Advice on Lincoln Idealarc SP-250 -
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-28-2013, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Advice on Lincoln Idealarc SP-250

I'm in the market for a 220 Mig welder, I've been watching craigslist to try to find something used and this popped up:

Like the thread title says, its a Lincoln Idealarc SP-250. Seller is asking 550. Is this a good/fair price given its condition? Is this something I should stay away from because they are known to blow up?

Thanks in advance!

BTW, I will definitely plan on running a few beads with it before purchasing to make sure everything works, anything else that I should check?

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post #2 of 5 Old 02-28-2013, 09:58 AM
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I personally would jump all over that. While MIG welders have a lot of components, they're not all that complicated and with their large dealer network, getting it tuned up won't be a problem. I don't know the particular history of that machine though. Although they still make a version of it.

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post #3 of 5 Old 02-28-2013, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks sailsurf, thats kind of what I was thinking as well.

I found a few references to this machine on other forums in similar "should I buy" threads and the biggest thing was making sure the control panel works. Apparently its quite expensive to replace. Also saw someone talking about the capacitor bank:

That was just last year and he said 1000 was a little high... so I'm thinking at 550 as long as it runs a good bead and the control panel works I should be good, at least for a while. I should also be looking at the capacitor bank apparently...

Anyone else have experience with this machine?
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-01-2013, 12:16 AM
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I'll be honest with you, this would be difficult deciding either way. On one hand, its hard to turn down a Lincoln 250a class MIG for $550, especially considering a comparable MIG new is $2k. I searched and searched for a decent deal on a Lincoln Power MIG 255, and took me the better part of a year or so before I finally found a niced used model for $1k. Most were going for $1200-1500, so I jumped on mine. On the other hand, these touch panel Lincolns make me a little nervous, and as you have found out, they are not cheap to replace. Plus, as you have also learned, the cap banks can be an issue. It comes with a new liner, so you may have to replace the old one before you can even try a weld. Add to the fact that it looks like you are also going to have to provide your own bottle of shield gas and regulator, as none is pictured.

Looking at the pics, its clear the machine was used quite a bit. One thing that would concern me, it doesn't have any wire and has been in storage. The first question I'd ask, is the guy the original owner or did he somehow acquire the machine? Next, I would want to know if he had any wire available, and if you would be able to fully test the machine. Does he have 220v available to test the machine? Of course, if he doesn't have any wire, that means you'll need to bring your own. If he doesn't have a way for you to test the machine, I would walk away.

As far as testing it, I would want to make sure every button on the panel worked without hitch. I would want to burn a good deal of wire through the machine, on various volt and wire speed settings, to make sure the arc is smooth and there is no hesitation. Make sure the wire feed consistent on all WS settings, with no hesitation there as well. Does it have the necessary rollers? Does the cooling fan function correctly?

There's a lot to check on these machines, and it means more than just running a quick bead. It would probably take me 30+ minutes to check out the machine before I dropped a dime on it, as there is a lot to go through. If the guy seems hesitant about any of it, walk away. Good luck!
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-03-2013, 09:30 AM
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I had one of those machines, and ended up giving it to a friend of mine. He still has it. Providing that it works properly, it's worth $550.00 all day long. Many of the push buttons are for setting amp/volts, and storing them into memory.

I had stored settings for 16 ga., 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" thick material. It's a nice feature. If I was going to weld 1/8" thick material, I just pushed button #2...

The reason that I gave it away was that it "messed up" on me more that I liked. I'm a self employed metal fabricator, and I was sick of having to stop and fix a "bird nest" in the rollers, or some other issue. I replaced it with an ESAB MigMaster 250.

So....all in all, for the guy who doesn't have to earn a living with it, it's a great machine.


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