Kevin is excited to have received the newest generation of AHP’s AlphaTIG 200X TIG welder.

If you think it looks just like the previous versions, you’re right. But Kevin says it has some nice upgrades.

Along with beefed-up circuitry inside – the welder even weighs a little more – the biggest difference can be seen on the control panel, which has been redesigned.

The first toggle switch is for selecting TIG or stick (arc) welding, the next AC vs. DC, then 2T vs. 4T, and finally, pulse or no pulse.

Moving over to the knobs, on the top row is starting amps, main amps (or pulse peak) and end amps. The middle row has pulse frequency, pulse amps (or pulse base) and pulse time on. The bottom row starts off with something Kevin says “you aluminum guys will love”: AC frequency control. Yes, with this new model, you can now adjust AC frequency. Finally, the last two knobs are for AC balance and post flow.

There are also a few other changes on the front of the machine. The previous version of this welder had a screw-on nut for the electrical connection that went onto a “hot” electrical fitting that had a little plastic cover that kept you from getting shocked. The new generation welder has an enclosed Dinse connector.

The gas line hooks up a quick disconnect instead of having a barb or some other kind of connector. The third connection is for either your torch trigger switch or a single connection for your foot pedal, instead of the old model, which had two connections. Last is your ground. The on / off switch is still located on the back.

Kevin also shares a trick regarding the plastic control panel cover. If you simply put your fingers on the hinge and pull the cover a little forward before lifting it and before lowering it, it stays up nicely, and there’s no pressure on the hinges.

Next Kevin explains why you would want to adjust your AC frequency. AC frequency helps define the arc. If you turn down the AC frequency, the arc gets broader. If you turn it up, it forces the arc into a tighter “cone.”

Now it’s time to show you that difference by turning on the welder. Kevin shows the arc at 40 hertz, then turns it up. You can hear the welder whine louder and louder as he accelerates to 200 hertz. The arc is clean and defined. When he turns the machine back down to 40 hertz, the sound gets lower and the arc sputters and widens.

Afterward, Kevin talks about how, at the low end, the arc is softer and bigger. That’s great for filling in and wetting out the puddle so it flows a little better. But if he’s working on a tight joint or thicker aluminum, Kevin turns up the frequency. That narrows the arc, giving better penetration and better control of the arc. That’s helpful if you’re working in a corner or are going up on a joint. It makes things a little cleaner.

This new generation TIG welder costs about $800 plus shipping. That’s about $50 more than the second generation model from most sources (although Caron offers his viewers a better deal). That gives you the AC frequency control and the better hardware inside. “It’s really a nice unit,” Kevin says. “It’s a pleasure to work with.”

If you’re a beginning TIG welder or want to get into TIG welding, Kevin says this is a great entry-level machine for the hobbyist, first-time TIG welder or someone who is learning TIG welding.

The welder runs on 220 or 110, too. Of course, your amperage drops quite a bit when you are using 110 – Kevin thinks it drops to about 125 amps. But, he says, it runs on a 20 amp wall plug all day long at 110 volts.