A MIG welder and a generator? At first it seemed like such a strange combination. Maybe the reason it seemed strange is that until now, there were no MIG welder/generators on the market. Miller has changed that with the introduction of their new Renegade 180. Although it may seem like an odd combination, there are some compelling arguments for this setup. If you’re lacking an adequate electrical power supply in your shop, if you need a portable self powered MIG welder for use away from the shop, or if you need a backup generator with welding capabilities, this machine could be a good choice.
The welder portion of the machine is capable of both flux cored and MIG welding using .023″/.025″ – .035″ wire. It comes with a gas solenoid valve and contactor pre-installed. One very cool feature of this machine though is that it’s capable of being powered by the engine or by electricity. You can plug this welder in to your shop’s 230 volt outlet. With the ever increasing price of gasoline, the dual-powered capability is a huge selling point.
It’s rated for 30 – 180 amps of welding power – (135 amps, 35 volts, 30% duty cycle) – and can handle from 24 gauge to 5/16″ thickness when welding mild steel and powered by electricity. This gets decreased to 1/4″ when powered by the engine. Pretty typical for a 180 class machine. The generator portion provides 120/240 volt power and is rated @5000 watts peak, or 4500 watts continuous. This works out to around 34 amps @ 120 volts, and 17 amps @ 240 volts. Enough power to run most anything including some plasma cutters. Great for plasma cutting in the field. Another thing to note is that it’s got a receptacle for hooking up a spool gun, namely the Miller Spoolmate 100 spool gun.
The engine is a 10 horsepower single cylinder air cooled Kohler. According to the Miller website, there are 4 base models available; recoil start, recoil start with gfci, electric start, and electric start with gfci. Not sure why they choose to sell versions that aren’t gfci equipped. It seems that they should all have gfci as standard equipment, especially when it’s an OSHA requirement.
The base price for this welder is $2677.00. This is for the recoil start, no gfci version. This increases to $2917.00 for the electric start, gfci version. Although they’re often found online for considerably less. Should you buy one? That depends on what your needs are. Since it’s a relatively new model, reliability issues aren’t yet known. But since it’s from Miller, their standard 3 year parts and labor warranty should give you some peace of mind. In any event, it’s certainly a unique setup. I suspect that all the other major welding manufacturers will follow suit and introduce their own versions soon. If you’ve tried one of these, please let us know what your opinion is in the comment section below.