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  • Auto darkening helmet malfunctioning???

    HI,

    I have a auto darkening helmet. I think the manufacter is Arc One...but I might be wrong on that as the helmet is not infront of me at the moment.

    I think it is not working right. It has an adjustable setting on the outside, lightest is 7 and max is something like 14. Even when set on 7 I can't see too well. I CAN see the arc and the puddle, but I can't see much more. At times it seems like if I look through the top edge of the viewing area, I can see better.

    In a nutshell, I think it may be varying in shade level, and most of the time be much darker than I want. I have no real experience with any other helmet as I am just getting into the welding thing, and have only welded three times...each for 3 hours in a community college class.

    I do plan on taking the helmet back to the dealer tomorrow as I was going there anyway to check out welders.

    The adjustment knob seems to have some affect when viewing the arc, if I adjust it while running a bead. If I run a real long arc, I can see things pretty good, but natually that is not the way to weld.

    AS you can see...I am not doing very good at asking this question.

    I guess the real question is, if I have my auto darkening helmet set to a shade 7, should I see more than just the arc and the puddle?

    The way things are now if I am running a practice bead on a piece of steel 2 inches wide, I cannot see the edge of the steel on either side of the bead...except for a faint line sometimes...and this makes it real had to keep the bead going where I want it to.

    I just kept the setting at the lowest setting of 7 today, and could hardly see what I was doing.

    Anyone agree that this sounds wrong? Or am I just too new to know better?
    Bill

    Near Pgh, PA

  • #2
    not for sure but it sounds like it is functioning correctly. Some of the lesser quality helmets have a viewing plate that will vary in darkness(thus visibility) from one side to the other. Most if not all of the helmets are using some type of liquid crystal some such thing to enable it to go from light to dark. The more expensive ones are very consistant throughout the viewing area. As for the darkness level. while you are welding you will not be able to see much more than maybe 1/2" surrounding the arc. Maybe more, just depends on shade. As long as you can see your puddle, arc and just far enough ahead to see the gap between plates you are doing fine. You will in no way be able to see as clearly with it fully darkened as you will while it is in it's lightened shade (usually about a 3-5)

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    • #3
      Almost sounds like a good Auto hood to me. The ones that I have are too light. Even turing my all the way up to the highest setting its a bit on the light side for me. I only use mine for tacking or for real Quick jobs. I have a Great normal Hood thats in the shape of a skull that I just love.


      Its hard so say. If its hard to see set on 7 then I would have to say its a bit on the dark side. I have no Idea what kind of lighthing you have around you. in that it makes it hard to say if your hood is good or not. I learned a LONG time ago never to use mine outside in the bright sun! LOL Cant see S**T. Sun was brighter then the ark and keep the hood for changeing.

      Normal Hood should be set about 10 ish depending on lighting and how your welding. Mig needs a softer or lighter shade some of the time. if your running .024 wire and you would need a darker shade for .045 wire. 10 is like the universal shade for mig and stick. Its not always the best sade to run but its what most people run.

      So in closeing I have told you a bunch of stuff and have not said weather your hood is good or bad Sorry

      I just hope that I have given you some info to help you figure out if your hood is good or bad.

      OMS
      OMS
      HH175
      Red Tomstone W/ HF for TIG
      Old Miller Engine Driven 225 Amp AC Stick Welder
      Smith O/A X 2
      Harris O/A
      BridgePort
      MSC cut off BandSaw 6X12"
      And more!
      Shop Mechanic for Brinks Coin

      Comment


      • #4
        Henro,

        You can check you auto-dark without an arc. Find a well sunlit sceen and then bring a bare incandecent light in front. That should trip the auto-dark and let you examing the lens, vary the darkness, etc. Some non-uniform darkness is common, but you can arm yourself to try this at the dealer.

        A lot of us have taken to using a 500W halogen light (under $20 on sale) to light the weld and get better visibility around the arc. Halogen (for some reason) can put more light on the work without tripping the autodark ... sometimes it still will with a flash from an extra shiny surface.

        Welcome to the forum, we have lots of fun here. Also a great help to learning, new ideas, etc.

        Bob

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        • #5
          Henro,

          Just a little food for thought. I too am a student weldor. When I started I thought I couldn't see a d**n thing. But, now that I am getting better, I can see very well. I have learned what I am looking at.

          Having said that, I would suggest you try trading hoods with a fellow student with a fixed shade hood for a rod or two to compare.

          Good Luck!
          Bill C
          "The more I learn about welding the more I find there is to learn..."

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi,

            I guess it just seems like if I would set the shade for 7, when 10 is what the instructor says the approximate shade level should be, then I would expect things to be on the bright side...not that way though; even on 7 it is very dark.

            I THINK that at times I could see better than at others...and I know for sure one time looking at the top portion of the viewing area certainly made a big difference. I could see the puddle AND where I was going, and what was on the sides...

            I paid $160 for this helmet [hood, is that the right term?], but the salesman said they usually sell for $250. He claimed they got a deal buy buying a quantity of them...true or not, I don't know.

            6010 rod, CD reverse polarity, about 160 amps, running beads on clean scrap steel...set to shade 7...should I see more than about a 1/16 inch beyond the puddle to each side and in advance of where I am going? I can see the puddle real well, no problem there...I can see the slag too as just as I would expect I should.

            Maybe best thing is just to go to the supplier and ask if they have someone that can try the helmet and let me know if it seems right. Now that I think of it, I should have asked my instructor at the welding class today to try it and see if it looked good to him! I could have used his helmet and saw what a 10 shade looked like at the same time!

            Will do that next week if nothing else transpires...
            Bill

            Near Pgh, PA

            Comment


            • #7
              If your taking a class hand it to your teacher and ask Him/her to buzz a few beads and see what thay think of it.

              OMS
              OMS
              HH175
              Red Tomstone W/ HF for TIG
              Old Miller Engine Driven 225 Amp AC Stick Welder
              Smith O/A X 2
              Harris O/A
              BridgePort
              MSC cut off BandSaw 6X12"
              And more!
              Shop Mechanic for Brinks Coin

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi again,

                Well I visited three dealers looking for info on tig welder prices, including the one where I bought my auto darkening helmet. I was hoping someone there could strike an arc, but they said they do no welding there...they could send the lens back to the manufacturer and have it evaluated, but I decided not to do that for the time being.

                I plan on asking my instructor at the next class to try it, and to see if it looks right/too dark.

                This morning I tried looking into the sun and the way this helmet reacts is that it darkens for a moment and then goes light again. If you run your hand back and forth in front of the lens, it goes dark-light-dark-light...looking at the ground in bright late-morning sunlight the lens stays clear...

                I did take a look through a #10 standard lens at the welding supply shop, and my GUESS is that my helmet may be going darker than that...but that is a total guess.

                Also, the #7 standard lens looked [if I remember right] a bit lighter than the #7 setting on my helmet. But that also is just a guess as I can't get the helmet to darken in normal sunlight. I will try the incandescent light bulb that was suggested above...

                I will post an update after I get my instructor's opinion...
                Bill

                Near Pgh, PA

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi,

                  Just an update...

                  I swapped helmets with my instructor this afternoon...

                  Seems like mine is satisfactory. I used his #10 shade...he used mine. Actually his might have been darker than I keep mine.

                  I thought it amusing that he seemed to not have had the experience of using an auto darkening helmet. He has a lot of welding experience [25 years plus] but this could be his first class...as a teacher.

                  I told him it would darken automatically when the arc was struck...his reply was "you'll be ****ing 15 people today if it doesn't!!! It did, and he seemed happy to burn more electrode than I expected using my helmet! I learned something too watching him...

                  So I guess the lesson is that it is hard to know what you are looking at when you don't know what you are looking at!
                  Bill

                  Near Pgh, PA

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