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Thread: Fixing my Racal Airlite Powered Respirator Batter Pack

  1. #1

    Fixing my Racal Airlite Powered Respirator Batter Pack

    I have an old Racal Airlite powered respirator face shield. The batter pack wouldn't hold a charge for very long. I searched online for a new pack with no luck. They stopped making these a long time ago. But since it still is a good shape and I don't want to spend the $$ for a new model, I decided to rebuild the battery.

    On this unit, the battery pack slides inside the top of the face shield. I removed the pack from the helmet. I carefuly removed the plastic cover off the top of the pack to reveal the cells. There where 3 cells inside. They are the same diameter as a standard AA battery but slightly longer. I got my multi meter out and tested the voltage. It read 2.4 volts. I searched online for 3 replacement cells. However, not knowing what they are called and the fact that the cells didn't have any writing on them, I decided to use 2 AA type batteries.

    Since I need to charge the new batteries in a standard 1 hour charger, I didn't want to put them into the Racal battery pack. Then I would have to remove them from the pack when I need a charge. So I decided to make my own. I rummaged through my junk for about an hour. I looked through my son's old toys for something that used 2 AA batteries. Finally I found an old plastic flashlight that used 2 AA's.

    I took the flashlight apart. I removed the lens and bulb. I ran two wires through the bulb hole in the reflector. I soldered on wire on the two contact points on the back of the reflector, added batteries, and replaced the top of the flashlight. I drilled a hole along the edge of the lens for the wires to stick out. I replaced the lens allowing the wires to pass through using the hole.

    I then went back to my junk pile and found a headphone jack and plug (at least that is what I think they are). I soldered the jack to my leads on my flashlight battery pack. The plug I soldered to a 3' length of wire. Then I soldered the other end of this wire to the two connection points on the blower fan on the Racal. I flipped the switch on the flashlight and it fired right up.

    I then took an old hacksaw blade and ground the shape teeth off. I bent it in half and made a belt clip similar to one on a tape measure. I put it on the flashlight and made a few more bends so it fit the curve of the light nicely. I added some CA glue and I was off to the shop.

    I used it for about 6 hours yesterday and it was still running strong. I'll keep using the batteries until they are completely dead just to get an idea how long they last. I found that the clip works well but I have just been placing the batter pack in the back pocket of my turning smock.

    Thanks for looking,
    Last edited by Raymond Sprouse; 02-28-2011 at 11:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Pretty ingenious fix Ray I've always wondered if that could be done.

    welcome to the forum !!!
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  3. #3
    Thanks Bob. As long as you get the voltage right. I think all battery packs come in a voltage that is a factor of 1.2. So a 12 volt pack would have 10 of these cells, 18 volt would have 15 cells. You can replace the cells in a cordless drill pack. The ones I have done are called sub-C cells.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Great fix, Ray, and welcome to the Family. Nice to meet you. Where do you live?
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  5. #5
    Thank you for the reply. Sorry I didn't make any introductions. I belong to a lot of forums for a long time. Sometimes I forget the simple things.

    I live in Galeton, a small town in north central PA. We don't have much here but mountains and trees. A great place to live, raise a family, and turn wood. I don't do a lot of woodworking except to make jigs for woodturning. I have been an avide woodturner for many years. If you would like to see some of my work please visit my site HERE.

    Thanks again,

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