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Big Blue problems...question for the CST folks out there.

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  • Big Blue problems...question for the CST folks out there.

    G'morning all,
    Are there any folks out there having issues with the Big Blue welders. It seems that every single one I've encountered in the last couple months has had some really squirrelly issues that have been a massive problem to diagnose and the diagnosis is usually incomplete or incorrect when the new part arrives.

    I try not to call Miller unless I get completely stumped and I've had to call on every single one. The service manuals seem to have a whole lot of wrong and missing info and when I get someone on the phone, I get the impression that they have no idea either. That impression is reinforced by the part they tell me that I need not actually repairing the machine.

    I tend to assume that I'm the one that's missing something until I see otherwise, but I feel that I've been led astray repeatedly by the service guys for Miller on these particular machines which has cost me a large amount of time and money that I really cannot pass on to the customer. I also don't care for the "shotgun method" for repairing things. I don't want to just throw parts at something until it works.

    If my general take and impression is wrong and I'm the one missing something, please let me know. I don't mind being wrong and really just want to be able to fix this stuff and get it out of the way for the next ordeal.

    Thankya for reading all of that.

    Mickey

  • #2
    Wonder of Miller techs have some kind of diagnostics laptop computer which can be hooked up to these machine for repair service or is it possible to make one.

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    • #3
      I suppose that could be a possibility. If it is, it sure would be handy if they'd let their CST guys in on the secret.

      Mickey

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      • #4
        What type of problems have you seen? I just posted a problem I’m having. Have you had any suddenly spike voltage after short arcing with suitcase for 8 seconds or so? I need to figure out the problem.

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        • #5
          Wow, another issue to add to the list as I've not seen that yet. So far what I've encountered keeps pointing at PC1 and once I replace that, its usually followed by replacing the power modules and the hall device. That get's pretty expensive pretty quick. I did read your other post and my first inclination is that its a feedback issue with the hall device but that doesn't readily explain why it runs fine with stick. I have to assume that you double checked your suitcase is in CV if the power source is in CV mode or CC if you're running in CC. Aside from that, you're gonna have to pull the service manual and start running down test point checks. Hopefully some one will be chiming in with more experience than myself and get you on the road to recovery...mighty pricey machines to not be making money with 'em.

          Mickey

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          • #6
            Thanks for your reply. I do a lot of line boring on site and the voltage spike problem is a nightmare while running the bore welder. It runs perfectly for 3/4 of the rotation but suddenly spikes and loses the weld. I have to switch the weld trigger off and on immediately to keep going. This causes variations in the weld thickness and creates voids which chip the cutters when boring.

            I contacted Miller and they are telling me the control board has to be replaced. It’s a thousand dollar part and I’d would feel much better knowing for sure that’s the problem before starting to throw parts at it. It really sucks.

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            • #7
              Ya, that's been my experience with Miller on the Big Blue's...its always the board. Once I get the board installed, still have the same issue and then its the power modules, hall device, etc. I can imagine how irritating it is...I hate having tools that just sit and don't make any money. Its even worse when they cost you money on top of not making any.

              Unfortunately, I really don't have a better suggestion than replacing the board and see if that changes anything. I can see how one part can go bad and take others out when it goes, but it would be nice to be able to troubleshoot them a good bit better before chucking money at the problem.

              I am still hopeful that someone else with more experience with them will chime in soon...for your sake and my own!

              Mickey

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mickey(not so fine) View Post
                I suppose that could be a possibility. If it is, it sure would be handy if they'd let their CST guys in on the secret.

                Mickey
                This is the problem of right to repair the farmers are faced with in the tractor manufactures not making the computer diagnostic software available to them.

                Then there are a lot more farmers than there are welding machine owners, so this makes it tough for welder repair to get any support.


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                • #9
                  I am surprised that those diagnostic tools aren't available. In construction, they're available, albeit the hardware/software and training are probably cost prohibitive for smaller operations.

                  Board level troubleshooting is a bear, though much easier with a schematic. A lot of the magic is in the software though.

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                  • #10
                    I am having an issue with my 2017 PP400. When running it will bog down and almost die then come back up to the proper engine speed. It does this on low idle, high idle and while welding. Also, when I plug something into the aux power, like my radio, I get the Max Power error code flashing on the display. Miller told me to replace the throttle actuator but when I checked that it seemed to be working and it is over $900 for just an actuator so I don't want to throw money at something blindly. Has anyone had an issue like this before?
                    Last edited by faultline1; 07-21-2022, 09:28 AM.

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                    • #11
                      I seem to remember one of the states to the west...Nebraska maybe...had a governor in the last year or two that took up the fight for right to repair and won. If memory serves, it was aimed mostly at John Deere.

                      Board level troubleshooting is a bear! Especially with a lot of the boards being potted or covered up in silastic. Additionally, I've been told by multiple companies that rebuild boards that some cannot be rebuilt due to proprietary chips and methods used to prevent removal of components. I don't know how accurate that is, but that's what I've been told.

                      Faultline1, that's a whole new one that I've not experienced yet.

                      Mickey

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                      • #12
                        Mickey, the part that makes it even harder to diagnose, it is not consistent. Some days it won’t happen at all and run fine and other it will do it all day while the most common is to start mid day and get worse through the afternoon. I have been trying to figure this one for several months but as of lately, it is getting much worse at a much faster pace so my days are number before the blue box has to come off the rig and the ol trusty Lincoln goes back on.

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                        • #13
                          Those intermittent problems are bloody nightmares! A couple months ago, I had a Vantage 500 come in with a similar issue...not the same mind, but similar. It ultimately was his fuel. He'd gotten diesel algae in his tank and his filters were plugged up enough that it would bog down and come close to dying before it took off. It sounded like it was winding up to proper speed before it got there. Swapped out his filters and he was good to go until they plugged up again. Miller may be correct on that actuator...if its hanging up sometimes. I don't like troubleshooting inconsistent problems...makes me start second guessing myself more than usual!

                          Mickey

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                          • #14
                            I just did a full service 2 weeks ago with all new filters. I try to take care of my equipment so I stay up on all of that kind of stuff. I’ve never seen any algae in the clear inline fuel filter when I was changing it. Also, I do use fuel additive because I am always in different parts of the country so I never know if the local fuel is any good.

                            I did have a breakthrough I think, by no effort of mine. This morning it bogged down and coughed before coming back up to speed like usual. The only thing I thought was it was starting early today but when I went back over to my pick up there was large, thick pieces of carbon all over. This is a common thing I’ve dealt with on the F162/163 engines but I’ve never had that happen with a diesel. If the machine is running I am working, I don’t let it just sit and idle for ever. I will get some cleaners to run in the fuel and through the intake to see if I can clean it out some more and see what happens. I will update sometime next week after running a few days and seeing if it is any better.

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                            • #15
                              Well I have ran 2 tanks of fuel through it, the first with seafoam in it, and so far it seems to be running decent. Also, I discovered that the throttle stop was not all the way open in full throttle so I imagine that contributed to the build up. Only time will tell now if that really was the problem.

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