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  • Welding Helmet Shade

    Hey guys,

    I am using the Harbor Freight 90A Flux core welder. I have my auto darkening helmet set to 10 which is what the book recommends but it is really dark. Would it be a huge vision hazard to back off to 9? I can barely see my pool at 10....

    Interestingly enough the manual says 10 for 125+amps and I only have a 90 amp welder so perhaps this is the problem? No suggested shades below 10




    James
    Last edited by itsjames2011; 06-07-2017, 09:35 PM.

  • #2
    Not sure if HF measures up, but all the higher-quality units block the harmful UV and IR radiation regardless of the dark setting, so the way I understand it, the brightness is mostly a personal preference. I lighten my helmet up to where I get a great view with no discomfort. I weld from 20-220 amps so the setting varies a lot.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by chipmaker4130 View Post
      Not sure if HF measures up, but all the higher-quality units block the harmful UV and IR radiation regardless of the dark setting, so the way I understand it, the brightness is mostly a personal preference. I lighten my helmet up to where I get a great view with no discomfort. I weld from 20-220 amps so the setting varies a lot.

      This is true with pretty much any welding helmet with a glass lens. It is a property of common glass that it blocks most of the harmful UV from the welding arc irrespective of the shade or autodark setting. It is the same reason that you can't get a suntan from sunlight through a glass window. Set the shade to where it is comfortable and does not leave you seeing spots, etc.

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      • #4
        I like #8 shade. Can see what you're doing, no floating spots after. Worked pipeline with pro welders who used 8 day in day out for years with no problems

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        • #5
          The chart is just a basic recommendation or a place to start. Nothing is set in stone. Use what ever shade allows you to see what your doing.

          JL...........

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          • #6
            Well, here's my experience, FWIW. I've never been a pro welder, but managed to do pretty well, and I welded quite a bit in my trade as a heavy truck mechanic. As the years went by, I noticed it was getting tough to see. I tried shades, and backlights, etc. Finally, I went to the welding store for a cheater lens for my hood. A old, grey bearded welder there told me: " Son, lemme tellya what. Get the same horsepower as your street glasses, and wear the street glasses while you weld, you need double the correction to see the puddle clearly. Then he said, "you have nothing to loose, if there is too much magnification, just take the glasses off." Best advice, for sure. It worked for me. Don't know where you are for age or eyesight, but give it some thought!
            TC

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Captain K View Post
              I like #8 shade. Can see what you're doing, no floating spots after. Worked pipeline with pro welders who used 8 day in day out for years with no problems
              No problem now, wait until they are old and see if they wished that they had used a darker shade. 10 is quoted as the minimum for a reason, use less at your own peril.

              Guys damage your own eyes if you wish but don't advise someone else to do it.
              The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

              Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

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              • #8
                What on earth are you talking about? If the light level is comfortable, no problem. If you have it so bright you wince or squint, then you have a problem. Why do you think they make the damn things adjustable?

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                • #9
                  The HF helmet is actually quite good, as compared to 3 or 4 others I have used. The green lens does the UV blocking, the shade of the autodark is arbitrary to an extent.

                  Visible light definitely can damage eyes, so something close to the suggested is probably best. An 8 or 9 is unlikely to fry your eyes as compared to a 10. If you thought a 3 was best, I'd be thinking there was a different problem.
                  1601

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

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                  • #10
                    From the Lincoln Welding site.
                    ________________________


                    A: Many people mistakenly think that the lens shade number corresponds to the amount of protection that is provided to the eyes and hence the higher the number, the better the protection. But in reality, all well-constructed quality welding lenses, have a screen that filters out 100 percent of the harmful ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) wavelengths and provides protection to the eyes. The number just denotes the amount of darkness provided by that particular lens and should be used by operators as a guide to select the one that is most comfortable and yet provides good visibility for the particular application.



                    Q: Auto-darkening helmets don't darken until the welding arc is struck - will this "split second" damage my eyes?

                    A: Welding arcs emit both IR and UV wavelengths of light. Unprotected from this light, both eye damage and discomfort can occur. Since high-quality auto-darkening helmets provide UV and IR protection even when the helmet is not activated, you are always protected. However, for maximum comfort, look for a high quality helmet that has a response darkening time of 4/10ths of a millisecond. Less than a millisecond is not perceivable by the human eye and will provide the most comfort.
                    John Titor, when are you.

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                    • #11
                      Eye doctor here.

                      This is not medical advise. I am not YOUR eye doctor. Do your own due diligence. Your welding helmet could be defective, blah blah blah.

                      We have a UV transmission meter, and I have tested several welding helmets, including a HF helmet I bought 6 or 7 years ago.

                      They all stopped the UV to the 99+ % range. This is passive protection that has nothing to do with how dark the lens is or how fast the lens changes.

                      As several previous posts suggest, how dark you set it (within broad limits) is a personal preference. If you're not uncomfortable from the brightness of the visible light, you're fine.

                      Yes, visible light can damage your eyes. It's called ocular phototoxicity. Long term exposure to bright lights does cause some damage, so take your anti-oxidants and wear sunglasses and don't be silly with your welding helmet settings.

                      You can also get a flash burn from the UV if you don't have a helmet on the the guy next to you lights up and you're dumb enough to look at the arc for a while. Even this (which is very uncomfortable) is a superficial UV burn and does not add significantly to the long term damage (unless you do it a lot.)

                      Other than that, get on with your life and worry about losing weight and eating better and doing productive and creative things in the shop.

                      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11744400
                      Last edited by michigan doug; 06-08-2017, 02:15 PM.

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                      • #12
                        The Dr hit it exactly.
                        I would like to add that I use 7or 8 for mig, now a lot of times I'm using less than 90 amps to justify . I know my harbor freight adjustable helmet only goes down to 9. In my case that wasn't enough. So I bought a RADNOR helmet. It was expensive but well worth it.

                        In my quest for finding the correct shade I have found that welding inside the garage vs outside in the Sun made a huge differance in lense choice. Sometimes I use a light shinning at the weld area. That helps a lot also.

                        Now to compare your hf helmet to a RADNOR or any other adjustable, just take yours to a welding store and ask to take a helmet outside and look up at the Sun and see the differance as you vary the darkness.

                        A way to save some bucks is to buy only the better lens and put into your existing helmet shell. Just buy the same size. They also sell cheater lens also that are the same size as your helmet and snap right in behind the lens. So if you wear glasses maybe that is an option. They only cost $3 or 4 dollars
                        Last edited by ahidley; 06-08-2017, 02:08 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                          The HF helmet is actually quite good, as compared to 3 or 4 others I have used.
                          I've had a nice Jackson EQC filter for 20 years or so, but it's getting flaky and I'm afraid it's time for a new one. So your remarks about the HF helmets interest me - I don't weld much these days, not enough to justify a new 3-way filter at $300.

                          But there are several HF helmets - can you give me a part number, or do you think they're all basically the same?

                          Thanks...

                          -js
                          There are no stupid questions. But there are lots of stupid answers. This is the internet.

                          Location: SF Bay Area

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                          • #14
                            I don't know about others (but I'd listen to the dr's take over mine for sure) but autodarkening helmets seem much of a muchness, until you get into thinwall tube or other low power work use using tig. Then you have to fight the things refusing to darken at very low power levels.
                            Most of the cheaper shades aren't so good at this, thats the use case when the quality shows.

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                            • #15
                              Jackson was the one that failed when I was using it. I personally could see much better with the HF.

                              I may be just starting what the eye Dr calls "technical cataracts", meaning ones he sees but I do not. That may affect it.
                              1601

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

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