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So what's the consensus on the newer inverter vs. older transformer welders

apimpdad

I hate everything
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I've got the itch to buy a new AC/DC TIG machine and am really torn on going with the tried and true transformer machine (in this case a Lincoln PrecisionTig 225) and Lincoln's newer Aspect 230. Both machines do what I want them to do, price is within $500 of each other (Aspect is more), and portability of the Aspect is cool, even though it's going to live in the garage 99% of the time.

What's the durability been like on the newer inverter machines? Any complaints from ones that actually have one? I've welded with the newer Miller MIG machines and the welds were very crisp and nice, but that's about all the exposure I have had with any inverter machine at all.
 
I love the newer inverter based Miller machines, smaller and much more crisp both on MIG and TIG. Have a 211 Millmatic that has had the snot beat out of it on a daily basis for a few years and it still runs great.

Haven't tried the newer Lincolns, but gotta imagine they are the same.
 
We have 5 Lincoln inverter TIG's in the shop. So far none of the monkeys has broken one. Haven't spent much time on them so no real feedback there. I did weld the 1/4" aluminum plate to the bottom of my fuel tank. Puddle seemed wide. Probably could have messed with the frequency to get it down a little but that's all black magic to me, I just mash the pedal till it melts.
 
inverter is probably not the go to if it is going to sit in a shop and get used 100% of the day for the next 15 years, otherwise, it is probably the go to
 
We have 5 Lincoln inverter TIG's in the shop. So far none of the monkeys has broken one. Haven't spent much time on them so no real feedback there. I did weld the 1/4" aluminum plate to the bottom of my fuel tank. Puddle seemed wide. Probably could have messed with the frequency to get it down a little but that's all black magic to me, I just mash the pedal till it melts.

I've witnessed the exact opposite at my work.... Every one of our inverter machines (maxstars, and a dynasty) is either awaiting repair, or has been retired because they weren't worth trying to fix. Our guys tend to not take care of the machines though for the most part, so I know that doesn't help any. Like you though, I don't really see a need for all the fancy settings, so I am leaning toward the PrecisionTig at the moment
 
Honestly, I'd say it's a electrical efficiency/weight/longevity decision. An inverter will always be more efficient than a transformer. If weight is a primary concern, I'd say inverter 100%, but you'll have to accept a shorter lifespan at similar cost. Longevity I'll always give to a transformer machine. Many 50+ year old machines are still in use.

If it'll rarely be used and/or rarely move, I'd say go for a transformer machine. They have a proven history of longevity(so you'll be able to use it for longer), albeit at a higher cost to operate.

If it's an every day use machine or you'll be moving it often, I'd go with an inverter, understanding that it's longevity will likely be shorter.

Personally, I only use a welder a few times a year. I've had a Century Buzz Box, a JobSmart Flux core 120v(which took a dump, liner was shot, the gun fell apart, and I couldn't find parts), and another 120v stick welder around for many years. I bought a Lincoln Pro-Mig 140 a few months back, as a second choice to a Harbor Freight Titanium 170(as they were out of stock). Can't ay how many times I've kicked myself in the A**, as my shop where it's stored is unpowered(other than a 150' 16ga extension cord) and 100ft+ from the nearest outlet, Lugging that welder around is a PITA.
 
I've witnessed the exact opposite at my work.... Every one of our inverter machines (maxstars, and a dynasty) is either awaiting repair, or has been retired because they weren't worth trying to fix. Our guys tend to not take care of the machines though for the most part, so I know that doesn't help any. Like you though, I don't really see a need for all the fancy settings, so I am leaning toward the PrecisionTig at the moment

We replaced all the blue turds with Lincolns. They were having a lot of issues but most of them were older than the dumbshits running them. It will take a couple more years before the real verdict is in.

After Miller burned me on a Maxstar 150, I will never own another one.

I really miss the giant ass Hobart I had in Komifornia. That thing welded smoother than any other TIG I have used.
 
Here I am thinking of going straight chinesium https://primeweld.com/products/tig-225x-ac-dc-tig-welder

I would really like the HTP 221, but it just doesnt seem worth it to spend 3.5k on my first tig welder not knowing if I will stick with it. I know all you fuckers will say go pick up a used synchrowave, but around here they all seem to be beat to hell and ancient for 1k or they are 2.5k+. I just dont see how buying a used transformer is that easy having no idea what good is and what to check to make sure I dont get screwed. At ~800 for the chinesium, if i like TIG i can sell this machine and upgrade and probably only be out ~400.
 
I had a miller 175 for a decade and it worked well and welded a lot. Have a Miller 215 and 220 now but they are only a couple years old. Portability is nice but only time will tell on longevity. I know the early Dynasty models had some issues with the boards. Efficiency is a big plus for a home based welder if you don't want huge power bills.
 
Here I am thinking of going straight chinesium https://primeweld.com/products/tig-225x-ac-dc-tig-welder

I would really like the HTP 221, but it just doesnt seem worth it to spend 3.5k on my first tig welder not knowing if I will stick with it. I know all you fuckers will say go pick up a used synchrowave, but around here they all seem to be beat to hell and ancient for 1k or they are 2.5k+. I just dont see how buying a used transformer is that easy having no idea what good is and what to check to make sure I dont get screwed. At ~800 for the chinesium, if i like TIG i can sell this machine and upgrade and probably only be out ~400.

I have an htp221. It's been good and I've had it for 6 years used in a fab shop environment. It's got all the fancy stuff and it's easy to bring to a jobsite. Dc welding it's pretty much the same as a transformer. Ac you have many options, changing frequency, balance, etc.

If welding aluminum I like the 350 syncrowave transformer machine. It just seems so much smoother and easier. Ive welded with a few different tigs and it's been my favorite, more so than the dynastys. But it's a big heavy sucker so you need a crane or forklift to load it up and bring it to a job.
 
If it'll rarely be used and/or rarely move, I'd say go for a transformer machine. They have a proven history of longevity(so you'll be able to use it for longer), albeit at a higher cost to operate.

This is my line of thinking as well. The only limitation is that to get some of the fancy arc control features with TIG on a transformer machine, you need a really big (expensive) machine. You can get ramp up/down/pulse and whatnot from very cheap inverter TIGs these days that would be great for intermittent use. ThisOldTony on youtube did some pretty in-depth reviews of his HTP machine, worth a check out.



For my personal/hobby business shop use, I specifically sought out used transformer machines. Hobart Ironman 210 and a Hobart Tigmate. I've had them for a while now (5ish years) and they've been great. Pretty cheap too.
 
I really wanted the Miller 200DX when I bought my Precision TIG 225, but I couldn't justify the price for hobby use. The portability is really the greatest difference, because let's face it, how many of us who aren't production welders or full-time fabricators take the time to do enough sample welds to maximize all those ramp and min. / max. settings of an inverter machine ? Especially if doing 99% mild steel like me, with some 6060 AL panels/brackets thrown in ? The basic DC/Pulse and AC settings seem to do everything I need.
 
didn't read the other posts.

OP. if its gonna stay int he shop, part time use and you not worried about power requirements... go with a transformer machine. they are at the end of their run and reliable as a hammer.

if there is a chance its not going to stay in the shop or power is a concern, go inverter.


i think its really that simple.

welders are my livelihood, i started on syncro 250, shopmaster 300 and a legend gas welder. the gas welder is now a tb 325efi and while the syncro and shopmaster still collect dust as backup. about all i use now are xmt and dynasty, and other tweco and htp small inverter wire feeds.

from the 80's and earlier transformers have been great at their core, but power.... some have capacitor, pfc and such but they suck fuel during welding and at idle. however invertors sip fuel, power, and almost none at idle. for a guy like me that saves hundreds $ a month.

and for the inverters are garbage crowd... they are ignorant or dont pay the bills for the machines they run. they can fail and the failures can be expensive. i've had a couple of the early models fail on me but i go by the numbers. inverter machines are better across the board.



carb vs efi......
 
I bought a multimatic 220 AC/DC about a year ago and have sold my Miller 212 mig and I currently have a Lincoln precision TIG 225 that is for sale.
 
This is my line of thinking as well. The only limitation is that to get some of the fancy arc control features with TIG on a transformer machine, you need a really big (expensive) machine. You can get ramp up/down/pulse and whatnot from very cheap inverter TIGs these days that would be great for intermittent use. ThisOldTony on youtube did some pretty in-depth reviews of his HTP machine, worth a check out.

For my personal/hobby business shop use, I specifically sought out used transformer machines. Hobart Ironman 210 and a Hobart Tigmate. I've had them for a while now (5ish years) and they've been great. Pretty cheap too.

I don't Tig, so no comment on that front.

I'd say, given a hobby audience, that a transformer machine is the way to go foe stick or MIG. Ultimately, we're after the final product, damned with the electrical efficiency of the machine being used. Cost wise and proven longevity wise, a transformer machine is the winner.

I watched a, Youtube video, which called into question people looking for a "last a lifetime" welder, as it locked people into the features available at the time of the welders production. I don't view it as such. No one's preventing you from buying a newer welder. The true message in such a question, is will a welder do the job as long as I'm alive.
 
anyone run these new inverter machines off a regular old gas generator? how much does a 180 size inverter mig weigh?
 
anyone run these new inverter machines off a regular old gas generator? how much does a 180 size inverter mig weigh?

I have a Everlast 200stI, 200 amps, but light enough to easily lift with a couple of fingers.

Haven't run it on a generator yet, but I hear good things (as long as it's big enough).

Aaron Z
 
anyone run these new inverter machines off a regular old gas generator? how much does a 180 size inverter mig weigh?

Specs are generally listed on manufacturers web sites for weight. A 180 size should be pretty light and easy to move around. Less than 80 pounds.
 
Inverter welders don't work well for stick welding. They can't hold nearly the arc length that a good old buzz box will and it's frustrating for anything not on a welding table. Especially 6010. BTDT.
 
This machine won't get a ton of use, it will just be for hobby/side jobs and that's it. I do see myself needing portability sometimes also so the 110/220 compatibility of an inverter looks more and more enticing. And because of how seldom I'll be using it, I've also been considering the Square Wave TIG 200 as well. It has most all the basics that I want (except for postflow adjust-ability which sucks), but the price point and size are what's drawing me in.

Been looking for used machines, but it's either the monster antique machines that will take up too much space and take too much power, or some machine that looks like it was dropped off the back of a truck a few times (also haven't seen the first inverter machine for sale either).
 
Inverter welders don't work well for stick welding. They can't hold nearly the arc length that a good old buzz box will and it's frustrating for anything not on a welding table. Especially 6010. BTDT.
My Everlast 200sti has a setting specifically for 6010, IIRC it raises the OCV?
Seems to work well for what I do, much easier to use than the Lincoln Tombstone that it replaced.

Aaron Z
 
I watched a, Youtube video, which called into question people looking for a "last a lifetime" welder, as it locked people into the features available at the time of the welders production. I don't view it as such. No one's preventing you from buying a newer welder. The true message in such a question, is will a welder do the job as long as I'm alive.

That is exactly the message, will it do the job forever... Features matter if you get accustomed to them I guess, my little MIG machine is 20-30 years old and even it has features I don't use or rarely use (automatic spot/stitch weld etc...) I pretty much just set wire feed and voltage and go. If a guy never used and became dependent on the latest and greatest "features" he'd probably never miss em. My dad has been running the same stick machine for 30 some years now, and it was used when he bought it (Miller Dialarc 250), it's never held him back from doing anything he wanted the machine to do and it has no "features" at all besides choosing your polarity and amperage.
 
Inverter welders don't work well for stick welding. They can't hold nearly the arc length that a good old buzz box will and it's frustrating for anything not on a welding table. Especially 6010. BTDT.

shitty ones aren't great with stick.

but the industry standard in weld shops, both lincoln and miller inverters since the mid '90s weld as good or better than any transformer welder. there a very good reason they are sold in 'six packs' for big shops.

even the new cheap china inverters are coming around.
 
This machine won't get a ton of use, it will just be for hobby/side jobs and that's it. I do see myself needing portability sometimes also so the 110/220 compatibility of an inverter looks more and more enticing. And because of how seldom I'll be using it, I've also been considering the Square Wave TIG 200 as well. It has most all the basics that I want (except for postflow adjust-ability which sucks), but the price point and size are what's drawing me in.

Been looking for used machines, but it's either the monster antique machines that will take up too much space and take too much power, or some machine that looks like it was dropped off the back of a truck a few times (also haven't seen the first inverter machine for sale either).

the first time you need it portable you'll be happy you went inverter. another thing to consider is that a transformer machine. being much bigger and heavier will almost certainly have to be on the ground and kill floor space. an inverter is light enough to put on any shelf, and when on the ground takes up less real estate..... need to roll over a cord or bump in the concrete, bad expansion joint etc. my syncro 250 i believe weighs around #800 in full dress, cooler and bottle. the dynasty that does everything and more is probably around #120 full dress. but the dynasty i can seperate the power unit from the cooler and easily carry with a shoulder strap, and use an air cooled torch.

for me portability opens up a whole new line of work. i cant walk down a dock and do a small boat repair job with a transformer machine.
 
shitty ones aren't great with stick.

but the industry standard in weld shops, both lincoln and miller inverters since the mid '90s weld as good or better than any transformer welder. there a very good reason they are sold in 'six packs' for big shops.

even the new cheap china inverters are coming around.

Would you consider a MP210 shitty? Because back to back a tombstone DC welder runs 6010 much better than the mp210 we've got.

I spoke to a Lincoln salesmen that had a demo booth setup at a fly in I went to and asked him what settings I could use to get it to run 6010 and he said that an inverter welder just can't do what a transformer machine can for 6010, use a different rod and you'll be fine. That was 2 years ago so maybe things change, and maybe a big expensive unit would be better but I think dollar for dollar a transformer machine is a better option if you plan to do a lot of stick welding at home and want to stick to name brands.
 
Would you consider a MP210 shitty? Because back to back a tombstone DC welder runs 6010 much better than the mp210 we've got.

I spoke to a Lincoln salesmen that had a demo booth setup at a fly in I went to and asked him what settings I could use to get it to run 6010 and he said that an inverter welder just can't do what a transformer machine can for 6010, use a different rod and you'll be fine. That was 2 years ago so maybe things change, and maybe a big expensive unit would be better but I think dollar for dollar a transformer machine is a better option if you plan to do a lot of stick welding at home and want to stick to name brands.

the 210mp is an okay wire feeder and shitty stick welder for 6010. being able to stick weld from it is a gimmick, they dont include that on millers low end welders for a reason.

a salesmen is a salesmen and if he said "inverter welder just can't do what a transformer machine can for 6010" he's either an idiot or a liar. their Invertec® V155-S Stick Welder is an inverter that is a good stick welder, and certainly not a big, expensive unit. more expensive than a transformer but duh, new tech cost more. the thing with inverter is they can do it all but need to be programed to do so. and just like in computers its the software that makes the differance and upgrades cost. the low end multi process machines are usually good at one thing with gimmick add ons that leave you wanting more.


"transformer machine is a better option if you plan to do a lot of stick welding at home and want to stick to name brands" i agree. mostly....

whats allot?
inverters are up to twice as efficient, under power. and at least that at idle. And thats a two fold advantage. not only cost of operation over time, but power available. there are many cases where with marginal power supply an inverters arc will be more stable than the weld arc of a transformer.

reality is transformer vs inverter is a case by case decision. and there are a ton of factors to consider. and ultimately the more you know the better decision you can make. we each tend to push our own biases and i know that i push Miller welders and inverters in general but its case by case. i've owned allot of welder and used even more.

as an example; when i had a syncro 250 in the shop i first bought an AHP ac/dc tig, thankfully it didn't burn up until i had earned enough money with it to by a dynasty. at the time the AHP was a good choice for me, but its not something i'd recommend for most people.
 
Crusty old analog power supply vs a switcher. Like comparing a carburetor to EFI. Over time better methods become standard practice.
I've got a few of both, they do the job.
 
the 210mp is an okay wire feeder and shitty stick welder for 6010. being able to stick weld from it is a gimmick, they dont include that on millers low end welders for a reason.

a salesmen is a salesmen and if he said "inverter welder just can't do what a transformer machine can for 6010" he's either an idiot or a liar. their Invertec® V155-S Stick Welder is an inverter that is a good stick welder, and certainly not a big, expensive unit. more expensive than a transformer but duh, new tech cost more. the thing with inverter is they can do it all but need to be programed to do so. and just like in computers its the software that makes the differance and upgrades cost. the low end multi process machines are usually good at one thing with gimmick add ons that leave you wanting more.


"transformer machine is a better option if you plan to do a lot of stick welding at home and want to stick to name brands" i agree. mostly....

whats allot?
inverters are up to twice as efficient, under power. and at least that at idle. And thats a two fold advantage. not only cost of operation over time, but power available. there are many cases where with marginal power supply an inverters arc will be more stable than the weld arc of a transformer.

reality is transformer vs inverter is a case by case decision. and there are a ton of factors to consider. and ultimately the more you know the better decision you can make. we each tend to push our own biases and i know that i push Miller welders and inverters in general but its case by case. i've owned allot of welder and used even more.

as an example; when i had a syncro 250 in the shop i first bought an AHP ac/dc tig, thankfully it didn't burn up until i had earned enough money with it to by a dynasty. at the time the AHP was a good choice for me, but its not something i'd recommend for most people.

Who would you recommend the AHP to? Home hobbyist who might use it in his shop or a firends?
 
Who would you recommend the AHP to? Home hobbyist who might use it in his shop or a firends?

i wouldnt recomend it to anyone who isnt willing to lose their money or follow thru on warrenty claims. buy something used.

i needed it to get me thru one job and it did. barely

but i should say my hobby turned into business and in that process i developed a much deeper respect for quality machines. to have one stupid problem with a piece of equipment can cost me more than the an ahp machine in a day. when it comes to ac tig for hobby use i advocate used machines. when my ahp took a crap it was a big hit but it was worth it. the downtime of a warrenty claim would cost me more than the machine was worth, so i went to a miller dynasty.

i'm realizing more and more spending money sucks, but wasting money is way worse. and the extra money spent is never wasted, good products carry value.... try selling a used ahp.
 
i wouldnt recomend it to anyone who isnt willing to lose their money or follow thru on warrenty claims. buy something used.

i needed it to get me thru one job and it did. barely

but i should say my hobby turned into business and in that process i developed a much deeper respect for quality machines. to have one stupid problem with a piece of equipment can cost me more than the an ahp machine in a day. when it comes to ac tig for hobby use i advocate used machines. when my ahp took a crap it was a big hit but it was worth it. the downtime of a warrenty claim would cost me more than the machine was worth, so i went to a miller dynasty.

i'm realizing more and more spending money sucks, but wasting money is way worse. and the extra money spent is never wasted, good products carry value.... try selling a used ahp.

The calculations for a home shop or for someone just buying something to stuff in the corner of their repair facility and use 5x a year are way different though. The machine that needs to be up all the time is you. Something take a shit you pick up a different project and work on it because you (or your budget) are the bottleneck. Sure it's annoying to want to do some particular thing some particular day and instead wind up working on something else but the actual hit over time is negligible.

Obviously the screeching "but muh time" retards are gonna disagree but nobody cares what those lazy two-bits think anyway.
 
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