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Miller Pipe Pro 304 - A Turd!

Pete Deal

Stainless
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Morgantown, WV
A while back I bought a Miller Pipe Pro 304 welder. Didn't know a lot about it other than it had a Kubota diesel engine in it and it didn't have many hours. This welder turns out to be basically an engine driven XMT 304 which is a multi-process inverter welder and I think the XMT 304 has a pretty good reputation. When I got my welder the generator worked but it wouldn't weld. I found a repair manual online, very rare for a Miller as far as I know, and did manage to get it welding.

Fast forward a year or so and the welder craps out again. I have 4-5 different Miller welders and generally like them a lot. The more I look at this thing and the schematic and how it's all wired I just can't believe what a piece of crap it is. Every engine driven welder I've ever seen lives outside. This thing leaks rain water like crazy. Lots of big holes for mice to get in, which I plugged with screen but..., The PC boards don't look at this point like they ought to work after 7-8 years in this environment. And there was not even any attempt by Miller at weatherproofing the wiring as is typical in a car. Anyway, I know I really can't complain because I didn't buy it new. I guess my point is that the concept an inverter welder outside seems like a really bad idea.

I'm not one to patch up a turd and try to pass it on to some other unsuspecting person so I think I may rip the guts out of it and buy a generator head to stick on the very nice Kubota D1005 engine. The voltage regulator for the generator does work but it looks about as bad as the rest of the boards in the inverter box so isn't likely to last either.
 

Rob F.

Diamond
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Location
California, Central Coast
One good thing about them is that if you have 220 power you can plug it in and not use the engine. The bad thing it it has no autolink like a real xmt304 so you are stuck with the 220v. That is the way my buddies is and he was sure mad when he found out it did not autolink. Maybe they fixed that on later models??

Is there a coating you can spray on the boards to weatherproof them a little better?
 

Pete Deal

Stainless
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Morgantown, WV
That's the other thing about this welder, it's full of little oddities. The ability to run the welder off external power was an option mine doesn't have. There are also other things that make them not quite exactly XMT 304's- like when welding below say 180 amps or something the engine stays on the low speed.

The boards do have coating on them. I think they call it conformal coating. But it's flaking off. The whole thing seems like a bad idea.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
The whole thing seems like a bad idea.
It was a good idea, it was implemented badly....very badly.

My friend the pipeline welder had one, it let him down so many times (many hours from home) he traded for a Lincoln.

That led me to think that the concept was sound, a person could simply buy a good, dependable normal 3 phase genset (Kato or Onan)
and mount whatever inverter you want on the same skid, make a large sheetmetal enclosure for the whole thing.
 

Pete Deal

Stainless
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Morgantown, WV
It was a good idea, it was implemented badly....very badly.

My friend the pipeline welder had one, it let him down so many times (many hours from home) he traded for a Lincoln.

That led me to think that the concept was sound, a person could simply buy a good, dependable normal 3 phase genset (Kato or Onan)
and mount whatever inverter you want on the same skid, make a large sheetmetal enclosure for the whole thing.

I think the idea of a separate generator and welder is a good one. Especially for me. I don't really need to weld any real distance from power much.

I've been looking for a long time at the Central Georgia Generator web site. They sell pretty decent looking Generator heads. The down side to converting this welder is that it looks like it doesn't have a standard SAE bell housing. So I may have to scrounge for that and maybe a flywheel. We'll see. Probably a looser of a project financially but it would be fun and I think would wind up with a pretty nice 10kw generator.
 

Pete Deal

Stainless
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Morgantown, WV
For Generator use and welding above a certain threshold (can't remember what that is) 3600 rpm. For lower welding currents it welds at the low speed which is above 1800 RPM somewhat. If I convert it to a generator only it would be 1800RPM. According to a data sheet I found for the d1005 running at 1800rpm it ought to be good for just under 10kw at 1800rpm.
 

Pete Deal

Stainless
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Morgantown, WV
I have a 20kw trailer mounted generator. Wacker G25. I paid about $6k for it during one of the recessions. It has under 2k hours on it. But I haven't seen one that cheap again. New $15k+.

And, at this point it's not about practicality.

Looking at that link. I'm not sure those are diesel generators. From what I have seen in light plants running the D905 engine, one size down, these things can go 20k-30k hours.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
this does sound like a poorly executed machine. While I have owned many miller machines, they are totally capable of making the occasional dud. Their plasma cutters, for example, have never been a great choice.
I love my XMT 304, and I have a 110/220 Maxstar for site work.
But when I need a generator drive welder, I rent one. A good one is five to ten grand, and I just dont need em often enough to justify having that much machine sit around 345 days a year.
Plus, gas drive anything needs to be run, or it will deteriorate.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
I have used my XMT304 daily since I bought it a year or two ago. I haven't found anything I don't love using it for. A shitty MIG welder (Lincoln 256 cough, cough) will make you hate welding. A nice one makes you smile every time you use it.

That's really too bad about the genset version though.

XMT304/350 plus a 3 phase genset would be a sweet combo. I've been thinking about getting a backup diesel gen for my shop/house and sizing it right for the XMT would be another reason to buy one.
 

Portable Welder

Cast Iron
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Location
Milan, MI
I have a 2000 Pipe Pro 304, I quit using it because it started smoking so bad, it was always a good welder however.
Let me know if your interested in putting your motor in it, its been sitting up in my pallet racking for about 4 years but still worked when I put it away.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
I have a 2000 Pipe Pro 304, I quit using it because it started smoking so bad, it was always a good welder however.
Let me know if your interested in putting your motor in it, its been sitting up in my pallet racking for about 4 years but still worked when I put it away.

I thought the only good part of that welder was the engine....
 

thermite

Diamond
For Generator use and welding above a certain threshold (can't remember what that is) 3600 rpm. For lower welding currents it welds at the low speed which is above 1800 RPM somewhat. If I convert it to a generator only it would be 1800RPM. According to a data sheet I found for the d1005 running at 1800rpm it ought to be good for just under 10kw at 1800rpm.

Seems so. Maybe even 12 to 15 kVA pushed?

Ex: Two mechanical ratios. 1:1, 2:1. Spin a 20 kVA 4-pole head @ 1:1 for 1800 RPM light loads.

Need it badly, go to 2:1 step-down and push the Kubota to 3,600 RPM, head still at 1800.

Product Detail | Product Search | Kubota Engine Division

I spent a few years looking at Gawja gen and other heads for Kubota, Yanmar, and a few other oil-burners. Comparing their "cards". The graphs for power @ RPM & fuel consumption.

Finally had to admit it was just one more damned "project" I was never going to get a "round tuit" for.

Around four large bought a turnkey-ready NATO/OTAN "tactically quiet" MEP-803A.
Nominal 10 kVA, 12 for-sure, 15 peak. Direct-injection 4-jug Lister-Petter (AKA Cummins/Onan). Marathon head.

Still has only 900-odd hours on the Hobbes. All I've added is battery sustainer chargers, and a new fuel gage I haven't gotten around to swapping-in.
Low priority, given you can look right into the tank!

I smoke. It don't.

With a re-purposed ($50, NOS) Johnson-Matthey catalyst meant for a "New Holland" loader and tunnel working added-on, it don't even stink, either.
Nor make enough noise to matter.

You can do this, "DIY". But what else will go hungry?

And does the Kubota suit as a replacement for a Bobcat or the like, worth a few bucks if you put it out for sale?
 

Pete Deal

Stainless
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Morgantown, WV
Sorry, didn't see that there were a few more posts.

Portable Welder: I paid $2k for it. If I sold it that's what I'd want for it. Which, I think is too much and with the distance even more so. The D1005 engine is a good one. I have a light plant with a D905, this thing, and a mower with a D1105. Pretty much all the same motor just a little variation in horsepower.

Thermite: The whole thing is a looser for me start to finish. I like diesel generators that run 1800 RPM. They are sort-of naturally nicer to be around even if not "tactically quiet". Also, that's pretty much of an idle and they will run for a long time this way. Too small an engine for a skid steer. I think the best way for me to salvage the thing is making it a project generator. Lots of guys understand souping up cars and trucks and putting thousands into them. Why can't anybody understand souping up a generator?!

We loose power around here a lot, very crappy rural electric service. As a result my wife really loves generators so I can even consider it a honey doo project. Even though I have several generators already.
 

thermite

Diamond
Sorry, didn't see that there were a few more posts.

Portable Welder: I paid $2k for it. If I sold it that's what I'd want for it. Which, I think is too much and with the distance even more so. The D1005 engine is a good one. I have a light plant with a D905, this thing, and a mower with a D1105. Pretty much all the same motor just a little variation in horsepower.

Thermite: The whole thing is a looser for me start to finish. I like diesel generators that run 1800 RPM. They are sort-of naturally nicer to be around even if not "tactically quiet". Also, that's pretty much of an idle and they will run for a long time this way. Too small an engine for a skid steer. I think the best way for me to salvage the thing is making it a project generator. Lots of guys understand souping up cars and trucks and putting thousands into them. Why can't anybody understand souping up a generator?!

We loose power around here a lot, very crappy rural electric service. As a result my wife really loves generators so I can even consider it a honey doo project. Even though I have several generators already.

"Broyhill's Addition" to Sterling Park, Loudoun County abutting Fairfax County, was locally gridded badly. So we lose power a LOT whilst Dominion VA / Vepco have lights on all around us. Several times a year, and for usually 3 hours, minimum, 3 days now and then. Only twice has it gone over 7 days the 33 years I've been in the area.

That said, I HAVE had a freezer full go rotten whilst I was not at home. Twice.

Once the box itself was salvageable. The other time, not.
2 KVA or even ONE KVA (with battery bank for reefers) would do me to cover that.

I may yet build one with a small 3600 RPM Chinese Diesel altered to run at 1800 RPM.

You could do worse than to DOWN speed your motor, too.

Diesel fuel consumption is on the maker's "card" for it, and even units built for 3600 RPM are often at their thermal efficiency peak down around 1800 and 70% - 80% load or so, regardless.

The MEP-803A was affordable and does the WHOLE house, given it is well-insulated (or NOW it is..).

No special adjustment nor load-shedding needed even on electric heat at wintertime nor air-con in summer. Insulation MATTERS of course! Also not having ANY kids or pets trekking in and out all day.

The rest is simple sanity checks.

I don't run the electric clothes dryer at the same time of a day as kitchen range & oven, nor air-con at the same time of a month/year as baseboard heat!

Most lighting is LED and on motion-detector switching, indoors as well as out.

My 90-gal electric HW's 6 KW elements can be switched-OFF for quite some time if need be as well.

Annnd we have both Butane Hibachi's, LPG 2-burner "round-bottom Wok" capable stove as well as a cooktop-equipped wood/coal/pellet stove, and portable Diesel-fuel & Propane space or blast heaters.

End of the day, only the cold storage for foodstuffs is "nice to have", all else is mere convenience, not critical.

All it takes to run 3 fridge/freezers off a battery bank & inverter is a "commutator" arrange so only ONE is ever "ON" at once, but all three get a share for their demand. Say a five-minute window each, out of every fifteen minutes, four such to every hour. SMALL Diesel keeps the batteries sweet on very little fuel. The batteries load-level.

Asian-style tough-times foods put by are largely dried, not even pickled or tinned. Eastern European inspired ones are pickled, and proven staples. Tinned is inferior to fresh or frozen.

Until there IS NO fresh nor frozen.

:)
 








 
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