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Thread: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

  1. #1
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    ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Hi,
    Am considering buying a lightly used ESAB 500i plasma cutter and would like to know whether it is MOSFET or IGBT technology. Hopefully someone here can help and/or advise.
    Jerry
    30+ yrs Army Infantry & Field Artillery, 25 yrs ago

    Miller 350LX Tig Runner
    TA 210, spool gun
    Lincoln 250/250 IdealArc
    ESAB PCM 500i Plasma
    Kazoo 30" vert BS
    Kazoo 9x16 horiz BS
    Clausing 12x24 lathe
    20T Air Press

  2. #2
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    IGBT technology.

    Older machine, but I was always was impressed with how this 35 amp machine cuts aluminum.. No matter what anybody says, the very small PT-31 torch very handy with it's small size. I would like a Powercut 650 over most new machines out now, because of the size of the torch. All the new tech torches are great but size is not their strong point at all..
    Esab/Lorch ET-220i
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  3. #3
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Thanks Brand X. I was hoping it was not a Mosfet. No indication of technology in the owner's manual I downloaded. I'm focused on aluminum because I have a lot of it. Good info.
    Jerry
    30+ yrs Army Infantry & Field Artillery, 25 yrs ago

    Miller 350LX Tig Runner
    TA 210, spool gun
    Lincoln 250/250 IdealArc
    ESAB PCM 500i Plasma
    Kazoo 30" vert BS
    Kazoo 9x16 horiz BS
    Clausing 12x24 lathe
    20T Air Press

  4. #4
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by storeman View Post
    Thanks Brand X. I was hoping it was not a Mosfet. No indication of technology in the owner's manual I downloaded. I'm focused on aluminum because I have a lot of it. Good info.
    Jerry
    To me it does not matter. The Caddie mig 200i is Mos-fet and it's a awesome late model unit.. Guess it's mostly who, and how they made it.
    Esab/Lorch ET-220i
    Esab 160i caddy
    Thermal LM-200/ Lincoln feeders
    Thermal 95s
    Thermal 60i- 3phase /RPC powered
    Thermal Drag-gun 35C
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  5. #5
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by Brand X View Post
    To me it does not matter. The Caddie mig 200i is Mos-fet and it's a awesome late model unit.. Guess it's mostly who, and how they made it.
    That makes sense. I'd just read so many posts everywhere about mosfet problems, but I guess they were all likely Chinese-made.
    Jerry
    30+ yrs Army Infantry & Field Artillery, 25 yrs ago

    Miller 350LX Tig Runner
    TA 210, spool gun
    Lincoln 250/250 IdealArc
    ESAB PCM 500i Plasma
    Kazoo 30" vert BS
    Kazoo 9x16 horiz BS
    Clausing 12x24 lathe
    20T Air Press

  6. #6
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by storeman View Post
    That makes sense. I'd just read so many posts everywhere about mosfet problems, but I guess they were all likely Chinese-made.
    Jerry
    Back in the day, MOSFET was state of the art. I think the problem with the Chi-Com machines may be on the engineering side.

  7. #7
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by cope View Post
    Back in the day, MOSFET was state of the art. I think the problem with the Chi-Com machines may be on the engineering side.
    Probably so. Thanks for the comment.
    Jerry
    30+ yrs Army Infantry & Field Artillery, 25 yrs ago

    Miller 350LX Tig Runner
    TA 210, spool gun
    Lincoln 250/250 IdealArc
    ESAB PCM 500i Plasma
    Kazoo 30" vert BS
    Kazoo 9x16 horiz BS
    Clausing 12x24 lathe
    20T Air Press

  8. #8
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    I am sure most of the best plasma's use IGBT designs. I know the USA 500i was a good machine, and I would not worry about the guts too much. It's getting long in the tooth, so you never know on something like that.. When my friend at Airgas sold those machine,the only real problem was the on-off switch on the back would break now and again. From being rough with the machine mostly. Kind of a heavy machine by today's standards, but was a quality USA built unit.. They hold their value on Ebay..etc...
    Esab/Lorch ET-220i
    Esab 160i caddy
    Thermal LM-200/ Lincoln feeders
    Thermal 95s
    Thermal 60i- 3phase /RPC powered
    Thermal Drag-gun 35C
    Thermal 15c
    INE 1500
    Klutch 140i

  9. #9
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    @ storeman - aloha. Post a few images of your existing (installed) torch consumables and overall "issues" you are experiencing with your PCM 500i cutter. The ESAB users here should be able to lend you a hand. That's a nice strong machine from the looks of it and after reading the O&M Manual.
    "Discovery is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought" - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

  10. #10
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    I purchased mine new in July, 1996 and it's never needed repairs of any kind. I can't count the dozens of quarter panels and roofs on automobiles it's cut out and off, or how many aluminum sides of delivery vans it's sliced out. It cut every single sheet of steel siding on my 7000 sq. ft. shop that needed trimmed in both painted and galvanized. It still has the original torch also and the only things not original are the consumables.

    Good machine no doubt.
    Slob

    Purveyor of intimate unparalleled knowledge of nothing about everything.

    Oh yeah, also an unabashed internet "Troll" too.....

  11. #11
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    There is nothing wrong with MosFets (metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor) as long as the design team uses good quality components and designs them into the circuit to be reliable. The Chinese plasma cutters and welders design them into the circuit to work, but with the most important factor being low cost. Unfortunately when you are designing for reliability cost cannot be the major design factor.

    IGBT's (insulated gate bipolar transistor) do the same function as MosFets (control output power) , but are newer technogy that can handle higher input voltages....so they can be designed to better absorb input line spikes and droops with less probability of failure. Still, IGBT's can fail before their time if they are marginally designed into the circuit, and they do.

    Jim Colt Hypertherm

  12. #12
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by ManoKai View Post
    @ storeman - aloha. Post a few images of your existing (installed) torch consumables and overall "issues" you are experiencing with your PCM 500i cutter. The ESAB users here should be able to lend you a hand. That's a nice strong machine from the looks of it and after reading the O&M Manual.
    Thanks Kai. Enjoyed our time together this morning. Will take some pictures tomorrow.
    Jerry
    30+ yrs Army Infantry & Field Artillery, 25 yrs ago

    Miller 350LX Tig Runner
    TA 210, spool gun
    Lincoln 250/250 IdealArc
    ESAB PCM 500i Plasma
    Kazoo 30" vert BS
    Kazoo 9x16 horiz BS
    Clausing 12x24 lathe
    20T Air Press

  13. #13
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    There is nothing wrong with MosFets (metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor) as long as the design team uses good quality components and designs them into the circuit to be reliable. The Chinese plasma cutters and welders design them into the circuit to work, but with the most important factor being low cost. Unfortunately when you are designing for reliability cost cannot be the major design factor.

    IGBT's (insulated gate bipolar transistor) do the same function as MosFets (control output power) , but are newer technogy that can handle higher input voltages....so they can be designed to better absorb input line spikes and droops with less probability of failure. Still, IGBT's can fail before their time if they are marginally designed into the circuit, and they do.

    Jim Colt Hypertherm
    Thanks Jim.
    Quote Originally Posted by Slob View Post
    I purchased mine new in July, 1996 and it's never needed repairs of any kind. I can't count the dozens of quarter panels and roofs on automobiles it's cut out and off, or how many aluminum sides of delivery vans it's sliced out. It cut every single sheet of steel siding on my 7000 sq. ft. shop that needed trimmed in both painted and galvanized. It still has the original torch also and the only things not original are the consumables.

    Good machine no doubt.
    Thanks Slob,
    I bought the machine and have had trouble with consumables burning up in no time at all (minutes/seconds). I bought Chinese consumables and likely have no one to blame but myself. What consumables do you buy and where do you source them?
    Jerry
    30+ yrs Army Infantry & Field Artillery, 25 yrs ago

    Miller 350LX Tig Runner
    TA 210, spool gun
    Lincoln 250/250 IdealArc
    ESAB PCM 500i Plasma
    Kazoo 30" vert BS
    Kazoo 9x16 horiz BS
    Clausing 12x24 lathe
    20T Air Press

  14. #14
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by storeman View Post
    Thanks Jim.


    Thanks Slob,
    I bought the machine and have had trouble with consumables burning up in no time at all (minutes/seconds). I bought Chinese consumables and likely have no one to blame but myself. What consumables do you buy and where do you source them?
    Jerry
    I've never ran anything but L-tec, or Esab consumables which are the same thing. My unit came with two kits of consumables and that carried many years. The parts I did purchase came from a Midwest outfit SJ Smith Welding supplies and they have stores all over the Midwest. I've mostly dealt with Praxair all over the country and that's where my machine was purchased from.
    Slob

    Purveyor of intimate unparalleled knowledge of nothing about everything.

    Oh yeah, also an unabashed internet "Troll" too.....

  15. #15
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    The trick is to use the right China made consumables. Jim uses those in his Powercut 650, and has great success.( I sold him that machine) Electrodes you do not notice one bit of difference. I had a hard time noticing any difference with the tip life either. I had tons of factory Esab, and L-tec consumables to compare too.. You have to use the factory six hole swirl ring, and cup, but the other stuff is fine.. tried it in my 380 also.. I thing about the PT-31 XT it is the about only torch that the china consumables can do a good job in. (Well electrodes do just fine in the Thermal PCH-10 series too..)
    Esab/Lorch ET-220i
    Esab 160i caddy
    Thermal LM-200/ Lincoln feeders
    Thermal 95s
    Thermal 60i- 3phase /RPC powered
    Thermal Drag-gun 35C
    Thermal 15c
    INE 1500
    Klutch 140i

  16. #16
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    Does anyone know the configuration of the dip switch on the top of pcm 500i control board? Mine has a problem. Plss helpe

  17. #17
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    Re: ESAB 500i plasma cutter

    dip switch or jumpers? Look next to them. should be a row of numbers.
    try setting it to 35 first. Should set the max output of the plasma.
    I have some information on the 38066 pcb. older version.
    exactly what is going on with your unit. contact me by private message for help.

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