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Thread: Princess Auto Welding Helmet repair

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Default Princess Auto Welding Helmet repair

    My el-cheapo autodarkening helmet started acting up over the last month. It was darkening, but it wouldn't get all that dark. Sometimes it would go full dark but not always. When it didn't go full dark, the shade control didn't seem to do anything at all.

    Turns out the internal batteries were dead. The shade case was glued together, but not particularly strongly and with a little careful prying I was able to open it. At first the cells seemed OK as they read around 2.8v, but then I noticed when the helmet was activated they would drop down to ~1v. Also the helmet seemed to work fine when powered off the solar cell.

    Unfortunately the cells were soldered in, and they're a bit of an oddball size; CR2330. No way to fit a battery holder or even a slighly larger, more common and higher capacity cell like a CR2450. So I headed off to Assaim's hoping to find some common CR2032 which are smaller, but only about 15% less capacity. Assaim's (cross between a dollar store and a pharmacy) turns out to have every battery known to man on the shelf. They're 100% nonames or sort-of-similar-but-different-enough-from-the-brand-name-named batteries, but they're cheap and open on Sunday.

    'Course no solder tabs. That was easily fixed with some old tabs taken off a discarded battery pack and spot welding them onto the new batteries. The spot welder was a 63000uF capacitor charged to about 15v. I insulated the negative tab with the blister pack the battery came in. Al Gore would be proud. At least until I tossed the old batteries into the garbage. Be sure to keep track of the battery polarity somehow.

    I didn't bother to glue the case back together to make it easier to replace them next time. I'll surely get a better helmet someday, but I don't mind this one and it can at least serve as a backup.

    One battery installed. I temporarily desoldered the shade pot for easier access.
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    Ready for buttoning up.
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  2. #2

    Default

    So it works well now ?
    2013 250EX : SSC Pedal : I-MIG 250P 20' Profax gun : Power Plasma 60 p80 torch : 3M Speedglas 9100XX : Evolution Rage 3 DB cold saw

  3. #3
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    Default

    Yeah, seems to. The shade control is working now and it's getting much darker than it has before. I haven't had it behind an arc yet but I can't see any problems with that.

    The LCD definitley isn't all that great as I can find lighter and darker spots, but I'm not sure it wasn't always like that.

    I should point out it's around 5 years old, but not used daily.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2012
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    Cambridge, ON. CA
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    Default

    That's some great info for when my battery dies. I too have a PrincessAuto / Powerweld helmet with internal battery. If that happens to me I think I'll add leads in parallel that hook up to an external battery.

    That kind of gives me an idea. I wonder if there is a way to mod those helmets to work better with tig welding. My helmet has 4 sensors but haven't tried it with tig yet to see if I get flashed. If I do I'll just pull out the shade 9 goggles for now and hope that's enough.
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  5. #5

    Default

    How good are those helmets from Princess anyways? I will cheap out on gloves, perhaps consumables, but not a welding helmet -> got only two eyes that cannot be replaced so I want to protect them. Likely their helmets are ok, but sounds risky to me if there is inconsistent shading.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  6. #6
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    Nov 2012
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    Cambridge, ON. CA
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    Default

    So far they're the bee's knees! at least the one I have. Beaware that PA sells many different welding helmets. I bought a special buy one from the brand Powerweld. It's this one here. For stick it works great but have not tried it on low amp tig yet. Don't expect miracles when I paid less than 50 bills for it. It'd be nice if it did though.

    I bought the watson deerskin gloves. They are soooo flexible and soft it almost feels like I'm not wearing them. Even better than the lincoln ones although thinner. There were 10 bucks as opposed to the 4 dollar cheapies right beside them. Tried all of them on and for the price it's worth it to get a good glove.

    Got flashed once though and it stung. No fault of the helmet though. I flipped it over to grinding mode and forgot to switch it back for the welding. That didn't happen again.
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  7. #7
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    Oct 2012
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    Canada, Suttonwest, Ontario
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    Default

    Princess Auto some are OK I bought the Lincoln Kit for $99.00 comes with welding beanie, Mig Stick gloves, Fire Resistant cloth welding jacket, Auto Helmet shade 10 only (I like it, it works great very clear when in off mod.) and large carrying bag for all and other things all is Lincoln Red Line USA made in China.
    Everlast PowerTig 325EXT (Canada)
    Everlast Power I Mig 250 (Canada)
    Everlast PowerPlasma 80S (Canada)
    Everlast PowerCool W300 (Canada)
    Everlast PowerMTS 250S Fitted with a 30A Spoolgun(Canada)
    Miller Dynasty 400 wireless(Canada)
    Millermatic 252 plus 30A Spoolgun(Canada)

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kempy View Post
    Princess Auto some are OK I bought the Lincoln Kit for $99.00 comes with welding beanie, Mig Stick gloves, Fire Resistant cloth welding jacket, Auto Helmet shade 10 only (I like it, it works great very clear when in off mod.) and large carrying bag for all and other things all is Lincoln Red Line USA made in China.
    That's the one gripe I have with my helmet. It's a little to dark for me when off. I work in a dimly lit crawlspace and under the car. Sometimes I have issues seeing into the shadows. Now I haven't test any other helmets to see the differences. Is it really all that much darker than any of the competition, IDK. That's the only issue I have with it right now. In bright light we're ok though. Everybody's telling me to get a speedglas or something else with better visibility but finances aren't there. And as a hobbyist, I can't justify such a big purchase yet.

    If for example the more expensive one would last far longer (say 10 years or so) or had some other features that I needed then yes but for now, this one is it.
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  9. #9
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    May 2012
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    Disneyland
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    Default

    Most go to shade 4 when off, a few of the better ones go down to shade 3. It does make a difference, but you will pay for that feature. Virtually all of them have complete IR and UV filtering even when in off mode, so although you will be dazzled by a welding arc, if it doesn't go dark, it will not be doing eye damage to you. Flash burn is not something you ever want to experience.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanh View Post
    That's some great info for when my battery dies. I too have a PrincessAuto / Powerweld helmet with internal battery. If that happens to me I think I'll add leads in parallel that hook up to an external battery.

    That kind of gives me an idea. I wonder if there is a way to mod those helmets to work better with tig welding. My helmet has 4 sensors but haven't tried it with tig yet to see if I get flashed. If I do I'll just pull out the shade 9 goggles for now and hope that's enough.
    Mine is just the 2 sensor (it's old) but it works great for tig. I'll get flashed rarely if the sensors are really shaded, but it is very rare. I thought about external batteries but I didn't want to add weight. Plus you need to come up with 6v worth. Like rambozo says you're not going to get any UV if it shuts off, just you get to look at something that's way too bright. Goggles will have you looking like a racoon in short order.

    PA is great for what it is. Where else can you go for sprockets and bearings at 8:30pm? Or a window winder motor for some emergency project? And some of their new tools (proline) are actually pretty good. Beware of their fluxcore MIG wire, but they sell Lincoln along side which is great.

    PS - been using it the last two days and it's working fine.

  11. #11
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    Oct 2012
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    Canada, Suttonwest, Ontario
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    Rambozo

    The Lincoln one I got from Princess Auto I can read the news paper with it easly in off mod, easer then with sunglasses. Now the UV and IR rays will not go throw any glass I got that from a eye doctor he said have you ever seen a truck driver get a suntan thru the windshield driving 8 hour a day just his left arm out the window and stores that have thing in the window for a long time will change color usually just from heat but our eyes will compensate for that now that is what I was told true or not ask Mythbusters.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    Most go to shade 4 when off, a few of the better ones go down to shade 3. It does make a difference, but you will pay for that feature. Virtually all of them have complete IR and UV filtering even when in off mode, so although you will be dazzled by a welding arc, if it doesn't go dark, it will not be doing eye damage to you. Flash burn is not something you ever want to experience.
    Everlast PowerTig 325EXT (Canada)
    Everlast Power I Mig 250 (Canada)
    Everlast PowerPlasma 80S (Canada)
    Everlast PowerCool W300 (Canada)
    Everlast PowerMTS 250S Fitted with a 30A Spoolgun(Canada)
    Miller Dynasty 400 wireless(Canada)
    Millermatic 252 plus 30A Spoolgun(Canada)

  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kempy View Post
    Rambozo

    The Lincoln one I got from Princess Auto I can read the news paper with it easly in off mod, easer then with sunglasses. Now the UV and IR rays will not go throw any glass I got that from a eye doctor he said have you ever seen a truck driver get a suntan thru the windshield driving 8 hour a day just his left arm out the window and stores that have thing in the window for a long time will change color usually just from heat but our eyes will compensate for that now that is what I was told true or not ask Mythbusters.
    UV is filtered by almost any glass, but not IR. That requires a filter to block. Otherwise IR video would not be possible through glass, like lenses.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  13. Default

    Princess Auto "Royal Service Promise": "No sale is final until you're satisfied".

    If it stops working, just bring it back for a refund or exchange.
    I returned a 10 year old vise that broke. They gave me a new one.

    rivets

  14. #14
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    AKA "I get to pay for people who have more time on their hands."

    But I don't mind much.

  15. #15
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    Nov 2012
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    Cambridge, ON. CA
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    Speaking of vices. They had a sale on 8" Mechanic vices a while back. I couldn't resist the price and bought one. It's sloppy as all hell but did the deed. Good to know that you can bring it back if it ever fails.

    Not too sure how long that return policy's gona last going forward. With everybody cutting costs, these kinds of policies are very rare now. If my helmet gives up it's ghost, customer service will be seeing me right after.
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  16. #16
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    I guess I will send this into Mythbusters and see what they got to say and will post the answer they give.
    Thank

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    UV is filtered by almost any glass, but not IR. That requires a filter to block. Otherwise IR video would not be possible through glass, like lenses.
    Everlast PowerTig 325EXT (Canada)
    Everlast Power I Mig 250 (Canada)
    Everlast PowerPlasma 80S (Canada)
    Everlast PowerCool W300 (Canada)
    Everlast PowerMTS 250S Fitted with a 30A Spoolgun(Canada)
    Miller Dynasty 400 wireless(Canada)
    Millermatic 252 plus 30A Spoolgun(Canada)

  17. Default

    UVB rays are stopped by glass, UVA rays normally pass through. UVB is whats responsible for sunburn, but UVA can still damage tissue.
    Poewr I-Mig 205P
    Powertig 185

  18. Default

    Old post I know but someone may still be interested. It's not the glass that stops the UV, it's the polycarbonate cover. I worked at a automation manufacturer where we built welding cell, spot, MIG and TIG and they were surrounded by 80-20 frames with clear, 1/4 inch polycarbonate filler panels for the spot welders and green for the MIG and TIG, specifically because the welders could be seen but the UV was blocked.

  19. #19
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    Oct 2010
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    I've heard that, thank you for confirming it!

    Lately I've had the need to measure UVC light. It's interesting to see what is transparent way up there and what isn't. A very thin transparent piece of PVC blocks at a ratio of something like 30:1. A somewhat cloudy piece of polypropylene the same thickness lets about 2/3rds the light though.

    Let me know if there's anything anyone wants to test. I'm working on the mercury line (253.7 nm).

    Also picked up a Miller Digital Elite since replacing the batteries. Figured I'd get my last helmet now.
    Last edited by Paul Moir; 01-30-2015 at 05:16 AM.

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