Last Updated: October 18, 2021 by Louis Sham
Is your welding helmet not working efficiently? Then perhaps you need to replace its batteries. Read on to know how to change welding helmet batteries and the types of welding helmets you can find in the market. Replacing the batteries of your welding helmet is a taxing and time-consuming task. So, before you start changing them, make sure you need to.
Table of Contents
- Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Troublshooting
- How to Change Welding Helmet Battery:
- Types of Welding Helmets
- Final Thoughts:
Auto Darkening Welding Helmet Troublshooting
That said, first check if your helmet needs new batteries, then you can decide if you need to learn welding helmet battery replacement methods:
Search for Battery Alert:
The easiest way to check if your welding helmet needs batteries are the built-in alerts. Some helmets like the auto darkening welding helmets feature an in-built signal that lights up when your batteries are dangerously low. The feature is becoming increasingly common in emerging welding headgear. To see if your helmet supports a built-in battery detector, examine it or go through the user manual.
Examine Your Battery Status Under the Sun:
Contrary to checking the in-built alert, your helmet’s response to changes in light intensities is another way to determine whether you need to change batteries or not. The best way to do that is to step out under the blazing sun and do these 3 steps;
- Put on your helmet and step out in the sunlight.
- Look up towards the sun then wave your hands back and forth before the glass protector to block the light.
- Examine and Analyze how your helmet responds.
Under usual conditions, your helmet will respond quickly and you will see a change in the intensity of light reaching your eyes. Alternatively, if your helmet needs new batteries, its response time will be slow. The change in light intensity would be minimal or not at all. It is a clear signal that you need to understand that it is the time when you have to replace your old batteries with new ones. A point to note, however, is that checking battery status under the sun can strain your eyes. So, be careful when you try.
Weld with Different Intensities:
Since intensive sunlight can strain your eyes, try an alternative method to test your batteries than staring at the sun. You can test your helmet under varying intensities of welding and in different environments. Much like with the sunlight, welding intensities also analyze your helmet’s response time. Here’s what you need to do:
- Weld at different intensities
- Change your welding environment
- Start with lots of sparks
Modern, auto-darkening helmets automatically adjust the intensity of light entering your eyes, depending on your environment. If your batteries still have a long life, then your helmet will brighten or darken, depending on the surrounding light. Contrarily, if you feel the light intensity is too much or there are a lot of flashes, especially when there are sparks, then the auto-darkening feature may not be working. It implies that your batteries need replacement.
Also Read: How to clean welding helmet lens
How to Change Welding Helmet Battery:
Now that we’ve discussed how you can test the battery status, let’s look into how to replace them. The following steps are a general guide on how to change welding helmet batteries. For most modern welding headgear, you can follow these steps. But if you want to learn the specifics, for example, how to change the battery in the miller welding helmet, then your user’s manual will have the answers to your questions. Or you can contact your manufacturer and ask. That said, here’s what you need to know about changing batteries in your protective, welding headwear:
Materials You’ll Need:
Before you can go about locating and replacing the batteries, there are a few things you need to have on hand. Gather the following materials then read on to learn how to change a welding helmet battery:
- Your welding helmet is in need of new batteries
- Four batteries (AA or AAA; depending on your helmet’s requirements)
- Super strong glue (Hot glue works best)
- A thin screwdriver
- A diamond wheel Dremel tool
- A few cell holders, typically 3VDC cell holders are needed
- A soldering iron
As I said above, some requirements may differ depending on the helmet model but these are the general items you need to have before you can change your helmet’s batteries.
With all the necessary materials gathered, the next step is locating where the batteries are in your helmet.
Oftentimes, you’ll find them inside a casing on the front side of your helmet. Next to it, you’ll also see a solar panel. The first thought that will pop in your head is that it’s there to charge your helmet via the sunlight, but that’s not true. Instead, the solar panel controls the auto-darkening feature of modern helmets. It contains photosensors that work in response to light intensity. They darken the lens in moments of intensive light and vice versa.
Back to your welding helmet batteries! Once you locate the casing, use your Dremel tool to cut a small piece off the helmet. Follow the Riemann Sum grinding technique as a guide for dissecting your batteries.
Cut the Plastic:
Now that you know where the battery is in your helmet, it’s time to cut the plastic sealing it away! Cut out a square, about the size of a postage stamp, but make sure not to cut too deep. (I don’t have to tell you to place your helmet on the table or someplace secure to keep it stable as you cut, right?)
Remove the plastic cover to reveal the battery inside. Take note of the polarities and their placement inside so that you know how to secure the new batteries in place.
Note: Do not dispose of the cut piece of plastic. You’ll need it later, so keep it someplace where you can easily find it.
It’s time to use that screwdriver we talked about in the materials you’ll need. But you need to be super careful and delicate now! When you see the battery past the square cut-off, use a thin screwdriver (or precision nippers) and gently pull the tabs holding the battery securely. Be sure to keep the level of force when pulling at the tabs at a minimum. You want to loosen them enough to pull out the battery, not break them off completely. So, take your time and work through the step slowly. (Your helmet’s not going anywhere.) Once the tabs are loose, remove the battery and move on to the next stage!
Finally, it’s time to add the battery!
Grab the soldering iron and join the battery holder with the leads. Be careful to connect the red lead with the positive side and the black one with the negative polarity. When the leads are secured, cut a small incision to create a slot. It will enable the wires to run externally, and connect with the rest of the helmet.
Put the battery in the holder, following the notes you took after cutting the plastic. Then reconstruct the helmet by going through the above steps in reverse. Place the battery holder in its original place and seal it all up with hot glue or any adhesive, including the wires and plastic cutout.
Hold it! Did you think you were done? Unfortunately, it’s not just one battery that would need to change. But now that you know how to change a battery in the Hobart Impact welding helmet, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to repeat it. You’ll find the second battery opposite the first one. Look at the other side of the helmet and begin the grinding, following the Riemann Sum grinding technique. Then, repeat the above steps to remove the battery and replace it with a new one.
Remember to secure the red lead with the positive polarity and the black one with the negative side. Again, cut a small incision behind the LCD case to reroute the wires easily.
The two batteries have separate functions inside the helmet in which the first one supplies power to analog circuits that analyze the light intensity reaching your eyes. On the other hand, the second battery monitors the lens voltage, which regulates the auto-darkening feature.
With both batteries securely in place, it’s time to test your handy work. There are many ways you can test your welding helmet battery replacement. Using any tool that generates too much heat may damage the batteries and other heat-sensitive components inside the helmet. That said, the most effective and efficient way is standing under intensive sunlight as we discussed with the sun test.
Under the sun, if the auto-darkening feature responds quickly and appropriately, that is, instantly darkens under intensive sunlight, then you were successful in your battery replacement. However, if it doesn’t work then analyze your work. You may have damaged the wiring when you were tugging the battery loose or some part of the mechanism of the darkening system.
You can also check if the battery is locked in place. If it’s secure, but the helmet still doesn’t work, then you may need to try another battery or check the wiring of the darkening system to ensure there is no malfunction. Unfortunately, if your helmet doesn’t function correctly again, then you can either use it as is or invest in a new one. So, let’s look at a few types of welding helmets if you think of buying a new one.
Types of Welding Helmets
The above-mentioned tips work well for generally all types of protective headgear for welders. But your user’s manual will have anything specific you need. If you choose to replace your helmet with a new one, then let’s look at the different types of headgear you have in the market:
Solar-powered helmets are a great choice, especially if you don’t want to worry about battery replacement. They’re an ideal choice if you work outdoors. Plus, they are super easy to charge. You can leave your helmet out in the sun when on break or inside and they’ll recharge. The batteries also run for hours on end, so you can work on long projects without fear of them dying. Also, with solar-powered, rechargeable batteries, helmets are an economical choice. They can help you manage your finances and save long-term.
Some people find battery-powered helmets to be more convenient than solar-powered kind. It’s because while solar-powered helmets run for long hours, they take up just as long to charge. On the other hand, battery-powered helmets can be used as soon as you are done replacing the batteries. Plus, the helmet uses lithium batteries, which are readily available in every hardware store. So, you don’t have to fret about where to find them, and you can shop for one-time use or rechargeable kind.
The drawback of battery-powered helmets is that you will need to keep a spare set of batteries with you and learn how to change a welding helmet battery. That said, there are perks and drawbacks to both battery and solar-powered helmets. So, you can choose whichever suits your preference.
Related: True Color Welding Helmet
Auto-darkening helmets, as the name suggests, have built-in sensors that respond to intensive light. They are incredibly convenient for not just protection but also to increase productivity and workflow. Since the lens sits at a shade of 3 or 4, depending on the helmet, it can protect your vision even when the arc is not active. It’s sufficient for you to inspect your work and dark enough to protect your eyes in case of sudden flashes.
Furthermore, the bright shades of the lens also give you the freedom to choose your tools of the trade. What I mean is that you can use a stick, torch, or welding gun without needing to remove the helmet, then putting it on again before starting to work.
The convenience of not having to stop to switch tools helps you in speeding up the welding process, which ultimately improves your workflow and productivity. It is also why they are increasingly replacing passive welding helmets. Industry experts or beginners prefer to use auto-darkening helmets since they are more convenient to use and safer. However, one drawback is that they require a power source to function, which can create certain limitations. You would need to charge your helmet before beginning work.
Passive welding helmets have been used by welders since the beginning of welding. They are what you may call the original protective headgear for welders. Although most welders now prefer auto-darkening helmets, passive welding helmets are more affordable and durable than any other type. They have a sturdy and stable structure that can withstand rough use and long welding processes.
Like all welding headgear, passive helmets also meet all National Safety Standards and protect the welder from debris and arc light. Not only are they easy to use, but they are effective with a standard shade of 10 or 12, whether the arc is active or not.
In a nutshell, replacing the batteries of a welding helmet is not an easy task. Plus, while you can follow the tips for most of them, some may have specific requirements that will need you to be extra careful. I hope this detailed step by step guide helped in understanding how to change welding helmet batteries and the types you can purchase if you don’t want to go through the trouble.