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Thread: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

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    Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    HF 170 welder
    HF 4x6 band saw
    South Bend 9N
    Mill
    B&D mag drill
    Victor torch

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Yea but,,, you know the entire purpose of that site is to make money from Amazon sales. That's it, it's all they're there for!

    I'm not even sure if there's anybody there who really knows the first thing about welding at all, just a collection of generic information and products for sale...

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    The Chicago 170 was same as my views.
    The ground and power cord is short.
    Most reviews today take about the led screen witch can not read with hood on.

    Most of internet today can fall into that category.
    Back in 1990's the internet was a lot better .

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by BaTu View Post
    Yea but,,, you know the entire purpose of that site is to make money from Amazon sales. That's it, it's all they're there for!

    I'm not even sure if there's anybody there who really knows the first thing about welding at all, just a collection of generic information and products for sale...

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    The description for the 80amp machine starts with-
    “It is inserted into the area where you are currently working “.
    Is that a poor translation of English “ this welder is
    portable “?
    Miller a/c-d/c Thunderbolt XL
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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    The 80 Amp toaster welder is called a MIG welder in the article.

    My son got one on sale, later sold it to my bro-in-law. Then I got a virtually unused one off Craigslist with an auto dark helmet and a nice Craftsman carry bag. I sold the helmet. All in all, I think I may have $50 or less in it. I have some better spare leads left over from another deal, so I'm set.
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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Articles like that are a new phenomenon.

    The author is paid by the word to write about anything whether they understand the subject or not. Looks like the 'writer' saw a couple of Amazon reviews or maybe just product descriptions, then just made stuff up. I'm sure he never saw a welder in person. And with the vague English, he's likely in India or Bangladesh where he didn't pay attention in his English class.

    The purpose of the article is simply to earn referral payments from Amazon to the publisher, from anyone who reads the article and clicks a link. Some YouTube product reviews are like that too.

    I've read that for news publishing, there are computers that can read a source or sources, and generate a fresh article that can't be distinguished from human-written. That might be the case here if someone applied a computer like that to a lot of Amazon categories. In order to generate the referral payments. Without understanding anything.

    But the 170 is a decent welder. At least he got that right.
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    It could be a computer translation.
    This is not a English class we are welders.

    The important is does welder work.

    If looking for a good book buy Lincoln book on welding.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by jpump5 View Post
    The description for the 80amp machine starts with-
    “It is inserted into the area where you are currently working “.
    Is that a poor translation of English “ this welder is
    portable “?

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    I agree 👍

    I have used a lot welders and HF 170 and 180 Harbor Frieght did get right.
    The 170 have I did 3 thing to improve the welder.
    1) Longer power cord.
    2) Longer & #4 ground with good ground clamp.
    3) Install a heavy duty mag starter.
    The welder did weld great out box too.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    Articles like that are a new phenomenon.

    The author is paid by the word to write about anything whether they understand the subject or not. Looks like the 'writer' saw a couple of Amazon reviews or maybe just product descriptions, then just made stuff up. I'm sure he never saw a welder in person. And with the vague English, he's likely in India or Bangladesh where he didn't pay attention in his English class.

    The purpose of the article is simply to earn referral payments from Amazon to the publisher, from anyone who reads the article and clicks a link. Some YouTube product reviews are like that too.

    I've read that for news publishing, there are computers that can read a source or sources, and generate a fresh article that can't be distinguished from human-written. That might be the case here if someone applied a computer like that to a lot of Amazon categories. In order to generate the referral payments. Without understanding anything.

    But the 170 is a decent welder. At least he got that right.
    Last edited by smithdoor; 1 Week Ago at 02:00 PM.

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post

    I have used a lot welders and HF 170 and 180 Harbor Freight did get right.
    The 170 have I did 3 thing to improve the welder.
    1) Longer power cord.
    2) Longer & #4 ground with good ground clamp.
    3) Install a heavy duty mag starter.
    What is a Mag Starter?

    (I do have those other upgrades on my Mig-180)
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
    Wards PowrKraft AC-230. Stick & carbon arc.

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    What is a Mag Starter?

    (I do have those other upgrades on my Mig-180)
    A mag starter is a heavy duty relay.

    Dave
    HF 170 welder
    HF 4x6 band saw
    South Bend 9N
    Mill
    B&D mag drill
    Victor torch

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    The relay on the welder is light duty and will give up under use.
    The one I had was a leftover from past. The rating is motor starting and running 40 amps America made.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    What is a Mag Starter?

    (I do have those other upgrades on my Mig-180)

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    A mag starter is a heavy duty relay.

    Dave

    Thanks.
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
    Wards PowrKraft AC-230. Stick & carbon arc.

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    Thanks.
    This what did on mind to a relay/starter to the 170 in will work on most welders

    Dave
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    HF 170 welder
    HF 4x6 band saw
    South Bend 9N
    Mill
    B&D mag drill
    Victor torch

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    This what did on mind to a relay/starter to the 170 in will work on most welders

    Dave
    Thanks!

    Prior owner of my heavily-modified Mig-180 was an experimenter rather than a welder.

    I found a variable-delay relay in there, that he told me was to let the capacitor charge for maybe a half second before the current starts. The wire starts before the current, so I have to be careful to not stub the wire too close to the work then melt it back into the tip when it gets current. I've gotten used to starting with short stickout that grows before the current starts.

    I also found a relay like you describe that had been installed, then disconnected. He told me to just remove it, I don't understand why. Maybe I should trace the circuit and put that relay back in service, to match your diagram.

    This welder is upgraded with 10 ft gun and removable ground cable (Dinse socket on the front), and capacitor, and everything works great. I'm still discovering features the experimenter added, such as a solid copper bussbar down to the inner side of the Dinse socket. This thing is a great toy! I wouldn't try to use it to earn a living but its great for my farm repairs and minor fabrication.
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
    Wards PowrKraft AC-230. Stick & carbon arc.

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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    For me it great foe a garage welder.
    Small for storage and does not flip the breaker like 120 volt welders.

    Duty cycle at 60% is 64 amps and a 20% is 110 amps.

    It does good job.
    I would not let employee use the welder.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    Thanks!

    Prior owner of my heavily-modified Mig-180 was an experimenter rather than a welder.

    I found a variable-delay relay in there, that he told me was to let the capacitor charge for maybe a half second before the current starts. The wire starts before the current, so I have to be careful to not stub the wire too close to the work then melt it back into the tip when it gets current. I've gotten used to starting with short stickout that grows before the current starts.

    I also found a relay like you describe that had been installed, then disconnected. He told me to just remove it, I don't understand why. Maybe I should trace the circuit and put that relay back in service, to match your diagram.

    This welder is upgraded with 10 ft gun and removable ground cable (Dinse socket on the front), and capacitor, and everything works great. I'm still discovering features the experimenter added, such as a solid copper bussbar down to the inner side of the Dinse socket. This thing is a great toy! I wouldn't try to use it to earn a living but its great for my farm repairs and minor fabrication.

  18. #16
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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Here duty cycle chart for the HF180 welder.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    Thanks!

    Prior owner of my heavily-modified Mig-180 was an experimenter rather than a welder.

    I found a variable-delay relay in there, that he told me was to let the capacitor charge for maybe a half second before the current starts. The wire starts before the current, so I have to be careful to not stub the wire too close to the work then melt it back into the tip when it gets current. I've gotten used to starting with short stickout that grows before the current starts.

    I also found a relay like you describe that had been installed, then disconnected. He told me to just remove it, I don't understand why. Maybe I should trace the circuit and put that relay back in service, to match your diagram.

    This welder is upgraded with 10 ft gun and removable ground cable (Dinse socket on the front), and capacitor, and everything works great. I'm still discovering features the experimenter added, such as a solid copper bussbar down to the inner side of the Dinse socket. This thing is a great toy! I wouldn't try to use it to earn a living but its great for my farm repairs and minor fabrication.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    HF 170 welder
    HF 4x6 band saw
    South Bend 9N
    Mill
    B&D mag drill
    Victor torch

  19. #17
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    Re: Review of Harbor Freight Chicago Electric welders

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    Here duty cycle chart for the HF180 welder.

    Dave
    Thanks! I saved a copy.

    With the capacitor switched in, there could be an additional line in the chart. Maybe Duty Cycle 10% (or less) @ 180 amps when the wire speed/current dial is turned all the way up.

    The capacitor adds noticeable additional current for each step on the wire speed/current dial. At least one step on that 10 position dial. As well as making a smoother arc.


    On this hitch adapter you can see where I got good penetration into the 1.25" solid bar. Most of my projects are like this, not welding long enough to hit the Duty Cycle.

    (This was a HF 2" receiver intended for an ATV, added on to a 1.25" ball mount. I use it for a cargo rack, not for towing).

    Name:  20210722_161529rrHitchAdapter-painted.jpg
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    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
    Grizzly H8153 Stick/Tig Pulse 130/160.
    Wards PowrKraft AC-230. Stick & carbon arc.

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