Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests - Page 3
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  1. #51
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by GMMTC View Post
    Finally got mine wired up, just waiting for a tank of mig gas so I can test it out. I didn't like how tight the area you guys were putting yours was so I relocated mine on the wire feed side and used a stock hole in the bottom with a longer screw. I also got allen head bolts for the capacitor so I didn't have to deal with fitting a screw driver there. Check it out.

    Being I am pretty new at this and just getting back into welding with the 170. I find some of the pictures confusing and lacking detail. Does anyone have a more precise schematic of where everything goes regarding the capacitor and resistor? I hope to do this soon.

  2. #52
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    http://weldingweb.com/showpost.php?p...1&postcount=32
    I mounted the capacitor in the lower right of the picture.
    I put two 10ga wires on the capacitor and marked the positive one with red paint.
    The wires hook from the capacitor to the rectifier plates.
    The resistor is across the same rectifier plates that the capacitor hooks to.
    Hobart T225
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  3. #53
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Hi guys, this is my first post in these here parts! I just got one of these CE MIG-170's on sale at HF for $169. I was on the fence about it for awhile but eventually decided I will never use it enough to warrant the cost of a new Millermatic 180. I would definitely like to mod this after a few trial runs (and maybe after the 1 year warranty I got is expired) but I want to ask a few things first. Will this capacitor and toggle mod apply to both flux core and MIG with gas? I would like to make this into a true MIG at some point or do these mods negate that ability?

    Secondly, and before I start putting carts before horses, I need to upgrade my service panel for this unit. I know you need 240v power and the actual wall plug on the cord is 3 wire 50 amp. Is that wired as positive-neutral-ground or double hots and single ground? (I assume 2 hots thus 240, correct?) Secondly, I saw that it says 20-amp capacity on the cardboard box but does this mean you can use two standard single pole 20-amp breakers or a single (paired) double pole 20-amp? - Regardless, the manual is absurdly vague and I'm a little confused because the welder's cord itself has the huge 50-amp plug so does this automatically mean I must also pair that up with an equally heavy duty 50-amp service with double pole breaker? I was hoping to just use ~ 25 feet of 10/2 wire to fashion an extension cord and for the receptacle use a smaller 30-amp twist lock 3 wire female plug wired to a 30-amp double pole breaker (both of which I already have on hand). With the 10/2 wire extension cord one end would be a 50-amp female plug (to match the existing welder cord) and the other end would be a 30-amp 3 prong male twist lock plug to mate up to the wall's twist lock 30-amp female receptacle. I specifically want to use the twist lock style because I'm not too hip on ever having to disconnect the other types of flat plugs with nothing to grab onto save for right round where the connection actually is. I've been zapped with both 120v and 240v before and neither are fun. A longer twist lock plug at least gives you much more of a safer body to grab onto, and the twist lock helps from ever being disconnected. To get these in 50-amp style is ridiculously expensive. Anyway, for all of those who own this model please weigh in with what you did. Much thanks guys.

  4. #54

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Hi,

    I just got the same model a couple of weeks ago and added the capacitor the other day. Let me answer with what I know.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimSamurai View Post
    Hi guys, this is my first post in these here parts! I just got one of these CE MIG-170's on sale at HF for $169. I was on the fence about it for awhile but eventually decided I will never use it enough to warrant the cost of a new Millermatic 180. I would definitely like to mod this after a few trial runs (and maybe after the 1 year warranty I got is expired) but I want to ask a few things first. Will this capacitor and toggle mod apply to both flux core and MIG with gas? I would like to make this into a true MIG at some point or do these mods negate that ability? 
    The capacitor mod do not prevent you from using gas, and would benefit both flux and gas welding. It stabilizes the arc, and in fact most welders from known brands like Esab or Lincoln have a capacitor bank except for vary basic models.
    Some of the mods for the 151 do not apply to the 170 as the feeder control board is different, so you don't need to change anything related to the feeder after adding the capacitor. Regarding the warranty, you can add the capacitor without making any hole or cutting any of the original cables, so if it fails and you want to return it, you can remove the capacitor.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimSamurai View Post
    Secondly, and before I start putting carts before horses, I need to upgrade my service panel for this unit. I know you need 240v power and the actual wall plug on the cord is 3 wire 50 amp. Is that wired as positive-neutral-ground or double hots and single ground? (I assume 2 hots thus 240, correct?) Secondly, I saw that it says 20-amp capacity on the cardboard box but does this mean you can use two standard single pole 20-amp breakers or a single (paired) double pole 20-amp? - Regardless, the manual is absurdly vague and I'm a little confused because the welder's cord itself has the huge 50-amp plug so does this automatically mean I must also pair that up with an equally heavy duty 50-amp service with double pole breaker? I was hoping to just use ~ 25 feet of 10/2 wire to fashion an extension cord and for the receptacle use a smaller 30-amp twist lock 3 wire female plug wired to a 30-amp double pole breaker (both of which I already have on hand). With the 10/2 wire extension cord one end would be a 50-amp female plug (to match the existing welder cord) and the other end would be a 30-amp 3 prong male twist lock plug to mate up to the wall's twist lock 30-amp female receptacle. I specifically want to use the twist lock style because I'm not too hip on ever having to disconnect the other types of flat plugs with nothing to grab onto save for right round where the connection actually is. I've been zapped with both 120v and 240v before and neither are fun. A longer twist lock plug at least gives you much more of a safer body to grab onto, and the twist lock helps from ever being disconnected. To get these in 50-amp style is ridiculously expensive. Anyway, for all of those who own this model please weigh in with what you did. Much thanks guys.
    The plug for this unit has 2 hots and a ground, no neutral. About the breaker you need to use a dual pole breaker. Never use 2 single poles breakers for a device that uses 2 poles for safety reasons. Imagine one breaker trips, you think because of that that you can safely open the thing and touch wires, but the other breaker has not tripped and you touch the wrong wire and get electrified... With a dual pole breaker you know the electricity is completely cut to the device when it trips. I don't remember if the manual talks about the minimum ampacity of the breaker, please check it out. I would use at least a 30Amps one as this welder was rated for 20amp if I remember right, and a 20amp breaker may trip during start. In my case I had to add a 240 outlet in the garage, so instead of installing a smaller one and then having to upgrade if I want to plug something bigger, I installed a 50amp breaker, 50amp outlet, and 50amp nm wire (I think it was a 6/2, but not sure, I just checked which one I needed when buying it). You should be fine with anything 30amp or bigger. Just make sure your breaker is not bigger than the ampacity of the wire and the outlet.
    About using an extension, the manual for some reason don't recommend it. I don't see why not as long as you use the right extension. The manual quotes the longest run you should use for 8/2 and 10/2 when replacing the power cord, just use the same limits for any extension (you would have to add both the included cord+the extension to make sure you are not over their stated limit).

    One more thing, I installed my capacitor using 10gauge wire as I read somewhere in this boards. That is not a good idea, my wire heats up after a few minutes welding. Use 8gauge or thicker to be safe. I am planning on replacing it soon.
    I used a 100.000uf 80V capacitor and while I could run beads at a slow speed in 16gauge steel at min1 before, now with the capacitor it mostly burns thru the steel unless I move really fast. I am just learning to weld, so I may have to adapt to this huge power increase, but the change is result is impressive.
    By the way I have bought 2 x 33.000uf capacitors in Ebay, and will use those instead as soon as they arrive. I checked their datasheets and one concern is the max ripple current the capacitor can take. The one I was using can take 17amps, while a bank of the 2 I'm getting can take more than 30amps between the two of them in parallel. That means that the capacitors will heat up much less and last longer.
    I noticed some Esab welders use a bank of 6 or 7 capacitors, with only 10.000uf and I have read on some technical documents they do that because it is normally too much amperage for a single capacitor.
    The one from digikey in the first post in this thread is rated to 30amps if I remember right.
    If you get a different capacitor, check the max ripple current it is rated for. Get the one with the maximum one you can find, or build a bank of smaller capacity ones if adding their max amps gives you a higher number.
    Last edited by victor_pv; 12-03-2013 at 09:07 PM.

  5. #55
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Depending on what year your house was built, depends on how its wired. My house is wired hot-hot-neutral...there are no grounds in my house they use the neutral for that.
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  6. #56
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    was that the pre-1950 standard?

  7. #57

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by desertscout View Post
    Depending on what year your house was built, depends on how its wired. My house is wired hot-hot-neutral...there are no grounds in my house they use the neutral for that.
    Are you sure your neutral is not connected to ground in the main panel?

    I am not sure what was done in the 50s in a specific area, but normally the neutral is grounded at the utility transformer, and is grounded again at the main service panel of your home.
    From that point, many old houses do not run a separate grounding wire inside the house (that was the case in my previous home, built in 1959, probably had some updates after that time, and still had no separate grounding wire after the main panel).

    In that case according to the NEC, you need to have a ground for any new circuit that you add to an existing panel. If you don't have a separate ground arriving to the panel in which you will connect the new circuit, you must add a ground to that panel first, and then run that ground to your new circuit.

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    was that the pre-1950 standard?
    If your only have 1 panel that is both the main service disconnect and has all the breakers, then that one should have the neutral and the grounding wire bonded in it. In that case you can connect the grounding wire for a new circuit to the grounded bus.
    To say it another way, in the very first panel that functions as a main service disconnect the grounded wires (neutral) and the grounding wires (the green grounds) can all go to the same bus bar.

    I would advice checking the code and checking with an electrician or your city inspector to make sure you do it right. The inspectors can give pretty good advice on how to resolve a particular situation as they get to see every case and every solution people apply.

    If you look at the user manual for the MIG 170, available in the harbor freight web, page 30 shows the electrical circuit and you can see the third conductor is used for ground. Personally I would not connect that to a neutral wire as the neutral can become electrified in some rare circumstances, and then the hole metal box that makes the exterior of the welder would be electrified, and you touching it could close a circuit to ground and get electrocuted. The main reason for having a separate ground nowadays is to protect from that kind of scenario.

    If you are not sure what do you have in your house, find where your service disconnect is. That should be the first panel after the utility lines, and will have some big amps dual pole breaker (125Amp, 200amps, whatever your service is). That is the main service disconnect, and that one should have a grounding wire going to a rod or the cold water pipes. Now that panel may have all the circuit breakers in it (a few 15 amps, 20amps, 30amps, etc). Or it may be just for the main service disconnect, and then go to another panel inside your house with the circuit breakers. The first panel must be grounded, with neutral and grounding bond together. The second panel if any, may not have a separate ground if it is too old.

    If you tell me in more detail what do you have I can try telling you what the NEC calls for in that case.
    Last edited by victor_pv; 12-09-2013 at 10:45 AM.

  8. #58
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    My 1910-ish farmhouse was apparently wired in the 1930's after the mains finally reached it. The wiring seems to conform to a 1950's edition of a Richter book that described how to do it. I'm sure there's never been a building inspector on the property. No green ground wire except on circuits added later.

    There is a ground rod at the main panel and another 75 ft away at a 100 amp sub panel in the barn that was installed much later by amateurs. This second ground seems to be important for working out there safely, say welding on wet ground, but I've wondered if it is the reason why some plumbing rusts out (galvanic action) sooner than it should. Any comments on this corrosion?

  9. #59
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    There is a ground rod outside of the panel that has a wire that goes to the neutral bus bar in the box. There are 3 wires coming into my panel...hot-hot-neutral, no ground. The house was built in 1986.
    HF 170 amp/240 volt Mig (cap mod)
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  10. #60

    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by desertscout View Post
    There is a ground rod outside of the panel that has a wire that goes to the neutral bus bar in the box. There are 3 wires coming into my panel...hot-hot-neutral, no ground. The house was built in 1986.
    You can take a ground cable from that bus bar for any circuit. You can not join the neutral wire with the grounding wire anywhere else down the line, but only at the main panel, so what you have there is correct.
    From that you can run ground to outlets or to any subpanel. Just make sure where ever you bring the ground wire that doesn't join the neutral.

  11. #61
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Since I had a 30 amp dryer plug existing in my garage, I didn't have to worry about it
    HF 170 amp/240 volt Mig (cap mod)
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  12. #62
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Thanks for the added clarifications guys. I do have a 30amp dryer in the garage but its got the 3 plug where the two fins are angled inward. It doesn't match up with the male plug on the CE-170. I do however have two extra 30amp double pole breakers on hand so I am just going to wire up a new receptacle box on my back wall about 6 feet from the service panel. Last week I ordered some 3 prong 30amp/240v twist lock male/female plugs and female wall receptacle. I got them off eBay for ~ 50% less than what I saw them for at Home Depot. I just need to get the 10/3 wire now and should be good to go. I think that instead of modifying the end of the stock cord on the welder I will just remove it (if it can be..I haven't looked under the hood yet) and will just replace it with a new 25ft cord and one of the new male plugs. I got extra to make an actual extension cord if needed but figured if I can remove the stock cord why not just make the new one to be 25' and eliminate the need for the middleman! I saw that the manual discourages use of an extension cord anyway and does show that 10/3 wire is acceptable up to 75 feet so using 25' to even 35' for replacing the stock cord should be fine. It might be a little long but this is all going on a cart anyway.

    Regarding the old-house / new house issues; I live in San Diego in what is the first official "burbs" of Clairemont. Its an old tract home built circa 1960. Most of the wire is old copper with just the hot and ground sheathed in paper and silver tarred type of exterior wrap. When we moved in the kitchen had just 2 circuits (one for stove..and one for everything else) All the lights in the whole house use to randomly flicker. We quickly upgraded the service panel to a new 200 amp and I had to pound in an 8ft grounding rod (which only went to 5ft because of the sandstone here) but at least its something where nothing existed before! To date I have added 12 new circuits (7 in the kitchen as I remodeled it) and several others for things like a TV / Stereo equipment wall and dedicated isolated ground for my computer. I also recently finished updating all the outlets / receptacles in the entire house with new ones. So while there is still a lot of old wire in the walls, everything has been updated and anything that pulls over 200 watts does have properly grounded 12/2 or 14/2 romex. The stove of course has 6/3 wire to a 50 amp breaker. I now sleep much better at night.
    Last edited by SimSamurai; 12-10-2013 at 02:48 PM.

  13. #63
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by SimSamurai View Post
    Thanks for the added clarifications guys. I do have a 30amp dryer in the garage but its got the 3 plug where the two fins are angled inward. It doesn't match up with the male plug on the CE-170.
    Since the 170/180 only require 28 amps at full output, I just made a 50' extension cord with the dryer plug on one side and the Nema 50 plug for the welder on the other side from 10/3 service cord. It has plenty of power for what I use it for.
    HF 170 amp/240 volt Mig (cap mod)
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  14. #64
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by desertscout View Post
    Since the 170/180 only require 28 amps at full output, I just made a 50' extension cord with the dryer plug on one side and the Nema 50 plug for the welder on the other side from 10/3 service cord. It has plenty of power for what I use it for.
    I had thought of just doing that too, but the dryer plug is far down behind the dryer and I don't want to have to mess with moving the dryer every time I want to weld something nor do I ever want to interrupt my wife from her weekly duties LOL! For the layout in my garage and proximity to the service panel its much easier for me to just install a new dedicated 30-amp receptacle. I'm setting two boxes in fact, one will be inside and another right behind it to the exterior wall as I have a covered 25ft x 16ft cement patio behind my garage which I turned into an outdoor workshop with a table saw, metal chop saw, and two work tables. My table saw motor can be 120 or 240 so in doing all this I can switch it over to the 240.

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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    LOL our house is gas or electric, so the dryer is a gas one and the electric plug is high on the wall so it was easy. My service panel is on the opposite side of the house so it would have been a pita to run a dedicated line. I also have a plug inside and outside since behind my garage is a work bench, with a grinder, drill press, belt sander, and covered in 1/4" plate for welding, oh and a 24'x 30' concrete pad.
    Last edited by desertscout; 12-18-2013 at 02:47 AM.
    HF 170 amp/240 volt Mig (cap mod)
    HF 180 amp/240 volt Mig (cap mod)
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  16. #66
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Great minds must think alike! I have often thought of converting to a gas dryer as I have a line ~ 12 feet away that would be easy to tap into. I had thought of doing that next summer as I want to run the line across the house through the attic so that I can build an outdoor gas fire pit out on our main patio.

    And since you mentioned it, I have a final question about grounding. I have a 48" x 36" stainless steel table outside, likely from a commercial kitchen. The metal is probably only 16-18 gauge. Maybe 1/16" inch thick at most. The legs are galvanized and the feet are thick adjustable plastic. - So what exactly do I need in the way of good grounding for the welding clamp (and myself ?). I do not know enough to know exactly what is ideal and if I had to little do I run the risk of shock or just crappy welds?

    I actually need to go to Industrial Metal Supply tomorrow or Tuesday (X-mas eve) and have a 20% off coupon to burn before Dec 31st. (FYI, I think that is national too) Hopefully you guys can make a suggestion. So..would a 48 x 36" sheet of 1/4" or even thinner 3/16" or 1/8" steel placed over the stainless steel table top work fine or would the thin stainless table work fine as is? Lastly, should I remove the table's plastic feet (which are like 1" tall/thick) so that the galvanized table legs makes firm contact with my cement slab?

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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Do any of you gentlemen know if there are any Lincoln or Miller parts that are interchangeable with the new black welders? The 180 looks tempting but I dont like the short 6" leads? So I guess my main question is if you can swap out the gun cable?
    Lincoln Pro Mig 180
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  18. #68
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Have you searched the other threads on here? I thought I saw mention of this in one of them.

  19. #69
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Spicytuna View Post
    Do any of you gentlemen know if there are any Lincoln or Miller parts that are interchangeable with the new black welders? The 180 looks tempting but I dont like the short 6" leads? So I guess my main question is if you can swap out the gun cable?
    You can change out the ground cable, as I have done.

    The lousy 6 ft wire feeder gun cannot be changed, wire feed motor, rollers are integral with the tweco gun.

    The box itself is very cheezy, have stripped out numerous screws when opening it up. Replaced them all
    with 10x20 short allen heads. This is still not a solution, as the metal is cheezy and a few of those 10x20 threads have
    stripped out too. Run 10 lb rolls in mine. Home use, welder does work okay.

    Charl


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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    I have gotten a replacement 10 foot gun for my Dual Mig 151 from USA Weld (HTP). I think it would also work on the newer welders also. I think it is a good upgrade for the original.
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    You can get a 10' torch and ground cable from USA Weld, it used Lincoln tips and gas nozzles, and Tweco style gas diffusers. I have a 180 and a 170 (long story), the 180 is a beast for the price and the best built of there machines. I've done the cap mod, new ground clamp on both machines. I have no complaints with its performance and have welded 18ga to 1/4" without any problems. Could probably weld 5/16" with the cap on, but haven't tried.
    Last edited by desertscout; 12-27-2013 at 10:00 PM.
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by desertscout View Post
    You can get a 10' torch and ground cable from USA Weld, it used Lincoln tips and gas nozzles, and Tweco style gas diffusers. I have a 180 and a 170 (long story), the 180 is a beast for the price and the best built of there machines. I've done the cap mod, new ground clamp on both machines. I have no complaints with its performance and have welded 18ga to 1/4" without any problems. Could probably weld 5/16" with the cap on, but haven't tried.
    The 180 has good reviews on the HF website. I was thinking if I should pick one up on wednesday Jan 1st, since HF is going to have a 25% on every single item. And since you cant use the 20-25% coupons on welders (small fine print). I dont know yet though. Ive seen videos of the 170 on youtube and it looks like it works fine. Sucks that HF doesnt sell replacement parts.
    Lincoln Pro Mig 180
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  23. #73
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Spicytuna View Post
    ...
    HF 90A Flux Core
    Lincoln AC225s
    I'm curious if the HF180 can replace both of these. I suspect it can, except maybe for a project at the upper limit of the AC225's capability. Anybody know?

    And - I haven't seen the 180 go on sale much. What is the best price for it?

  24. #74
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    The best price I've seen on the 180 was $279.99, I got mine from the scratch and dent area for $70.00 missing torch parts with a 5 day refund and wasn't able to buy a warranty. Changed the parts from my 170 (same torch), and WA-LA it burned just fine. A bit of body work to fix the dents and I'm happy. Took the 170 in and exchanged it under warranty, so now I have both machines, but the 180 burns WAY BETTER. Just before the warranty runs out on the 170, I'll exchange and upgrade it to the 180 or whatever replaces it.
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    Re: Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder - Mods and Tests

    I bought my 170 welder for 169.99 and bought the added 1 year warranty so out the door it was like $200. I also got the welding cart on sale for $35, their red welding helmet for $35, and used a 15% off coupon for the cheap leather gloves / apron combo for like $12. I also bought the chipping hammer and wire brush pack in the same welding section.

    I also got the bronze Tweco copy ground clamp and while it is a little overkill being huge and rated at 400amp I'm sure it will do the job. I would have got something more applicable around the 200-250 amp range if they had it but I wanted solid bronze and the huge clamp is cool I guess. To install it I just carefully pried open the wire clasps off the old clamp and then inserted the whole original end with the eyelet connector and all right into the Tweco clamp and tightened it securely ...but not too tight either as to damage the original end. I suppose I could switch out the entire wire at some point but it didn't seem necessary. I just didn't want to screw up the original connection end. I also replaced the security ring on the Tweco clamp with a small stainless hose clamp (the automotive type you tighten down with a screwdriver). The stock ring thing is worthless IMO. --- So I'm totally set up now for under $300 and plan to do the cap mod in a week or two after I've checked things out as is.

    I also spent another $100 running a dedicated 30amp breaker and two outlets, one inside my garage and one outside. I ran those lines with 15/2 (3 wire) romex. I also bought 50ft of 10/3 SOOW cable. 15ft was used to fully replace the stock power cable on the welder and the remaining 35 feet I made into an extension cord. In all cases I used 30 amp / 250 volt / 300 amp rated twist lock NEMA plugs. All this stuff, save for the Romex and breaker, I bought off of eBay because I easily paid at least 40-50% less than what it was priced at Home Depot.

    As a final note I got the electrical connectors for the new power cord from a place called Willy's electronics because it was the only place I could find 10-12 gauge connectors. Most in stores are like 12-14 or 14-16 awg. They only had the sheathed / insulated type too so I carefully cut the plastic coat off and put on new heat shrink just like the stock cord has. I also had rubber grommets in my shop with a 7/8" outside diameter (which I might have bought at HF a long time ago) so when I removed the stock cord I also removed the plastic stock hole protector as the 10/3 SOOW cable is too thick for it. Thus my new power cord is still protected from wear cuts with my replacement grommet and I secured the back side of the cable with another stainless hose clamp to keep it from pulling through. -- In short, I did a very professional job and can easily throw the stock cable back on. Obviously throwing a new end on the stock cable would have been much easier but I did not know if that voids the warranty so I wanted to leave the stock cable fully in tact. I probably should have checked first.. Anyone know?

    So, grand total with gas and "errand running" vehicle depreciation accounted in I'd say I'm just under $400 in total investment. That said, if you were to buy the 180amp unit you are the looking at another $100 and maybe the need to run a 50amp breaker and 6 gauge wire which is expensive. Thats not counting the cap mod either. For a machine that is only 10 more amps I just do not see it as worth the added expense, especially when you can get a new Forney 170 mig with a cart and other accessories for like $450 at many places (sans all the needed 240v home wiring of course) but if you are willing to invest $500-600 then you might as well get an actual known brand and at that point you might as well just save up for a little while longer and get the MillerMatic 180. I'm almost miffed at myself for not just getting the Forney in the first place. I assume it has better, more easily replaceable parts, better warranty, etc.

    I'm really hoping the CE 170 does a good job as I have literally beaten several Harbor Freight tools to death with a hammer. (an expensive Eastwing because I suspect a HF hammer would fail) - I think most of the poorly made / poorly cast power tools at HF are total worthless crap. I don't care how cheap they are. If it doesn't work..it doesn't work and while buying warranties helps some, it is still a huge headache and time waste to not be able to finish a job much less start one because of crap tools! Harbor Freight is loaded with crap and I hate falling for it again but I took the low price gamble with this welder based on good reviews. I also had a CE corded drill that served me well for 2 years before it burned up but for $20 I have no complaints at all there. The flip side was a 2" brad nailer that would jam every mfngd time. It got the hammer after maybe 1 clip of nails. So much of their stuff is not worth wasting any money on and a lot of reviews come from novice weekend warriors not tradesmen. They do fortunately have some good stuff here and there. The Pittsburg wrenches and sockets are A+ as are a few other things. I stay away from anything with moving parts, that's my rule of thumb and 90% of what I own now is all RIDGID or Porter Cable. As a good example, my RIDGID brad nailer I bought used off eBay for $50 ($100 new in store) and it works like a dream. I took a risk as the guy said it was only used to trim his new house and I didn't get a warranty but it still works 100% better than the HF nailer.

    As they say... You get what you pay for! Shop wisely.

    THIS HAS BEEN AN OFFICIAL THREAD HIJACK ANNOUNCEMENT. LOL.
    Last edited by SimSamurai; 01-06-2014 at 04:31 AM.

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