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OT took my plasma cutter in for repair

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  • #16
    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.

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    • #17
      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.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Abner View Post
        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

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        • #19
          Originally posted by DR View Post
          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.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
            Uh, you did check your ground lead, right?

            metalmagpie

            Did half a cut last week on Pilot Arc and noticed - the earth clamp had fallen off ;-)
            If you benefit from the Dunning-Kruger Effect you may not even know it ;-)

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            • #21
              Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
              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.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by danlb View Post
                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.
                Andy

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by vpt View Post
                  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.
                  4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  Everything not impossible is compulsory

                  "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by vpt View Post
                    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
                    At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                    Location: SF East Bay.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Abner View Post
                        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.
                        4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan

                        Everything not impossible is compulsory

                        "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                          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.
                          Last edited by Abner; 12-04-2017, 09:14 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Abner View Post
                            "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...

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              [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.
                              4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

                              Everything not impossible is compulsory

                              "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                                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
                                At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                                Location: SF East Bay.

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