DOUG'S 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

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British/American Helmet:
The helmet with the identity problem.

   (Ver 1)

 

If you have been reading these intercom articles in order you will see that Al Bowie refered to a helmet made by Racal (of England). I have been frustrated in finding anything on these helmets until in mid February 2002 I succeeded in purchasing one along with some American headsets.
The weird part about these helmets is that they are fitted to interface with the American AN/Vic-1 intercom system and use the same bailout plugs and "Y" cable. The internal switching pinouts are even the same, but otherwise they are radically different. As Al Bowie says, you can even exchange the shell with an American Gentex helmet.
Having now pulled it apart and studied it I would have to agree that it is something designed by a committee. Nothing is simple or easy. There are in-built failure points (such as the microphone wire where it goes over the pivoting boom joint) and everything in general is harder to access and or replace. Most work on a Gentex can be done without the need of a soldering iron, not so the Racal.
They do however have the redeeming feature of the acoustic valve ear pieces, which is a really good idea and allows conversation with someone not pluged into the intercom without the need to remove the helmet.

10903

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

  If you look at the grill like part of the ear cover you can see a lever with markings nearby of "Open" and "Closed", this is the control for the acoustic valve. The switch at the bottom left of the ear cover works the intercom/radio selection and is identical in function with the Gentex, ie forward is momentary for radio, Whilst rearwards is a locking function and for intercom.
Also note the 3 straps with press studs which retain the ear piece in the padded headpiece.

10904

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

  Looking closely at the helmet you can see the microphone plug is identical to the Gentex helmet, except it is a stupid design, the twin wire comes out the plug, goes back into the earcover, is then soldered to another twin wire which then exits the ear cover and goes out along the mic boom, through the pivot joint and to the microphone. Basically, they have made a total botch up of what should have been a quick change system just like the Gentex - which can be accomplished without any tools at all!

I would really like to get a copy of the user manual or repair manual for this helmet - can anyone help?

 

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