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Auto darkening helmets

Wulf

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2020
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324
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Denver ish
My last one was a HF jobber that flashed me a few times before shitting the bed.

I've been using old faithful fixed lens but I'd like another fancy ish one. Primary use is DIY 4x4 projects and a grinding mode would be nice but isn't necessary.

​​​​​Any recommendations in the $100 range?
 
Which HF unit did you have?

I have the newer Vulcan unit. Screen is blue instead of green, but works great. Normally $150 but usually on sale for $120
 
I had the cheapest Chicago Electric one from 2016-2017 ish.
 
HF Vulcan here, $150 but with a discount it can be had $120 or less, I've had it about a year with occasional use. No issues, but I don't have an expensive one to compare it to.
 
I have this one from Lincoln. It works well and you can get it at Home Depot. When I purchased it about a year ago, it was $100. Now its $59.97. I think its much better than the HF units, but I have not had experience with the Vulcan's. My HF one flashed me good a few times and I threw it in the trash.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Lincoln-...38-1/300573174
 
​​​​​Any recommendations in the $100 range?

Three HF helmets and don't be an idiot and store them in dark places this time. :flipoff2:

Even the $500 helmets will flash you if the battery isn't charged. Spending more money won't fix the fact that you're doing it wrong. It will however get you a nicer helmet.
 
I had the cheapest Chicago Electric one from 2016-2017 ish.

The black/blue one? My BIL has 2 of those and while they are more simple and have a small viewing area, they have always been reliable.
 
Three HF helmets and don't be an idiot and store them in dark places this time. :flipoff2:

Even the $500 helmets will flash you if the battery isn't charged. Spending more money won't fix the fact that you're doing it wrong. It will however get you a nicer helmet.

So is the solar charging it when it's just sitting? I thought it got its power right at the time you are welding. Can't say I pay attention when I'm not useing it. (But it's mostly lens up.)
 
Yes. Leave it somewhere it will get sun and you won't get flashed.

Interesting, I've never got flashed with my newer helmet. I had an old one that got shit on one sensor. Then if you were welding something that could shade the other sensor, it would flash you. My newer helmet has three sensors (and no junk on them.)
 
I got tired of the cheap ones crapping out on me and flashing me. I picked up an Esab Sentinel A50 a while back and I absolutely love it. Super nice helmet. Comfortable, digital control settings, nice wide field of view, it has a dedicated grind mode, etc. well worth the money in my opinion.
 
I got tired of the cheap ones crapping out on me and flashing me. I picked up an Esab Sentinel A50 a while back and I absolutely love it. Super nice helmet. Comfortable, digital control settings, nice wide field of view, it has a dedicated grind mode, etc. well worth the money in my opinion.

Dedicated grind mode? I would never use it. I can't wait to get that helmet off my head. I guess I have a medical condition that prevents me from wareing a mask. Lol.
 
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So is the solar charging it when it's just sitting? I thought it got its power right at the time you are welding. Can't say I pay attention when I'm not useing it. (But it's mostly lens up.)

On the HF ones you can take them apart and there are a couple of coin cell batteries in there. They aren't made to be changed but you still can if you're stubborn like me. If I remember right they are each 3v coin cells and wired up in series so 6v total. They are what makes it switch instantly, and then the solar cell kinda takes over once you are welding. I took my coin cells out and soldered in a 9v connector and then added a clip to hold a 9v Battery above the lens. Some of the more expensive models of auto darkening helmets actually have little access doors to change your coin cell batteries out when they die.

Here's a pic of the "wiring" I did on my HF helmets... Seems like some were different than others so your mileage may vary.

HF welding helmet.jpg
 
With the exception of my current miller auto hood, I’ve always had hf auto tint. My next buy will be an esab sentinel when the miller craps out.

Not fitting your price range, but, well worth the money imho.
 
Three HF helmets and don't be an idiot and store them in dark places this time. :flipoff2:

Even the $500 helmets will flash you if the battery isn't charged. Spending more money won't fix the fact that you're doing it wrong. It will however get you a nicer helmet.

Does semi-regular exposure to garage/shop lighting do enough to keep them charged? I'd always throw it out in the sun for a while prior to use any time I needed to use it.
 
You can get a name brand miller for under a hundred bucks if you don't want the big window or fancy shit on the side.
 
After my trusty old speedglass got broken on a job, I got an arc 1 https://www.arc1weldsafe.com/product...n/black-vision The headgear sucks balls. view ain't to bad and it has a USB charging port.

Then I got a replacement lens for the SG, I thinks it's a knock off, not nearly as good as the 15 year old original.

Bought a HF cheapy because I forgot mine on a job, has worked out OK.

Looking for something better though.A buddy just got the Optrel crystal lens helmet. Loves it and he does a lot of welding. https://www.optrel.com/en/eye_protec...how/crystal20/

At my age, I need all the help seeing I can get.
 
I have the miller one Hell Bound posted and also the ESAB A50 that my GF got me for Christmas. Both are awesome and work great. The ESAB head gear is much more comfortable though.
 
I have the miller one Hell Bound posted and also the ESAB A50 that my GF got me for Christmas. Both are awesome and work great. The ESAB head gear is much more comfortable though.

The headgear on my miller is crap. The esab headgear is light years ahead. 2 of my buddies have them and I don’t usually feel comfortable in someone else’s lid, but dang that esab is nice.
 
I had a HF hood for years. It wasn’t the best in quality, but it worked and was only like $40. I don’t think I’d get another one. My girlfriend got one and it didn’t work out of the box. As someone else mentioned, they have watch batteries in them that aren’t meant to be changed, but you could. Not worth the effort in my opinion.

I bought a Lincoln from Home Depot for $100 and never looked back. Batteries are accessible if needed too. Been using it for probably three years now, no issues, no dead batteries. Worth the extra money to not get flashed randomly. 😅

Edit:
And at $100 I’d still consider it a cheap hood. Seems to be good quality. Also the idea of having to leave the hood in the sun to use it sounds retarded. I leave it hanging on my welder in my shop. Maybe a little light gets threw the window, but generally I don’t make an effort to charge it.
 
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I’m honestly still using a Lincoln that’s probably 15+ years old, if not 20. It sat for years, but I’ve been using it daily, all day lately.

I can’t speak to current quality, but even before seeing this thread, I was thinking to myself how great this hood has been.

I did get a new Radnor auto-darkening hood a few months back for “clean” TIG work, but that project is on the back burner so I’ve not tried it out yet.
 
I appreciate everyone's feedback and suggestions. I used my buddy's speed glass and it was by far better than anything else but I didn't want to drop that much money at the moment especially for just occasional usage.

I ended up with one of the Lincoln ones for $80~ or so, the fit and finish is much, much nicer than the HF one I had. My only complaint so far is that I wish the setting knob had more resistance so I don't accidentally change the darkness. Might have to put a piece of tape over it when it's set :homer:
 
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