recovered MANY times the cost of the welder in 6 years, you bought the wrong one. Or you did not need it at all.

Abner
12-04-2017, 09:11 AM
Obviously you do not have to toss it if it works. That is silly.

The point is that after that time, you have a significant risk that it will not be repairable. Maybe not at all, maybe just not at a sensible price. So if it goes "down", you may be forced to replace it.

Frankly, if you have not recovered MANY times the cost of the welder in 6 years, you bought the wrong one. Or you did not need it at all.

Sorry if I wasn't clear I will never toss out a working unit. I will find out the fate of my plasma cutter hopefully this week and will need to make a decision.
My use is more M & R with light fabrication at times. So, no I cannot justify it in a working shop sense, but I still want one. I guess I'm just slow on the uptake about 'life span' of shop equipment that contains all the new electronics is all. If 6 ears is the new definition of 'obsolete' then I can buy something cheaper.
After reading your comments if I have to choose between another thermal dynamics or a HF for my use, the HF is looking better. :(

Edit; Wife - So 6 yrs seems to be the magic number for everything just like our new freezer.

Dan_the_Chemist
12-04-2017, 10:15 AM
"Wow this is old".
Old? What do you mean old?
"I didn't say that you were old."
No I got that, it's maybe 15 yrs old. You are older than that aren't you?


When I was "Dan the young chemist" I learned how to do NMR with a Varian A60. A couple of years ago I was visiting the Museum of Science and Technology in London, and they had one on display.

OMG - the exciting new tools of my youth are now museum displays...

J Tiers
12-04-2017, 11:16 AM
[QUOTE=Abner;1147379....
After reading your comments if I have to choose between another thermal dynamics or a HF for my use, the HF is looking better. :(

Edit; Wife - So 6 yrs seems to be the magic number for everything just like our new freezer.[/QUOTE]

Possibly, to both. Or, you may be lucky.

If the unit is basically well designed, then it may last 20 years. Perhaps more. Semiconductors last a long time if they are used within their limits. Eventually the failure rate goes up, due to physical changes in the parts over time. Usually power semiconductors fail, because the high voltages cause gradual changes in the actual structure of the parts.

if, on the other hand, there is an inherent weakness in the device, then the spares for parts which fail may rapidly be depleted, leading to unrepairability. This tends to occur more with units made in china, because the sellers (who did not MAKE the thing) have to guess how many spares to order with the production order. They cannot get just a few made if they need more to service a problem, the chinese will not accept that sort of order, you must order a "production" type run of many thousands. Gettig a few made here is not an option, because only the chinese have the production data.

In some cases, such as HF, the company may not order ANY spares, and when anything fails, your options are to replace the unit, fix the bad part, or somehow make your own replacement part. Someone commented recently that HF did not even sell actual consumables for certain products, common things you were CERTAIN to need.

Back when things were made here in the US, the manufacturer would have parts as long as they were making the units, and would have spares, know what they needed, were able to produce new parts to fix any problems, etc. That does not occur with stuff made in china, even if it is designed here.

Of course US makers were not perfect. One well known brand of clothes washers made a high priced new model, which had some fault with a particular electronic assembly that made them fail in some units. They decided not to fix the problem, but to simply replace the boards if they failed. But, after replacing the assembly a couple times, they would announce to the customer that they would not replace it again for free, despite the warranty. Nice.....

And, the product manufacturers are at the mercy of the semiconductor suppliers. Electronic parts are only made for a certain time, and then are replaced by new and better parts, which rarely can be directly used in place of the old. So when that happens, the product manufacturer must either spend money to redesign an old product, or obsolete it and replace with a more modern product using newer parts. They will always do the new product, of course.

And, since no more PC boards for the old units are being made, they get in short supply, at high prices.

danlb
12-04-2017, 11:45 AM
If the unit is basically well designed, then it may last 20 years. Perhaps more.

THIS IS NOT BUSTING JERRY'S CHOPS. It made me smile. :) As I read this it reminded me of a sign by a highway on the California coast that simply reads "Fog is possible". Of COURSE fog is possible. It's a sea-side road!!! The rest of the trip my wife and I translated each road sign to the new paradigm. "Merging traffic is possible". Falling rocks are possible. Etc.

And of course a well designed device made with quality parts MAY last 20 years. Or it MAY die tomorrow. I've also found that some cheap devices made with average parts last a long, long time. I have a $5 HF multimeter that I bought to have on hand at the office for Y2K. It still works fine. Buddy has a 1990s HF 7x10 lathe. Still working. I could go on and on and on.

It's not in the seller's best interest to sell things that break too soon, especially if their only recourse is to replace the whole unit. It gives them a bad (or worse) reputation which reduces future sales.

Back on topic... There are folks that will repair your import welding or cutting machines. Several hang out on welderweb.com and apparently do a good job. They are technicians who can analyze the fault and correct it. Of course, they have to go back replacing the board when a custom chip dies, but that does not appear to happen as often as you would think.

If you want to get the most out of your plasma cutter or welder, pay strict attention to the duty cycle. The over-heat auto cut-off is like a smoke detector. It is not there to stop you before damage. It's there to limit the damage after it reaches a certain level.

Dan

J Tiers
12-04-2017, 09:16 PM
LOL.....

I probably should have added, right after the "perhaps more", the following: "Well after the time most would expect parts to be easy to find, so that parts availability is not an issue and unit lifetime is reasonable".

That would have segued well into the next part, without so much flavor of "Mr Obviousman"......

Abner
12-05-2017, 11:56 AM
Well, got word back from the repair shop.
Biggest positive is I'm not a idiot - it doesn't work.
Biggest negative - there are zero parts available and cannot be repaired.

So I'm out $45.00 for the testing - like taking a dead dog to the vet for verification.
Repair guy even said many non industrial users are switching and buy the no name ones and run them into the ground and then buy another. I loathe the situation I find myself in.

JT - Hf does sell the consumables - fairly cheap.

FWIW- The thermal Dynamics machine I have was made in the USA.

Sparky_NY
12-05-2017, 12:05 PM
Well, got word back from the repair shop.
Biggest positive is I'm not a idiot - it doesn't work.
Biggest negative - there are zero parts available and cannot be repaired.

So I'm out $45.00 for the testing - like taking a dead dog to the vet for verification.
Repair guy even said many non industrial users are switching and buy the no name ones and run them into the ground and then buy another. I loathe the situation I find myself in.

JT - Hf does sell the consumables - fairly cheap.

FWIW- The thermal Dynamics machine I have was made in the USA.

Wow, did they detail what part was bad or not even look? Considering they charged you for testing I would expect they would isolate the cause of it not working. What if it was just a broken wire inside for example? If they didn't give you more detail as to WHY it does not work, I would complain loudly and ask for a refund.

danlb
12-05-2017, 12:13 PM
If they isolated the problem, you may have other options available. One such is George's plasmacutter shop http://www.georgesplasmacuttershop.com/ in Delaware. While that may be too far to ship the machine, he may be able to provide a replacement part. George is active on Welderweb.com as mechanic416.

Dan

Abner
12-05-2017, 12:18 PM
Wow, did they detail what part was bad or not even look? Considering they charged you for testing I would expect they would isolate the cause of it not working. What if it was just a broken wire inside for example? If they didn't give you more detail as to WHY it does not work, I would complain loudly and ask for a refund.

Isolated it down to 1 of 2 boards, neither of which is available. Charged me 1/2 the inspection fee of $90.

I open it up before I took it in. Nothing obvious like loose wires, which is why I took it in. I'm not a computer board expert, it's going in the scrap bin.

Abner
12-05-2017, 12:21 PM
If they isolated the problem, you may have other options available. One such is George's plasmacutter shop http://www.georgesplasmacuttershop.com/ in Delaware. While that may be too far to ship the machine, he may be able to provide a replacement part. George is active on Welderweb.com as mechanic416.

Dan

I will take a look. Thanks,

Black Forest
12-05-2017, 12:21 PM
Well, got word back from the repair shop.
Biggest positive is I'm not a idiot - it doesn't work.
Biggest negative - there are zero parts available and cannot be repaired.

So I'm out $45.00 for the testing - like taking a dead dog to the vet for verification.
Repair guy even said many non industrial users are switching and buy the no name ones and run them into the ground and then buy another. I loathe the situation I find myself in.

JT - Hf does sell the consumables - fairly cheap.

FWIW- The thermal Dynamics machine I have was made in the USA.

I had that happen to me with a steam cleaner that I took in to be repaired. It was a Karcher not some off brand. After a week I called to check the status and they told me they couldn't fix it as there are no parts available for that model. I told them ok I will come and pick it up. Showed up to pick it up and they hand me a bill for 78 Euros for diagnosing the problem. I asked if any parts are available for the unit. He answered no. So I told him to make the bill out for 10 Euros to pay for the time it would take to contact the factory and ask if parts were available. He said no way. I told him to get the owner of the store. He came out and I read him the riot act. (I know you all can't believe I would do that right!). I told him is a liar and a thief and I would not pay anything now. He said then I don't get the unit back. I told him he had exactly 2 minutes to get the unit loaded into my trailer. If not I will make it my mission in life to destroy his business. As I stood there I Googled Karchers offices for the corporate offices and dialed the head office on my cell. While I was on hold they loaded the unit in my trailer. I then told the owner that I was going to run an add in the local newspaper asking if anyone else has had this problem with his business. The man turned white. My wife was with me and she knew I was going to go ballistic on the man. She even told him that he really didn't want to make me mad!

Danl
12-05-2017, 12:44 PM
I found the discussion on inverters versus transformer based welders interesting. I bought a new Miller 250 TIG runner (transformer based) nearly 10 years ago, never had an issue with it at all. Some of the young pups extol the virtues of inverter units, saying that transformer units should have gone bye-bye at the same time shapers were scrapped after being replaced by vertical mills.

I've probably welded miles with my TIG. I use the pulse on occasion, but many of the other bells & whistles have not seen use at all. But if and when the need arises, I've got the manual and plenty of Interweb assistance to take a shot at using them.

Gosh, I hope it last me another 10 years. By then I'll probably be ready for the rest home. :)

Dan L

J Tiers
12-05-2017, 01:06 PM
I had that happen to me with a steam cleaner that I took in to be repaired. It was a Karcher not some off brand. After a week I called to check the status and they told me they couldn't fix it as there are no parts available for that model. I told them ok I will come and pick it up. Showed up to pick it up and they hand me a bill for 78 Euros for diagnosing the problem. I asked if any parts are available for the unit. He answered no. So I told him to make the bill out for 10 Euros to pay for the time it would take to contact the factory and ask if parts were available. He said no way. I told him to get the owner of the store. He came out and I read him the riot act. (I know you all can't believe I would do that right!). I told him is a liar and a thief and I would not pay anything now. He said then I don't get the unit back. I told him he had exactly 2 minutes to get the unit loaded into my trailer. If not I will make it my mission in life to destroy his business. As I stood there I Googled Karchers offices for the corporate offices and dialed the head office on my cell. While I was on hold they loaded the unit in my trailer. I then told the owner that I was going to run an add in the local newspaper asking if anyone else has had this problem with his business. The man turned white. My wife was with me and she knew I was going to go ballistic on the man. She even told him that he really didn't want to make me mad!

A long time ago I worked in hifi repair shop while in school. We had guys act like that from time to time.... Folks who did not want to pay for our time to take the unit apart, find out what was wrong, and determine that the part was not available. Folks who thought that they were entitled to serf labor for free, most of them.... they bought the unit, and they apparently thought that they bought our time when they bought the unit.

We told them that our billing rate was posted right up on the wall in front of their face, that our minimum diagnostic fee was up there also, so they knew that when they brought the unit in. They could pay the bill and get the unit back along with the information of what was wrong, or not pay and leave the unit. If left 60 days, we could dispose of the unit.

Told them they were welcome to call the police, the manufacturer, whatever they wanted to do. A couple did call the police, and were told by the responding officer not to waste his time. They usually threatened to call everyone and have our business license pulled, or whatever, but nobody ever did.

Nobody got their unit back with no payment, unless we had decided to handle it that way before the guy ever came in (there were a few).

That's life in retail......

danlb
12-05-2017, 01:40 PM
Slightly OT, but there does seem to be some skullduggery going on when a shop accepts a machine for "diagnostics" if they know that spare parts are not available. Often the tech knows what the problem is likely to be just from the description of the symptoms. Heck The guys on this forum diagnose things all the time without ever seeing the broken device. :)

I don't mind paying a diagnostic fee IF the diagnostic comes with a guarantee that it has isolated the problem. I've never found a repairman who would diagnose it, then refund all money paid if the fix does not work.

Dan

Abner
12-05-2017, 01:43 PM
I don't have an issue with paying to have them look at it, the dead dog vet thing is my bad sense of humor. They were upfront, were not sure if it could be fixed, and only charged 1/2. They have to pay their employee's, bill's, etc. I also didn't buy the machine from them. They offered me a $290 manufactures credit on a new machine.
Found a home for my dead plasma cutter with someone who is a retired computer person, sounded excited actually.
So HF is about @<1/2 of a new Thermal Dymanics all discounts applied.

Black Forest
12-05-2017, 03:26 PM
A long time ago I worked in hifi repair shop while in school. We had guys act like that from time to time.... Folks who did not want to pay for our time to take the unit apart, find out what was wrong, and determine that the part was not available. Folks who thought that they were entitled to serf labor for free, most of them.... they bought the unit, and they apparently thought that they bought our time when they bought the unit.

We told them that our billing rate was posted right up on the wall in front of their face, that our minimum diagnostic fee was up there also, so they knew that when they brought the unit in. They could pay the bill and get the unit back along with the information of what was wrong, or not pay and leave the unit. If left 60 days, we could dispose of the unit.

Told them they were welcome to call the police, the manufacturer, whatever they wanted to do. A couple did call the police, and were told by the responding officer not to waste his time. They usually threatened to call everyone and have our business license pulled, or whatever, but nobody ever did.

Nobody got their unit back with no payment, unless we had decided to handle it that way before the guy ever came in (there were a few).

That's life in retail......

They knew before I even brought the machine in that there were no parts available for the unit. They should have told me that over the phone as well as stating that they could look at it and maybe it would be something like a bad connection or are broken wire and possibly they could fix it but if it needed any parts then it was a no go. Then the risk would fall on me to decide. They are the professionals not me. It was their attitude as well that pissed me off. I am a very generous person and have helped many people but if you try to screw me I will go to all lengths to extract justice.

J Tiers
12-05-2017, 03:37 PM
They knew before I even brought the machine in that there were no parts available for the unit. They should have told me that over the phone as well as stating that they could look at it and maybe it would be something like a bad connection or are broken wire and possibly they could fix it but if it needed any parts then it was a no go. Then the risk would fall on me to decide. They are the professionals not me. It was their attitude as well that pissed me off. I am a very generous person and have helped many people but if you try to screw me I will go to all lengths to extract justice.

Yes they should have done that if you called them, or at least when you brought it in. But that does not alwys happen. Sometimes the person who takes in the things at the counter does not know much (why they work the counter instead of fixing things).

But the person who worked on it presumably should have known that, if it was a common issue and common brand, and if so should have called you to say so before doing anything. Back then we would do that, and make sure everyone knew it was a risk.

But if it was not known, then you can hardly blame the repair folks... If they call for parts and to their surprise are told there are none, they are in the same boat with you. Half cost for diagnosis would be fair (at least to people who do not instantly explode :) ).

Black Forest
12-05-2017, 04:14 PM
Yes they should have done that if you called them, or at least when you brought it in. But that does not alwys happen. Sometimes the person who takes in the things at the counter does not know much (why they work the counter instead of fixing things).

But the person who worked on it presumably should have known that, if it was a common issue and common brand, and if so should have called you to say so before doing anything. Back then we would do that, and make sure everyone knew it was a risk.

But if it was not known, then you can hardly blame the repair folks... If they call for parts and to their surprise are told there are none, they are in the same boat with you. Half cost for diagnosis would be fair (at least to people who do not instantly explode :) ).

The store/repair center was a Karcher store. The unit was a Karcher unit and before I went off on them I asked them if they knew there were no parts available before they started on the machine. They answered in the affirmative. And for your information I don't instantly explode. It takes at least five seconds!:cool:

dbq49er
12-05-2017, 04:51 PM
Possibly, to both. Or, you may be lucky.

If the unit is basically well designed, then it may last 20 years. Perhaps more. Semiconductors last a long time if they are used within their limits. Eventually the failure rate goes up, due to physical changes in the parts over time. Usually power semiconductors fail, because the high voltages cause gradual changes in the actual structure of the parts.

if, on the other hand, there is an inherent weakness in the device, then the spares for parts which fail may rapidly be depleted, leading to unrepairability. This tends to occur more with units made in china, because the sellers (who did not MAKE the thing) have to guess how many spares to order with the production order. They cannot get just a few made if they need more to service a problem, the chinese will not accept that sort of order, you must order a "production" type run of many thousands. Gettig a few made here is not an option, because only the chinese have the production data.

In some cases, such as HF, the company may not order ANY spares, and when anything fails, your options are to replace the unit, fix the bad part, or somehow make your own replacement part. Someone commented recently that HF did not even sell actual consumables for certain products, common things you were CERTAIN to need.

Back when things were made here in the US, the manufacturer would have parts as long as they were making the units, and would have spares, know what they needed, were able to produce new parts to fix any problems, etc. That does not occur with stuff made in china, even if it is designed here.

Of course US makers were not perfect. One well known brand of clothes washers made a high priced new model, which had some fault with a particular electronic assembly that made them fail in some units. They decided not to fix the problem, but to simply replace the boards if they failed. But, after replacing the assembly a couple times, they would announce to the customer that they would not replace it again for free, despite the warranty. Nice.....

And, the product manufacturers are at the mercy of the semiconductor suppliers. Electronic parts are only made for a certain time, and then are replaced by new and better parts, which rarely can be directly used in place of the old. So when that happens, the product manufacturer must either spend money to redesign an old product, or obsolete it and replace with a more modern product using newer parts. They will always do the new product, of course.

And, since no more PC boards for the old units are being made, they get in short supply, at high prices.

I purchased a HF plasma cutter and then started to get educated about the pros and cons of the machine. HF does sell consumables but you can go to http://www.georgesplasmacuttershop.com/ and get all you need to your door. As others have said, what if it quits? Well http://www.georgesplasmacuttershop.com/ can fix it for you. I know because I needed his service. He was a tech for HF and knows about all kinds of machines. Look at his web site and if you need you can call him for great info and help. I hope this helps!!

J Tiers
12-05-2017, 05:26 PM
Most factory repair places will replace the PWB, as opposed to doing "component level repair".

This is very reasonable, for several reasons:

1) You get an exact replacement, which has all the functions tested and is as good as what was put in the machine originally

2) Power electronics often fail in a more destructive manner, parts may be vaporized, traces blown off the PWB, holes burned in the PWB itself. It is not uncommon to be unable to repair the PWB in such a way that it can be re-used.

3) It is common for a power device failure to damage other parts. Usually you can determine that, but sometimes the damage is not enough to cause a failure, YET. So repairs are a crapshoot unless you replace more than appears needed.

4) The liability issue is easier if ONLY factory parts are used. You can get in trouble replacing components unless you use the exact original component, and know if they are specially selected, etc. You can hardly go wrong using a factory original assembly, since you make no decisions, redesign nothing, and are not putting in any substitute parts which can later be described as "cheap, inferior, substitutes". There is no "knew, or should have known" involved.

Sparky_NY
12-05-2017, 05:45 PM
I have a harbor freight plasma, bought used, which I have been very happy with UNTIL.....

A friend bought a "CUT 50" plasma from ebay for under $200 delivered. He brought it over and we set it up and tried it. It outperformed the HF unit by a LOT. The HF unit struggles with anything over 3/8 thick, the Cut 50 cut 5/8 plate like nothing ! I am half tempted to get one and sell my harbor freight plasma. At under $200 there isn't a lot of risk. My friend has been using it a lot and it works great.

Just a FYI on cheap plasma cutters.

gaston
12-05-2017, 06:18 PM
I have 2 plasma cutters a cut50 and a 1980's century 20 the cut 50 will cut 1/2 easy but makes "angry noises and scares the hell out fo anyone in my shop... the century 20 will only cut 3/16 but hums like a kitten purring. Its old ,transformer ,weights a ton , and for 37 years worked like a slave
Take this invert stuff and shove it, I'll take an old transformer machine any day

OhioDesperado
12-05-2017, 07:21 PM
OMG, that went in circles.

SO, now real questions.
First, make and model of the unit.
Second, where are you in regards to Ohio?
Third and maybe important and maybe not is I DO repair them at board level depending on what it is, and what got smoked. And if it's a decent unit or a crap import that is under designed, and some of the big name stuff meets that spec as well as the import stuff. Lincoln Pro-Cut 55 was one that didn't have the cooling ability built in for being run hard. And they would burn a board that cost $917.00 to replace and you were burning up 8 parts that cost 3 buck each.
Ask me how I know.
The fan actually would run too fast to leave the air in place long enough to effectively transfer the heat from the heatsink to the air before being blown out the other end.

Anyway. Make Model and specific what's it doing. Pictures of the inside of the cabinet may help as well.
It don't work is nice, but does it power up?
Do the lights come on?
When you pull the trigger does the air flow start and it just don't apply power to the torch and cut.
Does it sound like it's trying to apply power AKA air flow starts and then it sounds like a transformer buzz but it don't cut. That sort of description.

Puckdropper
12-05-2017, 08:37 PM
I don't mind paying a diagnostic fee IF the diagnostic comes with a guarantee that it has isolated the problem. I've never found a repairman who would diagnose it, then refund all money paid if the fix does not work.

Dan

Imagine a series of walls between you and the device working. Some walls are small (switch has to be in the on position) and others are large (missing gear) or even hidden (clear gunk over locomotive wheels). All a diagnostic can do is identify some of these walls, but some walls hide other walls so you've got to actually find and fix those problems first.

I can't guarantee the diagnostic will identify your problem, all I can do is tell you what I found and state my hypothesis as to the cause. Sometimes that hypothesis will prove to be wrong or will actually be right and another problem will be revealed.

I'd like to offer you your money back if the diagnostic is incorrect, but I just can't have confidence in my diagnostic until it's tested and at that point the device is fixed.

J Tiers
12-05-2017, 10:29 PM
.....

I'd like to offer you your money back if the diagnostic is incorrect, but I just can't have confidence in my diagnostic until it's tested and at that point the device is fixed.

Very true...

The proof of the diagnosis is that fixing the diagnosed problem fixed the unit. So simple, so obvious, and so true.

Goes right along with "fix what you know is wrong".

danlb
12-05-2017, 10:33 PM
I can't guarantee the diagnostic will identify your problem, all I can do is tell you what I found and state my hypothesis as to the cause. Sometimes that hypothesis will prove to be wrong or will actually be right and another problem will be revealed.

I'd like to offer you your money back if the diagnostic is incorrect, but I just can't have confidence in my diagnostic until it's tested and at that point the device is fixed.

I understand that. I've made a living diagnosing things and fixing them. But part of my diagnostic technique was to prove a part bad before replacing it. Yes, there are places where you can't do that easily, but charging a customer $1000 for a repair that does not fix the problem seems wrong.

Dan

J Tiers
12-05-2017, 10:58 PM
I understand that. I've made a living diagnosing things and fixing them. But part of my diagnostic technique was to prove a part bad before replacing it. Yes, there are places where you can't do that easily, but charging a customer $1000 for a repair that does not fix the problem seems wrong.

Dan

Yes.... Proving the part bad is the reason for replacing it. Otherwise I have no idea why one would do it.

And, as Dan or anyone else who fixes electronics knows, the bad part had to GET "bad" somehow. Yes, it could "just fail". But it pays to look around and find out what ELSE around it is bad as well. And look for root causes.

Once, when I was on vacation, one of the techs built my new prototype PWA. He did not do the preliminary checks, he built it and fired it up. Well, there was something wrong, I don't recall what (I think it was a part put in wrong), and some parts failed. So, genius-boy checked through it, and found a bad part, which he replaced. And turned it on again.....

Of course it failed. So now he found another bad part besides #1, and replaced both of them. And turned it on.... To make a long story short, he managed to blow through my entire stock of the new, hard-to-get semiconductors, that were supposed to build several boards, and he never did get the one working. I was NOT pleased, and suggested that the tech manager arrange some troubleshooting training. offered to help with that (he did not take me up on it) I did get the thing working, because I found a few more sample parts that had gotten set aside. All it took was to find ALL the bad parts, plus the part that was put in wrong, and replace them all at once, instead of one at a time.

Replacing bad boards on a guess is a poor way to do repairs. Especially when it is very likely to result in a "not fixed" situation, possibly with the replacement board now also bad.

danlb
12-06-2017, 12:20 AM
Yes.... Proving the part bad is the reason for replacing it. Otherwise I have no idea why one would do it.

It happens quite often when the fault is hard to diagnose or takes lengthy test procedures. It's quicker for them AND they get paid either way.

Example 1: Friends's expensive Mercedes CEL (check engine light) was on permanently. When cleared it would come back on with an hour of driving. The dealer replaced several sensors (one at a time) and an electronic module. They never did find the problem. He paid $3000 trying and eventually sold the car as is.

Example 2: Mom's car currently has a problem where the dashboard goes crazy after a short drive. Local Cadillac dealer diagnosed it as a bad alternator, then a bad battery and finally several bad sensors. It's still broken. She's out $2000 on a car that is barely worth $5000 and it's not safe to drive. That's taking advantage of an 80 year old widow.

Example 3: On a hot day, the house AC would cut out right after starting when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees all day long. Repairman said it needed charging. Did so and charged a small fortune since it was an old freon unit. He said the entire system needed to be replaced if it happens again. Next hot spell it was doing the same thing. I checked all of the electronics, and traced the problem back to the thermostat. Replaced it and it's worked fine for 6 years.

Example 4: On a below zero day in Lake Tahoe, my hybrid did not want to start the first 3 times. The error display made no sense so off to the dealer we went. The Tahoe dealer said that it should be safe for the trip back to the central coast. Got it to my dealer, who diagnosed it in minutes and declared that it needed a new "computer" because my model has a software bug that only shows up in cold weather. When I got the invoice they had replaced several parts including a "fuse relay" and a sensor. A bit of investigation shows that they replaced EVERY PART that the manual said MIGHT throw that trouble code. I'm convinced that they did not test any of the parts.

The thing in common with all four cases was that the companies made money doing things might have fixed the problem, but they were not at all sure if what they were doing was valid. And that's why they do it. They can make more money by fixing it twice or three times.

Dan

J Tiers
12-06-2017, 01:03 AM
.....

The thing in common with all four cases was that the companies made money doing things might have fixed the problem, but they were not at all sure if what they were doing was valid. And that's why they do it. They can make more money by fixing it twice or three times.

Dan

Yes, it happens.

And, yet, a guy I know ran a car repair shop for decades, making good money, and his "thing" was that he did not do that. They always knew why they were replacing what they replaced. His shop was well known as "the place" to take the car to get it fixed right, no hassles. Last I heard, he had retired, but the shop was still going on the same lines.

Abner
12-06-2017, 06:26 AM
OMG, that went in circles.

SO, now real questions.
First, make and model of the unit.
Second, where are you in regards to Ohio?
Third and maybe important and maybe not is I DO repair them at board level depending on what it is, and what got smoked. And if it's a decent unit or a crap import that is under designed, and some of the big name stuff meets that spec as well as the import stuff. Lincoln Pro-Cut 55 was one that didn't have the cooling ability built in for being run hard. And they would burn a board that cost $917.00 to replace and you were burning up 8 parts that cost 3 buck each.
Ask me how I know.
The fan actually would run too fast to leave the air in place long enough to effectively transfer the heat from the heatsink to the air before being blown out the other end.

Anyway. Make Model and specific what's it doing. Pictures of the inside of the cabinet may help as well.
It don't work is nice, but does it power up?
Do the lights come on?
When you pull the trigger does the air flow start and it just don't apply power to the torch and cut.
Does it sound like it's trying to apply power AKA air flow starts and then it sounds like a transformer buzz but it don't cut. That sort of description.

Answers; - please forgive my terminology if it is incorrect - live green plants are my lively hood(not marijuana).
Thermal Dynamics pak master 38xl (29 amp)
Ohio - Oregon
Powers up, runs a pressure test, fan hums, lights come on.
Ground clamp attached to shiny steel, hold torch down and press button, air comes on but there is no arc, no change in noise from the unit.

Pictures - I will go pick up my unit Thursday, if you don't mind waiting I will get some for you.

Many Thanks,
Abner