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ironman 230 vs lincoln 256. here we go again

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  • ironman 230 vs lincoln 256. here we go again

    so ive posted a couple topics on my search for a good 250 amp machine. decided id wait till i found a good one used. well ive searched with 4 hrs of my location for a few weeks and cant come up with any thing. so i decided id just pick up a new ironman 230, called my local airgas and i can get one for about 1500 out the door. yes there cheaper online but id rather support local paychecks. i got thinking about lincoln with there 500 rebate going and with it i can get the 256 mp for about 1850 out the door. yes its not a miller but i was looking to keep my max price around 1500 and 1850 is pretty close. its a whole lost bigger the machine than the hobart. but here is my hang up, id be using them both for hobbiest/side jobs. if i made just 500 a year using them id be pleased. the robustness of the tapped setting of the ironman 230 make me lean to it because it will be running 30 years from now. but at the same token the extra power and infinet settings of the 256mp make it lean to that. but with electronics some thing will fail sooner or later, a pc board to control the lincoln run 800ish and whos to say they will be out there to purchase 10years or 15 years from now. thoughts and opinions please

  • #2
    In my mind, it just comes down to how risk averse you are. You might buy the Lincoln and live happily ever after.....or it could die three days after the warranty is up. If it were me, for a hobbyist/side job investment, not a lot of money to be made.....I'd put on my old (almost everything I have is old now, especially my knees!) reliability engineering hat, and instantly conclude there is not even a decision to be made here--just buy the Hobart. Trust me, if you do all the reliability math, there is simply no decision to be made. Reliability engineering has lots and lots of equations that can make your head spin, but the bottom line is the predicted mean time between failures between the two machines cannot even be in the same ballpark, simply due to the parts count. And just to make it a little scarier, the mathematical probability that a single instance of a device will last until the average MTBF of the device is only 36.8%

    I made it a point to buy an old transformer MM211 on the closeout before the inverter 211's came out--I don't make a living with it, and a thousand dollar disposable just makes no sense at my age. I still like the MM200 better, but the MM211 is a great welder.

    On balance, I did spring for a Dynasty 200 a couple of years before I retired, and it's still running fine. If it dies, I will either figure out how to fix it myself, or sell it on ebay for parts. But I'm sure Ryan's sturdy and always-faithful Helga will still be tiggin' years after my Dynasty is in the scrap bin.

    But we're talking a whole different ballgame comparing a very fancy AC/DC tig machine that can do amazing tricks to a mig welder. If you're a gamblin' man, go for the bells and whistles. If you just want to weld, buy the Hobart. Virtually nothing in there you can't fix if it breaks. For dollars, not hundreds or thousands of dollars
    Last edited by Aeronca41; 08-22-2019, 09:24 PM.

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    • #3
      I should take back part of my last sentence above--there is a relatively low-tech circuit board in there that no doubt costs over a hundred bucks should you ever have to replace it, but certainly not thousands.

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      • #4
        350ish for the hobarts control board. so 600 less than the lincolns

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        • #5
          350ish for the hobarts control board. so 600 less than the lincolns
          It's a pretty simple board because it doesn't control voltage. Looks like it's just for controlling wire speed and the spool gun.

          If I was buying used, I'd lean toward a simpler machine like the 230 here. If I'm buying new, I'd probably get one with the features I want and just depend on the warranty. Things like this though are making me think my next machine will be Chinese so I can just toss it when it breaks and get a new one. $600-800 will buy you a complete 1/2 decent Chinese tig welder.
          Last edited by MasterKwan; 08-23-2019, 12:45 PM.

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          • #6
            These are terrible days for an old "buy American" guy like me, but the economics will force your hand. However, when there is no more american technology to pirate, we are all gonna be in trouble. Technology development costs money; pirating, not so much.

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            • #7
              However, when there is no more american technology to pirate
              If you look at welder tech, it certainly looks like the Chinese are ahead of the game. Every up and coming nation started by imitating. We did it, the Japanese did it and the Chinese had to do it to get things going. Then once that period is over, innovation starts. Japan was once known as a nation of copy-cats. They're not thought that way anymore.

              I would certainly love to buy American but what happens when it's not American any more and it's not that quality it once was? My last Ford was made in Canada and ended up being a lemon. My current Hondas were all built in Ohio.


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              • #8
                Point of order- Japan bought both the Navy and training program they used to whup up on Russia in the opening years of the 20th Century. You might call that copying, but Japan was the only Navy to have Weather FAX on the bridge of capitol ships and carriers in 1940. At the end of the War Japan embraced Deming while the US shunned his concepts. Who won?

                Cornell University began building a major presence in China over 20 years ago. Today while Engineering Professors polish desk chairs in Ithaca the majority of Engineering classes are taught by Chinese instructors via Internet. Students & Grads I know tell me the Chinese are brilliant and spend twice the hours US students do studying.

                Colt built and fine tuned the state of the art alloy steel plant on US soil 40 years back. Regulations and costs caused Colt to close that plant in 5 years. Employees wanted to buy and run the plant, but tax laws made that impossible and environmental regulations coming into play were going to make keeping the plant producing a nightmare. All that technology left the US.

                Look at Rochester, 4 of 5 Power generating plants closed and demolished and replacement of that power comes from where? If a miracle happens and all the jobs come back at Midnight where will the power come from to turn the lights on in the factory buildings that haven't been demolished?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MasterKwan View Post

                  If you look at welder tech, it certainly looks like the Chinese are ahead of the game. Every up and coming nation started by imitating. We did it, the Japanese did it and the Chinese had to do it to get things going. Then once that period is over, innovation starts. Japan was once known as a nation of copy-cats. They're not thought that way anymore.

                  I would certainly love to buy American but what happens when it's not American any more and it's not that quality it once was? My last Ford was made in Canada and ended up being a lemon. My current Hondas were all built in Ohio.

                  if looking for a 200 amp or less inverter machine, then yes i agree. both will last the same time frame, and can buy two of the chinese ones for the cost of name brand. but for a 200amp + machine with old transformers i still believe american is the way to go. the chinese off brand machines thay are 200 amp plus are still iverters with the same torches from the 150 amp or 200 amp class machines. doombed to fail

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Franz© View Post
                    Point of order- Japan bought both the Navy and training program they used to whup up on Russia in the opening years of the 20th Century. You might call that copying, but Japan was the only Navy to have Weather FAX on the bridge of capitol ships and carriers in 1940. At the end of the War Japan embraced Deming while the US shunned his concepts. Who won?

                    Cornell University began building a major presence in China over 20 years ago. Today while Engineering Professors polish desk chairs in Ithaca the majority of Engineering classes are taught by Chinese instructors via Internet. Students & Grads I know tell me the Chinese are brilliant and spend twice the hours US students do studying.

                    Colt built and fine tuned the state of the art alloy steel plant on US soil 40 years back. Regulations and costs caused Colt to close that plant in 5 years. Employees wanted to buy and run the plant, but tax laws made that impossible and environmental regulations coming into play were going to make keeping the plant producing a nightmare. All that technology left the US.

                    Look at Rochester, 4 of 5 Power generating plants closed and demolished and replacement of that power comes from where? If a miracle happens and all the jobs come back at Midnight where will the power come from to turn the lights on in the factory buildings that haven't been demolished?
                    the way the libs want it

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                    • #11
                      well i decided on the ironman 230. should be here this week. will see if im kicking my self in the butt for not spending the extra 400 for the bigger class machine.

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                      • #12
                        Hope it works out well for you. It is the decision I would have made, but each of us has to decide for himself. If I had not found my MM200, I would have bought the Ironman.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aeronca41 View Post
                          Hope it works out well for you. It is the decision I would have made, but each of us has to decide for himself. If I had not found my MM200, I would have bought the Ironman.
                          will see how is goes, if i like it great! but if noti can always sell and go bigger i guess. im still looking at off brand 200amp multi process welders for work out side the shop. the firepower 180i is catching my eye, made by esab can run off a genny and 671$ off amazon

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by caleb90 View Post

                            will see how is goes, if i like it great! but if noti can always sell and go bigger i guess. im still looking at off brand 200amp multi process welders for work out side the shop. the firepower 180i is catching my eye, made by esab can run off a genny and 671$ off amazon
                            Just speculating here, but I'd bet a buck you ain't old enough to remember home entertainment consoles with Radio, TV & Record changer.
                            Took 2 strong men and a truck to haul them things to the shop when they had to go on for service.
                            Extrapolate that to a welding/cutting/whatever machine, and when any component goes south you got NUTTIN.

                            I'll also repeat, 200 amps is about all you need for work you can do at home and all you can power at home as well; Unless you have a 200 amp 3Ø service in your home shop. Yes, I do, and I can easily run a 400 amp Hobart Bros MIG, a couple Lincoln verticals, the air compressor, and saw with a couple helpers.

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                            • #15
                              a small multiprocess machine ain't the end of the world. He has a IM230 for his shop work now- and a portable machine is nice to have for field work.

                              I'd probably look at a 120.240v machine though- unfortunately mo' money but you wont need to hump a generator around.

                              'tis like a transiiter radio to your stereo console
                              Ed Conley
                              http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
                              MM252
                              MM211
                              Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
                              TA185
                              Miller 125c Plasma 120v
                              O/A set
                              SO 2020 Bender
                              You can call me Bacchus

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