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Thread: What happened to the AHP Alpha MIG and what's this Eastwood clone?

  1. #1
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    Default What happened to the AHP Alpha MIG and what's this Eastwood clone?

    A couple of years ago I was considering buying the AHP Alpha MIG 250 welder but I ended up buying a TIG instead (Eastwood TIG200). Now I'm again looking for a big MIG machine and picked up where I left off in my search 2 years ago. One of the reasons I didn't buy the AHP machine is that they were releasing a different "version" each year or every few months. On Amazon there would be 5 different versions of the same welder for sale, with sellers clamoring to specify theirs was the latest version. I assumed that meant they were still working the kinks out. I passed.

    So now I go into Amazon and there are precisely ZERO AHP Alpha MIG machines for sale. Same for eBay. I can't find any indication that it's even still in production, other than the AHP website still has it listed for sale. But their website has been notoriously bad for years. I don't trust what I see there, and I would never order anything from there.

    I gave up on the AHP and went back to the Eastwood website since that's where I got my TIG and I've been happy with it. I see their MP250i machine and start reading the specs, very intrigued. I can't help the feeling I've seen that control panel before though. I have. I zoom out and look at the whole machine, and I'll be dipped in breadcrumbs if that isn't the exact same machine as the 2016 AHP Alpha MIG 250. It just has a black shell instead of a yellow one. And then down in the Q&A section some guy asks where the MP250i is made, and the Eastwood rep says it's designed by Eastwood in America and produced in China.

    I don't remember Eastwood having this welder back in 2015/2016 when the AHPs were for sale all over the internet. Maybe they did, I really don't remember. I'm curious who cloned who? Is it true Eastwood really did design this machine? Was AHP a Chinese startup fueled by unsanctioned overproduction of Eastwood machines slipped out the back door? Did AHP get caught with their hand in the cookie jar and forced to quit selling thise clones in America? Or did Eastwood buy the design from AHP and force them to stop selling their yellow cases machines?

    I'm pretty puzzled right now having been out of the welder game for the past 2 years. Someone who's been paying attention please explain.
    Last edited by strantor; 09-12-2018 at 10:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    I bought an HTP Invertig 225 last year from these people.

    http://www.usaweld.com

    I can't comment on their MIG's, but their TIG machines are made in Europe. I have been very satisfied with my mine.

  3. #3
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    AHP shifted it to Eastwood sometime in the last few months. I don't know why.

    Dan
    Measure twice. Cut once. Weld. Repeat.
    ( Welding solves many problems.)

  4. #4
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    So why not just get a more mainstream unit like Miller, Lincoln, or Esab?
    Big advantage when it comes time for consumables, parts, and service. Not wanting to sound pessimistic but I've seen too many friends and acquaintances get burned after buying non-standard or store brand units that are now dead orphans.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willy View Post
    So why not just get a more mainstream unit like Miller, Lincoln, or Esab?
    Big advantage when it comes time for consumables, parts, and service. Not wanting to sound pessimistic but I've seen too many friends and acquaintances get burned after buying non-standard or store brand units that are now dead orphans.
    The big advantage of buying mainstream sort of goes away when the warranty expires and you find the price of repairs and parts would buy a new AHP model.

    I looked at the warranties for Miller and Lincoln. I was flabbergasted to see that one of the two starts the warranty period on the day that the machine arrives at the dealer. If you buy new old stock you might not have a warranty at all. The warranties were similar in that they would cover the transformer for much longer than they would cover the control electronics. "Normal wear" parts like Mig guns and leads get only 90 days.

    I'm an optimist. I have a 4 year old AHP AlphaTIG 200 that was still working fine yesterday. I could have bought the Lincoln equivalent for 4 times the price, and neither would be under warranty right now.

    Dan
    Measure twice. Cut once. Weld. Repeat.
    ( Welding solves many problems.)

  6. #6
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    I'm not one to turn down a good deal Dan but you have to remember that when buying one of the more mainstream units the purchase price also reflects the infrastructure to maintain a parts and service dealer network.
    Usually a locally owned and operated outlet where one can go to get parts 10-20 years down the road if/when something goes wrong.

    I just had a look at AHP's website because although I've heard of them I've actually never seen one in the flesh. So I hit the parts tab and I find that of the only 5 parts listed 4 are listed as out of stock! Bad enough that only 5 parts are listed but what gives? What about all of the other machines they sell.
    What happens when you need this machine to put food on the table and not even the mothership can help?
    It may very well be an outstanding machine but this would be a deal breaker for me right there.

    Not sure where you would get your parts if needed but even out here in Hooterville I have multiple options available for parts and service for any of the three brands I mentioned earlier.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

  7. #7
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    The way that I look at it is that a similar TIG from Miller was a lot more money than the AHP. More than $3000 VS $650. The Miller came with a power cord and not much else. The AHP was ready to use with torch, pedal, etc.

    If I needed parts for the Miller, say a control board, it would be around $800 according to the folks on weldingweb. According to my math, If the AHP broke down twice a year I'd get a new one under warranty and pay for the second. After paying for the 3rd one I'd still be ahead at the 3 year mark. That's the point where the miller warranty will only pay for new diodes, but not the labor to install them. What's the cost to ship a welder to Miller and pay them to replace the diodes and whatever control boards were blown out?

    Yes, I understand that the Miller price pays for it's distribution channels and parts and dealers network. That would leave a cynic to wonder why they also need to charge huge bucks at the local welding place for consumables and accessories.

    So far the consumables for the AHP are available via the web, just like they are for Miller products. Some are even interchangable.

    Dan
    Measure twice. Cut once. Weld. Repeat.
    ( Welding solves many problems.)

  8. #8
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    That's all great if you can find a replacement. Read the opening post of this thread. Where are you going to find one this week?

    Like I said these may be great machines for the money but where and from who will you find your next one. Sorry but I need my machines to help put food on the table and I'll gladly pay for the insurance of knowing that I don't end up with a bunch of dead orphans piled out back of the shop. Maybe they're ok for occasional use.
    I've learned a long time ago that cheap tools are expensive.

    From what I've seen there is absolutely zero support for not only the machine's availability but also the zero parts availability. So tell me more about their warranty. What happens when your machine goes T.U.?

    From The OP:

    So now I go into Amazon and there are precisely ZERO AHP Alpha MIG machines for sale. Same for eBay. I can't find any indication that it's even still in production, other than the AHP website still has it listed for sale. But their website has been notoriously bad for years. I don't trust what I see there, and I would never order anything from there.
    No thanks, I'll stick with my Lincolns and Millers.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

  9. #9
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    Willy, that's a great decision for your situation. You need one to work and when it breaks you need to get it fixed quickly. From your post it sounds like you use the repair service a lot. That's based on the high emphasis that you put on quick availability. I have not needed service for my AHP so I don't put a high value on quick to locate parts.

    My experience with the Lincoln and Miller machines has been spotty but it has been telling. I took a few workshops at different places. The one with a dozen Lincoln TIG machines had a couple that were broken. According to the instructor that was the norm despite having them repaired as ASAP. The one with 4 MIGs had 3 working. The Hobart was down. See a trend? When I visited a local fabricator he stopped TIG welding with a nice new Miller long enough to take care of my order, and then he could not get it to power back up. After 10 minutes he rolled out an ancient one from the back of the shop that he kept just to cover such situations. I asked how often he needed the older unit and his answer was "often enough".

    You had asked "So why not just get a more mainstream unit like Miller, Lincoln, or Esab?" and I gave you a very clear explanation as to why it's often a much better choice for a hobbyist.
    Measure twice. Cut once. Weld. Repeat.
    ( Welding solves many problems.)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by danlb View Post
    Willy, that's a great decision for your situation. You need one to work and when it breaks you need to get it fixed quickly. From your post it sounds like you use the repair service a lot. That's based on the high emphasis that you put on quick availability. I have not needed service for my AHP so I don't put a high value on quick to locate parts.

    ........................

    That's the problem with assumptions, they're based on suppositions.
    I use my machines almost everyday, sometimes only for an hour or less of power on time, not arc time, sometimes for ten hours or more. They are 14-20 year old transformer based machines, actually one stick machine is closer to 40 years old. Other than blowing out the dust bunnies and replacing cables, liners, etc. not one has ever seen a service call or been down. But If I need something I know that I can have a part on my desk within 24 hours. That means a lot to me, that and the fact I don't have to drag another boat anchor to the dump.

    No, service much like insurance, or should I say assurance, is very important to me.

    I respect though that from a hobbyist's perspective this may not be important, but to me it makes all the difference in the world.
    I've never had the opportunity to use a warranty on any welding machine I've purchased in the past but it was nice to know that if I did, there was at least something there to back it up.
    What good is a warranty that has nothing to back it up? Why gamble on a machine to work for 10-20 years, even if it's half the price of of a recognized brand? When it quits it's toast, no support, drag it to the dump and count your savings.

    Ever try to get parts for a 15-20 year old Eastwood machine? Good luck. There's a good reason you don't find too many off-brand machines at commercial sites. It's just not cost effective.

    However like I said previously for the hobbyist it may not be an economically viable choice to purchase something that they will under-utilize. However they should be aware of all the ramifications of their choice and be prepared to "eat it" if it calves.
    Last edited by Willy; 09-14-2018 at 11:08 AM. Reason: grammar
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

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