I got this question a while back and it got me thinking.
"I own a welding business where I take my rig and travel all over the country welding pipe and structural steel.
I do very well both financially and get that warm fuzzy feeling from doing good work that I am proud of. I get good compliments everywhere I work.
Here’s my question…. I use miller 302 Trailblazers on my truck and I have 2 of them. They seem pretty awesome to me and I have awesome control welding pipe in all positions with 6010's and 7018's. 6 G's are a walk in the park with these little machines.
I also have a 1967 Lincoln Sa-200 and a SA 300.
Neither is as smooth as my trailblazer.
And the Trailblazer is one fourth of the price and half the weight. Why do so many pipe welders like the SA-200 series welding machines? I have never had a leak in any of my pipes welded with the trailblazer. And I have 2000 hours on both of my machines.
That is a lot of joints.
If there was something lacking with the Trailblazer, I think I would have found it by now. All my pipe welding friends tell me I need to update to a Lincoln 200D. I just can't figure out what it would have to offer me other than a bigger fuel tank for another 600# of payload. What’s up with everybody telling me I need something better than something that is already working good?"
Here was my take on it...
Lots of old folks swear by what is called a redface machine. Its the old Lincoln sa200 with a red faceplate. Supposedly it has tons more copper windings and such in it and is supposed to weld the same after several hours as it does when if first lights up. I guess for pipeliners welding 48 inch pipe one weld after another, there may be some kind of perceptable benefit. Personally, I think its a Ford vs Chevy kind of thing.
I think if you are satisfied with the performance of your trailblazers, that is proof enough that they are strong performers. I doubt you would notice any benefit by doing any so called "upgrading".
....a quick breakdown of the models
Trailblazer® 275 DC
* DC Stick: 30 - 275 A
* DC TIG: 20 - 275 A
* MIG/FCAW: 13 -33 V, 275 A
---no AC tigging aluminum but you have lift arc for DC tig, spool gun aluminum, mig, tig, or stick weld steel.
* DC Stick/TIG: 10 - 300 A
* AC TIG/Stick: 30 - 225 A
* MIG/FCAW: 13 - 35 V, 325 A
Trailblazer® 302 Air Pak™ ---on board air compressor...sweet!!