Prowave 185 STW arrived - first impressions

The 185STW arrived the other day. Most impressive, but with
The machine, and package was impressive. Well built, and accessory's are
Comes with everything you will need including the power plug. Really great.
Poked arround and figured out how to set up for stick, and tried to run
No go. Turns out the "VRD" deal that reduces terminal voltage makes this
thing pretty much unusable on stick. And thats a bummer. Fumble farted
around tring to get the darn arc started, and finally got it go, and it runs
really really smooth on DC, and thats wonderfull. Set it up for AC, and
the square wave (at 60 Hz), is not "quite" the same as 60 Hz sine wave of
the Miller Thunderbolt, but not to objectionable. But again, next to
to start the arc. I finally gave up, and had another seasoned stcik welder
try, and he finally gave up, threw down the stinger and said forget it, this
would never work out for any kind of reasonable production/repair work.
The only way I could get the stick mode to work was to set the thing to
TIG mode, and start the arc with HF (using the foot pedal). So if anyone
knows what the deal is here, or how to defeat this VRD thing, let me know.
The manual is good and bad. Obviously written by engineers. No where
in there does it show labels on any of the front panel buttons which is
strange. They show the front panel, with lines, but they don't identify
all of the LED's and buttions, and on one page, the picture of the front
panel doesn't even match the unit itself. Low marks on the manual :(
The TIG side of the house seems great. The HF starting works great,
and although I don't know what I'm doing on TIG, the pre/post flow
etc all seems somewhat explainable. Having never TIG'd before, I
was TIG welding 1/8" mild steel plate in no time.
Only oher question/issue is that I'm getting metal deposits on the
edge of my gas lens which seems to build up fairly quick. I was
at about 10-15 CFH of 75/25% Ar/Co2, and playing with anywhere
between 50-100 Amps with the 1/16", and 3/32" electrode on
clean mild steel plate. I think the lens that came with the torch
was a "Aluma cup" (?) that had the reduced diameter tip on the lens.
Anyone know what I am doing wrong? Played with .040 filler,
and 1/6" filler.
The machine seems great, but that stick mode deal is just not working,
and I'm hoping there is something that I'm doing wrong. If I can get past
that, I think this is a high value deal (overlooking the very weak manual)
Thanks in advance !
Reply to
Mr Wizzard
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Eeek. You need to be using straight Argon. Only Argon and Argon/Helium mixes for TIG.
And it is a cup, not lens. You can order gas lens collet bodies with the associated cups from CK.
For 1/8" plate, you should be using the 3/32" electrode, not the 1/16". The last few pages of the manual have info on electrode and filler recommendations based on metal and thickness.
Also, you should be using filler closer to the size of your base metal. .040 is way too thin.
Haven't tried stick on it yet as I've been having too much fun TIGing stainless and aluminum.
Regards, Aaron
Reply to
Aaron Kushner
You can't use any CO2 mix gases for TIG. The only gasses you can use for TIG are pure Argon, Pure Helium, or an Argon/Helium mix
I am puzzled by the stick mode. I would call Thermal Arc. They have always been very helpful on the phone.
Most inverters stick weld beautifully. specially with simple rods like 6013.
6010 has always been difficult for inverters because ofthe high open circuit voltage it prefers. I know Miller guarantees 6010 and 7018 efficiency in their inverters.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
There is another gas mixture you did not include. Here is information about it from Praxair.
Argon-Hydrogen Mixtures -- Praxair's HydroStar® Gas Blends
Hydrogen is often added to argon to enhance the thermal properties of argon. Its reducing effect improves weld surface color match with 300 series stainless alloys due to reduced surface oxidation.
The higher arc voltage associated with hydrogen increases the difficulty of starting the arc. For this reason, the lowest amount of hydrogen consistent with the desired result is recommended. Additions up to 5% for manual welding and up to 10% for mechanized welding are typical.
Argon-hydrogen blends are primarily used on austenitic stainless steel (300 series), nickel, and nickel alloys. Hydrogen enhanced mixtures are not recommended to weld carbon or low-alloy steel, or any of the copper, aluminum, or titanium alloys since cracking or porosity will occur due to the absorption of hydrogen. . Argon-hydrogen blends utilized as a purge gas are successfully applied to improve root appearance when TIG welding 300 series stainless pipe
Reply to
Something tells me they are not cheap, but a gas that only works in stainless steel, and can embrittle everything else doesn't sound like much of an option for a general shop. Maybe the orbital TIG guys would like it.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
The VRD should automatically go away as soon as you strike an arc.
I believe there are some rough guidelines for testing it near the back of the manual.
The inverter has a "hot start" feature that makes it easier to strike an arc in stick mode. Play with this feature and see if you can get easier starts by cranking up the hot start.
Dig around in the archives. Ernie posted a great guide for amperages, tunsten type/size, and filler rod size for various thicknesses of base metal. Find it and print it out.
I will run a few sticks to see if my starts are tough. I've been having way too much fun making TIG welds to mess with stick.
Did you ever get permission to post the service record of these machines from the repair guy you spoke to? Forgive me if I'm thinking of another poster if this doesn't make sense.
Jeff Dantzler
Reply to
Jeff Dantzler
on my miller 180 i had to unplug the foot pedal before i could strike an arc. dont know if it applies to your machine. tony
Reply to
No kidding! - how embarasing. Luckily I got two bottles, one for straight Ar, and one for the mix. Strange, I explained to the welding shop that I was new to TIG, wonder why they sent me home with the Co2 mix ? geesus I feel stupid now... Basically ruined a couple of cups.
So which part is the cup, and which is the lens? If the pink part is the cup, which part is the lens? Yeah, thanks for hte info, I'll need to replace the #5, and #6 pink parts.
yeah, thanks, I found that, and I was way off. Only problem is, I bought a SLEW of .040 (,045?) and 1/16 filler rod, and I'm wondering if I can still use that on the thinker stuff ?
Lovely. Well, I'll save that for the thin stuff I guess.
Thanks so much for the info!
now, if we can just get this thing to stick weld, and I'd be one happy camper.
Reply to
Mr Wizzard
Are you turning the remote switch off while stick welding?
Reply to
Pays to read a few books. I get all kinds of bad advice when I've asked questions at the local welding store. I quit asking and use this group instead.
Lenses are for creating a nice flow of gas that comes out further from the torch without getting disrupted (as engineers would say, they create a laminar flow instead of turbulent flow). A gas lense is thicker than a regular collet body (the threaded copper thingy in your tourch head that holds the collet) and has screens in it. Allows you to reduce your gas flow or stick your tungsten out further.
That's a question for Ernie. I was wondering if I could twist some of the thin hastalloy alloy rod together. I was going to try it and see how well that worked.
Your welcome.
Let me know how that goes.... someone else in this thread posted some suggestions.
Reply to
Aaron Kushner
Well, I had the foot pedal unpluged, is that what you mean?
Reply to
Mr Wizzard
Try depressing the pedal instead. One of the really nice features of the 180SD is that the pedal works in stick mode. That gives you almost TIG-like control when stick welding.
Reply to
Gary Coffman

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