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jrork
05-06-2006, 02:27 PM
Hi Folks,
I'm new here and want to apologize for rehasing the "what should I buy" question but I've done some searches of all the posts and frankly am more confused so I thought I'd add to the insanity.

For the last 12 years I've enjoyed using a combination of a 225 Lincoln buzzbox for my heavier welding and a little 110Daytona PocketMig for my light sheetmetal welding.
The Daytona has finally given up the go and is not worth putting any money into so I'm going to step up to a 175 Lincoln or Miller.

I do very little welding. Just your run of the mill handyman stuff maybe once a month at the most. I mess with cars so I do some sheetmetal and some general chassis work and feel the 175 would fit the bill really nicely.

My question is in regards to the much discussed Tapped vs. Nontapped. Given the very limited welding I typically do, will a tapped unit and it's lesser price be that much inferior to a nontapped unit? In my pricing that I've done, the money I would save by buying a tapped unit would allow me to get a cart and new bottle. That seems like a good way of going given the small amount of welding I do but am really curious of your folks opinion. Clearly the Nontapped unit appears better for someone that welds often and on many different types and gauges of metal but what about us once in a blue moon welders?

Thanks very much and once again, sorry for dragging up this subject once again....John

stumpster
05-06-2006, 06:38 PM
I'm just learning but I have the 175plus(untapped) from what I understand its when you are doing the thinner sheet metal(on cars) that you want the fine tuning! I was kicking it around to when I bought mine but figured that I would regret not having the adjustment real quick, and sure enough I already am using the fine tuning! JM 2cents
Murphy's law : If ya don't have it you will need it ;)

MAC702
05-06-2006, 07:04 PM
The fine tuning is in the wire speed. The tapped units are perfect AS LONG AS they have suffient taps to have enough voltage ranges to cover the thicknesses involved.

There are a few machines that could use another tap (like the Hobart Handler 180), but most of the tapped machines are very sufficient for all thicknesses in their range. The HH180 needs a tap between 3 and 4 for best results, but it can still do a satisfactory job anyway. The Lincoln SP-175T has 5 taps, the Hobart HH180 has 4. The older HH175 also had 4 taps, but they were just different enough that they covered the range much better.

The HH140 and HH180 were designed around their bottom ends and do sheet metal extremely well.

The infinitely variable voltages on machines like the Lincoln SP-175+ and the Miller MM175, of course, will not have a problem with a missing tap, but sometimes they are too tempting for new users to play with the voltage dial when they don't need to. As long as voltage is in the ballpark, it is the wirespeed control that provides the equilibrium between wire speed and wire burn-off rate.

The MM175 also has wire speed tracking (WST) which advanced users sometimes find to be difficult to predict as it changes voltage or wire speed slightly to compensate as you change the other, which is good for newer users anyway. I had a MM175 for many years and was very satisfied with it; it made me a ton of money doing very detailed work and occasional 1/4" structural work as well.

Personally, the best deal out there on a superb machine is a reconditioned HH175 from here: http://www.toolking.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=5632

wizard
05-06-2006, 09:42 PM
Ahh the tapped non-tapped issue.

Since you are in possesion of a buzz box already, we know you have the high end covered for casual work. That is more than a great many people posting and asking questions here. A 175 amp class machine would be a very good fit with the buzz box, but might produce a bit of sticker shock. So baring that issue you seem to be in the right ball park.

Back to the taps. It is interesting that MAC above pointed out that some machines do have issues with the taps but comes to the oposite conclusion that I would come to. That is a variable machine is preferrable to a taped machine. Yes I realize that the wire speed controls the heat but that should not discount the importance of voltage setability.

Granted many people set the welders up for one type of wire and the machine never sees anything differrent. In this situation variable might not mean anything, especially if the taps represent a good match to the wire type and size being used. If it doesn't you will wish for variable. Most people aren't in the habit of changing rolls of wire mid stream on there MIG anyways, but if you do that is another consideration.

I like the idea of picking up a unit locally used. Ideally in a transaction where you cna verify operation of the unit. If the cost factor between taped and non taped is important I see this as the best way to go. I was actually all keyed up to do just that except for the fact that there seemed to be a 4 month dry spell with used eiquipment. Of course the market got flooded with used equipment right after I purchased the new welder.

There are two advantages to buying used. One of course is the savings over new. The other is often getting more machine for the money, oftne beyond what you where expecting.

Dave

stumpster
05-07-2006, 12:10 AM
but sometimes they are too tempting for new users to play with the voltage dial when they don't need to.

Hmmm, That would be me:D

BobC
05-07-2006, 12:22 PM
There is one other thing you may want to consider if the welder will ever need to be powered from a generator.

A tapped machine will likely perform better while operating on less-than-perfect power. The electronic controls in many non-tapped machines sometimes have trouble with input power from low to medium priced power generators.

jrork
05-07-2006, 01:50 PM
Thanks everybody. Sticker shock I can understand but I just want something that will last as well as my old crusty $389 Daytona cheapy. That lasted 12 years so I can't complain.
Based on everyones imput and my knowledge of how often I'll use it, I'm leaning hard towards a tapped machine and most likely a Lincoln since consumables are available at a number of stores nearby whereas Miller isnt quite as handy.
Based on this, I've got another question,
I want the tapped 175 Lincoln and I see Home Depot has one for $599 with a free stand. Comes with a hood (don't really need one) and all the gear including the regulator. I can just add my bottle from the Daytona and be up in a flash.
I know that I can get one a bit cheaper on Ebay but if I have a problem with it from the getgo, at least Home Depot is only 2 miles away and I can take it back.
Thoughts?????

RubenZ
05-07-2006, 02:12 PM
I have a tapped 175T and have yet to run into an issue where I wished I had the PLUS non-tapped version. And thats even working with some thin 16 guage stuff.

BobC
05-07-2006, 02:59 PM
I know that I can get one a bit cheaper on Ebay but if I have a problem with it from the getgo, at least Home Depot is only 2 miles away and I can take it back.
Thoughts?????

That's worth considering, especially since the package delivery companies, UPS, etc., are not known for gentle handling.

I think I would go with a local source unless the price was significantly less.

gnm109
05-12-2006, 03:27 PM
That's worth considering, especially since the package delivery companies, UPS, etc., are not known for gentle handling.

I think I would go with a local source unless the price was significantly less.

The worry about shipping is certainly real. I ordered my SP175 plus machine (with free shipping, by the way) from a Lincoln outlet in the Midwest. The price was good and it came with the cart. I waited patiently for the delivery. When I opened the box, UPS had managed to push the plastic front of the machine in about 3" neatly all the way around.

I sent photos to Lincoln in California and they had another, properly packed, machine to me in good condition in three days. They also picked up the other one. They didn't use UPS by the way. Ha.

Shipping is a concern, for sure.

As to tappers versus non-tappers, it's sort of a tossup. Although I have a variable unit, I find myself not really touching the voltage and speed controls all that much. When I do, I generally move them equally and it seems to be just fine. With a tapper, you'll probably be using one or two settings and it will work fine. Not to worry. Get a tapper locally and save shipping, money and worry. I do recommend the 175/220VAC machines, though. The extra power is very, very handy.

Good luck. ;)

imagineer
05-12-2006, 04:11 PM
I know that I can get one a bit cheaper on Ebay but if I have a problem with it from the getgo,

Just let you know it's possible . . . Via Ebay, I got a Lincoln Pro-Mig 175, new in the original box, for $400 +$60 to ship. It arrived double boxed and with no damage. It works great and I saved at least $200 had I bought the exact same unit at Lowes. I also got two 40cf cylinders off Ebay and got free 2nd day shipping.

jrork
05-12-2006, 08:07 PM
Thanks guys. I'm still reading each of your replies and will probably make my decision this weekend. Thanks again

RubenZ
05-12-2006, 10:37 PM
I bought mine through ebay at a good price with free shipping. I did notice the ground wire was cut about an inch. It was not a big deal for me and I didnt even bother making a fuss, it was close to the edge that I just cut that piece off and redid the clamp.

jrork
05-13-2006, 06:13 PM
Okey Dokey everybody. I picked up a ProMig 175 at Lowes. Seems like a nice unit and I can't wait to melt some metal. I've never used a gasless wire so that'll be a learning experiance. It came with some .025 gas wire and some .035 gasless. The gas wire I've used before but anybody have any tricks for me on the gasless/flux wire?

Thanks again to everyone for helping me work through this. John

Pentawelder
05-13-2006, 06:35 PM
Gun needs to be negative and work positive. Oh, and the arc is real bright!!

jrork
05-15-2006, 11:24 PM
I LOVE this flux core.
Using the .035 and can't get enough of it. Clean welds, great penetration and all the welder that I need...
Couldnt be happier.......

slaggy
06-01-2006, 01:02 PM
Hello to all,
Being the fact that I'm new to welding and learning everything as fast as possible, could someone explaing the terms "tapped or untapped" when describing this mig welder.

Regards,
Fred

smithboy
06-01-2006, 01:13 PM
A tapped welder "taps" into the windings of the transformer at specific points and this limits the adjustability of the amps to the number of "taps". Untapped welders have some method of continuously adjusting the amps with a big reostat or something else that performs a similar function. Untapped is better for fine adjustment, but tapped is better on the pocketbook....generally speaking.

MAC702
06-01-2006, 06:03 PM
A tapped welder "taps" into the windings of the transformer at specific points and this limits the adjustability of the amps to the number of "taps". Untapped welders have some method of continuously adjusting the amps with a big reostat or something else that performs a similar function. Untapped is better for fine adjustment, but tapped is better on the pocketbook....generally speaking.
Good description. Just change the word "amps" to "volts" and you nailed it, without getting into the electronics of the variable voltage.

Amperage, or heat, comes from the wire speed necessary to maintain the correct burn-off rate for the selected voltage, which also affects bead profile.

In most tapped machines, there are ample taps to cover all ranges very well, as the wire speed is the knob you want to play with the most for fine tuning.