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Thread: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

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    ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Hey all,

    I recently ran across an ad for a used ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder. It's an AC/DC welder, that does up to 380 amps. It's a beast of a unit at almost 450lbs, and it's made in the USA.

    The ad has no mention of a foot pedal, torch, ground, or anything else.

    I'm looking to getting into tig welding and wondering if this would be a great purchase or not. I'm not even sure what it would be worth (there's no ad, and the person who listed it stated they do not know much about it). The ad also states for parts or repair.... What would be a reasonable price for this machine?

    Thanks all in advance,
    Kevin

    (P.S., I have access to an adequate power source for this machine. The specs for it state up to 150 amps of input current).
    If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    I think they were a decent enough machine but not too common. It will be a single phase transformer so will use a lot of power. It sounds by the ad that it may not even work. That would be a huge red flag for me and I wouldn't think you'd need that large of a machine. What kind of Tig welding do you want to do and how thick of material? I think that is the first criteria to consider. Do you have a budget in mind? I'd look for something smaller and more common that you could test out.

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    I would be really hesitant to pay more than around scrap value for something like that. One, you can't test it, and aren't sure it's complete. Two, I have no idea if any of the common service parts are even available.

    A quick Google search showed me one being sold in Ontario for $500 in working condition...says it comes with a cooler.
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    I think they were a decent enough machine but not too common. It will be a single phase transformer so will use a lot of power. It sounds by the ad that it may not even work. That would be a huge red flag for me and I wouldn't think you'd need that large of a machine. What kind of Tig welding do you want to do and how thick of material? I think that is the first criteria to consider. Do you have a budget in mind? I'd look for something smaller and more common that you could test out.
    I want to get into Tig welding aluminum. Not sure what thickness of material yet, although likely 1/8" to start out with.

    I have no budget in mind, as I am not in a rush to take up Tig welding. I am, however, on the lookout for great deals.

    As for if it works or not, because the seller isn't familiar with it, it is possible it works and they just don't know. I sent them a message asking if it's in working condition and I'm waiting to hear back.

    If they reply not knowing if it works, I'm going to offer them what it's worth at the scrap yard as scrap. If they accept the offer i can bring it home and see if it works... if it doesn't, try and fix it, worst case, scrap yard.

    If they want more than scrap value and they don't know if it works, I'll likely pass on it, unless I hear some encouraging things about it from you guys and gals on here.

    The only welding I know right now is Mig welding. Tig is a whole other world to me, but I would like the ability to weld aluminum for the right price.
    If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    I would be really hesitant to pay more than around scrap value for something like that. One, you can't test it, and aren't sure it's complete. Two, I have no idea if any of the common service parts are even available.

    A quick Google search showed me one being sold in Ontario for $500 in working condition...says it comes with a cooler.
    Missed your post while typing my other reply.

    So what I'm hearing is without a torch, cooler, cabling, etc, I should offer a reasonable $100-150?
    If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    I think you'd be much better off looking for a smaller more common machine. No budget in mind but looking at offering $100-$150 seems a bit contradictory. Look for a Syncrowave 250 or something along those lines.

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    There's quite a few machines out there that are honestly unproven simply because the owner doesn't want to buy a new torch for it.

    I'd certainly snap it up for 100 over here, so $150 over there sounds about right. It's worth a gamble, they're decent machines, and old enough to have simple transformers and points for HF start. The manual is accessible too.

    Buy, try it on stick weld mode, and if it works fine, then test the TIG button switch by jumpering the connection, that the HF start works and gas solenoid fires, and if all good, buy a torch and accessories for it.

    They take a standard pedal, not sure on the proper ohms required, but this thread might help:

    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthrea...-finding-parts

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by hobbywelder27 View Post
    Missed your post while typing my other reply.

    So what I'm hearing is without a torch, cooler, cabling, etc, I should offer a reasonable $100-150?
    Maybe something along those lines, but scrap has gone up lately...I got over $.30/lb for steel last week. If it doesn't come with almost everything to run I'd probably pass. A pedal or finger amptrol is going to run $200 give or take, add another $75 for a cheap flow meter and hose, $50 for a work cable and clamp and another $100 for an inexpensive torch. At that point you're in the $5-600 range. More than once in the past year I've bought a working Miller Syncrowave 250 with a cooler for around that much and parts are readily available for even the oldest versions of that machine (not every part, but most).

    With that said, for $800 you could buy a new Primeweld 225 and be able to weld up to roughly 1/4" aluminum and not have to deal with the unknowns of a large, uncommon machine that may or may not work. Don't get me wrong, I love a project, and bringing machines back to life is fun, but I'd be a little worried about that particular machine...if you decide to move on and sell it, is there a market for it? I try to remind myself that a great deal isn't only about price...sometimes something is cheap for a reason.
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    That's a big and very power hungry power supply.
    I'm sure it would weld nicely. Just too big and power hungry for me.
    Jason
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Well he accepted the $100 offer!

    Now to make arrangements to pick it up.
    Last edited by Kevin_Essiambre; 10-20-2020 at 11:39 AM.
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by hobbywelder27 View Post
    Well he accepted the $100 offer!

    Now to make arrangements to pick it up.
    Ok, then we will see if your gamble pays off. Now SSC controls makes replacement foot pedals. They may have one for that model. Torches and couplers are easy enough to come by, as well as ground clamps and gas/water hoses, cooler, flowmeter, ect.

    Good Luck!
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by hobbywelder27 View Post
    Well he accepted the $100 offer!

    Now to make arrangements to pick it up.
    Hard to get hurt at that price!
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Might hurt on the power bill.

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    Might hurt on the power bill.
    His local power company will start sending him Christmas cards for being such a good customer

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    Might hurt on the power bill.
    Yeah... I'm thinking I may need a generator for it. Manual states it wants a 200 amp breaker for full amperage welding... I have 200 amps available, I just don't want the hassle of getting 200 amps to the welder lol

    Maybe this will finally give me a reason to buy a 60kw trailer mounted generator

    For the amount I'll use it, I'm sure we can live with the power bill... but who knows, I may start building hundreds of things.
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    You'll be fine unless you're trying to weld at the top end. Should be good for well over 200 amps on your 150 amp supply, possibly close to 300 at a low duty cycle.

    Worst that can happen is that it trips a breaker... assuming you have a breaker.

    I ran a Migatronic 440 on a 20 amp 415v 3 phase breaker for a little while... worked well until you pushed it over 300 amps... it "should" have had around a 45-50 amp breaker.
    Starting the machine up was hit and miss though... it would trip the breaker 2 out of 3 times you flicked the power switch...

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Well went and got it tonight. Was a lot of fun. Guy had it in a 53' dry van trailer in an odd location. Got it out and over an hour later finally left.

    Story behind it, is it came with the trailer (the trailer was full of all kinds of stuff). He doesn't know if it works or not, and they were wondering why it has a hydraulic pump mounted on it (I told him, that's likely a coolant pump). Upon closer inspection, its hooked up to the coolant system. The welder is mounted on a custom dolly that i believe is also a coolant tank (to be confirmed tomorrow). The thing is full of insulation from rodents in the trailer building nests. I inquired as to whether he had the torch and other items, and he said they might have in a bag, but they threw out a Ton of stuff without checking the bags, due to the rodents.

    I believe the welder should still work. I'll be looking at it briefly tomorrow, pulling all the covers off and checking for rodent damage (chewed wires, etc). If a visual turns out okay, I might try to power it up and borrow some welding leads from a friend to try out stick welding.

    If I can confirm it works, I'll work on sourcing all the things needed for tig welding (no sense spending money on something before knowing if it works or not...).

    Here's a photo from when we stopped to check to ensure it was still securely tied down (the tarp has a brand new transformer under it. Totally unrelated lol).

    I'll update this again tomorrow when I know more.

    Thank you to everyone who chimed in. I appreciate the help and advice.
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    the 252 and 352 welders are almost the same and use the same owners manual.
    If you google it will show up. Under the top and mounted on the lifting bracket is the voltage change panel. You are going to want to check this first before you try to apply power. once you get it powered on. You can turn on the welder output by the panel switches plus you can get the HF to turn on this way also.
    I have a lot of information on these welders.

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    It's pretty much a rebadged Linde (Union Carbide) machine and Linde purchased the rights to the original Tig patents. The term Heliarc comes from Linde who used helium for shielding gas. It will be a good machine if it works, just use more power than a newer inverter. I found this.

    https://www.arc-zone.com/blog/joewel...these%20alloys.

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by ccawgc View Post
    the 252 and 352 welders are almost the same and use the same owners manual.
    If you google it will show up. Under the top and mounted on the lifting bracket is the voltage change panel. You are going to want to check this first before you try to apply power. once you get it powered on. You can turn on the welder output by the panel switches plus you can get the HF to turn on this way also.
    I have a lot of information on these welders.
    I found the owners manual while researching it before I bought it.

    I opened it up and changed the tap settings for the welder. The jumpers were doubled up... do I need to double them up for the new setting? If I do, I'll have to hunt down some copper busbar (I have some somewhere, just where, I'm not sure).

    Unfortunately I'm out of time today to mess around with it, and need a few things.

    Over the weekend I'm going to attempt to get it going. I opened it up and blew it out. Its fairly clean inside. It was set for 575 volts, which means its more than likely used in a commercial building. Its mounted on a cart that has a coolant pump, a tank built into the cart, and has space for 2 tanks of gas.

    I'm almost certain this welder was put away in working condition.

    A replacement foot pedal appears to be $200 USD. The gas line fitting for the tank end looks to be really corroded. I'm going to have to replace that.

    Will any Tig torch work on this, Or do I have to buy a specific model for this? I'm not familiar with anything to do with Tig so some help would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm going to keep my eyes out for a radiator for cooling, a ground clamp and cable, and a regulator and flow meter for a tank of gas (I'll have to figure out what gas to use too... I want to weld aluminum).

    For now, it will be getting a standard welder cord (6-50) for me to test it. If I run into issues of blowing the breaker, then I'll look into a bigger breaker.
    Last edited by Kevin_Essiambre; 10-22-2020 at 12:39 PM.
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    That looks pretty clean....very likely it's fine. You can use 100% argon for any TIG welding. For better penetration on aluminum some folks will add helium, but it's pretty expensive and you will have enough power to do thick aluminum with 100% argon.

    SSC makes a great foot pedal, and they offer one for that machine. On their website they run something like $180, but check their listings on eBay as well. They often sell new pedals that they claim have cosmetic defects for around $20-25 less. I've bought two that were supposed to have cosmetic defects and couldn't find anything wrong with the fit/finish...same function and warranty, so it's win-win in my book.

    I've bought a couple of the inexpensive flow meter/gas hose combos off of Amazon...under $40. They work okay, but I did have one with a leak that had to be returned and they're set for 50PSI so they give a bit of a blast of gas when you first hit the pedal. I really prefer flow meters that are set for 20 to 30PSI, but they tend to be more than twice as expensive. To be fair, many of the big name brands sell cheap flow meters that are identical to the cheap imported ones on Amazon, so just because it has a big name on the package doesn't mean much. I have a couple of Harris 355-2 flow meters now that are 20PSI and seem to be very well made.

    It appears to have DINSE connectors for power and work clamps and those are readily available...the manual should say what size they are but it looks like they may be 35-70. You'll have to decide if you're going to go water cooled right away before buying a torch. It's possible they weren't using a radiator at all with that setup, and just using the large volume of coolant to keep things cool enough. A 20 series torch will be fine for up to 250 amps (or higher for short periods of time) and they're the smaller profile which can come in handy. I've bought at least four torches from a vendor on eBay and been really pleased...the lines are very flexible and they seem to be every bit as good as new CK or Weldcraft torches I've used. They have a lot of different variations and the prices are hard to beat. This is just an example...you might want something slightly different depending upon your cooler setup:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Water-Coole...QAAOSwDuZdZnJK
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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    No you do not need to double up the jumper bars. The extra jumper was just stored there. Looks like you have power factor capacitors. OK when you are welding, but you will not want to leave the welder idling for very long.
    Two weak points that i have seen are in the HF system. There is a relay on the control pcb that fails and HF won't turn on. Small black box. one of two on the pcb.
    Fairly easy to unsolder and replace. You can turn on the welder output and the HF with the switches on the front panel. No foot control needed till you are ready to weld. I have also found cracked solder connections on the HF assembly and if the HF cap fails we use Millers cap to replace it. Bolts right to the board. You can also use miller spark gap points too. PM me if you have any problems.

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    That's a clean looking machine If you want to weld any amount of aluminium, you'll be best served by making sure the water cooler works, and going with a water cooled torch to start with.

    It's square wave with adjustable balance, which is great. If it runs as well as it should, you should have a great time with it.

    I thought by this generation of machines, it was all Esab design. Esab bought out linde around the time of the 250hf. Having said that, the controls and tech seem very similar to the 250hf, even if the case and layout is different.

    Either way, should be fine... Linde/Union Carbide tech was bombproof.






    (Apart from Union Carbide in Bhopal, that was a disaster!)

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Nice score if it works. I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed and will be eagerly awaiting your report!

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    Re: ESAB Heliarc 352 tig welder

    Quote Originally Posted by Munkul View Post
    That's a clean looking machine If you want to weld any amount of aluminium, you'll be best served by making sure the water cooler works, and going with a water cooled torch to start with.

    It's square wave with adjustable balance, which is great. If it runs as well as it should, you should have a great time with it.

    I thought by this generation of machines, it was all Esab design. Esab bought out linde around the time of the 250hf. Having said that, the controls and tech seem very similar to the 250hf, even if the case and layout is different.

    Either way, should be fine... Linde/Union Carbide tech was bombproof.






    (Apart from Union Carbide in Bhopal, that was a disaster!)
    They were badged as L-Tec when Esab bought them and were very comparable to the Lincoln and Miller square wave machines of the day. Migmaster 250 was another good Linde/L-Tec machine that was offered for decades. Up here Esab isn't the best for parts support (having stock) but their tech. support and service support is pretty good.

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