- Great value for money, can deliver and maintain a stable arc for the length of it's duty cycle.
- Easy to transport around as it weighs 50 lbs. (23 kg).
- 3 Year parts and labour warranty.
- 120V and 240V input voltage compatibility.
- AC/DC TIG, also stick capability.
- Foot pedal is low quality, requires a lot of travel to change output amperage and slips on smooth surfaces.
- Fans can be quite loud, takes getting use to if you work with quiter units.
Ease of Use
The Alphatig is a line of TIG welders manufacturered by AHP. This models target market is the lower end of the pricing spectrum. Best suited for those who are new to welding or require light to medium fabrication work. Despite it being cheaper than other machines with the same specification, this model represents great value for money. Don’t pass this machine because it’s cheap.
Compared to higher priced machines this models control panel is basic, yet this is perfect for it’s intended audience. Despite it’s basic interface, it’s easy to use and cheaper to manufacture.
Control Panel Demonstration
The control panel of this unit features many switches and knobs which may be confusing at first. Below I’ll provide the function of each button/knob, as well as a brief explination of when to use.
In the top left is the amperage readout which will display your main amperage when not welding, or the live amperage when you depress the pedal.
Below this are two rocker switches, the left hand side switch alternates between TIG or Stick mode (1 for Stick, 0 for TIG). The right hand side switch alternates between AC or DC (1 for AC, 0 for DC). AC is useful when welding softer metals such as Aluminum or Magnezium, and DC for Steel, Stainless Steel, Chromoly or Titanium for example.
There are two more rocker switches below this, the bottom left hand side switch alternates between 2T and 4T (explain more here). And the bottom right switch which is a 3 position switch changes the pulse (bottom disables pulse completely, middle isa high pulse frequency, top low pulse frequency).
The knob labeled “Start Amps” will only function when using 2T or 4T operation, and allows you to select between 10A-200A starting amps. The “Main Amps” knob is your maximum amperage whilst welding, once set will not exceed whilst welding. The knob on the right labeled “End Amps” is part of 2T/4T operation and can be left alone if you’re not using this functionality.
Pulse Frequency has two rings surrounding the knob, with the inside ring referencing low pulse and the outside ring for high frequency. The middle knob references pulse amps which is the base amperage for the pulse. For example if you set the “Main Amps” to 100A output, the peak of the pulse will be 100A whilst the base amperage (the lower section of the pulse) will be the amps you set with this knob. The “Pulse Time On” allows you to adjust the duration that the pulse will remain at the peak, if you set it to 50% for example half of the pulse will be at the peak whilst half at the base.
The bottom left is where you can set the “AC Frequency”. This setting is only applied when you’re in AC mode via the rocker switch, and allows you to adjust how many times the machine will cycle between the positive and negative electrode. A good starting point is 120Hz if you don’t understand what this does. In the center is the AC balance setting, enabling you to change the focus on the positive vs negative electrode. This machine has a focus on the positive (cleaning side), thus by increasing the AC balance you will have more positive electrode than negative. If you set this too high you will ruin your tungsten, I’d suggest keeping it below 30%-40%.
Finally you can adjust your “Post Flow” which allows your shielding gas (Argon for TIG welding) to flow after the arc has been cut off. A good starting point is 3-5 seconds unless you’re welding Titanium or Stainless then you may have better results setting this higher.
Brand name: AHP
Height: 22 in.
Length: 20 in.
Width: 9 in.
Rated Output: 200A @ 240V, 140A @ 120V
Input Voltage: 110V/240V
Process Type: TIG, Stick
Product weight: 50lbs/23KG
Welding Amperage Range: 10-200 A
Overview of Features
Inverter: There are two types of welders on the market, inverter and transformer. Due to advances in technology the vast majority of welders on the market make use of inverters due to their increased energy efficiency, arc performance, arc stability and portability.
2T/4T Trigger Function: 2T stands for two touches, allowing you to weld at a set amperage when the trigger is depressed or 0 amps when the trigger is released. This mode acts like an on/off switch. 4T has four modes, when the trigger is depressed for the first time it will start an arc at your preset amperage. If you release the trigger it will change the amperage to the peak amperage you have set. If you then press the trigger again it will slope down to your ending amperage and end when you release the trigger.
AC Balance Control: By modifying the AC balance you control how much positive vs negative electrode time the machine alternates between. This particular model focuses on the positive (cleaning) electrode, so a lower AC balance means more negative electrode time. As you can’t always predict the condition of the metal you’re working on, it’s ideal having a welder which can mitigate some of the preperation work needed.
Post Flow Control: This is the duration (in seconds) of gas that will continue to flow after the arc has stopped. Useful to ensure full protection of your welds, as the molten metal is still susceptible to contamination until it starts to cool. As different materials/thicknesses require more or less post flow, having granular control over this ensures you protect your weld whilst also conserving shielding gas.
120V/240V Compatible: Capable of using both 120V and 240V input voltages, requiring 240V for maximum output amperages. The machine is supplied with an adapter for 120V, allowing you to use this in residential and commercial settings with no tools.
AC/DC TIG Functionality: Allows you to clean the surface of metals from oxidation and debris, in particular aluminum whilst laying down beads on the metal.
Pulse Control: This model has two settings on the control panel allowing you to control the pulse amps and pulse time. You have greater control over the peak and base amps of the pulse, as well as the duration of each peak within the pulse. This allows you to lay beads that are structurally sound, and look great too.
High Frequency TIG Start: A near contaminationless method of starting a TIG welder, in particular with aluminum. It starts the arc by it’s ability to ionize the air which bridges the gap between the tungstens point and the piece of metal.
Warranty: AHP offer a 3 year warranty from the date of purchase against breakage, malfunction or other failure from manufacurer defect. You can expect your current unit to be repaired or a direct replacement – either reconditioned or brand new. This only stands if you’re the original owner, and purchase from an authorized dealer like we recommend at staywelding.
Will this welder suit my needs?
Due to the granular controls of this machine you can get a steady arc with no problems. You can weld a wide range of metals, paired with a maximum output of 200A @ 240V Input it’s capability will be able to keep up with what you need! For the range of features provided, as well as specification it’s a great price and perfect for beginner/casual welders. Right out of the box is everything you need to start welding – minus shielding gas, tungsten and material.
It also has a high duty cycle of 60% at 200A output, providing a high amount of arc time even at maximum output. If you don’t TIG weld all the time, this model would even be a great fit in a shop – it has all the specification to provide what you want, and performs well considering the price tag. It’s only downside is the noisy fans, which isn’t the end of the world.
What’s in the Box?
WP17 TIG Torch (14ft)
Stick Holder (9ft)
Ground Clamp (9ft)
110v Plug Adapter
Basic Consumable Kit (does not include tungsten)
A great piece of equipment considering the price point, but don’t be put off as it offers excellent value for money. AHP support have been reported to be responsive and honor their warranty claims. Whether you’re just stepping into the world of welding, or need a shop welder the AHP can handle it all. It’s control panel may not be the most attractive, but it’s functional and offers granual control over all it’s different parameters.