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Self darkening welding helmet

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bobstr3 Avatar
bobstr3 Silver Member Bob Holt
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A
1973 Honda Street
2003 Nissan Sentra "Ole Yeller"
2004 Mini Cooper "MINIPRL"
I was right in the middle of MIG welding on my 60 TR3A, when the helmet quit darkening the lens. A very bright welding arc, hit my eyes and I quit right there and then. I know the dangers to the eyes when exposed to these harmful arc flashes.

My helmet has a sealed casing and the manual says when it stops self darkening, you cannot repair it and a new helmet has to be purchased. After doing some research, I found that others have replaced the two 3 volt batteries and got it to work again. I thought to myself, what have I got to lose!

I used a box cutter and cut completely around the sealed casing after removing it from the helmet.
I am sorry, but I got ahead of myself and did not take any before pics of this. The rest of the pics are after I had the casing cut and pried open. I had several cheap flashlights, that Harbor Freight gives away when you purchase something. I took 2 of these and used the AAA battery holders as part of the repair, so in the future, the batteries can be removed easily and you can immediately keep on welding. These battery holders are set up for 3 batteries, but you only need to put in 2 batteries. Each AAA battery is 1.5 volts and you need 2 of them to replace the 3 volt circular batteries within the casing. Each of th3 volt batteries are tightly secured to the wiring that goes to the circuit board and must be removed. I pried up the flat clips on each side of the battery and used a dremel to cut through each clip. Make sure you Leave enough length to solder on the new wires. After installing 2 batteries in the holder, I checked to see which terminals I got 3 volts on my multi-meter. With that information, I was able to know where the positive and negative wires were needed to be soldered.

I think the rest of the pictures are self explanatory and show what I did. If anyone needs additional written descriptions, just let me know.
After testing this repair, to prove to myself that it indeed did work, I holt melt glued the casing back together. Doing this repair, brought my self darkening helmet back to a like new condition and I will be able to change out the batteries in the future. One item I still plan on doing, is to make a spring clip for each battery pack to hold it in place and then when needed, be able to pull it outwards about 4 inches, so I can get easy access for battery replacement.. Presently, I have them Hot Melt glued in place so I can get back to working/welding on my Car. I hope this can help others, as helmet replacements can be pricey.
My best to you, Bob

P.S. I will add more pics on another post to this message

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bobstr3 Avatar
bobstr3 Silver Member Bob Holt
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A
1973 Honda Street
2003 Nissan Sentra "Ole Yeller"
2004 Mini Cooper "MINIPRL"
Additional pics of process


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bobstr3 Avatar
bobstr3 Silver Member Bob Holt
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A
1973 Honda Street
2003 Nissan Sentra "Ole Yeller"
2004 Mini Cooper "MINIPRL"
I do need to put a disclaimer on this. If you do decide to try this, you are doing at your risk.

The helmet I have has solar cells being used as the power supply and also has 2 back up 3V lithium batteries. when I checked both of these batteries in mine with my volt meter, they both read 'Zero" volts. They were no good and needed replacement. I plan on purchasing rechargeable batteries in the very near future. I also plan on checking the voltage of each battery pack before each use to ensure proper operation and for my own eye safety. If I was to believe that this modification did not work as it should, I will purchase a new welding helmet.

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tapkaJohnD Avatar
tapkaJohnD John Davies
Lancaster, Lancashire, UK   GBR
Excellent, Bob! Another example of human inginuity overcoming built-in obscelence! And I'm sure useful to fellow owners.

You made me look again at own helmet, and yes, mine has a little compartment for two AAA batteries.
Not well made - changing them was simple, but damaged the cover, so it's now held on by gaffer tape!
Here's a copy of the 'Owner's Manual', which shows (page 4) how to change the batteries. https://www.clarkeservice.co.uk/manuals/welding_accessories/cwh6-8.pdf

Anyone buying a helmet should look for this type, of which this is only an example.

John

ng19delta Avatar
ng19delta Scott Roberts
Merchantville, NJ, USA   USA
1974 Triumph TR6 "Not Sure At The Moment..."
I may try this with my spare helmet- which I just discovered a couple months back, does not work properly...

Scott

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
Some time back I broke the lens in my self darkening helmet, I bought another, but also looked for a spare lens as a back up. A friend suggested these

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-4-1-4-x-2-solar-Auto-Darkening-Welding-Helmet-Mask-Lens-Filter-Shade-3-11-/172783812753?hash=item283ab7c091:g:kHAAAOSwTLxZfEea

They fit the cheap pipeline welders helmet that came with my welder, but not the larger lens of my $$$ helmet.
However they work every bit as well, I can detect no delay whatsoever in darkening. If anything the lens when darkened is a little darker than in my main helmet.

I now use the pipeline helmet when in tight places (such as under a car)

clshore Carter Shore
Beverly Hills, Florida, USA   USA
I always do a functional test on my helmet first.
Most helmets will activate if you simply look up at full sun.
An easy and safe test is to squint your eyes nearly closed and strike a brief arc.
If it darkens great, and if not, your eyes still have a bit of protection.

As a very young man I experimented with electricity, and due to observing arcs without protection,
I still have a couple of 'shiners' to this day.

Be careful.

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