Lincoln SP series mig welders versus a retail version?

Hey all And apologies in advance for the crosspost between RCM and SEJW
I'm looking for advice with ragards to the lower end of the mig welder
family
I'm curious as to whether there are any real difference between the Lincoln MIG's that are packaged for retail and the SP-135 and SP-175
I'm looking at a Mig pack 15 retail package and trying to find out if there IS any actual REAL difference between it and the SP-175
My primary machine is a Miller Synchrowave 200 but i'm looking for the MIG to try and close the gap on the two biggest limitations of the Synchrowave Portability and outdoor environments.
I've had several instances where a portable outdoor welder is needed over a bench welder that welds great. Mainly for one simple reason I dont have a garage so any big project like automobile welding has to be done outdoors in the driveway
Although I can use Stick welding for outdoor environments portability is obviously an issue and Myself and SMAW will not get along well on the thin materials i usually weld. I wont blame the machine i'll blame the operator but stick and sheet metal are not my cup of tea

Looks like the only difference is marketing because they have the same gun they run the same wire sizes the same wirefeed speeds and the same Nominal amperage and duty cycle. Is there something I'm missing that statistics dont tell? Even the LIST PRICES are almost a dead match.
Am i nuts here and there IS a real difference? or am i thinking along the right lines that the machines are identical except for some labels and marketing?
I am Aware i need to add an appropriate regulator to the mig pack 15 if i'm going to use it for GMAW instead of FCAW but i have the hose and its just a case of getting or using an appropriate regulator for the gas i have.
FYI The biggest reason i'm even considering a retail welder is the clearance price on it at the moment.
Thanks in advance for your help
Brent Ottawa Canada
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I had a SP-100, 110V version of their Mig wire feed welder. It was crap with a capitol C. Would not feed consistently no matter what I did. Speed settines were not the same from one day to the next. Someone stole it from me-and they deserve to have it
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I find myself wondering just what the SP-100 really is -- I've seen them for sale, and they look like a Harbor Freight league piece of Chinese equipment (rocker switches to select voltage...). Lincoln doesn't even list them on their site.
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Joe Pfeiffer wrote:

I like my Weldpak 100 ... limited in capacity and duty cycle , but it works great within those limitations . I'm using .025" wire and CO2 , and can do small stuff up to 1/4" thick with some preheat . What it isn't big enough for , there's always the 225 amp buzzbox .
--

Snag aka OSG #1
'90 Ultra , "Strider"
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I'm looking at Lincoln's site (http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/equipmentseries.aspx?browse1|241|), and they don't look terribly similar -- to start with, the SP-175 is listed there as a 208/230 V, not a 110. It's also a 175 amp max, not a 135... the duty cycles are also pretty different.
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Are you sure youre loking at the right one on the retail column? or was it my mistake
The mig pack 15 http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/equipmentdatasheet.aspx?p35
SP-175 http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/equipmentdatasheet.aspx?p%19
these are the two i'm looking at specifically. The Mig pack 15 is a 175A retail package
and i thinkthe mig pack 10 is the 135A version
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I misread your original post -- I thought you were asking about the 135 vs. the 175, not the "plain welder" vs. "mig pack". Sorry about that... Near as I can tell (I've also been looking into 110V welders), they're the same welder, but the 'Pak' version has additional goodies (useless face shield, instructional video, etc.)
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    --Get the bigger one and beef up your circuit breakers. Had a great Mig class at the Crucible and got to use *8* different models of Lincoln machines. The little ones can't do crap. Larger ones niiiice.
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Feeling like Bender in
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : a strong magnetic field...
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I'm looking at the 175 and I'm anything but worried about the breakers I have 240V all over the house and the shop will have 240 100A available
My big concern is that the 175A welder i'm looking at is actually on the wimpy side in construction compared to the SP-175. I detest buying tools twice and i want to do my best possible to make sure i'm not buying a toy welder with the Lincoln name on the side of it. I buy tools to last when they are treated right and i expect the portable MIG welder to be no different. If it is a toy i will pass up the deal, Scratch it from the list and wait fro a better deal that meets my requirements.
Or i'll hop the border and buy a welder in Ny State if the prices are bonkers between Canada and the US
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wrote:

I have a 175Sp+, and 99% of the welding I do draws less amperage than the machine is rated for. You're not going to be welding full power very much.
Steve
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wrote:

I don't know about retail vs the SP-135 but I do know that there used to be and may still be two SP-135 machines. One the SP-135 and the other SP-135 Plus. The Plus version has infinitely variable wire speed and voltage (or current, I don't remember which this morning). I have the SP-125 Plus which appears to be the same machine as the SP-135 Plus. I welded with a plain SP-125 and the difference is remarkable. It is much easier to weld with the Plus machine. especially on thin stuff. ERS
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I have an SP-170T which is an older version of the welders you're talking about. A friend has a MIG-Pak 15 (probably 10 years old). When I got mine I did a bit of research and compared parts listings and found that the Weld-Pak 150, MIG-Pak 15, SP-170T, SP-175T, Weld-Pak 175HD (sold by Home Depot), and a few other models sold at different times by Lowes and Home Depot are the same welder with different decals, etc.
The same goes for the SP-125T, Sp-135T, Home Depots 3200HD, etc. for the 110V version. In fact at one time the SP-100 was the same as the current SP-135 Plus with variable voltage but that was at least 10 years ago. The SP-100 of today is not the same and I believe that it is less welder than the current SP-135 line because the price is so much lower but I haven't verified that.
At that time the MIG-Pak 15 included the regulator for gas and the Weld-Pak 150 did not but it appears that has changed after looking at the link you provided.
Also, this was probably 4 or 5 years ago so I can't say for sure that things haven't changed. As of a year or so ago those are all sold more through the consumer outlets such as Lowes and Home Depot and they now have new models that are different and have the option of adding a spool gun for their pro market so they may have cheapened all of the SP models in some way.
And last but hardly least, according to the Lincoln site the MIG-Pak 15 is now currently only available in Canada. That may only be a marketing choice but it may also mean that it's different from the MIG-Pak 15 that I researched a few years ago. Parts listings are available for download from their site so to be safe you might want to do the same research yourself using current models.
As for the quality of the SP-170T that I have, I love it. I've had it for 4 or 5 years and it was at least that old before I got it and the only thing I've needed to do to it is replace a bearing in the wirefeed.
Best Regards, Keith Marshall snipped-for-privacy@progressivelogic.com
"I'm not grown up enough to be so old!"

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On Sep 28, 11:23 am, "Keith Marshall"

Keith
First off THANK YOU that is exactly the news i was hoping for. Second i believe the Mig Pack 10 and 15 Are in the process of being discontinued for a similar box with different metalwork. Normally i would not have considered a "retail" welder and would have picked up an SP175+ at the welding shop or an appropriate miller product (Since my local welding shop pushes miller hard and i've been Very happy with miller welders)
But when its being discontinued and the price is WAY down for essentially the same machine as an SP175 I'd be nuts not to if its the same machine at heart. (Humming the theme to "The Price is Right")
By the way I deliberately included the link to the Canadian Mig pack 15 since i am Canadian. The US version is still in Lincolns Product list too but They likely are on their way out in general. i know only one store in Canada sells them and they have a new Lincoln model to replace it with. I think the only difference might be or have been a cold switch on the wire
I'm not worried at all about the regulator kit since i do tig and have an appropriate argon regulator and i'll deal with the hoses and regulators on my own and since i primarily want it for FCAW purposes outdoors
Thank you very much
Brent Ottawa Canada
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Let's see where we're at a year from now.
Steve
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how old is your SP175?
and steve if you have a digital cam can you snap a shot of the feed roller assembly?
thats the most significant mechanicla part of these machines and the most likely cause of grief it would definetly confirm that were dealing with the same or not the same machine
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I'd say it's about four years old. Will take picture and post on Flickr. I'm not crazy about the appearance of the drive roller assembly. After having a MillerMatic 200 for years, and that mostly metal assembly, this mostly plastic one looks cheesy.
Steve
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You're welcome! But you do realize that my comparison was to the SP-175T and not to the SP-175+ model I hope? The T is the tapped model meaning you have a 5 position voltage selector that selects a tap on the transformer. The + model has a continuously variable voltage and is quite a bit more espensive. The MIG-Pak 15 is also a tapped machine.
But IMHO I prefer the tapped version for my own situation for the simple reason that there's less to fail and it's cheaper to fix. The only time I can imagine the variable voltage being all that important is for thin sheetmetal and you have TIG for that.
And yes, they all have the plastic wirefeed setup but there is a gearbox on the motor with a metal housing and all metal gears inside. I know because I had to open mine up to replace the bearing. The true drive portion is all metal. The plastic is the housing that holds it all together, and the tension arm which has a roller bearing in it. The plastic is in great shape on mine. It's just the bearing that died and it was a US-made brand-name bearing. The bearing most likely died because my son thinks that the way to adjust wire tension is to tighten the wingnut until you can't tighten it any more so the shaft coming out of the gearbox eventually started to sag to the point that you couldn't put enough tension on the wire for it to feed properly. :-/
That's not to say that it's the quality of Miller's wirefeed unit. Theirs is all metal and is obviously built more solidly but mine has held up quite well over the years.
Best Regards, Keith Marshall snipped-for-privacy@progressivelogic.com
"I'm not grown up enough to be so old!"

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Your response is spot on. I have used my 175SP+ to make several things from paint lock sheet metal. One was a catch pan for my washing machine, which needed to be an odd size. I don't know if one of the "steps" would have done it, or the old, "one's too hot and one's too cold" thing. The use of the machine has a lot to do with its selection in the first place, and as I never know what I'm going to run into, I like to buy for all situations.
But that's just me.
Steve
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THANK YOU to everyone who replied.
I picked up the last Mig pak 15 the store had. they are considered discontinued by Canadian tire up here in Canada and i got it for less than they paid for it. CTC is Clearing those welders out below cost at the moment and any Canadian who might be interested in it might want to drop in.
the feeder guts are far more solidly built in the lincoln than in the "house brand" that was my other option.
I am however VERY happy to be able to drop into my usual welding shop and pick up standard consumables for a common gun and IF i get an aluminum MIG job I'll buy a Magnum 100SG to do it with. and once again deal with simple common consumables
Thanks again for y our help and feedback
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I have preached this very idea here for a long time. When considering buying a machine, consumables and spare parts are a BIG consideration. Even with clones and relabeled machines. They can be called "Old Sparky" on the label, and if they use Lincoln or Miller or Hobart consumables, then you just jog on down to the store and buy them. Even the Borgs have tips and other consumables now for the major colors. Get one of the Fujimatsosuki's, and you won't have the same luck, and your machine will spend more time sitting there instead of welding.
Even if you DID save big bucks when you bought it. I suggest that anyone who buys a cheap welding machine insist on a good carrying handle. That way, it will always make a good boat anchor.
Steve ;-)
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