What's the proper place for the end of the tip to sit, flush with the nozzle? If so, that's basically where I have it. I might just put a fresh tip on for ****s and giggles.
Amperage is a great question. I forgot how crummy the wiring is in my house.. to check, what I'm going to do is plug it into an outlet that is running on literally one foot of wire from the panel. Where I've been using the welder is outside on my patio plugged into an outdoor outlet that runs underground that my dad installed a few years back. He's not a chuckle head or anything but whatever else that's on the circuit could definitely be an issue because our panel is somewhat maxed out.
As for the polarity I spent a few minutes looking at it to make sure it was on right, and actually the little picture under the cover does have a thing showing which way for flux or for gas shielded. That much is right.
I haven't gotten the 'frying bacon' EVER with this machine for as long as I've been borrowing it. It might do some pops and farts that are even and consistent enough to sound that way but I know what you're saying and its not doing that. I did a little welding with a stick welder at my old job and I know how it should just be SMOOTH and even and its about as far from it as possible.
I checked the tip, its correct too.
I think its time to do the 'parts changer' type of trouble shooting starting with getting a fresh tank of gas. Then a new ground. Then a new gun... hah. and its not even my welder
I've got quite a few things to check through thanks a lot for your suggestions. I wonder about a leak and having the proper gas flow set.. I thought you just dial it in to 25 or 30 and you're good to go... gotta check that out for sure.