Update on my Miller Passport 180

Well, I just got Passport #3 from Miller and it seems to work. I had to
test it at B&R because they said Miller won't accept any more returns
on it. Even though the unit failed within the first 12" of welding .035
solid with co2 both previous times . B&R said I must have a "line
problem". Yeah, right. I'm gonna have to contact Miller about this.
Even though the unit #3 works fine now, pardon me if I have a little
worries about it still having a warranty. It SEEMS, I say SEEMS, that
Miller may have 'bypassed' the duty cycle circuit altogether. Before,
about when you would expect the duty cycle light to come on, say .035
solid at 65 speed for one or two minutes, it would just die. Now, at
full output, it will never fail and the duty cycle never seems to come
on. I ran a single slow bead up and down both sides of two 1"x1"x12"
pieces of steel to a 1" 12"x6" piece of plate, and ran several other
beads on the plate, all for about ten minutes and the duty cycle (20%)
never kicked in (yellow thermometer light on, no weld). Maybe bigger
Mosfets, maybe a faster fan, or just maybe I now have a working unit.
I'm still a little paranoid though, especially since B&R claims Miller
won't warranty the new replacement, "because of my power grid". I WANT
to reccommend this unit, based on how its now performing, but if Miller
won't honor a warranty because of their R&D or QC problems, I won't be
buying Miller anymore.
I have an HTP Invertig 201. Had for a year, never a problem.
I have a Hypertherm. Had it for about a month. FLAWLESS.
I have a single, clean, dedicated 240v line, and can only use one
machine at a time.
I never had a problem with either of my Maxstars (except being unable
to run aluminum rod on the LE version, which runs fine now on the LF
version)
Anyhow, the most recent one seems to work.
Reply to
Ben Woodward
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Glad to hear it works finally. I was getting worried.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
I bought one, and it's been a very nice unit. I have had no issues with a weak wire-feed or any other issue either.
I am really picky about my machines and this one pretty much makes the grade. I did ditch the crummy torch though.
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Reply to
svande48
Ben, one more thing. Did you know the Passport was a Maxstar 150 with a cv loop and different magnetics in the transformer? It made me breath a little easier. :)
Reply to
svande48
Now if they would just offer a CC/CV Maxstar 150.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
It seems nobody likes the M-10 torch. I love it. I think it has a lot more finesse than the tweco on the readywelder. The tweco surprises me every time I use it just how really good it works even though it looks so flintstone-esque. I have no problems with Miller at all. Their service/help all along has been beautiful. But I,m serious about the previous two units failing within the first two minutes at 65 speed with .035 solid 240v. What scares me is if this one fails within warranty and they insist on my going through the dealer who isn't willing to warranty it. That doesn't seem legal to me. If there were any signs of abuse, thats one thing, although I have no idea how you could abuse a mig if you're careful with it anyhow (minimum 'curling' drive tension, nozzle dip, avoiding welding your initials on a full hydrogen tank while filtering a bottle of nice Italian Sangiovese with your liver, etc. But hell, the previous two units didn't even get any USE before crapping out. As long as they're willing to stand behind their units, I'm not worried about MTBF 'glitches', and I seriously commend their cutting edge approach. I may buy a transformer based welder so I have a smoother, more traditional reference. The truth is, I never use the thing. When I got the first one, I welded .024 wire on 1/8th inch Home Depot angle iron for a dozen one inch welds, then it sat on the shelf for two months before I decided to use .035 solid and see what it could do on 240v with that. Then it immediately failed. I tested the second one immediately using .035 upon getting it home, and it failed within the first two minutes too. Like I said, the third one seems to work. Once, after about 5 minutes of welding, the wire would feed, touch the metal, glow, then nothing. I tried it twice. I stared at the nozzle with horror for about one minute, tried it a third time and it worked great for minutes afterward until I exceeded my own duty cycle and packed it up and put it on the shelf somewhat happy. The arc IS inconsistent, 20% of the weld it runs perfect. 40% it bucks and stabs a little but runs. And the other 40% it runs a little rough, but consistently roughish. This is with the torch straight with no bends and speed and tension fine tuned. However, it puts out a LOT of heat. I think it really is 180amps. It DOES stick metal together. The weld beads look pretty bad for mig welds, but it will stick 1" plate to 1" plate together in a fillet weld running a single 1/4" wide bead. I don't know what more to ask for? It almost has the power of the 210, runs .030 Aluminum wire through the M-10 just fine, is dual voltage, and weighs 55 lbs. I AM however seriously considering buying a transformer based unit to compare it to. If the transformer based unit is smooth and consistent, I'll probably buy both a 135 and a 175 and sell the Passport. My main need for Mig is to weld the really really cheap metal the local steel supply sells. It won't tig without farting green gas, spitting, blowing bubbles and turning as porous as a fuel filter element. Mig adds metal so fast, it doesn't give it a chance to overheat and do all the above, even though it gets fully hot during the weld. So, all in all, the Passport works, although I worry a little about it, the dealer allegedly doesn't make enough profit to want to stand behind the purchase anymore, and I keep dreaming what a really smooth consistent mig would be like. So far, it's not a bad unit (although I don't know enough about mig to compare it), but is it better than owning a 175 AND a 135? I don't know. Yet. By the way, it is NOT a Maxstar 150 regardless of what subcircuits they share. That's WAY oversimplifying things. Its hard to explain, but trust me, they are COMPLETELY different animals > >
Reply to
Ben Woodward
Ben , I have not ran .035 wire in the passport. I used .023 and .030 The .023 pretty much welds like crap. The .030 weld really nice and will weld thin enough for the average person. It takes a little time to figure your settings out, but when dailed in no little welder has as nice of a arc on CO2 gas. I used pretty much all the little 120/230 volt welders out, and the passport overall is the best one. The little lincoln 175 plus is cleaner by far with .023 wire, but it is not a handicap at all.
One machine is a tig and one is a mig., so there will be differences. It's just what Andy said about it on the Miller forum. Since he is a straight up guy and works for them, I happen to believe what he said about the passport. It still is based from the Maxstar 150. I happen to think that is a good thing. Everybody at Miller says the Passport welds like crap with aluminum. That is why I never tried that setup. After my Lincoln 300 python and my Esab 350 MPI with the aluminum slope setting I am pretty sure I would feel the Passport sucks too. I might give it a go with the M-10 anyway. Hawk over there, told me to stick to .030 and he is right on that count.
Reply to
svande48
Yeah, I have to admit, after going over the specs for the 175 and the 135, I realized that the Passport has it hands down. Double the duty cycle and, according to the chart anyway, it MAY put out up to 200 amps. As far as the weld appearance, that's probably due to the fact that I was using 1" plate to play around with. I'll take your word for the Passport having the best looking welds, like I said, I've never used another mig, other than the ready welder a very little, so I really have nothing else similar to compare it to. After reviewing the data sheets, it seems the only possible replacement for the Passport is the MM210, but that won't fit in the trunk of my Civic as easily as the Passport. I uesd the first Passport with argon to weld two pieces of 1/8" aluminum angle together. It required a really FAST bead, but I thought it looked especially good. I didn't know Miller had a forum. If I have any service/warranty issues, I'll post over there.
Reply to
Ben Woodward
I feel it's not really the best welder for a novice. The arc can take some time to get right. A little tapped transformer would speed up the learning curve a bunch. There is a plus and minus to all welders. That said, the settings on the passport on the inside cover are real close most of the time.
Try here for the most info on the Passport.
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Reply to
svande48

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