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05-20-2012, 04:35 PM #1
Stickweld 250 Review
I am a bit late at getting the review of the Longevity Stickweld 250 that I owe Simon but finally here it is.
First let me say I had no previous arc welding experience but only O/A welding that I learned many decades back.
I ordered both the Stickweld 250 and the Elite Series auto darkening helmet (S777).
I will give my review of each.
First let me say I am very impressed with the Stickweld 250. I have several strong criticisms but they do not keep me from liking and recommending the unit in any way.
The Stickweld 250 arrived very well packed in a sturdy box. Upon removing it from the box I discovered the manual which was under the unit looked as if it had been attacked by a pitchfork wielding maniac. Since the manual was under the unit I looked at the bottom of the unit and saw multiple small screws probably metric but about 3/32" diameter that extended below the accompanying nut that poked holes in everything they touched. I realized then that I needed to be careful that those screw ends did not damage the cables in the future. I will eventually put an acorn nut or something that dull the sharp points.
The manual is a weak point of the unit. It is poorly written and incomplete. The online version is better than the one in the box but not much. Researching other Longevity manuals and competitors manuals that I found on-line I have been able to gather and build what I would have liked to have found in the manual. Longevity could and should have better documentation in the manuals for their units. If an individual was an experienced professional welder they may not need or care, but if Longevity is going to market to others it would be to their advantage to improve the documentation. Part of the documentation issue is the power cord wiring. The manuals all differ in the description and the unit wiring is color coded different from either hard copy or on-line documentation. For a unit that is driven by high tech electronics that can be damaged easily if wires are crossed this is kind of a big deal. I was 98 percent certain which wires were hot, common, ground, and which was three phase, however the US standard coding or European standard and the manuals and the unit were not in agreement. (I am not familiar with Chinese standard wire color coding if there is any.) I did not want to fry my new welder so I was forced to confirm things that should have been specified in the manual. It took several calls to Longevity that should not have been needed.
The manual did not even mention the existence of hot start/surge or arc force other than there were knobs in the drawing. Needless to say as you can see I thought the manual was a con on the pro/con list.
The unit itself is a fantastic value/unit. It has more capability than I will probably ever need but it is there if I do. I have been aided by a list member in improving my arc skills and we have put it through its paces. The arc force does seem a bit confounding as it seems inconsistent in whether we detect any difference between a setting of 0, 5 or 10. The first time we got together it appeared that maybe it was wired backward but the last time we could not tell a difference between any arc force setting. The hot start is very nice and a great feature to have as well. I have used it to weld 60 amps on thin stuff. Yesterday we ran it up to 240 amps (250 max) and ran some 5/32" 7018 rod he had from several years back that had never even seen an oven and it was a thing of beauty. No problems at all with the unit. I have also tried TIG scratch-start with the unit and it performed very well but did have a long tail when breaking the arc.
The elite series helmet(S777) review.
I am very impressed with the electronics of the helmet. The only thing I don't really like is the dark to light switching time. Supposedly it can be varied from short (0.25 sec) to long (0.8 seconds). I have found that I have to leave it in long (0.8 sec) to keep the window from opening up while welding. From my estimate the 0.8 sec is probable closer to 0.25 sec than it is to 0.5 sec let alone 0.8 seconds and the 0.25 seconds is much shorter than a quarter second. Otherwise the electronic controls are amazing. Variable shade from DIN 9-13 controllable from an outside the helmet knob and a light sensitivity control on the outside of the helmet on the other side. A grind mode is available but control is only inside the helmet.
The down side of the helmet is the actual shell. The top has a cutout that allows way too much reflected light in from the top of the head with the helmet in the down position. The other issue is the helmet shell width. It is much too wide, again allowing way too much reflected light in from the sides. I have had to attach a cloth hood over the top of the helmet to block reflected arc light and put spacer pads on both sides extending from the bottom of the helmet up to the area of the ears to block reflected arc light from the sides. When I squeeze the sides in, the problem goes away but you can not weld with both hands pushing in on opposite sides of the helmet and it pops back out when you let go. I have tried several other helmets since I got this one and they are much tighter on the sides and the top extends further back over the head when it is in the down position and I do not get the reflected arc light bouncing in from behind and above that I do with this unit.
Synopsis of critique.
If you are looking for a great welder at a great price the Stickweld 250 is a VERY good buy. It is not and does not have the features/capability you might find in a $3000 Miller or Lincoln but you will not be disappointed by the unit. Longevity could and hopefully will easily fix the documentation issues I was critical of earlier. If you are looking for a nice 250 Amp stick welder and do not have a lot of money to burn look at this unit. You will be very happy and a satisfied customer.
The Stickweld 250 is definitely on my recommended buy list.
While the S777 Elite auto darkening helmet has great electronics I cannot recommend the helmet due to what I view as its inadequacies in shell design.
Last edited by Furu; 05-21-2012 at 06:29 AM.JD 4720 - 400CX FEL, Woods BB-720 Brush Bull and BH90X backhoe, Salsco 6210XT PTO Chipper, Farmi 501 Logging Winch, Bo-Dozer Grapple, LP RBT4096, Cammond Road grader/leveler and Rankin Trash Forks
05-20-2012, 06:02 PM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
- WA State
- Nothing at the moment
05-21-2012, 03:22 PM #3
Re: My Stickweld 250 Review
Thanks for the thorough review! I am very happy you are impressed with the StickWeld 250 and we are only improving! I am glad Tractor members are able to see some honest opinions from users.
We are also looking into new helmets and hope to introduce a good line sometime in the near future!
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05-21-2012, 03:29 PM #4
Re: My Stickweld 250 Review
Other than the small dark to light delay issue with the electronics keep the electronics and put them into a redesigned shell. I would love to retrofit my existing helmet electronics into a different shell. I would speculate that the cost is mostly in electronics not plastic shell. Has anyone else mentioned the delay issue to you guys?JD 4720 - 400CX FEL, Woods BB-720 Brush Bull and BH90X backhoe, Salsco 6210XT PTO Chipper, Farmi 501 Logging Winch, Bo-Dozer Grapple, LP RBT4096, Cammond Road grader/leveler and Rankin Trash Forks
05-21-2012, 08:33 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
- Figuring the picking points of jelly donuts.
- John Deere, 4200
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