Bobcat vs Trailblazer
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    27

    Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    I am trying to figure out which machine would work better for me but having trouble with this after reading all Miller materials I could find. So here it comes:

    Assuming that:
    - I only need DC stick and never more than 250 amps
    - I will never power anything else while welding

    I have two questions regarding Bobcat 250 and Trailblazer 302:
    - Which one is a better stick welder?
    - Which one is a better generator?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    O.C. CA
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    779

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Buying a welder that would give you the amps to gouge with especially if your planning to do repair work would be the most important feature I would want. From what I understand the bobcat is a better generator that can weld and the Trailerblazer is the opposite. I used a bobcat before and I think it has a terrible arc quality. The one I used, you had strike your rod several inches away then bring the rod to where you want to start and if you did not do this you'd get porosity. My bro-in-law use a trailblazer and he described it very similar to running like the bobcat. I

  3. #3
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    Jun 2009
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    TEXAS
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    398

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    got a bobcat 250, good generator and ok welder. I've heard that the bobcat has less computer PC boards-but kinda hard to believe given it seems everything has PC boards in it these days. Ive heard, if you want a good shop machine get a miller. You want a good engine drive- buy a lincoln. If I would buy a similar machine to the bobcat 250 now, I would buy a lincoln ranger 250. I've worked around and welded with the ranger and it welds smoother, is quieter, and it is remote ready. Outside of that, if you still want better weld quality your now entering lincoln pipeliner territory. SA 200, 300, 400 etc. Sure you can air arc with a small engine drive with 1/8, 3/16 rods but you'll wear it out in no time. Plus isn't the point of air arcing to remove alot of metal in a shot amount of time? Use 3/8 rods with a capable machine and you'll be much better off. my 2 cents.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2009
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    Hellinois
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    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    I am considering both of these also. I talked with Miller and the big difference in arc quality goes to the TB, it has a three phase arc which is supposed to be superior. Also the TB has two separate generators, one for arc and one for aux power, which means that a grinder in use while welding will not affect the arc and it has more available power while welding. The BC has less electronics and I like that. I want to try them both before I buy to see if I can tell the difference. BTW, I am not a pro welder or one by trade, just a great hobby I use quite often in my business.
    "Where's Stick man????????" - 7A749
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    698

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Someone summed it up
    bobcat is a good generator that welds.
    trailblazer is a good welder that generates

    220volts is 220volts as far as I can see

    I went for the TB302
    Last edited by gordfraser; 03-16-2010 at 10:36 PM.
    G

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,916

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    I have welded with both. They are both nice welding machines. For the most part they will out weld the weldor. I prefer the TB. I can't say I noticed any major difference in weld characteristics as my welding from one to the welding with the other wasn't back to back.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    2,347

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    id go with the 302 and it has a 14-pin
    receptacle so with a wc-24 you can
    run a 30a spoolgun

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Elgin Tx
    Posts
    181

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    I had no luck with the TB, I had two of them. Miller warrantyed the first one ,the second I traded for a SA200 weeks after I started have trouble with the second machine. I have a 2005 mod. 225 miller that is a nice welder for what it is , people say that machine welds good for air cooled machine.
    1990 SA 200
    Miller 225
    Rip Miller302
    Miller 135
    Lincoln 200 Mig
    Hypertherm 600 Plasma
    Plasma Cam Cutting Table
    Mikita Cold Saw
    JL Welding Tx . com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    191

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Before I bought my engine driven welder, I used both a BC 250 and a TB 302. I was NOT impressed with the BC 250. Yes it will get the job done. But the arc was not great, I would just call it fair. Basically, if a shop machine had that arc, I would never use it. The TB 302 arc was head over heels better. It has a very smooth arc compared to the BC 250. I bought the TB 302 without ever thinking twice about it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lansing, MI
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    11,065

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    You're best off spending the money on the TB 302 if Miller is the route you plan to take.

    The thing that sold me on it is that you can generate power independent of the welding circuit. That means I can hook up my grinders or other tools & be able to run them without turning the fine amperage control all the way up every time like on the Bobcat.

    The Bobcat will not generate AUX power at 100% unless the control is turned up all the way.

    Big PITA if you're 200' away from the machine, tied off up in a basket or man lift.

    Having the remote out is really handy too for running MIG feeders, ditch boxes, TIG foot or hand controls & spoolguns.

    Only used a Bobcat once & felt my TB welded better. You get arc adjustment on the TB too

    Overall, a much better machine for the money.

    IMHO of course.

  11. #11
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    Oct 2006
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    Ca, USA
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    5,241

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    I have a Bobcat 250NT. Like everyone else said, it's a great generator and an OK stick welder but not great. I plug my XMT into the Bobcat's generator for stick, mig feeder, aluminum spoolgun and dc tig work from the truck. This combination works very well for me. If didn't have the XMT, I would likely have traded my Bobcat for a Trailblazer to get the advanced process capabilities.
    MM350P/Python/Q300
    MM175/Q300
    DialarcHF

    HTP MIG200
    PowCon300SM

    Hypertherm380
    ThermalArc185
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    LoadNGo utilitybed
    Bobcat250
    XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic
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    Passport/Q300

    Smith op

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    BULVERDE, TX.
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    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    There is nothing wrong with a Bobcat. They will get it done easily is straight stick is all you ever plan on doing. Where the TB really shines is in the multiprocess area. The stick performance is outstanding due to the 3 phase arc. You can adjust the arc soft to hard to adjust to changing situations and rods, which is extremely nice. The CV end of the TB runs as well as or better than most HIGH end shop wire machines. Plus, they are rated at 325a in CV giving you more room to run....plus they will do a lot more. Mine has hit as high as 365a in CV. The TIG is very good, too. I haven't run the AC side yet, but it runs pretty good DC TIG. The lift arc works just fine, too. If all that is not useful to you, maybe a Bobus will be better. IMO, the stick welding arc alone makes the TB worth it.
    QamuIs Heg qaq law' lorvIs yInqaq puS



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    225

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Go with the Trailblazer, this machine has a 4 pole rotor, which gives you a much smoother arc than a Bobcat with it's single pole rotor, and has others have mentioned, the TB has the 14 pin remote.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    27

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Thanks guys, useful feedback! One thing I am not clear on is whether bobcat is a better generator in any way than tb? In other words, other than a bit of money and potential reliability am I giving up anything else by going with tb?

  15. #15
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    Mar 2010
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    27

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    also, does lincoln have a machine that is priced reasonably close to TB but is better in some way as a welder and/or generator?

    I am not talking about 10k+ machines, can't justify that unfortunately.

  16. #16
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    Jun 2009
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    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Similar cost between TB and lincoln ranger. When I was working around the lincoln ranger and my bobcat I noticed the ranger was a little quieter. My advice is to demo them both before buying and shop around.

  17. #17
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    Oct 2006
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    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    While there is no doubt the TB is more adjustable and is nicer to weld with you'll find that the bobcat or entry level ranger is a better than a simple buzz box welder even if it has DC. So if that is what you're worried about if you can accept the performance of a buzz box welder you'll enjoy running an engine driveTB, bobcat or ranger.
    Tough as nails and damn near as smart

  18. #18
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    Mar 2010
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    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Quote Originally Posted by tresi View Post
    While there is no doubt the TB is more adjustable and is nicer to weld with you'll find that the bobcat or entry level ranger is a better than a simple buzz box welder even if it has DC. So if that is what you're worried about if you can accept the performance of a buzz box welder you'll enjoy running an engine driveTB, bobcat or ranger.
    How is TB arc quality compared to inverters like Maxstar 150, 200 or CST 280?

  19. #19
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    Feb 2004
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    BULVERDE, TX.
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    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    The arc quality is just below the inverters. I have not used the ones you listed, but compared to the Dynasty 300 and 350, the TB is just below.
    QamuIs Heg qaq law' lorvIs yInqaq puS



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    10

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    I was looking at all of these machines and I was down to ranger gxt or trailblazer went with the gxt gave everything I wanted I am glad I did this thing weld like a dream! Makes a cracker box look stupid. Really nice welds and great generator. It also runs My suitcase mig and tools with no problems.
    Lincon Ranger 250 GXT, Lincoln 135plus mig, Lincoln 225 AC/DC cracker box, Hypertherm 45 awaiting arrival, really want a plasmacam table!

  21. #21
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    Oct 2006
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    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Quote Originally Posted by DEM View Post
    How is TB arc quality compared to inverters like Maxstar 150, 200 or CST 280?
    I have no idea, never ran invertor.
    Tough as nails and damn near as smart

  22. #22
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    Oct 2006
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    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    I've stick welded with the CST 280 and XMT 304 and both have truly excellent arc quality. The XMT is also a truly excellent multi-process machine.

    I feel I'm better off driving my XMT with the Bobcat than just having a Trailblazer instead. It's 2 machines instead of one, but that also allows flexibility as I sometimes use the XMT in the shop plugged into the wall too. Plus I can move the XMT further from the truck with 220v extension cords and still use my RC feeder and spool gun at great distances from the truck. I'd be limited to just the control cable length if I had the Trailblazer (50 feet with the RC feeder or 20 feet with the spool gun).

    I was using my spool gun 150 or more feet from the truck the other day welding on some aluminum railing by moving the XMT out to the work area and stringing ext cords back to the Bobcat. That would have been impossible with the TB, since I couldn't have parked the truck any closer to the work in that situation.
    Last edited by DesertRider33; 03-21-2010 at 12:26 PM.
    MM350P/Python/Q300
    MM175/Q300
    DialarcHF

    HTP MIG200
    PowCon300SM

    Hypertherm380
    ThermalArc185
    Purox oa
    F350CrewCab4x4
    LoadNGo utilitybed
    Bobcat250
    XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic
    Suitcase12RC/Q300
    Suitcase8RC/Q400
    Passport/Q300

    Smith op

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    191

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    Quote Originally Posted by DEM View Post
    Thanks guys, useful feedback! One thing I am not clear on is whether bobcat is a better generator in any way than tb? In other words, other than a bit of money and potential reliability am I giving up anything else by going with tb?
    No the generators are the same. They both produce nice clean power. What people are saying is that people buy the Bobcat for use as a generator (to power their homes during a power failure) becasue of the high kilowatts for a cheap price. They may use the bobcat for some welding, but not much.
    People buy the Trailblazer for a welder. It has a nicer arc on it than the BC250. But it will do the same (actually more since the gen and welder is separate) as far as the gen power. The TB302 as a separate gen and weld output, so starting big grinders, saws, etc.. doesnt affect your arc quatily.
    Basically if you were just needing a gen set, the TB302 is overkill, and the BC250 would work well enough.

    Lincoln really doesn't make anything comparable to the TB302. Their Ranger 305 is more like the BC250, but with higher output. The millers puts out "cleaner" power than the Lincolns.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    27

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    You guys are an amazingly useful source of information, thank you!!!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    122

    Re: Bobcat vs Trailblazer

    I'm pretty happy with my bobcat 225. Haven't had a crappy weld or fail yet. You just have to figure out your own manipulation technique as you can only adjust amperage and not your voltage (Eg soft or sharp arc).

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