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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    3

    Default Should I be concerned with auto darkening helmet?

    I have been using my auto darknening helmet for Arc and MIG welding for years and it's been fine. I have just gotten myself a TIG welder and am finding that the lens darkens quickly when the arc is struck but on the down slope the lens lightens before the arc has completely stopped. This means I get a brief period where the lens isn't darkened but the arc is still lit. It's not giving any accute vision issue but should I be concerned about any long term effects?

    My understand is that whether the lens is darkened or not my eyes are protected from the damaging UV radiation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Adelaide
    Age
    64
    Posts
    1,139

    Default

    Does your helmet have settings for sensitivity etc.?
    You may need to experiment with that to stop the problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Newman View Post
    Does your helmet have settings for sensitivity etc.?
    You may need to experiment with that to stop the problem.
    Was about to reply saying that it only had the dial to adjust the shade but then thought I better go and check. Turns out there is switch to change the speed it reacts. I haven't tried it yet but I reckon changing this from fast to slow will do the trick.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    NSW
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Not all lens packs are equal.
    Lower quality helmets will not pick up the lower ampere tail of the down slope.
    I have a speedglas 9100 which is good for down to 2A, the basic ones IIRC will be good for 15A. Can't give any medical advice on long term effects, but it really comes down to your exposure level- 50+ hours a week, or lighting up for an hour of arc-on time over a weekend?

    If you are really worried don the old pipeliner with a glass lens of your choosing, and let-er rip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    NSW
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mark86 View Post
    Was about to reply saying that it only had the dial to adjust the shade but then thought I better go and check. Turns out there is switch to change the speed it reacts. I haven't tried it yet but I reckon changing this from fast to slow will do the trick.
    That switch usually only changes the speed at which it goes to the shade 3 'light' setting AFTER the arc is extinguished. It's to stop you looking at a molten pool of metal after the run, and can be tuned to allow better speed when tacking etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    270

    Default

    But your original question - the uv protection is always present, regardless of shade, battery, sensitivity etc.
    That's what does the damage, so auto darkening helmets are 'intrinsically safe'.

    Of course a bright flash is still uncomfortable and makes the job harder



    Russ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    807

    Default

    Ever since they have made safety glasses compulsory at work I have never had flash so they can protect you as well. I do a lot of tacking without my helmet as we all do

    Sometimes if I forget to turn my speedglas helmet on, you get the bright flash but eyes re adjust after about 30 seconds.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    NSW
    Posts
    86

    Default

    My eyes are worth more than a gamble on a cheap helmet, or looking at an arc if I can help it (with or without safety glasses).
    I wonder how my boss would feel with my work if I were blind?

    An old timer I know rarely wore a helmet for tacking, and only wore gloves for a few bigger jobs. Last we spoke he was up to his 9th skin cancer being removed from his hands and arms. He's adamant one will get him in the end.
    Welding flash is not the only thing that will get you. Arc burn, UV, weld fume, melanoma, heavy metal poisoning (zinc, chromium)... A good helmet and some sensible PPE will reduce risk of most of this, if in doubt err on the side of caution.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Mallacoota,VIC,Australia
    Age
    49
    Posts
    740

    Default

    Some of the auto darkening welding helmets aren't suitable for Tig welding and/or low amperage Tig Welding. If your Helmet has a sensitivity and delay control as well as the normal shade control you may be able to get it to work like that. You could try looking up the makers specs on the helmet and see if it's suitable. I would think that with the helmet on you should be protected from the UV, but the long term effects of a flash aren't going to do your eyes any good.
    All The Best steran50 Stewart

    The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    1,081

    Default

    Does the green see thru film add any protection on the lens? i was working on a small six millimeter bolt removal a few months back and my helmet was flashing at very low amperage but i never got any flash i assumed the green film over the lens offered some basic UV protection

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    270

    Default

    The uv protection is built in.


    Russ

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