Hypertherm plasma problem
I bought a Hypertherm powermax 1000 g3 plasma cutter brand new in 2005, it has seen light use in that time.(1-2 uses a month) The other day while making a cut in 1/2" plate a very loud bang noise came from the plasma cutter, and the power supply circuit breaker was tripped. When I removed the cover, reset the breaker, and turned the machine on, a few sparks came from the circuit board before the breaker tripped again almost instantly.
The local Hypertherm repair center indicated the board is most likely bad and the machine would likely not be worth fixing.
Before I take it in to have them look at it, my questions are.
How much money would you invest in fixing a machine this old? (I believe they said a replacement board was $1200)
Is there any place that can repair these boards?
Any recommendations on a replacement machine if decide to go that route?
In the first place, it's most likely that something else died that then blew up the circuit board. In the second place, printed circuit boards are easy to repair if repair means replacing components that have let the smoke out. When the problem is a component that has gone off value but not exploded it can get very tricky. At that point it takes an electrical engineer or very good tech, circuit diagrams and test equipment.
In your case, I'd suspect that something happened initially like a transformer shorting, which then blew up some diodes or resistors on the board. Before you put a new or repaired board in, you should test all of the other components, for which you'll need full circuit information. In a nutshell, unless you have an EE buddy and circuit diagrams, you're probably scrod.
The word from the Hypertherm repair center is $1500 to repair my unit, with NO guarantee it wouldn't burn out again on the first use. They indicated it was possible for components to test OK now, yet still cause these types of failures. So long story short I'm in the market for a new plasma cutter.
I would hope that the repair center would have the "first use" after "fixing" the unit. I know plasmas are not the cheapest thing in the world. I love my Pmax 1000 though.
Before you give up on it look over on weldingweb.com (hope I don't get in trouble). Scroll down to the hypertherm section. There is a hypertherm employee (Jim Colt) who watches fairly closely and seems to answer questions and offer help/advice quite well.
If it is a total loss do you wanna sell a parts machine?
The circuit board is the machine, for all intents. My guess is one of the leveling resistors for the cap bank opened and allowed the two big filter caps to become unbalanced and poof. Other than that its tough to say without seeing the machine.