I have an Optrel Satellite and the auto-darkening function has stopped working (weeks before I take my journeyman's, wouldn't you know?) It is no longer under warranty....can anything be done to fix it?
I recently learned something new about these helmets. I really like like the fit and comfort of the OPTREL helmets; best I have ever owned, but the dying, irreplaceable battery thing drives me crazy. What makes it worse is that I spent over $400 to purchase mine and it lasted only 2 years. Unfortunately, I trashed my first one, trying to replace the batteries. Don't do what I did, or at least try this first. Hopefully this will restore full functionality to your helmet.
First step is to cover the sensor ports with opaque tape. These are the little ports on the AD Cartridge, which are located below and to the inside of the photo-voltaic (PV) charging cells. Covering these ports prevents the auto-darkening function from working, while the batteries are being charged. I used masking tape which was covered with duct tape so it was both easy to remove and it completely blocked light from passing through. Next step: Prepare a charging source by placing a CFD light bulb in a utility work light fixture. Mine was an aluminum, reflective fixture with a spring clamp for holding it in position. The bulb must be at least 23W (100W equiv.) and probably not more than 50W, to prevent overheating of the helmet and AD Cartridge. There are likely other light sources which will work as well, the objective being to provide ample and constant charging energy without overheating the helmet or AD cartridge. Position the lamp about 6 inches from the PV cells, immediately in front of the helmet so that the PV cells are able to capture as much of the light energy as possible. The lens should not be darkened in this state, due to the sensors being covered. Test by placing a 3x5 card, or something similar, between the light and helmet. The lens should not darken when exposed to light. The helmet can remain in this state for as long as you like. I left mine to charge for 5 days, after which it was able to maintain the darkened state with no issues.
On occasion, I think it may be beneficial to cycle the batteries on this helmet, i.e., discharge and then recharge. This can be accomplished by placing opaque tape over the PV cells, to temporarily defeat the charging function. Place the helmet in front of the light source, similar to the arrangement described above, positioning the helmet in such a way as to trigger darkening of AD cartridge lens. Note that the sensor ports must be uncovered for the lens to darken. Darkening the lens consumes battery power so leave the helmet in this state until the lens is no longer darkened, which could take hours to days, depending upon the condition of your batteries. Test lens darkening by placing something like a 3x5 card between the light source and sensors, which will cause the lens to transition from dark to light. Once the battery is sufficiently discharged, to a point that the lens no longer able to maintain the darkened state, then recharge the batteries using the procedure described above. Do not leave the helmet with batteries discharged, as this could cause permanent damage to the batteries and AD Cartridge. Hope this works for you. Best Regards.
Oct 27, 2010 |
Uvex Optrel Satellite Welding Helmet #...