piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.
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  1. #1

    piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    I am currently running my welding rig on a job and my 2012 miller trail blazer 325 EFI with excel power is giving me some problems...to say the least.

    my trail blazer sticks rods constantly. Every time I tighten my arc while running 8018 / 7018 its sticks a rod. Today I was running an 8018 cap on a 2" SCH 80 at 85 amps and 0 to +5 dig and my trail blazer was sticking rods constantly. It does this even when the machine is left on high idle. I have not used this machine very much so perhaps the problem stems from how I set my dig. on an XMT 350 I would set my dig at 0% to 3% to do a 3/32 8018 cap at 85 amps and would not stick a single rod. The dig setting is a bit different on these trail blazers. it goes from -25 to 0 then 0 to +25 maybe someone can provide me some insight on the dig setting.

    I have taken this welder into kristian electric in Calgary Alberta to have this problem remedied. The technicians there couldn't find anything wrong with it and told me miller offers an updated main board which provides "better arc characteristics" for the low low price of $2000CDN.

    I am completely fed up with this machine and am seriously considering picking up a Lincoln 300D, Lincoln Vantage 400 or a Lincoln Ranger 305g. On the job I am on right now im welding up hand 6010 root and 8018 fill and cap on pipe ranging from 2" to 48" there will also be some down hand in the mix so any advise on a machine that can handle all this would also be appreciated.

    Thank you for your time

    Russ

  2. #2
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    I'll give you 50 bucks for it. LOL
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  3. #3
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    sell it to some sucker who is in love with miller and get yourself a Lincoln SA-200 for pipe work but make sure its a round barrel one which has copper windings. you wont regret it.
    electronics are nice until they screw up. those old generators are as simple as you can get.
    also look at all the electronic crap and wires inside of a alternator machine like the vantage welders.

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    I'm a little confused by the information in the unit manual.

    It states that Arc Control is not active with the Contactor/Process switch in the Output On/Stick/Gouge positions (among others) yet in the chart it references the recommended Arc Control settings in this process setting. Setting toward Stiff is listed to minimize stickiness and perhaps your +5 out of 25 simply isn't enough and I wouldn't be looking to compare the TB to the XMT as they are two different machines.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Your selection of Lincoln machines spans a wide range of performance, features and capabilities too.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Quote Originally Posted by cub102 View Post
    Maybe I'm wrong but how much hood time with an SA200 do you think he's had?

    I'm impressed that they actually got as deep into troubleshooting that unit as he did. Obviously he was only scratching the surface but I'm surprised none the less.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    @ Duaneb55. do you mean the guy in the video? i bet he has never welded more than a few hours at a squeaky clean school on a nice clean bench with brand new plug in machines.
    there is always this simple rule. the more complex things are the more trouble you will have with them.
    the having trouble with his miller might have some bug that the repair guys cant find, i have seen car dealers that cant fix some problems on new cars and they are factory trained.

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Yes, the guy in the video not crustyrusty. I'd have to believe he's one of the Engineers that developed the Vantage series - and likely others - with the latest and greatest "gaming" electronic technology that's meant to do the thinking for the guy holdin' the stick. Personally, I believe that's why so many accustomed to using older machines have a hard time with the new stuff. They're each trying to "out think" the other and wind up dukin' it out.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Last year I had the pleasure of taking a one on one tour of Lincoln’s manufacturing facility in Cleveland, Ohio. It is very impressive to say the least. The demands on the engineer’s there, regardless of their background spend several weeks in the welding school being exposed to all the processes. The young engineer in this video doesn’t seem intimidated by the mass of wires and circuit boards like I would. He goes about troubleshooting it like we would go about changing a tire. I’ve never welded with a Vantage but I’m told the Chopper Technology board gives them a sweet arc. I’m not against technology at all, those Vantage machines have huge amounts of auxiliary power available, very fuel efficient Diesel engines and are no bigger than an old SA200. I still like my old simple 1966 Redface, they are so simple and dependable they have stood the test of time and have proven their self the world over in all conditions. Would I take a Vantage if I got a great deal? sure would, but I still love the old Redface


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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkie1957 View Post
    The young engineer in this video doesn’t seem intimidated by the mass of wires and circuit boards . . .
    I would hope not. Especially if he was involved in the machine's development. I'm not intimidated by what I've designed either although I may forget how I did something and have to think it thru a time or two to figure it out again.

    To be honest, he really only covered the very basic stuff. Getting into board troubleshooting where the real problems arise would likely be a week long video at the least.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Same post, on multiple sites with different names.
    Claims he's welding 48" pipe with a Trailblazer & he's a pipehand.

    Scammer crybaby who made a bad move, bought the wrong machine and is probably a graduate of a welding schooll. Can't do the job, can't pay his student loans and now he wants ITW to eat his machine mistake.
    He's in the 20% of ITW's 80/20 plan.

    Next week he will be selling used appliances.

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    I would hope not. Especially if he was involved in the machine's development. I'm not intimidated by what I've designed either although I may forget how I did something and have to think it thru a time or two to figure it out again.

    To be honest, he really only covered the very basic stuff. Getting into board troubleshooting where the real problems arise would likely be a week long video at the least.
    I’m asking not making a snarky comment, does anybody actually fo field repairs on those circuit boards? Or are they swapped out and send back to a facility that rebuilds them. I understand the Vantage machines have 3 major boards: the Chopper board, the rectifier board and I can’t remember the third one. I’m sure you wouldn’t want mice in one of those chewing on wires. I’m sure the Miller Pipe Pros are similar


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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    I would hope not. Especially if he was involved in the machine's development. I'm not intimidated by what I've designed either although I may forget how I did something and have to think it thru a time or two to figure it out again.

    To be honest, he really only covered the very basic stuff. Getting into board troubleshooting where the real problems arise would likely be a week long video at the least.
    Most don't know what "Bubble Chasing", or "Small Signal Analysis" is, what it entails, what it takes to perform it, or the time involved to prove, and disprove suspect components. Discreet component analysis is a dead art with it mostly more cost effective to replace the "board" or module complete if a problem is isolated to that area.

    I didn't watch the video but I never worked around color coded wiring. It was either white, or numbered. Point to point wiring diagrams were key to know where your test points were. Inject a signal of know quality and amplitude and measure along it's path whether digital or analog for what is supposed to be at the next test point. If you got the "goesina", but not the "goesouta", replace what is in the middle which these days is usually a board or module.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    i have a ranger 250 with chopper technology and it welds good but not the same as one of my SA-200s and each one of those welds a little different.
    the electronics are fine and dandy until you have trouble like the original poster of this question and nobody can fix it.
    keep things simple
    and my shield arcs will only be sold at my estate sale

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkie1957 View Post
    I’m asking not making a snarky comment, does anybody actually fo field repairs on those circuit boards? Or are they swapped out and send back to a facility that rebuilds them. I understand the Vantage machines have 3 major boards: the Chopper board, the rectifier board and I can’t remember the third one. I’m sure you wouldn’t want mice in one of those chewing on wires. I’m sure the Miller Pipe Pros are similar
    I didn't take it as snarky and I'm not aware of anyone making "field" repairs to boards unless you consider doing it in the shop as a field repair. With the more complex multi-function boards I can quickly reach the extent of my ability to troubleshoot unless the problem is extremely obvious. I've had a local retired NASA satellite tech fix boards in the past including those "non-repairable" triple layer sandwich boards found in Trailblazers. With the right circuit logic drawings I believe he can figure anything out.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    I didn't take it as snarky and I'm not aware of anyone making "field" repairs to boards unless you consider doing it in the shop as a field repair. With the more complex multi-function boards I can quickly reach the extent of my ability to troubleshoot unless the problem is extremely obvious. I've had a local retired NASA satellite tech fix boards in the past including those "non-repairable" triple layer sandwich boards found in Trailblazers. With the right circuit logic drawings I believe he can figure anything out.
    He's a good resource to have available. Might want to keep him supplied with his favorite beverage as a retainer fee. I've never met a real "rocket scientist", however I have been around some that claim to be but have no credentials to back it up. I'm sure you have too


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  17. #17

    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    I appreciate the info. My buddy has a Lincoln Clasic iiid I am thinking about picking up. its a 1994 with 3500ish hours.

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Forgot to point out a real discrepancy in that video.

    Lincoln specifically states in their Owner's and Service Manuals to NOT use emery paper/cloth to clean rotor slip rings and armature commutators yet that's exactly what Mr. Engineer says to use.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneb55 View Post
    Forgot to point out a real discrepancy in that video.

    Lincoln specifically states in their Owner's and Service Manuals to NOT use emery paper/cloth to clean rotor slip rings and armature commutators yet that's exactly what Mr. Engineer says to use.
    Mr Engineer has a CowLedge Degree Duane, so everything he says is gospel, must not be questioned and must be adhered to.

    Back in the 50s General Electric's catalog (printed on murdered tree trunks) showed over 100 different stones, many with Bakelite handles for commutator dressing, and pretty much every description said emery free and listed the grade of Carborundum in the stone. Mr Engidud undoubtedly never read any of that information because it was no longer operative.
    Amazingly the folks at Crapperpillar still vend specific commutator stones thru the dealer parts network, and they too spec emery free. If only Mr Engidud could enlighten them.

  20. #20

    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    I have been absent from the convo. any how. This shift has been an interesting one so far. Today my little miller was welding just fine. the only variable that was different today was that all of my cable was spooled off the real. I some how doubt this is what has been causing the problem. mostly because this welder has done this with almost all of that cable strung out, with all the cable on the reel and when I was just running short leads right off the machine. it seams to be intermittent. This trail blazer has allot of hours and I honestly don't think its worth the time to diagnose right now. I think I will fix it later and keep is as a spare. I have a line on a Lincoln Clasic IIID with about 4000 hours and a Lincoln vantage 400 with 2700 hours. I have just got to decide weather I want to go pure DC generator or inverter. As far as the vantage goes I hear allot of people say they have reliability issues and so on but half the rig welders I work with have vantages and love them. I would defiantly consider a pipe pro as well if I end up going the inverter rout. at the end of the day Im sure they will all do their job just fine.

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Do yourself a favor, have somebody else run an arc with the machine and all the cable snaked out, then wind the cable up and run another pass. Watch the cable on the reel and watch the reel with the cable wound on.
    I guarantee that reel becomes a mini crane magnet with the wire wound on, and I also guarantee it's acting like a choke and changing power arriving at the stinger.
    If you've got access to an IR imager, watch your wound up cable with that. One hell of a lot of power you're paying to make with the intent of using it at the stinger is being wasted off as magnetic flux and heat.

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    Any time you have coils of cable it is just like a big transformer.... the reluctance and reactance are changing the voltage and wave of what the machine is trying to put out to be used.... especially when you have some metal as the core in side the cable spools!!! didn't you read any of the warnings that come with the spools or were they second hand????
    Last edited by ronsii; 09-16-2018 at 11:59 PM.

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    This is very true. Most wonder why I park my G-258 machine so far from where I'm going to weld. The unit has a full exhaust but no muffler and they assume it's noise related. Not really as I have 115' of leads spooled onto it's holders and a pay out most of it when on a job. Definitely better performance with more lead on the ground than on the machine.
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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    This is why I have 50' 1/0 leads with male/female Tweco connectors. I only use as much lead as I need. Coils of extra cable just cause problems.

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    Re: piece of Sh#$ Miller Trail Blazer destine for the trash.

    That's why I flake my leads, rather than coil them – by storing the cables in overlapping figure-8s, the magnetic flux of one figure-8 should cancel out the magnetic flux of the next figure-8, and so on...

    Or that's my theory. If nothing else, flaking the leads allows you to take them off the machine (and put them back on) without getting and/or unwinding, a zillion twists in the cables.

    I do the same with garden hoses, mountain- and tree-climbing ropes, and lines on boats...

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