View Full Version : New Harbor Freight 90 amp welder

02-14-2012, 11:43 PM
I was at harbor freight last week and noticed that Chicago Electric had replaced the old line of 90 amp flux core welders with a newer version. So I opened the cabinet on one to see what was changed. Unfortunately there was no rectifier so my hopes for the switch from AC to DC was shot down. No big deal as I can do that on my own if I wanted to. What I did notice right off the bat was an improved wire drive system. They added a separate power transformer for the drive system and knurled drive rollers. A huge plus in my opinion because the old blue cabinet model had an outdated drive system that constantly slipped on the wire. It made wire feeding so inconsistent that it was hard to know what my next weld would look like. The new model also has a cooling fan. My favorite improvement is that the new model is a cold tip system. So now it will only arc when you pull the trigger.

So today I went and bought the new model and outfitted it with Lincoln wire and tips. This welder is night and day better than the older blue model. The wire feed is so damn smooth and consistent it's unreal. The duty cycle has improved a bit. Penetration is 1/8th inch on high. Having a power outlet 5ft from the breaker helps with that. Having a cold tip makes starting and stopping the weld much easier. Plus I can lay the gun down on a grounded table without arcing and sparking. The cabinet is painted black now so it just looks better.

I had a coupon for the $89.99 sale price on this welder. I saved a copy of the coupon if anyone wants me to email it to them. It's good through 5/12/12

Anyway, I recommend this as a cheap alternative for the hobbyist. I've dog cussed the older blue model before and would have quickly told someone to buy a Lincoln instead. I feel that this newer HF model has improved.

Camera phone pics.


02-15-2012, 12:08 AM
I may have to pick that up to learn some welding....

02-15-2012, 12:56 AM
How clean are the welds with the flux core? I just put together a welding bench with the HF blue box as I am waiting on parts for my gas shielded MIG. I blamed my poor welds on the flux core wire...

yes, the hot tip sucks... and is dangerous in my opinion.

02-15-2012, 01:10 AM
The welds are far better with the newer model. much less spatter and the bead looks great. The worst part about flux core is having to clean the weld. HF flux core wire is cheap and horrible. Using Lincoln wire improves the welds a good bit. The main problem with the old blue welder was design. The newer wire feed system adds consistency to the weld pattern. With my old blue unit the wire speed never stayed consistent enough to produce good welds. Flux core is good to use when the welder is built right. DCEM is far better than AC.

02-15-2012, 01:15 AM

02-15-2012, 01:20 AM
We know your gay.

02-15-2012, 01:43 AM
Just wanted to make sure everyone knew.