No announcement yet.

How many amps

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How many amps

    This is for my own personal edification. Now I have seen several posters on some of the welding message boards that had a few snide remarks about these little 120 volt mig welders. Now I know these little welders have their limitations but at the same time have some things to offer such as their light weight and portability, as well as their ability to use a 120 volt power source that is almost always available where one of these little welders may be needed for a quick and dirty repair job. This makes them a serious consideration for a maintenance person, as well as the hobby type guy.

    What I want to know from you that have a lot of experience with these mig welders is where the little jokes stop due to some serious amperage. I want to know how many amps you need in a mig welder before it can compete with a good hot stick welder running reverse polarity with enough cranked up to cause some serious spatter with just a hint the heat is so hot it is about ready to cause some undercut. I want to know this before I go out and buy a mig welder, because if it can’t compete with the stick welder, I probably won’t use it much. I know you can turn them all down; I just don’t want to run out of knob to the right.

    So don’t tell me to buy the biggest I can afford. Tell me how much amperage it will take to do the same job as the stick welder, because what ever that is I will get out my credit card if that is what it is going to take. So what is it, - 180 , 210, 250, 300 ?? Oh yea, Christmas is right around the corner.
    sigpic 6010
    If I had know I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.

  • #2
    so cranked up it creats spatter ? what rod size, you can run a 1/4 rod up in the 200+ amp range (7018)

    your question is pretty open
    maxstar 150


    • #3
      We have a miller 250 and a shopmate 300 with an overhead wire feeder, and some others not worth mentioning. I am currently welding together a BBQ pit that is 3/8" walled and the 250 welds it with no problems. There are plenty of people on here with lots more experience than me but thats my opinion. So it depends on what you want to weld, but the 250 does just about anything we need it to do, and if it wont we chamfer it and weld it on both sides. Oh yeah we use .035 wire in all of our machines


      • #4
        How big is your stick welder 6010? About a year ago I was looking at MIG welders. (my 1st) I was thinking 110v but changed to the MM 210 based on what I had read on the Miller Motorsports board about the 210. I am very pleased and glad that I didn't go 110 for MY needs. I seldom use my old DialArc 250 anymore. I seldom weld over 1/4" material.


        • #5
          I have a small Miller 110v MM 130XP. I use it on steel up to about ¼” and it works great. It is perfect for 22to 12Ga. The best thing is not needing 220v power. When I purchased it I was doing a lot of maintenance type stuff and the ability to carry it up ladders and plug it in anywhere was the selling point. I now use it to join .065 and .095” sq tube for furniture and other projects. I have run probably 20 large spools through it without any problems. That said if you don’t need portability buy the biggest you can afford…you can always turn it down but it is no fun to not have the heat you need. My wish list has a MM210 second and the Miller Dynasty 200 at the top. oops it told you to buy the biggest you could afford


          • #6
            You want to know how many amps a MIG will need to compete with a fictional stick welder?? about elevendyfour?????

            I suggest you state your needs and the very experienced and helpful people here will give you a good reccomendation.
            Dynasty 200 DX
            Millermatic 175
            Spectrum 375
            All kinds of Smith OA gear


            • #7
              [QUOTE=Laiky;20101]You want to know how many amps a MIG will need to compete with a fictional stick welder?? about elevendyfour?????


              Funny! Hahahahaha!! I havent heard that one B4!
              Sorry I t jsut struck me as funny! had to step up and say so!
              Will it weld? I loooove electricity!

              Miller 251/30A spool
              Spectrum 625
              Precix 5x10 CNC Router12"Z
              Standard modern lathe
              Cheap Chinese mill that does the trick... sort of...
              horizontal 7x12 bandsaw
              Roland XC540 PRO III
              54" laminator
              hammer and screwdriver (most used)
              little dog
              pooper scooper (2nd most used...)


              • #8
                All right I'll bite. FISH ON and running! Consider if all you use is 1/8 rod, for instance 7018. I'm thinking you might need at least 130 amps plus 20% at 60% duty cycle and let that be the requirement for the 1/8 in rod. Looking at the Miller product line on their site, A Millermatic 180 spits out 135 amps @ 30%, which doesn't meet the criteria set forth so no buy. The next one in line is the 212 with 160 amps @ 60% which covers our set requirements so we buy it. But then I like our Miller MP 65E. 650 amps of 460 3 phase monster sucking up 4 amps with just the fan running without any circuit boards at all inside. Ya I keep up with that one. Or consider this: It's 90 degrees in the shop, I need to stick weld with the 1/8 rod (7018 of course) using a Lincoln Square wave tig 175 or Martha. The Linc will temp out about 15 straight rods later. Or should I use Martha with 600 amps available at 60%. Martha won't even know you got her turned on and you could weld a 50 lb can of rods one after the other. Dag nabit, he spit the hook got away!.


                • #9
                  OH did I mention with the MP 65E you also get 100% duty cycle? You turn the wire feeder all the way up , then adjust the heat to get a huge puddle that will melt thru a 3/4 plate? She eats 60 lb spools all day long looks at you and says "That all you got big boy? OOOh wee. I need shade 14, asbestos or something.


                  • #10
                    Ok we get it Steve. You have access to the biggest baddest equipment available, that is not what he asked. Amps needed to stick weld don’t equate to MIG performance. For those of us on a limited budget or needing portable MIG capabilities 110v MIG machines make since. I have no need to MIG ¾” steel, if I do need to weld thick stuff will fire up the old red tombstone and stick it. MIG is“necessary” on thin material. You can stick thicker stuff. (Don’t attack, I know some people can weld real thin material with a stick, but not efficiently.) So…. If you cannot afford to hook up a 220v line or the expense of a Monster power source and wire feeder buy the biggest MIG you can afford, or pack around and burn wire. Oops there it is again "Buy the biggest you can afford".


                    • #11
                      No attack was intended. I rarely attack. I will definitely not attack. It is counter productive. This reply is not an attack. This is a good thread. There is a place, need and purpose for every welder built. I do not discount any welder for its size or underrate anyone the welder they use whether it be their job, hobby, art, farm or for whatever reason drives a person to pick up a hot lead and join metal. I wish the best for all of us here that have come to join metals together. Since no parameters other than keep up with stick was alluded to, I set forth some parameters of my own to quantify a mig machine selection. I agree my method of comparison was a bit obtuse. However if I weld continuously with 1/8 rod consuming 50 lbs of rod using average 5 sec to change to new rod and get back in the puddle, what Mig welder do I need to match that performance? Meaning you pull the trigger on the Mig machine and don't let go till 50lbs of wire is consumed. Assume 60lb spool. It is fun stuff here trying to figure it out with practically nothing to go on. But anyway, Forgive my ramblings. Its lonely being a welder. No one will talk to you if your hood is down. They will stand behind you till you stop and raise your hood as they don't think you can talk and weld at the same time. I can talk and weld but if I fart the ball game is over. That's funny stuff there..


                      • #12
                        How much is enough?

                        It depends on several factors.
                        1. Wire size and type
                        2. Gas type
                        3. Material being welded.

                        The thicker the material you are welding, the more amperage you will need, obviously. That being said, wire size and type will make a big difference. A small machine may not even be able to properly run a larger wire, but using a smaller diameter wire you may be able to put in a pass with decent penetration, albeit smaller overall. If you are using shielding gas, a higher CO2 concentration will give you better penetration, but you will sacrifice weld apperance. Furthermore, some self shielded wire will definately give you better penetration, but will require a little more clean up afterwards. As you can see, the question is not nearly as simple as it initially appears.

                        My personal experience? No luck with the 120's, there is just not enough power. My teacher brought in his small 220, a lincoln mig pack somethin, rated for around 170-180 amps and loaded with .030 self shielded wire. Boy was I suprised, it put out a lot more heat than I was expecting:rolleyes, more than enough for 3/16 or less.

                        Now how much power do you need to compete with a decent stick welder running 1/8 7018? I would say over 200 amps, once again depending on set up. Don't forget, with wire feeds ability to run nonstop your duty cyle will be higher, so you will want a bit more in reserve. Ultimately, more is better, it is always easier to turn down a big machine than to pull your hair in fustration. (Notice a trend here? )

                        Final note, if you have a decent stick welder, use the small mig to tack and weld the thin stuff, and stick the rest. The above really only aplies if you are looking to buy a Mig to do everything.

                        Sorry if that was a bit long winded. Just my 2 c-notes.
                        Owner of Burnt Beard Fabrication & Welding Ltd.

                        BigBlue 500D
                        Dynasty 200DX
                        Millermatic 211
                        4' Box and Pan Break
                        IR compressor


                        • #13
                          No, No and NO..

                          Never settle for "just what you can afford". Save and wait, wait and save to get what you need. Even for weekend fun-seekers. Chances are more than likely you will run into a situation that requires more huevos (amps) to make a proper weld. Some one always come to you with a broken thing-a-ma-jig that requires the above mentioned huevos. Having a machine with small huevos leaves you to do one of two things. 1. do the job the machine was not intended to do or 2. you shrug your shoulders and say "sorry can't do it". There is nothing wrong with a smaller welder I have 2 140's in my shop that we use for light grab rail work but they are parked next to our MM252 and MM350P just in case they are in jeopardy!

                          We depend On:
                          Miller | Esab | Lincoln | Fronius
                          Baileigh | Drake | Eagle | Knuth
                          Victor | Harris | Smith | Bessey
                          Snap-On | Hilti | Ingersoll Rand
                          Burco/Koco | Onan | BobCat
                          Tracker | Infratrol | AmeriCast

                          We belong to or support:
                          American National Standards Institute
                          American Welding Society
                          The Welding Institute
                          Fabricators & Manufacturing Association Int'l.

                          Anderson & Co. LLC
                          Metal Cr


                          • #14
                            On another note bigger is not always better. Connecting our Spool-o-matic 1 with .030 Al wire to the big MP 65E isn't a good thing. Can't turn it down far enough. So we use the gun on a different machine where the low range is more adjustable and user friendly for the gun. Face it welding 10ga steel guards with the 65E and .045 wire isn't very pretty and in this case a smaller machine would work quite well for appearance and in cost.


                            • #15
                              Tacmig, Here is a good example of what you said. For 6 years I had to repair Al fuel tanks with the spool-o-matic 1 with the 65E. It was a pain in the but. Since my previous job was welding Al with Lincoln 300 Square wave Everyone wondered why I was complaining. Finally the Boss jumped at the Lincoln Square wave 175 for me to use. At 3 bucks per gallon for used tanks I recouped the cost plus in about 3 weeks. Now it takes longer to prep the tanks for welding than the actual welding. Sad news? You bet. They brought me a 1/2 thick Al truck frame part wanting me to tig it with the "new" welder.(135 amp max AC @ 20% duty cycle). Sometimes you can't win. I used Martha and 1/8 Al sticks.