Welding is a hazardous activity. The welder is exposed to intense light, harmful UV/IR radiation, and spatter.
Hence, a welding helmet is arguably the most important piece of protection. Sensor technology and electronics have made possible the development of the so-called auto-darkening systems.
A welding helmet with auto-darkening is quite practical. By default, the lens is clear in what is commonly referred to as the “grinding mode.”
When you weld, several sensors detect the presence of an arc and associated intense light and radiation. This activates the electronic control of the lens, which turns dark to offer adequate protection. When the welding ceases, the lens automatically goes back to the grinding mode.
This increases time-efficiency since the welder doesn’t have to manually flip the lens up and down. High-end welding helmets with auto-darkening can shift from grinding mode to dark in a very short time.
This is referred to as the reaction time. Generally, the time to go from dark to grinding mode after welding is adjustable.
To function, this type of helmet needs a DC power source. The most obvious solution is to use batteries. And batteries were used initially.
The problem is that you need to change batteries often if you weld for several hours a day. This is the case of professional welders.
To tackle the problem of batteries, manufacturers started incorporating photovoltaic cells into this type of welding helmet. This is how the so-called solar welding helmets were born.
How does this technology help extend battery life? Is it convenient to invest in this type of helmet? Read on to find the answers to all these questions.