Cleaning the 3M Airstream

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Emiliano Achaval, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    I found a thread from 2014 somewhat related to this... Due to my continuing sinus problems, I decided to buy the 3M Airstream helmet / respirator. I ordered the extra face shield protector. Some of you might remember I posted here how simple green ate my uvex Bionic polycarbonate shield. I want to ask those of you who have an Airstream, how do you clean the face shield, do you have the protector? I ordered the battery and the smart charger, but Alan Zenreich will help me with the set up to be able to use a Costco battery for iPads to use as a spare... My wife says I'm 20 years late with this purchase... I had to agree... Aloha
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The problem with the batteries that Alan likes is that the voltage is low so the airflow isn't as much as it is with the 3M battery. Even though the 3M battery says it's 4.8 volts, that's actually when the battery is at the midpoint of its discharge cycle. When fully charged, the voltage is a little over 5.3 volts (5.2 v when running).
     
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  3. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    I have one battery similar to one that they sell at costco, to jump start cars. It comes with several adaptors so you can charge phones, iPads and even computers. I'm afraid it might be too much juice, so I emailed Alan a video with all the specs. This battery will jump start a diesel truck... Its very small, similar in size to the one that comes with the Airstream or even smaller... I take it camping with me, can charge a phone all weekend and still have 50% charge left... Cant wait to get my Airstream !
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I thought that you were referring to the tiny 5v NiMH rechargeable battery that some Airstream owners are mounting on top of the helmet. They won't start a car or truck.
     
  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    My son who is an electrical engineer rigged up my airstream with a lithium battery storage pack from Lifeproof. It outputs a standard voltage for iphones, ipads and such, within a couple tenths of a volt of the 3M battery, and charges with a standard micro USB plug. The air output is indistinguishable from the 3M battery. This pack is about the size of an iphone 6 and much, much lighter than the 3M. I slip it into a pocket rather than trying to attach it to the helmet. The battery life is about 8 hours and I haven't yet figured out the charge time--too long to sit around and watch it, but far less than overnight. It has 4 little LEDs that indicate remaining charge, a REALLY useful feature. It's also got a built in LED flashlight, which is not a really useful feature for me, but may be a 'cool factor' for marketing purposes. Highly recommended.

    Regarding cleaning the face shield, I just wipe off the dust and go again. In 3 years I haven't had to 'clean' it. (Also, after turning 2 ordinary face shields into relief models of the Rocky Mountains with CA glue spatter, I've become much more aware of getting finish and glue on my face shield, and don't.)
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    There's really not a need for an intrinsically safe battery for wood turning. If you're working in a potentially explosive atmosphere then it is a different matter. The cost of the 3M battery is going up every time I check. If I ever need another battery I might rebuild my old one that died a couple years ago. Even if I changed to a different type such as a Li-ion battery, I would still want it to be belt mounted to make it convenient to turn it on and off plus I don't want to add weight to the helmet.
     
  7. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    I have done the CA splatter mistake several times. You think its dry, but you make a couple of passes and there it goes... I wonder how your son did to hook up the new battery to the odd 3 prong 3M connector. Alan Z says only 2 are necessary, one is just for looks, lol. Can you buy that plug from 3M? Thanks for the help. Aloha
     
  8. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    Bill, what I mean by safe is, I dont want to blow up the motor if the voltage or amps are too high. I'm not good with electricity... My son used to race remote control cars, I was the mechanic, I fried a few batteries by accidentally not changing the inputs in the complicated charger, one battery even blew up, sounded like a shotgun, we found burnt paper and pieces of the battery as far as 30 feet away... I appreciate you always helping out Bill. Aloha
     
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually I wasn't replying to your comment. The cost of the 3M battery has gone through the roof mainly because it has been certified to meet MSHA requirements for being intrinsically safe for use in certain hazardous industrial situations such as dust in a grain elevator. The switch on the battery is a non-arcing type so it can't be an ignition source. For our needs a battery doesn't need to meet those requirements so a less costly battery could be used.
     
  10. Jim McLain

    Jim McLain

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    OSI Batteries rebuilds the 3m batteries for a whole lot less tan a new one. I have used them a couple of times and was pleased with their service.
     
  11. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Bill I rebuilt my Trend battery and it is not that difficult . The build only cost $18.
     
  12. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    If you change the battery, you also change the charger, so the 3 prong plug is no longer used. The Lifeproof pack is a little odd to me, as it has one type/location to plug in for charging and another type/location to plug in the wire to the Airstream. (and no, I don't know what happens if you plug both in at the same time, and I'm not gonna try it to find out. :p)
     
  13. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Running both power supplies at the same time could cause serious problems. :D


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  14. AlanZ

    AlanZ

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    Bill, the USB battery, as you know is 5 volts. I have not noticed any real difference in air flow... the 3M airflow meter gets pegged, so the flow is at least at their standard.
     
  15. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    When my first Airstream battery was starting to lose performance I wired a couple leads from the connector so that I could monitor battery performance. When fully charged, the battery voltage was only 4.8 volts. As you know, the nominal voltage of a NiCad cell is 1.25 v so it wasn't quite getting there (1.25 X 4 = 5.0). I found that the international charge leakage was draining the battery in just a few days.

    Fortunately, about that time I found that Andy Chen had a new battery that he didn't need (he had modified his new Airstream to use the 5v USB battery packs) and sine he wasn't too far from my parents home we made a deal plus I had the pleasure of visiting with him for a few hours. Funny thing is that as soon as I got back to my parents home with the new battery, the old one went completely dead ... must have been jealousy that killed it. :D It lasted 8 years which isn't too shabby for a rechargeable battery. The NiCad batteries for my DeWalt drill and impact wrench didn't even make it three years. If I figure dollars per year, the Airstream battery is less expensive than the DeWalt batteries and also less than the batteries for my Canon cameras.

    The new battery charged to about 5.35 v no load and about 5.25 v under load. The voltage dropped to about 5 v after about three hours and held there most of the day. I found that when the voltage dropped below about 4.6 v the battery is essentially at the end of its useful charge. NiCad voltage is relatively flat, but has a rather abrupt knee at the end of its useful charge. It's not good to discharge NiCad's further than that.

    I have always wanted to measure the current used by the Airstream, but it would be a lot of trouble.
     
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