Review: Amico MIG-130A, 130 Amp Flux Wire Welder, 110/230V Dual Voltage. $149 on Amazon.

California

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New toys!

I wanted a HF Titanium 125 Flux welder, for its portability. My larger HF MIG-180 is too heavy to carry around. (Yeah I'm that old). Then I discovered HF was taking orders on the Titanium for delivery next June. Forget that!

So I went to Amazon looking at comparables. One is 18 lbs and dual-voltage. Run it on 240 volts to get the the 130 amp output that is claimed for the 120 volt flux welders. (But only IF you have a 30 amp/120v wall socket, nobody does).

For $149, reliability is unproven so I also bought the separate three year warranty for $22 so I'll get use out of it (or its replacement) through 2024.

After trying it out, I like it. This is what Harbor Freight should be selling in the cheap under-$200 category. This isn't pro gear, just decent quality for the DIY market. Or in my case, minor farm repairs, - with three more welders here if this one isn't suitable for a project.

Here's a link to it. And a copy of the review I drafted for Amazon.

Amico MIG-130A, 130 Amp Flux Cored Wire Welder, 110/230V Dual Voltage.

First impression after a few minutes trial:

Seems to be excellent quality. Simply the best welder in this class and price category! I added the extended warranty so I expect several years service. It still cost less than others similar.

The dual voltage 120/240 v, is a worthwhile advantage over similar small welders that are 120 volt only. Nobody commonly has a 30 amp 120 volt outlet on the wall. While all the 120 volt welders specify 30 amp input to attain their claimed output of 100 to 130 amps welding current.

Pro:
* This 120/240 volt welder can also run from a dryer or welder 240 volt outlet, and actually provide the 130 amps of welding current that a 120 volt welder can't. That's a major advantage.
* Its cord has a 240 volt plug, then you add the 120/240 adapter to plug it into a common 120 volt outlet. This is day/night better that some dual voltage welders that have the opposite adapter where 240 volts is provided at what should be a 120 v receptacle - which is sure to smoke a grinder etc mistakenly plugged into that bogus adapter. Amico got it right.
*The ground cable has a real welder clamp, much better than the cheap 'battery charger' clamp provided on cheap welders.
* It's light! And very well designed for carrying around. The top handle has 'ears' to wrap the power cord around. The ground cable is detachable, and easier to carry that way. Only 18 lbs. Simple to take it along from one place to another.
* It welds great. I ran several test beads. First on 1/8 plate. With both knobs at 2/3 of max, it sounded great but that was too hot, one bead burned through. Then I moved to 3/8 steel plate. Penetration and bead quality looked great.
* Everything works as it should. A pleasure to use. Hard to describe but everything feels right.

Con:
There are a few oddities, none significant.
*I had to research quite a bit before I found this is a solid and ongoing company based in Southern California. Their big warehouse there has their logo on it. Amico needs to distinguish themselves from some of the welders listed on Amazon where those sellers seem to have brought in a single batch of items from Alibaba for resale. Amico should improve their public-facing image to improve customer confidence.
* The manual recommends .030 flux core wire and says .035 stresses the welder without improving bead quality. There was a .040 tip in the welder and two .035 spares included. Supply chain issues?
* No mention anywhere in the manual describing the LCD display. Turning the left knob up to show a little over 130 on the LCD seemed too hot for my trial welds.
* Left dial is labelled Current and the right dial, Voltage. The right dial is definitely wire speed and the left one increases intensity of the welding as it is turned up. Unfamiliar, but easy to get used to.
* Starting new wire, be sure to feed it past the mini-Dinse connector and well into the liner using the Wire Feed button, past the shoulder a couple of inches in, where the liner starts.
* The sample flux core wire that comes with it welds well, but its the most smoky wire I've used. I could hardly see the puddle. Verify the welder works as intended then put in some good flux core wire.

Overall - Recommended! I'm going to enjoy using this.

Stock photo
71uZ5SPY-oL._AC_UL480_QL65_.jpg

My photo
20211202_161239.jpg

Sample beads on 3/8 material. As I noted in the review above, the sample wire is so smoky I couldn't see much. The rusted, straight beads below were done months ago with the MIG-180 and INE flux core wire where I could see what I was doing.
20211205_161007.jpg
 

A-one

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I got an inverter stick welder made by them. It does pretty good on a 110V outlet with an 1/8" 6011 at about 95-100 amps. Not quite as hot as the Lincoln inverter I bought later, but will get the job done. It's great for portability.
 

Gary Fowler

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It certainly looks like more machine than the HF Titanium 125 and for $60 less PLUS it is in stock.
 

chiefcook

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Funny you should ask now. I finally wrapped up other responsibilities and I'm about to go out this afternoon to work with it. I haven't had time since my last post.
Keep us posted. I'm interested in one, but there aren't many reviews, except Amazon and I think a lot of them are bogus.
 

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After playing with it for another hour -

My opinion is that it is everything that it should be. Likely HF quality in terms of reliability and repairability. That remains to be seen. Buy the 4 year warranty, $30!

Operation is excellent, no complaints.

I measured the cables for this post - real short:
Power cord 6 ' 10""
Ground 6' 6"
Gun 7' 5"

Summary I think this is a decent real cheap welder for the DIY and hobby market that will use it occasionally. Best value / price in the cheap end of the market, better than Harbor Freight. I wouldn't consider it a production shop tool with its unknown reliability.

For my use in occasional farm repairs and minor fabrication, and with other welders here in case it fails, It fills a my wish for a highly portable unit that works well.
 

California

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Amico MIG-130A flux-core welder. Here are a couple of pictures from my tryout.

I made two bend tests by welding one side of 1/8" wall tubing then hammering it over. It needed some heavy pounding with a 4 lb sledge to bend the sample welds to 90 degrees. About the same force as if I had just sliced three sides of the tubing before hammering it over.

In the first picture, the far ends of the tubing show where my first weld broke. I hammered that weld to 180 degrees, back on itself. Then hammered sideways before it tore at the tubing, not at the weld.

Then I turned the pieces around and welded the other ends together. I stopped hammering at 90 degrees on the second weld. Both that first and the last picture show most of the bend was at the native metal not the weld.


I bought this for minor farm fabrication and repairs. This test convinced me it is suitable.

20220112_153059.jpg 20220112_154815.jpg 20220112_155716.jpg 20220112_155903.jpg
 
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chiefcook

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Amico MIG-130A flux-core welder. Here are a couple of pictures from my tryout.

I made two bend tests by welding one side of 1/8" wall tubing then hammering it over. It needed some heavy pounding with a 4 lb sledge to bend the sample welds to 90 degrees. About the same force as if I had just sliced three sides of the tubing before hammering it over.

In the first picture, the far ends of the tubing show where my first weld broke. I hammered that weld to 180 degrees, back on itself. Then hammered sideways before it tore at the tubing, not at the weld.

Then I turned the pieces around and welded the other ends together. I stopped hammering at 90 degrees on the second weld. Both that first and the last picture show most of the bend was at the native metal not the weld.


I bought this for minor farm fabrication and repairs. This test convinced me it is suitable.

View attachment 1695 View attachment 1696 View attachment 1697 View attachment 1698
Are you still happy with the Amico? I've just about decided to take the plunge.
 

California

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Are you still happy with the Amico? I've just about decided to take the plunge.
Yes! I wrote a longwinded reply over in the TractorByNet welding sub-forum.

I think it's a great value for a surprisingly inexpensive tool.

I love it.
 

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One year update!

The more I use this Amico, the more I like it. I'll repeat here some comments I posted over on TBN a month ago:

"Minor update. I ran out of .030 FC wire before finishing a project so I put a nearly-finished roll of .035 Blue Demon in the Amico. At the same settings this ran much hotter. It was strange to lift my welding hood and see the bead broader and glowing red. I turned down the settings. Since the manual says don't run .035 because that over-stresses the welder, I won't use .035 again.

Ran out of that wire before finishing the project so I got out the older HF MIG-180 (with .035 FC). Using that made me appreciate the Amico more. Rasseling the weight of the MIG-180 out of storage and onto a table was a PIA. (I'm old). Then after being accustomed to the light Amico torch and its flexible cable, now the MIG-180 seemed clumsy. It works ok, no problem there, but it makes the Amico seem light, graceful, and just a natural-feeling tool.

For anyone considering a really cheap FC welder, this Amico and others similar I see on Amazon are worth considering. As I've said before, add the $29 four year warranty listed alongside the welder so you don't have to wonder about reliability or cost of repair. It's good to see decent, usable gear now available at prices anyone can afford.
 

Zagar

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I think you just saved me hundreds of dollars. Thank you for this review. I've been looking for a small, occasional use welder, and I had been looking at the YesWelders that are 3x the price. I too want to do minor farm repairs and small DIY stuff for the tractor (I found this site from TBN) and this sounds perfect. Being a beginner, is there anything additional with this welder that you recommend?

Thank you!!
 

MC

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In the $150-$200 price range you could also check out the Harbor Freight Titanium Easy Flux 125 (the green one, link here: https://www.harborfreight.com/easy-flux-125-amp-welder-56355.html). If ultra portability is desired, a good choice. Though the example welds @California showed with his Amico are every bit as good, if not better than what I get with the HF. Maybe he's just got the touch. ?‍♂️?
 

Zagar

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Thank you MC. I use HF stuff that I don't typically care if I have to replace it. I've wondered about the welders there, but just wasn't sure... Portability isn't really an issue for me, however the short power cord is a bit concerning. I can make a heavier gauge extension cord for it though. I have a couple of brackets I want to fab up for a set of casters I want to put on my snow thrower to help keep it a little higher off the ground. One day, I would like to build a loader for the tractor if I don't find one that's in my price range. ;)
 
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MC

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Thank you MC. I use HF stuff that I don't typically care if I have to replace it. I've wondered about the welders there, but just wasn't sure... Portability isn't really an issue for me, however the short power cord is a bit concerning. I can make a heavier gauge extension cord for it though. I have a couple of brackets I want to fab up for a set of casters I want to put on my snow thrower to help keep it a little higher off the ground. One day, I would like to build a loader for the tractor if I don't find one that's in my price range. ;)

Adequate power supply is important. I didn't think much of the cord length since I needed to use an extension anyway. I had picked up a 10ga a while back and I just use that for anything that wants a 20amp circuit.
 

MC

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One day, I would like to build a loader for the tractor if I don't find one that's in my price range. ;)

Looking forward to that! You will need a beefier welder for that thickness of steel though.
 

Zagar

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Looking forward to that! You will need a beefier welder for that thickness of steel though.

That's kind of what I was afraid of, though when that time rolls around, this welder will get me into welding and I can learn what I'm doing before tackling a bigger project. I don't see myself doing anything thicker than 1/8-3/16" steel right now anyway. The loader would probably have to be 1/4" tube... I'm CADing up the brackets right now, and they're going to use A36 4"x1.5" - 1/8" C channel welded at 45d angle to bolt onto the back of the thrower. Probably add gussets too to stabilize the joint.
 
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MC

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That's kind of what I was afraid of, though when that time rolls around, this welder will get me into welding and I can learn what I'm doing before tackling a bigger project. I don't see myself doing anything thicker than 1/8-3/16" steel right now anyway. The loader would probably have to be 1/4" tube... I'm CADing up the brackets right now, and they're going to use A36 4"x1.5" - 1/8" C channel welded at 45d angle to bolt onto the back of the thrower. Probably add gussets too to stabilize the joint.

Or you could make the lightest duty loader known to man and use 1/8" as your test run. ?‍♂️?
 

California

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I think you just saved me hundreds of dollars. Thank you for this review. I've been looking for a small, occasional use welder, and I had been looking at the YesWelders that are 3x the price. I too want to do minor farm repairs and small DIY stuff for the tractor (I found this site from TBN) and this sounds perfect. Being a beginner, is there anything additional with this welder that you recommend?
For the welder itself, its a complete kit.
The sample of flux core wire included was so smoky that I had to put a fan on my workbench to see what I was welding. (although the finished weld bead looked fine). The included wire is simply sufficient to verify the welder works properly. Get a roll of quality wire to reduce the number of variables as you learn what you are doing. I like Inetub BA7TGS, from Amazon.

Providing 240v power will be a project.
If you are powering it from a dryer outlet, you can make an adapter.
I had a dryer's power cable and a 6-50R outlet like this, that I combined. Overall length 6 ft. Then combined with the welder's cord, I didn't need an extension cord.

81kzKIQgwBL._AC_UL320_.jpg


For another beginner reading this, I don't recommend HF's cheapest (black) flux welder. It's AC output simply can't do nice work. BTDT! The HF Titanium 125 seems to be decent but the Amico was $50 less and its dual voltage allows welding much heavier material.

For any of the under $200 welders on Amazon, research the manufacturer or importer. For Amico, Google street view showed a big warehouse with their logo. I suspect some brands of cheap welders on Amazon and Ebay could be a guy who ordered a couple of pallets from China and won't be around after he sells them.
 

Zagar

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For the welder itself, its a complete kit.
The sample of flux core wire included was so smoky that I had to put a fan on my workbench to see what I was welding. (although the finished weld bead looked fine). The included wire is simply sufficient to verify the welder works properly. Get a roll of quality wire to reduce the number of variables as you learn what you are doing. I like Inetub BA7TGS, from Amazon.

Providing 240v power will be a project.
If you are powering it from a dryer outlet, you can make an adapter.
I had a dryer's power cable and a 6-50R outlet like this, that I combined. Overall length 6 ft. Then combined with the welder's cord, I didn't need an extension cord.

81kzKIQgwBL._AC_UL320_.jpg


For another beginner reading this, I don't recommend HF's cheapest (black) flux welder. It's AC output simply can't do nice work. BTDT! The HF Titanium 125 seems to be decent but the Amico was $50 less and its dual voltage allows welding much heavier material.

For any of the under $200 welders on Amazon, research the manufacturer or importer. For Amico, Google street view showed a big warehouse with their logo. I suspect some brands of cheap welders on Amazon and Ebay could be a guy who ordered a couple of pallets from China and won't be around after he sells them.
Fortunately, the previous owner of this house installed a dedicated panel in the garage with a pair of 30A outlets. :) I'm good there!! Thank you for the advice on the wire. I'm a 100% newbie to this, so avoiding the pitfalls now will save a lot of heartache. I'm an electrical by trade, and I have lots of goodies to make up nice, proper and durable cords. Probably overkill, but I'd rather have too much wire than a fusible link laying on the floor. ;)
 
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