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PLEASE HELP-MM185 or MM250??

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  • PLEASE HELP-MM185 or MM250??

    The MM185 is going for $600, and the MM250 is $1000, both rigs about the same age and condition. The 250 does have a Tweeco gun upgrade. It is NOT a 250X. I need a rig for sheet metal all the way through hot-rod frame building. Yes, I have searched and have been reading the controversy regarding the love/hate MM250. Thank you everyone in advance, Ralph
    Last edited by bulldogsowner; 08-06-2009, 07:34 PM. Reason: More info

  • #2
    I can only comment on the 185. It's the predessesor to the 210. My brothers must have had his for 8-10 years. Nice arc quality. Never gave him one minute of trouble. It has more of a following than the 250...
    Wheat Stalker

    Millermatic 210
    Dynasty 200DX
    Fisher CZ-5...CZ-3D..
    Trek 5500
    1966 Amphicar


    • #3

      The 185 is the better choice for the $$.

      The MM 250 was the first totally solid state millermatic unit we made and it had it's growing pains.

      The arc sweet spot on the 250 isn't as wide as the 185. You will like the 185 better on your thin material and it still can easily handle .125 and thicker wall frame sections.

      If you said you were mostly going to use it for 3/16 and 1/4" stuff, I'd say go for the 250 but I'd save the money and go 185 for your needs.



      • #4
        Thanks guy'z!!

        Your advice is well respected and well taken, thank you both very much, Ralph


        • #5
          Andy, as long as you're looking at this thread .... I have had a MM250 from the day it first came out .... ummm,,, '88 or '89 or so? Yes, I will agree,,,, hard wire, it's ,,,, uh kinda challenging. A couple years ago, I did a little creative rewiring,,,, Essentially, allows me to engage the contactor, without driving the wire feeder. I simply use it as a power unit, to run an LN-25, with either NR211 or Hobart 21B flux core thru, and seems to work just fine. I will also mention, with the optional hookup, it seems to work just fine with a spoolgun on aluminum, either 5356 wire especially, and also 4043. I am sure, my good results, running flux-core out of an LN-25, could also be dupicated just as well, running thru a Miller 12vs, just haven't ever tried it. And my original motivation, wasn't so much to avoid using the mm250 feeder, it's just that I have an open yard, easier to carry around a remote feeder, than it is to drag around a complete power unit, in a graveled yard.

          I will say, I was pleasantly surprised, at the very good performance of the MM250, using cored wire, vs. hard wire, the first time I used it this way.

          Any comments or explanations, Andy??? Not so much for me, I know what works for me, although I don't know why. But this may help others, who might also want to do the same thing. And also, I have seen some guys post, wrapping the ground cable around a solid shaft, increases inductance, and makes the MM250 more usable, for even hard wire. Again, any comment?
          Last edited by JSFAB; 08-07-2009, 10:53 AM.
          Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....


          • #6

            The current stabilization of the first generation 250s was a little weak. It allowed the wire current to spike too high in between short arcs. This led to more splatter and a harsher arc. While the 250 did penetrate well, it was not the smoothest weld.
            The reason it welds well on cored wire is that the solid wire current spikes higher than a similar cored wire due to the lower base metal steel mass at a given diameter of the cored wire. In other words, the cored wire melts off easier and the stabilizer coil in the 250 easily handles the cored wire current filtering. This is why you will find some people trying to add inductance by wrapping gnd cables on iron.

            Hope this helps.



            • #7
              Thanks for the reply, Andy. And I hope others will note this, the machine is very good for certain applications, just not what it was originally designed for. As you mentioned, there are ways to utilize this power source efficiently. As I, also , have found out just by trial and error, and a few members here, enjoy contradicting me on my observations.

              I will mention, in spite of all it's faults, for an initial investment of $1500 or so, I have made well over $100,000 with this over the years. No warranty issues, no phone calls to Miller whatsoever, other than what it took to get the optional direct plug-in stuff, for the spoolgun.
              Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....


              • #8
                Nice to hear the success you had with it. And really most people would not know there were any concerns unless they had a MM 35 or MM 200 series before and tried to compare each arc together. The 35 & 200 was a much softer arc.
                Again, not a bad machine, just not one of our best at the time....



                • #9
                  Andy, understand, I came from an age, years ago, you "learn to like it".

                  Only real beef I ever had, with the mm250,,, building a bunch of cattle guards, out of 8" channel, 8x10, 8x12, 8x14. Framed all around with 8" channel, with either six or eight 8" channel runners inside. 1" rebar on top, spaced 4" on center. Welder turned to max, wire feed turned up to match. 110 degree days. Out in the sun, no shade. Once tacked and squared, easily 90 to 100% duty cycle, , just pull the trigger. Friggin' thermal overload kept popping,,,, dammit, opened the welder up, every fan I owned, was blowing into it. I thought you had a 100% overload factor?????

                  Gotta admit, this MM250 was the toughest machine I ever owned. Kept coming back, no matter what I did to it. Completely burned up, three other (un-named brands) previously,,,, And it's still going today. Ha, I look at it, it stares me back,,,, "what'cha gonna try today???? Think you're tougher than me????? TRY IT!!!!!

                  I gotta admit, if the thermal overloads didn't pop, over the years, well past the rated duty cycle, I'd probably be dead myself, several times over the years.
                  Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....


                  • #10
                    The miller 250.....

                    I got flamed a few months ago for posting that I thought the miller 250 welded nicely. I will say it again....If miller had put a sticker inside the wire feed showing the recommended voltage and wire setting, many would have liked the welder much more. I cant tell you the amounts of shops who are incapable of setting wire feed and voltage correctly....HOWEVER i will say this..
                    If your welding on thinner materials I could see how a 250 might be a challenge for a Novice welder. If you could pick the 250 up for 800 or so I would scoop it up and never look back.. Also the 250 runs .045 dualshield awesome!
                    Lincoln ranger 305g x2
                    Miller spectrum 625
                    Miller 30a spoolgun
                    Lincoln 210mp
                    F550 imt service truck


                    • #11
                      Just an update here .....

                      I have a job, first real ms mig job in years. Hooked up the LN-25 to the MM250 as described before, .035 hard wire. Looked around for shielding gas, no 75/25, but plenty of 100% CO2, and a bottle of 95%A 5%CO2, left over from an armorplate job last year.

                      I'm using the 95/5, wire speeds and heat are in the short-arc range. Beautiful arc starts, very little of the sputtering I'm used to getting started, little to no spatter, nice welds. All 12 gauge steel, fuel and oil tanks. Lots of starts and stops, I'm backstepping the welds, to limit warpage. Best performance I've ever had out of this machine.

                      Problem, the 95/5 is not a normal stock item at any welding supply around here (it was specifically called for in the work proceedure, for the armorplate job), I had to special order it, took a week to get it.

                      ANDY,,,,,, you have any comments, why this shielding gas works so well, with the MM250, does the use of a separate VS feeder make a difference, and is there any other common gas mix that might work just as well??
                      Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....


                      • #12
                        Sorry just getting back to you now. Been a crazy last few months. Races...shows..losing one of my guys here and trying to cover his job...anyway, one more trip and I'm done for the year!

                        I would guess that gas on 12ga is fine as it normally would not be a real penetrating gas in short arc. I could see why the voltage sensing feeder welds nice with the 250 since the motor works off arc voltage, it ramps up with voltage acting like a built in run-in control slowing starts just slightly to get the good arc starts you are seeing.

                        I would be curious to see how that gas works on thicker materials. I would assume it would not wet out the toes of the weld enough.

                        Check it out and let me know.



                        • #13
                          I have owned a few MM35's a half dozen MM200's and i have now a MM185. We had MM250's at work in the sheetmetal shop and we welded thin galv duct all day long with no problems. But it just took a few minutes to get used to a different machine because we had so many. The MM185 has been a great machine for me and if i would have waited five more minutes i could have had a MM210. Didn't know it was coming out until mine rolled out the door...Bob
                          Bob Wright