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lowROLLERchevy 06-23-2006 01:09 AM

Product review and warning: $99 craftsman (sellstrom safegaurds) welding helmet
66 Attachment(s)
alrighty, so a while back i had my GOOD Jackson welding helmet apart for cleaning, and while putting it all back togther, i apparently left out the plastic lense sheild

never noticed, when right to a job interview at a trucking company, and the interview included a welding test, and i had to do some overhead welding on plate steel .... yea .. the autodarkening lense got beaten up pretty good on me ... BUT it was still decently usable

last week i decided it was time to pick up another helmet, and considering im broke, except for a sears card, i decided to make a purchase from sears ..

i decided i would TRY one of the $99 "sears" brand helmets, i figured what could go wrong ? maybe the headband could break, or the lense retaining tabs might break off ..... easy stuff to fix with spare parts of a grinding mask or some JB weld ... and as long as the lense worked, nothing else realy mattered

what a mistake .... the mask doesnt darken right away !!!! it lets that first bright flash of arc make it to your eyes

and any time the welder sputters for a moment, like when your unsteady hand moves away from the work a slight bit... BANG ... lense lightens .... no delay AT ALL ... so the next arc you get goes right to your eyes again

i could seriously get less arc eye if i just left the helmet on the bench and looked away while i welded

bucket21228 06-23-2006 05:00 AM

Thanks for the information. I will be purchashing a welder and appropriate equipment in the next two months or so. I plan on getting a Hobart handler. It will be my first welder. Well the guy I bought my two cars from gave me a cheep stick welder but I dont plan on using it. I do a bunch of research before I buy anything like this but I never considered that some of the helmets would act that way.

Can you recommend a good helmet that is still afordable?

MAUSS 06-23-2006 05:40 AM

Sounds like there's something wrong with the helmet you bought... even cheap autodarkening helmets I've seen seem to darken quick enough. Bring it back and try another one. If they give you any trouble, ask for the manager and tell him it's a safety issue.

oldred 06-23-2006 10:53 AM

There is something wrong with that hood and it should be replaced and if the next one does the same thing raise a stink until you get your money back, they will give you a refund if you complain after the second one. Don't worry about the flash you have been getting since those things WILL provide UV protection even if they don't go dark. It is very un-nerving and uncomfortable when they fail to darken but you will not burn your eyes. I know you will hear all these "urban legend" sob stories about welders going blind from these things but that is pure BS since there is a government mandated safety standard that requires 100% UV protection even in the lightened stage, that is why you can't get one that goes completely light. The same cannot be said for your damaged Jackson, TOSS THAT THING! It may very well allow undetected UV rays even in the dark stage because of the damaged lens and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you continue to use it! :nono:

lowROLLERchevy 06-23-2006 12:57 PM

66 Attachment(s)
im sure it meets the standard for UV, but visible light can damage your eyes also ... just not so fast

after the first flash in the eyes i definitely felt like i had stared at a light bulb for a few minutes, and i definitely had white spots in my vision for an hour or so after using this helmet

im not even going to risk exchanging it for a replacement, im gonna spend an extra $67 and get the Hobart helmet that sears has

i simply don't have the time to drive out to screw around w/ more possibly junk helmets ...

and in not tossing the Jackson, its a great helmet, so im saving it for when i have the $ to upgrade the lens

oldred 06-23-2006 02:48 PM

Those Hobart helmets, (the one they call "the hood") at least the ones from 4 or 5 years ago, use a lens called "Chameleon" which is same identical lens with the same name that is found in one of the Harbor Freight hoods usually on sale for around $50 bucks. The shell and head gear is cheaper made but of decent quality and as I said the business end is the same. When I still had my shop two of the guys had the HF hood and it seemed to do just fine but I don't know if the Hobart still uses that lens or not, I think the HF one does and if so it is a good one. Sellstrom makes some really good products and I don't think you would be disappointed with the model you have if you had not gotten a faulty one. Jackson is my favorite and when I said to toss the one you have that was just a figure of speech as the saying goes and certainly it would make more sense to replace just the lens rather than the entire hood. Also the Huntsman auto lens that is a drop in replacement for the dark glass in a conventional hood is a great set up since it gives you the flip up option of a regular hood so you will have a completely clear safety lens for chipping, grinding, etc, this is extremely handy when working after dark or in any low light situation where the lightened phase of most auto hoods is still dark enough to be a PITA :mad:

Kenny G 06-24-2006 07:37 AM

Welding Hood
When I welded I wear a pair of lite shaded glasses under my welding Hood. And when I worked in a fab shop and where welding is being done I put them on. because you don't know when another welder is gonna strike that rod. I'm a old timer, I like the old type hoods that you flip down your self. I just don't trust the new type. Just my two cents.
Kenny G

oldred 06-24-2006 08:37 AM

Kenny, I started using the auto dark hoods when the first Jacksons hit the streets and used them for years but I found that even the best of them do not allow full visibility, that is they are so dark right at the weld itself that they make it hard to see a fine joint such as when trying to MIG weld auto body parts. I found that visibility is much better with the conventional hood and with the type of welding I do now they are about all I use anymore. I know it may be hard for some to accept, it was for me, but the auto dark hoods are actually safer than a conventional one and you cannot burn your eyes even if it does not go dark. There was a rumor some years ago (even in some welding trade magazines) that in the milliseconds it takes for it to darken you would get a tiny amount of "flash" and this damage would accumulate over the years. This was only rumor and these things do have to meet safety standards that require protection in any phase unlike a conventional hood that offers little to no protection with the dark lens open. There is a good deal of discomfort from failure to darken but it is not harmful as has been proven many times and as the rep from Jackson pointed out if there was any possibility that you could burn your eyes from using one of these things, even in the long term, then the product liability and workman's comp lawyers would be having a Field day! He said the government standards were nothing compared to getting it approved by the company lawyers :)

kringold 06-24-2006 08:57 AM


Originally Posted by lowROLLERchevy
the mask doesnt darken right away !!!! it lets that first bright flash of arc make it to your eyes

and any time the welder sputters for a moment, like when your unsteady hand moves away from the work a slight bit... BANG ... lense lightens .... no delay AT ALL ... so the next arc you get goes right to your eyes again

i could seriously get less arc eye if i just left the helmet on the bench and looked away while i welded

Exactly why I don't trust ANY auto-darkening helmet. My eyesight is too valuable to trust to a piece of electonics that could fail at anytime! I'd much rather give the ol' nod of the head. Plus my conventional helmet was $45, a couple hundred less than a "good" auto-darkening. Leaves me more money for consumables, gloves, etc...

oldred 06-24-2006 03:21 PM

Fellows believe what you want but those things are safe and you will not harm your eyes with one. They have been around now for about twenty years and literally millions of them are in use and there are no documented problems stemming from their use. "urban legends" abound and tell many sad tales and a lot of people are avoiding a very good tool because of such unfounded non-sense and as the Jackson rep pointed out if there were any problems the law suits and workman's comp claims would have killed them years ago.

adtkart 06-25-2006 08:34 AM

I purchased a HF helmet a couple of years ago. It took some time to get it adjusted as far as the times and sensitivity, but it works great. I am sure it isn't made to last, like the high dollar ones, but it was only $50. If it breaks now, and I have to go buy another one, I am still ahead.

It does take some getting used to the auto darkening helmets. I was used to flipping the helmet up to see things, and sometimes still have to because of the limited lighting on what I am welding. My welder is an old Sears Mig, and the wire is "hot" all the time. That leaves alot of opportunities to accidently strike an arc. The autodarkening helmet protects from that, if it is in place.


oldred 06-25-2006 08:58 AM

Adtkart, Check the lens in that hood and if it is the Chameleon (adj 9-13) then it is the same one that is (was) found in the $200 Hobart hoods :) I have been told that the newer Hobarts use a different lens now, I have not looked at one lately to know for sure, but I do know the older ones used the chameleon and it was a really good lens. The one I bought about 5 years ago I used for about a year before trading up to the pro Jackson and it worked really good. I only bought the Jackson because I got it for a give-away price and I gave the Hobart to one of the guys at the shop who has used it nearly every day since with no problems. I think it is probably the same lens you have and if it is it is a good one :)

garyroushkolb 06-25-2006 09:25 AM

don't buy cheap
I have a fab shop and have several auto darkening hoods. Advice buy the Hobart elite from ebay. About $200. I have a harbor freight that I bought to arc weld and MIG weld with because the cover glasses are easily replaced. The Hobart cover is a bear to replace. I use the Hobart to TIG weld with and it's cover stays fairly clear for a long time. The catch is the harbor freight hoods "clear state" is darker than the Hobart's, that is it is clear but like looking through sunglasses on the shade where as the Hobart is lighter like you turned on room lights with sunglasses. Both have adjustable shades and are OK when welding.
Also if your over 40 buy a magnifier lens to go inside the hood, your welds will be better and you life may depend on how good your weld is sometime.
You can RTV them inside the hood and your good to go.

oldred 06-25-2006 10:10 AM

Just a word of warning here, the subject that started this thread in the first place is about a weld spattered lens. Auto-dark or conventional glass lens, these lens should NEVER be used if spattered, pitted or deeply scratched since with these it is possible to get UV exposure and not even know it. Obviously the lens that is the subject here is wisely being replaced, as well it should be, but I have known welders (weldors?) to use a damaged lens and not even think about it since there is no immediate discomfort. This can be a big mistake because low level exposure to UV rays due to a damaged lens can be cumulative and cause eye damage over time. Far more to be concerned about with what condition your hood is in rather than what type it is.

matt167 06-25-2006 01:49 PM

the only way I can weld without an autodarkening helmet is using a bright shop light to light the work so I can see it through the helmet. I have 2 autodarkening helmets, 1 I bought used in questionable condition for $10 but it does work and my dad bought 1 from the Farm center for $80 I think that works good. have a cheap regular helmet for welding sometimes and watching someone weld. both of the autodarkenings, I notice a small flass but it's less than a second.

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