Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue
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  1. #1
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    Jul 2011
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    Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Hello guys,
    I I know some of you guys have alot of technical experience in the machines themselves and repairing them. I am looking for a bit of that info.

    I have purchesed a 1980's Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 machine for a VERY good deal. It has sat for some time but was working fine when the guy stopped using it. I have it hooked up a full bottle of pure argon. It has a nice great condition air cooled torch and a nice foot pedal.
    It was already labeled as to what switches need to be where for Aluminum and steel...
    The machine looks almost new. It is still shiney and all cables and hoses are in good shape.

    I am having some trouble with it though that I can not seem to figure out. I learned to tig on a Miller Syncrowave 350 and the flame on the torch is VERY different. I do not expect my older Lincoln to weld the same as that Miller, but the flame is so different I can not control and feel like there is something wrong.

    When I start the arc it seems fine, but as soon as it starts up, then there is an orange flare around the flame. The nice fine focused white arc that I am used too seems to wander around alot and flames outward in an orange ball sort of.

    It does it on steel, but I seem to be able to control it better and can weld kinda decent, but on aliminum it is uncontrolable.

    Any I deas on what it may be? Like I said I learned to weld from one of the best welders I have ever seen. His welds on ANY material look like rolls of dimes. I know how to grind my tungsten, I have tried different amounts of gas, I have it set on A/C and the arc starter switch on.... everything correct. I feel like there is some internal component that is not working properly. Some transformer or circuit or solenoid not working?

    Thanks for any input...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    2,233

    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    check the spark gapand set to specs..
    a manual can be found on lincolns site using your ser./code numbers
    idealarc 250/250 ac-dc tig
    idealarc 250/250 ac-dc tig #2 used for stick
    lincoln sp100
    hh125
    dual arbor grinder polisher
    30 yrs of hand tools
    52 pitch blocks 6p-26p
    rake gauge -pitch gauge
    G&D prop repair
    918-207-6938
    Hulbert,okla 74441

  3. #3
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    Jul 2011
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    11

    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Thanks prop dr. Its a start.
    I really feel like there is something that is shorting or NOT working correctly.

    Are there any certified repair shops in so cal?

  4. #4
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    Jul 2011
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    11

    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    I checked and reset the spark gap. The unit cover said 0.030" but the manual said 0.040 so I set it at about 0.035 to split the difference.
    Then I added another ground directly from the unit case to a grounding rod in a salted hole over 3' deep right behind the unit which is in addition to the original ground that is directly to another grounding rod inside the electrical panel.
    I have 8 awg power supply on a dedicated 70amp circuit breaker. Everything seems to be set up very well. I thoroughly clean a fresh piece of store bought aluminum and wire brush with a dedicated brush only for aluminum and my arc still seems to be searching and not a focused white arc.

    HELP.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2006
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    Oklahoma
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    what tungsten are you using?
    how is it ground (pointed ,blunt) --on a dedicated grinder? no cross ways always long way
    maybe break off 1/4 inch an regrind ( arc wander sounds like a bad regrind
    idealarc 250/250 ac-dc tig
    idealarc 250/250 ac-dc tig #2 used for stick
    lincoln sp100
    hh125
    dual arbor grinder polisher
    30 yrs of hand tools
    52 pitch blocks 6p-26p
    rake gauge -pitch gauge
    G&D prop repair
    918-207-6938
    Hulbert,okla 74441

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    11

    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Im using ceriated tungsten.
    When I sharpen I have tried that stuff called "chem sharp" to no avail. Then I tried a dedicated 4" grinder disc holding the tungsten pointing into the rotation of the blade, so lengthwise to the tip. I have tried holding it sideways and spinning it so that any marking on the tip around the tip {thing threading, just not so deep of course} And finally I have tried a new belt on my belt sander holding the tungsten in line lengthwise to the belt and spun the tip slowly.

    When I weld aluminum the tip of the tungsten almost immediately forms that semi pointed ball on the tip {kinda looks like a circumcized....} which is exactly how my buddy's miller sync 350 looked and it worked perfect....any more ideas gents? Going crazy here. I dont want to have to take it in to a repair shop and pay a bunch of diagnostic fees and expensive parts if I dont have to.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2010
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    Georgia
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Maybe the advanced pulse shaping control on the Syncrowave let you run a little larger diameter tungsten than you would with this machine. If your arc is wandering too much, try a little smaller electrode and see if that help, or don't let the tip ball up quite as much.
    Century Wire Feed 140 MIG, Snap-on MM140SL MIG, Syncrowave 250, Airco 225 MSM Stinger, Victor O/A rig
    Grizzly 4" x 6" Bandsaw, Milwaukee Portaband and Dewalt 14" Chopsaw
    Atlas 12"x36" Lathe
    Central Hydraulics 20T Shop Press
    Too Many Hand Tools

  8. #8
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    You said the orange doesn't appear until after you've been going a little bit, how long, just a few seconds? I'm new to TIG, so for some things I'm just going on what I've learned reading and listening, but I can draw on experience with problems from other types of equipment. Would loss or, or decrease in argon flow after you start cause the orange to appear? Not sure why it would cause the flame to wander. An initial flow of gas in a line controlled by a valve, followed by a decrease or stop in flow is a sign of an upstream restriction, in this case, back near the regulator on the bottle. Have you watched the flowmeter to make sure its not dropping off? (or have someone else watch as you weld) If the machine sat up a while, and hoses were unhooked, some trash might have got in the line, or the regulator on the bottle is sticking. Around here, the dirt daubers will plug up any open holes they find with mud that's almost as strong as epoxy, hate them things. Just another thought .....
    Century Wire Feed 140 MIG, Snap-on MM140SL MIG, Syncrowave 250, Airco 225 MSM Stinger, Victor O/A rig
    Grizzly 4" x 6" Bandsaw, Milwaukee Portaband and Dewalt 14" Chopsaw
    Atlas 12"x36" Lathe
    Central Hydraulics 20T Shop Press
    Too Many Hand Tools

  9. #9
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    Jul 2011
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Thanx for the input Bill. I will double check the gas line, but when I assembled it all I blew my air compressor hose air through it and it seemed clear. I have watch the gas meter and it jumps when you first stryke the arc and then stays steady...seems fine, not sure.
    The orange flame comes right after the arc starts. It seems to start fine but almost immediately goes to orange.

  10. #10
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Be sure that you're using pure argon. Maybe even swap bottles from a known good weld.

  11. #11
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    Jul 2011
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Pure argon from Action Gas dealer. I dont have any other welders here so no exchange is possible. The welder I learned on is in Los Angeles about 90 miles from me.

    I guess at this point I am looking for a good reputable repair shop in so. cal. ???

  12. #12
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Hate to have you take it in to the shop, its probably gonna be something little. Does going up or down on the gas flow have any effect on the flame? You say you looked at the gas meter, its the little ball that goes up and down in the tube right? you're not talking pressure gauge on the regulator are you? Just checking. You've double checked the torch assembly, right electrode collet size combination and everything turned the right way? The rotameter is way back at the bottle, and just to confirm the flow is really making it out the end of the torch, you could confirm it by disconnecting torch leads from the welder, so it only has the gas line connected, then start flow with the torch tip stuck just below the surface of some water in a cup, watch it bubble and run the rotameter up and down and see that the bubbles change.
    Century Wire Feed 140 MIG, Snap-on MM140SL MIG, Syncrowave 250, Airco 225 MSM Stinger, Victor O/A rig
    Grizzly 4" x 6" Bandsaw, Milwaukee Portaband and Dewalt 14" Chopsaw
    Atlas 12"x36" Lathe
    Central Hydraulics 20T Shop Press
    Too Many Hand Tools

  13. #13
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    try dcen for steel

  14. #14
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    Jul 2011
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    I use dcen on steel and a/c for aluminum, but thanx for any input. I really need to figure this thing out. I just bought a project truck that will need some fab work and a good bit of welding...1952 Studebakker 3/4 or 1 ton truck. Its very cool, but it is 60 years old. Im only 47 and I have needed lots of repairs already.

  15. #15
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Still no luck? You mentioned that all the switches were labeled as to where to set them for Steel or Al. I'd suggest that you get a copy of the exact model manual from http://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us...r-manuals.aspx and study the manual a little to be sure there's not a setting you're missing. I tried looking up the manual for a Lincoln Idealarc 250/250 and it shows me a model for a machine that doesn't have HF, so either because I didn't have SN it gave me the wrong manual, or you've got an add-on HF box. If you give me the SN of the welder and Model/SN of the HF box I may can help you better. The troubleshooting section of the HF box manual that I found has a little bit of stuff, but I want to be sure I'm looking at the one for your box before I say something.

    Another thing, if you've got the add-on HF box, then you probably had all the cables disconnected when you moved it, so double check all that against the diagram in the manual. Make sure the work lead goes through the HF box, and not directly from the welder to the work. Also clean all the contact points of the cable lugs with some steel wool or fine emery cloth.

    I was reading in another thread about Lincoln shields making the flame look more orange, not sure if this is the case, but the orange may just be a distraction and the real problem is just your wandering arc.
    Century Wire Feed 140 MIG, Snap-on MM140SL MIG, Syncrowave 250, Airco 225 MSM Stinger, Victor O/A rig
    Grizzly 4" x 6" Bandsaw, Milwaukee Portaband and Dewalt 14" Chopsaw
    Atlas 12"x36" Lathe
    Central Hydraulics 20T Shop Press
    Too Many Hand Tools

  16. #16
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill431Nite View Post
    Still no luck? You mentioned that all the switches were labeled as to where to set them for Steel or Al. I'd suggest that you get a copy of the exact model manual from http://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us...r-manuals.aspx and study the manual a little to be sure there's not a setting you're missing. I tried looking up the manual for a Lincoln Idealarc 250/250 and it shows me a model for a machine that doesn't have HF, so either because I didn't have SN it gave me the wrong manual, or you've got an add-on HF box. If you give me the SN of the welder and Model/SN of the HF box I may can help you better. The troubleshooting section of the HF box manual that I found has a little bit of stuff, but I want to be sure I'm looking at the one for your box before I say something.

    Another thing, if you've got the add-on HF box, then you probably had all the cables disconnected when you moved it, so double check all that against the diagram in the manual. Make sure the work lead goes through the HF box, and not directly from the welder to the work. Also clean all the contact points of the cable lugs with some steel wool or fine emery cloth.

    I was reading in another thread about Lincoln shields making the flame look more orange, not sure if this is the case, but the orange may just be a distraction and the real problem is just your wandering arc.
    This is a TIG 250, not the regular Idealarc stick welder, thus already having HF built in. To get the correct manual from Lincoln's web site, you really need the code number.
    Lincoln Idealarc 250 (circa 1962)
    Lincoln Weldpak 155 w/Mig Kit
    Lincoln Squarewave TIG 175

  17. #17
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Yes it is A TIG 250/250 and it has HF built in. The wandering flame is directly linked to the flame being orange. It strikes up whiteish blueish like it should, then it almost immediately starts to flame orange and looks more like a gas torch than an electric arc and the arc moves slightly around randomly...cant get the feel to weld evenly. It randomly seems too cold to melt the rod, then just burns thru the material almost instantly.

    I have 3 sizes of tungsten and have tried all three of them with no success. I too know it is something simple, some bad connection or bad resistor or fuse....

  18. #18
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Have you tried switching the polarity? What about the gas, have you tried a new bottle yet?
    Ian Tanner

    Kawasaki KX450f and many other fine tools

  19. #19
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    it has not been asked,you have not told us... what tungsten are you using ?
    i use 2% red 3/32 for all
    idealarc 250/250 ac-dc tig
    idealarc 250/250 ac-dc tig #2 used for stick
    lincoln sp100
    hh125
    dual arbor grinder polisher
    30 yrs of hand tools
    52 pitch blocks 6p-26p
    rake gauge -pitch gauge
    G&D prop repair
    918-207-6938
    Hulbert,okla 74441

  20. #20
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    Jul 2011
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by prop-doctor View Post
    it has not been asked,you have not told us... what tungsten are you using ?
    i use 2% red 3/32 for all
    In post #6 I stated I am using ceriated. That is what I used on the miller I learned on, that is what it came with, and that is what my local welding supplier reccommended for all around welding.

    If that is not good please reccommend what I should be using on this machine and I will try it.

  21. #21
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    it couldn't hurt try 2%thoriated 3/32 red
    idealarc 250/250 ac-dc tig
    idealarc 250/250 ac-dc tig #2 used for stick
    lincoln sp100
    hh125
    dual arbor grinder polisher
    30 yrs of hand tools
    52 pitch blocks 6p-26p
    rake gauge -pitch gauge
    G&D prop repair
    918-207-6938
    Hulbert,okla 74441

  22. #22
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    Nov 2010
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    Re: Lincoln Idealarc Tig 250/250 issue

    It wasn't until I read your last posts that I caught that its not just that you're getting a wandering arc, but that the amp control isn't steady. The variation in heat seems to be more that just what you'd expect from a wandering arc? Is that right? I looked at a schematic for a mid 90's vintage machine and your's is going to be simpler circuitry if anything than that one. Other than a post-flow timer that you might have, there aren't any complicated ciruits (like a circuit board), just discrete components you can see. Have you pulled the cover and LOOKED for something that looks fried? You'd be surprised how often you can see something that looks burnt or arced. I don't think its a failed component though, because the arc is ok for both DC and AC as it starts. The type of components we're talking about here don't usually work just a little, they FAIL and are then dead, period. If you have a loose connection inside the machine and you're getting an internal arc, it could be infuencing your "constant current" and making it actually erratic. It could take a second for this phantom arc to start, that's how you see it act normal at first. Open it up and look first, then start grabbing hold of connections and wiggling them to check for looseness. Arcs are going to most likely be in the larger wires. If you find something loose, if its bolted, take it apart and clean it well and tighten it back up. If its a slip on connector you might have to replace it. If you don't see anything in the larger wires, then maybe start looking at the smaller wires at the connectors. Smaller slip on connectors you might can squeeze a little with pliers to tighten them. And the gas flow, you're sure its steady? A sticking regulator could give you erratic flow. Some troubleshooting guides suggest too high a gas flow can cause wandering arc.
    Last edited by Bill431Nite; 09-22-2011 at 11:33 AM. Reason: fixed a typo ..... yours IS going to be simpler if anything
    Century Wire Feed 140 MIG, Snap-on MM140SL MIG, Syncrowave 250, Airco 225 MSM Stinger, Victor O/A rig
    Grizzly 4" x 6" Bandsaw, Milwaukee Portaband and Dewalt 14" Chopsaw
    Atlas 12"x36" Lathe
    Central Hydraulics 20T Shop Press
    Too Many Hand Tools

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