Yesterday, a lovely girl emailed me asking how to test auto-darkening welding helmet. She intended to give her father one on his birthday. What a sweetheart!
I bet many of you wonder the same question. So I write this post to reveal some useful tips. Hope that you will invest in the right welding helmet and more importantly, keep your work under safety.
Why Does Every Welder Need an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet?
Not to mention professional welders, even if you do welding for fun, you should have at least one auto-darkening helmet. As its name suggests, this headgear will automatically adjust its lenses’ quality and darkness according to the environment around. Forget about flipping the lens up and down once in a while. All you need is to focus on your welding games.
A welding helmet with Auto Darkening Filter (ADF) must include the following features:
Liquid crystal displays (LCDs): The liquid crystal are arranged differently to darken visible lights. It is helpful to protect your eyes when welding.
UV/IR filter: The ultraviolet and infrared filter is in place to reflect optical radiation. This critical part of auto-darkening welding helmet will shield you from invisible and harmful emissions.
Sensors and electronic components: Whenever sensors detect an arc to be struck, they will connect with the electronics to activate the LCDs.
Solar batteries: To ensure the ADF technology works smoothly, the power supply must always be ready. Now, most of the auto-darkening welding helmet supports solar cells/batteries to generate energy out of the welding arc.
How To Test Auto Darkening Welding Helmet?
If you are beginners to the auto-darkening welding helmet, it becomes super hard to decide which brand to buy. Even when you make all the way to the brick-n’-mortar stores and hold the helmet in hands, you are still not sure about its quality.
In this article, I will shed lights on how to test auto-darkening welding helmet in the quickest way.
1. The lighter, the better
Whatever welding helmet you intend to buy, including auto-darkening welding helmets, you should go for the lightweight ones. The lightweight helmet is usually made from high-quality materials that ensure the welding is safer and more comfortable. And, it obviously keeps you from head fatigue and neck strain.
From my practical experience, the helmet weighing from 15 to 35 ounces is recommended.
2. The range of lens
Speaking of the auto-darkening welding helmets, the lens is essential.
In case of welding with different materials, you might apply different processes in which the amperage varies from 40 amps to over 200 amps. In other words, the brightness condition is different. At that time, an ideal auto-darkening welding helmet must have adjustable shade lenses. Its typical range is from nine to thirteen. The #13 is only necessary for very high amperage.
3. The battery type and life
There are different ways to power your auto-darkening welding helmets, for example, non-replaceable batteries, replaceable batteries, and solar panel. According to the welding environment, you can choose the most suitable:
- If you do not want to replace the battery once in a while, pick a non-replaceable helmet. Its lifespan is around 5 to 7 years. When the battery dies; however, your helmet will also be useless.
- Solar powered helmets are only convenient in case you work outdoors.
- The auto-darkening welding helmets with the replaceable power are my favorite since they turn out more durable and responsive.
4. The ANSI standard compliance
Please test your auto-darkening welding helmet carefully to ensure it is certified with the national standard. The most recent safety standard for headgear is ANSI Z87.1- 2003. What to consider is its switching speeds, reaction speed (1/2500ths seconds is usual), darkness shades, UV/IR filtering, sustained temperatures (23 – 131 degree F), reaction speed, etc.
5. The visibility and sun exposure
Do not buy an auto-darkening welding helmet without knowing how clearly you can see with that helmet. To be specific, remember to test optimal visibility. In the normal environment, can you see clearly even when the lenses become extremely dark? Then congratulation, you choose the right one.
Tips to test.
Put on your helmet and go out. Check how the shade lens work when you glance towards the sunlight. If they become darken, it is a good start. Now, move your hands slowly in front of your face. A quality auto-darkening welding helmet should still register the light. Otherwise, do not buy the helmet.
A Brief Recap to Takeaway
Above, I already give a complete guide of “how to test the auto-darkening welding helmet?” So keep the tips short in several words: lightweight; adjustable shade lenses; replaceable batteries; ANSI Z87.1- 2003 and the light reactivity.