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Old 05-08-2008, 05:16 PM
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auto darkening welding helmets

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

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Old 05-08-2008, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
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
Well you do kind of get what you pay for but both will work I have found that the higher end hoods have much more adjustment which is good for TIG work. But for Arc and Mig I don't see much difference but I have had some guys complain about eye strain using the cheaper version due to the slower reaction time but it is hard to believe. I personally finally ponied up and bought a good Miller hood and love it just my opinion hope it helps I am sure I will get corrected tho!
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:03 PM
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Most of the quality difference is in the shell and headband and the HF helmet has the same "Chameleon" lens found in some "brand name" helmets. Although I think the Hobart/Miller helmet, the one called "the hood" by Hobart, has a different lens than they had about 10 years ago, they did at that time share the EXACT same lens as the HF helmet. I have seen and used the HF model and it definitely is a good one for the money but the headgear is a bit flimsy although the lens is about as good as any I have tried. I had the older Hobart outfit and I now use a $400 Jackson which is top quality and has a few extra features but the HF helmet functions just as good as for lens function. If safety is the main concern then don't worry about the HF outfit because all of these auto dark helmets have to meet the same government mandated safety standards. Also you can ignore those goofy urban legend sob stories about some poor worker who went blind because he was forced by his employer to use a faulty auto dark helmet that failed to darken fast enough. There are any number of variations to that story but none are true because an auto dark helmet will provide the same UV protection in the lightened state as it will when dark. It can be a bit un-nerving when the darn things fail to go dark but it is not harmful and you will not burn your eyes if it happens, and it will all too often! There was a lot of concern about this when those things first came out and as the field rep for Jackson pointed out if there was any way you could cause harm by the helmet failing in any way, especially by failing to darken, then the product liability and workers comp lawyers would put the manufacturers out of business PDQ! I read an article about welding in a magazine not long ago and it was mentioned that UV damage is cumulative (that part is true) and because an auto dark takes a fraction of a second to go dark that it was not recommended to use one for extended periods because the time adds up but THAT IS TOTAL Bull$^##! An auto dark helmet provides the same protection before it goes dark as it does when darkened and is as safe or safer than a conventional helmet because unlike a conventional type the auto dark provides protection light or dark!
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:21 PM
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/WELDI...spagenameZWDVW

Bought this one after burning my eyes last year. Used it for arc and mig. Works better than I expected.

Only thing I dont like about it is the fact that the battery is not changeable.

It has a lithium battery that is recharged by the solar panel.

but for $50 I can buy a new one every few years.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:26 PM
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I have one of the expensive self darkening helmets and used it for years....... Till I found a simple photoelectric self darkening helmet at HF for about $40. No batteries, it adjusts from 10-12 and works like a champ. Next time I'm down in the valley at HF I'm going to pick up another just to have as a spare.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centerline
I have one of the expensive self darkening helmets and used it for years....... Till I found a simple photoelectric self darkening helmet at HF for about $40. No batteries, it adjusts from 10-12 and works like a champ. Next time I'm down in the valley at HF I'm going to pick up another just to have as a spare.
I have the same HF helmet,I like it.It works very well.I too will buy another one if mine goes out.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:31 PM
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Thanks to all for the replys. Looks like i will be headed to HF soon.
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:15 AM
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I have a Miller auto dark and just got a new job TIG welding and Mig welding. Mostly stainless steel. The problem is that the welds are on 3/4 to 1 in material and the darkest setting is still about 1 shade not enough. After the 2nd day my eyes are really tired. It's hard switching from one process to the other but the auto dark is easy to adjust. It's just the MIG on the thick stuff is really bright. I even tried adding sunglasses but if anything they made it worse.

I used a whole spool of .045 wire in 4-5 hours. It's almost non stop. Then switch to tig. I'd guess at least 5 pounds of rod. They told me there is an even bigger job coming.
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
Most of the quality difference is in the shell and headband and the HF helmet has the same "Chameleon" lens found in some "brand name" helmets. Although I think the Hobart/Miller helmet, the one called "the hood" by Hobart, has a different lens than they had about 10 years ago, they did at that time share the EXACT same lens as the HF helmet. I have seen and used the HF model and it definitely is a good one for the money but the headgear is a bit flimsy although the lens is about as good as any I have tried. I had the older Hobart outfit and I now use a $400 Jackson which is top quality and has a few extra features but the HF helmet functions just as good as for lens function. If safety is the main concern then don't worry about the HF outfit because all of these auto dark helmets have to meet the same government mandated safety standards. Also you can ignore those goofy urban legend sob stories about some poor worker who went blind because he was forced by his employer to use a faulty auto dark helmet that failed to darken fast enough. There are any number of variations to that story but none are true because an auto dark helmet will provide the same UV protection in the lightened state as it will when dark. It can be a bit un-nerving when the darn things fail to go dark but it is not harmful and you will not burn your eyes if it happens, and it will all too often! There was a lot of concern about this when those things first came out and as the field rep for Jackson pointed out if there was any way you could cause harm by the helmet failing in any way, especially by failing to darken, then the product liability and workers comp lawyers would put the manufacturers out of business PDQ! I read an article about welding in a magazine not long ago and it was mentioned that UV damage is cumulative (that part is true) and because an auto dark takes a fraction of a second to go dark that it was not recommended to use one for extended periods because the time adds up but THAT IS TOTAL Bull$^##! An auto dark helmet provides the same protection before it goes dark as it does when darkened and is as safe or safer than a conventional helmet because unlike a conventional type the auto dark provides protection light or dark!
listen to oldred when it comes to anything concerning welding. i bought an auto darkening welding helment off fleabay, but i could have bought the same helment from HF a few months later. they are regulated by our guberment, oldred is the guy who knows when it comes to welding...
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:36 AM
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I LOVE my HF helmet!
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Old 05-10-2008, 05:51 AM
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My northern tool helmet cost like $49 and changes to full dark in like .0000000025 seconds, no way is that too slow.

I think I would be more likely to strike an arc with a normal hemet up than have this one fail.

My cousin owns a shop and bought a $250 helmet, the diff is all in the quality of the straps and materials, not in the lens

Keith
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:00 PM
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auto darken helmet

I have several helmets and the problem is one of them has an on button that I sometimes forget to push they all work ok for me except the flash from forgetting to turn it on.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:34 PM
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I have bought a couple of the cheap helmets over the years...

I found them to work very well, However:

my only advise is to buy the SOLAR powered one that does not use batteries.

the battery ones have a power saver that keeps switching the helmet off and that is a pain in the butt!

ALSO....make sure the lens darkening control knob is on the outside of the helmet so you can easy adjust w/out taking helmet off.

ps: the solar unit works real good in low light conditions as well...
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techron
listen to oldred when it comes to anything concerning welding. i bought an auto darkening welding helment off fleabay, but i could have bought the same helment from HF a few months later. they are regulated by our guberment, oldred is the guy who knows when it comes to welding...
There are a few others here also!!!!
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:23 PM
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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...
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