Set up MP350

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alanf
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Set up MP350

#1

Post by alanf » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:46 pm

I have just managed to wrangle a Lincoln MP350 with spool gun for the high school metal shop I teach in. I didn't get any set up advice from the supplier we got it from, and I am having some issues getting it to make some decent welds. The machine is brand new and I know it is a really good machine, but definitely don't have it set up correctly. If anyone is familiar with this machine w/spool gun, could you shoot me some set up parameters to get me started? I have it set up right now with .035 4043 wire. I have set up a meeting with a local boat builder who has one of these machines and loves it, but he uses the push/pull gun and I don't believe the set up will be the same as spool gun.
Thanks,
Alan

kmorin
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Re: Set up MP350

#2

Post by kmorin » Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:35 pm

Alan, the power supply has a series of weld modes, try 40 or Power Mode because that is not complex and pulsed or pulse-with-pulse and therefore reduces some of the many, many, (did I mention there are lots of variables?) many different potentially conflicting modes and arc control settings of the power supply.

Also download the online Owners Manual and read the (MUCH TOO) brief paragraphs on the modes and arc controls. Mode 40 will work for almost all alloys and wire sizes- just to get started. I know there are dedicated 4043 alloy 0.035" dia. wire modes but... They may not be as simple as Power Mode just to get a single stringer to run?

Get rid of the 4043 as soon as possible, this wire is very brittle and no boat builder uses it, it does not do well with 50 or 60 series in comparison to 5356 which is much more difficult to weld but you may as well get used to working with the real thing. Allowing young welders to get used to silicone laden wire is a teaching disservice, make them use manganese alloy wire so they're getting ready for real welding. If you have to stay with 40 series wire then please get 4943 as its much stronger and will probably replace 4043 eventually.

The tip is a very big deal, get in contact (no pun intended) with MK Products to see if one of their ceramic pellet, contact tips will fit your spool gun? IF not, make sure the wire and amperage sizes are clearly understood where a larger bore is used for the upper 1/2 of the wire's range in voltage/wattage and a smaller bore is used for the lower ranges. This power supply can give arc control fits with tip bore issues.

Make sure the switch from push pull to 1lb gun switch is set correctly in the cabinet near the lower amphenol connector? Clamp the ground using a Visegrip or a C-clamp as this digitally controlled power supply cannot 'tell' the poor ground connection (resistance change/shift) from the steel type, bronze, spring clamp used commonly- from an open circuit feature like the tip to work distance changing and will surge or reduce welding power based on what seems like erroneous 'information' from a poorly clamped circuit. This is not rare in inverter welds but was not as accentuated in transformer power supplies.

I would avoid the Arc Control panel of settings until you had one mode (40) working decently. These controls generally take some experimentation to become useful there are seven or so arc features you can add to most (not all) Modes to get different welds. If you begin randomly adding and removing these variables it is completely possible to never be able to weld successfully with this power supply.

Start very simple, add to what you learn, I made lots of sheets and tables of values of arc controls in various Modes, to get a set of weld values that worked best. I started welding with this power supply with plenty of thousands of hours of Aluminum MIG and more than 30 years experience, and it was not just a snap to use. I've seen several go on sale for a fraction of their cost due purely to frustration with understanding the controls. Great power supply, not a flat learning curve.

If you post the settings, photos or list I'd try to reply, the key is your friend who knows the power supply, he will be the most help.

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK
kmorin

alanf
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Re: Set up MP350

#3

Post by alanf » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:10 am

Thanks for the reply Kevin. I have not tried the power mode yet, I was trying modes 148,149 and 98 with out too much success. Actually some nice beads at first and then it seemed to go to hell in a hand cart. Including some fairly dramatic bits where the wire would quickly punch through the 3/16 plate and burn a hole into it like no body's business. I think it actually burns thru the alum better than the old timer plasma torch we have!
I wonder about the tip size (bore), I would seem to start out a bead fine and then get significant stuttering where the arc just crapped out. Is this due to alum wire heating up and then becoming a too tight fit in the contact tip?
I can certainly change out the 4043 wire, I have 5056 and have no problem ordering it instead of 4043. When the welding supply rep was here helping me put the machine together, I grabbed a spool of 5056 to install in the spool gun, and he asked if I had some 4043 to use instead? I said sure and got a roll of 4043..... which is why I started doing testing with the 4043.
Thanks again for reply, will try mode 40 ASAP and will post back the results.
Alan

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Re: Set up MP350

#4

Post by Chaps » Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:19 am

I had similar issues when I first got my 350 MP and I agree with Kevin that the Mode 40 setting was the most forgiving for my low skill level. It should also be stated that the machine works pretty well as a dumb mig machine (computer is inactive) which might be an even better starting point as it will prove that you've got the basics dialed in without a micro-processor second guessing your efforts.
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kmorin
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Re: Set up MP350

#5

Post by kmorin » Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:30 pm

alan, I think the "4043 alloy wire game" is poor form for a rep, the stuff does run well since its high silicone content makes it flow extremely smoothly in many settings where 5356 would not run well at all. But since it is so easy, I think its inappropriate to use to learn- people think they can weld when they've not a clue how(!) and as it is not chemically compatible with 50 series alloys, I'd say it was a 'rep trick' to try to get out the door without providing 'real' help? [My disrespect for people who try to take the easy way, then leave before you have to 'make it happen' is not without past experience so its kind of an issue for me.]

Yes the wire does get warmer in the tip and expand BUT the bigger deal in my view is the arcing to the bore of the tip from the side wall of the wire as it passes through a too large bore tip. This arcing or scarring will begin to brake the wire and it can stutter, this happens with too small a bore too. If the too small bored tip is heated by the arc, seconds after starting the bead, and that contracts the bore on the wire, then the wire will begin to jam in the tip.

In both cases the reason aluminum wire can jam easier by far than steel wire is the increased flexibility of the wire. So the wire can stop for a part of a second, and will 'coil' against the inside of the plastic tip liner, then when it is sufficiently supported by the sides of the plastic tip liner it will pop loose from the tip jam and surge out the tip. If the arc has a wetted or molten area going.. the wire can push (springing out of its coiled gun liner) through this molten metal faster than the arc will melt the wire.

So, the voltage range of the wire ( upper or lower) is accepted to be important when selecting a tip bored for that range of wattage. The MK ceramic pellet contact tips have a fairly large 'over bore' but... http://mkproducts.com/Prod_Access_tips.htm there is a spring loaded piece of ceramic pushing the wire to the side of the contact tip with an even pressure insuring the wire is sliding against the contact tips' bore with neither arc scarring OR concentric bore jamming. I use these tips in the MK Python, push pull gun, so I don't know if they're available with the threads in the wire guide/gas cup end of your 1/lb. gun?

Please let us know how we can help?

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK
kmorin

alanf
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Re: Set up MP350

#6

Post by alanf » Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:50 pm

I did a bit of trial with mode 40, definitely better success. I have read through the owners manual for both the Magnum 250LX spool gun and the MP350, and would not be recommending them for any awards for clarity and user friendly text. When using the spool gun, it seems like the WFS on the machine is irrelevant due to the potentiometer on the spoolgun itself. When in weld mode 40 do I adjust the WFS at the spoolgun or on the dial on the machine? It just seems too random to me, do you leave the potentiometer on the spoolgun at full speed and than control wire feed at machine only? As far as voltage, it also seems a bit challenging as I am to adjust trim not a value for either amps or voltage. I am hoping to end up with some dialed in values that I can make a chart for student use. I am off to see my boat builder friend in the morning, but again he has the push pull gun so the information will not carry directly over to the spool gun we have.
Cheers all, it is Friday night!
Alan

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Re: Set up MP350

#7

Post by kmorin » Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:41 pm

Alan, I'd like to have you reconsider one of the earlier posts?

http://www.lincolnelectric.com/assets/s ... /IM859.pdf online copy of manual.....pag A-6 shows the Remote Control Receptacle and there is a switch I mentioned near that Anphenol connector. At the location, there is a switch for cabinet drive push pull OR.... remote 1lb. gun and you should make sure the switch is set for your 1/lb gun. That means the wire feed is at the gun's motor control not the cabinet's drive rolls which have no wire to move. This is a toggle (SPDT) switch in the wire side of the cabinet.

The control of mode 40 where you have a Trim not exact voltage adustment- is typical of the power supply, and when you increase the wire speed at the gun the power the control circuit will 'see the closing' gap at the tip and ramp up the power. I found those 'automatic controls' frustrating but that's what Lincoln thinks is the way we need to move ahead!

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
kmorin

alanf
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Re: Set up MP350

#8

Post by alanf » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:44 pm

Hi Kevin,
I have the toggle switch in the spool gun position..... at least as sure as I can be without the machine in front of me! I will double check on Monday when I get back to the shop.
Regards,
Alan

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Re: Set up MP350

#9

Post by downline » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:08 am

I originally had the Magnum spool gun for my PM 350 MP and after a few beads called the company and arranged to send it back for a credit toward the Push Pull. It was a financial stretch but well worth it. I also went to spring loaded contact tips which made another big difference when welding .035 wire especially. They are expensive but seem to last and are worth it in aiding the consistency of the arc. Good luck with the Magnum, many like them, but I was simply not willing to accept the welds I was getting. I am sure with Kevin's hours behind an arc I would have figured the Magnum out but the Push Pull is really the ticket as far as I am concerned. D

alanf
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Re: Set up MP350

#10

Post by alanf » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:38 am

I have spent a bit more time with the magnum spool gun, even had the welding rep come out and spend some time with me. It really is a pain to dial in compared to what I have seen of the push pull gun that I have seen running on the same power supply. I am going to try to see what I can do to exchange the spool gun and get a push pull. There are lots of welding torches out there, anyone have a recommendation for me on a good brand of push pull gun to go for. Keep in mind this is for student use....
Thanks,
Alan

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Re: Set up MP350

#11

Post by kmorin » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:31 pm

alanf, the MK Products Python was originally offered by Lincoln on this power supply and I have one of those combinations. That version of the Python has the motor control circuits that sync to the power supply's in regard torque and stall settings, and the wire conduit will (if in the Lincoln version) fit into drive roll hub in the 350MP cabinet and there is a multi-pin Amphenol type connector to provide wire speed and trigger/contactor conductors.

So this would be the naturally occurring easiest to attach directly in my view.

I'd contact MK Products personally, because having worked with them directly for decades I've found the support and information about the guns much higher than Lincolns. Note that LIncoln bought out the Python from MK , meaning they too thought MK was more informed than they were themselves??

If you do go with the Python, make sure you equip it with two MK parts for aluminum wire. One is the gun drive roll set for aluminum and the other is the ceramic pellet contact tip for aluminum wire. Both of these are MK parts and I could not even find a tech rep from Lincoln who knew they existed. But when I described my early Python problems to an MK telephone rep.... he knew instantly what I needed. Once I got these two items installed the gun became very reliable.

It is important to note that the PowerMIG350MP power supply is too complex for student use, in my opinion. The only way it could be used well is to have a laminated chart of settings for each wire size, and joint type. Then make sure the student goes through every single variable on that chart for each 'setting' before welding. Otherwise #1 the number of variables it too high to retain for newer welders....#2 the interaction of arc controls is not intuitively obvious so they can confuse learning...#3 The effect of settings is not always linear because SOME (not all!) are interactive with other arc controls and settings.

So adding one or two points of trim to some settings will crank the wire speed but if the student is unaware, and moves the handle wire speed pot? The trim (weld wattage) will increase too.... This is only helpful is you're fully aware of the arc control impact on the welds.

That''s my view of the push pull market to integrate with this power supply. I'd ask MK if they have a 'new Cobra' that will integrate- that is a fine gun and may be available for this power supply? I'd call and talk with MK to get a review of how they consider the 350MP after working with it for a decade or so?

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK
kmorin

alanf
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Re: Set up MP350

#12

Post by alanf » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:02 pm

Thanks for the reply Kevin. To add a bit of a twist to the story, a student went to run the machine the other day, and....... bit of red blinking and nothing. Unplug, plug in, try again, nothing. Check the receptacle, fine. The machine is getting picked up tomorrow to go for repair. The fella on the other end of the phone figures a circuit board has crapped out. I spoke to my rep about the idea of trading in the spool gun for a push pull and he wonders if the machine has been acting up all along. Any way we will see when we get it back.
Your idea about a laminated chart for settings is what I really would like to do for the students, my boat builder friend has settings he uses with his machine and it seems to be dial it in and pull the trigger. I know this may be shortchanging the learning process, but I don't run a welding class, it is general metal work. Funding is certainly an issue too, I don't have the $ to buy a bunch of material for kids to practice on for hours on end mucking about, I am interested in getting them some success and build some interest in using their hands. If they are really interested in welding, they can head to the local college and take the level 1 welding course, lots of seat time and funding to be had in post secondary.
Regards,
Alan

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Learning sequence?

#13

Post by kmorin » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:55 pm

Alan, I've taught for years, that is; I've been a boat builder and contractor in several markets so I've naturally had to teach not that I'm involved in some formalize program with 'students'. All contractors end up teaching otherwise they can't get their new hires up to speed?

So my remarks need that context, I've always taught to make profit; pure and simple. Early on (aged 19 when I started) I found out that I had to present info at a slow enough pace, in mentally digestible stages, small bites, 'easy little steps for muddy little feet' OTHERWISE... the volume and speed of the information overwhelmed 95% of my 'learners'. But once I did that lots of the guys would zoom past me and take off on their own.... but they needed to start slowly and in 'order'.

So I'll say that a laminated chart is absolutely imperative for people who can't even weld! I would assert that the MP350 and related welding processes is a full class all its own- just arc control variables and associated beads would take years for the novice to begin to grasp. So if your people are just getting an intro to metal work as a general topic- you may want to make the adjustments for them and then put a locking pan over the controls?

I would at that level of learning. All they can do is slow their achievement if they don't have the fundamentals to grasp even the rudimentary concepts of those arc controls. Alan, let's be frank, I know multi-thousand-hour welders, who have made a living for decades in the trade and can pipe weld to Nukie standards.... that don't understand those controls :deadhorse:

There is no possible way for a student who is being introduced to the concept of metal work as a whole- can even being to comprehend what those settings mean!

If you can't trade that power supply for a simpler one (?) then create a settings table for every single exercise and lock a pan over the controls with some plastic to allow them to see the displays.

Learning that is not sequential is often slower by exponential powers than the step wise introduction of concepts building sequentially on those basics. If I allowed an employee to touch my MP350, it would be to roll it to a location for me, and make sure it was stretched out ready to weld. And many of them were thousand hour welders, but won't take the time to learn this power supplies controls' effects. When they did weld with it, I set it, and tested the settings on scrap and handed the torch to them..... just my way of reducing rework and poor welds.

That's my take on the application of Lincoln's MP350 Power Mig power supply.

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK
kmorin

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Re: Set up MP350

#14

Post by kmorin » Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:07 pm

alanf,
Will you still respect AAB.com Fourm "in the morning?"
What I mean is; you posted, we tried to reply, then you left us without so much as a parting post! We can't help it if "we weren't there for you".... did you get some solution? Was the advice useful or just "more of the same"?

alanf, let us know how the battle goes trying to impart knowledge and skills, based on practice, to a generation of young people conditioned by society to refuse to work hard and practice to develop a means of exchange with society so they can feed themselves?

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK
kmorin

alanf
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Re: Set up MP350

#15

Post by alanf » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:40 pm

I apologize for my poor internet manners! To further the story, the machine was picked up by the dealer we bought it from in late June, the summer ends and the school year begins. Hmmm no welder, I assumed it would be repaired and shipped back to the school in the summer. A few phone calls and apparently they are still waiting for one part or the other. The story I got was every board in the machine had to be replaced, apparently a main power board took a dump and somehow took out everything else with it. I was informed "it is like a new machine", which I didn't find to be all that impressive as it was a new machine. Machine was returned at the end of September and to be honest I haven't had any classes that have needed the machine yet this year. We are planning on doing some modifications to an aluminum boat hardtop that a colleague just picked up. We plan on starting that project tomorrow night, at least the efforts to get the "new" machine dialed in on 1/8" and 3/16" plate.
Alan

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Re: Set up MP350

#16

Post by kmorin » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:06 pm

Alanf, I wasn't trying to infer poor manners- just trying to get some reaction with a spoof.

So, if the power supply is working??? then what are the settings you'll be trying out? And what mod.s are on the agenda?

Looking forward to seeing posts of pics - only one guy can weld at a time so the 'other guy' can take pictures?? at least that's my view!

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kenai, AK
kmorin

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