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 Post subject: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:46 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Eureka, California
Hello,

I've been flirting with the Millermatic 211 for about a month now - it seems to be well regarded by amateurs and professional welders. I took a drive to our local welding supplier today to discuss several topics with the experts (one of the very knowledgeable guys at Eureka Oxygen is also a welding instructor at College of the Redwoods). One of the main topics was whether the local supplier would match internet pricing - happily, they will.

But during the conversation, I was asked if it was absolutely necessary to have the 110 volt and 220 volt capability of the Millermatic. Well, it's a convenience but definitely not a necessity. I was also asked if a lighter weight model than the 80 pound Millermatic would be interesting. Naturally, provided that there is no loss of duty cycle. So I was introduced to the ESAB Caddy Mig design - a transformerless MIG welder that uses a switching power supply. These TINY machines are rated at 200 amps with a duty cycle better than the Millermatic and weigh 26 POUNDS !!!

That's almost too good to be true - to me. The bad news is that they won't be available (in Eureka) until next month. It seems to me that ESAB has skipped over a complete generation of technology - which is scary - BUT they have a 2 year on-site warranty which mitigates the scariness a LOT.

Does anyone have any experience with these welders, specifically the lightweight, transformerless models?

Many thanks,
Randy C


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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 7:14 pm
Posts: 242
Location: Poway, CA
They are good machines as far as I’ve experienced. I got to use one last month, it welded nice but, the reality is I could buy the bigger and heavier Miller with a savings. Since the welder spends all its time in the cart rolling around the shop I could not see what really advantage of new technologies that I would not use for money I really need. Keep in mind it was only $64.00 savings but to me it was not worth it.
With that said ESAB produces great product and I really don’t know why the unit would not work but I just don’t like to be a guinea pig.

Charles

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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:46 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Eureka, California
calgator wrote:
...With that said ESAB produces great product and I really don’t know why the unit would not work but I just don’t like to be a guinea pig...


Charles: I hear you loud and clear - that's also my concern ! Would like to hear Miller fans comment on these little ESAB units. Hopefully the local supplier can organize a demo when the ESAB units become available. That would be helpful.

Thanks,
Randy C


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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:46 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Eureka, California
Howdy,

While waiting for more information about the ESAB Caddy Mig 200, I was able to download a schematic of the machine - well, more like a block diagram, since the control circuitry was not depicted. The operating principal is fairly clever and explains why the machine can produce 180 amps (low duty cycle) and only weigh 26 pounds. Here's how it works:

The 220 VAC primary power is rectified and then switched at a high-frequency rate (presumably harmonically related to the 50 or 60 Hz line frequency). Because inductance of a given transformer configuration is directly related to frequency, the higher frequency of operation enables the use of a MUCH smaller transformer - probably with a ferrite core rather than silicon steel. After the switched, pulsed signal is passed through the transformer, the remainder of the power supply is similar to a standard circuit: a rectifier and filter capacitor/inductor "smooths" the voltage ripple and the voltage is applied to the wire gun.

Although the sensing and control circuits weren't shown, I expect that the voltage regulation/current control is provided by pulse width modulation (PWM), which is a common means of controlling high voltage/high current power supplies.

At any rate, the above is provided as a matter of interest to those who enjoy such topics. Although the concept is quite suitable for the application, I've decided to stick with my original decision (Millermatic 211). The decision is based on the fact that the Miller is tried and proven technology and also that it is a U.S. made product (ESAB is a Swedish company and many of their products are made in Italy on a lower-quality production line). I have no idea if the Caddy Mig 200 is made on that line, however.

I feel more comfortable with the domestic product for which spare parts are available locally.

Cheers,
Randy C


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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:04 pm
Posts: 3776
Location: mid atlantic
Hi Randy!. You may have seen my prattering on about my Kemppi. It is an earlier inverter type made in Sweden. No digital displays, just dial knobs and switches.. Apparently these were very popular in Europe and U.S. Mine was probably from early 1990 or before. Perhaps they overbuilt the unit then for it was fairly new. In the '90's a Ca. company, Powcal or Powcom (shoulda checked again) were selling these in the newer generation with bells and whistles and available accessories. I recall seeing the newer gen of Millers and Lincolns available at welding shops in this new ~Wave~. The theory and design is tried and true. The PWM is more in the power ...well can't say that because it is feedback and depends upon the quality of the components. Nobody is a "g- pig" unless components and boards aren't made like before.
Speaking of "pig". Apologies to all actual welders who have long cancelled this out; There is a certain Sizzle working with these which the large cooling fan can't mask. A person can actually hear this thing searching for the attack and then auto-correct.


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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:46 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Eureka, California
Spro, that would be kind of cool: listening to the auto function "tune in" the welding configuration, LOL. I didn't know that the high-frequency power supplies were that common for MIG machines back in the nineties. Kind of odd, too, since TIG technology embraced the concept as far back as the sixties.

I believe that MIG brazing was also pioneered in Europe (Sweden or maybe Italy?) for auto body work. That's something I've been interested in for a while. Oddly, the guy at the local welding supplier had never heard of it when I brought up the subject a couple of days ago (he mentioned that he was a welding instructor at the local community college). But when he showed me the ESAB "Caddy MIG" literature, there it was in black and white: "suitable for MIG brazing".

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience, always appreciate reading your thoughts !

Randy C


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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:46 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Eureka, California
A prelude to a forthcoming review.

I collected my Millermatic 211 today plus peripheral stuff. The salesman at "Eureka Oxygen" unpacked everything saving me from having to dispose of all the packing materials. He loaded welder, small 84 CF cylinder, a bag of extras I'd ordered (with a new helmet - didn't care for the last auto-darkening helmet that I bought). If that sounds like normal service, consider that it took some extra bending and acrobatic ability to get the stuff into my wife's Honda Civic (the trunk was full of her stuff). I'd thought that the whole package would be dropped-off by their gas-delivery truck but he said "no problem".

It's temporarily installed and I fired up for a few seconds just to make sure everything works. (I need to run a 220V outlet - the welder will operate off both 110 and 220 single-phase so I just tried it out on 110). Made a three inch pass on a scrap piece of 3/4 electrical conduit with no burn-through, using the "Autoset" feature. Looking forward to trying it out soon when the machine is properly situated.

Cheers,
Randy C


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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:58 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:49 am
Posts: 1235
Location: Portland,OR
I rolled the dice...

This is a powerful unit. Super nice arc, and easy to setup. It will even spray-arc. (Not that it's designed to) Way more powerful then a Hobard 210 or Miller Passport. Runs Co2 gas as nice as the passport, with a bit of fiddling with it. C-25 it weld way nicer then any Passport I have used..
I will say the Drive motor is a lot stronger on it then the the HH-210 of Passport. Would not take much for that. The only thing I have not found out is how it will run on my Thermal-arc scout welding generator.(PFC should help with that) Undersized but that machine impresses me on both welding, and the generator side. Got a plug coming to make it a direct hook up. The Esab is truly a 26 pound unit. 36 with a ten pound roll of wire. The power of this thing is great! The gun angle is not as bad as I thought it would be, and the plastic housing for the wire drive is a non-issue. Feeds well if you setup like the manual say too. It has a no drag adjust spool setup,and it seems to work fine.

Qset is easy to use, and handy because it's saves your settings when you switch out of it. Then just like any other mig to use, although there is inductance, and a slope setting for further adjustments. $850.00 shipping on-line was a really good price.

http://www.weldersupply.com/productdeta ... 74&pID=458

I was thinking of getting a Thermal-arc 181i, but I already have a 161s stick machine that's 120/240 volts. Also enough multi-process stuff that is close to the same weight, but over double the power. Mig only is cool with me.. both machines are way easier to carry being separate units..

I tried CO2 /C-25 /C-10 / and 98% argon-2% O2 Sprayed .030 with the last two gases. It ran out of steam on the C-10 around 433 ipm, but would handle max wfs with the O2 mix (473 ipm) Just kind of checking the output of this little guy. Not trying to really use it for that.



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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:49 am
Posts: 1235
Location: Portland,OR
Tried it on my 4000 watt Thermal-arc scout generator. It will run .030 wire (C-25 gas) at pretty much full tilt. Great arc starts too. That is the most impressive thing about this unit so far. I do admit the little Thermal-arc welding generator has surprised me more then once too.

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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 11:02 pm
Posts: 13157
Location: Onalaska, WA USA
Scott,
A comment----the last picture in the first post----beautiful weld! How I envy you!

Harold

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 Post subject: Re: ESAB CaddyMig 200
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:49 am
Posts: 1235
Location: Portland,OR
Harold_V wrote:
Scott,
A comment----the last picture in the first post----beautiful weld! How I envy you!

Harold



Harold,
That was a spray-arc weld, and generally they come out pretty smooth. The machine was not designed for spray-arc welding, but has the power to do so. Meaning the gun will melt, and will really push the machine to it's limits. It will give a nice strong weld on thickness not generally capable with a single pass short-arc weld. It's a very fluid puddle running 98% argon/2% O2, so out of position welding is not too ideal. Most portable 230 volt units take quite a bit of generator to make then function like they are plugged into the wall. This one has no issues at all. Basically it does exactly what it was advertised to do, but even better.


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