My Autodark is Broken

My favorite autodark welding hood was my first one. An el cheapo Harbor
Freight a buddy gave me as a gift for fixing his boat trailer for him many
years ago. I loved it. Seemed I could dial it in for anything. Even
welding indoors under artifficial light. I also liked it for welding thin
stuff like pickup beds. It went from dark to light fast enough I could see
the glow diminish on the weld puddle and I could quickly stack welds without
over heating the metal. To me it looked a lot like that stack of dimes I
hear TIG guys talk about. When the HF hood died I was of course in the
middle of a job. Imagine my consternation when I found out the batteries
were not replaceable. I bought another HF hood. The more expensive of the
two they sold at the time and I hated it. Oh, it worked ok if I was
wallowing away at a couple pieces of metal, but for welding sheet it was
carp. The weld would almost cold by the time it went clear making it a slow
and tedious job to weld thin stuff. YUCK! When it died I didn't bother to
replace the batteries in it. I threw it away, and bought a Lincoln. The
Lincoln wasn't as bad as HF #2 or as good as HF #1, but it was ok until I
dropped it. The shade adjustment knob broke off. It seems to be stuck on
or near the darkest shade. Well, that sucks. I can see the arc, but not
much of anything else when I'm welding. I can make do if I can drag the
assembly out into the sun, but just barely. If I have to weld indoors all I
can see is the arc. YUCK! I had to weld some casters and caster mounts
onto a machine stand yesterday so I could easily move out of my machine
room. You can't get much more indoors than that. It would have been a dead
easy job with my autodark. Just hold the mount in place and tack it.
Unfortunately I could not see shit with it. I wound up having to clamp up
on all four mounts one a a time and use my regular shield since its not as
dark as the auto dark. Yes I tried sticking a screw driver in the hole left
by the missing knob. It feels like you can adjust it, but nothing changes.
So. I am in the search for a new auto dark. I don't weld all the time and
I am absolutely not a fan boy of any brand so I am not going to just throw
money at it. I want one with a knob that won't break if it gets bumped or
dropped. That can go clear fast after the arc stops, and has a good
adjustment range for indoor and outdoor welding. I asked about this once
before and somebody suggested one of the guys like HTP or something like
that , but I don't recall for sure.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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See if you can try a Jackson Nexgen. I have been using one for about 10 years and really like it. The batteries are replaceable, and everything is adjustable. They are not inexpensive though. If you are friends with your local welding shop, you could probably talk them into a test-drive. Ernie recommended these, and I see why.
BobH
Reply to
BobH
See if you can try a Jackson Nexgen. I have been using one for about 10 years and really like it. The batteries are replaceable, and everything is adjustable. They are not inexpensive though. If you are friends with your local welding shop, you could probably talk them into a test-drive. Ernie recommended these, and I see why.
BobH
*********
Not a bad idea. I'll have a chat with Mike over at Praxair and see what they have.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
Looks good if its all accurate info.
__
".The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone.... " Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
Reply to
GunnerAsch
Looks good if its all accurate info.
*** I may give it a try. Its cheap enough. I've never gotten bad info from HTP, but I've only bought a few misc parts from them in the past. I do notice one thing though. Its got a short clear time of .3 seconds, and most of the more expensive helmets are listed at .2. Since clear time is one of my complaints I wonder if that extra .1 second will make any difference in my rhythm when stacking welds on thin sheet. Its not something I do everyday, but its pretty difficult with a slow helmet. You have to get that timing just right so there is still enough heat to start easy, but not so much that it drops out.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
Why not just buy another Harbor Freight hood then? If you get the same exact hood it should have the same lens in it. HF used to sell 3 different hoods. Each hood had a lens made by a different company. I have found that the Blue Flame hood is the only one I can see through well. So I have two hanging around for loaners and emergencies. I love my Lincoln but am still gonna buy an HTP for the extra viewing area. Eric
Reply to
etpm
I absolutely did not plan to buy the Harbor Freight Vulcan at $139 dollars when there were other helmets with similar features for less money. However I was working on my welding table yesterday, and I just got tired of fighting with my slightly too dark fixed lens helmet and my way to dark Lincoln Autodark. I texted my wife a link to the HF Vulcan and said if you have the cash buy one. She texted me back asking if I wanted one or two. LOL. Well, it worked pretty good. It had some inconsistency issues, but overall it worked pretty good. I figured I would take it back today and trade it for another one, but first I wanted to check the battery. Well, the battery was still in a plastic bag inside the box. After installing the battery all the little inconsistencies went away. Its not bad. It is a 4 sensor module with a huge field of view.
Then I decided to take a look at the module on my Lincoln. I was using it as an inspectors helmet while my son was placing some welds, and it just wasn't tripping. Huh? It worked ok when I got up close to the weld but standing back nothing. So I decided to check the battery on it. If it has one its not replaceable. Dang it. Just an overpriced low end Harbor Freight Helmet with a sealed unit and a fancy name. I would like to have a second autodark if only so the two of us can work together on more difficult to handle assemblies. The whole unit comes out easy enough, but the seams are all heat fusion joined.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
I absolutely did not plan to buy the Harbor Freight Vulcan at $139 dollars when there were other helmets with similar features for less money. However I was working on my welding table yesterday, and I just got tired of fighting with my slightly too dark fixed lens helmet and my way to dark Lincoln Autodark. I texted my wife a link to the HF Vulcan and said if you have the cash buy one. She texted me back asking if I wanted one or two. LOL. Well, it worked pretty good. It had some inconsistency issues, but overall it worked pretty good. I figured I would take it back today and trade it for another one, but first I wanted to check the battery. Well, the battery was still in a plastic bag inside the box. After installing the battery all the little inconsistencies went away. Its not bad. It is a 4 sensor module with a huge field of view.
Then I decided to take a look at the module on my Lincoln. I was using it as an inspectors helmet while my son was placing some welds, and it just wasn't tripping. Huh? It worked ok when I got up close to the weld but standing back nothing. So I decided to check the battery on it. If it has one its not replaceable. Dang it. Just an overpriced low end Harbor Freight Helmet with a sealed unit and a fancy name. I would like to have a second autodark if only so the two of us can work together on more difficult to handle assemblies. The whole unit comes out easy enough, but the seams are all heat fusion joined.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
Try searching on 'Lincoln Autodark battery repair'. There are several articles, youtube videos. Not sure if they look like yours or not. I posted some links/info for the HF helmet repair previous in this thread. That may be similar enough to help. They are sealed too if I remember correctly...
Reply to
Leon Fisk
Try searching on 'Lincoln Autodark battery repair'. There are several articles, youtube videos. Not sure if they look like yours or not. I posted some links/info for the HF helmet repair previous in this thread. That may be similar enough to help. They are sealed too if I remember correctly...
Reply to
Bob La Londe
I'm a cheap skate, it would hang around as parts or I'd try fixing it :)
One of the HF repairs consists of removing the old batteries, after cutting it open. Then soldering in wires that go to a new battery pack mounted inside the helmet. Nothing all that difficult if you can solder little stuff.
It if is truly the same module as HF you might want to try leaving it where the sun can shine on it for a bit before you try using it. That sometimes gets them going again.
The cheap HF model has a terrible helmet design. Nothing above the top back of your head. I've had several hot dingle berries come bouncing in for a visit while welding with it. And I don't weld much anymore...
Did you use the HF discount coupon for $129.99 that expired yesterday for the new one? If not keep your receipt and I'll watch for another coupon to turn up. You should be able to use it to refund the difference, even after the sale.
Reply to
Leon Fisk
I'm a cheap skate, it would hang around as parts or I'd try fixing it :)
One of the HF repairs consists of removing the old batteries, after cutting it open. Then soldering in wires that go to a new battery pack mounted inside the helmet. Nothing all that difficult if you can solder little stuff.
********* Actually I think I found a drop in lens cartridge for that helmet that has a replaceable battery. Cheap too. The same company had one a dollar less without a replaceable battery. Exact same size.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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You will notice that there are hundreds of different moduals available on Ebay for as little as $4
*******************
Yep. Ordered one yesterday. Funny part was the same vendor listed 1 with a replaceable battery and several options without a replaceable battery. Just a couple dollars difference from highest to lowest.
Reply to
Bob La Londe

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