New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HELP!!!
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  1. #1
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    New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HELP!!!

    Continued from a previously deleted thread... I purchased a '97 Migmaster 250 for $75 that was considered JUNK by the previous owner because the cost to repair was estimated at almost $900. The repair facility said it needed a Mig Gun, Contactor, Relay, New 220 volt NEMA 6/50 plug and over $400 in labor to do the work needed to replace and install all of those parts over five years ago. So I took a chance knowing this is an old school Transformer based Welder and not much could go wrong with it. That gamble paid off and after installing a plug and whip I am happy to say that I have a working machine. Now all I have to do is get all the bugs worked out and learn how to use it to it's full potential.

    The Machine was damaged on the front near the Euro gun port. It was not noticeable when I looked at it during my initial inspection prior to purchasing the unit. Since it did not have a power plug or gun I asked the seller if I could open it up and take a look under the hood. They let me and all looked good including the wire feed speed board. So I paid them the agreed price of $75.00 and went home a happy camper.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks from the purchase date and the list of issues has been narrowed down a bit. So far No Contactor or Relay's are needed as far as I can tell. It was missing the spool gun gas port plug which I replaced with a cheap $1.49 Propane Tank Plug. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Propane-Tan...72.m2749.l2649 I put a ESAB Gun Master 250 15' gun on the machine and started using it but was having feeding issues. So I pulled the wire feed assembly apart to find out that their was a bent tube that holds the guide tubes in place. The machine had a gun liner in place of the factory guide tube. So I purchased a guide tube and it would not go in the machine properly with out encountering substantial resistance. This is how I discovered the bent part and that the front face of the machine was tweaked a bit. I was able to use a 20 Ton press to straiten the thick Copper tube that holds the guide tube in place between the drive rollers and Mig gun liner. I also had to push the face back out a bit so the drive system and mig gun would all line up properly with out making the drive roll housing flex from it all being bent out of shape when attempting tightening it all back up.

    I am pretty sure I have the feeding issues under control. Now I have to figure out how to dial in the arc or determine if there is other issues that cause the arc to not be as clean and crisp as it should be.

    I am hoping other members here that have this machine can tell me some of the settings used for different wire gauges and material thicknesses.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by N2 Welding; 04-01-2018 at 02:21 AM.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
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    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
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  2. #2
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Before it was ESAB, it was sold under the Ltec brand. Here are some pic of mine I had on photobucket.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
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  3. #3
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    The L-Tec looks identical other than color.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  4. #4
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    It is identical, let's see if we can get WW to host the owner's manual on their server should others need it in the future. http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5ac0e3bf...ster%20250.pdf

    Here is the ST23A spoolgun manual. Made buy Profax/lenco
    http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5ac0e474...n%20manual.pdf
    Last edited by soutthpaw; 04-01-2018 at 09:53 AM.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
    AHP200x; AHP 160ST; MM350P, Spoolmatic 30A; Everlast PowerTig 185; ESAB 875 plasma;Evo 355. OA

  5. #5
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Setting a mig doesn't really change, set wire feed speed based on amps needed. Dial voltage to make it run right.

    This pic from miller shows the steps pretty good.

    Snip wire flush, use a 6 second trigger pull, measure and multiply by 10.
    Select coarse voltage range, dial it in with fine control knob.
    Welding voltage can easily be measured at this stage with a normal multi-meter. (not open circuit voltage, measure welding volts)

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    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
    Invertec v250-s
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    Tried being normal once, didn't take....I think it was a Tuesday.

  6. #6
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working ag

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    It is identical, let's see if we can get WW to host the owner's manual on their server should others need it in the future. http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5ac0e3bf...ster%20250.pdf

    Here is the ST23A spoolgun manual. Made buy Profax/lenco
    http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5ac0e474...n%20manual.pdf
    I bet this chart from your manual will save him a lot of time

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    Last edited by MinnesotaDave; 04-01-2018 at 10:47 AM.
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
    Invertec v250-s
    Thermal Arc 161 and 300
    MM210
    Dialarc
    Tried being normal once, didn't take....I think it was a Tuesday.

  7. #7
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    On mine I found the wire speed control was not totally linear, so I ran 15 seconds of wire at each mark, measured the wire length it put out and multiplied by 4 then write the number on the machine. Release the tensioner and rewind/ repeat.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
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    New to me JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working ag

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    It is identical, let's see if we can get WW to host the owner's manual on their server should others need it in the future. http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5ac0e3bf...ster%20250.pdf

    Here is the ST23A spoolgun manual. Made buy Profax/lenco
    http://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5ac0e474...n%20manual.pdf
    Thank you for the manuals soutthpaw, Do you know if Profax/Lenco used another name or model number for the ST23A spoolgun?
    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    I bet this chart from your manual will save him a lot of time

    Attachment 1684599
    The image is not working for some reason Dave. Oh and thank you for the miller adjustment instructions. I will have to give that a try.

    I also have to make me a chart for wire speeds. I know wide open is suppose to be 650 I’m and is pretty close with a few tests I performed. The only thing that bugs me about the wire feed speed settings is the face plate for the speed control knob reads 0 - 10 but the knob turns past 10 to somewhere between where 11 & 12 would be.

    I will have to make a cheat sheet for the machine that tells me what numbers on the face plate correlate to specific wire speeds /amps
    Last edited by N2 Welding; 04-01-2018 at 11:32 AM.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  9. #9
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Yeah Profax AEC 100 or 200. They are USA made and based, if you call them, you are usually connected directly to a live person who is pretty knowledgeable about the products. I was thinking you could probably make one of the cheaper guns work, all you need is to power the gun motor and have a trigger to close the contactors in the machine.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
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  10. #10
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working ag

    Quote Originally Posted by N2 Welding View Post
    Thank you for the manuals Tiger, Do you know if Profax/Lenco used another name or model number for the ST23A spoolgun?


    The image is not working for some reason Dave. Oh and thank you for the miller adjustment instructions. I will have to give that a try.

    I also have to make me a chart for wire speeds. I know wide open is suppose to be 650 I’m and is pretty close with a few tests I performed. The only thing that bugs me about the wire feed speed settings is the face plate for the speed control knob reads 0 - 10 but the knob turns past 10 to somewhere between where 11 & 12 would be.

    I will have to make a cheat sheet for the machine that tells me what numbers on the face plate correlate to specific wire speeds /amps
    Hmm, try again?

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    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
    Invertec v250-s
    Thermal Arc 161 and 300
    MM210
    Dialarc
    Tried being normal once, didn't take....I think it was a Tuesday.

  11. #11
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    New to me " JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Thank you soutthpaw for the Profax spoolgun model numbers. That opens up a wider range of used guns to search for. I have a spool gun for the Rebel that I can probably adapt to use on the Migmaster. I was thinking of making a Euro Kwic Connect to Tweco adapter so That I can use either Euro or Tweco end guns on this machine and have 3 guns set up for three different wire sizes.

    Dave thank you for the door chart settings. That chart gets the machine welding but is slightly off on the parameters as you will get a lot of spatter with the door chart settings. Dan has already mentioned this and I have discovered this to be true. I have my work cut out for me with documenting wire feed speeds. I was using the 6 second x 10 method that I learned from watching Jody’s videos but soutthpaw said a few posts back that this machine is not linere so 15 seconds x 4 is a preferred method he used. I will have to try both and see what I experience.
    Last edited by N2 Welding; 04-01-2018 at 11:50 AM.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  12. #12
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    When you have excess spatter, and the bead is too wide, it's a sign of too much voltage for the wire feed speed.

    If penetration is good (controlled by WFS), turn down voltage.

    If penetration seems to be low, increase WFS until spatter diminishes.

    If wire "stubs" into the metal, that's too fast for the voltage.

    It’s a balancing act
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
    Invertec v250-s
    Thermal Arc 161 and 300
    MM210
    Dialarc
    Tried being normal once, didn't take....I think it was a Tuesday.

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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    I always set by stubbing the wire into the work, then back off till it pulls out off the puddle/arc breaks, then start with my settings 1/2 way between the 2 extremes
    I've had a few of those spoolguns with different branding, Airco, Miller, military surplus spec.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
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  14. #14
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    I am going to look one more time to make sure the machine is set up properly for 230v and not 208v. I believe I have the 208/230 volt only machine. Once I know 100% that the machine voltage is set up correctly I will start documenting wire feed speeds. I am able to get a decent arc that would be acceptable but am not able to get that nice crisp near spatter free arc I have read about.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
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  15. #15
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Quote Originally Posted by N2 Welding View Post
    I am going to look one more time to make sure the machine is set up properly for 230v and not 208v. I believe I have the 208/230 volt only machine. Once I know 100% that the machine voltage is set up correctly I will start documenting wire feed speeds. I am able to get a decent arc that would be acceptable but am not able to get that nice crisp near spatter free arc I have read about.
    If you are going to do testing and documenting, remember to hook up your multimeter for weld voltage.

    This will show you if you're off on weld voltage relative to WFS and should match what you know by feel.

    If no one is around, I do this by welding a t-joint with one hand and blocking the light with my other gloved hand.
    I can drag the mig nozzle this way and keep it smooth.

    Its how I check the settings on my suitcase wire feed for the bobcat.
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
    Invertec v250-s
    Thermal Arc 161 and 300
    MM210
    Dialarc
    Tried being normal once, didn't take....I think it was a Tuesday.

  16. #16
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    I see from my emails that you posted this quoted text on the other thread soutthpaw.
    One of these is your friend. The netwelding.com one is by far the most accurate, but the prose ones are okay too, make sure to get the standard, not metric one. Image: https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...adf3385e14.jpg
    Thank you

    Dave I don’t know how to check the voltage while welding. Do I just clip the meters leads to the + and - leads in DC volt mode on any basic DMM?
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Quote Originally Posted by N2 Welding View Post
    Dave I don’t know how to check the voltage while welding. Do I just clip the meters leads to the + and - leads in DC volt mode on any basic DMM?
    Yep, that's all there is to it
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
    Invertec v250-s
    Thermal Arc 161 and 300
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    Dialarc
    Tried being normal once, didn't take....I think it was a Tuesday.

  18. #18
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Shoot that sounds easy peasy. I have to go try that right now
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Ok power is connected correctly as far as I can tell. I do not see a jumper junction that require changing. I don't think the 208v/230v only unit comes with the jumper junction. 230v cable routed to the Power Switch to the front of the machine and the 208v cable is tied off to the side not connected.

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    I hooked up a volt meter. Tested for voltage on my best known settings for 1/4" and was seeing around 19-17.5 volts. It was probably fluctuating because I did not maintain the same stick-out distance. For the most part is stayed close to 18 volts. The machine was set to ( Med - 1 - 4.5 ) = ( Course - Fine - WFS )

    I set the machine to kill and was getting about 30 volts. I don't know if this is normal but when I initiate the arc the voltage spikes instantly to about 37 volts then drops down to about 30V when set to kill. Is that from inrush current or is this something I should be concerned with. I'm wondering if this is why the machine has real poppy starts.

    here are a couple of beads at the above setting using both .030 and .035 wires.

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    Last edited by N2 Welding; 04-01-2018 at 03:11 PM.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  20. #20
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    It was my 50th B-day yesterday, so I took a day off from participating on this site and went to the Trail Blazer basketball game in Portland. Anyway, one thing I see that might be killing the arc quality is the fact that it looks like you are welding on heavy mill scale instead of bright shiny metal.

    For short arc, I shortened the length of one of my nozzles so that the contact tip is extending out past the nozzle a healthy 1/8". This typically allows me to hold a nice tight 1/4" - 3/8" stick out. It's very rare that I get a poppy start from my unit. With my unit, even though it doesn't seem like it should be that case, the arc starts seem to be better with the ball left on the end of the wire. I have the burnback timer though, so my wire stick out after completeing a weld or tack is typically around a 1/4" - 3/8" with the ball on the wire. Also remember a high percentage of the time I using the knurled lower drive roll for solid wire.

    I typically run .030 on my unit. In the near future I'll try running some .035 INE and pass you on some machine settings to give a try.

    With an .030 wire coarse tap low/fine tap 6/ and around 5 on the wire speed produces real good results with my unit on 1/8".
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  21. #21
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Well Happy belated 50th Birthday Dan

    I have a bunch of 1/4”x1.5” coupons cut to 3” lengths that I was cleaning the scale on. One of those was with scale and the other was cleaned just at the joint.

    I will try your 1/8” settings later and see how they work on my machine. Thank you
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  22. #22
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Quote Originally Posted by N2 Welding View Post
    Ok power is connected correctly as far as I can tell. I do not see a jumper junction that require changing. I don't think the 208v/230v only unit comes with the jumper junction. 230v cable routed to the Power Switch to the front of the machine and the 208v cable is tied off to the side not connected.

    [

    I hooked up a volt meter. Tested for voltage on my best known settings for 1/4" and was seeing around 19-17.5 volts. It was probably fluctuating because I did not maintain the same stick-out distance. For the most part is stayed close to 18 volts. The machine was set to ( Med - 1 - 4.5 ) = ( Course - Fine - WFS )

    I set the machine to kill and was getting about 30 volts. I don't know if this is normal but when I initiate the arc the voltage spikes instantly to about 37 volts then drops down to about 30V when set to kill. Is that from inrush current or is this something I should be concerned with. I'm wondering if this is why the machine has real poppy starts.

    here are a couple of beads at the above setting using both .030 and .035 wires.

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    those look like pretty darn good beads, maybe if you grind clean the metal they will be even better...

  23. #23
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbytime View Post
    those look like pretty darn good beads, maybe if you grind clean the metal they will be even better...
    Thank you Hobbytime. I am looking for perfection " add rollie eyes here " I know I can only expect so much with my experience level but I want to see what all the rave is about. I was getting very poppy starts, spatter through out the weld and occasional feeding issues which I think I may still be experiencing a little while welding those 1/4" coupons. I am so use to the way the Rebel welds that it makes it hard for me to accept all the start up and occasional popping I am experiencing with this Migmaster 250.

    I will be sure to clean all coupons going forward from here on out. I think I may increase the size of the coupons from 3" to 4" in length. I still have a hand full of 1/4" x 1.5" 3" long coupons to weld on. Before I start cutting up 4" Long coupons.

    I ran some beads on some clean 1/8" material using the settings mentioned by Dan earlier this morning and they seemed to weld pretty nice. I did not do any weaving on these, just a strait drag " as strait as I could drag em any way " to see how the spatter and feeding would play out. I am still getting some random popping through out the weld and at the beginning especially if I don't have the work clamp directly on the material being welded.

    1/8" Before A Quick Hand Wire Brush:
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    1/8" After A Quick Hand Wire Brush:
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    Last edited by N2 Welding; 04-02-2018 at 01:22 PM.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  24. #24
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    I forgot to mention the above 1/8" welds were ran with .035 - .045 liner and .035 guide tube. Gun did have the .030 tip to match the wire size.
    '65 Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC
    L-tec PCM-VPi 40A plasma
    ESAB REBEL EMP 215ic
    ESAB Mig Master 250
    Victor Performer O/A

  25. #25
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    Re: New to me "JUNK $75.00 '97 ESAB Migmaster 250 " Let's get it working again... HEL

    your T joints look a little to convex, try moving faster or turning up the voltage a bit.
    Tiger Sales: AHP Distributor www.tigersalesco.com
    AHP200x; AHP 160ST; MM350P, Spoolmatic 30A; Everlast PowerTig 185; ESAB 875 plasma;Evo 355. OA

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