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Old 09-21-2009, 11:35 AM
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Northern Tool auto-darkening helmet

Thought I would make a follow up thread and give a little report on this helmet. We were killing some time this weekend and I found a Northern Tool store in the town we were in. They had an auto-darkening helmet on sale for $49.99. I figured I would take a chance on it since the reviews on their site were favorable for the most part. I got a chance to use it a little while last night and it does indeed work pretty well. The response time is great and it has a delay for when it switches back to the fixed shade. I left this on slow so I wouldn't immediately be staring at the red hot weld. The helmet adjusts from 9-14, and I was using a setting of a little past 10 with my 115v HH140 mig unit. The helmet is very light weight and came with a pad for the forehead strap.

Overall, I am pleased with the purchase. I guess only time will tell on how long it actually lasts. the only thing I don't really care for on this helmet are the cheesey flame decals all over it.

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Old 09-21-2009, 05:42 PM
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I picked up one of these back in Feb-Mar time frame and it has seen a lot of use. I have not really had any trouble with it other than when I turn the high intensity bay lights. I then have to hold my hand up to shield it to get it to lighten up. I could use a brim hat of some sort to do the same thing. Think this is a lighting problem, not a helmet problem. Well worth the money if you get it on sale.
A much better helmet was thrown in when I purchased my Thermal Dyne, but I have not used it because the cheapo works just fine.

Trees
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1meancuda
I guess only time will tell on how long it actually lasts.

From what I have heard and seen of these helmets I think probably it is going to take a LOT of time to see how long it lasts!
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:55 PM
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Now I have to work on my welds! Making a cart out of an old bed frame. Looks good at times and at other times it looks like I'm just gobbing enough material on to make it all stick together!
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:32 PM
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I guess by now you have probably noticed that is some crapy stuff to work with, the bed frame material I mean. What are using to weld it with and what seems to be the problem?
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
From what I have heard and seen of these helmets I think probably it is going to take a LOT of time to see how long it lasts!
Yeah you'll have to wait a while,Ive had a a/d helmet from northern tool since I was a Sr in high school,used it a couple of hours ago.
Shane
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
I guess by now you have probably noticed that is some crapy stuff to work with, the bed frame material I mean. What are using to weld it with and what seems to be the problem?
I'm using a Hobart 140 with .030" flux core. My main problem really comes from the fact that I've been so concerned about blow through that I've been moving the gun too fast. Tonight I did a couple more pieces and really took my time and concentrated on what I was doing and how fast I was moving. The beads look much better tonight and I can see that I'm getting good penetration now. It's been probably 15 years since I've done any welding and even that was just a little in our intro shop class in high school. I'm basically learning from scratch. It's really only my second night of welding, so I'm not too disappointed in my progress.
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Old 09-26-2009, 06:40 AM
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Northern Tool auto-darkening helmet

I guess I bought the next model up, it cost about $100. I'm just a novice maybe a year's experience and I'm using a 110 mig. I was having a lot of trouble refocusing after the initial arc. Quite simply, my problem is gone. My brother in law is doing my critical welding (narrowed rearend, motor mounts, Mustang II front suspension. He has been a machinist/welder for 40 years and he has recommended this helmet to friends after trying mine. I'm very pleased.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:35 AM
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auto darkening

we've got 4 or 5 in the shop. Mine have the cheater magnifing lens in them. I was used to the solar powered unit and the problem was when welding farm equipment and crawling around and under if the solar panel is not exposed to the arc flash it doesn't darken. And when I grab a battery operated one I sometimes forget to push the on button.
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:27 AM
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I do welding for a living especially TIG welding. The shop guys have about every AD made. The biggest thing is the quality of the head gear. This gets really abused in the shop on a day in and day out usage. My old Miller has been really thrashed and still works find but is a bit antiquated as far as features.

The best operation is the ones with 3 or 4 sensors. These allow better out of position function and you don't get "zinged" because the sensors are blocked. The UV is blocked but it is still a pretty bright flash. If you are doing close of fussy work it takes a minute to recover so it is not good.

The really good all around unit are in the $3-$400 range. The head gear is really comfortable and when you have the things on for 8 hours a day every day it really counts as a plus.

For the occasional use just get what you can afford and try to get a decent head gear.
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timothale
. the problem was when welding farm equipment and crawling around and under if the solar panel is not exposed to the arc flash it doesn't darken.

A fairly common mis-understanding but the solar panel is not what controls the lens, this is a function of the small sensors. Bentwings pegged it, and his description of the difference between the cheap helmets and the "good" ones is the best description I have seen yet. Safety is not much of a factor since stopping the IR and UV rays is easy but where the extra cost comes in is in the overall quality, especially the headgear, and the number of sensors used. The cheaper helmets almost always have just two sensors and if these get blocked the result is that startling flash that, while not dangerous, is very annoying to say the least! The better helmets have 4 sensors so the odds of having all 4 blocked at the same time is much better than if there are only 2 so that along with the better headgear is what a person is paying for in a better helmet.
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Old 09-27-2009, 11:30 PM
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I agree with what you guys are say. My FIL has a Hobart AD helmet and it just seems to be better made. Bigger viewing area and the head gear doesn't feel as cheap as my Northern one. This works for me though, so I'm pretty happy.
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