Second-hand Miller Dynasty evaluation before purchase?

Xyphota

Ultra Member
A used Miller Dynasty just came up for sale and I am going to go take a look at it. Other than putting a weld down on some steel and aluminum coupons, is there anything else I should be wary of before committing to the purchase? I've heard these machines can be quite expensive to repair.

I've almost no aluminum welding experience so I'm not sure how obvious it will be to me if something is wrong when the machine is welding in AC mode LOL.
 

Xyphota

Ultra Member
Update: I've discovered that the dynasty's have a built in machine run time counter, and an arc-start counter, so I will definitely check those numbers before purchasing.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
Gl on your purchase, those Dynasty's are the cream of the crop for Ac Tig machines, nice unit to start out on !
 

Xyphota

Ultra Member
Thanks! I’ve a reasonable amount of experience tig welding steel for a hobbyist, so this will be machine #2 for me
 

Xyphota

Ultra Member
@phaxtris Do you have lots of experience with newer and older miller machines? I'm doing a bit more research and it looks like the Dynasty 200's fall into pre-2009 and post-2009 with the addition of the 'Blue Lightning' start and I think some additional waveform adjustments. I'm waiting to hear back on the machine serial number to see which category the machine falls into, but assuming it is pre-2009 and does not have the blue lightning, do you know how much of a performance difference there is?
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
I have never used anything newer than a 200, even the 350 I have used was definitely pre 2009....as it was not even 2009 then.

They are excellent stick and tig machines, if the price is right I wouldn't worry about it being pre 2009

I looked up the "blue lightning" as I hadn't heard of it, sounds like just a slight improvement on arc starting around the 1a mark...I've used they pre 2009's in around the 7a range, the start was sometimes a little hot, but its doubtful you will ever use it that low anyhow

So again if the price is right...and they don't loose value, dynasty 200's were around 5500 new....they seem to still sell for around 4500 so a pretty good investment

 

Xyphota

Ultra Member
Thanks for your input. Yeah I agree the price on all the miller welders is absurd, but fortunately the welder this is replacing is a miller diversion 165 so hopefully I'll be able to recoup some of the cost LOL
 

Xyphota

Ultra Member
Well maybe this thread should be moved into the Followed me Home section, as I pulled the trigger! The unit is from 2005 so no Blue Lightning for me, but the welder only had 165 hours on it. I ended up paying $3500 for it which was a bit more than I was hoping for, but that's how it goes sometimes I guess haha.
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I had a similar 'blue box' TIG deal come my way a while back & I passed. I cant recall the model number, may have been a 210 or 250 or even a predecessor. The guy said it was 5K new & had never been turned on, wanted 2-3K if I recall. I just didnt have a burning need but I did research it bit. When I called one of the local welding shops Miller dealer, he said he can still get parts but the older models are actually getting more expensive & more lead time depending on the vintage.

So I'll ask this of you experienced welders, is there even any good reason to consider these big name units when you can get a brand new Prime or Everlast or other decent offshore unit available for about the same money or less brand new & a warranty? Seems like they have more functions, knobs & dials & even the packaged torch/pedal seems pretty decent. Not that knobs & dials are what a hobbyist needs, in fact the opposite may be true at least initially. But are the big names falling behind when it comes to these features or exactly what justifies the 2-3X price premium? When I took a evening TIG class at SAIT a few years back it was all Miller, but the instructor even said 'that's what we buy here but I wouldn't be opposed to getting a reputable offshore model for home use'.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
Here are my thoughts on the subject of offshore - name brand

In my experience the name brand stuff has little refinements that are some times lacking in the off shore, stuff like fan on demand, aux power for a cooler/wire feeder

They are often multi voltage/multi phase, as in 200v-480v, 1 or 3 phase, not just 110/240 1 phase

The boards are often much better sealed, often entirely encapsulated in epoxy

They are more reliable due to higher end components/board sealing/etc

Arc starting with stick and tig is normally a little crisper on a name brand unit

There is nothing wrong with the off shore stuff, but it isn't built to the same standard, would I bring an off shore unit to a 24hr shut down...hell no...even the slim chance of a break down on a time sensitive job isn't worth it. But at home, sure, even for a job where it's not a big deal if your down for a day while your source a replacement, sure, I know a few guys with off shore units at home (experienced shop welders), and they all say whattever off shore unit they have works fine, and they would buy again

Next time I have a big inside handrail job I fully intend to buy a chineese mig, why not, if it breaks I have other options, not that I think it will, and if it gets stolen I'm not out that much $$ (my brand name handrail machine was stolen a while back)

I do think new name brand stuff has gotten way over priced as of late, I bought my first welder 20 years ago, and have bought many over the years so I have a good idea of the prices, and they have absolutely sky rocketed in the last few years....who knows why...greed probabaly
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Thanks, that's about what I figured. The features are probably there, but not to the extent this weekend warrior is likely to utilize for the price hop. I have heard units vary by fan noise, duty on/off vs modulated? so those might be other factors further separating the hobby machines. Good point about component quality choice & boards.
 

Dabbler

(John)
So I'll ask this of you experienced welders, is there even any good reason to consider these big name units when you can get a brand new Prime or Everlast or other decent offshore unit available for about the same money or less brand new & a warranty?
I bought my blue box MIG, used for far less than any new offshore welder with similar amperage. Works. very well. BUT John N has bought a red box MIG that performs almost as well, used, for 1/4 what I paid for mine. Great used deals are out there, certainly for MIG.

Used TIG has deals, but not nearly as deeply discounted on the used market. Besides the new TIG welders have very desirable features that the old school TIG welders lack.

So for TIG, go new, and get the perfect fit.

For MIG, the best value is to look for used deals. My MIG is from the late 80s, and simply welds. I don't worry about parts for it, as there is only one electronics board to drive the wire feed, and replacement boards are readily available.
 

trevj

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I had a similar 'blue box' TIG deal come my way a while back & I passed. I cant recall the model number, may have been a 210 or 250 or even a predecessor. The guy said it was 5K new & had never been turned on, wanted 2-3K if I recall. I just didnt have a burning need but I did research it bit. When I called one of the local welding shops Miller dealer, he said he can still get parts but the older models are actually getting more expensive & more lead time depending on the vintage.

So I'll ask this of you experienced welders, is there even any good reason to consider these big name units when you can get a brand new Prime or Everlast or other decent offshore unit available for about the same money or less brand new & a warranty? Seems like they have more functions, knobs & dials & even the packaged torch/pedal seems pretty decent. Not that knobs & dials are what a hobbyist needs, in fact the opposite may be true at least initially. But are the big names falling behind when it comes to these features or exactly what justifies the 2-3X price premium? When I took a evening TIG class at SAIT a few years back it was all Miller, but the instructor even said 'that's what we buy here but I wouldn't be opposed to getting a reputable offshore model for home use'.
I'll start with saying that I <cough> may be related to the guy that helped invent wire, when someone dropped a penny between him and another equally cheap soul!

I have taken some calculated risks, and equipped myself with some pretty nice Brand name welding machines, for usually, a bit less than buying the home grade stuff.

I bought a Miller 250HF AC/DC TIG/Stick machine for considerably less than $1K, around $600, IIRC, though, by the time I put a water cooled Torch and cooler on it (also bought pretty cheap), I figure I have a G-note and maybe another hundred into it. Too big to pick up and run with, so odds are good, that it won't grow legs...
I bid on an Acklands branded diesel powered welder on Crown Assets. Acklands Welders are mostly Miller, with Orange paint, instead of Blue. This was a Miller Bobcat 225D, AC/DC power source and genset. Got it for just over $650. Had 12 original hours on it! Had a TIG HF Box, and a regulator for Argon too, as well as a set of decent cables. Was advertised as being sold "For Parts Only!" When I asked why, the guy said they advertised stuff that way, so people could not complain....
Anyways, that one took me a few hours of troubleshooting and research, to sort out. Had power to the 110v and 220v plugs, but no spark at the stinger. The grease on the main power switches on the front panel, had solidified and rolled into relatively solid balls, which held the contacts apart, so, no power reached the stinger. Some solvent, some new Dilectric grease, and I have a near brand new and very capable welding machine!
To round out the collection, I have a Lincoln LN-25 suitcase wire feeder that can run off either power source, and a little Lincoln MIG welder that runs on 110V, that was cheap, is ugly, but came with a regulator as well. I replaced all the drive bearings and the liner, and it has been a really handy tool too.

So, from my perspective, much like buying lathes or milling machines, I can get a decent used machine, that was built UP to a Standard, rather than DOWN to a Price Point, for the same money or less, I'll take the Brand Name any time!

Warranty does not carry a lot of weight with me, as rather than hearing how good the Warranty service is, I would much rather hear that they just don't know, as they have never needed it, from other users. Price-wise, the cost new, for those accepted as 'better' quality welders, is pretty much reaching the prices where I can expect to run across the occasional deal on a similarly equipped used Brand Name machine.

That's MY line of thought, anyways. Most of my shop equipment has been bought at 'bottom feeder' pricing levels, though I did treat myself to a new Miller Plasma cutter and a new Air Compressor, a few years back.

As always, YMMV! :)
 
Top