auto darkening welding helmet


Old 09-11-16, 06:07 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: upstate New York
Posts: 380
auto darkening welding helmet

Hi, I've been welding for almost 50 years, not professionally, and have always used a Huntsman helmet with a shade 10 lens. Almost exclusively stick, with a little MIG occasionally. My eyesight isn't bad for an old guy, but I have a cataract
giving me problems in one eye (soon to be removed). I'm having problems "seeing" the welding puddle and following a line when welding. I wear reading glasses, and have tried them, as well as "cheater" lenses in my helmet, no help. I have 2 questions:

-Is the cataract causing my problems?
-Would an auto-darkening helmet help? My son-in-law has lousy vision and swaers by his

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks, Steve
Sponsored Links
Old 09-11-16, 06:43 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,340
First thing I would try is to bring more light over to where you are looking.

I do really like my auto darkening helmet, which is an inexpensive one from Harbor Freight (about $60), but mostly when I am getting ready to strike the arc.
Old 09-11-16, 06:55 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 44,322
I had considered buying an auto darkening helmet because I had problems seeing the puddle until I realized that my photo grey [self darkening] eyeglass lenses were the culprit. A non darkening pair of glasses fixed my issue. Like TI I'd only expect the self darkening helmet to help at the start of a weld.
Old 09-11-16, 09:11 AM
pugsl's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 7,955
I had cataracts in both eyes at different times. The first one I had a hole in the center of my vision and had to look out the side of my eye. The other eye my vision just got so blurry I almost could not see out of my eye. I would guess the cataract is your problem.
The first time I had it done they did not put me all the way out and hated it, I put off the second one till I could not stand it. Told doctor why and he said all they had to do put me out more. Wish I had known this a couple of years before, Second surgery was a breeze.
Old 09-11-16, 10:15 AM
Rough Rooster's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 381
Have a auto darkening helmet and love it. The photogray eye glasses were my problem Just set them aside now when I weld and the puddle is visible and so is the crack. Had cataract surgery on one eye. With the photogray eyeglasses I was losing the crack and welding all around. Not good!

Old 09-11-16, 12:19 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Location: upstate New York
Posts: 380

Thanks for all the replies! I'm going to borrow my son in law's auto darkening helmet and see if that helps. Hopefully have the cataract surgery this fall. I'll update after that. Thanks, Steve
Old 09-11-16, 05:10 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 18,284
I have darkening prescription glasses and have never had issue with them when welding. If they are darkening then something isn't right with your helmet.

One of the big benefits of the auto darkening helmet is that it's adjustable. Mine has an adjustment for the sensitivity so you can adjust when it darkens and when it clears. And, you can adjust the level of darkening. If you can't see the puddle just turn it down a bit. When doing low amperage mig I turn it way down for better visibility but when doing high powered TIG I may go as dark as 12.
Old 09-12-16, 04:04 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 44,322
I've had photo grey lenses since the 70's and bought my first stick welder about 1980. I've used multiple helmets over the years and have always had issues seeing, especially when I first strike an arc. When I bought a pair of regular lenses a few yrs ago - that issue went away! I've never used an auto darkening helmet but had considered buying one until I changed glasses.
Old 05-06-18, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,438
Auto Dark

I switched to an Autodark a year ago, and will not go back to the non Auto. A word of advice though. I have a set of flourescent lights on the ceiling that I can look at with the helmet on to test the autodark before I hit the trigger on the gun at the workpiece. Since My Autodark has settings for shade scale and for grinding, it is nice to know that I switched it back to "weld" before blinding myself with a flash. The quick look at the ceiling lights has prevented that little escapade more than once. (batteries can go dead too at times . So just good to test first.
Old 05-07-18, 04:44 AM
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: usa
Posts: 23
An auto darkening helmet, as nice as they are, isn't going to help you to see the puddle or follow a line. If a cheater didn't help, the issue is definitely your eyes!
Old 05-20-18, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,438
Welding Gases

I had a small job I was in the middle of when I ran out of welding gas in the machine I normally use for welding steel. (Argon/ CO2) I had a full bottle of Straight Argon under the bench, and said what the hey, lets see what happens. It allowed me to finish the job, but it appeared that the flow of metal and the puddle just wasn't right. What is there about the CO2 that makes things better when welding steel?
Old 05-20-18, 12:53 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,029
I have no clue what some of these terms mean...but..."For many companies, including those that place an emphasis on weld quality, appearance and reducing post-weld clean up, a mixture of between 75 – 95 percent Argon and 5 – 25 percent CO2 will provide a more desirablecombination of arc stability, puddle control and reduced spatter than pure CO2. This mixture also allows the use of a spray transfer process, which can produce higher productivity rates and more visually appealing welds. Argon also produces a narrower penetration profile, which is useful for fillet and butt welds. If you’re welding a non-ferrous metal — aluminum, magnesium or titanium — you’ll need to use 100 percent Argon." Any help?
Old 09-13-18, 07:50 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,438
Pure Argon vs Argon CO2

In your reply you state that there is a cleaner, better looking weld by Using a mix of Argon and CO2. But then you say that it is better than using 100% Co2. I was saying that I had to use 100% Argon because I ran out of the mix in the middle of a job. I was worried that I lost something by doing that while welding steel. I always use the straight argon for the aluminum and other non ferrous metals for the stated reasons. Never thought about using Straight Co2 for anything, Is there a metal that i should be using straight Co2 for?
Old 09-14-18, 05:49 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 669
Just to clarify, this discussion is about MIG welding.

​​​​​​Different gases provide different characteristics to the weld. Researchers have found that certain percentages of certain gases work best for some situations, and that's why 75% argon / 25% co2 mix is so common. The "easy clean-up" in Gunguy45's article refers to less BBs and spatter than you'd see in stick or flux core welding, so it's more visually appealling and ready for paint (or the next production step) sooner.

As noted, pure argon as shielding gas on steel is not ideal. You can use pure co2 on steel, though, and many hobbyists do this because cylinders are cheaper to own and co2 gas is cheaper than argon. CO2 causes the arc to be hotter, though, so it burns through more easily on thinner steel- not good for auto body stock. It also creates more BBs and spatter, so there are some trade-offs to consider.

I turned in my rental bottle of 75/25 and bought a co2 bottle on Craig's List. (Pro tip: if you do this make sure the bottle is NOT marked Coke or Pepsi.) You can buy an adapter to make your argon regulator fit a co2 bottle.
Old 09-14-18, 06:52 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 2,921
pure argon as shielding gas on steel is not ideal
For MIG no, for TIG it's the go to gas!

You can use pure co2 on steel, though, and many hobbyists do this because cylinders are cheaper to own

For the better performance and minimal increased cost, the ultra gas (Argon & CO2) is the better choice!

I turned in my rental bottle of 75/25 and bought a co2 bottle on Craig's List.
Just use caution, if it's got a company name it will not be refilled and bottles need to be tested at certain time intervals so need to know what type of bottle you are buying for the type of gas!
Old 09-14-18, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,438
Argon CO2

We;; I mostly do Mig, and mostly steel and aluminum, so it clears it up for me. I have been successful with the Argon Co2 mix for years, and never even thought about using straight CO2, so the reason for my question. Thanks for the tutorial!

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes