How To Test Auto Darkening Welding Helmets?

Welding comes with lots of hazards and messes. Arcs, sparks, fumes, UV rays, and even radiation; there are all different types of things emit from the welding spot. Hence, the person in charge of the welding process is at great risk without taking enough protection measurements.

 This is how it looks using a shade lens while welding:

Shade lenses or auto-darkening helmets are protective gear used for shielding your head and eyes against all those things. After buying a new auto-darkening helmet, one should check whether it is working or not. Remember that it is something that protects you from threatening lights. So, you should test it. Go through the complete article to know about some testing methods.

How Do Auto Darkening Helmets work?

They work automatically, which means that their darkening level automatically shifts up and down, sensing the brightness. However, many of them also allow you to set the darkening level manually. Meanwhile, there is a grind mode that comes with some of them. This special feature allows you to keep grinding anything without the light triggering your shade lens sensors.

This is how it looks using a shade lens while welding

What is the DIN number?

DIN is a standard that indicates the level of darkened your helmet is. Most shade lenses allow you to set the DIN between 3 and 14. If you increase the DIN level, it will be darker. Level 3 DIN allows 14% light when level 4 let 5% light inside. For different welding, you may need different levels of DIN.

The chart below has some recommended DIN number for various welding types:

What Is The DIN Number

How to Test Your Auto Darkening Shade Lens?

Below we shall go through some of the processes to test a darkening lens. Some of them are easy, while some should only be done when you are almost sure that the helmet will work. Let’s get into them-

Turn off the Grind Mode

Remember that the grind mode feature is for the purpose of disabling the auto-darkening feature. So, if it is turned on, the helmet will not get triggered by the lights. So, make sure that is it off.

Remote Control Method

Along with many different types of lights, the shade lens also gets triggered by IR. Your TV remote control also sends out IR signals. So, it is possible to use that to test the helmet.

  • Take an IR remote that works perfectly.
  • Increase the sensitivity and delay time of your shade lens in case it is set low.
  • Point the remote towards the helmet and press buttons.
  • See if the helmet went to the dark mode.
  • Do this test from multiple angles to see whether it can sense lights from any side. Since there will be other workers around, you may need protection from every direction.

Striking Arc Method

This one is a bit risky and should be done carefully.

  • Put on your helmet.
  • Strike an arc and see if the shade lens goes dark automatically.
  • The auto-darkening feature should set it to the right DIN number so that you can see everything properly.
  • Advisably, wear goggles beneath the helmet while testing with this method.

Cigarette Lighter Method

If you are a smoker and have a cigarette lighter, then you can go for this method.

  • Wear your auto-darkening helmet.
  • Make sure that the sensitivity and delay timer of the helmet is high.
  • Use the cigarette lighter to create some sparks.
  • See if the shade lens goes dark.

Torch Striker Method

If you have an oxy-acetylene lighter, you probably have a torch striker for it too.

  • Do the same tasks as the cigarette lighter method.
  • See if the sparks trigger the helmet.
  • You can also try this and the previous methods from various sides of the helmet, like the remote controller.

Sunlight Method

Sunlight contains IR or UV rays. So, you can use that too.

  • Wear the helmet under open sunlight and look at the sun.
  • The bright sunlight and its rays should trigger the helmet and increase the DIN level.

Battery Testing

There are two ways to test your shade lens battery.

  • Some shade lenses have a test button that informs you whether the battery is properly working or not.
  • You can also take out the battery to test it. If the battery is damaged, replace it.

Final Note

Before you start testing your helmet, you must test its parts, especially if it is old or used for a while. You should test the batteries, shade, and sensor to be sure that they are not damaged. After using the helmet in a factory, clean it using a clean cloth to remove any dust that may be on it.

Last Updated on 2 years by Richard Boyer

  • June 8, 2022
Richard Boyer

Richard Boyer has been a professional welder for over 27 years of his life, and now he is a trainer and blogger providing critical information to anyone interested in welding. He is helping out both hobbyists, novice and professional welders to learn newer and better techniques. Read more about me

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