Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder?

   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder? #1  

Sodo

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2012
Messages
3,198
Location
Cascade Mtns of WA state
Tractor
Kubota B-series & Mini Excavator
It would be great to hear from someone with actual experience using "normal generators" for welding. I am a hobby/maintenance welder, don't need pro-level eqpt, just need it to work for the occasions when I need the 1/4" & thicker settings. If I were to guess - I would need it to work for 2 hours per year for 20 years (without consuming funds that I could use for other tools & stuff! )

I tried to run the MultiMatic 200 off a 5000W (21A) generator and it could only push the 1/4" thickness preset (on 230v).
 

Attachments

  • Coleman-Powerbase-5000W-nameplate.jpg
    Coleman-Powerbase-5000W-nameplate.jpg
    70.5 KB · Views: 399
  • Miller-MultiMatic200-presets.jpg
    Miller-MultiMatic200-presets.jpg
    373.7 KB · Views: 650
Last edited:
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder?
  • Thread Starter
#2  
Ooops just called MillerWelds and asked a Tech. (tech suppt 1-866-931-9733)

For 230v welding the MultiMatic200 can operate at full power from any generator that is rated 7200W or higher (continuous).
For 115v welding at full power (1/4" preset) requires a generator rated at 4900W continuous per 115v outlet. Take note that 5,000w generators can generally only output only 2500w into each of two 115v outlets.

The tech said any generator of reasonable quality should work fine.

The MultiMatic 200 does not care much about the quality of the input power. It converts everything it gets to DC, then inverts it to the power configuration that it wants (to weld with). I did not ask about other welders (such as the 211).
 
Last edited:
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder? #3  
Ooops just called MillerWelds and asked a Tech. (tech suppt 1-866-931-9733)

The MultiMatic 200 does not care much about the quality of the input power. It converts everything it gets to DC, then inverts it to the power configuration that it wants (to weld with). I did not ask about other welders (such as the 211).
Hey, why not! :laughing: This is exactly what I want to know with my 211 and my Honda 3000w generator. I am assuming I need to piggy back it with another one but that might still leave me too short on 230v but okay on 115v.
 
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder?
  • Thread Starter
#4  
Hey, why not! :laughing: This is exactly what I want to know with my 211 and my Honda 3000w generator. I am assuming I need to piggy back it with another one but that might still leave me too short on 230v but okay on 115v.

Sorry I would have asked about the 211 but it was already getting complicated. I assume you have a EU3000i? I'm pretty sure that only the inverter generators can be "paired".

I suspect the 211 will work OK on 115 up to 1/4" if two 3000i are "paired". Note that for the 1/4" thickness preset it makes no difference if it's getting 115v supply or 230v.

On 230v (with paired 3000s) maybe you can use the 5/16" preset? :confused3: But probably not the 3/8" preset which requires 7200W.
 
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder? #5  
It would be great to hear from someone with actual experience using "normal generators" for welding. I am a hobby/maintenance welder, don't need pro-level eqpt, just need it to work for the occasions when I need the 1/4" & thicker settings. If I were to guess - I would need it to work for 2 hours per year for 20 years (without consuming funds that I could use for other tools & stuff! )

I tried to run the MultiMatic 200 off a 5000W (21A) generator and it could only push the 1/4" thickness preset (on 230v).

I've welded with several welders on generators, and have had good success with my harbor freight predator generator. I used my TA 181i in both stick and mig mode, and my observation is that you get a lot more bang for your buck from stick on a smaller generator since you run amperage based on welding rod diameter instead of material thickness (to an extent). I think my generator is 5500W continuous, but the mig was pushing it on 1/4" plate and would trip the welder's breaker after a few seconds of welding. I could run stick beads with 1/8" 7018 all day though.

I've also got a dual voltage Everlast PA200ST, and have run it off of a Yamaha inverter generator, 110V and 2800 watts with great results. I could run 3/32" rod all day with good results. My friend, who is a much better welder than I am, had great things to say about my little PA200 on his generator, and he has a Miller Dynasty 200 as his primary machine.

So, my recommendation, if you want to save money, and you don't use your generator to "generate" revenue, is get the bigger Harbor Freight Predator 7000W continuous, and you should be able to mig at the top end of your millermatic's capacity. Just make sure to do the proper generator maintenance, especially when it comes to keeping your fuel clean and fresh, and that generator should last you a long time. It gets good reviews and is probably built in the same factory as most of the other chicom generators that list for double the price.
 
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder? #6  
You did what I did: Just called the factory and asked for tech support.

Except in my case I already had the generator (Northern Tools Northstar 5500 watt genset). I called the Lincoln factory, talked to a tech and he said that it would power my planned Lincoln SP-175 Plus just fine.

Thus far, since Feb. 1999, I've used the generator one time to power the welder and that was at a friends house welding on his 4runner rock crawler. The generator/welder combination did fine, as did the 80' cord I had left over from my pool install, having the generator run about 50' away so it wasn't so loud where we were working and the welder did just fine. Not sure how the weldor did, but that's another story and thread.....

Thanks,
 
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder?
  • Thread Starter
#7  
I've been welding at 120v with a pair of Honda EU2000i generators. Paired, they can output 4000w for ~ 30 minutes.

Heres an observation. In the springtime when it was cool out, the pair of Hondas could run the welder at the 1/4" thickness preset. When it was hot (last week) they struggled to weld at the 3/16" preset. Or maybe it's the MultiMatic200 sensitive to heat, or a combination of all machines. Or maybe I've overstressed the Hondas, I don't know.

But in any case I'm on the lookout for an 8,000W generator. Maybe the 8,000W will have remote start Keyfob and I can put it behind the barn. I will add a muffler to it, not going to listen to that racket all day.
 
Last edited:
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder? #8  
Sodo, mine's from Costco, not name brand but has a Honda engine and electric (not remote) start, but only 7000 RUNNING watts, which is the ONLY spec that means squat - I've not tried it running any of my welders yet - no way it'd do the old transformer 250A stick machine, it would probably run the 252 for 1/4" or so. I know it'd run the little Everlast stick/tig machine that's been sitting in my garage for almost a year un-used (can't get the metal shiny enough for it) :D:D:D:D

It would also run my PM45, at least up to 1/2" plate - possibly 3/4.

No point so far, but a lot of small engines I've worked on over the years the exhaust port was actually pipe thread, usually 3/4 pipe. If your new genny has that, it'd sure make it easy to grab some black iron fittings and bell it up to a small car muffler - no increased back pressure and pretty quiet too... Steve
 
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder? #9  
A Multirmatic DOES care what kind of power is put in it. A lot of generators put out a modified square wave. These have a tendency to burn up electronics real fast. They need a clean sine wave in order to dice it up into a DC wave. I am not sure what PFC level it has, but unless it has 99% then it can create issues too.

A good recommended generator on the basis of several customers owning one, and an AFFORDABLE and generally reliable option for a clean power unit is the powerhorse generator from Northern found here: Powerhorse Portable Generator with Electric Start — 9000 Surge Watts, 7250 Rated Watts | Portable Generators| Northern Tool + Equipment
 
   / Help choosing 240v generator for MIG welder?
  • Thread Starter
#10  
A Multirmatic DOES care what kind of power is put in it. A lot of generators put out a modified square wave. These have a tendency to burn up electronics real fast. They need a clean sine wave in order to dice it up into a DC wave. I am not sure what PFC level it has, but unless it has 99% then it can create issues too.

A good recommended generator on the basis of several customers owning one, and an AFFORDABLE and generally reliable option for a clean power unit is the powerhorse generator from Northern found here: Powerhorse Portable Generator with Electric Start 9000 Surge Watts, 7250 Rated Watts | Portable Generators| Northern Tool + Equipment

This is interesting. What type of generator has to modify a square wave? Do they get that square wave out of an engine-generator with a rotor / stator? Are these square wave types out there (in numbers) such that you have to pay attention (to avoid one)?

Bukit the Miller Tech said a generator with 7,000 running watts would work (for the MultiMatic 200 to weld at full power ----> 3/8" steel) but "the output they like to see is 7200W". So I bet your 252 would weld closer to 3/8" if you ever lug that stuff away from your 230 outlet (that I envy - even more than your polished steel supply :licking:).

That 7250W Northern Tool unit looks pretty good $799 + $161 shipping = $960. Thanks very much for the Northern tool suggestion.

Any tips on remote start/shutdown generators? A lot of my welding time is sitting and thinking, want to shut the dang thing off (& restart) easily. Heres their (7500W running) wireless remote start for $151 more ( $949 +193 = $1142).
Category 5 Electric Start Generator — 9375 Watts, Wireless Remote Control, EPA and CARB-Compliant, Model# 41535 | Portable Generators| Northern Tool + Equipment
 
Last edited:
 
Top