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Syncrowave 200 HF problem

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  • Syncrowave 200 HF problem

    Hello everyone,

    I am having a problem with my machine, and hoping someone on here can help steer me in the right direction. Let me try and give y'all the condensed version....

    Bought the machine brand new from IOC 10+ years ago, (don't recall the exact age) and had no issues at all for several years. Four years ago, I started having intermittent HF issues and other odd happenings. I posted here, got a few suggestions, but the problem didn't seem to be any of the things suggested. (please see that post if you want more details). So many things were acting goofy, I took a leap of faith, bought the $600 main control board hoping it was the problem, and it fixed it! I posted my results in case someone else had the same issues.

    I am a home hobbyist, and often go months at a time without using it (work, work, and more work). It has worked fine for the last 4 years with no problems. Last time I used the machine was just before Christmas, and it worked fine. Went out to the shop on Sunday, and no HF start at all. This problem is different from the problem I had last time. Before I had intermittent/bad HF, weird displays, and run on arcs and post flow. Now I have zero HF. Welder works fine in DC + / -, but no AC HF at all. I can get the arc to initiate by touching work piece but of course, with no HF it won't stay. It seems I have a HF start (or whatever makes it go) problem.

    I have checked everything I know to check.

    Tried the following with no change:

    Swapped foot pedal for hand control
    Swapped torches
    Cleaned, dressed, and gapped points
    Removed main control board, but didn't see any obvious damage or burned spots
    Cleaned / inspected connections
    Verified 240 power at plug
    No major dust, corrosion, or similar

    Prayed, cursed, and did a rain dance....all not solving problem.

    A little digging on the forum and I found a post from a user that had a similar problem, and he was urged to try the HF capacitor or the transformer, and it ended up being the transformer. I'm guessing it may be a common problem???

    I only have one LWS that services Miller, and I wouldn't take it to them if my life depended on it. They raked me across the coals on my first TIG (a used Econotig with a max voltage problem) years ago. I brought it in, paid $200+ for repair, picked it up and had exact same problem. Brought it right back, they told me it was another $180 part, reluctantly agreed and paid 'em. Came back to get machine, and same issue, no change. Went back to LWS, raised all kinds of ****, had their technician meet me at shop. Hooked up machine, showed him the problem, and was told it would be another $200 bucks. Took my machine and went home, bought the Syncrowave 200 instead of putting more money in an old machine. By the way...about three months later I decided to open it up and take a look myself. Ended up being a loose connection on the amperage control that was the issue. Took me about ten minutes to find and fix it. my soapbox now.

    I'm really hoping it's something I can fix myself. Really don't want to buy a new machine, but also have to realize that the repair cost may not be feasible given the age of the machine. I only use it for aluminum, so right now I have a $2500 paperweight in my shop.

    Any suggestions, tips, and help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, FD.

  • #2
    Not the solution your looking for but miller does or did make just a high frequency box. Maybe look for a used one? Could be cheaper than trying to fix it

    Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
    Miller extreme 12vs
    Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
    Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder


    • #3
      My first question.....will it weld stick on AC? If not HF isn't your only problem.
      Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
      Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
      Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

      Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
      Miller 30-A Spoolgun
      Miller WC-115-A
      Miller Spectrum 300
      Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
      Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400


      • #4
        I have no idea if it'll do AC stick. I've never even taken the whip out of the package. I only use it for aluminum TIG. I don't even have any rods. I guess I could run by my local shop tomorrow and grab a few rods and try.

        Thanks for the tip. Will keep y'all posted.


        • #5
 an update:

          So it looks like it's definitely a HF start problem. I had some time to play with it yesterday, and it works fine in AC stick, regular stick, and DCEP / DCEN TIG. I even got it to weld AC TIG with a scratch start. It was a bit wonky, and I had to stay really close to the weld puddle and kept accidentally dipping the tungsten in the puddle, but it did work. All that leads me to believe the main board is ok this time. No crazy post flow, run ons, etc.

          With that, it seems the only logical conclusion is the HF. I have absolutely no HF at all. I double and triple checked the points, and even opened the gap from .008 to .012 to see if that would help. No change at all. I watched the points when welding. There is no spark at all coming from the tips. I think the most logical thing would be the HF transformer or the HF capacitor, but that's just my uneducated guess.

          I don't see any obvious signs of a bad cap or burned wires, no melted case or shielding, etc. I'm going to look at the schematic and see if I can determine how the circuit works, and try to troubleshoot those components.

          If anyone already knows how, and can advise me on the best way to check the transformer and capacitor, that would be much appreciated.

          Thanks, FD.
          Last edited by firemandiver; 02-24-2019, 02:40 PM.


          • #6
            Another update:

            I had some more time to tinker with it last night, and I found that I actually am getting HF start. The change happens so fast, guess I missed it the first time around.

            When the machine is first turned on, I get good, strong HF spark for a few seconds, then it slowly fizzles out to nothing over about 5-10 seconds. If I immediately depress the pedal, the spark is either super weak or none at all. If I wait about a minute or so, the spark is strong for a few seconds, and then fizzles out. I can do this over and over again, so I think I may be on to something here.....


            Thanks, FD


            • #7
              High frequency is usually set to off, start or continuous. Not up to date on your machine, it could be you need to read the manual and push a few buttons up or down adjusting intensity and set function of the feature?


              • #8

                Thank you for the suggestion, but it's not an operator problem. The machine is set correctly, and I've read the manual several times hoping maybe I'd missed something simple. I even tried all the button combinations to check hours, cycles, and software number. All OK as far as I can tell.

                I've been using the machine for 10 years or so now, so I know how to work it pretty well. I very rarely change the settings anyway, as I only use it for aluminum TIG.

                It's definitely a HF start issue. The arc starts as it should, then fizzles out. Was working just fine one day, then dead the next.....

                All suggestions appreciated...keep 'em coming!



                • #9
                  Depending on how old that machine is, it may not have that three position switch. The newer syncrowave 200s are automatic on that stuff.

                  FD, have you called and posed this question to miller tech support? They can be very helpful.


                  • #10
                    Yeah, the machine is not so old that it has a 3 position switch. It's only 8 - 10 years old....really don't recall exactly when I purchased it. It has a soft touch push toggles through the functions with each push. And you're correct, most of it is automatic.

                    Didn't even know I could talk to or post for tech support..... I figured since it was long out of warranty I was on my own. I'll see if I can reach out to them for sure.

                    Still it seems like it should be a fairly easy thing to diagnose, and maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like someone would read my post, and say "yeah....seen it a dozen's a bad transformer (or whatever). If it's a common thing, I suppose.

                    I worked as a Nissan/Honda technician for about 14 years. There were so many things I saw often enough to just know right away what the problem most likely was just by the symptoms. Was hoping that would be the case on my issue.

                    From what I've read, I really can't check the output of the HF transformer without special equipment. It's output is something like 3000 volts, so it'll fry a meter. Can anyone on here verify that? Also, anyone know how to troubleshoot the capacitor?

                    Thanks, FD


                    • #11
                      Miller tech support and the fine men on this forum helped me fix my old airco 3a. The miller folks have been very helpful to me in the past. Going as far walking me through checking doohickies and flimflams inside the machine with a DMM. I can't say you'll get the right person on the phone, but it's worth a shot. The tech might even be able to answer the question exactly as you think too, "yup, that's the pixie disperser for's the part number...."

                      And my old 3a machine was born in 1974, so I believe that qualifies as out of warranty as well.

                      Hope you can find the problem. When you call them, make sure to have your S/N handy. I'd probably have the skins off too, in case they want you to poke your digits around in there.