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(Part 2, Helmet electronics > http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/29534-helmet-electronics-and-external-power-supply-updated/)

 

Part 1

 

Hello all. Being the noob I am, I quickly discovered how hot my melon was getting inside the bucket, not to mention I'm a freak when it comes to electronic gadgets and wanted to load it with goodies. Well, after 3 fans (2 pushing fresh air to my face and 1 rear exhausting heat down and out the back of my neck), a voice modifier, voice modifier amp (personally didn't want anything hanging behind my chest plate), a few switches and a boat load of batteries to power it all, I had myself one heck of a brick hanging on my head. The other issue and clincher to my frustration was how quickly it all would plow through batteries.  

 

I desperately needed something that could provide 9v for my voice modifier & amp, 5v for the fans and most importantly, power it all day without having to change batteries. The reason for separate power supply voltages is because the fans create electric noise on my voice channel. Separating the power supplies to each would cure this problem simply.  

 

My solution was the Anker 2nd Gen Astro Pro2 20000mAh battery charger with three USB (5vdc) ports and one 1.6mm (9v/12vdc) port. 

 

After purchasing the charger I quickly realized I had a slight problem. Like most modern battery supplies there are safeguards in place to protect your electronics and their product. The safeguard is to shut it down in case of a overload, or in my case a UNDERLOAD. WHAT! I've never heard of such a thing, yes. Apparently the specifications for the Anker, like a lot of other chargers, is to require a minimum mAh draw or the supply unit shuts itself off to preserve battery life. Not a bad idea unless it's located in an area where it's difficult to access and restart, like in my back plate. My three 5v fans that run off one of the USB ports have a total of 30mAh draw. The combined mAh draw from my voice modifier and amp was 40mAh. On both, neither were enough to keep the charger alive. After a few emails and a couple phone calls to the mfg they kindly informed me they would not be modifying (at any point) the minimal mAh requirement and wished me all the luck in the world in my ventures and thanks for choosing Anker. humm :/, couldn't blame them actually. 

 

So if your still with me and still interested, my simple fix was to first purchase a USB meter off Ebay to check my USB load and DVOM (volt meter) to check the 9/12v load. I needed 20mAh draw to meet the minimal USB requirements and 10mAh to meet the 9v.

 

Fix: 1) I tested a 1/2 dozen or so old USB thumb drives and found one (seen hanging in one of the pics) that could get me over that hump without excessively assisting in draining the battery. I then plugged it into one of the spare USB ports. Fix 2) I found a 9vdc LED light I could splice into that circuit, and that fixed that.

 

Now that I have the power supply working correctly, onto wiring the bucket. I ran the USB cable and the 9vdc cable (that came with the Anker) to my helmet via fabric I crafted to cover/camouflage the wires and protect my skin. The wire harness and fabric goes through a hole in my shirt behind the back plate and up through my neck seal. The wires are relatively light weight though I'm currently working on a setup that will reduce it from 2 harnesses to 1 with added expand-ability. In the helmet the wiring harness has a female USB and 2.5mm 9v/12v connectors to mate with the incoming power connectors. To clarify, the Anker 1.6mm connector (charger side) changes to 2.5mm on the opposite end (helmet). Also, in my pics you'll see 3 connectors in my helmet, the 3rd connector is connected to a amp that powers a 3rd speaker I use to pipe in TK chatter via my mp3 player without interrupting my voice communication system (i know it's overkill but whatever).   

 

Test (8 hours non-stop): With 3 fans, 1 voice modifier, 1 voice amp (playing music), 1 USB thumb drive and 1 LED light. After 8 hours I still had 60+% battery life remaining. Enough to charge my phone that was almost dead...lol.  

 

There's so much more to this trial and error story but I'm out of time :huh:. I'm open for questions, comments or concerns if any.

 

I think that about covers it. Enjoy 

 

(Part 2, Helmet electronics > http://www.whitearmor.net/forum/topic/29534-helmet-electronics-and-external-power-supply-updated/)

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Edited by ukswrath
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Anyway, staying on target here Tony, this is some brilliant and beautiful work. I think I'm probably far from alone in asking if we are going to hear the rest of the story, or see some pics of the bucket end equipment.

 

I never stop being amazed by the creativity, ingenuity, and skills that get brought to our FISD potluck on a regular basis.

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Interesting use of tech meant for other use and through creativity and perseverance with some trial and error our members come up with some really creative solutions. :icon_bow:

Thank you for sharing but I would love to see the inside of your helmet! :smiley-sw013:

 

I'm curious as to how you are comfortably fitting all that in there. I have trouble wearing a headset mic and just two fans powered by a 5v USB "lipstick" back up battery. I found some of the less expensive back up battery packs (under $10 ones) don't have any load logic only charging protection.

Now if I can find a 9 volt solution in the same USB "lipstick" configuration for those really warm days.... ;)

Edited by toybiz
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Hey all, thanks for the kudos and your positive encouragement. This little project has been a trial and error experience to say the least, kinda like your first armor build…lol, and I’m sure some will agree when it comes to comfort and convenience sometimes the almighty $ needs to take a back seat, but not today.

  

To answer some of your questions, the charger weighs 1lb 1oz and costs $80 on Amazon, seen here. I personal have it vecro to my back plate where I can barely feel the weight of it.

 

http://www.amazon.com/20000mAh-Aluminum-Portable-Multi-Voltage-Technology/dp/B005NGLTZQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

 

There’s also a great customer review, though it was written for the chargers intended use it has a great deal of technical info, like load test results.

 

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3AEWGTX6JQRBK/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R3AEWGTX6JQRBK

 

As for the electronics in my helmet, please keep in mind this is a FX helmet so there’s a bit more room to work with but more importantly it’s a working prototype utilizing some electronics that will be scaled down in my next build with my new ATA helmet. The main purpose of this post was to shed light on alternative power sources. What electronics you choose to stuff in your bucket or armor is up to you.   

 

I’m also planning to develop a wiring harness, used in conjunction with the Anker or similar charger that will fit in just about any helmet or armor and could be used to power or charge a variety of electronics.   

 

Bucket electronics list:

1x 9vdc Voice modifier

1x 9vdc Voice amplifier

3x 5vdc Blower fans

3x Switches (on/off). One switch powers the voice mod and amp. Another is for one fan on cooler days (left side of face) and finally the remaining switch is for the other two fans (right side of face and rear exhaust). My future build will have a 1 three way switch for all the fan controls.

2x Hovi speakers

1x Mic and wire boom

1x USB connector, 1x 2.5mm connector and a boatload of 2.5mm connectors to make it easier to configure and or remove/replace items. My future build will utilize a wiring harness using smaller gauge wire as well as a junction block to condense and organize the clutter.

 

Notice the 2nd amp and a 3rd 2.5mm connector at connector block? Again, this was added in addition to a 3rd speaker to pipe out MP3 music or TK chatter SEPARATE from the voice system. The amp is made by NOVI purchased from Radio Shack for $20.

 

All in all I think I spent a total of $300 for everything.

 

I'll post updates as refinement continues.

 

Tony

 

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Edited by gmrhodes13
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  • 8 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I know this is a very old thread but i had to post to it saying thank you. i have watched all your you tube vids on it and read up on your other posts. i am working on a clone trooper and want all the gadgets i can fit in the bucket. thank you soooo much.

 

edit: wow. been a member for almost a year and this was my first post.  :blush:

Edited by C1ph3r
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  • 10 months later...

Thanks for this.  I had a similar problem with an anker lipstick usb power pack.  It had the same led power switch that turned off if there wasn't enough of a current.  I had been racking my brain about how to fix this.  Mine is different from yours because it only has one usb port. Because of this I didn't think I would be able to use your usb fix. However, a friend who was helping me suggested using a usb splitter and hooking up the flash drive to that to draw power.  I'm hoping that this will work and I won't have to scrap my system I setup.

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