Surplus military gear keeps your hands free, calls private

heli_helmet

[Julian] was rummaging through a military surplus store when he spotted a pair of old helicopter pilot helmets that he absolutely had to have. At $25 they were a steal, but pretty useless in their current state. He decided to modify one of the helmets for use while playing video games, but he didn’t stop there.

The helmet had two decent speakers built-in so he kept them, but tweaked the wiring from a mono-only configuration to accept stereo input. A RF wireless headset was disassembled and wired into the helmet so he could use it for playing video games while his wife is asleep. As an added bonus, the headset he used happened to have an AM/FM receiver built in, so he can enjoy music while sitting around with his helmet on as well. A Bluetooth cell phone headset was also torn down and wired into the helmet for gaming and handling phone calls. The Bluetooth mic was extended into the original mic stem built into the helmet, keeping things authentic-looking.

Overall it’s a quite a useful recycling of some old military junk. It’s a great idea though the helmet looks like it could be a touch cumbersome after awhile.

Comments

  1. HanSolo says:

    two words,
    AWESOME!!!

  2. Moonmonster says:

    Yeah, quite useful in Japan, if the earth quakes and the roof decides to collapse.

  3. Kyle says:

    My headphones keep my hands free and calls private as well…

    I think this write up overstates the usefulness of this wiring job, but its a fun idea nonetheless.

  4. pelrun says:

    I think the main problem with this helmet is that it’s impossible to wear it without singing Danger Zone over and over and over.

    RIGHT IN TO THE DANGER ZOOOOOONE!
    HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONEEEEEEEEEEE!

  5. Leithoa says:

    You gotta wonder if someone yelled ‘hand check’ right before they took the picture.

    Now to complete the helmet he needs to rig up some tracking so he can change views by turning his head.

  6. Kaj says:

    @Leithoa

    Good call on the hand check, I think :)
    Add that motion tracking to a pair of hi-res stereo video goggles, and you’ve got a winner for flight sim!

  7. Jakezilla says:

    Man, I have never found anything that cool in a surplus store!

  8. DarthSynack says:

    Now just need to cover the outside of the helmet with 3.14 layers of tinfoil – have to keep the government brainwave scanners from listening to your calls…

  9. Ed Minchau says:

    This cries out for a Wiimote to be disassembled and repurposed inside.

  10. Aud1073cH says:

    I have a David Clark headset

    http://www.davidclark.com/index.html

    found at a thrift store for $6 !
    – planning to adapt it to 4pin XLR (for clearcom), and make a breakout box from that for other applications. Its got a helicopter plug- havn’t had a reply from DC on pinout or what dc voltage the mic requires.
    Anyone know what the pinout for the single-jack aviation headsets is?

  11. Yoda says:

    I’m pretty sure awesome is just one word smart guy.

  12. Olivier says:

    @pelrun: or the Airwolf intro.

  13. @Aud1073cH

    what’s the connector type? the aviation pinout on mine was(from tip to leads) Mic+, Mic GND, SPKR+,SPKR GND. The mic requires phantom power, but a quick query of “electret” microphone will net you a simple circuit to power it up.

    “Electrets need biassing because of the built-in FET amplifier inside the microphone capsule. Bias voltages should be kept clean, because the noise in thiss will get to the microphone output.

    Basic electret microphone powering circuits

    Basic circuit

    +—————————- battery +ve (3 to 12 Volts)
    |
    2k2 R1
    |
    o———- 10uF ——o—– output
    |+ |
    CAPSULE 10k R2
    |- |
    +———————-o—– GND, and battery -ve

    This is the basic electret microphone powering circuit which you can use as generic reference when receivign circuits which use electret microphones. The putput impedance is determined by R1 and R2. If you leave out R2 the output impedance is roughly the resistance of R2. ”

    from http://www.epanorama.net/circuits/microphone_powering.html#basics

    later -Julian

  14. @Kyle

    no doubt(and i admit) this is a very simple update of the functionality. Sometimes it’s nice to have a one day project.

    what you might be missing is that it actually has TWO sets of wireless (bluetooth and RF) communications resulting in one set of stereo out for ambient TV noise or music, AND one mono speaker and a microphone for Communications, so it can combine the two into one unit.

  15. echodelta says:

    On his site he says he used single-strand wire on the inside wiring (cat5). Bummer. Breakage will occur in spite of massive amounts of hot-glue, instead of silicone or strip-able caulking.
    The best way is to mix the BT output into the preamp of the always on amp of the radio. BT amp is low output, it won’t keep up with the radio. Using resistors (not diodes) to mix will kill the output. With the right pair of resistors the mix will not bleed-off the stereo separation in the radio.

  16. dan fruzzetti says:

    It’s really cool, but seriously dude, go pay attention to your wife before you lose her. And maybe have some kids so you’ll have something to do :P

    My hacks are all less-than-an-hour affairs now that we’re up to two kids. I’ll get back into the big projects but not until the kids are bigger and I’m rich.

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