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Old 08-21-2009, 06:09 AM
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Cheap auto darkening welding helmets

I'm looking at a Neiko and Northern Tool solar powered auto darkening welding helmets. They are within $10 of each other, but it seems like the NT one has a faster switching rate. Anyone deal with either one of these helmets? They both get good ratings on Amazon.

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Old 08-21-2009, 06:15 AM
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I got one from HF,I like it...a faster rate would be my choice.
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:40 AM
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Why the big concern about the switching rate? If you are concerned about safety then a faster switching rate is no better and has nothing to do with UV/IR protection. The amount of "flash" you receive using one of these things is a function of the lens material absorbing the dangerous rays and the time it takes for the lens to go dark is a matter of comfort not safety (and to some extent, marketing ) you receive full protection from UV/IR rays whether the lens goes dark or not. There are all kinds of BS urban legends about some poor worker going blind because one of these helmets did not switch fast enough but these stories are total BS and you will not burn your eyes if the lens switches a bit slow or even not at all. These concerns spring from the very common mis-belief that a welder receives a tiny bit of "flash" during the time it takes for the lens to go dark and that this short exposure is cumulative and harmful over time-THIS IS NOT TRUE! It may be a bit uncomfortable if the lens fails to go dark (it will happen a lot) but the rays are absorbed by the lens material and DO NOT depend on the lens going dark.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
It may be a bit uncomfortable if the lens fails to go dark (it will happen a lot) but the rays are absorbed by the lens material and DO NOT depend on the lens going dark.
Thanks for that- I have wondered the same thing, even knowing the answer previously didn't help my apprehension.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:18 AM
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Thanks from me to old red,I've been flash burned before so I really didnt concern myself to much with it I figured my eyes would tell me if it wasnt working.They'll start getting ichy after a while long before they get burned and we all know what thats like not only that but I dont think anythings faster than the speed of light....Well ...there was that...girl in Tulsa
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:20 AM
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Doens't every welding helmet have to meet a minimum level of UV/IR filtering under some kind of standards (ANSI or CSE/CE or something like that)?
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:29 AM
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I do very little welding anymore, I don't even own a wire-fed welder, just a Lincoln 225 (you know the one) that is going on 45 years old.

That said, when I was doing the boxing of the A-arms, rear control arms, a drive shaft loop, the cage for a cell, various brackets and etc., I did weld short-sleeved (long gauntlets) long enough to get a hell of a sun burn. Had no idea!
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:46 AM
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Thats why I gotta use auto dark I flip my hood up and forget to put it back down....."AIRHEAD" I've also burned my arms up real good,teacher sat there and let me do it to (tired of tellin me) learned THAT leason real well,Good teacher.Thick headed student..
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1meancuda
Doens't every welding helmet have to meet a minimum level of UV/IR filtering under some kind of standards (ANSI or CSE/CE or something like that)?

You betcha! But even more than the government mandated safety standards they have to get past the workers comp and product liability shyster,,,err lawyers! A rep from Jackson told us once that before they could release these things when the first ones came out they had to prove they were safe, meeting the Government standards was the easy part but getting the company lawyers to go along with it was almost impossible! If all those BS stories people tell about these helmets was true then the lawyers would have put an end to them (and the companies selling them!) years ago. Actually stopping the UV/IR rays is not rocket science and is easy to do, the front part of the lens package is what stops these rays and the section that goes dark only filters the visible light so there is no momentary UV/IR exposure before the lens goes dark-Government safety standards simply would not allow it. Even if they did the lawyers would take care of the problem PDQ!
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:11 PM
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I think I'll try the Northern Tool one. I really can't find too much info on the Neiko one, so I'm sure trying to replace the lens or something like that will be a nightmare.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:24 PM
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i had a $100 sears / craftsman helmet the one time, the fact that it was strictly solor powered made sure that every time you started a weld you would get flashed a bit before the lense actually darkened.

it was argued on here that since the filter is still filtering out the REALLY bad rays it was still safe, and i shouldnt have worried about it.

i say my $200 hobart auto darkening that has a battery does a much better job of making me NOT feal like ive been staring at a 100 watt light bulb for the last 4 days.

try staring at the sun with tinted sunglasses on for a lil while and youll know how my craftsman helmet made my eyes feel
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowROLLERchevy
i had a $100 sears / craftsman helmet the one time, the fact that it was strictly solor powered made sure that every time you started a weld you would get flashed a bit before the lense actually darkened.

it was argued on here that since the filter is still filtering out the REALLY bad rays it was still safe, and i shouldnt have worried about it.

i say my $200 hobart auto darkening that has a battery does a much better job of making me NOT feal like ive been staring at a 100 watt light bulb for the last 4 days.

try staring at the sun with tinted sunglasses on for a lil while and youll know how my craftsman helmet made my eyes feel


What you had there was eye strain which was a problem with the early helmets, this was caused by light distortion along with some of the non-adjustable ones being simply too light. This still was not a problem with dangerous UV/IR and was more akin to a regular conventional fixed lens helmet with too light a lens and a warped or scratched cover plate, an all too common problem with the early models. As far as UV/IR protection it is very possible to stop 100% of the dangerous rays with clear glass, if it is thick enough, yet still leave the arc too bright to look at so UV/IR protection never was a problem with these things. However eye strain is, as you are obviously aware, plenty bad enough even without getting burned and some of these early models were a real pain to use because of it. This may still be a problem with some of the cheap ones but a lot of the econo models, such as the very popular one from Harbor Freight, are in fact very good in both clarity and function.
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:13 PM
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I have to agree old red I've been miggin for 30yrs.I 'd know ,if there was a problem and my 50.00 HF has been great but, if I'm not mistakin its solar with a battery backup...I know miggin aint real welding thats why I didnt say I've been a welder all that time I took a 2yr pipefitting/welding coarse a few years back and the teach said those HF helmets were pretty good soI got one I've been useing it for about five years now no problems ,well... the darkining knob broke off but I never used it anyway. Trust me...when I got a problem with something I'll be the first one up bichin bout it
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:30 PM
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I purchased a Northern one 4 weeks ago. (The Jackson I had died and they wanted $200 for a new lens.) I really do not see any difference. There is a very slight delay the first time you use it each day. I strike an arc on a piece of scrap with my eyes closed for three or four seconds an it is good for the day..
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:34 PM
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I bought one from HF...It was like $49.99..
My HF shield has been great so far...I'm not sure how old it is.. But it has made a lot of weld's..
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