How to check an auto-darkening hood?

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e9999

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Any good way of checking an auto-darkening hood -hopefully besides doing so by looking at an arc?

Mine -a cheapo one- does not darken when held to the sun but will -at least to some extent- when facing a fluorescent tube. So I can tell that it's still darkening at least some, but not having used it in a long time, I would not mind making sure it's still fully OK before firing up a welder.

And I've also always wondered about fast it reacts in practice.

So, what's the best way to check and evaluate one of those without putting one's eyes at risk, if you know?
 
There should be a test button inside by the controls. There may be a button cell battery inside that can go dead, it's happened to mine.

Shop lights or sunlight shouldn't be enough to trip it, but a sparking torch igniter or even a Bic lighter should.

What brand of hood is it?
 
thanks
no test button.
It does not darken when I strike a flint torch lighter, but never tried that before. I left it outside to recharge for several days and it does darken with a fluorescent tube as mentioned.
It's just a HF. Bought it to try out the concept. Worked fine and way easier to use than my fixed ones. But always made me nervous. I will get a better one before too long.
 
I'll be damned...
Turns out my (and I'm sure other) helmet also darkens with a TV remote control! Easy way to check one out if you don't have a striker or a CFL handy...
 
Maybe buy some number 5 shade safety glasses and wear them while you wear the helmet to see if it is activated by welder arc.
 
got rid of the hood, I didn't trust it. Tried better ones since and they darken reliably with the sun, with sparkers etc. I think the built-in battery was on the way out and it needed the full arc radiation to darken. What I did was to arc up with my eyes closed and you can easily tell when the hood darkens and then safely open your eyes. Also did have plastic safety goggles and prescription glasses on so 3 or 4 layers of plastic total. I don't think UV can go through that.
But anyway, note to self: never buy a hood where the batteries can't be easily changed...
 
Just to add for guys shopping hoods - the cheapest ones that do shade 10 are great when going MIG exclusively, but if you TIG or stick, you need to "buck up" & get a hood that does the darker 11-13 settings.

If you find the cassettes for sale for a Speedglass, the cheapo hood fits the higher end cassettes, only diff is they have better defogging holes cut into them (dremel fixes that)
 
I ended up buying one of the HF auto hoods and seems to work quite well... big difference that I have found is that some of the cheaper big brand hoods have 4 sensors where the HF only has 2 (no matter which one you get). Since I only MIG and only very occasionally I will stick with the HF for now. As I start getting into more prominent welding then I will up to a better hood.
 
I ended up buying one of the HF auto hoods and seems to work quite well... big difference that I have found is that some of the cheaper big brand hoods have 4 sensors where the HF only has 2 (no matter which one you get). Since I only MIG and only very occasionally I will stick with the HF for now. As I start getting into more prominent welding then I will up to a better hood.

my cheap HF worked fine for a year or 2 even though it always made me a bit nervous. I did not use it much though, maybe 5-10 times total. Use was not the problem, the battery just went bad with time and could not be replaced without surgery.

It's not like you'll go blind if flashed briefly from what I know -especially if you have plastic safety glasses on-, but it can hurt and I just didn't want to take the chance any more.

I do love self-darkening hoods, much easier for welding noobs. I sold all my fixed lens hoods.
 
Folks , please avoid the HF hoods - people are getting documented eye damage from using them over time - total junk . If you're on that tight of a budget , cruise Craigslist or Ebay for a used , good brand named hood that gets sold when someone leaves the industry or upgrades .
Sarge
 
Bought this, LOVE it. Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Black Welding Helmet - K3034-2 - - Amazon.com

My vision is easily worth the money.

I have good friends that own a fabrication shop and over 15 years have done the math. In a production environment HF doesn't pay off for basically ANY tool. If not in that environment, HF savings can be justified.. but safety/vision/eye protection, IMO, is not one of them.
 
coincidentally -or maybe not- that is the same helmet I bought after some rather exhaustive research recently. Best combo of quality/features/cost for me.
 

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