A little while back I went against my better judgment and bought a Chinese made, inverter type, all-in-one plasma cutter, tig , stick welders. Normally I stay away from anything made in China, which by the way, is no easy task these days, as it seems everything is either Chinese made, or is full of parts made in China.
Even though the machine I was looking at was made China, I did take some comfort in the fact that the company Ramsond, which was importing them and stamping them with their company colors and logo, was from the good old USA. And even though they aren’t actually making them, they were covering them with their warranty, and promised to fix it promptly should something go wrong.
So to make a long story short, I bit the bullet and laid my money down. A couple weeks later, the machine arrived at my doorstep. I eagerly opened the box and started going through the parts. It came with all the accessories. Tig torch with cups and collars, Plasma torch with extra tips and cups, and an argon regulator which was totally useless. The odd-ball fitting and thread on it wouldn’t fit on to any kind of argon bottle I’ve ever seen. Obviously made for some sort of Chinese bottle.
After assembling everything, I put it through the test. The plasma cutter worked great, The tig set up, with the high frequency start worked better than expected, as did it in the stick welding mode. I really liked the fact that it worked off either 110 volt or 220. All though the arc seemed more stable using 220, it did work pretty well on 110.
I was actually happy with it…. even pleasantly surprised. I used it again a few times, then sort of put it away and forgot about it. Then one day, about six months later, I pulled it out to cut a piece of 14 gauge plate. The first 6 inches of the cut went fine then…nothing! I looked over at the machine and noticed a red light labeled ‘OC’ was on. (I’m not sure what it stands for…maybe ‘Oriental Crap’) I thought, “OK maybe it reached the end of it’s duty cycle or something… I let it sit for a bit”. A few minutes later the light went out and away I went cutting again. A few inches into the cut, it died again. This time though, the light never went out, and it hasn’t worked since. I didn’t know who I was more pissed at, the company that sold me on it, or myself for buying a piece of crap Chinese welding machine. Yah…I know, my own damn fault.
That evening I jumped on my computer and started searching forums. I wasn’t surprised to find others with the exactly the same experience which described the exact same symptoms. I emailed Ramsond , and they replied with a pdf file of testing procedures to do with a multimeter. They told me to let them know what the problem is and they’ll send me a new part…at my expense. My expense??? I used the f**kin’ thing all of 4 times for a total of about 20 minutes total. Oh well…lesson learned. Moral of the story… Don’t buy cheap shitty Chinese welding machines off Ebay!
Update: Here’s a link to a thread with reviews of others who were sucked into buying Ramsond Tig Plasma inverter welding machines Check it out here