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Thread: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

  1. #1
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    Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    I recently purchased a miller 225v (hk-1c) at a garage sale for $10. Itís missing the male connectors alongg with the ground cable and torch lines. The power chord is something they picked up at Home Depot for a washer/dryer with the prongs bent to fit a 50 amp circuit.

    I bought a new power chord from miller, but the male adapters and lines could be costly. So my question is, should I stop investing and instead look for a different used unit for the same investment?

    Until now Iíve only done wire welding from a harbor freight unit for general repair but Iíd like to get into welding heavier gauge metal for some projects at home.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    does it power up? is there current at the lead lugs? if so ya got a screaming deal and by all means will be way ahead since ya basically stole the power supply ya can invest in quality cables etc... tip though... don't buy the stuff at Miller there is no need ya can save a ton of cash buying the cables and so on from third party venders... get good quality leads ya can move em over to another machine later if ya take care of them... everything ya get for this machine ya can use on other machines in the future...
    Last edited by monsoon-mech; 07-24-2019 at 12:34 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    I haven't heard of many troubles with these welders unless somebody greatly exceeded the duty cycle trying to homebrew TIG aluminum. You got it bought right and I think you have a little room to throw some cash at it. You might get lucky and score some used leads off Craigslist or a yard sale.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Post a picture of the machine. I think these are the ones you need, https://www.amazon.com/Lenco-LC-10MP...BWZHSQET972TJ0

    Manny of those machines have #4 or #2 . Check with local welding supplier for price. They usually have bulk spools.

    As mentioned , check craigslist or facebook marketplace for a dead machine. I've seen a harbor freight stick welder for $25.00. Then use the cables.

  5. #5
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    OK, I bought a brand spanking NEW Thunderbolt 225V back in 1979. I used and abused for 38 years and sold it for more than I paid for it. Made it one of the best investments I ever made.

    Yes the machine is worth investing in cables and connectors. It will be one of the best investments you will make in your lifetime. Go over to http://www.millerwelds.com and download the owners manual using the serial number stamped on the face plate. The only thing I ever had to service was occasionally neede to adjust the shunt tracks (about every ten years).

    Sorry but I am kind of suffering from “chemo brain” here, but there is a company called “Electron Beam” or “particle Beam” that sells quality welding cable for cheap. Hopefully some one will post the address for you. Lenco makes a plug that is Miller compatible. I would use # 2 cable and extend both the work and stinger to about 25’ as the OEM cables were kind of short. I would also suggest a decent 300 amp brass ground clamp and at least a 250 amp stinger torch.

    Your $10 investment is a gift sir! Worth investing a bit of time and money in. It will survive you and your kids and keep on welding. It will get pretty close to 100% duty cycle running 3/32” 6011 at about 90 to 95 amps.
    Roger
    Old, Tired, and GRUMPY

    Salesman will call, Batteries not included, Assembly is required, and FREE ADVICE IS WORTH EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAY FOR IT!

    Dial Arc 250HF
    Thunderbolt 225 AC/DC

    Assorted A/O torches

  6. #6
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    i've used the thunderbolt and found it a great little machine. the steeplejack/waterproofing company i worked for had them on sky climber scaffolds;sometimes 200 feet or more of power cable and welded ok. get it going and make sparks. you won't be sorry.
    i.u.o.e. # 15
    queens, ny and sunny fla

  7. #7
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Yes it powers and there’s voltage. It measure about 57 ac volts at high.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Ty. Just purchased from that link. My original part number looked like a different style but these look like they’re more versatile and cheaper.

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    I found Electron beam and will call them for pricing. I think I’ll also need a way to hold the welding stick. Is that correctly called a stinger?

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Quote Originally Posted by Delig View Post
    I found Electron beam and will call them for pricing. I think Iíll also need a way to hold the welding stick. Is that correctly called a stinger?
    There are a variety of electrode holders. It depends what feels best to you . Some are thin and others have a wide space between the holder and the end that you squeeze.

    Here's a popular style https://www.amazon.com/JH-2-200-Alum...ateway&sr=8-27

    This is is a wider one which could give better control .https://www.amazon.com/A-316-250-Amp...ateway&sr=8-13

    It's best to see and try them. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=electrode...f=nb_sb_noss_2

    A 200 amp will work and easy to handle. https://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-Elect...gateway&sr=8-3

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Yes, indeed, it is worth getting the connectors. I have the same machine. It got it for $40 maybe 6 years ago, and that was a steal. It came without leads. $100 for 100' leads latter and I was "sticking the rod." LOL

    The infinitely adjustable amperage operation is a very nice feature. Pick some 1/8" E6011 and get burning. Try to get some thicker steel, at least 1/4" to practice. There will be a longer leaning curb over wire welding, but stick certainly has some advantages.

  12. #12
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    you stole that welder
    Lincoln, ESAB, Thermal Dynamics, Victor, Miller, Dewalt, Makita, Kalamzoo. Hand tools, power tools, welding and cutting tools.

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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    You are all awsome. I bought the Lincoln Electric KH520 from the link above. Everything you’ve directed me to has saved me a lot of money and is making the project a lot more fun.

  14. #14
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Those Thunderbolts are great, I'm a Lincoln guy, but for entry level stick machines I like the Thunderbolt for the infinite amperage adjustment, not the 15 amp jumps on the Lincoln AC225. Lincoln has sold a boatload of those 225s so they have nothing to prove, but the I like the Miller better. I prefer the Lincoln Idealarc 250 AC/DC by just a whisker over the Miller Dialarc 250, it's a blonde/brunette call, both can get the job done!

    Electron Beam is a great place to buy leed. Good quality and good price


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Steve

    Miller Dialarc 250 (1990)
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  15. #15
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    The Lincoln don't have connectors and I simply cut them off a foot outside the machine and add connectors. I do it cause I got 10 machines and can green acres the lead.
    But,,, if the machine has them get a set but I have got lead used a split bolt and added it enen and put the stinger on the other end. A guy can shop as he goes if he needed, all that stuff adds up.

  16. #16
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    I agree it's worth a cord and connectors, they can be reused. Same for some lead,,, good investment if you ever gonna do real work. A welding circuit is a worthy investment in life, can change machines but electric is forever.
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    Last edited by Sberry; 08-02-2019 at 08:35 PM.

  17. #17
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    I have several machines on common ground along with the benches. I can disconnect the machine from the loom and move it if I had to but dont. It's got a home with a stinger that reaches the booth and benches and stinger hangs by the door and welding bay. The ground/work lead works with plasma too. Can hook to the equipment and cut or weld on it.
    .

  18. #18
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rog02 View Post
    The only thing I ever had to service was occasionally neede to adjust the shunt tracks (about every ten years).
    Please talk me through this procedure.
    Just say, Know.

  19. #19
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Great deal and so worth replacing the wires and leads.

    Leads are generally considered long term consumables as the insulation not only deteriorates (especially the older stuff) but eventually the copper will work harden, micro fracture, etc. and cause the resistance to go up to unacceptable levels. For the power cord I buy whatever is cheapest in the appropriate gauge/wire count/plug end- sometimes premade cord or sometimes soow/sjow/leviton plug ends. If you have any oddball (aka expensive) fittings in the circuit/leads don't be afraid to replace them with something more modern and widely available (dinse, even just lugs and wing nuts).

    It's a great machine but once you can prove it works you could double (or more) your money if you were interested in buying a different machine.

    FYI other than online ACE hardware is the only place here that stocks quite a bit of copper/brass nuts, bolts, etc. if you need any of those.

  20. #20
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flat_Bastard View Post
    Please talk me through this procedure.
    Sorry Flat,

    Suffering from bad case of Chemo Brain. Go over to millerwelds.com and plug in your serial number and download the owners manual, the procedure is in there. You kind of have to look for it, but it is there. It’s pretty basic. While you have the sheet metal off blow out all the cobwebs and mud dauber nests. While you in there give the fan motor a drop or two of light machine oil on the bearings. I used to use an old stainless TIG brush to clean the shut slides of rust and dirt the adjust and lubricate with a LIGHT coat of Lubri Plate white grease.

    Simple to do and you’ll find it quiets the welder when the arc is running. Good luck and have fun.
    Roger
    Old, Tired, and GRUMPY

    Salesman will call, Batteries not included, Assembly is required, and FREE ADVICE IS WORTH EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAY FOR IT!

    Dial Arc 250HF
    Thunderbolt 225 AC/DC

    Assorted A/O torches

  21. #21
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    Re: Is it worth repairing a miller thunderbolt 225v?

    Thunderbolts came in two styles. crank on the top or on the front.
    Crank on the top is the older one. Jack screw is brass.
    the newer design is crank on the front. crank and screw are plastic.
    Both work well but the newer one is easy to damage if dropped. Lighter gauge steel case.
    Have fixed lots of them.
    When looking for weld leads don't forget to check both local welding supply stores and larger
    electrical supply stores. One new us sell in bulk. The welding supply store next to us only sells
    in 25 and 50 foot packages,

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