Welding helmets are a great source for protecting your eyes and head from injuries. It is the ultimate tool you need to be more efficient while saving yourself. However, the helmets need to be tested before you start welding. It would be best if you didn’t begin working while your safety is not in optimal condition.
There are several ways you can know about the helmet’s performance beforehand. Therefore, you never lack when it comes to preventing eye-related diseases. One can find out if their helmet is safe in several ways. These methods help you determine whether to continue working or take a break.
Keep reading as we discuss the various ways to test an auto-dimming welding helmet; we will let you know the consequences and how you can be safe.
The Working of an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
In contrast to a passive helmet, an ADL helmet automatically adjusts itself as soon as it senses sparks. The helmet has various knobs and sensors that detect any arcs coming at the welder. And darkens the lens to a predetermined level, so the welder can keep doing their work. It allows the welders to start their work without worrying and fuse metals.
However, the lens is not only limited to dimming itself. Rather, it should also be able to return to its normal state as soon as the welder wants to review their work. It should turn back to normal at an optimal speed. So the efficiency of the work is not compromised. Consumers must be able to perform all the processes without even taking the helmet off.
Hence, the helmet should perform two of the duties to provide value to the users. The methods below will help you determine if your helmet is in prime condition. You can try all these or only one to find out about the state of your safety gear.
When it comes to harsh light, nothing beats the ultimate source of it, the Sun. The auto-dimming welding helmet adjusts itself to powerful lights. To check whether it is working or not. Take the helmet outside in the Sun and point it towards the sky. If it darkens the lens, the helmet works in mint condition.
Make sure you check the sensitivity of the helmet before doing this process, as the Sun is quite far from us. Increase the sensitivity so the sensors can detect the rays to work their magic. Moreover, this process only works when the Sun is out. There might be more suitable options for a cloudy or rainy day. Therefore, you can try the other methods we have discussed.
The best part about this method is that it is not such dangerous as the other methods. However, we don’t advise that you wear the helmet and look directly at the Sun. Because if the lens doesn’t darken itself. The harsh light and rays can be bad for your eyes and vision.
Striking an Arc
Suppose you want to test the helmet in a pro way. The striking-an-arc method is best for you. However, before you start this method, we advise you to be careful to protect yourself from injuries. The helmets are made to protect you from arcs, and there is no better way to perform the test with them sparks themselves.
The process is simple if you take all the precautionary measures. Wear all the safety gear you normally wear before welding any metals. Please put on the suit and the helmet, turn it on, and fuse some metals to produce sparks and arcs. As soon as some arcs pop, the helmet should darken itself. If it happens, you are good to go; your helmet works fine. Make sure to notice the time it takes to darken itself. If it takes less time, there might be some issues with the sensitivity or the helmet itself.
Moreover, the welder should also notice the time it takes for the lens to return to normal, as it is also important to note when testing the safety helmet.
There are better options than the arc method for checking the workings of the safety gear. Yet, it is considered the ultimate option because it involves the actual working of the helmet. Ensure you are not so close to the arc, as it can damage your vision if the lens doesn’t work. If you are looking for some lighter methods, we have also discussed them below for your guidance.
Using an Infrared Remote Test
Trying the infrared remote test is the best option if you could be more risk-taking and want the easy out. The self-dimming welding helmet protects your eyes from the harsh viewable light. But also from the UV rays, something our naked eye cannot see. To perform this method, you only need remote control of any electronics. Just make sure it has the IR blaster on the top.
Press any button on the remote to activate the blaster and point it toward the helmet. If the lens darkens when you press the button, the helmet works perfectly against harmful UV rays. The process is so easy to perform and requires not any harm. One thing to remember is to use a remote that transmits IR rays. If the remote produces A. or B. pulsed signals, the helmet might not work.
The Pocket Lighter Way
There is no easy method, such as the pocket lighter, to find out about the condition of your helmet. The best part is it is so much practical, and you can do it anywhere and everywhere. Even if you buy a new or used helmet, you can use the lighter to test your purchase.
The method is not conventional, but if it helps you, then it is worth it. As discussed earlier, the helmets detect harsh lights, so you must produce them manually to check them. Just take out a helmet and light it up. Point the flame toward the helmet’s lens; you are good to go if it darkens.
The flame should make the sensors detect light and turn the ADL on. At the same time, the one downfall of this method is timing. The lens may take some time because the flame is milder. But, it is a fun portable way to find out about the working of the lens.
Additional Ways to Test a Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
We have discussed some of the best working methods to test an auto-tint welding helmet. Even so, if you are unsatisfied with the procedures or find them too risky, we have even listed some more methods to determine if you have the right helmet. You can try them for even better results before starting the welding work.
Sensitivity & Delay
The welding helmets have small knobs and sensors that perform all the actions and can be actuated with harsh light. Furthermore, users can adjust these settings as well for optimal user experience. Firstly, find out if your helmet can change these settings. It may be inside or outside of the helmet.
Once you have landed on them, you can adjust them to your liking. For example, if you want to review your work as soon as you stop. You can reduce the delay to increase your productivity and efficiency.
Secondly, if you want the helmet to turn on the ADL even when the slightest sparks appear, you can increase the sensitivity of the helmet. High sensitivity can be bad if you work in a place where others are also working. Your helmet will go dark when the sensor detects sparks from someone else’s work. It can be annoying if you want to concentrate only on your work.
Before you make the helmet dim and check it’s working. The most important part is to see whether the helmet is clear when turned on. It is a very simple method and can be done anywhere. Clean the lens of the helmet and wear it.
The helmet has passed the clarity test if you can look at things clearly and have a nice vision. The reason for to do is it helps you in reviewing your work. Welding is important, but checking whether you have done a good job is even more important. To complete this way, strike an arc so you are ready. Now you know that even if the helmet is not dimmed, it works properly,
Any auto-darkening welding shield must have a working ADF (auto-darkening filter). As it is the one thing, people buy the helmet for. It not only protects your eyes but also helps them keep you away from fatigue so you can continue your work for longer periods.
The test lets users know how much light must pass from the lens to keep them safe. It would help if you did not make it too low, so it makes everything too dark and impossible to work. Nor should it be too high that it makes the helmet’s interior too bright. We have listed methods throughout the article to check the ADF for your assistance.
The sole purpose of any welding helmet is to provide the user with complete safety. And the best way to do so is to ask when you are buying. This method assists when purchasing a new or used helmet in-store. Ask the seller regarding the safety measures and certifications of the helmet. Not every helmet has every rating, so it is better to ask or check the packaging before purchasing.
Below are some of the most crucial safety standards the helmet must follow so that you can avoid any inconvenience later on.
- UV and IR Rays Protection (Always check if the helmet has the necessary protection against these harmful rays. As they are not visible to a naked one, one must think they are unimportant. But they can cause skin burns, eye damage, and permanent vision loss.)
- Impact Resistance Protection (Helmets are known to be durable and must withstand shocks when working in the field. There are chances of you dropping the helmet. Ensure it is resistant to any impact, so your investment can be used for a long time.)
- Temperature Test (Welding involves working at high temperatures up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure before buying the helmet it comes with the necessary rating. The constant temperature might damage the helmet if you work longer hours.)
- Filters (Before making any safety helmet-related purchase, check whether the helmet has all the necessary filters to block rays. It must be checked beforehand so it doesn’t become an issue later on.)
Lens Reaction Time
Any helmet has no purpose if it doesn’t have the proper lens reaction time. It simply means the time it takes for the lens to turn dark. On average, the reaction time is around 1/25000ths of a second. Some helmets may take longer than this. Checking the reaction time is a must, as the experience of the helmet solely depends on it. If the reaction time is too long, it defeats the purpose of wearing the safety tool.
Moreover, the reaction time for the lens to return to normal must also be considered before purchasing. As it allows you to review the metals you have fused quickly.
The reason for checking reaction time is if it is too delayed, the sparks may damage your vision. It may take too long for the sensors to detect the arcs, which can lead to serious issues. Furthermore, there may be various settings for this available on the helmet. Check what suits you the best and choose it as your final choice.
The auto-darkening pipeliner hood receives power from two sources to produce the magic. It can be powered by batteries, solar, or a mix of both. Some helmets have replaceable lithium batteries that allow you to carry extra battery packs. So you can keep working for as long as you want.
Before making any purchase, make sure you test and check the power input of the welding helmet. There are better choices than buying a solar-powered helmet if you are working in an indoor area. At the same time, if you work long hours and want to keep doing it. Buying a welding helmet with replaceable battery packs can be optimal. Or if you are in the middle and want to finish stuff. A battery-powered helmet might be your choice, as it can be the most affordable opinion.
In addition, before you buy a used helmet, make sure you check if the power source is working properly or not. You want to avoid purchasing a device with a faulty battery that can become an issue for you later on.
The grind mode is an option that is available on a handful of safety helmets. It means the consumers are provided with buttons or switches to turn on and off the auto-dimming modes of the helmet. The grinding mode only works when the auto-dimming is off. So make sure you have the grind mode turned off whenever you are about to start fusing the metals. Otherwise, the arcs and sparks will not affect the helmet’s lens.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Last?
Like any other product in the world, the life of any welding helmet relies on how you use it. If you are careful with the tool, it can last you for ages. Otherwise, it will only last a couple of months. Helmets are generally considered rigid and durable, so you don’t have to worry about them a lot. But there are some things you need to be careful about.
Keep the helmet in a safe environment to prevent any issues if you keep throwing away the helmet like a ball. Or place it anywhere in the truck or construction site; the helmet may soon get damaged.
Ensure you place the helmet in a good temperature place; it should not be too high or too low. And make sure you clean it after every use.
If you consider all the tips mentioned above and carefully use the helmet. It can last up to 7 to 10 years. The only thing that worsens with time is the battery performance. Moreover, it involves a bunch of knobs and sensors. The electronics may also need improvement after some years.
To extend your helmet’s life, buy a helmet that has replaceable parts. It allows you to individually change what is bothering you, in contrast, to purchasing a new helmet. The helmet is a good investment for your health and should not be compromised.
- The Lens Life
One thing that sets apart the ADL helmet from a passive helmet is its lens of it. It is the one thing that makes it stand out. And taking care of it is the most important factor. Don’t drop or misuse the helmet; wiping it after every use is a good practice.
If the helmet drops on the lens, it may damage it and demands to be changed, so whenever you are in the store, buy a helmet. Look for the lens range and check the lens’s quality. If you get a helmet that supports replaceable lenses, it is a very good thing.
- The Battery Backup
As discussed earlier, one of the key points of any helmet is the battery backup. Lithium batteries are known to degrade over the years in any device. And same is the scenario with a welding helmet. Suppose you overcharge the batteries or don’t care about them every time. The life span decreases, which eventually becomes an issue for you.
We suggest you buy a helmet with a replaceable lithium-ion battery. It allows you to change the batteries anytime you think their performance is not up to the mark. Moreover, you can carry extra batteries to increase your working hours.
Remember, it is crucial to use the helmet after regular intervals. The batteries might start to discharge automatically and affect the battery packs’ health.
Why Do I Need To Test My Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Regularly?
Checking your helmet before starting any welding is necessary for your safety. If you start working without ensuring the helmet is alright, it can become an issue for your eyes. The need for regular testing increases because the tool is an electric device and has no warranty.
If you regularly check your helmet, you can know of any issues beforehand. If you start welding and the helmet is not working, it can become an issue thus, even if you are not using it. The practice of regularly testing it to avoid any inconvenience is a must.
The effectiveness of any helmet is limited to the life of the lens. It is important to check them regularly so your eyes can be at ease and you can continue the work whenever needed.
Is My Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Working Well If I Get Eye Fatigue?
The simple and short answer to this is NO. Suppose you are wearing the correct form of safety equipment. It is very unlikely that you get eye fatigue. Eye fatigue is a form of discomfort that may occur when the muscles around your eye become tired. The reason may be long hours of work or harmful rays attacking the cornea. It results in poor focus and even headaches.
However, one thing to remember is one can get eye fatigue even after wearing protective gear for several other reasons. The welding helmets are heavy and may make your neck pain. In addition, if you keep working longer hours without rest. It can result in eye fatigue even if you have a proper helmet. So we advise you to take care of your health and rest while working.
What Should Be The Industry Standards for Auto Darkening Welding Helmets?
The welding helmets have a safety standard of ANSI Z87+ in the United States. And for the European world, it is BS EN 175:1997. Remember, helmet manufacturers are not mandatory to follow these guidelines. So before you make any purchase, check the standards on the packaging or ask the seller. It can help you make the perfect decision for yourself.
What Are The Two Main Types of Welding Helmets?
When it comes to welding helmets, there are two types, passive and ADL helmets.
- Passive Helmets
The passive helmet is the original and conventional type of helmet. It has no sensors or any fancy stuff going on. Passive helmets are way cheaper and easier to use. Welders have to manually take on and off the helmet every time they want to fuse metals. It can be tiring and decrease the process’s overall productivity. The helmet only comes with a standard lens to protect your eyes, and you must take it off whenever you want to review your work.
- ADL Helmets
The future of welding helmets is the auto-dimming welding helmet. The more expensive option has everything you need to be safe and efficient. The lens dims and returns to normal every time arcs appear. It comes with knobs, sensors, and batteries to perform the magic. The one plus point is that users do not have to take it off whenever they want to review their work. So more work can be done in lesser time. However, these helmets are way more expensive and less durable than conventional passive helmets.
Wrapping it Up
One should always make it a regular habit to check the welding helmet before starting any work. You do not want to enter the battlefield with not the best arrangements, as it can become an issue for yourself.
Health is the greatest gift one can receive and should make the necessary arrangements to ensure you stay safe. Following the abovementioned methods, you can test the helmet in seconds and be ready. Remember, if you keep working with broken protective gear. It may cause fatigue to the eye muscles, damage your vision and eventually lead to permanent vision loss.
This article was helpful for you in finding out methods to check your self-darkening welding helmet and save yourself from any trouble. If you have other ways to try yourself, let us know to make this world safer.