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Thread: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

  1. #1
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    Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    My son and I have a Hobart 140 MIG which we have used in the garage for little jobs. Still trying to get semi-proficient with it. Buying a tank for mixed argon sure seemed to make it easier than the flux core.
    We have some small farm equipment which needs some metal work and I'm looking at two stick welders for outdoor work. I'd prefer a transformer model since I've read they might be a bit more robust than the electronic board models. This will be used in the field, running off a gen set. Welding such stuff as the side panels on a bush hog where rocks or stumps have ripped the skirt. Attaching weigh to a harrow. (Stuff like old brake rotors.)
    The Lincoln, based on how long it's been around, looks like a fairly bullet proof design. The Miller has infinite adjustment but also has a crank on top. Since this will be moved to and from the field, I was concerned about the Miller's crank on top, meaning, is it was likely to get busted? We'll haul it in a pick-up and be slow and careful, but this will go over rough roads.

    Any insights or thoughts would be appreciated on which you think might be the better. Or am I totally overlooking some better unit in this price range. ($400 to $500) Thanks.

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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    I’ll bet a lot of busted farm equipment has been stuck
    back together with the Lincoln 225ac.
    Thunderbolts have been around a long time also.
    Some Thunderbolts have front amperage adjust, some
    on top, depending on when it was made. The last
    Transformer T-bolts had the crank in front.
    The cranks have been made out of plastic for
    quite a few years now so I suppose it could get damaged
    with some rough handling. I’ve used both and like the Miller.
    Others will disagree.
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    I've had several of the Thunderbolts....the earlier ones have the crank on top, but the later ones have it on the front. The crank on the front is actually more likely to get damaged, but still not a major concern. The crank on top isn't a delicate thing, so I wouldn't be too worried. You're probably just as likely to break the amperage selector on the face of a Tombstone as the crank on a Thunderbolt. I think the infinitely variable voltage is a nice upgrade from the fixed taps on the Tombstone, but it's not a massive difference. Hard to go wrong with either machine. I'd lean towards the Thunderbolt if condition is in the same ballpark.
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Harbor Freight makes a unit that is internally a pretty exact clone of the Miller unit (https://www.harborfreight.com/weldin...put-63620.html). If you forced me to choose between the Miller and the Lincoln, I would choose the Miller and have owned both. But the Lincoln weighs almost 120 lbs and the Miller something like 140 lbs. I wouldn't choose either one to be honest. Lincoln Electric says you need a 15Kw Generator to run the 225 AC/DC https://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-z...ze-detail.aspx

    If it were me I would go with this https://www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.c...der-0700500070

    It comes with a three year warranty, lots of members here have experience with them, like them and can vouch for ESAB equipment holding up to abuse. Plus it will run on a much smaller generator.
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Pretty sure my Thunderbolt is 105lbs.
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    If you can swing 650$ the Esab 180i gets my vote. I can't believe how smooth that machine is. Input current is about half of the transformer machines which is a huge bonus if you don't have a heavier duty welder circuit.

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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Actually it would be more like 575$ since Esab currently has a 75$ rebate on that machine.

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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    There are several different variations of Thunderbolt. The AC/DC 150A output (on DC) model with a top crank is listed at 115lbs. The AC/DC 200A output (on DC) model with a front crank shows 135lbs. The AC/DC 150A output (on DC) model with a front crank is listed as 105lbs and the 200A output (on DC ) version is 135lbs.
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    I will say up front Iím a Lincoln guy. Given the choice between the AC225 and Thunderbolt I would choose the Miller. Only because of the infinite adjustment, which I think is critical. Having said all that you cannot say the old AC225 has not been a successful machine for Lincoln. Your money, your choice


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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Lincoln Tombstone or Miller Thunderbolts are both great. AC/DC is the way to go for sure.
    I prefer Miller adjustment instead of the fixed settings on the Lincoln.
    Northern Illinois / Southern Wisconsin prices go from $250 to $400 for AC/DC depending on machine, age, and condition



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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Thank you to all who responded to my question. It all helped. Especially Louie1961 mentioning a 15kW gen set. I've got a 15 for the house (welcome to Coastal Florida) but it is a BEAR to move. The ESAB suggested only suggests a 7kW. So, I asked for advice and several mentioned the ESAB ES180i model. I've looked at it the brochures and don't know a couple of terms.
    The brochure states it has settings for "arc force" and "hot start." I don't know enough to even know what they're saying. Any help appreciated.
    Thanks again.

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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Hot start makes it easier to start electrodes by upping the amps by an adjustable percentage for a second or so. Arc force is an adjustment that makes it easier to keep an electrode lit under various arc lengths. The low amp draw of the 180i is a huge factor if using a generator.

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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    adjustable arc force and hot start are REALLY GOOD THINGS. They are not necessary by any means, but then again, neither is air conditioning in Florida technically necessary. Its kind of like that. ;-) Hot start keeps you from sticking the rod, and arc force increases the amperage as you decrease the arc length. It essentially makes the difference between a soft buttery arc and an aggressive, digging arc. Most people tend to set the arc force high when using cellulose rods (i.e, 601X), and set it low for non cellulose rods like 7018s. But that isn't a hard and fast rule. I have seen Jody Collier set the arc force high with 7018 rods in one particular situation (overhead welding I think?).
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    The new TBolts are inverters.
    The older ones are transformers.
    Iíve used a few different older transformer TBolts. (Bought them at auctions, then resold them). I like the way the older TBolts welded. Iíve never had the chance to weld with one of the newer inverter TBolts. Although, I have welded lots with the 210 max stars.
    Jason
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    adjustable arc force and hot start are REALLY GOOD THINGS. They are not necessary by any means, but then again, neither is air conditioning in Florida technically necessary. Its kind of like that. ;-) Hot start keeps you from sticking the rod, and arc force increases the amperage as you decrease the arc length. It essentially makes the difference between a soft buttery arc and an aggressive, digging arc. Most people tend to set the arc force high when using cellulose rods (i.e, 601X), and set it low for non cellulose rods like 7018s. But that isn't a hard and fast rule. I have seen Jody Collier set the arc force high with 7018 rods in one particular situation (overhead welding I think?).
    The Esab 180i has a separate 6010 setting which automatically changes the arc force. As far as I know arc force changes the voltage not the amperage to suit arc length. Hot start ups your amps to avoid cold starts in addition to making it easier to strike.

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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    I guess it really would be nice to have adjustable arc force. I don't have it on either of my machines.

    I can run higher amps on the Ranger when I want a hotter arc, but I'm limited on the Crackerbox to the max 125amps when running 7018. I don't particularly like how Lincoln Excalibur runs on the Crackerbox..........I feel it's a bit cold, too buttery.

    I have found that Atom Arc Acclaim (the Excalibur equivalent) runs hotter, and works better on the Crackerbox. I've also picked up a can of regular Atom Arc 7018 after hearing that it has a very nice "dig". Still haven't opened the can yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

    A soft buttery arc always makes me nervous. I like heat. Lincoln has never failed me, but having the opportunity to run a hotter rod just makes me feel better. Sorta silly I guess.

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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Oh yeah..........my vote..........Buy the Lincoln. Great machine, will last a lifetime.

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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    Oh yeah..........my vote..........Buy the Lincoln. Great machine, will last a lifetime.
    watch out on the lincoln tombstone. i had a 1997 acdc around there that the fan would work intermittent and not cool the windings. melted the varnish or ? off windings, and eventually shorted out. looked under it and bottom was varnish ? coated. welded great up to that point.
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    The Esab 180i has a separate 6010 setting which automatically changes the arc force. As far as I know arc force changes the voltage not the amperage to suit arc length. Hot start ups your amps to avoid cold starts in addition to making it easier to strike.
    In my understanding, arc force increases amps as the welding voltage drops below a certain level.
    This mimics what happens with an old transformer machine - where shortening the arc increases the amps.

    The reason the inverters need arc force/dig is the voltage (arc length) doesn't really affect the amps the way the old machines did.
    Within it's range, the arc length does nothing to the amps which really welds weird for people used to old machines.
    I know it threw me for a loop the first time I tried an inverter (early one without arc force/dig).

    The graph for a transformer shows a curve of volts to amps.
    The graph for an inverter shows basically a straight vertical line where volts changes but set amperage does not - until it reaches a low enough voltage to kick in the arc force feature.
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    I know I sound like a stuck record BUT, if your looking for a great old school stick machine IMHO you canít beat the Lincoln Idealarc250 AC/DC machines. Many out there and if you take your time you can find them at a reasonable price. The round tops were made from 1956-1989 then they went to the flat top style. If your a Miller guy the Dialarc 250 machines are great welders as well. Either one will serve you well for many years.


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  23. #21
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    Oh yeah..........my vote..........Buy the Lincoln. Great machine, will last a lifetime.
    running it off a generator?

    the OP stated...
    " This will be used in the field, running off a gen set"
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    running it off a generator?
    Sure, why not? Running off DC it's listed as pulling a max of 36A, and it's probably not too likely he'd need to run it maxed out, so maybe 30A max is more than reasonable. Anything 7Kw or bigger should work.
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    Sure, why not? Running off DC it's listed as pulling a max of 36A, and it's probably not too likely he'd need to run it maxed out, so maybe 30A max is more than reasonable. Anything 7Kw or bigger should work.
    But why get a heavy arse welder to lug out in the field?
    Rogue 180 is 18lbs.
    60% @ 116A (230V) | 60% @ 65A (120V)

    Lincoln 114lbs.
    125A DC/25V/20%, 225A AC/25V/20%
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    I withdraw my suggestion if this is for field work off a generator. The Idealarc250 is 350 lbs and needs 50A to work correctly or more.


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  27. #25
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    Re: Lincoln 225 ACDC or Miller Thunderbolt

    Forget those old AC welders, it was written early about the ESAB 180, I have a ESAB 161 and it will run off 120 AC 20 Amp breaker on a 100' extension cord. Yeah its more cheddar but worth it!
    It seemed like a good idea at the time!

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