For those less familiar with auto welding helmets, you should know that a range of welding helmets are built using fixed internal batteries, which can not be replaced, usually assisted with a solar panel. They tend to need charging in the sunlight before use and after prolonged stored periods.
The welding industry has really taken to using photovoltaic cells and technology, and has been growing in the last few years. Solar powered tech is commonly used by most brands in the market that specialise in ADF (auto darkening) welding helmets.The common misconception being of course people assume “solar powered” welding helmets have not batteries, this isnt true. they do have battery packs to power up the initial arc, and use low powered rechargeable cells powered by the PV panel.
The problem there is of course that the welding helmet isn’t ready for immediate use if you need it, which could be a pain sometimes. The other problem is that if the battery dies, the auto darkening lens wont work.
[box type=”note” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]If you do want to go solar, my advice would be to aim for a replaceable battery pack, and a solar charging assist panel. [/box]
Key things to consider when buying a solar powered welding helmet
- Aim for a replaceable battery pack
- Try for a triple A battery as they are easy to replace and cheaper.
- If aiming for battery life, consider a Lithium battery pack.
- Allow for charging time before welds.
[quote]Lithium vs AAA Batteries – Lithium battery powered solar helmets are pricier and the batteries are more expensive to replace. They do last longer. Tipple A battery powered solar helmets last approximately 2 thousand hours. [/quote]
Why use Solar Powered Welding Helmets?
The most common misconception is that the solar panel is there to power the battery packs. This isnt true – your battery packs are required to power the mask or hood, and to start your arc. Once the arc is in play, typically the UV light that is gives out powers the solar panel in your welding hood, which in turn powers the electronics in the hood.
The advantage here is of course you are preserving your normal battery, while the solar cell is doing the heavy lifting, thus an economical way to use your helmet.
Additionally most solar helmets come with auto off features which can be handy if you are the forgetful sort and forget to power off your helmet.
Solar powered helmets also tend to be lighter.
The top performing ranges in the solar models are normally battery assisted and include a cell to improve the performance of the auto darkening filter. The non battery assisted models need replacing every few years, and are cheaper and lower in weight.