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Getting the band back together

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  • Getting the band back together

    Although the description states "full AC features" there is no adjusting EN/EP on the 280DX's.
    Sadly when I read the comparison between the 280 and the 280DX, the phrase "full AC features" somehow convinced me. Fool me once...
    Controlling frequency and balance are great, and they have their own little button too. No more accessing the hidden menu (although it helped avoid locking the settings with a code) but that "full AC features" bit still had me going for that hidden menu.
    Was it marketing that broke up the band?
    Did Dad not want little Timmy to have all his marbles?
    With the 280DX, Miller gave us the turbo charger and the intercooler but kept the wastegate and blowoff valve.
    I thought I did my research before placing the order but I didn't read the description on the 400 until today. Well. Fool me twice, shame on me.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    To get EN/EP adjustment on a 280DX, you need to give miller $600 for a memory card that adjusts the configuration to allow it. No hardware changes, just a configuration option. Basically a scam, and rather lowered my opinion of miller when they did it.

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    • #3
      "Full AC features" means purchasing a memory card to allow access of the full AC features? Now I got it. Thanks BT

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bushytails View Post
        To get EN/EP adjustment on a 280DX, you need to give miller $600 for a memory card that adjusts the configuration to allow it. No hardware changes, just a configuration option. Basically a scam, and rather lowered my opinion of miller when they did it.
        Calling it a scam is ridiculous and whenever people complain about things like this it's because they simply don't understand how manufacturing works.

        Many companies, in many industries do the same thing because it makes the most sense for both the manufacturer, and the consumer. It actually keeps costs lower because all the machines use the same parts.

        The actual physical cost of a board is quite low, but the development costs are high. It's cheaper and simpler to develop and produce one board that does everything and then just add plug and play cards for optional features. That way they order more of one kind of board, so the overall board cost is lower, which lowers the cost for every machine made, and the only people that pay extra are the ones that want the optional features....it's about as fair as it can get and is the opposite of a scam.

        Look at every GM car that rolls off the line with OnStar...the hardware is there, but you don't get to use it unless you pay for it (other than the free trial). If they switched to some cars having the parts, and others not having the parts the overall cost of each car would go up.



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        • #5
          But it isn't a feature that takes extensive development effort. It isn't extra hardware that's not being used. It isn't one board that's had an extra feature added, because the feature does not involve any hardware whatsoever. It's about two lines of code for the actual operation (or a few characters if it's written in a language with a ternary operator), and maybe a couple dozen for the UI, that uses hardware that already has to exist for the machine to function in the first place. Even if it's hand-written asm it's less than a screen. All it's doing is selecting a different target amperage for the inverter based on which part of the wave it's on. And they charge $600 for it.

          The more I work on millers, the more disillusioned I become... the pile of xmt350s with blown unobtainable skiip modules doesn't help any. I used to think the extra cost got you better products and better support from a better company, not just a lighter wallet.

          I should note, this is one of the many reasons I exclusively use open-source software on my computer. Bull**** like this does not exist. If I want a feature, I can add it.

          Hrmm, I wonder how hard it is to clone those memory cards, and mail them for free to everyone who wants one... Or just fire up the disassembler and see what they're running. My FLIR i3 has been an i7 for a while now, was rather easy to fix... I guess I won't find out until I get a 280dx in the repair pile. Closest to that in the pile now is a 300dx, and there's not much in common.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bushytails View Post
            But it isn't a feature that takes extensive development effort. It isn't extra hardware that's not being used. It isn't one board that's had an extra feature added, because the feature does not involve any hardware whatsoever. It's about two lines of code for the actual operation (or a few characters if it's written in a language with a ternary operator), and maybe a couple dozen for the UI, that uses hardware that already has to exist for the machine to function in the first place. Even if it's hand-written asm it's less than a screen. All it's doing is selecting a different target amperage for the inverter based on which part of the wave it's on. And they charge $600 for it.

            The more I work on millers, the more disillusioned I become... the pile of xmt350s with blown unobtainable skiip modules doesn't help any. I used to think the extra cost got you better products and better support from a better company, not just a lighter wallet.

            I should note, this is one of the many reasons I exclusively use open-source software on my computer. Bull**** like this does not exist. If I want a feature, I can add it.

            Hrmm, I wonder how hard it is to clone those memory cards, and mail them for free to everyone who wants one... Or just fire up the disassembler and see what they're running. My FLIR i3 has been an i7 for a while now, was rather easy to fix... I guess I won't find out until I get a 280dx in the repair pile. Closest to that in the pile now is a 300dx, and there's not much in common.
            So everything should just be free....got it.

            You should give the free memory cards a try...

            https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/25/1...ight-to-repair
            Last edited by G-ManBart; 11-04-2020, 11:03 PM.

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            • #7
              Reminds me of veterinarian blood tests. Every blood test is run through the same test panel. A small host of data is produced about your pet but they’ll only tell you what results you ask/pay for. Result A could be your dog doesn’t have heartworms and right next to it result B could be your dog has curable cancer. If you only bought result A, too bad dog; they’ll probably see it but.....
              =======================
              Miller 211 AutoSet
              Miller Dynasty 200 DX
              Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 42

              "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters"
              Francisco Goya

              Comment


              • #8
                Mr Bart, I don't think Mr Tails was saying everything should be free. (2) brand new 280DX's were most certainly not free. Full AC functions is included in the brochure but aren't in the $20k price tag.
                I suppose 1200 should be a small price to pay for my ignorance.

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                • #9
                  Bushy, what's sad is you're talking about the industrial/heavy commercial line with the XMT and Dynasty DX. Those 280s, like the CST280 and the earlier Spectrum 625s, are a bear to work on with very little payoff - better to use the passive components and make your own projects. It detracts from the hood time though...
                  But... Lincoln Powerwaves are still my least favorite... I fixed a PW355, and wanted to add Push-Pull, so I found the recommended updated PF10M with the advanced features, only one to find out after the Lincoln tech recommendation and troubleshooting on my end, that the compatible feeder's updated settings (Push-Pull) aren't compatible... The 14 year old machine software is no longer supported. It took making my own Push-pull controller and spoolgun controller for it to do what I want. CAN sniffer and SPI decoder needed.

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                  • #10
                    By the way, I had to wikipedia ternary operator... Guess I have been using those without even knowing it.

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                    • #11
                      I've never seen the inside of a 280... I take it they're all-TO220-parts-soldered-to-one-board-with-tiny-heatsinks designs or something? Google isn't finding any pictures of one or of the boards for one, and I'm too lazy to try harder.

                      Ironically, I bet you could build an independent EN/EP amperage adjuster for the older dynastys for about $10. Depending on how fast the units respond to the 14-pin input, you might even be able to do it all external. An optoisolator, an inverter, two analog switches, two random pots (or one and a switch, or various other options), an opamp, and some minor parts. If they respond quickly to the 14-pin input, stick it in the foot pedal circuit, if they filter the input too much, stick it in the line from the front panel to the inverter board.

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                      • #12
                        Bushy, I can't remember the actual package for the components, but they weren't discrete components, just 50 and 70 amp versions of bridge rectifier, low side chopper IGBT module, and a half bridge module. There was a guy on here asking for help troubleshooting a Dynasty 280, the power components looked just like the CST280. Their pins solder directly to the PCB, which is a pin to replace without lifting vias. And they're freaking expensive because they're proprietary or now obsolete...

                        I have made external pulsers just like you mentioned. You would still need to tap the internals - there is a square wave signal from the user panel to the main board that toggles EN and EP - the duty cycle of that square signal sets the balance. I have it on my list to convert a 460V Porta-Tig (DC) to AC with an add-on board and large output H-Bridge.

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                        • #13
                          These posts make you guys sound like "hot rodders" for welders. I can appreciate that type of knowledge as I havn't the first clue about any of it.

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                          • #14
                            jjohn76 knows far more than I do. I'm just getting started with the welder repair thing!

                            For an external control, I was thinking of just looking at the weld output to determine the current polarity, then tweaking the foot pedal input to adjust the amperage accordingly. But, as I said, it'd be dependent on how quickly the machine reacts to the 14-pin input. If too slowly, then it'd have to be internal, in the control from the front panel to the inverter.

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                            • #15
                              I wouldn't agree with that assessment, as I learn quite a lot from your posts. I will need to bounce my PFC DC converter ideas off you for powering a couple 460V machines.

                              I have never measured the Dynasty DX transient response, but it must be fast for the XMT (very similar analog control, with a second control for CV) to work with the Optima pulsers. The biggest issue with the output will be handling the EN/EP transition voltage spikes and the HF/HV output during arc starts.

                              Still somewhere in the queue is to make an output inverter (Lincoln makes one for their Powerwave line). I have tried to think through how to control the waveshape so it goes to single digits amps right at the EN/EP transitions. I think the older Thermal Arcs do that, though have never looked at the shape.

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