Lincoln Idealarc 250/250 AC/DC/ Tig question

Ive got an opportunity to pick up rather cheaply..a Lincoln combination machine, stick, tig, ac/dc
It looks similar to this one
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&categoryW039&item853525386&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW
But is only 250 amps. It does not have the water solenoid, or the AC outlet on the front, but its been fully tested while I was present. Tested by a welder repair tech. He indicated that I dont really want the water solenoid, as the coolant should be running whenever the machine is turned on, so I figured I could pull a 110v off the contactor and install a fuse and so forth, so the coolant runs whenever the machine is turned on. It comes with a pedal that works just fine and the gas solenoid and post flow timer works properly.
I have a near new Weldcraft 250 torch and hoses and an outboard water cooler (a bit over kill..about the size of an dorm refridgerator) and of course stinger and ground clamp and welding cables.
Is this a good machine? Will it suit my needs for basic around the workshop puttering, gunsmithing, small aluminum welding and perhaps a bit of small cast iron welding?
I already have a Miller Dialarc 250 AC/DC welder for the gnarly stick stuff, but was wanting this for mostly TIG welding
Ive very little experience with TIG and the price of this machine is right...$200.
Any comments, suggestions, hints, warnings etc?
Ive got a Lincoln AC-225 and a Century AC/DC that Im selling locally to generate the money for this, but dont want to sell them if this is not a good machine for me to learn and grow on. I dont think they are worth enough together to buy newer or better machine. Shrug. Least not in this area of California.
I picked up a big assed Hobart Cybertig 2 some time back, that is three phase and I cant run it at home, but its at my buddies machine shop and he can use it. Ive been scrounging up accessories (tig torch, cables etc) for it, but I can use them on the Lincoln.
Thanks in advance.
Gunner
Come shed a tear for Michael Moore- Though he smirked and lied like a two-bit whore George Bush has just won another four. Poor, sad little Michael Moore
Diogenes
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It's not a bad buy. Does it have the Hi Freq unit? You'll need that for aluminum especially.
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I have nearly the same machine, an idealarc 300/300. It has been a great unit, I use it all the time. Its done tons of weld repair work on my 6000 feet of AL irrigation pipe. <Thin parts that must hold 150 psi> I've never bought any repair parts (yet) but they are all readily available. Lincoln has all the manuals in .PDFs on their web site.
Good luck
Karl
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I have the 300 amp unit great machine don't use it much but when i do it works nice. I use a sump pump in a bucket of water to cool my torch, not fancy but it gets the job done.

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Gunner wrote:

When in TIG mode, the contactor only engages when you actuate the pedal. You could probably install a relay powered by the TIG/Stick selector switch to control the water solenoid.

It's a good machine. I have the TIG 300/300. Short of a transformer failing, you can repair the thing with standard off the shelf parts available at any industrial supply house. Call Lincoln tech support & they will answer any questions you have about it. They sent me a photocopy of the original manual, gratis, as well.
It does suck some juice, though. When in stick mode, the contactor is engaged all the time. Mine pulls about 30 amps at idle.
Good Luck
--
John L. Weatherly
MacGyver Industrial Technologies
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Gunner you will need 100 % AR not the 75% 25% for your MIG. You will burn the torch tip with the mixed gas. Sounds like a great deal I love mine.
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75%-25% AR/CO2 is for MIG 100% Argon for TIG or Helium mixes for thicker Aluminum
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I've left both cables hooked up for years. I do hang it so the stinger doesn't lay on the ground and accidently arc to something. Same with the TIG torch when I'm not using it. I dunno, maybe switching to TIG unpowers the stick and vice versa, I've never checked. I've only had it for ten years.
Of course, you use the same ground cable anyway.
Karl
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Gunner wrote:

I've thought about digging back there by the fan to see if one is installed, but I've been quite busy. Plus, electricity is included in my shop rent, so it ain't on the top of the list...

That's how I leave mine set up. All leads on separate hooks & I've never had a problem.
That's a good deal on the TIG torch. I think I paid about $100 for the same model. Make sure you hook up the water flowing the right way, or you'll fry your torch. Here's a diagram, thanks to Ernie L.
http://www.metalworking.com/dropbox/_2001_retired_files/Water_TIG_1.jpg
Have fun with your new machine.
--
John L. Weatherly
MacGyver Industrial Technologies
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I added power factor correction capacitors to my Lincoln 300/300 TIG. The schematic diagram inside the back panel shows where they added the capacitors and I just experimented with amount of capacitance. It does reduce the idle current, but I am not sure how critical it is. The idle current is mostly reactive magnetizing current. You pay for watts, not for VARs. When doing real work (welding) the real and reactive (magnetizing) currents add as vectors so reducing the magnetizing current by adding capacitors does not reduce total current as much as one might expect. With only a 200 amp residential service and a 60 amp welder circuit, however, I figured every little bit might help.
Mill

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