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PipePro 304 intermittent problem

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  • PipePro 304 intermittent problem

    I thought I would start a new thread on this, as I sort of jumped in the middle of another thread about this machine.

    I was on a 12" pipe job today, with another welder. 100% X-Ray. The Help 1 code came into play, but I had no time to call in to the Miller tech for diagnosis. I un-plugged my remote from the machine, to isolate the remote from consideration, and the code still showed up. I left the 120V plugged in for the grinders. I used my buddy's stinger as he finished his side. Pain in the rear end to go from a Pipeliner to a PipePro, as the arc qualities are different. (I prefer the PipePro). I had a laborer stand by my truck, to look for the code, as I was in a 12 foot deep pit, with over 100 foot of lead strung out. When the machine would kick out, the grinders still worked, but no arc. On the filler pass, the machine let me have a go at it, but as I was burning down the pipe, my buddy grabbed a grinder, and as he fired it up, wham, no arc for me, blew me out. The machine was on high idle, set at 145 amps, burning a 5/32 5P rod. Drizzly, moist day today, and I believe it was in the upper 40s temperature wise.

  • #2
    I'll forward this to Lee and Steve. If you get a chance, call them anyway. They would like to hear from you incase they need to ask any more ?s. You are very thorough in your analysis and that will help.

    A-

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    • #3
      Thanks Andy, there wasn't any way I could stop welding yesterday. I had to adapt to the situation, and my buddy had no problem sharing his stinger with me. We had a 2 inch water pump going, keeping the water below the mud boards we were laying on. I had another crew to go to yesterday afternoon, we're hanging some 6" pipe on a new bridge under construction over I-40. I don't believe I'll be welding pipe today, we're installing the hangars for the pipe today.

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      • #4
        Let us know what u find out.

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        • #5
          I had another Help 1 code, and called Lee. My multi-meter was suspect, as the readings didn't make sense to Lee. I'm going to change the battery on the multi-meter, and hopefully I'll have time to call him when it happens again. It's not too aggravating if it kicks out one time, but if you can't get it to "re-boot" for 15-20 minutes, you think about using a Big ####ing hammer.

          I've thought about buying another PipePro, as a backup, and sending the old machine north, for Lee to personally check it out. I like this machine, although I'd like to have AC Tig capabilities with it.

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          • #6
            How did you do getting your pipe across I40? Did the machine behave? It's hard to be Blue in the Red world of pipeliners; I really hope you can get this problem diagnosed!! My Pipepro is plugged in at a sawmill/planer mill right now taking advantage of their house power........**** but it does work good!! This machine is not my primary; and believe me...I feel your frustration; if mine did that the BIG [email protected]#$%^& HAMMER very well come into play.

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            • #7
              I bought one of the first Pipe pro welders when they first came out and am very pleased with it, I do a mixture of work with it, I run a s-22 p-12 feeder with it and my old spool gun for alum. and am very pleased its nice when I am mig welding I can switch rite over and air arc and then go rite back to mig welding, I have not had any real problems with it.
              The only flaw I have found is it does not like to mig weld down low any thing under 14 gage is terrible, since 90% of my work is done above that its not to big of a problem. and since my XMT 304 has the same bad arc down low I know that its the inverter characteristic.
              I do a fair amount of tig with it and love the Lift arc capability.
              Good luck on getting yours fixed.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Portable Welder
                its nice when I am mig welding I can switch rite over and air arc and then go rite back to mig welding, I have not had any real problems with it.
                PW, do you air arc a lot with this machine? If so, I’d be curious to see in time if you notice any decrease in the quality of the arc when welding? I know when I worked in a fab shop years ago; all of us welders could tell if a machine had been used a lot for carbon arc gouging! Once in awhile we would get a job in the shop that would require a lot of gouging. Eventually the owner of the shop bought Boeing surplus machines, and they were dedicated to just gouging. One job in particular we got, required weeks apron weeks of just gouging, I remember the welding leads would jump over 2-feet off the ground when someone started! I used to own a Miller 55-D machine, I rented it to the contractors I worked for, and I worked for wages. I always wrote it the rental agreement NO carbon arc gouging with this machine! Now, I did do a little bit myself once in awhile with it, but not much.

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                • #9
                  I dont do a ton of it, I would say no more than 1 hr a month at the most.
                  Back in 1989 I bought a Big 40 and being young and not knowing any better
                  I did some pipe thawing for the city at the end of a dead end street.
                  After that job my settings were off I had to turn my machine up higher to burn the same size rod I had been burning even though I did not go over my duty cycle. I didd'nt notice any change in the arc quality not saying it didd'nt hurt it some. I noticed when I weld pipe that I pay alot more attention to arc quality, Back then I was'nt welding pipe.

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                  • #10
                    I don't think gouging will hurt the Pipe Pro. I gouged 35 pilasters off of a water tower last spring. It took a week and right after that I put 2 new manways in the tank and the arc was as good as it was before gouging.

                    An update on my Pipepro...it's still sitting on the floor of my shop. The insurance man hasn't gotten back to me yet....go figure. I've been using my old Hobart. It runs fine but the arc just isn't the same...and it burns alot more fuel!

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                    • #11
                      I never heard of a machines output changing after air arcing within the limits of the machine. Could it be that the machine just got broke in, and did the settings remained the same afterwards? Years ago a friend of mine quit pipe thawing with his big 40 only because it burned up the contacts in his range selector. I would say most pipe thawing is done under 200 amps. Pipe thawing is a dead short to the machine so a 150 amp setting for stick welding would maybe be a 200 amp draw for pipe thawing because its a dead short. Ya just need to be carefull not to abuse a machine by exceeding its capabilities.

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                      • #12
                        You guys forgive here! Now this is only what I’ve been told, and have no idea if it’s true or not. Also I’m not sure I will be able to relay the proper terminology, because electrical things go right over my head! Anyway what I was told, when one air arc gouges, theory says you pretty much have the machine maxed out, correct? Well some believe every time you strike an arc you put little dings in the armature (correct term?). I guess in time this takes its toll on the quality of the arc. Does this sound feasible to anyone? I know personally I could tell, but maybe it’s just me! Or maybe it was just power of suggestion, you know the little thought placed in my mind, so I believed it! He!! I don’t know!

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                        • #13
                          Time to update my intermittent problem. It has been 2 weeks with no codes upsetting my work day.

                          I was on the phone with Lee in Miller tech support and he gave me some wire numbers to check with my multi-meter. I took the covers off of the electronics, but couldn't reach down to the terminal blocks with the probes of the multi-meter, without pulling the machine out of the truck. I reached down and tugged and pulled on the wires attached to both terminal blocks, and then took an air compressor and gave everything a good dusting. Bolted everything back up, and I haven't had any problems since. I'm crossing my fingers that it is something as simple as this. The joke on the job is that my machine is like myself, it needs a good blow job every now and then

                          I pulled a repair on this job. The machine was acting up, and I was fighting it, and left some slag in between passes. Superintendent from the gas company gave me some grief, but laughed at what I did to fix the machine.
                          Attached Files

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by b-footn
                            The joke on the job is that my machine is like myself, it needs a good blow job every now and then
                            LMAO!

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                            • #15
                              Pile Buck,

                              You theory would be partially true if the Miller machines used a generator armature type unit. All out welder generator units use an alternator type armature that requires very little current at the armature and therefore less arcing of the brush assembly while under load.

                              Andy

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