I got a chance to check out this 200ex finally and well here are my thoughts on this machine.
The unit is pretty light weight and seems to be a nice piece. Everything showed up in very good condition. And it all works perfectly outside of the box. No complaints there.
Comes with 1 3/32 collet body, 1/16th collet, 3/32 collet, 5,6,7 cup. Back caps. No tungsten, no welding rods. Torch is a 26 style and has a simple on/off switch (no knob to adjust current, and this is pretty standard for the longevity stuff from what I have noticed on both longevity machines)
This unit comes with a flow meter style gauge and looks to be really nice. Hooked it up and it works just fine. Here is the strange part, this is the first machine I've seen with a push lok for the argon hook up in the back. So a few thoughts when I noticed that. For me it doesn't work well because I switch from machine to machine and it makes it a pain in the ***. If you use this machine with the same tank it's perfect. The release is a little uncomfortable at first since there is so much plastic in the back. If you have really big hands you won't like it. One thing I didn't like was the hose that came with it was too small. Not a big deal; I had one that would work.
Performance: It honestly welds perfectly. No problems, nothing bad to even comment at all actually. I did some steel and some aluminum and have zero issues with it's welding performance. I like the adjustability for pulsing, frequency, balance etc. The 26 torch is a little on the heavy side and pulls on the wrist some, but it's just going to take some getting used to. I actually love the 17 torch that came with the 160sx. It welds like a high end machine. And if you don't believe me, anyone in the chicago land area is free to come by and try it out first hand. Also note it does not have the same issue with the arc as the TA186.
Display: Easy to navigate. Easy to adjust your settings. Very well laid out. However if the machine is on the ground and you change anything you will have to get eye level with it to see the numbers because of the way the front bevel sits. This is why we have welding carts
The display after a few seconds will change to voltage, but if your setting is on amperage or post flow etc just turn the knob and it will change back.
Postflow: Lowest setting is 1second
With all the good things there has to be some things I dislike, right?
Well yes there is, and it's once again the foot pedal.
The cord is a little short; not a big deal.
Next thing I noticed was that the pedal has no grip too it. None at all. And in fact after using it; it's so not a big deal. $3 on skateboard grip tape and it will be perfectly fine. Even without it; there is no issue at all. Just something worth noting.
The other thing is the amperage adjustment knob is on the side of the pedal again. For comparison, the pedal on the 160sx has the adjustment knob on the left side and the wires going in the front. This pedal has the adjustment knob on the right side, and the wire coming in the right side as well.
I've gotten used to the knob on the pedal for the 160sx, however on the 200ex it's not as convenient especially with the wire being short and coming out on the same side. I can deal with all this, it's just a slight difference from what my other machines are. What I dislike is the amperage knob doesn't even spin 360* and there is no indication of what your amperage is at. Only way to tell is to grab a piece of scrap metal, turn the knob, and hit the pedal and watch the front panel. This is my only real complaint with the machine. I'm going to test and mark the pedal so I have an idea of where it's really at.
Of course with the pedal being like this and you using the pulse feature you can set your low current, but you can't set your high current (exactly) unless you use a test piece of metal and double check your settings.
So in conclusion:
It's probably not ideal for someone that uses pulse and needs to know exactly what their amperage is. Machine shop people come to mind.
Who is it ideal for?
Probably everyone else that likes welding, and does it for fun, hobby or work. If you can buy some $3 grip tape, a $2 hose and spend a few minutes marking the pedal the machine is awesome.
Would I buy this machine?
Yes and here is why. I've bought a few things from longevity and everything has shipped out quick. Showed up working. Great customer service anytime I have a question. And most of all performance. Never would I have thought with a budget price can I get a lot of performance and I was wrong. Yes it's not a perfect machine, but if the pedal was different and the amperage control was on the machine it would be a perfect machine. It has a TON of features and options. I don't think you will be able to find any other machine with this many features for this price point. $1299 plus shipping according to www.lweld.com
Here are some pics in no particular order. And I have a video to follow later this week.