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  • Cheap tig welder

    I have a miller 185 SD that died I have been told it may or not be fixable For about $500 The main board is bad looks like this is a common problem with this machine. So I have been looking at cheap tig welders like the AHP 200 at $800 and the Harbor fri Valcon anyone here have one of these and would you buy one again thanks. I have looked at some of the reviews on You tube and the one to buy looks like the AHP Thanks ken

  • #2
    There are a couple reviews of the Vulcan Tig on YouTube. Take them with a grain of salt of course. I've heard there were some transition in MFG issues for AHP, but supposedly everything is all fixed now. I seem to recall the AHP and the Eastwood machines were very similar according to one reviewer. No first hand experience myself, btu I have been researching TIG machines for a couple years now. I want an AC/DC pulse machine for my shop. There are to many jobs I want to do in aluminum that are a struggle with my 212 and spool gun. Right at the edge of possible, and even outside the specs for the machine. LOL.

    I like the specs on the Lincoln Squarewave 200. AC/DC Pulse Tig Stick, but at 1500 retail its a bit much. On the flip side of that my local welding supply shop (the one I like, Prxair) the local manager told me he'd give me a good discount when I was ready to buy. I buy all my welding gas and some of my consumables from him, and when I sold off a bunch of bottles I let everybody know Praxair wouldn't give them any crap to exchange for whatever type bottle they needed. He knows I send business his way. That I don't just say it. On top of that they are a warranty store, so if I have a problem I can drop it off and he will call me when its fixed. Maybe that is of some value to you. It can't hurt to check the local shops and see what they sell. May be worth some of your time 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.

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    • #3
      I have the AHP 200. One of the early models, it's worked well for the last 4 years or so. I use it for TIG on aluminum and steel. While it does do SMAW (stick) I don't use it that way yet.

      The newest models use fairly standard connectors so you can swap out the stinger with one of your favorite brand.

      After looking at the Lincoln and Miller warranties, I'd rather spend 1/2 the money for an AHP or even HF. The red and blue warranties run out real soon and the repair costs can be as much as the cost for the better low cost units.

      Dan
      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

      Location: SF East Bay.

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      • #4
        The AHP has a 60% duty cycle compared to the HF Vulcan that is 25%, thats a BIG difference !

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        • #5
          You got me looking again. Sans pulse (it doesn't have it) the Eastwood Tig 200 is a smoking price for an AC/DC machine. I might just have to beg the old lady for some early Christmas money.
          *** 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.

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          • #6
            I was where you are a year ago. I was ready to pull the trigger on the Vulcan ProTIG 200 when I discovered the AHP AlphaTIG 200x. I'm still impressed. I can't say that I've worked it hard, but it's done everything I've asked, including aluminum, S/S and mild steel. It's more welder than I am weldor.
            It's all mind over matter.
            If you don't mind, it don't matter.

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            • #7
              I have the Lincoln Square Wave 200, and the Everlast 210. I love my Everlast!! but it's twice the price of the Vulcan. I'm weary of a 800 dollar welder. My dream welder is a Miller Dynasty 280!

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              • #8
                I can't go with the miller its $6-7000 and the everlast is $1800 and it's still a China made

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                • #9
                  The AHP machines are really nice.


                  What you gonna do with the SD 185?
                  Andy

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                  • #10
                    The LWS places here, could care less about the Joe Average coming in to purchase for his homeshop. They sell more to one commercial account in 1/2 a day then to all the Joe and Bob homeshop folks in a year.

                    I used to get good prices when I was employed by a big commercial company not any more since retired. The new Harbor Freight welders in the last 2 years have taken a big leap forward. I have Vulcan MiG and its just as good the Millers and others I have owned and 1/2 the price or less. That AHP looks interesting!
                    Last edited by wmgeorge; 11-14-2018, 08:27 PM.
                    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

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                    • #11
                      I recently purchased a Lotos 200 amp 3-1 setup: tig, plasma and stick. Love it. DC only, but the plasma cutter is the bomb. Thing also burns 7018 like butter.

                      Came with foot pedal and all. Around $600 delivered

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dedave View Post
                        I recently purchased a Lotos 200 amp 3-1 setup: tig, plasma and stick. Love it. DC only, but the plasma cutter is the bomb. Thing also burns 7018 like butter.

                        Came with foot pedal and all. Around $600 delivered
                        That would be nice, as long as it is not like a 3 in one lathe/mill/drill..... kinda almost works for each one....

                        How thick does it do for plasma?
                        1601

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wmgeorge View Post
                          The LWS places here, could care less about the Joe Average coming in to purchase for his homeshop. They sell more to one commercial account in 1/2 a day then to all the Joe and Bob homeshop folks in a year.

                          I used to get good prices when I was employed by a big commercial company not any more since retired. The new Harbor Freight welders in the last 2 years have taken a big leap forward. I have Vulcan MiG and its just as good the Millers and others I have owned and 1/2 the price or less. That AHP looks interesting!
                          You know I had that experience with welding supply shops for a long time. Didn't give a damn about my business and treated me like an imposition. Then one day a buddy of mine told me I should check out the local Praxair shop and "TALK TO MIKE." I had actually written off the shop because the last time I'd been there a fellow behind the counter spent 20 minutes fumbling around with the computer not finding the parts I needed to repair my welder, and finally asked me to come back later. Well, I went in one day and talked to Mike. I always tried to buy a few things irrespective of price, and of course always made like price was important. I also talked to Mike. Mike turned out to be a local guy and the store manager. We got along and most of the guys who work there saw I was friendly with Mike, but I didn't blow them off when Mike wasn't in. I dealt with them and learned their names. Whoever was there. They all pretty much treat me good, and I almost never pay the first column pricing. When I sold off a bunch of gas bottle left over from when my dad closed his hardware store I talked to the guys there and made sure people wouldn't have any trouble trading an owner bottle they bought from me for any type bottle they needed. Then in my ads on Facebook and Craigslist I listed to take the bottle to Praxair and trade it for whatever they needed. The guys at Praxair saw that I was promoting them as much as they were helping me. Now I get treated pretty decent by anybody in the store. On some things I might only get the best deal from Mike, but I don't go in, ask for Mike, and leave if he isn't there. I'm not a big welding customer for them either. Very small. I think I've bought 30 (maybe 50) lbs of MIG wire, a couple pairs of gloves, a chipping hammer, a few pounds of stainless TIG wire, a few misc repair parts, and refilled a couple gas bottles. I don't have to jump through hoops, negotiate, or sign a contract to get a decent price on gas either.

                          Maybe you should visit your local welding shops and TALK TO MIKE. LOL. Might take a couple visits to find out what Mike's name is in your local shops, but its worth it.
                          *** 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


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                            That would be nice, as long as it is not like a 3 in one lathe/mill/drill..... kinda almost works for each one....

                            How thick does it do for plasma?
                            On my first try, I knawed off 1" steel plate and 1/2" aluminum. It struggled with both of them. The plasma really shines on thin stuff, where the gas axe is a bit more fussy. Once I get a bit more hours on it, it probably will get better cuts at the max thicknesses. Might need a better compressor too.

                            The tig could use some more adjustment features, but works OK. I tried some real thin stainless with it and struggled, it wouldn't turn down low enough for that operation. But the arc starts easy and fast, amazingly good on all three processes.

                            I'd give the plasma a 9.5 (could use a better gun), the arc a 10 and the tig an 8. Consumables are cheap and easy to find. Of course this is considering a medium duty rig.
                            Last edited by Dedave; 12-17-2018, 11:40 PM.

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                            • #15
                              There are several welder board repair companies here in the US... miller repair center quoted me 900$ for a repaired board plus labor, found a repair center in TN. 240$ plus shipping... do a google search for welder board repair.. Good luck!

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