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Thread: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

  1. #1
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    Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    I'm a newby, trying to learn basic MIG/FCAW for home/hobby purposes. Read the manual, watched some videos. Man, this is more difficult than I thought!! In any event, I'm having some problems and I wanted to ask if they were operator error or a machine issue.

    I'm using a Hobart 140 (latest model with 5 taps) and Lincoln flux core 0.30 wire. I'm welding 3/16 steel using the settings recommended on the door. However, during welding the arc seems to stall for a fraction of a second periodically (somewhat regularly, like an out-of-sync sputter). The wire is NOT bottoming out in the pool. While this is happening, I can hear the wire drive speed fluctuating. I think that the wire speed fluctuation is causing a loss of arc when it slows down. You can practically see the arc moving back and forth between the work and the tip with the wire speed oscillation. HOWEVER, if I go to a short stick-out (3/16" or less) the issue improves noticeably (and the sound of the wire drive smooths out, too).

    I've checked the drive roller tension, and I can easily curl the wire against a wood block as illustrated in the manual. While doing so the wire speed is nice and smooth, without variation.

    Any suggestions? Is it me or the machine?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Beuford
    Last edited by Beuford; 02-27-2016 at 01:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    Does the wire have teeth marks from the rollers when it comes out? You may have the roller tension too high if so, and that can cause friction. Also check to see while dry running it if you feel any vibrations pulsing in the cable, and hold the gun at different angles to see if that induces any vibrations. If you feel any of that, you are getting some friction somewhere in the lining and may need to replace it, especially if you can induce it bending the gun in certain directions. Another trick would be to go up one size on the contact tip.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBFA View Post
    Does the wire have teeth marks from the rollers when it comes out? You may have the roller tension too high if so, and that can cause friction. Also check to see while dry running it if you feel any vibrations pulsing in the cable, and hold the gun at different angles to see if that induces any vibrations. If you feel any of that, you are getting some friction somewhere in the lining and may need to replace it, especially if you can induce it bending the gun in certain directions. Another trick would be to go up one size on the contact tip.
    There are no teeth marks on the wire, but it has sufficient tension to curl the wire against a wood block. The wire does not skip or alter in speed except when actually welding. You can hear the motor speed fluctuate - it really sounds like the drive mechanism is low on voltage during welding (maybe a poor connection drops voltage too much during welding?).

    I used my other welder (a Hobart 210MVP, in 120V mode), again with the settings found on the cover except with 0.35 flux core wire, and had no problem (although my welds still suck - I've got a ways to go...).

    Before you ask, one of the welders was a gift. I want to run the 140 when using 120V power because it is more adjustable at that voltage. I will use the 210MVP when I need to weld heavier materials, but I need to use it with a generator when running 220V since I don't have 220V power in the garage.

    Beuford

  4. #4
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    You might have a dirty or burned out tip or the wire speed is set to fast.

  5. #5
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    Maintaining a constant tip to work distance is very important. Usually gasless flux cored wire requires a little longer stick out than regular mig welding, about 1/2 to 3/4".

  6. #6
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    Fluxcore wire is a hollow tube. If you apply to much drive roll spring tension it can deform the wire, making it difficult for the wire to feed smoothly through the round bore of the contact tip.

    The 140 wire drive circuitry is feed from the arc voltage, so if you have a poor work clamp connection this could result in the wire feed and arc being erratic.

    Another poor electrical connection that can exist would be between the wire drive housing and the power pin of the gun assembly. Check the tightness of the thumb screw on the wire drive housing.
    ESAB Migmaster 250
    Hobart Ironman 230
    Multimatic 215
    TWECO Fabricator 181i & 211i
    HH125EZ - nice little fluxcore only unit


    Maxstar 150 STH - very nice

  7. #7
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Beuford View Post
    There are no teeth marks on the wire, but it has sufficient tension to curl the wire against a wood block. The wire does not skip or alter in speed except when actually welding. You can hear the motor speed fluctuate - it really sounds like the drive mechanism is low on voltage during welding (maybe a poor connection drops voltage too much during welding?).

    I used my other welder (a Hobart 210MVP, in 120V mode), again with the settings found on the cover except with 0.35 flux core wire, and had no problem (although my welds still suck - I've got a ways to go...).

    Before you ask, one of the welders was a gift. I want to run the 140 when using 120V power because it is more adjustable at that voltage. I will use the 210MVP when I need to weld heavier materials, but I need to use it with a generator when running 220V since I don't have 220V power in the garage.

    Beuford
    I don't know that much about the electrical operation, but it could very well be a power problem. The thing with using the block of wood is you may be holding the torch at a different angle than when you are welding. I've had some guns that because of wear in the lining, there is a pinch point at the base of the handle and holding it at a hard downward angle would cause wire feed problems.

  8. #8
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    Do you have the correct polarity ? POLARITY DCEP Electrode Positive for Solid Wire

    DCEN Electrode Negative for Flux-Cored Wire

  9. #9
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    Ok, let me try to answer all the responses all at once:

    1) Not a drive roller tension issue. Set and tested by the book; try different tensions anyway - no change.

    2) Replace the tip (twice); no effect.

    3) Can't do longer stick out - the problem only gets worse.

    4) Wire speed is not too fast - it does not push back at all; the wire speed just slows down and fluctuates.

    5) Used the 210MVP in 120V mode on exact same circuit without any issues.

    6) Machine is new - maybe 20 mins of use total.

    7) I tried bumping up the wire speed, but then it did start to bottom out in the pool.

    This morning I tried again and it worked fine for a few minutes an then started to act up as before. I'm convinced now that it is a problem with the control board, so I returned it for refund (I wanted another, but they were out. Policy is refund if replacement not available).

    Thank you all for your input. I wish we had figured it out - I would really like to know the cause before I buy another!

    FWIW, I'm very happy with the Hobart 210MVP.

    Beuford
    Last edited by Beuford; 02-27-2016 at 03:44 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    This might be a case to contact tech support. Since it's new and still under warranty. ( a presumption) The manufacturer should be responsible for getting it to work.
    Last edited by Robert37160; 03-03-2016 at 06:23 PM.

  11. #11
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    Re: Help with mig welder (or operator!)

    You may have described your solution. When you went to the 3/8 stick out everything improved. When you shorten then tip to work distance, you are shortening the arc length which is in effect, lowering your arc voltage. If you had a voltage control dial, you would achieve the same effect by turning your voltage down .5 to 1 volt. Gas less flux cored wire is all about proper stick out, and with 030 that 3/8 stick out may be just the right distance.

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