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Old 08-24-2008, 11:31 AM
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monckywrench monckywrench is offline
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Default Welders to Avoid - ESAB MigMaster 203

Just got an ESAB MigMaster 203 (online vendor will remain nameless until outcome of customer service) and it has some design flaws like not-very-tight slip on internal electrical connectors and HORRID PC board workmanship/QC.

It arrived with zero visible damage, but wire feed motor only worked intermittently after wiggling connectors feeding the control board. One connector base wasn't even soldered flush with the board, and stands off at about a 1/8" angle.

Bottom line is the connectors suck so even if they cared about proper PC board assembly it wouldn't matter. It appears to have been made in Sweden, so much for European design/workmanship.

The hardware, gun, etc looked well built, but that means squat due to other deficiencies. Our MultiMaster 260s at work are pretty good machines, but this thing (although listed as an "industrial" welder) is awful.

I bought it based on good reports from a weldor who owned one a couple of years older, but after experiencing one in person, my opinion is they are a hobby welder at best, and I wouldn't buy one for that either.

MigMaster 203, not better than nothing, because "nothing" doesn't cost over a grand and waste your time.

The 173 and 253 share cases at least, (I haven't seen them naked), so I wouldn't touch them either on the assumtion they share the same general design.

I had not been able to find any bad reviews on the internet to warn me off this crap, but I'll enthusiastically fix that problem for the next potential victim.

Last edited by monckywrench; 08-24-2008 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:42 AM
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LW Hiway LW Hiway is offline
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my opinion is they are a hobby welder at best
Wow. It's a shame to spend that much money on something and find it's suspect right out of the box.

And, FWIW, I expect a lot more in quality from a hobby standpoint than what you have described.

Hopefully customer service will allow a return of the unit.

Keep us updated and post what ever responses you receive. Make it public, just in case they tend to be sluggish or balk at making 'right' of your situation.

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Old 08-24-2008, 09:34 PM
Don_S Don_S is offline
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Location: Tenville, IA
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The only thing I have heard on the Migmaster xx3 welders was positive but that was from one of the guys in the office that had gone to a demo at the local community college. He had commented that it had a real nice arc.

I have a migmaster 250 but it's an old green Ltec one. I am happy with it. It is probably due a liner as every once in a while you need to unwind / straighten out the gun to get it feeding well again. It has a 15' gun on a 2 roll feeder so it is to be expected.

I hope you ended up with a fluke and everything gets straightened out.

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Old 08-29-2008, 07:23 PM
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monckywrench monckywrench is offline
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Default Update

Problem resolved:

Indiana Oxygen rep Bill Keesling contacted ESAB customer service (Stan Smith at Florence) we arranged an exchange for a MM-250 (not a 253, note the difference) which works very well. NICE arc and behaves as it should. Same gun as MM-260s which survive abuse where I work.

Final score:
MM-203 -
MM-250 - so far.

IOC and ESAB customer service - Fast and no quibbling at all with smooth cooperation between the two. Those who treat the little guy right deserve notice.
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:02 PM
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DDA52 DDA52 is offline
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That MM250 is posed to be a sprayin beastie.

Grand High Poobah...(by appointment.)
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