It is currently Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:28 am Advanced search

ArcOne IDF81 AUTO-SENSING-SHADE Welding Lid Review

A dedicated area for reviews, thoughts, and feedback on shop/welding products

ArcOne IDF81 AUTO-SENSING-SHADE Welding Lid Review

Postby C. Livingstone » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:54 pm

Yeah, this ArcOne IDF81 Dragon/Speedway model is a good value, I think, at the price I paid, which was $214, delivered, and no State extortion imposed.

There doesn’t seem to be much feedback on this one yet, besides an interview I saw with Mr. TIG doing with an ArcOne rep at a Fabtech show, or something similar, about a year ago. And I think the hinted at MSRP was $399 at that time. I got mine at a place called WelderSource, which only had one “Dragon” model in stock, but the “Speedway” model is an identical 4-sensor IDF81 model, except for the graphics. But, be aware, if you consider one of the IDF81 models, that some of them are reportedly 3-sensor ones, but the Dragon and Speedway are 4-sensor.

I was also considering an Optrel e684, which is the only other variable-shade lid that I know of, but it can only be gotten for as low as $325 retail, I believe.

I’ve been using an Antra auto-darkening lid with a large viewing area that I like pretty well. It was only $99, and had Auto-On/Off as a feature, which I really like. So, it has been a set-it-and-forget-it lid. But I did change the headgear to a more classic Jackson 370. Before that, I used a Jackson BOSS auto-darkening lens, which was expensive several years ago, but the newer, cheaper Antra was an improvement over it in many areas, if I recall. And before that I’ve used only a passive lens for a lot of Stick welding I did years ago, and I liked the gold tinted ones, usually a shade 9 or 10.

But I only I do a small amount of TIG welding now. And I suppose TIG welding is the most challenging for an auto-darkening hood, since the amptrol device and AC/DC machine that I use can have an arc start at 5 amps and proceed up to an arc intensity of 210 amps, so the 5-14 shade range of this ArcOne IDF81 is nice and wide.

So, when I heard of the variable-shade innovation, it seemed to make a lot of sense with TIG. And, the prices have come down enough that I decided to try the ArcOne IDF81, at $214.

I’ve only used it for some basic testing on this first day of use, but I do like it. The color of the lens is a straw/yellow tint, rather than the typical green tint. I think I like the yellow better than the green. The clarity is great. It’s an AUTO-ON/OFF unit, which is kind of big for me, as I don’t like to fumble around with a lid before using it. It has 4-sensors that are placed near the four corners of the lens, rather than in a line across the top or bottom of the lens, which is undoubtedly helpful in preventing flashes that other lids may get while welding if their single row of sensors get obstructed briefly by something. There’s a Delay setting under the hood, as is usual with auto-darkening lids.

There are two basic Intelligent “modes”: AUTO and TIG. I tried them both. They seem similar, except with Auto, you can lighten or darken the auto-variable shade on-the-fly while welding via the Up/Down knob on the outside of the helmet. It’s kind of cool that way, and could be easily used for TIG too. But, the TIG mode has you preset a high and low shade beforehand. I set them to 7 and 9.5, which gave that degree of shade variation as the amps and arc were raised and lowered. So, I don’t know which of these two modes I’ll ultimately like better. They both seem good at this early stage.

Just as a comparison, everything I did with the ArcOne, I did with my Antra. It was just some DC TIG in a small space, but I used some mild overhead lighting and also without the overhead light, as the ArcOne has a low light state of only a shade 3, which was nice, and may help me break my old habit of raising the lid so often, as was needed with a passive welding lid.

LIDS.jpg
LIDS.jpg (49.21 KiB) Viewed 604 times


The mode settings are done inside the lid, but after that, I think this ArcOne will be no further maintenance, much like the Antra is. And, interestingly, I did gain an added appreciation for the Antra, as I compared it with the fancier ArcOne.

But, in the same way as the original Antra headgear, the ArcOne headgear is something I’m not liking very well. It has a lot of different adjustments and is touted a “comfort” innovation, but no matter how much adjusting that I did, it just didn’t seem to be a tight, secure fit. However, I’ll leave it on a bit longer, as it may get better after a “break-in”. Otherwise, I’ll probably put another Jackson 370 headgear on it for under $20.

And, one last thing, there’s a GRIND mode feature that can be invoked from the second of the two outer lid knobs, which is also a Sensitivity knob, I believe, but the knob “clicks” at the Grind mode as a stop. My Antra has a Grind mode too, but you have to fumble inside the lid to invoke it, which I’ve never bothered to do.

So, yeah, this is some early and rare feedback on this ArcOne lid. At around $200 it seems to be a pretty good value, I suppose, and I'll probably like it for quite a while.
Last edited by C. Livingstone on Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Peace be with you all,
Christian Livingstone
www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

Everlast AC/DC 210EXT (2015)
CAT250D DC-TIG/Plasma Combo
User avatar
C. Livingstone
Guide
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:22 am

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby Otto Nobedder » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:07 pm

I appreciate the detail in that review!

I'm a bit of a hard-head for my fixed lens Jackson, especially since I found a lens with a slightly blue hue (and I'm also a big fan of the Jackson headgear and have a spare at the ready should I buy a new lid with crappy headgear).

I do certain welds where, despite my old-school preference for a glass lens, I would seriously benefit from an AD, and am considering buying one before my Christmas bonus is all spent on frivolous things like tires and work boots... :lol:

Steve S
User avatar
Otto Nobedder
Weldmonger
 
Posts: 8388
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:40 pm
Location: Near New Orleans

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby LtBadd » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:10 pm

Otto Nobedder wrote:I appreciate the detail in that review!

I'm a bit of a hard-head for my fixed lens Jackson, especially since I found a lens with a slightly blue hue (and I'm also a big fan of the Jackson headgear and have a spare at the ready should I buy a new lid with crappy headgear).

I do certain welds where, despite my old-school preference for a glass lens, I would seriously benefit from an AD, and am considering buying one before my Christmas bonus is all spent on frivolous things like tires and work boots... :lol:

Steve S

Hey Steve
Can you provide a link to the "slightly blue hue lens " you like?

Thanks
Richard

Insert witty, sarcastic, or philosophical remark here.
User avatar
LtBadd
Weldmonger
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:00 pm
Location: Clearwater FL

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby Otto Nobedder » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:12 pm

LtBadd wrote:Hey Steve
Can you provide a link to the "slightly blue hue lens " you like?

Thanks


Not before Tuesday. It was something our parts/purchasing guy brought back from our LWS in a random impulse buy. I have to say, I really like the color. It was a big improvement over my old green glass.

Steve S
User avatar
Otto Nobedder
Weldmonger
 
Posts: 8388
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:40 pm
Location: Near New Orleans

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby C. Livingstone » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:39 pm

You bet, Steve!

And if you do get one of these units, then you can tell me if I was just hallucinating.

Otherwise, I'm in front of the computer right now with the lid on and raised up, as I break-in the headgear. Ha, ha, ha...


Otto Nobedder wrote:I appreciate the detail in that review!

I'm a bit of a hard-head for my fixed lens Jackson, especially since I found a lens with a slightly blue hue (and I'm also a big fan of the Jackson headgear and have a spare at the ready should I buy a new lid with crappy headgear).

I do certain welds where, despite my old-school preference for a glass lens, I would seriously benefit from an AD, and am considering buying one before my Christmas bonus is all spent on frivolous things like tires and work boots... :lol:

Steve S
Peace be with you all,
Christian Livingstone
www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

Everlast AC/DC 210EXT (2015)
CAT250D DC-TIG/Plasma Combo
User avatar
C. Livingstone
Guide
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:22 am

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby C. Livingstone » Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:29 am

Well,

As a follow-up to my little review of the ArcOne IDF variable-shade welding helmet, I soon discovered why the headgear seemed awkward and unsteady in use.

It’s because there’s only one tabbed stop on the right side of the headgear and helmet. And that causes the lid to come to rest well in the down position on the right side, but not the left side. It makes the left side of the lid edge droop inwards a bit and touch the cheek.

Tab.jpg
Tab.jpg (23.78 KiB) Viewed 588 times


But, I put the Jackson headgear on the ArcOne lid easily enough, and the lid is like a comfy pair of shoes now. And I do like the innovative ArcOne variable-shade lens itself, and the many other features associated with it.

The ArcOne “ComfortGear II”, which seems to be fitted to their better models might actually be comfortable if there wasn’t the oversight of having a tabbed stop on only one side of the lid, which prevents it from coming to rest squarely at the face. I mean, it may be an easy fix for ArcOne, but not for the end-user, as it would undoubtedly take at least one more tabbed piece, but in a mirror or obverse style. Then a few holes drilled might do it. Otherwise, an $18 Jackson 370 headgear is an easy fix. It just took a very slight reaming with a Dremel at two points of the existing square holes to mount the headgear, and then a few more small holes drilled for some tabbed stops along a small radius. Voila!

Like the Antra’s original headgear, I probably wouldn’t have liked the the ArcOne headgear anyway, even if there were tabbed stops on both sides. It’s a little complicated, and there is also a tendency for the adjustment that moves the lid forward and backward away from the face to get forced into the furthest position when pulling the lid off your head, and can end up unevenly so, too. That forward-most position is the position that I like best though, as it keeps the lens from getting fogged up, but still, it’s a poorly executed adjustment that is faulty, and the simple Jackson’s adjustment for that locks solidly in position.

Now maybe I'll blot out those silly graphics with a scheme of my own...
Peace be with you all,
Christian Livingstone
www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

Everlast AC/DC 210EXT (2015)
CAT250D DC-TIG/Plasma Combo
User avatar
C. Livingstone
Guide
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:22 am

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby C. Livingstone » Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:03 pm

Here's a pic of the on-the-fly outer knobs, which came up at another forum.

You can see the front-most knob is handy for the AUTO mode, as it's not a really a dial, it just jogs up or down to increase or reduce the variable shading while welding with MIG or Stick for right-handed people, since it's on the left. But the knobs could easily be moved for the lefties out there.

Knobs.jpg
Knobs.jpg (38.7 KiB) Viewed 577 times


And TIG welders can also use the AUTO mode and its on-the-fly knob adjustment, if they want, by just using their filler rod hand to do so, but probably not with rod in it.
Peace be with you all,
Christian Livingstone
www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

Everlast AC/DC 210EXT (2015)
CAT250D DC-TIG/Plasma Combo
User avatar
C. Livingstone
Guide
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:22 am

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby C. Livingstone » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:50 pm

I think I'm liking the AUTO mode, even for TIG, as I was doing a little welding this evening, and the light in the room was completely different, as it relied on the overhead light, and in TIG mode the ArcOne was acting differently than when the room had ambient light diffused through some thin drapes, although maybe I was just hallucinating.

So, I switched to AUTO mode and ran the TIG torch from about 20 amps up to 120 amps, while jogging the shade knob with the lid down for a few seconds, to get the shading to the degree that seemed best for the room lighting and welding at hand.

I may leave the AUTO mode as the default until I test the TIG mode further.
Peace be with you all,
Christian Livingstone
www.youtube.com/newjerusalemtimes

Everlast AC/DC 210EXT (2015)
CAT250D DC-TIG/Plasma Combo
User avatar
C. Livingstone
Guide
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:22 am

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby sedanman » Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:13 pm

5 of the 8 posts are by the o/p!
sedanman
Ace
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 2:54 pm
Location: Beacon and Pawling, New York

Re: ArcOne IDF81 Variable-Shade Welding Lid Review

Postby Otto Nobedder » Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:36 am

sedanman wrote:5 of the 8 posts are by the o/p!


...and generally only people interested in the topic respond. If the OP wishes to expound on his topic, so be it. If everyone, anyone, or no-one wishes to respond, so be it.

I see no value in counting posts in this way.

Steve S
User avatar
Otto Nobedder
Weldmonger
 
Posts: 8388
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:40 pm
Location: Near New Orleans

Next

Return to Product Reviews