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Transformer or Inverter?

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  • Transformer or Inverter?

    I am currently looking to buy a tig and have read all the debates and disagreements whether transformers or inverters are better.I have been in the industry for just 10 years and have acquired 2 journeyman cert's[fab and welding].I certainly don't want to offend anyone, but fail to see how anyone would prefer a transformer over inverter.
    If you look at the technical stats on the inverter technology I fail to see how anyone could say that a transformer is better. A tranformer on average is around 2-3x as heavey ,dimensionally 2x as large, limited to either single or three phase, and the power consumption rate over an inverter is on average 30-60% MORE. Now whether your in a shop[three phase 575] or you want to take your machine home [single phase 220] for the weekend, only an inverter can give you that luxury.A transformer machine seems to draw way too much amperage for home use. Not to mention all the added features with say a Dynasty series machine.
    If $$$ aren't an issue, the inverter seems to be my obvious choice.Can anyone suggest to me if or why an inverter or a transformer would be better,please note that I use Squarewave Lincoln 355 as well as Syncrowave 250 Dx at work so I have used both configurations.

    Thanks for everyones input.

  • #2
    I am sold on the inverters - I have five The only down side I can think of against inverters are 1) initial cost 2) repairs are more. I feel these few negatives are more than offset by their positives IMO. The only repair was on a XMT304 and that was under warrantee.

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    • #3
      welcome to the site guy's.
      as i understand it the transformers are supposed to have a better DC arc. the inverters have always been known to have a better AC arc with its adjutability making it the first choice for aluminum. $ for amp, you get more out of a transformer, but you already said that. the transformers are getting more and more boards in them every day so repair bills will soon be scary for both, but the old transformers do keep on ticking. as for the electric bill a home hobby guy is not likely to have his in use enough to see a difference. although a full time shop would likely see some advantages over time. wile we see inverters as new they really are not, some have good long standing track records just as the inverters do.
      i think you need to take your needs into account when choosing, for me the inverter was the only option. and i'm happy with my inverter.

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      • #4
        transformer has better dc stick in my experiance

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        • #5
          transformer has better dc stick in my experiance, and stands the test of time very well

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          • #6
            My $.02

            I havn't used my Dynasty for tig yet as I don't have the set up for it at this time, but I use it at school on a regular basis with DC stick and love it. It's small and portable, runs off almost anything you can plug it into, and packs quite a punch. I think it's just a case of there being a bit steeper learning curve on a machine like the dynasty with there being so many more adjustments.

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            • #7
              Invertec V350

              Originally posted by phaxtris View Post
              transformer has better dc stick in my experiance
              You should try a Lincoln Invertec V350. You'd be amazed how well this inverter does stick welding. The best I have used yet.

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              • #8
                trans or invert

                I've heard more than once now that a tranformer is better in DC stick than an inverter. Does anyone know if this is actually true or if this is just personel preference.

                Thanks for the info

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                • #9
                  Another question. if you never take it out of the shop, is the invertor worth the extra $$? I dont do any road work. I know it can do things like change the frequency, nice for AC on aluminum that a transfomer can't do. You pay for the bells and whistles and not sure if ist always worth it. Of course, less electric use would help offset the cost overtime. I have used a dyn 200 and is very nice. I have a SW180 in my shop at home and a SW250 at work. both work fine. I never have used either for stick. When I do stick, seldom anymore, I use my Bobcat.

                  I'm sure this topic has been covered before, but still and interesting topic as I've not made my mind up what to buy next. Am leaning toward the dyn though.

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                  • #10
                    IMO: if you have plenty of power available in the shop to feed it, your not concerned about going mobile with it and there is no shortage of Sq.Ft. in the shop, or $$. go for the syncrowave. for the $ needed for a dyn200 you could get a syncrowave 250 , now look at the bells and whistles for that comparison. syncrowaves produce excellent looking beads on aluminum every day. just look at the article on tuna towers. great looking beads on anodized aluminum, cant ask for more than that. $ for amp the transformers give you more bang for the buck.
                    if $ is a large concern, the syncro 200 instead of the Dynasty 200 would leave you a lot of $$ left over to buy the many other things a shop needs........like a plasma cutter.... ok maybe not quite that much but close. also going used you will find lots of syncrowave 250's in the $1,000.oo range, the Dynasty's you find used are usually close to the $ of new.

                    i think the $ difference in repairs is getting smaller every day. as they add more and more to the transformers in the way of control boards, the slightly used 250 syncro is looking better and better.

                    the $ saved on the electric bill in a home shop is going to be next to nothing, so don't look at it like that. the need to upgrade a service panel to run a syncrowave can be expensive. keeping in mind doing it your self could save some $$ and leave you with no power problems in future if you think big when doing it.

                    long story short, unless you know some one with a used dyn200 for sale at a great $$, a home shop with plenty of power and no interest in going mobile would be better served with a syncrowave. put the extra $$ into the many other things that would be great to have in the shop. a nice tubing bender ?? a plasma cutter ??oh oh a nice press would be cool. you get the idea.

                    simple truth is an inverter is a specialty tool. if you don't need the stuff it was designed for, you are just getting it for the cool factor. i think a new syncrowave 200 and a spectrum 375 extream would be much cooler. but hey its your $$ spend it the way that makes you feel good.

                    no i don't have anything against inverters, i have one and love it. my first choice would have been the syncrowave and a spec375, but with power situation i have it was just not an option.

                    i say look at your true needs, buy what fit's. happy holiday's

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                    • #11
                      Last summer I replaced a Lincoln Tig 300/300 (transformer) with a Lincoln Precision Tig 275 (inverter). IMO, as a tig machine, it's has much better arc stability, especially at low amperage, than the transformer machine. I've not tried DC stick with it, and probably won't since I use it only for tig work.

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                      • #12
                        So many choices, I want em all....

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                        • #13
                          It would be inverter for me anymore too, especially in home/small shops the power considerations are a huge factor and on alum they are hard to beat.

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                          • #14
                            transformer vs inverter

                            I'd personally go with whatever you like. Some people like a big box. I love the dx250..looks good at Christmas and welds great. Others swear the 304 is the way to go. I'd take one. One thing about a big box is, its easy to mount a 22a wire feeder on top if you deside to run some mig. If mig isnt a consideration..then get what looks good..you'll be debating for years which is better..peace

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by al1213 View Post
                              You should try a Lincoln Invertec V350. You'd be amazed how well this inverter does stick welding. The best I have used yet.
                              i have many hours on the invertec 350, they are a good machine, just not so good when you get into bigger rods like 3/16 and 1/4, ive always had trouble keeping them lit on the inverter machines, including the invertec 350

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