A little help ................

I used to have a Miller Thunderbolt. It had a top crank. It was an AC DC, with several plug ins on the front for low/hi DC, and AC connectors. IIRC,
some were yellow, and some other colors. There was a slider indicator to tell amperage. It was very heavy for the size. I paid about $350 in 1988 or so.
I was at a wrought iron supply shop the other day. I saw one like that, and one that was an XL. The XL had a black front, and a crank handle on the front that looks like it did amperage jumps, and not the infinite crank handle increase/decrease.
I really liked the little Thunderbolt, and asked the price. They said $825 for either, and that they were new. I have been Googling, and can't seem to come up with the top crank model. Discontinued? And the XL is going for around $600.
Were these people wrong? Were they trolling for a sucker? Did I miss something? I am going to Houston Wednesday, and can't run over and get the model numbers to ask an exact question. But the crank model looked exactly like the one I used to own.
Insights?
TIA
Steve
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and
I had the one with the crank on the front. Thunderbolt XL (300Amp) that model is actually made by Hobart. Understand it to be the next (cheaper) generation of the top-crank model. The front crank is infinate withing the range of the switch. I keep the switch in on position. Its a great welder for its cheap price, and a little more cheesy;y made, but I loved it, and smoothest stick welder I've ever used.
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And how much was the price?
Steve
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that,
the
Cheap dude. Actually, if you are interested, get the Hobart branded one - its about $50 cheaper. (wow, they've gone up in price)
Hobart stamped: http://www2.northerntool.com/product/384175_384175.htm
Miller stamped: http://www.weldingmart.com/Qstore/p000011.htm
The Thunderbolt/Stickmate is one of the few Milller welders made by somebody else. They are great! I can't tell you how many hours I put on mine. The dial (crank) is *really* linier, and infinite in control. Its like 20-30 turns from one end to the other. Very rarely will you very get rod stick - this welder's magnetic design makes for damn near automatic welding. I can't say enough about this welder. Only issue I every had with it was that after about a year of very heavy welding, the crank started to move counter-clockwise by itself while you were welding - it was very strange. Had someone else run some rods so that I could watch it - sure enough, crank going backwards real slow on its own. Come to find out, the friction bolts on the sliding armature inside were a little loose. These are a maintenance item that is covered very wel in the instruction manual. One day we decided to run it at 300 Amps at 100% duty cycle for about 1/2 hour to see how it would do. It ran fine, but back in the shop (where the welder was) whole place smelled like burning windings. Said uh-oh... Took the cover off, and it stilll looked like brand new, not one iota of discoloring on any winding/wire anywhere. Again, great machine, super smooth current regulation, and you just wouldn't expect it from something like this. And all copper windings too! I was lucky to get mine on a scratch/dent (*really* dented), and in ass end all smashed in (fell off truck). Love that machine, and the way it welds.

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