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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation

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c.amick

12-02-2019 18:18:15




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I'm thinking perhaps I should move up to an auto-darkening welding helmet. I have never used one. I don't do much welding and I do all my welding outdoors. Does that mean that I should buy a solar powered one? The Antra Brand seems to get a pretty good rating on the Intranet Reviews that I looked at. They run $50 to $60, which seems pretty cheap for a quality helmet.

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tlock0331

12-05-2019 04:54:49




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
so i have that lincoln series, it is hands down the best one i have ever had, today, i this is the 3rd in 25 years? anyway, i just saw a hood that esab is selling....WOW.....its art i think.....

Esab SENTINEL A50 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet



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electro

12-04-2019 18:31:41




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
As others have said, the default state is for the liquid crystals to stay at a dark level of around 4. If the electronics is broken or the battery is dead then the darkness will be around a shade 4. The active part, the liquid crystal, only helps with visible light and IR light neither of which will cause welder's flash or welder's keratitis. That is due to the UV light. The UV blocking is always part of the lens and not part of the liquid crystal auto darkening function. You always have the UV protection. A dead battery will allow the welding light to dazzle you similar to the effect of seeing a camera flash but that absolutely will not cause welder's flash. Having a dazzle means the autodarkening function is not working likely from a dead battery but you still have the same full UV protection.

However, UV light can still come in from the sides or reflect from a poorly fitting or poorly worn helmet. That is one of several reasons to wear UV protection under the helmet such as good fitting wrap around safety glasses.
If you get a welder's flash from any welding helmet including the autodarkening types then likely the source of the problem is not the helmet but the USER of the helmet.
I switched years ago from my uncle's old fiber pipeliner helmet to an auto darkening helmet. I would hate to have to go back. To each their own but there is nothing inherently dangerous about using an autodarkening helmet.

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RLP in Co.

12-04-2019 13:14:14




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I have a harbour freight helmet that I have used for about 7 years. I have never been flashed since I've had it. I don't know how it stays charged but it always works. If it failed today I would buy another one. I duct taped a cloth on the back for welding in the sunlight.



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tlock0331

12-04-2019 13:09:08




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
the lincoln 3350 Series is a newer design and it has more of a blueish interior shade and it, to me at least, is the only way to go, my vision during welding has really never been better. They are around 250-275, but i dont regret that one bit.



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kencombs

12-04-2019 08:00:53




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I wanted to try but didn't want to commit much money to the trial. Found this one on eBay:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pro-Solar-Auto-Darkening-Welding-Helmet-Arc-Tig-Mig-Mask-Grinding-Welder-Hood-US/272414063844?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
I just couldn't believe it could be any good at that price. But knowing that everything is covered by eBay's warranty, I order one.

Works very well. Lightweight, decent headgear. Adjustable delay and shade.

Smaller window than some, but for my needs it's fine. If you're as cheap as I am, you'll like it.

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c.amick

12-04-2019 10:08:24




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to kencombs, 12-04-2019 08:00:53  
Wow, you may be cheaper than me! :) $13.48 each plus free shipping, you've got to be kidding. Seller received feedback from 670 buyers and around 650 were positive. I think I would want wear UV glasses under it just in case.

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kencombs

12-04-2019 17:02:39




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-04-2019 10:08:24  
As far as I can tell, the 'guts' of this thing are the same as most of the sub $100 ones out there.



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Butch(oh)

12-04-2019 04:15:30




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I resisted them for quite some time but my eyesight got to the point where I was about to give up welding. My son gave me one to try and I could I once more see what I am doing. I went with a middle ground Hobart, was a couple hundred bucks. There are differences in how quick they react. It is going on two years old now and on the OEM batteries but probably used 30 minutes per week. Now if I could only loose my helmet tipping habit,, LOL

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JOHN - OH

12-03-2019 20:15:27




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I use a Miller elite. Hands down an awesome helmet. Not cheap but worth the money.



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tn terry t

12-03-2019 19:57:48




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
preach it brother tell it like it tiz! 8)



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c.amick

12-03-2019 17:29:33




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
Thanks for all the replies. I thought I would have to pay more to get one that I would be pleased with.



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tn terry t

12-03-2019 16:49:02




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I use an Optrel brand with adjustable shades and grind mode best helmet I have ever seen pricey? yes but can be used in grinder mode turn it down for cutting torch and never have to raise the hood to do it either.



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old

12-03-2019 10:09:54




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
While if your only doing welding by your self they maybe ok I'll NEVER own one. I worked at a place where we built boat docks and we would have 4 plus people welding side by side and we got in the auto dark helmets when they first came out. I had more then one time I ended up in the hospital due to having welder burned eyes. The helmet would darken if I was welding but would not if a guy next to me was welding so I got flashes off others welding

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kencombs

12-04-2019 09:03:59




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to old, 12-04-2019 07:48:08  
I think you are both right in that safety glasses with UV shield can and will protect eyes from weld flash. And Old did wear safety glasses under the helmet.

The problem is that OSHA does not require UV shield lenses if the welder is using a helmet. So I'd bet the company provided the same glasses to all employees that need them under OSHA rules. So, welders never got the protection they needed and the company met the rules.

Many companies use curtains on mobile frames to solve this issue. Used between welding stations or to protect others around the welding.

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old

12-04-2019 09:09:27




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to kencombs, 12-04-2019 09:03:59  
This happened back in the early 90s when the auto dark helmet first came out so there may have been things with them back then that are not now. Either way I got burned to many times and will NEVER recommend them to any one who is welding close to other people. They maybe ok for a person welding in there own shop with no one else around. But either way I'll never own one and the helmets I have and use has the 24 caret gold lens in them and I'll only use the gold lens. My eye sight has been damaged because of welder burn so in all good faith I not recommend the auto dark helmets

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Dusty MI

12-03-2019 09:42:39




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
Because I wear trifocal I went with a large window auto darkening hood. I like it except if I try to grind using it as a face shield, the light from the sparks cause it darken, then I can't see.

You can also adjust how dark you want it.

It also solar charges the battery. I keep it in a drawer, and have never had to change the battery.

Dusty



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derwen1959

12-03-2019 06:42:43




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I bought auto helmet a while ago and just for split second I got flash so I stopped using it



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moresmoke

12-03-2019 05:59:23




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I have a top of the line Miller, itís really good except it eats batteries. I also have a 20+ year old Jackson that was the first autodark I bought. Itís almost as good as the Miller. Only bought the new one because one of the kids wanted to learn to weld.



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Patsdeere

12-02-2019 21:56:51




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
If you want a good one Lincoln has a sale going on right now. Just got one for $215 delivered to my door. Loving it.



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Shaun Wallace

12-02-2019 20:47:09




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I have autodark HF,Do all my welding outside. Have to wait till sun is in rite place or move to where don't get glare behind me . If I was going to do lots I would get a pancake helmet.



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Janicholson

12-02-2019 20:36:32




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
I use a helmet 3 days a week to teach basic welding processes. The link is to the one I chose. It is a tall price, but way incredible to use. Jim

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Oliver 500 Wa

12-02-2019 19:46:55




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Can not speak for all brands, but the HF one I have (blue flame decals on it) does not charge the batteries when in the sun or exposed to welding light (despite what the guy at the HF store says). When it quit working, I took mine apart and traced the circuitry. The batteries power the sensing circuit. The solar cells power the darkening of the lens. There are two lithium "coin cells" in the sensing circuit. They are non-rechargeable type batteries. When they go bad the helmet won't darken even if you left it in the sun for a week.

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fred werring

12-05-2019 21:21:43




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to Oliver 500 Wa, 12-02-2019 19:46:55  
Being the frugal type, I took mine apart and wired in battery holders when the batteries went dead in my HF helmets.

Works good.

Fred



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Steve@Advance

12-02-2019 19:36:25




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
A few things you want in a good helmet:

A good, heavy duty head gear, one that wont strip out trying to get it tight enough to stay on, and the pivot works well, stays adjusted, doesn't work loose.

The large window is a plus, easier to see out of than the small ones.

Look at the durability of the battery compartment. A fragile cover will soon be broken, the batteries falling out (personal experience).

Availability of replacement parts, especially the lens cover. I'm not familiar with that brand, just something to consider when buying.

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Bob Harvey

12-02-2019 19:24:21




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
Tried one, didn't really like it - used to nodding my noggin. Welded aluminum every day for 4 years.



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Goose

12-02-2019 18:37:33




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 Re: Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet Recommendation in reply to c.amick, 12-02-2019 18:18:15  
How do you mean "solar powered"?

The batteries on both of mine are charged by the ultra violet rays in either the sunshine or welding glare. If I haven't used one for a while, I usually set it out in the sun for a few hours to charge the batteries.



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