Orion mPulse Micro Welder: part 2 – Comparison

Apples to Apples – Comparing the mPulse to other models

After trying the 4 different models at the gem show, here’s what I think the Orion mPulse model lacks that many consumers would probably find valuable:

1) step control
2) microscopes
3) more advanced settings for those who are soldering very expensive pieces.
If you are soldering $20k to $50k jewelry pieces, an extra few thousand dollars for more precise control is a sound investment!

The mPulse doesn’t have a separate step control; this would will allow you to hold the pieces in place, keep them still, and then use your foot to push a pedal or device that sends the charge to solder. Currently you have to push the pieces together against the electrode (needle) for the soldering to happen. Initially this could be tricky.

A microscope is useful if your eyesight isn’t very good. However, I found this cumbersome as I wear glasses and will be sharing the device with several people in the office, so the settings might be changing continuously depending on who is using it. At the gem show I tried the top of the line model, the 200i2, but the two booth assistants couldn’t get the touch screen to do what they wanted, mind you they weren’t familiar with it yet. The Orion sales representative was there the following day and was able to demonstrate its use smoothly.

I worry that electronics with more sophisticated parts are more prone to breakdowns, and I just needed the machine to spot weld! So, taking in to consideration the cost difference and how much I valued the add-ons, I decided to purchase the cheaper mPulse model.

The mPulse is the entry level model which retails for US$2000 from Sunstone Welders, makers of the Orion series of welders.

Photo of the mPulse courtesy of Orion Welders

The next model up is the Orion 100C Pulse which retails for US$4000.

Photo of the the Orion 100C courtesy of Orion Welders.

This is followed by the Orion 150S which retails for US$5000.

Photo of the the Orion 150S courtesy of Orion Welders.

And last but not least the Orion 200i which sells for US$8000.

Photo of the the Orion 200i2 courtesy of Orion Welders.

Price and Warranty

The mPulse comes with a 3 month factory warranty whereas the other models come with a standard one year warranty. For an extra US$500 you can purchase a two year warranty. I found this disappointing and had to question the logic behind the Orion marketing team’s thinking. Apparently, the mPulse was meant to be an affordable model for students and for jewelry manufacturers in developing countries. They decided to keep the original warranty short, and offer a longer warranty at a premium. The ‘longer warranty’ is slightly less than the price of the next model up in order to encourage people to buy the more expensive unit.

Although I understand that no marketer wants to cannibalize their own products by selling a cheaper unit, but their thinking is flawed. By offering such a short warranty, it actually communicates to the public a lack of confidence in the quality of their own manufacturing. Although a three month warranty is standard; if not generous, in developing countries, it falls well short of what’s expected in North America. I’m certain the mPulse is a sturdy machine and won’t be prone to breaking down, but I am hoping that the decision makers at the Orion Welder Head Office will rethink this strategy and increase the warranty to one year for North American buyers. The technological offerings of the other models alone more than justify the price differences.

Coming up in my next post, How to setup the Orion mPulse Micro Welder, includes video!

Written by Dana Henning