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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-10-2009 10:11 PM
nitrocorsair Well scripted oldred!
I have heard that crap from my crew for years. Its "newfangled change" and some guys will fight it tooth, fang and claw. The other point I want to add to dispel the myths is the fact that all of the auto-darkening helmets have a shade 3 tint to them in the "off" position which will prevent any involuntary flash damage in the event that the lens does not come on.
We did a study about 15 years ago to find out a little more about welders and their eyes and the biggest culprit of "itchy, burning eyes" came from new operators or infrequent operators. The conclusion was the new strain put on eye nerves and muscles from the repetition of light to dark and focusing on a bright(er) light source in a dark (your helmet) surrounding. Think about working out any muscle mass. If you do 100 bicep curls once a month, the day after your arms will kill you! They never get accustomed to that type of work. This is a similar condition to the way your eyes will react and feel when watching TV for longer periods in a dark room or the feeling you get from oncoming traffic at night.
02-09-2009 07:33 PM
scrimshaw I tried that light in every position but was not able to elimiate that flicker totally. It only takes one or two flashes for me to forget using the light. I think part of the problem was my Tig was on low power and the arc was not able to set of the lens when I turned the sensitivety down. Anyway simple answer - forget the Halogen.
Thanks for all replies.
02-09-2009 12:44 AM
bentwings I am a welder by trade and the flicker happens frequently. Even the brighter LED lights will cause the lens to go dark. The new hoists at work have flashing warning lights that come on when the hoists get too close to each other. There are 4 5 ton hoists on one track system. these lights are small but very bright and will cause the lens to go dark. A PIA but we have to live with it.

Oldred is very correct in his explanation of the lens. I've been using one since they came out in the previous millennium and haven't gone blind yet. What you get in the higher priced ones is much better head gear and far more durable overall construction. The cheap ones don't hold up well to our industrial use.
02-08-2009 08:42 PM
scrimshaw
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
Is it possible to set that light close to where you are working? If you put it so that it illuminates the work but you are actually behind it you may find that the problem will disappear plus the added bonus of being able to see the weld better. I know several people who do this when welding body panels just for the improved visibility at the arc since it helps to eliminate one of those helmets' annoying characteristics, the fact that they tend to get so dark right at the weld it makes it hard to follow a seam. This probably would make little difference with a conventional lens but because of the way these things work changing the contrast by using a bright light will help quite a bit with the auto Dark helmets.
Will try this tomorrow and let you know how it works. Thanks.
02-08-2009 08:28 PM
oldred Is it possible to set that light close to where you are working? If you put it so that it illuminates the work but you are actually behind it you may find that the problem will disappear plus the added bonus of being able to see the weld better. I know several people who do this when welding body panels just for the improved visibility at the arc since it helps to eliminate one of those helmets' annoying characteristics, the fact that they tend to get so dark right at the weld it makes it hard to follow a seam. This probably would make little difference with a conventional lens but because of the way these things work changing the contrast by using a bright light will help quite a bit with the auto Dark helmets.
02-08-2009 08:03 PM
scrimshaw Thanks for the responses and saving me from making a fool of myself by returning it. I tried the sensitivity button and while it made a difference it didn't entirely stop the problem. It is a cheap one from HF (I couldn't afford anything else after spending all my money on the best miller machine I could afford). I have solved the problem by simply turning of the light when I weld, shame though, that Halogen light gave out some welcome heat.
02-08-2009 02:23 PM
oldred
Quote:
Originally Posted by 66GMC
. Guys that used both a "cheap" helmet and a "quality" one will tell you about "welding flash" ... and having "itchy / scratchy" eyes when they use one with a low response time.

I have been told that the best test of response is to "flick your bic" cigarette lighter in front of it. If the shade doesn't react to that, you'll be exposing your retinas to all of that UV radiation for nanoseconds everytime you strike an arc.


These things have been around for over twenty years now and this old myth is still around and as popular as ever. The response time has exactly zero effect on UV and IR exposure and a delayed response WILL NOT BURN YOUR EYES! The time it take for these things to go dark, or even if they fail to go dark, will not expose the user to any more UV and IR than a fast response time because the protection is a fixed function and DOES NOT have to rely on the lens going dark. The darkening effect of the lens filters the visible light spectrum and the IR and UV rays are blocked by the lens material which functions exactly the same whether or not the lens goes dark, from a safety standpoint it does not matter if the lens goes dark or not because the protection from the harmful rays will be the same dark or not! Accidentally blocking a sensor and having the lens fail to go dark (hey this happens all the time!) will not expose the user to any more harmful rays than if the lens had of gone dark at the proper time, although it may be uncomfortable it will not burn your eyes even if it happens repeatably.



There are a bunch of "urban legends" around about some poor worker who was blinded by these helmets but they are nothing more than BS. It usually goes that a welder was issued one of these helmets by his employer (usually at one of the auto plants) and he complained to his supervisor that it was not going dark fast enough but of course he was told to "use it and quit complaining or go home". Well this poor guy obediently goes back to work but his eyes were hurting so bad when he got home that he went to the ER where he was told that it was too late and that his eyes were burned so badly that he was going blind from excess exposure! There are several variations of that story and one has it that the helmet was working properly but the guy had a job doing tack welds or some such that required striking the arc a large number of times per shift. These stories are common along with the "scratchy eyes" one but they simply are not true and as one of the reps from Jackson once said "If that was possible the workers comp and product liability lawyers would ruin us overnight"! I suppose it might be possible to hurt your eyes from continuing to use one of these things if the lens would not go dark for some reason but this would come from staring too long at the bright light and would be no different than staring at a light bulb, possible I guess but who in their right mind would do such a thing?
02-08-2009 01:48 PM
Chevrolet4x4s My autodarkening helmet is a Nothern Tool unit,has uv protection even if it fails to darken(which it has only done one time,that I remember, I had the sensors blocked oops when I was doing my pipe welding certification),iirc the speed is 1//20000th of a second.

Shane
02-08-2009 10:57 AM
66GMC Hmmm...

I'm not a welder by trade, and really don't have much personal experience to draw on either. I sell parts, tools, and equipment for a living ... so many of my beliefs and opinions are learned through "osmosis". I have the manufacturer's propaganda on one side, and customer complaints, comment, and "brand affiliation" on the other.

My experience has been that you usually do "get what you pay for" when it comes to these items.

Ambient light will most certainly have an effect, and should be somewhat "tuneable" with a sensitivity adjustment.

Sensitivity is one consideration, but perhaps response time is another, more important, measure. Guys that used both a "cheap" helmet and a "quality" one will tell you about "welding flash" ... and having "itchy / scratchy" eyes when they use one with a low response time.

I have been told that the best test of response is to "flick your bic" cigarette lighter in front of it. If the shade doesn't react to that, you'll be exposing your retinas to all of that UV radiation for nanoseconds everytime you strike an arc.
02-08-2009 10:12 AM
flynbrian48 I've had the same thing happen, and it didn't occur to me until reading this that every time it's been with the Halogen work light on behind me! Thanks, I thought it was me!
02-08-2009 09:43 AM
oldred Those things certainly are affected by the lights and the extent of the problem depends on the helmets sensitivity and the placement of the light. The solution would be to use the sensitivity adjustment if it has one and a fixed sensitivity lens may be helped by changing the lighting position. A fixed sensitivity model is set about half way between the lowest and highest settings for the adjustable models which is about where the adjustable lens is usually used anyway. I have used the cheap $40 helmets and the better $400 outfits and (IMO anyway) there is not a lot of difference in them as far as dealing with this problem, assuming they both have adjustable lens.
02-08-2009 07:49 AM
trees I bought a second Auto Darkening helmet at Northern Tools the other day that was on sale for $44 and change and at the same time picked up a small Halogen work light. I was welding in a new floor into my Bud's old truck, using both and I had the same problems. The cheapo had adjustable settings as well and they made a difference so I just blew it off as not being adjusted correctly. My old Auto Darkening helmet, which has no adjustments, never showed any of these tendencies that caught my attention and I paid $85 for the lens only about 10 years ago. Can't wait to see if the Halogen light effects it.

Trees
02-08-2009 06:47 AM
oldschoolrods I've had that happen too, and if your helmet has a sensitivity adjustment on it try turning it down to low, that took care of the problem for me.
02-08-2009 06:42 AM
scrimshaw
Auto-Darkening Lens and Halogen Light.

I have been using an auto dark welding helmet and after a few days of being driven crazy I have discovered the halogen light in my garage is affecting it's operation. If the light is in front of me the lens will go dark before I have struck an arc and if the light is behind me the lens will flicker on and off a few seconds after I have struck an arc while I am still welding.

Is this normal or do I have a faulty lens?

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