PDA

View Full Version : It's been mentioned before...What Autodarkening helmet?



redhatman
04-17-2007, 11:55 PM
Well guys, I am already sick of this fixed shade welding helmet. I dont like lining up the weld, then slamming down the mask, when sometimes that shakes me, in turn making me loose my position, its almost like a guessing game.

I am looking to stay in a budget, I would say $80 or less for sure, I am looking for more around $50. I see some on ebay, but not name brand or anything. Does anyone know of any helmets around $50, or under $80? I would love to protect my eyes, and keep it on a budget.

Let me know any ideas, maybe input on the eBay ones? Anyone have one, how is it?

Thanks, as always. All input is appreciated.

Happy Welding!
-Pat

ThunderRobo
04-18-2007, 03:45 PM
Use the fixed shade for now, and save up to buy a nice auto darkening one, After all, it is the helmet that is preventing you from becoming blind!

Supe
04-18-2007, 04:22 PM
X2. Don't bother with the cheapie auto darks. Better to sink the money in up front on something like a Jackson NexGen, than to go through a handful of cheapies.

ThunderRobo
04-18-2007, 04:24 PM
I vote for a Miller Elite!

redhatman
04-18-2007, 04:27 PM
What is so bad about "cheapies"?

I realize I am protecting my eyes here, but for $200 more dollars, they are like 7 one thousanths faster. The $50 ones do like 1/25,000 of a second.

I called northern tool, they have one for $50 and he said you are mainly paying for the name.

Input?

ThunderRobo
04-18-2007, 06:22 PM
differences?

The # of arc sencers ----- I've used the school welding helmets and they **** me off sooooo bad! they would blink on and off at times and some times they dont even darken!!!! (my school uses the "Night Hawks"??)

reliability----- pure and simple, it only takes 1 bad flash to get you blind for a few days, so I'd rather have my helmet turn on when i need it to turn on.

Joe H
04-18-2007, 08:35 PM
That's BS. Your eyes are protected through an AD lens even if it doesn''t go dark. You may get a slightly uncomfortable flash, but it will not hurt you.


Alot of people have had good luck with the helmets at Harbor Freight for around $60.00. Read some of the other helmet threads.

ThunderRobo
04-18-2007, 08:38 PM
That's BS. Your eyes are protected through an AD lens even if it doesn''t go dark. You may get a slightly uncomfortable flash, but it will not hurt you.


Alot of people have had good luck with the helmets at Harbor Freight for around $60.00. Read some of the other helmet threads.

I know 2 people who have lost vision for a day due to a welding flash, Both fully licensed pro welders, and both due to a welding helmet that was low on battery and didn't darken.

donm
05-01-2007, 12:05 PM
I'm not sure that the price is too much to consider being either cheap or expensive. But what you want to lean toward is solar rather than battery type. Solar can be charged up in sun light, under a drop light or even a flashlight, but batteries go out without warning and leave you in a mess. I've used the same solar lense since 1994 and it's as dependable now as it was when I first bought it.

PwrTurtle
05-01-2007, 01:59 PM
Inexpensive or Expensive - Whichever one you choose -
Invest $8 to $10 more in a good pair of safety glasses. . .
And USE them!

DesertRider33
06-24-2007, 12:32 AM
I bought a Harbor Freight $60 auto helmet just to try it and see if I could get away on the cheap, but returned it because the lens did not darken uniformly and the light sensor seemed to be erratic in it's sensitivity. Sometimes it would darken other times it would not, or it would darken and then go light. There were dark areas and light areas accross the lens and it looked cloudy. I was not happy with it. Maybe if I was going to use it for occasional project welding once in a while on the weekend it would be ok, but I had much heavier use in mind for it and I just wasn't at all impressed with it....

At my job, I do production welding, which means all I do is weld, constantly, weld after weld, all day long, every day. When I decided I wanted to go auto, it was important to me to have a lens that is clear, uniform, fast, reliable, and can last a long time. Price wasn't a big issue to me. I didn't want to waste money, but at the same time, I wanted something that worked excellent, not sorta ok. I chose a Jackson EQC variable shade lens and have been quite happy with it for about 3 years now. No problems at all with the lens. I would buy one again, no doubt. It was not cheap, but it was well worth every penny I spent on it. :)

WANNAWELD
07-31-2007, 03:29 PM
solar powered Harbor freight one has been working for me

Knotbored
08-03-2007, 01:21 PM
A question:
I have a Harborfreight helmet thats been stored in the box for about half a year (I bought a welder and helmet but haven't had time to play yet.)
I left it outside in bright sunshine to "charge" it for a full day (bright sunshine!)
but
When I look through the lense directly at the sun there seems to be no noticable change from the sunglasses green of the clearer lense. I am afraid to try using the helmet for testing out my welder unless I am sure the helmet gives adequate eye protection.
Please-can someone with a working auto-darkening helmet step outside and look at the sun directly and tell me what to expect? Is that adequate darkening to safely weld with it? Am I being paranoid?

redhatman
08-03-2007, 01:45 PM
knotbored, I just tried it to see and I have the same effect. The sun looks really bright and I can hardly look at it, but when I look away you can see it get really dark. I wouldnt be afraid to use it, I have seen welding light with my bare eyes before (not point blank) and you just see dots for a minute or two, and then back to normal. Just dont hold your eyes open and keep welding if it doesnt work.

lewray
08-03-2007, 01:53 PM
Aheeh for what its worth I thought about getting an auto.

I have some pretty nasty helmets now and it was time to replace.

I just could'nt help to get another fixed Jackson.

cheeseclip
08-03-2007, 11:33 PM
doesnt a solar powered one recharged from the light of the arc while welding also?

PwrTurtle
08-03-2007, 11:36 PM
Some helmet sensors respond best to infrared (the heat of the arc). Point your TV remote at your sensor and see if the helmet goes dark when you push a button.

slamdvw
08-04-2007, 04:22 PM
I test mine by looking at a light source... ( fluorescent, flashlight, bright blue sky ) and wave my hand in front of it,. Usually if it decides to shut off after being idle for a while, there are all sorts of weird dark spots where it should be clear.

I have a solar powered one, and it's alright. It sucks for low amp TIG though.... and not quite dark enough for 120 amp stick welding....

tresi
08-04-2007, 06:10 PM
A question:
I have a Harborfreight helmet thats been stored in the box for about half a year (I bought a welder and helmet but haven't had time to play yet.)
I left it outside in bright sunshine to "charge" it for a full day (bright sunshine!)
but
When I look through the lense directly at the sun there seems to be no noticable change from the sunglasses green of the clearer lense. I am afraid to try using the helmet for testing out my welder unless I am sure the helmet gives adequate eye protection.
Please-can someone with a working auto-darkening helmet step outside and look at the sun directly and tell me what to expect? Is that adequate darkening to safely weld with it? Am I being paranoid?
Any auto darkening helmet I've used including a harbor freight helmet will change state if you look at the ground and quickly look up at the sun. One harbor freight helmet wouldn't always change if you were looking straight ahead and slooked up at the sun but always worked when changing from looking down and then at the sun.

Me!
08-05-2007, 09:03 PM
I have one of the older Miller entry level ones (it was on sale for $80 :) ) It is not the same as the ones they have now, I would put it some ware between there entry level and middle line helmets now. It has always worked well for me, but I am considering and upgrade just to get a bigger lenses. Also the two sensors do get blocked sometimes.

I would agree with others and save for the good one!
Depending on what you have now, I would consider getting a Jackson FS BIG window one NOW if you don't have one They are good for outside stick on sunny days since you can see what you are doing.

bobbyrae
08-12-2007, 08:04 AM
I'm glad this thread is here because I came in wanting to ask the same question.

Just when I was pretty set on buying a Speedglas 9002X, I ran across a discussion on a UK welding board where the blokes where trashing Speedglas for intermittent operation. Sensitivity to cell phones, just being flaky. Few had much good to say about them. :gunsfirin One guy recommended Optrel.

So while the old addage "you get what you pay for" may not always be true, I know I don't want some no-name cheapy off of eBay. You can't just look at specs and price, making your decision from that.

I hope we can get some more feedback here! Anyone have an Astro Pnuematic helmet? Miller?

Me!
08-12-2007, 07:41 PM
The Miller Elite helmets are nice, and some of the welding company's sell them on eBay for a good price.

My next helmet.... I think

bobbyrae
08-12-2007, 09:30 PM
The Miller Elite helmets are nice, and some of the welding company's sell them on eBay for a good price.


Yes, good tip, thanks! That IOC guy has some good prices, however, I have found that CyberWeld seems to actually beat the prices on eBay! Especially when you look at what is included. For instance, the Miller Elite is $240, but includes sheilds and a bag that the IOC guy would charge you $40 extra for!

Me!
08-12-2007, 09:45 PM
Yes, good tip, thanks! That IOC guy has some good prices, however, I have found that CyberWeld seems to actually beat the prices on eBay! Especially when you look at what is included. For instance, the Miller Elite is $240, but includes sheilds and a bag that the IOC guy would charge you $40 extra for!

Yep... eBay has lots of good stuff and lots of crap... Just need to know what you are looking at. The IOC guy is a good seller, purchased item from him, including my new Sync 200 ;)

Lou2u
08-13-2007, 04:06 AM
Gidday

Lou from australia here:waving:

The way i see it I only have 2 eyes N I'll do everything I can with the resources i've got to look after them.

My plans to get the best helmet i can afford preferably one i can grind in.

If theres anything I dont mind spending my hard earn't coin on its safety gear!

For me I'll be happily spending buckloads a cash on a tip top helmet1

I just cant justify not doing my eyes the favor those that don't .........do so at their own peril!

I wanna be able to see me grand kids when im an old bloke !

REgards Lou:D :D :D

Vicoor
08-13-2007, 10:11 PM
while I don't necessarily believe that you always get what you pay for,

I have strong confidence that you almost never get what you don't pay for.

I just ordered a Jackson Nextgen helmet.

The one I've been using is a Morsafe (belongs to a co-worker) and it performs very well.

PivotLok
08-21-2007, 06:23 PM
I do not buy anything from Harbor Fright for anything critical that I need to depend on and that would include auto darkening welding helmets.
JMHO

Ender
08-21-2007, 08:30 PM
Just purchased a Miller Performance Series off of eBay (180 with free shipping). As mentioned about the purchases of the Miller Elite Series, it came with free protective lenses, a storing bag, and a pad for the back of the internal helmet. I've got about 3 hours on it now and its performed very well for me.

GLwelder
09-07-2007, 06:57 AM
My 2 cents... I try to keep my safety glasses on at all times now when working metal. I wear them under my welding mask and grinding face. shieldLast month I was too lazy to grab them and a piece of hot slag burnt my eye lid, a millimeter from damaging my eye.

Altobe
09-08-2007, 06:03 AM
Speedglas 9002x with the side windows. I too am a production welder. I weld, all day, everyday, and have had no problems with mine. The side windows are nice because I can really see whats going on around me, and they really seem to open up the space inside my helmet.

bignick31985
09-14-2007, 06:36 PM
Now I know this is not an accurate comparison in any way. However, I tried on a Northern Tool auto dark and when I would look at the ground and the high bay lighting was visible, but not viewed directly it would not darken.

When I tilted my head upwards and the view of the high bay lighting was more head on, the thing darkened very quickly. So I know it darkens, but I dont know how fast it'd respond to the weld arc.

daya
09-26-2007, 10:52 PM
I need to find a helmet I can wear my glasses in, any ideas?

Me!
09-26-2007, 10:59 PM
I need to find a helmet I can wear my glasses in, any ideas?

They work in most?

daya
09-26-2007, 11:07 PM
I'll have to try them in a store I guess (didn't use to wear glasses :\ )

Sandy
09-27-2007, 01:17 AM
I need to find a helmet I can wear my glasses in, any ideas?

Regular glasses no problem. Bifocals, good luck. :)

Not that bad actually, but it can be a pain. The standard viewing window just isn't big enough for the use of bifocals especially if they slip like mine do. This helmet ever craps out I'll be getting a big window version.

WANNAWELD
11-10-2007, 11:41 AM
solar powered Harbor freight one has been working for me



just went out lasted about 4 mos chinese made helmets blow

i would recommend investing in a quality helmet.

stevinator
11-11-2007, 12:28 AM
I use a speedglass my son brought home after leaving a welding job a couple years ago and it works real well. I don't have a lot of luck using bifocals in any of them so I got a magnifier at the weld store for it. That works best for me.:)

Shubes
11-11-2007, 05:27 PM
Thanks for all the input and tips so far. I just recently started another production job, only this one doesn't provide gear (like the other places I've worked). So, to snag the job, I went and got a Hunstman fixed-shade (#10) but would really like some input on the auto-darkening types. Are they worth it for production welding (MIG, almost exclusively)?

I've been told that FiberMetal is "the absolute best" but since joining this forum (yesterday) haven't even seen them named. Can anyone give me any feedback on FiberMetal helmets?

Thanks again for the info. I've already learned a lot from you guys!

tanglediver
11-11-2007, 07:23 PM
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w191/tanglediver/906seeth_feat_lg1.jpg
Fibre-Metal (http://www.fibre-metal.com/) hoods are an industry standard.

Shubes
11-11-2007, 09:44 PM
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w191/tanglediver/906seeth_feat_lg1.jpg
Fibre-Metal (http://www.fibre-metal.com/) hoods are an industry standard.

Okay, I'm displaying my ignorance here...

What, exactly, do you mean by "industry standard"? Is that a good thing? A bad thing? Or does it just mean FiberMetal hoods are universally accepted throughout the welding industry?

How do FiberMetal hoods compare to these $300-$400 Miller or Speedglas hoods?

On another note...I really like my Huntsman, but I absolutely hate the fact that the headgear on it won't ratchet down snug enough to stay on my pointy little head. :blush2: (I wear a 6-7/8 welding cap.) The welding supply rep tells me, however, that there are no other headgear suppliers that will fit the Huntsman, so I'm basically stuck with a hood that, as good as it is, falls off anytime I have to stand on my head (not uncommon when I'm trying to re-work an ugly bead on a handrail.) It's frustrating for a guy with a small-ish dome, and I've already put the leather sweatband on the headgear to try to tighten it up. :mad:

Any more suggestions? And thanks for the info thus far!!!

tanglediver
11-13-2007, 12:10 AM
Hmmm, you sure got me now. I mean to say that I am impressed by the reliability of my Fibre-Metal hard hat/welding hood and I have always known weldors to use this style, though I did not know the name brand until I got into college level training and heard about this exact helmet from my instructor who by day is still an Iron Worker. OH, NOW I SEE, IT'S A FIBRE-METAL HOOD!! I've seen these forever!! From way back while I did work on construction sites, the weldors always had the same one.
The AD hood craze is all well and good, but I like my old truck, I like my Snap-On tools and I like my Fibre-Metal Hardhat/welding hood. Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet, as the commercial went!
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w191/tanglediver/image0401.jpg
You need a reliable hood to start, the Jackson is another good reliable hood. I always wear a noogie to cover my scalp, any of the hats will do, it's your choice, as it is your scalp!
:jester:

GrantH
11-22-2007, 10:38 AM
cyber weld has the 3M speedglass "utility" on sale for 30 dollars off. It is a MFG mail in rebate, but it is at a discount. It beats the ebay prices with the sale easily.

I don't know how good of a helmet it is, but seems like people talk about speedglass helmets pretty highly.

Shubes
12-07-2007, 09:48 PM
Okay, here's another twist to the seemingly-endless "which helmet" question.

I want an auto-darkening, but I discovered something new today. The company I work for provides super "el cheapo" A/D hoods (they try hard to keep quiet about it, but I found out), so I went and borrowed one.

The one thing I had conveniently forgotten about cheap A/D hoods is how reflective light---i.e. from stainless---will trigger the lens. Very frustrating when you're trying to tack stainless steel pins onto a tank that's been polished by a flap-disc and gives off a nice reflection of the shop's lights. I finally got tired of trying to position my head in just the right place to block the reflective light, and resorted back to the old "position-and-flip" tactic.

So my question is, Do any of these high-dollar, high-end auto-darkening helmets (that I've never owned or worked with) prevent that? Oh, and by the way, I've set the lens sensitivity to "Normal" (the only other setting is "Light") and all that did was allow the lens to clear up to the Shade 4 level. On the "Light" setting, I couldn't get the lens to clear up at all. :(

I'm ready to buy a good helmet, but this is definitely an issue with me, as it looks like I'll be working with stainless/inconel on an extensive basis.

The only other MAJOR issue is weight; I want the most light-weight hood I can get without sacrificing quality.

Thanks for all the input thus far.

Rick Moran
12-07-2007, 10:32 PM
Miller Elite. It is super light, comfortable and has an AD sensitivity adjustment for just that reason.

IBJQ
12-30-2007, 10:38 PM
Hard to believe anyone would skimp on such a critical piece of safety equipment (sans the fed gov). These are you eyes folks! Before you buy, look at the specs/certifications for the helmet. The whole idea is to not get hurt, not save a few bucks. Anyone who would trust their eyes to a product from Harbor Frieght has got to be a little loopy. Be good to yourself, go to the Jackson, Speedglas, Miller or Lincon web sites and do your homework.

William McCormick Jr
01-01-2008, 11:59 PM
What is so bad about "cheapies"?

I realize I am protecting my eyes here, but for $200 more dollars, they are like 7 one thousanths faster. The $50 ones do like 1/25,000 of a second.

I called northern tool, they have one for $50 and he said you are mainly paying for the name.

Input?

My eyes are rather sensitive to welding and electricity. I can look right at an arc already started and not get flashed. But if it comes on while I am focusing on it. I will not be having a good night.

Over the years I have tried a few auto darkening helmets. And they never impressed me. They did not save me time. The only good thing was that you can use them as a grinding mask. Other then that, I got a bad felling in my eyes every time the light came on.

It was like it gets light then dark then light again each time. I could not believe them.

I am also just so used to opening and throwing down my helmet that I do the same even when I have spent a whole day welding with an auto darkening helmet.


Sincerely,


William McCormick

joethemechanic
02-18-2008, 10:31 AM
I worked for years with a fixed helmet. I put in a 10 or a 12 or whatever I need. As far as auto darkening goes, I keep the tension a little loose, and give my head a nod before I strike an arc.

I really don't like the AD units, I just don't trust them with my eyes. Not to mention the simple fixed models are rugged. What happens to an auto darkening unit when you drop it in a puddle in a scrap yard or some other godawful place?

What can I say, I'm old and "thrifty" I weld with an SA-100, burn with propane, drive a 93 Chevy C-20 utility body, and run a 350 Cummins mechanical engine in my tractor. I like stuff that can be fixed with a sharp rock and a pointy stick.

Oldtimer
02-18-2008, 12:07 PM
To me industry standard means something that has been around for years and years and and has proved to be of outstanding quality and durability. Fiber Metal and Jackson bot qualify under this defination. I have used several of both brands over the years, just regular old flip down and weld helmets and both are excellent. I have a cheap Lincoln A/O and it works great, just one shade and you cant grind with it is it's drawback. If I could justify the cost ( I'm retired) I would buy the top of the line Jackson in a minute. No cheapo Chinese stuff for me. As an old farm bos(old time name for an oilfield foreman) used to say "You are using the last pair of eyes you will ever have, take care of them".

To all of you wearing bifocals try lineless bifocals. I can use mine in a standard hood where I couldn't use the lined ones.

pbfourever
02-20-2008, 04:41 PM
Honestly i kinda regret getting my ad helmet. Now that i am on plate and soon to be pipe, i can see way more clearly through my passive but that can be changed with playing around with my settings on the ad. But when i overlap my beads it makes it 10 times easier

mark123
02-22-2008, 05:25 PM
I have a cheap auto i traded a guy an inpact for. It is from cummings (tool store) and i like it. it only cost like 50 for. It works :pumpkin:

Mandau
03-01-2008, 07:40 AM
err... kinda new here... wanna ask if there is a kelvar welding hood with AD made in US or Europe?

IF that is not avaliable then which AD hood would ya recommend from this 3?

1. 3M speedglas
2. Miller Elite
3. OPTREL

If money is not a problem, which is the toughest and protective lots of them all? I really need an upgrade... buying and havin it send to a remote 3rd world and find it expensive and not functionable could really make me talk to the monkey:)

Many Thanks in advance

Ross H
03-01-2008, 11:18 AM
I have both types
- Miller Elite AD
- Low cost Hobart wiht a clear window that has a flip down shade

The Miller AD is great! The only problem is sometimes in bright light it will darken when the sun shines on the sensor. In those cases I pull out the Hobart.

Mandau
03-01-2008, 11:36 AM
yeah miller elite AD... been to the website seen the paint job... nice to wear one next to my miller too... only thing is bugging me is there is too little people talkin about optrel... I wanna get all info before settle down on the hood that my guys will be using...

low amp, will be startle by stainless surface reflecting sunlight?

Mmmm... so I still need a convention hood to deal with it yes? THX

cheers

Mandau
03-02-2008, 01:42 PM
decide on OPTREL... doesnt use battery and it have curve to wave the welding smog away faster... I will put leather on the surface with for HD purpose and it feel better... would post if I improve on the circuit on the hood...:)

Cheers

slowflyer
03-04-2008, 01:17 PM
Two unrelated comments:

1.

Usually if it decides to shut off after being idle for a while, there are all sorts of weird dark spots where it should be clear.



The owner's manual for my Jackson EQC says the spots, when off, are normal. Probably the same for yours. Don't worry about it.

2.
I am pretty happy with mine. As to eye burn when off, I watched an instructor demonstrate a weld (weave) when I did not realize that the helmet had timed out. The weld was bright but not blinding. Embarrassed to say it took me a little bit to realize what was wrong.