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Old 02-21-2013, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by MARTINSR View Post
I use a chin operated helmet that I love and have one here at home and work, just never got use to the autodarks.

welding helmets auto darkening Auto Dark alternative Hands free

You know, I bought one of those, mainly based on your suggestion, even bought the upgraded lens, and I have to say, I HATE it. The lenses are nice and clear (better than most autdarkening ones), especially the gold (I forgot what they're called) upgraded ones, the headgear fits well, the helmet is OK.... so what's the problem???

Well, the flip up bit only seems to adjust well for use in one position. If you always weld at the same bench, or in the same position then great, but since it somewhat relies on gravity to work the tension is only right when the helmet is at one angle. It's not uncommon for me to go from welding at a bench, to welding upside down putting a cage in, to welding under a car (which doesn't work at all if you don't have room, the flip up thing can take too much room a surprising amount of the time. I gave it an honest shot a few times, and it seemed like every time I got started by half way through the job I was futzing with it trying to get it adjusted better. Right now itís not even by my bench, it ended up getting moved out of the way behind the mill, I believe itís covered in a pile of swarf.

My first helmet, a cheap one that I bought at Home Depod on the way home when I bought my first welder, is my staple. It looks like this but itís black:
it has a nice large view area, itís light and fits well. Flips down easily with a head nod but is still stiff enough that you can walk around and do things with it up without it just falling on you at random. I have a really large head so when I got it adjusted so it fit well the adjuster hit part of the top of the helmet when flipped up so I cut a notch out of it, but I keep this one around in case I have problems with one of my others.
Most people are quite happy with the cheap autodarkening helmets from HF and others. I have one of the early HF helmets and Iím one of the few people that has issues with it (my brother and some of my friends that have borrowed it have all liked it, so I keep it around for them to use since most donít want to mess with my old school CH hemet). The problem that I have with it is that I can actually see the flash before it darkens. Most people canít, for some reason I can. I used it for a long time and just got used to blinking my eyes as I pulled the trigger on the gun so I wouldnít see the flash. The thing is durable and reliable, it always worked when I picked it up, but eventually I replaced it because of the flash thing. Only minor annoyances that I can say about it otherwise is that it has a smallish viewing area that is a bit low in the helmet (if youíre used to large ports or a more standard layout it takes a little getting used to the idea that you need to adjust it to sit a little higher), and the adjustment knob is on the outside so some complain you can accidently hit it and change it (I donít honestly remember it happening but Iím sure someone will complain about controls on the outside).

My favorite is my Miller Digital Elite Inferno helmet. Itís comfortable (I had to remove the pad that they add to the headgear to fit my head), adjustable, big view port, clear and beautiful view, and it looks good too. One really nice thing about it is that it is that it has sensors in all corners of the lens, so itís hard to block them and get flashed (this does happen with autodark helmets). Itís really a nice helmet. The biggest complaint that I have about it is one that I havenít heard from anyone else, mine tends to kill a set of batteries (and theyíre fairly expensive) in about a year, and you donít really get any warning when theyíre going to die (so I end up using my old CH one). Occasionally I find the controls to be a bit awkward to work in welding gloves. Itís expensive but you get what you pay for with this (and this is coming from someone that is cheap, and will rarely spend $$$ on the good stuff).

My suggestion- get yourself something cheap and reliable like the CH single shade or a cheap import and use it for a while and then decide if you really need something better.
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