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  • Replacement Welder Advice

    My Miller Econotig is dying. It is in the shop for what may be the last time.

    I am considering a replacement. If the shop wants in excess of $600, it's time. I have three candidates.

    I need advice on anyone's experience with these brands. The intended use will be light fabrication/home use.

    AHP 200X AC/DC TIG - recommended and reviewed by ChuckE2009 on Youtube. Decent reviews on welding web sites.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/AHP-Alph...s&locale=en-US

    $799, free shipping if pick up at Home Depot. Very responsive customer service, with phone help, and depot level maintenance if needed, but you pay shipping..

    YesWelder 250p AC DC TIG Stick
    https://yeswelder.com/products/tig25...#opinew-plugin

    Customer service by Email only. Haven't heard from them, yet. $479 on Ebay, free shipping.

    Eastwood 200 AMP TIG AC/DC
    https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-ti...dc-welder.html

    $800. Very responsive customer service. Unknown shipping cost. Free mailing of unit to depot level maintenance if needed.

    Their primary customer base seems to be auto body shops and DIY auto restorers, by their mix of tools. Impressive tools.

    I'd REALLY like Miller, Lincoln, Hobart, or Esab, but we're talking 4X the price! I could buy another Econotig on Cragislist, but what condition is one that is affordable?

    I'm torn between AHP and Eastwood.

    Everlast has VERY a good reputation, but is twice the price. Based in California. Components made all over the world.

    OK, anyone out there own any of these? Experiences? I'd rather have your feedback than dedicated "review" site feedback.
    John Buffum
    Senior Member
    Last edited by John Buffum; 10-29-2021, 08:58 AM.

  • #2
    I have a AHP 200X series that I bought in 2016 as my first TIG machine. I like the TIG welder but I am not a professional. My model had the older foot pedal, which has been replaced with the newer AHP machines. I made my welding table with it from square tubing. I have not had any problems with the machine at all. Tinkered with aluminum and stainless welds but mostly stick with steel up to 3/16" thick square tubing.
    The torch head with my machine was the 17 model with the flexible head. Been able to buy various gas lens kits, including Pyrex glass, and all fit well without issues. The hoses were flexible and and never had any problems. Purchased a suede leather sleeve to protect the hoses on the garage floor.
    Not used the machine below 45-50 amps so I cannot speak to lower power level handling of the machine.

    The AHP has done everything I have put in front of it and not had any problems. I have no problems recommending it to people but I cannot speak to daily use as I have not stressed the machine at all. There are welder videos on YouTube who review and put the machine through welding tests.

    I have heard good things about the Everlast welders but I have no experience with them. They have been compared side by side with the AHP and other TIG welders in a few videos.

    Comment


    • #3
      I also have the AHP AlphaTIG 200. It is much more welder than I am weldor. I have the older style foot pedaI, which has been fine. I did have a problem with the hose. It developed a leak right where it exits the connector at the front of the welder. The welder sits on the floor under a workbench, so I may have bumped it with something. The tubing is very flexible and delicate. I replaced it with a less flexible, more durable Weldcraft power lead. Otherwise, the machine has been flawless.
      It's all mind over matter.
      If you don't mind, it don't matter.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've got an AHP200 and it is useful for a variety of specialty projects which is what I bought it for, but for any kind of heavier or longer steel welding I pretty much always pick up a MIG stinger. For me its just faster. There was a guy on YouTube who let all the magic smoke out on his AHP on the very first use, but its the only instance I have heard of. On the other hand it was pretty dramatic. It happened to his clear surprise on video. I talked to a manager over at a local welding supply store a while back and he said most of the recognizable import brands like HTP, AHP, Everlast, etc will either fry pretty quickly or run indefinitely. Basically he told me to run a couple feet of weld bead with my AHP, and if it has no problems it will probably last as long as any other welder. He also acknowledged that initial smoke test failures were not as common as some brands and dealers would like you to believe. I also think his company was planning to introduce an import line under their own company label.
        Bob La Londe
        Senior Member
        Last edited by Bob La Londe; 10-29-2021, 01:41 PM.
        *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd stay away from YesWelder. I've got one of their machines, smaller version of the one you linked. The machine itself works pretty well, holds a stable arc and the power output is accurate to the display, but I don't have much positive to say about the actual company
          I bought my machine through their Amazon storefront, and when it arrived it was sent with the wrong welding leads for both the ground clamp and the stick stinger. I tried getting in contact with them through Amazon, since that's where I bought it, but they don't actually have any contact info listed there, just an 800 number that was disconnected when I tried to call it. Finally found their contact info on their website, set them an email explaining exactly what was going on, where I bought it, my order number, etc. 2 days go by before they finally respond, telling me that they would have to send it over to their Amazon support line, instead of their customer support side. Another few days, they finally get back to me, I explain things again, they promise to send out the correct leads. By this time, I had already just bought the correct sized DINSE connectors out of pocket, because I needed a machine

          A couple weeks go by and finally a package shows up from them, and in it is a stick welding stinger and another TIG torch, but no ground clamp, the first thing I told them I was missing, and had I not paid out of pocket I would've still had a useless machine

          Posted a negative review and wouldn't you know it, an hour later I had an email from a support rep apologizing and next-day shipping me a set of electrodes to make up for the cost of the DINSE connectors. Decent attempt at recovery, but still, doesn't make up for the headache

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanx all. I'm reconsidering TIG. I have a MIG spool gun for my Miller 210. If I want to weld aluminum, I can use that. In 17 years of hobby welding, I've welded aluminum three times, and all three was with the spool gun. Maybe I should get a good, used, late model Miller stick welder, like a Thunderbolt.

            The AHP and the Eastwood are still in play, though. If I go with one of them, TIG is still very much an option for the future, should I want it.

            Went on AHP's web site, ahpwelds.com. Most items are out of stock. There is no 200x listed. Updated models ? $750 203xi. Basically the same features.

            It will be at least two weeks before the repair shop even looks at my Econotig. Would be nice if it was just a wire, or a fuse. I like my Econotig.

            Comment


            • #7
              What are your goals for this machine? Light gauge steel it looks like. Do you even need something that fancy with all the bells and whistles?
              21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
              1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

              Comment


              • #8
                You know, that's a GREAT question.

                My current project is to cut down a used Ford 703 loader attachment and weld one up for a Kubota L-175. I'm currently working on the bucket. Then come the arms and frame. I need to shorten of the 4 hydraulic cylinders, so stick is definitely necessary.

                While I would LIKE to keep TIG in the background as a possibility, after all this time, do I really need it?

                I have MIG covered with my 2002 Miller 210 with spool gun. That can handle it, whatever, from sheet steel to 3/8" thick. Stick is for limited applications that need strength, and some goofy cast iron attempts with 7018. I have an acetylene torch, and a Goss propane torch set (VERY useful) The Goss set saves a lot on acetylene for pre heating and bending. For TINY work, nothing beats the smaller Goss tips.

                Haven't done much with stainless, but they make stainless MIG wire ($$$)

                Am I talking myself out of TIG?

                BTW, I LIKE the handle "metal butcher". I feel like that, sometimes. Especially after using the high speed angle grinder with a cutting blade. How DOES one cut a straight line with that?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by John Buffum View Post
                  You know, that's a GREAT question.

                  My current project is to cut down a used Ford 703 loader attachment and weld one up for a Kubota L-175. I'm currently working on the bucket. Then come the arms and frame. I need to shorten of the 4 hydraulic cylinders, so stick is definitely necessary.

                  While I would LIKE to keep TIG in the background as a possibility, after all this time, do I really need it?

                  I have MIG covered with my 2002 Miller 210 with spool gun. That can handle it, whatever, from sheet steel to 3/8" thick. Stick is for limited applications that need strength, and some goofy cast iron attempts with 7018. I have an acetylene torch, and a Goss propane torch set (VERY useful) The Goss set saves a lot on acetylene for pre heating and bending. For TINY work, nothing beats the smaller Goss tips.

                  Haven't done much with stainless, but they make stainless MIG wire ($$$)

                  Am I talking myself out of TIG?

                  BTW, I LIKE the handle "metal butcher". I feel like that, sometimes. Especially after using the high speed angle grinder with a cutting blade. How DOES one cut a straight line with that?
                  Well John, that's a great answer! I expect a lot of folks to get defensive at that question. Let me tell you my experience but I won't push you in any direction.

                  I knew when I started looking, that I wanted a big tig. Probably because I want a large version of all tools haha. I did some research and found that the venerable miller 330A/BP was the best for the money and widely available. We checked out one for $200 with no accessories, and eventually setttled on one for $500 with a pedal, torch, and broken water cooler. I cannot be happier with this welder. It is a 460 amp max machine. Folks told me that I would never use the unnecessary power. They were flat wrong. I've had it up at 400 amps for hours over the last weeks, doing something I'd have never considered with a smaller welder: arc gouging.

                  It's a big machine though, takes 100 amps to get it to full power, though we have it on a 60 amp breaker right now. HF start is weak, but it is a full AC/DC tig welder with pedal and solenoids for gas and water. What I have found very useful about it and would have been disappointed in a lesser machine:
                  • No buzz and variation in stick welding. Can't stand the smaller buzzbox machines for that. Runs 5/32 just as happily as 3/32. Running jet rod, I am over 200 amps, though you can do everything with 1/8" just slower.
                  • I have run 230 amps on Aluminum. Limited by my Tungsten. You cannot have too much power for tigging tungsten.
                  • I run ~190 amps when tig brazing. When I was doing the tailstock on my Sidney, my duty cycle was limited by my hands/gloves. It's nice not to have to wait on the machine.
                  • Finally, arc gouging. I only recently started on this, but it has already saved me hours and 10s of angry-wheels. It's too low of voltage to do it properly, but when you keep an arc going, you do like 12" a minute. Just hauling ass along. On dad's recent project, I used this to cut off two headache racks with minimal damage, cut off rub rails with minimal damage, cut off a tow bumper, separate a bed where it was welded to the truck frame, etc, etc. It was just so useful. I even used it to cut off bolts on a mudflap, whereas the torch was burning it. I cannot say enough about this technology to me, and how it is more important to me than certain welding processes.
                  So in your situation:

                  Sounds like you can handle most things with mig. I'm the same way. I do like tig for making tooling or critical welds. I trust them more even though I am ill-experienced. I will do most of my aluminum with a spool-gun when possible, I find it much easier and takes a lot less power. I've got to have the stick for doing stuff outside. I gotta have the tig for cast iron. So I wouldn't want to let any of them go.

                  For what you are doing, sounds like you need a basic stick/tig. AC is probably covered by your spool gun, but nice to have. For me, cutting down a loader sounds like the exact project to have an arc-gouger for, assuming you have the power. I'm guessing you are undoing welds with your zip-disks? That would certainly be a time saver. And tig might be real nice for the hydro cylinders, if for nothing other than the root pass.

                  So maybe that's helpful. Maybe not. I am NOT a welder. I just know what I want and like, and what is useful to me. Good luck in your endeavors.
                  21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                  1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow.

                    I've seen "I C Weld" on Youtube use arc gouging to cut into 1/2" high carbon steel on construction equipment. Never used it. I do have gouge tips for my acetylene cutting torch, and will use that when I can't get to the inner welds on the arms.

                    My 220 is 40A. I wouldn't be able to handle larger. My electrician tells me my box is maxed out, and getting a bigger one would run into the thousands. When I had the 220 added to my garage, I wanted 50A, but he told me 40 was all he could install. 40A does my Econotig and 210 handily, as well as acting as the input for my generator. (Florida.)

                    What a wide list of choices.
                    - Get my Econotig repaired
                    - AHP 200X
                    - Eastwood 200 Amp
                    - BIG ol' TIG/stick welder
                    - Used Miller stick

                    Well, I have weeks to decide.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Metal Butcher View Post
                      What are your goals for this machine?
                      That IS a great question. A few years back I had a bunch of owner welding bottles I was selling for my dad after he closed his hardware store. I had a couple professional welders come buy several bottles, but most guys who came by knew less about welding than I did. I know. I know. Some might find that pretty insulting since I know so little about welding. Anyway, I would ask them what they planned to do and maybe suggest a couple things they might be gearing up for. Space shuttle work, race car cages, etc. Most said they just wanted to repair some fences and gates. Yes, fences and gates. "You mean making them in your garage?" I would ask. Nope. They meant out on the end of the driveway or around their house. The planned to drag a MIG welder out there and spray gas across the neighborhood. Fences and gates is one of the few things I actually have welded for money. Usually welding a handle on a steel tube gate or welding in a strike box for an electric strike. I would take them in the back shop clamp a couple pieces of tube in the vise and show them that flux core did the job. I'd explain that I could use flux core even if there was a light breeze because it was released at the weld, but that shielding gas would blow away before it reach the weld pool. Every one of them bought a bottle anyway.



                      *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I get by for most typical home shop projects with my Lincoln 180c mig, and 175 SW tig. They both run off a 40 amp breaker, and being older transformer machines were much cheaper than the new fancy stuff. I got them used, at different times, and including bottles and spool gun probably have about $1500+/-100 in the whole setup.

                        I've yet to run into anything I cant tackle with this setup. Although I don't do "big" stuff. Mostly structural tubing fab, Aluminum welding up to 3/16" (castings, and fabrications), some thin stainless (exhaust and sap pans), and tig brazing build ups. Pretty wide variety of stuff. I'd love to have pulse tig, but get by without it. I've also got a 225 buzz box out in the barn, that I can run off the generator for field repair stuff if I ever need it. So far I've managed to drag everything up to the house and run the above off extension cords, or longer leads.

                        That said, the new fancy inverter tig machines are pretty nice and tempting. You can get a lot of machine for not a lot of money these days. If the repair bill is anywhere close to the cost of the AHP, I'd just buy the AHP. It's worth it for the ac tig option alone over the econotig. I don't know what the market for a used econotig would be, but maybe you could get it repaired and break even/make some money selling it, to put towards a new machine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A long time ago, I ran across an idea for judging used machinery. Look for what's not for sale, or rarely so. Some stuff, once people buy it, they never let it go. You may see it, briefly, in estate sales, but then, poof, it's gone. Certain cars, motorcycles, guns, tools, etc. are never sold because the user is never tired of them. I've owned my Miller 210 since 2002. I'd never willingly sell it. I have a South Bend 9x21 lathe from 1944. It'll be in my estate sale. A Wilton bench vise, an antique wood vise from my Dad. You get the idea.

                          I never see any used AHP welders. I see used Eastwood, but rarely.

                          Any other welders like that I should look for?
                          John Buffum
                          Senior Member
                          Last edited by John Buffum; 10-31-2021, 09:07 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I hardly ever sell any tools or equipment. It's usually not worth the time and effort.
                            *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              (belly laugh!) The last two times I've gone to sell vehicles, I ended up giving them to charity. 2005 Saturn Vue in GREAT shape. The only customer to make an offer said $500. He left without it. He wouldn't even budge to $550. The TIRES were worth more than that!

                              Sometimes folks change hobbies, downsize, pay for divorces or kids in college and sacrifice. Sometimes businesses close. I got a nice metal bending brake in one such. Businesses may buy a tool for an unusual order, then sell it after the order is filled. Lots of Syncrowaves are offered for that reason.

                              I'm still intrigued that I see no AHP welders -=-= AT ALL =-=-=- for sale second hand. I see the Chinese brands, the American brands, Everlast, etc, but NO AHP.

                              AHP is so GADGETY! LOOK at all those knobs! You can control SO much! You can configure the pulses. )* slap! slap! *( Calm down John!

                              OK. Everlast falls away. It's between used Miller and AHP. For $1,000 on Craigslist, I can get a 300 amp AC/DC TIG/Stick machine with water cooled torch. 880 lbs. Big as a Yugo, but 300 amps, IF you have a 100 amp 220 service. WHAT?! No coffee maker? Awwww.

                              Four or five used Miller stick only machines 200-250 amp. $500 and under.

                              “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true.” –Spock, Star Trek, season 2, episode 1 (“Amok Time,” 1968)

                              And that's why I'm spending so much effort in choosing a replacement.
                              John Buffum
                              Senior Member
                              Last edited by John Buffum; 10-31-2021, 02:14 PM.

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