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Thread: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

  1. #1
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    POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    Have been looking for a Powcon 400SM machine mainly to use as a CV power source for a Millermatic Porta-Mig wire feeder.

    But it'd be entertaining to have the lift-start TIG capability of a 400SMT as well. I've seen some comments on the web, however, to the effect that the SMT was not as reliable as the SM, hard to repair, etc.

    Anyone have a basis for assessing the relative merits of these two machines?

    And it is clear sailing connecting either one to the Porta-Mig, right?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    i picked up a used 400 smt last winter, to power my miller 12vs suitcase feeder, it takes a little fine tuning to dial it in but when you do it is a beautiful combination. if you search some other posts, the info you read will save you a lot of aggrivation. pretty easy hook up, i have never tigged or stick welded with mine & unfortunately the last time i went to use it it had no output at all! after the holidays i will be sending it in for repair, in my opinion it is worth having it fixed
    Bob

  3. #3
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    Well I have not used a 400sm but have used the 200sm (owned 3 of them) and the 300sm (owned 2 of them. then main difference is the circuitry to add the lift start and the remote control connector that allows for more control via foot pedal etc. As it is not an AC machine HF/Lift start is not a big deal. scratch start works fine. It more comes down to what you can find and how much you want to spend. I do not recall if the 400sm has a hot start control but does have and induction/ arc force control. there is a common issue with the 400 where the voltage,amperage does not display prior to welding and only shows when you strike and arc. its a $600 board that needs replacing to fix this (the 300 has a display but the dial is marked for the voltage amperage and the display is intended to only show actual current.voltage when actually welding)
    Also consider the 300sm as the current output is only 25amps less than a 400sm(t) As long as you get one with the M in the name then you have a constant voltage machine and are set for running your feeder
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  4. #4
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    Quote Originally Posted by rdionne View Post
    i picked up a used 400 smt last winter, to power my miller 12vs suitcase feeder, it takes a little fine tuning to dial it in but when you do it is a beautiful combination. if you search some other posts, the info you read will save you a lot of aggrivation. pretty easy hook up, i have never tigged or stick welded with mine & unfortunately the last time i went to use it it had no output at all! after the holidays i will be sending it in for repair, in my opinion it is worth having it fixed
    Bob
    Bob you gotta stick weld with it some time, these are some of the nicest running stick welders ever made... did you open it up and check the internal fuses to make sure they did not blow?
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  5. #5
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    southpaw ever had any issues with your 400 smt? mine started with no output in 1 mode then no output at all!
    Bob

  6. #6
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    yes, i popped it open & gave a look, i didnt really see any thing, but didnt do any testing with the meter either

  7. #7
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    yes, i popped it open & gave a look, i didnt really see any thing, but didnt do any testing with the meter either

  8. #8
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    The only issue I had was the one I mentioned which I fixed by buying a parts machine, swapping boards then selling the other machine again for parts. Another issue sometimes causing your problem is that there is a jumper used on the aux plug that enables the remote contactor. If somewhere inside there is a short or if you can find the relay or whatever that the jumper activates is stuck closed it will cause the machine to not output current to the welding terminals. (this may be your issue as you said it worked in both modes, then one mode, then none. you can try jumping the two terminals on the rear plug to engage the remote contactor function and set the contactor switch on front to remote and the amperage to panel. The pins you want to jump are "B to E" you should be able to see the letters on the face of the plastic plug next to the pins. once you jump those 2 pins, see if you then get welding current.

    I would add that most of the electronics such as PCB boards are interchangeable between the 3 phase only 400smt and the 3/1 phase smt. however the 3 phase has a different power board so that part cannot be converted. 3 phase only were commonly sold to the military. for parts they can sometimes be found real cheap too.
    Last edited by soutthpaw; 12-15-2011 at 05:40 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    thanks for the info, i got a few days off over the holidays & i will check out what you recomended.
    Bob

  10. #10
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    soutthpaw,

    I just purchased a 400SMT Powcon and the display is not working correctly. Which board did you replace? The welder seems to weld good in Tig, CC and CV but the display just shows ccc. Sometimes it will show a voltage or amperage but it does not change. Will it hurt anything to use it this way? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks, Chad.

  11. #11
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    Re: POWCON 400SMT vs 400SM

    Shouldn't hurt anything the problem seems to be it will only show set amps/volts when actually welding. It's supposed to show all the time . Not sure what board controls that. I'm sure Arcon can tell you. Esp as it's owned by one of the inventors of the Powcon machines. Plus it's a known problem
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