Which welding helmet?

I will be picking up my Hobart Cyber Tig II 200 Amp welder tonight. Spoke to the seller etc, put my shop crane into my truck. Assuming that the welding machine shows signs of life...
I need a helmet. I am not sure of the shade selection etc, and also not sure whether I need an autodarkening helmet.
My welding will be, at best, occasional. My main concern is that the helmet must be idiot proof. My second concern is that I would prefer it to not go bad after a few years due to deterioration of a non-replaceable battery, or some such.
I kind of like the idea of solar auto darkening helmets. Are the no name brands much worse than name brands? Do I have a chance of getting something usable for under $50? Do they have replaceable electrical elements?
i
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If you do not have the experience level to have any preferences, just any old thing will do. I would suggest a Huntsman because they have a better ratchet system. I would also suggest a gold lens, as they give a better image.
You can wait on the autodark until you see how you like this machine or even if you can do the deed.
Steve
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That makes some sense. So, with an old, regular helmet, how would I be able to see just where to strike the arc? You can tell that I am quite confused.
Also, what filters do I need, there is a number on these filters and I am not sure what to select.
I am reading a couple of welding manuals right now, which I downloaded from Miller's website.
i
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With this machine, you should have a high frequency start. That means that you put your hood down, and when you hit the little button, it arcs. You don't start the arc like you do with a stick.
As for lenses .............. gold is more expensive than plain. So, buying four or five shades would become spendy. If you are doing steel, around 10 would be good. If you are doing aluminum or stainless, a darker one would be the answer.
As for hoods, something I forgot to mention. I much prefer the hoods with the larger lenses. They are easier for me when I nod to see through the lens and see something in the area of the arc. If you buy shades 9 through 14 in plain glass, they will probably run you $6 per. This would give you a big assortment to play with. The suggested shades are just that, and each man may like theirs slightly lighter or darker. Experiment with them until you know exactly which one to use.
What you need now is experience. Go to metal scrappers and metal suppliers. You can buy aluminum and stainless very cheap from them by buying the scraps. These are plenty good to practice on. Lots of them are sheared, and have clean straight edges.
HTH
Steve
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Makes sense.

Got it.

Thanks. I spoke to one place about picking up some scraps.
I saved your post and will look at it when buying a helmet.
i
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I learned using a basic Jackson helmet, the kind with the large window. It was not at all expensive ($25?), and is still a good helment. It came with a #10 shade lens, which is pretty standard as a starting point.
The upside to a helmet like this is that you can replace the lenses whenever you need to. (There is an outer, plastic lens, then the shaded lens, then an inner protective plastic lens.) The lenses are not very expensive, and you can get different shades to suit the work you're doing (you might need a lighter shade for low-amp TIG, for example). The large field of view on this particular helmet is also a very big plus. The downside to any non-auto helmet is that you have to learn how to "nod" the helmet into place. Hold your rod or gun or electrode just short of where you want to strike, nod the helmet into place, and then strike. Unless you have some really bright lights on the area, you will not be able to see through the helmet to know where you're striking until you get an arc to provide the light--that's why you position everything as close as possible, and nod the helmet down so you don't have to move your hands. But once you get the hang of it, nodding and striking in the right place becomes automatic.
Much as I still like my basic Jackson helmet, though, I now am using a $50 auto-darkening helmet from Harbor Freight. I don't know that it would be a good choice in a heavy-duty industrial environment, but for the occasional hobby weldor, I like it very much. Though my accuracy in striking an arc was pretty good with the Jackson, it is uncanny to be able to see exactly where you are striking and have it instantly turn the right shade. The downsides to this helmet are that if the lens breaks, or any electronic parts go bad, I'll pretty much have to replace the helmet -- but if it lasts a couple of years (it's lasted one year so far, and still doing fine) I won't feel too bad about spending another $50. Note that there are some different models available in this price range (when on sale) through HF. I tried out one that had a rounded shape and didn't like the tint that it gave. I now have a blue, squarish shaped unit, and like it just fine.
YMMV, of course, but FWIW, whenever I teach someone how to weld I always put them on the auto-dark. That is just one less thing to have to worry about as you're trying to deal with striking an arc, keeping the rod at the right angle and distance from the work, moving smoothly, and so on. Of course, I learned on the non-auto helmet, and there is no question that I would not have bothered getting an autodark if they weren't available so cheaply from HF--and if I hadn't seen a fair number of positive comments about the HF units here on this newsgroup. For $50, I was willing to give it a try; for $300 I would have said "why bother?"
Let us know how it goes ...
Andy

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Thanks Andy. As Isaid, I will check out our local HF...
i

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On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 16:50:42 GMT, Ignoramus5411
This is the one most every one buys.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber212
Gunner

"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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Thanks... Will check it out...
i
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HF $99 helmets are on sale for something like $54 at my local store. I will try to stop by there this weekend.
i

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On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 11:45:22 -0400, "Andrew H. Wakefield"

If you buy the HF blue helmet..spend the $9.95 for the 2 yr warranty. It even covers the head bands. If you bust yours, or it quits, ask em if you can keep the lens covers and head band. They will let you keep just about anything as they dump em in the trash can and give you a new one.
Mine quit after a month, they didnt even bat an eye about swapping it out and letting me keep all the covers, harness etc etc
One of the best $49.95 Ive ever spent
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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A number of folks (including me) have one of the varieties of Harbor Freight autodarkening helmet. They're cheap seem to work pretty well, and one can adjust the level of shading the helment gives. Did I mention they're cheap?
A number of folks have this one: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber212
I have this one which I bought when it was $49.95: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberF092
Apparently folks who have tried both prefer the first, although mine works fine. I regularly spent 2 to 3 hours of hood down time with it on and can't complain other than it could be a little more comfortable for longer stretches.
An autodarkening adjustable helmet is GOOD THING. And even of the helmet goes bad in two years, you only spent $50 on it, and by that time you'll be able to indulge your preferences (developed after getting some experience) with a new helmet.
Peter

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Thanks. HF is very slow to ship, but I will try calling our local store.
i

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On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 13:03:52 GMT, Ignoramus5411

As a general rule I think the solar powered ones should be steered clear of. The problem there is if you don't use them often they may well be discharged when you go to use them.
Shade 10-11 is about right for most stick use. Fixed helmets are ok once you're used to them but most beginners find that auto darkening helps them.
Wayne Cook Shamrock, TX http://members.dslextreme.com/users/waynecook/index.htm
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wrote:

Wayne..the HF unit may...may have a battery inside I suspect..but the units charge the moment you take it out into the light..and the welding arc itself runs the electronics. I store mine in a dark sealed cabinet with my welding rod for weeks at a time, and its never missed a beat.
The particualar HF one that I linked to, has two sensors on opposite ends of the lens, if you are welding around corners, and inside are two switches..sensitivity high/low and delay, fast/slow, with the shade pot on the outside left side and NO, none...nada off/on switch. So its been designed to run directly off the PV cells.
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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wrote:

I was just going by what a welding supply owner told me when I bought my Huntsman auto darkening lens. He said he wasn't going to sell any more of the solar powered ones because he sold one and the guy brought it back at the end of a long day of welding saying that he could see real good but it hurt his eye's. Upon checking it the owner found that it wasn't charged up and didn't change the whole day.

Ok. They may of improved over the years.
Wayne Cook Shamrock, TX http://members.dslextreme.com/users/waynecook/index.htm
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Many of my students have bought the current $50 autolens hood from Harbor Freight and they do seem to work.
Not great for TIG at low amps, but for Stick and MIG they are fine.
For TIG you need something more sensitive.
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Meaning they are less likely to trigger the lens when using low amperage? Any idea what the amp setting "break point" is for these helmets?
Peter
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wrote:

Thats why I didnt buy the one you have..no sensitivity controls inside IRRC
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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buy the one you have..no sensitivity controls inside

There is a sensitivity switch that provides for "low" and "high" sensitivity. I'll have to experiment and find out the minimum amps to trigger the lens.
Peter
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