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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    3

    Default Synchrowave 250DX motherboard failure -- is it common?

    This is a bit of a complaint, but I am curious to see if my recent 250DX problem is common.

    I bought my Synchrowave (SN preface code LG) new in June of 2007. It probably has less than 25 hours (no more than 50 for sure) total power-on time on it in my home hobby shop. Most of my (occasional) shop time is spent machining; welding is not done very frequently and is mostly small items. Grinding/filing/machining doesn't take place next ti the welder.

    I'd had an old Miller 330 that I replaced with this new Synchrowave when the 330 died in the middle of a project. I'd been hoping that spending the money on a brand new machine would get me trouble-free operation for a very long time considering how infrequently I use it. The 250DX worked fine until it didn't.

    A couple weeks ago I was doing some aluminum welding and the machine started acting up. I tried to troubleshoot it (no dangling wires/blown capacitors, good power to it, no grinding particle/dust build up inside) and after a talk with Miller tech support I arranged for a service call, as Miller figured it was probably the main circuit board (what I'd consider a motherboard since it has the microprocessor and control circuits on it) that was at fault.

    Yesterday, after 3.5 hours of tech time and a $900 replacement board (a newer version that also included a replacement of different specification for one of the giant resistors in the machine as well as an extra bridge rectifier) the 250DX was fixed.

    The original motherboard looks like it gets a 3 year warranty, so that was up June 2010.

    Is this a common failure? It appears Miller had reason to make the replacement a new board (different part number, blue phenolic for the board instead of green, extra parts included with the replacement board) so there must have been some shortcoming in the original part

    The original board in the welder was #209877F and I was told the current part uses #237587. There are also different software/revision codes showing up when the machine is turned on.

    It would be nice if Miller could add a runtime clock to their control boards and factor the actual running hours into their warranty. It seems like that should be pretty cheap to implement/program at a time when they do a board revision. I'd think they might even find the clock data useful for determining mean time between failures (MTBF) for their manufacturing and design process.

    Sure, probably most people who buy a welder at this price level are going to use it a fair amount because they are buying it for a commercial shop and the machine needs to pay for itself. But I suspect that I'm not the only hobbyist who thinks "I'll go with a nice industry standard machine because I can squeeze it into the hobby budget and it will save me money and bother in the long run and bring me peace of mind."

    Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy seemed to be watching when I made that decision and between the parts and labor I've just spent an additional 50% of the purchase price of the welder.

    Intellectually I can appreciate that sometimes things just break, but "just breaks" combined with "oh, we've got a new and improved replacement part for that with additional replacement parts and new software as a part of the package" makes me wonder about the quality of the original part and whether there should have been some sort of recall and/or warranty extension on it.

    thanks,
    Michael

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    7,662

    Default

    Not common at all, what did the techs say was the root cause of the failure?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    3

    Default

    There was nothing wrong with the rest of the machine, so it was a "this board is broken and you need to replace it" failure mode.

    Here's a shot of the original board and the big resistor that was replaced with a different one that came with the new board:

    http://www.eurospares.com/graphics/m...rdResistor.jpg

    There's nothing visibly wrong with the old board. No bulging/leaking capacitors, no signs of arcing, etc. And things sort of worked (but erratically and with problems) in DCP and AC while DCN gave a HLP 11 "selector out of position" error and nothing would work in that setting so it wasn't totally blown out.

    It appears to be a case of electronic "sudden crib death". I know that sometimes electronic parts will do that, and if they get past that initial 10-20 or so hours generally they'll work fine after that as long as nothing is done to them to break them.

    No one would be happy to shell out $1455 to fix what is basically a brand new welder.

    If it had died because of a lightning strike or utility transformer blowing (or having something heavy fall off of a fork lift on to it) it could be marked down as "just one of those things that happens". Having it go out after very limited use and then finding that there's $900 in completely different parts that have superceded the failed parts leaves kind of a bad taste. I'd hoped that when I talked to the Miller tech support and was told that there was a new version of the board with additional parts and protective circuits that the next words might be a "oh, sorry about that, we'll cover a significant portion of the parts cost because we had enough problems with that old board that we had to redesign it and we want to stand behind our product."

    Hopefully it will stay fixed forever now so I won't have to deal with finding a replacement welder that might be more reliable. I'd expected this purchase to be a higher quality experience than if I'd bought some cheap import machine. Since there seem to be plenty of happy Miller owners I guess I just got unlucky by being sold one that was good enough to pass the production line inspection but not good enough to last long after that.

    Michael

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default (2) Syncrowave 250dx board failures

    I own three Syncrowave 250DX's in serial number range LF25 to<br>
    LG07.Two of the welders are down with board failures.<br>
    HLP-11 code is displayed. My welders have low hours as well.<br>
    I think Miller had issue(s) as well to discontinue the PC board #209877<br>
    and replace it with 237587.<br><br>
    Steve




    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Moore View Post
    This is a bit of a complaint, but I am curious to see if my recent 250DX problem is common.

    I bought my Synchrowave (SN preface code LG) new in June of 2007. It probably has less than 25 hours (no more than 50 for sure) total power-on time on it in my home hobby shop. Most of my (occasional) shop time is spent machining; welding is not done very frequently and is mostly small items. Grinding/filing/machining doesn't take place next ti the welder.

    I'd had an old Miller 330 that I replaced with this new Synchrowave when the 330 died in the middle of a project. I'd been hoping that spending the money on a brand new machine would get me trouble-free operation for a very long time considering how infrequently I use it. The 250DX worked fine until it didn't.

    A couple weeks ago I was doing some aluminum welding and the machine started acting up. I tried to troubleshoot it (no dangling wires/blown capacitors, good power to it, no grinding particle/dust build up inside) and after a talk with Miller tech support I arranged for a service call, as Miller figured it was probably the main circuit board (what I'd consider a motherboard since it has the microprocessor and control circuits on it) that was at fault.

    Yesterday, after 3.5 hours of tech time and a $900 replacement board (a newer version that also included a replacement of different specification for one of the giant resistors in the machine as well as an extra bridge rectifier) the 250DX was fixed.

    The original motherboard looks like it gets a 3 year warranty, so that was up June 2010.

    Is this a common failure? It appears Miller had reason to make the replacement a new board (different part number, blue phenolic for the board instead of green, extra parts included with the replacement board) so there must have been some shortcoming in the original part

    The original board in the welder was #209877F and I was told the current part uses #237587. There are also different software/revision codes showing up when the machine is turned on.

    It would be nice if Miller could add a runtime clock to their control boards and factor the actual running hours into their warranty. It seems like that should be pretty cheap to implement/program at a time when they do a board revision. I'd think they might even find the clock data useful for determining mean time between failures (MTBF) for their manufacturing and design process.

    Sure, probably most people who buy a welder at this price level are going to use it a fair amount because they are buying it for a commercial shop and the machine needs to pay for itself. But I suspect that I'm not the only hobbyist who thinks "I'll go with a nice industry standard machine because I can squeeze it into the hobby budget and it will save me money and bother in the long run and bring me peace of mind."

    Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy seemed to be watching when I made that decision and between the parts and labor I've just spent an additional 50% of the purchase price of the welder.

    Intellectually I can appreciate that sometimes things just break, but "just breaks" combined with "oh, we've got a new and improved replacement part for that with additional replacement parts and new software as a part of the package" makes me wonder about the quality of the original part and whether there should have been some sort of recall and/or warranty extension on it.

    thanks,
    Michael

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    485

    Default

    Nothing like high parts prices to take out older machines. "Planned obsolescence" at its finest.

    As a non-commercial user I go for used, cheap, and "redundant machines for backup" since they are often much cheaper than repair parts.

    Commercial users can afford to treat machines as "consumables" and it pays to do it that way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,553

    Default

    This is one reason why there isn't a transformer style machine in my shop.
    They have so many buzzers and bells on them now that I don't see any reliability advantage over the inverters anymore.
    I wouldn't mind an older synchowave in my shop. It would save me a few steps at times. No way I'm springing for a new one tho. YMMV

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Huntington, NY
    Posts
    118

    Default

    I'm surprised that Miller didn't make that a factory recall or free replacement part. The fact that another member had the same help code on 2 of his machines gives more creedence to your claim.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    265

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Drf255 View Post
    I'm surprised that Miller didn't make that a factory recall or free replacement part. The fact that another member had the same help code on 2 of his machines gives more creedence to your claim.
    There are those of us that have multiple welders, two of mine are Syncrowaves that have many hours on them without fail. Of course I supply more than enough power to supply those beast unlike many that feel a 50 amp breaker is somehow adequate. We perform all scheduled maintenance and have highly qualified personnel that understand how to properly use them. To fully validate a claim, many other issues must be resolved before one can just claim that it was just a board failure.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Syncrowave 250dx pc board problems

    Well i also bought a syncrowave 250 dx and mine has probably less than 15 total hours and stays so clean you can eat off it. i am a one man shop and take excellent care of my equipment. i also got a help code and after calling the miller tech line come to the conclusion that this board is the problem and also gave me the NEW part number for the upgraded board. i agree with you i think this is a common problem but a way for them to get more money. i havent bought mine yet. if i used it all the time i would have to but i guess waiting to land another job that i need it so to justify buying it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    7,662

    Default

    Well, it costs a whopping $150- $200 to fix the board at Radwell. (just had one done there)

    Seems pointless to buy a new one.

    As for board updates. Miller uses various manufacturers, thus different #'s.

    As well as, they like all the other manufactures are trying to cut down on the # of boards used. So 1 board may fit 10 machines, as apposed to 10 machines using 10 dfferent boards. Makes better financial sence.
    Last edited by cruizer; 09-07-2012 at 09:11 AM.

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