Multi-Process Power in a Pickup Truck

By Larry Stewart, Executive Editor | September 28, 2010

Vantage 300
Capable of generating 12,500 watts of 3-phase power and 11,500 watts of 1-phase power, Vantage 300 can run two arcs, one from an inverter and a wire feeder simultaneously.

Lincoln Electric replaced its Commander 300 with the Vantage 300 welder/generator that comes with separate welding modes for constant-current stick, downhill pipe stick, touch-start TIG, and constant-voltage wire welding. The stainless-steel-covered package is smaller than the Commander, and weighs just over 1,000 pounds so it can work effectively from the back of a pickup truck.

The Vantage 300 is a constant-current/constant-voltage machine, capable of delivering 300 amps, 32 volts of DC welding output at 100 percent duty cycle. Lincoln claims that's more than 25 percent greater output than any competitive units. Output range can reach 400 amps.

Lincoln says its Chopper Technology produces a smooth, easy-starting arc with low spatter and a continuous range of adjustable arc force. Vantage 300 has a dedicated mode designed to create the arc characteristics common in stick pipe welding.

Relying on just two welding-output studs for all processes, the Vantage 300 is easier to set up than three-stud welders. Optional welding gauges can be installed easily in the front panel. Gauges for engine temperature, oil pressure and fuel level are standard equipment.

The AC generator makes 12,500 watts of 3-phase power for powerful plasma cutting, and 11,500 watts of 1-phase power. Three-phase power is standard equipment, accessed by a receptacle on the machine's front panel. With welding output set at 300 amps, the generator still offers 400 watts of 1-phase or 800 watts of 2-phase power at 2 amps. The Vantage 300 can power two arcs simultaneously, plus a wire feeder for one of the arcs if necessary.

Because it is an industrial four-cylinder engine, the water-cooled Kubota diesel generates 22 horsepower at 1,800 rpm. It should run inherently smoother than three-cylinder commercial engines in competitive machines, which do not reach rated horsepower until higher speeds. A 15-gallon fuel tank holds 30 percent more than competitive welders. Lincoln says it can weld at 300 amps of output for 121/2 hours on each tank of fuel.

Vantage borrows access innovations from Lincoln's Air Vantage machine such as a sliding engine door in place of a hinged door. Lincoln says the door is 55 percent larger than competitive machines, and a folding door of similar size would require 13 inches of space alongside the machine to offer as much access. There's a patent pending on the tilt-down control panel; the front-mounted battery tray ensures easy access; and the radiator cap is under a lockable flap on top. They're all features designed to make the Vantage 300 serviceable in the confines of a pickup-truck bed.

Lincoln warrants the entire welder, including brushes, slip rings, relays and contacts, for three years, and even covers the batteries for two years. The engine is covered by Kubota's warranty. List price for the Vantage 300 is $9,054.