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Syncrowave 180 HD Troubleshooting

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  • Syncrowave 180 HD Troubleshooting

    I recently purchased a used Syncrowave 180 HD, early model with no digital readouts and serial number LA223XXX, Stock r 903600. The seller said that it only worked in Stick mode, and the HF acted "strange" in TIG mode. It came with a good shop-made cart, 125 cf bottle, ball-type regulator, a RFCS-14 foot pedal, and the factory stick leads. It also has an International brand TIG stinger with a WP-17 style head, various tungstens (green), ceramic nozzles, collets, and adaptors from .040 up to 1/8. It appears to have been stored in an unheated environment, since the rods stored in the cart have light rust starting on the coated steel. There are also many aluminum rods.

    I tested the Stick function, and it works perfectly. I paid a fair price for a used AC/DC stick welder of this output level, so I felt that I had nothing to lose. When I tested the TIG function, the arc was weak and dispersed on AC. It was also weak on DCEN, and the HF would not shut off after an arc was struck. I polished the points of the HF with tagboard (an old-time trick from point-type auto ignition repairs) and reset the points to .012 without seeing any improvement. Later, I read online of people closing the points to .008 for troubleshooting, and doing this resulted in a stable arc in both AC and DCEN, with the HF shutting off normally in DCEN. The points look very good, visually. The spark is pretty uniform at the closer point setting.

    I'm leery of the old tungsten electrodes, and just ordered some 2% Lanthanated electrodes with plans to test function when I receive them. I am not a TIG welder, but have played with one in the past. I started welding 50 years ago with OA, and muddle through with stick and MIG. I bought this thinking that if I could get it to work in TIG, I could learn on it. In the meantime, I have a troubleshooting question:

    Would the need to operate at closer point settings mean that the capacitors (C-18 and C-19), p/n 191 944, are weak? Should I think about replacing them? Voltage (measured with AC setting of multimeter) measured at the input end of the 200 ohm resistor (R-8) is 134.5V when the circuit is active. The resistor measures 200.7 ohms. Output from the R-8 resistor is about 75V when active.

  • #2
    I don't know if I would mess with it if you have sufficient arc with that points gap. The HF DCEN not shutting off seems like the relay on the board (maybe a triac but I would think relay since R8 looks to be there to limit current through the HV transformer (T3) and C18 looks to be there to snub voltage spikes on the primary when the relay opens). C3 is the one that is tuned with the HF coupling transformer T4 primary and would be the one to impact how much voltage builds across your spark gap.

    Hope this helps,


    • #3

      I am not an expert on that machine by any means, but from a purely electronics troubleshooting viewpoint, I would guess that capacitor C3 would be more likely to be the cause of having to reduce the point gap. I assume C3, the spark gap, and the primary of the HF coupling transformer T4 make up a series resonant circuit to generate the HF. If that capacitor has gone down in value with age, (which is not an uncommon failure mode), or increased its Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR--that failure is more common in electrolytics but is possible in some other types), it would result in reduced current in the circuit and cause gap to have to be reduced.

      That's all theoretical, and I always say an hour in the lab or on the equipment beats a month of theory. I'm from a background of systems engineering, not welder repair, but I'd try that capacitor first. You can check it's capacitance value with a multimeter that has a capacitance scale--if it's not reading what the labeled value is, or very close to it, you've found your problem. However, it takes a special meter to read the ESR--not something most people would ever get the $75-$100 investment back from. It is possible for ESR and/or capacitance to be out of spec without affecting the other significantly. I have found people working on electronics equipment that checked the caps with a multimeter, found the capacitance OK, and assumed they were good but the circuit still wouldn't work. Check ESR, and it's way out of spec. Replace the cap and all is well. Moral of the story is just because a cap does not show "shorted" on an ohmmeter, and the capacitance value is OK, it can still be bad--that is not real common, but it does happen, and it's much more likely if it's an electrolytic.

      I suppose if either C18 or C19 shorted, bypassing the resistor, you might get enough DC current flow to start to saturate the core of T3 and in turn reduce the HF efficiency, but I think that possibility is a really, really long stretch--not a stretch that a cap could short, but that the PC board would be able to produce enough current to saturate T3's core. You can check the two caps you mention with just an ohmmeter to be sure they are not shorted.

      Maybe someone with some practical experience with your machine will see this and post.


      • #4
        Oh--I see jjohn has already responded while I was typing, and he's much more concise! AND more experienced. The good news is we both homed in on C3.


        • #5
          Aero, I definitely wouldn't say more experienced... I think you have forgotten more electronics and systems than I will ever know.


          • #6
            I’m pretty sure he was there when electronical stuff was invented.

            Is electronical a word? I think it is.


            • #7
              Originally posted by jjohn76 View Post
              Aero, I definitely wouldn't say more experienced... I think you have forgotten more electronics and systems than I will ever know.
              Yeah, all that stuff I knew back when I had all my hair and my knees worked---but most of the stuff I've forgotten, and unfortunately still remember too much of from back then, had to do with vacuum tubes. Now there's more computational power in your phone than there was in the whole world when I started. Just amazing. It was a great run.

              But, with all that electronical stuff (yes, Ryan that HAS to be a word--it's right here in writing!), I have nowhere near the applicable experience with welders you have. I really appreciate your posts with current knowledge! Fixed piles of other stuff, from 5-tube radios to multimillion dollar computerized systems, but only a handful of welders. Theory is great, and necessary, but there is no substitute for hands-on experience. You need both.


              • #8
                Thank you, jjohn76 and Aeronca41! Since I got a good deal on the welder, I am comfortable investing in a few parts. I'll order a C3 capacitor next week. I'll report back with results.


                • #9
                  I’m about to take a look at and apply my extremely limited electrical theory knowledge to a friends RV converter board. He figured since his RV is 50amps, that surely means it plugs into the same socket as his welding machine....

                  He isn’t the first to do that. He said it made a god awful noise while he had it plugged in. I bet it did. More like a dieing gasp for breath. Probably fried some of the doofloppies and flimflams on his board.

                  I hope your new cap fixes that thing, Provincial.


                  • #10
                    Aren't those converters 120vac to 12 vdc? I have no experience with even what it is for sure.


                    • #11
                      50A RV uses the NEMA 14-50 plug that has 120/240V and needs a neutral. What did he do? The 240V welder plug won't provide the neutral. She he must have homemade an "adapter?"


                      • #12
                        Yes he did. Took the pig tail from his Hobart handler MVP and made an adapter and plugged his RV into his welder socket.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ryanjones2150 View Post
                          Yes he did. Took the pig tail from his Hobart handler MVP and made an adapter and plugged his RV into his welder socket.
                          Only once, though.....


                          • #14
                            He’s the second person I know that’s done something like this.

                            I did a little electronical work this morning. My coffee maker water level sensor has been on the fritz. I popped that sucker open, cut that ******* off and twisted the wires together. Fixed it and had my coffee. Thank goodness too.


                            • #15
                              My kind of fix for the coffee maker!

                              Just checkin', Ryan--you probably already know this, but .... If you poke around in the convertor your friend blew--Are you aware of the dangers of attempting to hook a ground wire from a piece of test equipment to the "hot side" (the chopper circuit side--probably what's blown in that thing) of a converter that does not have a line isolation transformer (which most don't)? Scary stuff if you don't know the precautions. You're OK if just a DMM, but don't use any plug-in test equipment.