Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Miller Sidekick Issues

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like

    Miller Sidekick Issues

    I just picked up for free a Miller Sidekick welder and am having some issues with it. The welder was made in about 1987 and I replaced the gun and ground clamp and am running 75/25 gas. I cleaned the metal very well and made sure I had a good ground but it just spatters and pops when I try to weld and I can feel the wire hitting the metal and pushing back. The steel wasnt very thick, maybe slightly over 1/16 of an inch. I am very novice when it comes to welding so it very well could be something I am doing but I did try all 4 heat settings and different wire speeds and was pushing at different speeds but nothing i did seemed to provide good results. I found a couple threads on here from years ago where some people were talking about the same issues they were having with the sidekick and replaced the rectifier and it fixed their problems. On this welder the rectifier does not look like the one they had nor does it look like the one in the manual I have. Mine is several plates stacked on top of each other that you can see on the left side of the picture below. Not sure if this welder was a very early model. The welder was in rough shape when I got it, it had been stored inside a building but had a big mouse nest in it and was full of what mice do which is why it is so rusted on the bottom of the unit. I cleaned it out the best I could and looked all in it to make sure no wires had been chewed and it runs and feeds wire just fine. I just cant get it so maintain an arc. Below are some pictures of the welder and what i would say are the "best" welds I could do. Any help or feedback would be appreciated. Thanks

    Name:  Weld 1.jpg
Views: 161
Size:  121.7 KBName:  Weld 2.jpg
Views: 161
Size:  105.5 KBName:  Weld 3.jpg
Views: 163
Size:  116.5 KBName:  Weld 4.jpg
Views: 158
Size:  132.2 KB

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Ceres, California
    Posts
    3,904
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Miller Sidekick Issues

    First lets start with the process. are you trying to weld with Mig wire or flux cord wire. Mig wire uses shielding gas and the welder polarity must be set to positive on the miggun. Flux core does not need gas but is negative on the miggun. Using the wrong polarity on the gun will cause it to weld cold. Next check the drive housing where the gun plugs in. look up inside the hole. find a way to buff it back to clean aluminum. Black oxide coating will cause problems. With polarity correct and a clean drive housing and it still weld cold. we need to check the weld diodes. buy borrow a good volt ohm meter with diode test. To make a proper test you will have to disconnect two wires. one of the wires going to the large capacitor and one of the transformer wires. diode should read 0.4xxx in one direction and OL in the other.
    If you get all 4 to read 0.4xxx diode should be ok. Next lift the wire pressure arm so wire will not feed. with wires reconnected use volt meter to read the weld voltage. miggun to work clamp. no arc. measure all 4 voltage settings. depending on your model you should get 20vdc 23vdc 25 or 27 vdc/ 29 or 32.
    there are several different models 115 or 230 models and 90 or 120 amp models. station 4 on the 90 amp model should read 29 vdc with no load.
    If the large cap is bad, it can cause a low output. when it does weld does the arc stop if you lift the gun up away from the metal just a little bit and to keep the arc going to almost have to touch the tip to the metal. if so- cap may be bad. A good cap should allow you to lift the gun up about 1 inch and keep the arc going.
    start at normal stick out and move up. Yours is the 115 volt model so it is a 90 amp welder. Make sure your line cord and any extension cords are in good shape and 12 awg or larger. welder will not work on a 18 awg cord. one more thought. 035 mig wire does not weld well on the 115 volt welders. use only 023 0r 030 mig wire.
    If you pull max amps your line current will be 26 amps and a dedicated 20 amp circuit breaker will last only 2 minutes before tripping. hope it is just a bad connection you can clean and it will start welding for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Miller Sidekick Issues

    Thanks for the info. I am using mig wire and shielding gas. This machine does not have the polarity change hub on the machine inside the panel. In my research some of the sidekick models did but this particular machine does not. So I assume it is set up for mig but I am not sure how to double check for that?? As far as the arc goes I do have to hold the tip very close to maintain the arc and even then I am still having a hard time keeping the arc. I do have a voltmeter and can check those other items you mentioned.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Clovis California
    Posts
    3,436
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Miller Sidekick Issues

    This welder likes a 120 volt 30amp plug to work good.
    I a new one in 1987 work great on 30amps. If 120 volt 20 amp it just flip the breaker a pain in the butt.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by TripleE View Post
    I just picked up for free a Miller Sidekick welder and am having some issues with it. The welder was made in about 1987 and I replaced the gun and ground clamp and am running 75/25 gas. I cleaned the metal very well and made sure I had a good ground but it just spatters and pops when I try to weld and I can feel the wire hitting the metal and pushing back. The steel wasnt very thick, maybe slightly over 1/16 of an inch. I am very novice when it comes to welding so it very well could be something I am doing but I did try all 4 heat settings and different wire speeds and was pushing at different speeds but nothing i did seemed to provide good results. I found a couple threads on here from years ago where some people were talking about the same issues they were having with the sidekick and replaced the rectifier and it fixed their problems. On this welder the rectifier does not look like the one they had nor does it look like the one in the manual I have. Mine is several plates stacked on top of each other that you can see on the left side of the picture below. Not sure if this welder was a very early model. The welder was in rough shape when I got it, it had been stored inside a building but had a big mouse nest in it and was full of what mice do which is why it is so rusted on the bottom of the unit. I cleaned it out the best I could and looked all in it to make sure no wires had been chewed and it runs and feeds wire just fine. I just cant get it so maintain an arc. Below are some pictures of the welder and what i would say are the "best" welds I could do. Any help or feedback would be appreciated. Thanks

    Name:  Weld 1.jpg
Views: 161
Size:  121.7 KBName:  Weld 2.jpg
Views: 161
Size:  105.5 KBName:  Weld 3.jpg
Views: 163
Size:  116.5 KBName:  Weld 4.jpg
Views: 158
Size:  132.2 KB

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Ceres, California
    Posts
    3,904
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Miller Sidekick Issues

    when you measure the DC weld voltage with red meter lead on the miggun and black on the work clamp you should read positive voltage. unless your meter lead are plugged in backwards. Sounds like a weak capacitor. Try changing it if you can find one. There is an electrolytic capacitor shortage. we have had some on order for two months and have a September delivery date, My guess is there is a shortage of something used to make them. People getting sick and plants can't run and make enough.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Miller Sidekick Issues

    I checked the voltage at the gun and it is correct, havenít done the diode check yet because I am not sure how to. Which transformer wire do I disconnect?

    I am getting zero penetration, I can run a bead and literally break it off with some pliers and the metal underneath is untouched on the highest setting.

    I have a 20 amp circuit in my garage but I would think I should be getting something. The breaker has not tripped at all

    Quote Originally Posted by ccawgc View Post
    First lets start with the process. are you trying to weld with Mig wire or flux cord wire. Mig wire uses shielding gas and the welder polarity must be set to positive on the miggun. Flux core does not need gas but is negative on the miggun. Using the wrong polarity on the gun will cause it to weld cold. Next check the drive housing where the gun plugs in. look up inside the hole. find a way to buff it back to clean aluminum. Black oxide coating will cause problems. With polarity correct and a clean drive housing and it still weld cold. we need to check the weld diodes. buy borrow a good volt ohm meter with diode test. To make a proper test you will have to disconnect two wires. one of the wires going to the large capacitor and one of the transformer wires. diode should read 0.4xxx in one direction and OL in the other.
    If you get all 4 to read 0.4xxx diode should be ok. Next lift the wire pressure arm so wire will not feed. with wires reconnected use volt meter to read the weld voltage. miggun to work clamp. no arc. measure all 4 voltage settings. depending on your model you should get 20vdc 23vdc 25 or 27 vdc/ 29 or 32.
    there are several different models 115 or 230 models and 90 or 120 amp models. station 4 on the 90 amp model should read 29 vdc with no load.
    If the large cap is bad, it can cause a low output. when it does weld does the arc stop if you lift the gun up away from the metal just a little bit and to keep the arc going to almost have to touch the tip to the metal. if so- cap may be bad. A good cap should allow you to lift the gun up about 1 inch and keep the arc going.
    start at normal stick out and move up. Yours is the 115 volt model so it is a 90 amp welder. Make sure your line cord and any extension cords are in good shape and 12 awg or larger. welder will not work on a 18 awg cord. one more thought. 035 mig wire does not weld well on the 115 volt welders. use only 023 0r 030 mig wire.
    If you pull max amps your line current will be 26 amps and a dedicated 20 amp circuit breaker will last only 2 minutes before tripping. hope it is just a bad connection you can clean and it will start welding for you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Ceres, California
    Posts
    3,904
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Miller Sidekick Issues

    The two wires going to the large blue capacitor are your DC. So the other two are the transformer wires, May need to disconnect one of each to isolate the diodes for a good test. make sure you mark each connection so you know where they belong.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    NW New Jersey
    Posts
    940
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Miller Sidekick Issues



    Its a different welder, and style of diode, but hopefully it gives you the basic idea .

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by albrightree; 08-22-2021 at 04:49 PM.
    Airco 250 ac/dc Heliwelder Square wave
    Miller Synchrowave 180 sd
    Miller Econo Twin HF
    Lincoln 210 MP
    Dayton 225 ac/dc
    Victor torches
    Snap-On YA-212
    Lotos Cut60D

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Page generated in 1,638,023,947.02354 seconds with 12 queries