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New welding helmet .....??

 
  #31  
Old 12-10-2008, 02:09 PM
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There is not a way to adjust the autodarkening feature.
19fifty4,

That is why I went for the Miller Performance series helmet. Not as expensive as the Elite series but almost as adjustable. Battery operated for instant operation with a solar recharge function for the battery.

Darkness, sensitivity, and delay after arc stops can be adjusted so the helmet works in a dimly lit garage or out in full sunlight. It also has a bracket for the little magnifier lenses that I need more and more these days.

I paid around $250 for it. How much are your eyes worth?

Once you try one you will not want anything else.
 
  #32  
Old 12-10-2008, 06:52 PM
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A couple of years ago I considered the HF helmet and Googled reviews. I found nothing negative about the HF so I bought one. I paid a little over 40.00 for mine (I subscibe to their flyers and got a 15% off of any one item coupon). I love it. It changes instantly. It is adjustable from 9-13 shade. The headstrap is comfortable. I welded my entire chassis (lots of welding) with the helmet and didn't get that 'sand in the eyes' feeling you get with too light of a shade.
I would recommend it for the hobbiest...
 
  #33  
Old 12-10-2008, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jon6foot4 View Post
didn't get that 'sand in the eyes' feeling you get with too light of a shade.
I would recommend it for the hobbiest...
I hope you know what that "sand in the eyes" is from. I've done that once, and once was plenty enough for me. My brother and I were welding aluminium inside an aluninium trailer. I was holding the plates in place while he welded them. I was also cutting them while he was welding them. I was not wearing dark safety glasses while he was welding and that night, I was in severe pain. For those that don't know, I basically sunburned my eyes. Also, it's the rays of light you can't see that burn you. Some of the worst sunburns I got were on cloudy days.
 
  #34  
Old 12-10-2008, 10:03 PM
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The discussion has been most helpful. I've spent the last hour looking online at several models and have it narrowed down to a few. I was only issued one pair of eyes and will spend a dollar to get a good quality helmet. While burning your eyes will cause immediate pain and possible damage, I think there is a more subtle damage that can occur with cheaper helmets that while not immedaitely painful might not show up for a few years and by then it's irreversible. I'm interested in my money going for a good helmet and not killer graphics. I've looked at the Miller Performance series ($182), Miller Elite ($244), A Jackson NexGen ($261), and a SpeedGlas 9100xx ($311-ebay) ((all black models of course)). Sounds like the Miller Elite gets good marks - is there that much of a difference vs. the Performance series for $60? Maybe the viewing field? Anybody have the Jackson NexGen? How about the Speedglas model 9100xx? The prices I included were from an online welding store with free shipping but I've seen a few of these models on ebay from private sellers as well. These might normally be out of reach for me but Christmas is around the corner and being hard to buy for, a few family members want to chip in and get me something useful. How many ties can I wear
 
  #35  
Old 12-10-2008, 10:27 PM
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Something to think about before buying one. Go to your local welding supply dealer and see what they have for sale. This way you can physically see the differences between them. Also, if you should have a problem with a helmet, they would probably be more likely to help you out as opposed to someone on line. Just a suggestion.
 
  #36  
Old 12-10-2008, 10:48 PM
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My SpeedGlas is the 9002X. I use it for both MIG and TIG and couldn't be happier with it. I used the HF model before I upgraded to the SpeedGlas...if anyone believes that the HF is as good as any of the quality helmets I would encourage them to try both, there is a noticable difference in the quality and clarity of the lens.
 
  #37  
Old 12-11-2008, 08:48 AM
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I have the Miller Elite, large field of view and I think it may have more sensors. The only negs I can give it is I can't get the harness adjusted to keep it on my head securely when looking down and I don't like the fact it automatically turns itself off after a few minutes of no welding without any warning. It is supposed to turn itself back on but I get a flash every time. You can (and should) turn it on manually but the button is inside the helmet above the lens.
The lens on any welding helmet should protect your eyes from UV burn at dark or light, but not from the bright flash if light, like looking at a camera strobe. Never weld or burn without dark glass goggles or helmet. Even squinting or closing your eyes while tacking will not prevent sunburn.
 
  #38  
Old 12-11-2008, 10:21 AM
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Thumbs up welding shields...

When I was in college getting my welding cert.'s my instructor used a
Jackson (old-school!) and a few "kids" went out and picked the HF shields
and they seemed to work fine for them...they were just learnin' to weld &
"new" to the whole enviroment...

I had been around the block a few times myself & was savin' up for a quality
shield and decieded on a Miller Big Window Elite.

Man...this thing is the whip...


Miller - Elite Series Welding Helmets

NOT inexspensive...but it IS the hallmark...

I bought it for ME as a birthday gift in 2005 and JUST put 2 new batteries in it!
 
  #39  
Old 12-11-2008, 05:32 PM
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Yes, I think the elite has 4 sensors instead of the 3 found in the Performance series line. The viewing area is slightly larger also. Other than that I don't see much difference. The digital has a few more bells & whistles but at a much higher cost. I'll look at an autodarkening model from Lowes tonight. I think it runs about $140 but I'm not sure who makes it for them. I think it has decent specs but I'll have to check those as well. The current hood came from Lowe's but it was a $30 closeout, markdown special. At the time it looked like it was just a model closeout clearance type of thing but given the trouble I have had with it maybe there was another reason it was marked way down. Northern Tool also has one that runs about $110 and the specs appear to be similar to that of the Miller Performance but I don't see how it could be comparable. I'll do a little more checking on that one as well.
 
  #40  
Old 12-13-2008, 09:15 AM
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I've used el cheapos and some higher end units and both will work but the better units will sure spoil you. What ever the cost for me the fit and adustablility are key...I have bifocal glasses and some of the units will let you "tilt" the viewing window so that it centers in your glasses field of vision and that's a huge help. Some will also let you move the helmet closer or further away and for some that's also a help. I also think that having a sensitivity adjustment is a good feature...a few more dollars in a welding helmet can make a big difference and actually make you a better welder. See better...weld better.

OilLeaks
 
  #41  
Old 12-16-2008, 01:56 PM
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1 last ?

One last question on these helmets before my buck$ are spent.

I'm looking at one that is solar powered as compared to one that is solar and battery powered? What's the difference especially for using in my garage?

Also 2 sensors vs. 4? Is this a big deal especially in a second helmet?
 
  #42  
Old 12-16-2008, 02:39 PM
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Battery units react quicker. Battery plus solar units use the solar to recharge the batteries. Solar depends strictly on the arc to activate and is slower. I tried a solar unit and it constantly flashed me before activating. My Miller has not done that yet. It turns on automatically and works flawlessly. The only trouble I have is remembering to turn it back from grind mode when I am done grinding.

The higher number of sensors is better as one or two may be partially blocked from the arc source for activation. The more sensors you have the more chance you have of activating when an arc is struck.
 
  #43  
Old 12-16-2008, 02:53 PM
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As things stand this afternoon I have purchased the Miller Performance as my primary helmet. I say primary because both my son and I need a helmet but I don't think I need 2 the caliber of the Performance. I'm not saying both set of eyes are not important but most likely I have a primary welder and an observer. If only one of us is in the shop then the Miller is the ticket. The 2nd can have very good specs but not necessarily high $$. What I'm trying to choose between is a Lowes Model and one from Northern Tool. Both are within $10 of each other and have similar specs. The Lowes model is solar powered and has the 2 sensors. Based on my intended use are the differences significant enought to choose one over the other?
 
  #44  
Old 12-16-2008, 03:01 PM
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If the helmet is for an observer and not to be used primarily for welding but for watching someone else weld, I would get a static lens unit and announce when I am about to strike an arc.

The auto darkening is great for welding but overkill for observation. Unless the observer is also holding the part to be welded for the operator.

In the end it's your decision to make as to how much you want to spend but, if all they are doing is watching you weld, even the mask on a stick would be good enough.

IMHO, that is.
 

Last edited by BACAGrizz; 12-16-2008 at 03:02 PM. Reason: spelling goofs.
  #45  
Old 12-17-2008, 12:54 PM
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I agree with Grizz. Use whatever came with the welder for observation. The observer is likely to be too far from the arc for an auto helmet to work well. It's easy enough to let the observer see the stinger placement or whatever without the helmet then flip their helmet down before you pull the trigger, use the money for some other more useful tool, i.e. some vise grip welding clamps, magnetic triangles, flap wheels, etc.
 

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