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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Montana, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default

    I haven't looked inside my inverter tig machine, but would not be surprised to see some electrolytic capacitors on control boards, particularly power supplies. Some e-caps go bad in 8-10 years, so perhaps, we have this to look forward to. I have brought TVs and VCRs back to life by replacing bad caps.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    180

    Default

    Inverter welders are more versatile than transformer welders but they have a weakness. Inverter welders have many, many more internal connections than transformer based welders and their components are more sensitive to sustained high temperatures. Time, temperature changes and use cycles have a tendency wreak havoc on inverter welders.

    The only way to reduce the effect of these evils is to do what Cruizer suggested: keep the welder cool by blowing it out and (most important) periodically tighten the internal connections that loosen with heating/cooling (use cycles). It does not take much in the way of increased resistance to current flow, read this as connections not quite snug (remember, high amps require uninterrupted current pathways), to burn out internal components. The result of negligence can be very, very expensive.
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  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    276

    Default Here is my 2 cents

    and probably not worth that.
    Owning a shop I look at the cost of equipment and what it can produce in the time it is alive.

    If a $4000.00 machine lasts 12 years and can produce say 8 hours a day at lets say you get $50/hour. What is the value of the machine?

    Go get another because you have set aside your $3/month for new equipment, haven't you?

    Stop complaning, some of my equipment cost over $100K each and I have worked them 10 to 12 hours a day and 2 of them are 15years old. My hourly is higher than $50. My new equipment fund will buy replacements at this point for cash. If you prepare, do your maintainance, work the machines for profit, not just to get by you will be fine.

    If you are a weekend warrior, you bought 1st quality gear, you should be smiling.
    Live Right Have Fun

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  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    878

    Default

    Well, in 1998 I bought a PowCon 200SM that was made in 1976. I sold it in 2004 to buy a MM210. Two years later the new owner was still using it. I lost track of him after that.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dondlhmn View Post
    It is a basic truism in the (especially capitalistic) world that if you produce crap, you are likely to have your business fail or underperform badly.
    Wondering aloud: Are WalMart and Harbor Freight exempt from this "basic truism?"

    Back on topic:

    The one type of component that that limits the life of modern electronic equipment is the electrolytic capacitor. By its very nature it contains an electrolyte that will, over time, leak and/or evaporate. Of course there are exceptions to every rule and there are a few Atwater-Kent radios with huge old electrolytic cans-- or the earlier cardboard tubes-- that may still work, although by far the majority died decades ago.

    Modern electrolytics are even designed with a safety top that allows them to more safely leak/explode when they die. Not that long ago, millions of counterfeit Chinese electrolytics made there way into even high-end consumer electronics such as cellphones, auto modules, even Apple computers-- leading to a premature death at considerable cost to customers.

    Electrolytic capacitors are even designed with a life expectancy-- usually measured in thousands of hours at a given maximum temperature. Heat is their enemy which explains why the life of inverter welders is shorter than old transformers. Open a modern inverter welder or plasma cutter, and you will find its boards packed with small electrolytic cans.

    In addition to being run right up to their duty cycle when they automatically shut down to cool off, inverters often spend their working lives in garages exposed to extremes of hot and cold-- all of which ultimately kill electrolytics.

    If science can someday design a device to replace electrolytics, such device possessing the stability of components such as resistors, transistors, diodes, inductors-- including transformers and chokes-- and microprocessors, you can expect the life of electronic equipment to increase exponentially.

    However such a mass-produced device is still in the theoretic world of optical buses.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default capacitor life

    Previous posters are correct--heat and electrolytic caps will bound the life of any piece of electronic gear.

    Don't electrolytics dislike sitting idle month after month? I recall (dimly) discussions about "reforming" stale caps, required after long periods of non-use. I believe the reforming procedure isn't a cure all, and I don't think it could be performed feasibly on the multitude of small electrolytics on a circuit board.

    Obviously this isn't a problem for the professional welder, but might be for a hobbyist.

    Maybe one of Miller's reliability engineers could weigh in: Would firing up an inverter welder at least, say, every month extend the capacitor life of an inverter device?

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    St. Paul Park MN
    Posts
    132

    Default

    Miller Sigma 5CS is still chugging along 35 years after I bought it used for $200.00.
    couple of Airco PA-3A, Airco 300 amp CV and a 450 Deltaweld are still going strong.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    las vegas
    Posts
    227

    Default

    Good ole delta weld. Love that machine.
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  9. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    107

    Default

    My Japanese OTC AVP300 amp inverter Tig machine is still going strong and it's got to be over 12 years old now.
    It's an older style analogue machine which doesn't have some of the features the new machines have now but it still has the best AC balance control of any machine I've used.
    Looking inside the machine to how it's made and it's 1st rate with everything neatly in place.
    This is my daily workhorse and it gets used all the time and apart from cooking a couple a Tig torches it has done so much work it's paid for itself many times over.
    There is no way I'd ever go back to a transformer machine, the characteristics of the inverter makes it superior in so many situations, particularly on the AC side.
    Regards Andrew from Oz.
    We are tig welders, gravity doesn't worry us.

    Miller Dynasty 350 Tig.
    OTC AVP300 AC/DC 300 amp hybrid wave Tig. (now retired)
    Kemppi MLS 2300 230amp AC/DC Tig for home with all the bells and whistles.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Las Vegas Nevada
    Posts
    132

    Default

    This was an issue with Variable Frequency Drives when they first started showing up in the industrys. You were counseled to power up the drive and let it sit idle for some hours to recondition the caps from storage. I haven't seen that admonition for many years but I still do it with any new install.

    I doubt that there's been any significant improvement in Electrolytics over the years....


    Quote Originally Posted by jackw19 View Post
    Previous posters are correct--heat and electrolytic caps will bound the life of any piece of electronic gear.

    Don't electrolytics dislike sitting idle month after month? I recall (dimly) discussions about "reforming" stale caps, required after long periods of non-use. I believe the reforming procedure isn't a cure all, and I don't think it could be performed feasibly on the multitude of small electrolytics on a circuit board.

    Obviously this isn't a problem for the professional welder, but might be for a hobbyist.

    Maybe one of Miller's reliability engineers could weigh in: Would firing up an inverter welder at least, say, every month extend the capacitor life of an inverter device?
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