What's the deal with wire feed tracking in Hobart and Miller 110v
welders? A few people seem to hate it and most are silent about it.
I am a newbie. Does it matter? I have narrowed down to a Hobart 140,
HTP 120, or a Lincoln-135T.
I like the Hobart, but if wire feed tracking is going to get in my way
(like all the 'auto-help' features in microsoft software) I don't want
it. Is it a big deal?
I have a MillerMatic 135 and have never had a complaint about the
feed...works great. BE WARE these 110volt welders are only 90 amp max,
NOT 135 amp like the model number leads you to believe. If you need
more than 90 amps, spend a little more the first time, so you won't
have to spend a lot more the second time.
Well technically it's not even a 90 amp welder. Or technically it really
IS a 135 amp welder.
At 90 amps it's 20% duty cycle. Some would say that's not even a "90 amp
welder", as in "A welder's amp rating is at 100% duty dammit!" (In that
case, it's a 40 amp welder). But the fact is that it WILL hit 135 amps
output with everything dialed up with a duty cycle of about 10% and a 20
amp 110 line.
So is it a 135 amp welder? Is it even a 90 amp welder? The only REAL
fact is "It is a welder with a 20% duty cycle at 90 amps and has a
maximum output of 135 amps on a 20 amp 100 line".
Hmmm, actually according to this
it won't even
reach 135 amps :( That IS a disturbing lie then. At least the Hobart 140
will actually reach 140 amps (9% duty cycle) so it's not technically a
BTW, just to add something of substance to this post... I recently
bought a Hobart 180 and I was having the same thoughts about "wire feed
tracking" after reading the woes on the net, but so far I cannot figure
out what the big deal is. I've found it to be reliable and responsive
(but different from by 120). Once I get the new IPS/V setting dial
memorized, it'll be a non-issue and I LOVE the welder. I would suggest
that if total portability is not an issue, consider the slightly more
expensive 180 (I got it for $519 at a local welding supply place),
though it is a 220V only welder.
[ ... ]
Just for comparison, the Miller Maxstar 140 has the following
limitations (according to the PDF manual which I recently downloaded)
Power source 100% duty cycle Current from line
115 VAC 80A @ 23.2 Volts 26 A
230 VAC 100 A @ 24V 20 A
Power Source Max current Duty cycle
115 VAC 110 A 35% or lower
230 VAC 140 A 25% or lower
So -- this tiny unit does make it all the way to its name rating of
140 A -- when run form 230 VAC, and at 25% duty cycle or below. Run it
from 115 VAC, and the rating drops
Of course, it is a stick and DC TIG machine, and you were
talking about MIG machines.
[ ... ]
[ ... ]
Not sure about *smaller*, because the Maxstar 140 has what must
be a very high frequency transformer (thus it can handle lots of current
with very little iron). It is kind of like a switching regulated power
supply. The whole thing is in a fairly small package, supplied with a
shoulder strap for carrying -- possibly even while welding.
It is a cute little device, and I've been trying to decide
whether it would be enough for what I need -- bearing in mind that I
have no experience with welding (other than bandsaw blade welding), so I
don't know what I will eventually be doing with it. (But since I
already have pretty much all of the floor space occupied in the shop, I
think that what I get *has* to be this small -- or I need to build more
Yeah, but notice that it requires 26A to make 80A welding current
when run from 115VAC. Finding a 26A 115 volt circuit may present
a problem since standard household 115 VAC circuits are 15A, and
the highest rated outlets commonly available are 20A (which would
require a breaker change in the panel to accomodate).
So, on a *standard* 15A 115 VAC circuit, if your welder's supply is
linear, it will only make 46.15 A at 23.2 volts before being supply
limited. 80 * 15/26 = 46.15
Switchers aren't linear, though, so lets go at it another way. The
maximum power you can draw from a household 115 VAC circuit
is 115 * 15 = 1725 watts. Now you can divide your welder's secondary
voltage into that figure to give you the maximum welding current
a *perfect* 100% efficient welder will be able to produce. Using
your numbers again, 1725/23.2 = 74.35 amps. Since no real
welder can be 100% efficient, your available amperage will be
This same calculation can be done for a MIG. At 18 volts output,
maximum welding current will be 1725/18 = 95.83 amps. That's
assuming the welder is 100% efficient, of course. It won't be,
so the actual maximum welding current on a standard household
outlet will be less, no matter *what* the nameplate on the welder
To get more than about 90 A welding current out of *any* 110 volt
welder will require a *special high current supply circuit* not normally
found in household wiring. That's why people say all of these 110
volt machines are actually *at best* 90A machines.
[ ... ]
Granted -- but I know that they are available up to 30 amps, as
I have such an outlet (and the corresponding breaker) on the power feed
for my UPS.
Of course, I *should* have taken the time to re-wire the input
for 220V, but I was in too much of a hurry to get the systems back on
line after the move. :-)
When I get one of these, I do not plan to run it from 115 VAC,
anyway, so it does not matter to me.