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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 05-10-2008, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcoop
Thanks for all the help on this. Seems like a HF helmet is good, but I need to find one that is solar powered and not battery. Thanks again for the help...
I just saw one on Harbor web site for $59.95....chicago electric brand..

solar powered.....external controls.....and a flip up lens....and a slim helmet design...

looks good to me!

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 06:18 AM
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........ Man really interesting reading here. Are you telling me that because the government has some mandate/law on the auto darkening light filtering standards. That YOUR safety somehow is not a responsibility that is necessary for the individual to be concerned with?

And then go and buy some china crap and come over to my car and tell me that the 2 dollar helmet is just as good as the 235 dollar one ............... very enlightening. The question NOW becomes how did you do the test for verification OR did you read the label on that product to determine this fact. If the label is the source of the information just let me put out a little clue for anyone to chew on ......... Ever heard of counterfeit money, what makes you think that this is not done elsewhere? I know only money is counterfeited......

Paint 2 cars black and use the cheaper paint of the SAME manufacture on one and go with the good stuff on the other. Now set them in the sun and take a wag at which one will out last the other , perform and indoor time the longest.

No wonder we have such substandard product floating around. For instance, cell phones that do all sorts of tricks. But the one thing they were designed for originally, the stupid piece of crap can not do .......... Make a phone call that does NOT include the words "can you here me now"

I personally do not believe for one second that the hf helmets are as good doing the same job as the better brands, to the ones that think it can happen ............ fine it is your eyes and while you are spending your money on you sight problems. I on the other hand will be at the speed shop spending my money on faster parts ................ good luck with your cheep eye protection just a gamble I personally am not interested in taking.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 06:30 AM
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The HF helmets are NOT as good as the miller Hobart ect.

One reason has been said before. the hoods and straps are FAR better quality.

Take it from someone who has burned their eyes pretty badly welding.

The HF helmet is great for the DIY weekend tinkerer.....However if your job is welding all day everyday I would invest in a better helmet.

But even then I doubt that the .0025 sec difference each time you strike the ark or start the bead is going to do your eyes any harm....no more than being outside on a bright snowy day!

I trust oldred and the others on this one.....and like I said before I have a slezebay helmet and LOVE it. Best 40 bucks I'v spent in a long time.
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Old 05-11-2008, 09:57 AM
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As I mentioned earlier when the Hobart/Miller helmet first came out (the one called "the hood") it had the EXACT SAME lens as the HF helmet sold at that time (not sure what either uses now). When I picked up a HF helmet at the store I thought the shade adjustment switch looked familiar so I checked out the lens and it turned out to be the SAME EXACT "Chameleon" brand lens that was in the $200 Hobart I had bought a few weeks earlier and this was in a $49.95 HF outfit! The Hobart helmet had a better shell and headgear but not that much better and the electrics were the same thing. As far as the time it takes to change to dark being a concern you can believe what you want but the mechanics of how the thing works means that the UV will be stopped regardless of whether or not the thing goes dark so it is not an issue. Where did I get this? Not from reading a label but from discussions with Jackson welding products early on when these things first came on the scene, the field reps came out and explained how they worked and did demos with a meter that measured the UV during exposure to an arc. The auto dark, even the very early designs, stopped the UV even in the lightened stage and it was explained to us then that the UV protection is not dependent on the lens changing shade. I have used the the Auto dark outfits since they first came out and this was in some very demanding conditions where shade change failures were common because of awkward welding positions causing sensor blockage. I, and others I worked with, were "flashed" many times often with large rod/wire and high AMPs while using both brand names and no-name gear but to my knowledge none of us suffered any problems from this. The Jackson rep said the hardest sell he had was to convince people that the shade going dark had nothing to do with UV protection and that they were not being exposed to UV during the time it takes for these things to change. The myth still persists even after they have been around for over twenty years and you can still hear those BS stories about workers going blind because the helmet changed shades too slow. The fact is, Government standards or not, if any of that non-sense was true and you could harm yourself with one of these things the lawyers would be having a field day with the companies who sell them, to quote the Jackson rep "If you think convincing OSHA was hard you should have seen us trying to convince the company lawyers!". There are far more of the cheap HF variety helmets out there in use than the big brand names but other than a few "urban legends" not much is heard about them. Fellows stopping the UV is not rocket science (in the beginning it was done by smoking a piece of clear glass over a fire! ) and you are not depending on the electrics of these things for that protection so shade reaction time is not going to cause you to go blind from UV exposure.


One thing to mention is to NEVER use these, or even a conventional helmet, without the cover plates because even though the cover plate is clear it still has quite a bit of the UV protection!
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 10:10 AM
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Probably the reason that the lense is green.....that stops all the UV rays and the tinting is just so that you can see what you're doing.

Red you have a wealth of info to share and I look forward to learning ALOT more from you.
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 01:40 PM
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I was going to chime in before, but the one thing I can bring in is this. I've noticed that when I use an auto-darkening helmet, I think I weld better. Being a "rookie-novice" welder,I attribute that to the fact that I get a bit jittery when I don't start right where I want to, and then I strike in a few more "odd places"--like oily shop rags-- that I didn't intend on. Maybe I'm just buying into some old wives tail, but I do notice a difference.

Lots of good info to be found otherwise. Serves as a good discussion.


In a while, Chet.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 02:28 PM
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This whole subject of auto-darkening lenses is a puzzling one.

At the electronic shops every single computer, stereo, tv set, dvd player, digital camera, etc that I have looked at have one thing in common:

A small label that reads "made in China".....or some other asian country where t labour is cheap....regardless of brand.

The CANON camera I recently bought is made in malaysia.

Matter of fact I was recently looking at fork attachments for my bobcat loader and many of them state that frames made locally; forks imported.

I may be wrong but I really think that ALL of the welding helmets have the auto darkening lenses made in china!

and that the only difference between the no-name helmets and the so-called brand name ones is in the shape and headgear...but the lenses are all the same!

where does one turn to find out the truth?
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 04:18 PM
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Dusty, I was thinking the same thing but I didn't say anything because I am not sure where most of the brand name lens are made now but I doubt they are made here in the US, most of them anyway. I do know that I have used both the cheap and the name brand helmets and I really can't see much difference in them except for the headgear and shells. There certainly are features on the expensive name outfits that are not on the cheapos but in the case of the (older ones anyway) Hobart helmet the ONLY thing the extra $150 got for the Hobart vs the HF was a better shell/headgear! Most of the fellows in my shop used the cheap helmets and they did spend some time working on the headgear which did not seem to hold up very well but this was in a 10 hour a day shop and they saw more use the first week than most home use helmets will in their lifetime. The lens however did not seem to be a problem and the usual thing to do was to adapt a Jackson, or some other quality type, headgear to the cheapo outfit but for home use the cheap gear will probably be ok. From a safety standpoint it will be up to the buyer to decide for himself but the track record for these things seems to be ok and that really is no surprise because of the way they work a failure to switch shade is more of a comfort issue than a safety issue. As for me I have used the cheap helmets and I would not be afraid to use one, at least that one in question from HF, but I prefer the Jackson for full time work because of the quality and other features. For home use I probably would not spend the $400 I paid for the Jackson and doubt many of the other guys here would want to spend that much either for a weekend use helmet. I did see one cheap helmet that I would not use and some time back someone asked about one of those, these are sometimes found on E-bay and the traveling tool shows that show up from time to time but if you look at one the problems are obvious. Not only is the headgear a joke but the lens does not seal properly so even if it is made of safe material the leakage around the lens housing makes it unsafe to use. Just use common sense when shopping for one of these things and stay away from anything that is obviously shoddy. If you plan to make a living with your welding helmet then I would suggest spending the extra cash on a good one but for weekend home use the HF outfit works just fine at a fraction of the cost. The HF helmet has been around a long time now and it seems to have a good following and if there was a safety issue it would have come to light by now.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 06:58 PM
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the cheap helmets work fine unless your tig welding they are not sensitive enough. as for hurting you eyes even if it doesn't turn on or too slow the lens filters out the harmfull rays ,it wont burn your eyes
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 07:17 PM
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OLD RED.....

I bought the first generation import helmet , battery powered around 5 years ago....I did not like it....the headband was lousy....the helmet did not have enough sweep rearwards so when welding outside too much ambient light came into the helmet making visibility of the weld area tuff....and the lens once darkened became a very dark shade of green making the weld puddle tuff to see....and the shade control was on the top of the lens on the inside of the helmet....and the batteries shut off automatically all the time between passes...ALL IN ALL THAT HELMET WAS CRAP!

HOWEVER....I did buy a helmet similar to the solar chicago electric sold by harbor a couple of years ago.....(I live in Canada and I got it at Princess Auto;our version of harbor).

I like it very much and have nothing bad to say about it....and have never had any eye irritations.....and it does what I expect of an autodarkening helmet .....and so far the headgear has stood up well....

My only comment about these types of helmets in general is that I would like to have one with a larger lens viewing area....something around 4" square so I would have better visibility when welding overhead or lying on the ground on my side....

as for me.....I am not a weekend amateur....I am a professional in every sense of the word....
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2008, 11:26 PM
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Dusty, I know about the lousy helmets I have seen a few of those too, maybe not the exact same one you are talking about but you know what I mean. Certainly not all the cheap helmets are good but not all are bad either and that is what I meant earlier, often the major difference is more in what is holding the lens than the lens itself. HF has a couple of different models but one in particular seems to be the most popular and from the number I have seen in use locally I tend to think it must be a huge seller for them, having used one myself on occasion I can understand why. While that HF outfit seems better than most cheapos some of them are so cumbersome to use with poorly located adjustments (or no adjustments!) and poorly designed shells/headgear they simply can a PITA to use. My point was that passing up an economy helmet based simply on the myth that it might be dangerous because it will fail to switch shade fast enough or not at all sometimes is passing on it for the wrong reason. Obviously if the lens did not go dark and the operator continued to use it anyway the glare would be so bright he would not be able to see what he is doing and I would assume that after a while he would incur injury from it just as he would from looking at any light that bright, but not from UV exposure. I could not imagine someone doing such a thing and if they injured themselves from doing something like that it would hardly be the helmets fault. The bottom line is that contrary to popular belief the operator does not get any extra UV exposure during the time it takes for the lens to switch and the protection is not dependent on the lens switching at all. Personally I think it would make little sense for a person to buy a $400 helmet, as much as I like my Jackson, for weekend or hobby use when the $50 HF outfit would work just fine and just as safely.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 05-12-2008, 12:16 AM
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RED, I fully agree with what you have had to say on the subject.....

All those lenses begin at shade 5 regardless and that offers adequate protection from momentary flash at any rate.

Only a moron would continue trying to use a lense that failed to immediately switch darker....

And as I mentioned previously, the solar version similar to harbors unit has served me very well for last couple years....for me it has worked just great and reliably with no ill effects....For me it has proven to be a great product!

And I have done an awful lot of welding over the last 40 years and my eyes are very light sensitive....and especially so in recent years because I need reading glasses to see anything close up because of my age and I have to wear them as well when I weld or I cannot see what is going on in the puddle clearly.

If the lense in my "cheap'auto helmet was not working as it should, I would certainly have felt the effects of it, especially given the magnifying effect of reading glasses.....and mig/tig is primarilly what I do and as you know, those arcs are especially high UV and very bright!

and I can afford a $400 helmet.....but I have yet to experience the need....and I am not convinced that they would perform better!

Dusty
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:29 AM
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Still using my "El-Cheapo" auto hood i bought about 3-4 years ago at a local Agri-Supply store for 49.99(something like a harbor freight but better in my opinion).
This sheild is the exact same one as the harbor freight sheild here ..just didnt have the chicago electric name on the box http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=46092

Ive used it for stick welding up on the iron..TIG Stainless in a reactor cavity in a nuclear power plant and TIG welding/repair equipment on turbine floor work in power plants and used it for welding new panels on vehicles/body work..etc

Im workin a Ga Power plant coal burner right now and using it,we are replacing all new steel plates on a coal bin..still working fine and never had a flash from it.
Only probelms ive seen for it is finding lens covers for it..tractor supply sells a Hobart "The Hood" sheild..the cover lenses fit this one perfect .so i buy lots of packs of them at a time when im there.i like this sheild most of all because the band is comfortable and the sheild is SUPER light.Ive dropped this sheild several floors and expected to be picking it up in peices when i got to the ground...its still working just as good as it did new.
As far as "Professionals" using the high dollar sheilds?..most yes..but in my line of work NO..we climb iron to the sky..always inside bad spots such as nasty dirty and dangerous paper plants,power plants..etc etc..i preferably use the cheapy so when it gets dropped or smashed by equipment or just plain stolen i only wasted a few bucks compared to 3-400.00
As Oldred has stated..most of the cheap AND pricy auto lenses are close or the same..its the headgear and sheild itself that is different from what ive ever seen..but dont get me wrong..there IS some JUNK auto's out there..ive just never had the displeasure of using one.

Huntsman now has come out with a new Auto-Lense that is just the size of a small filter lense for sheilds called Solera..solar powered and fits in the place of the regular lens shade in a sheild..ive tryed it at the last nuclear plant i worked and liked it,they gave me a brand new one to take home with me i like it so much. Ive used it for stick and MIG,havent had the chance to use it for TIG yet,it says a shade 10-11 according to the brightness of the light..here's a pic of it...
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 05-19-2008, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by tcoop
Is a $180.00 auto darkening helmet from National Welders that much better, than one for $60.00 at Harbor Freight or Northern Tool?
Is there a quality or safety issue between them?
Thanks
for me it was night and day. I have a cheap auto darkening helmet with adjstable shade and was having trouble seeing my weld location with it. I bought a Miller auto darkening helmet and my quality of weld has greatly improved. also with the cheaper ones most do not come with lens protectors and the strap and headgear are cheap. to me the difference is like comparing a 5 dollar cheap chinese ratchet to a snap on ratchet. I am sorry I did not buy a good helmet sooner
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Old 05-19-2008, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 71corvette
for me it was night and day. I have a cheap auto darkening helmet with adjstable shade and was having trouble seeing my weld location with it. I bought a Miller auto darkening helmet and my quality of weld has greatly improved. also with the cheaper ones most do not come with lens protectors and the strap and headgear are cheap. to me the difference is like comparing a 5 dollar cheap chinese ratchet to a snap on ratchet. I am sorry I did not buy a good helmet sooner
The first cheap helmet I bought 5 years ago (battery powered) was exactly as you described.....However, the $68 solar I bought 2 years ago is a whole different creature and I am very happy with it.....

ps: both came with replaceable lens protectors....and as a tip:

I buy thin Lexan sheet and cut my own w/snips....much less $$$$
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