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Versaflo M-407

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by Emiliano Achaval, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

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  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    @AlanZ and @Emiliano Achaval I finally found out why the Breathe Easy requires a different battery than the Airstream. The Breathe Easy requires 6.25 volts as opposed to 4.8 volts for the Airstream. While the Airstream battery is certainly usable, you would undoubtedly get more cooling air with the BP-15 NiMH battery or the BP-17IS NiCad battery that are designed for the Breathe Easy.
     
  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is a video that will answer your question and it will also tell you if the 4.8 volt Airstream battery is generating enough airflow. The nurse doing the demonstration missed the main purpose of the airflow test which is to tell you if the filters need to be replaced. I suppose that I can forgive her for not knowing what a hose clamp is.


    View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bNKMbKy4mnQ
     
  4. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    This is what I have, it wasn’t cheap! Later I’ll check how much voltage it has....
     

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  5. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    That's the Airstream battery (520-01-02). The voltage is 4.8 volts. Look at the line just above the word, "WARNING". The voltage is the last thing on that line. Yes, they are all very expensive, but I just bought a couple XRP heavy duty batteries for my DeWalt drill and paid about $130. Batteries for my Canon DSLR cameras are about $80 each and I need at least two if I am out all day shooting. And, I have three Canon cameras. :D I haven't had to replace the battery in my Wacom Intuos graphics tablet, but I hate to think how much it might cost. The battery in my iPad is getting a little weak and to replace it requires removing the screen and might cost more than the iPad is worth. About 12 years ago the Airstream battery was around $150 or maybe less and I thought that was highway robbery. I couldn't even imagine today's prices. :eek:

    I have been looking at batteries on eBay, but I'm not too thrilled at what I see. The ones that are cheap are either really beat up or really old. The good ones are close to full retail price. One bit of news is that you also have to get a special charger if you get the NiMH battery for the Breathe Easy. Used prices for the charger vary all over the map.
     
  6. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Bill, I'm confident that @AlanZ will come up with a cheaper solution for us Versaflow users. Would love to have more air flow. Thanks for finding the video of the nurse... We have an engineer in the club, I will run this voltage battery thing by him, he might have a solution...
    Found 2 dislikes about my M-407. One is, I was in the shop for 6 hours today. Have you try drinking with your helmet on? Awkward... The other one is, it's not easy to access my bluetooth Bose headset because the shroud it's covering the area, and thru the front is very, very difficult. I'm guessing the shroud is rubbing on them and I have to readjust them... Well, a third one too, it's no laughing matter if you are having a flatulent kind of day. At first I thought it was funny, not anymore! Seems that the gas goes instantly thru the filters... Don't laugh! You will have the same problem! LOL
     
  7. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, I will check the airflow tomorrow with the flow meter. Now I'm curious to see what kind of flow do I have... I will report back...
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm still holding onto my Airstream. It's lightweight and has lots of airflow. The whine of the blower makes it hard to hear anybody talking so I have to turn it off.

    Well, I've tried to take a drink of soda with the visor down on my Airstream as well as with a ordinary faceshield ... doesn't work very well, but other than pouring soda all over myself, I just laugh and rub some shavings on myself. But, I don't know if you've ever tried spitting with the shield down. If you've hawked up a really good one, it can be really disconcerting. :eek:

    You could build your own battery with a battery holder that holds five cells (either NiCad or NiMH) and then get a charger that will charge several cells at once.

    You could also consider a Li-ion battery pack. The 3M non-rechargeable battery for first responders is Lithium which is essentially the same as Li-ion so Li-ion should work just as well. Here is an example of the type of battery that I am thinking about: Li-Ion Battery Pack
    Of course you also need a charger. AllBattery.com can also fix you up with a NiCad or NiMH battery pack.
     
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  9. Paul Gilbert

    Paul Gilbert

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  10. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    What an amazing contraption! I wonder if anybody has seen it in action?
     
  11. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I can not tell you how many times, while doing threaded boxes, I have tried to blow air with my mouth to clean the threads , yes, with the Airstream visor down!! LOL. I had a very fun and entertaining Zoom learning session today with @AlanZ I believe I'm leaning towards a USB connection for a yet to be determined battery. I'm guessing that I will be able to also charge it with a regular phone charger with a usb conector.. Then I can sell my Airstream with the battery and smart battery charger. I will be posting it here. I have it for sale on a Facebook group for $800, no takers yet. I'm also leaning towards keeping it... Not sure why... I didnt have time today to measure the airflow, I'm thinking tomorrow I will. Curious to see if I have enough flow with the 4.8 battery. Alan told me of a high tech solution for the Versaflow problem of not been drinking friendly: buy a box of drinking straws, LOL So far I have not tried to spit with the visor down!
     
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I have a couple vortex coolers made by Exair. They are used to cool electrical equipment cabinets. The purpose is to keep electronic equipment cool and clean in a manufacturing environment. An example would be having a bunch of inverters in a sealed cabinet rather than being mounted on the machine where they would be exposed to dust and dirt and even splatter from cooling fluids sprayed on the cutter of a milling machine. These coolers are real air hogs. I had planned on putting a VFD in a small cabinet and using one of these coolers so that it wouldn't get full of wood dust. However, I changed my mind after seeing how much air they used.i

    Back on topic, I bought a Breathe Easy blower, BP-15 battery, and BC-210 charger today. I still need to get the filters. I may try to find filters that block oligosaccharides (according to Wikipedia). :D Senior citizen flatulence is a serious issue.
     
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  13. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    LOL. I was just going to say, that the battery that you sent the link for, does not appear to have an on and off switch...
     
  14. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Might be able to make one of activated charcoal
     
  15. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not following what that means.
     
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  16. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I think charcoal used to be used for some filtration, lol
     
  17. stu senator

    stu senator

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    Smell reduction.
    Stu
     
  18. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Activated charcoal removes odors from air and is used in filters for that purpose. It is also the international antidote for poisoning.
     
  19. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh, I thought that you were commenting on my vortex coolers.

    They really are cool in more ways than one, but rather noisy.

    I think that I will try to deal with the air pollution issue at the source. :D
     
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  20. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I finally had a chance, well, I finally remembered to measure the air flow in my versaflow with the Airstream battery, a 4.8 V battery. Happy to say that I have 100% plus flow. More would not be possible. The little ball immediately goes to the top. Not sure what the difference would be, or the advantages of using the recommended 6.8 V battery? Is more flow even possible? I'll leave that question open for somebody that understands better than me voltage, motors, flow, volume, evolution of mankind and the mysteries of the universe. For now, I'm happy the simple little test showed me I have sufficient air flow and I won't suffocate inside my space helmet. I'm attaching a picture of the test. I also have a video... IMG_8089.JPG
     
  21. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Is the meter you use calibrated for Versaflow or Airstream ? There may be a difference.
     
  22. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Not sure, it is the one that comes with the Breathe Easy unit. The Airstream flow is measured with a piece of paper. I'm thinking I'm OK....
     
  23. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The flow tester is measuring just the Breathe Easy blower output and is intended as a test to tell the user when the filters need to be replaced and not as a CFM indicator for a complete system end-to-end test. There are four basic categories of Versaflo headgear with various options within each category and overall there are about twenty options for various kinds of headgear that can be hooked to the Breathe Easy blower including soft hoods, faceshields, hard hats, and helmets. Some are loose fitting and others are tight so the airflow will be different. Based on what I have read, the tester has markers to show what is adequate for different types of headgear.

    The Airstream is self contained so there is a plastic disc with an opening in the middle that is placed on the input to see if there is enough suction to hold it.
     
  24. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    @Bill Boehme we have to find out how we measure the Versaflow air flow now.. At least now I know my Breath easy unit is working fine, right? This is confusing to say the least...
     
  25. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The only way to measure it would be if you had an internal flow meter in the hose while you were wearing the headgear. And the reading would probably vary considerably depending on how tightly you had the inner shroud snugged up around your neck. The reading would also be constantly fluctuating as you inhaled and exhaled or were holding your breath due to some "bad wind". I think that they give a nominal value of 10 CFM, but regardless of a numerical value which tends to be somewhat abstract, I believe that your real questions would be "am I feeling cool and comfortable" and "is my visor clear". There are other variables that muddy the waters even more such as the temperature, humidity, and how hard you are working.
     
  26. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I have way more air flow than with my Airstream. I think what I learned is that a 4.8 V battery is enough for the breathe easy. And you are right, I'm confortable, I'm not hot, my visor never gets foggy... I also found that I do not lift my visor as much as I did with the airstream, maybe because visibility is better? I wonder if there is an official way of testing air flow of the versaflow, regardless of what system you use with it, there must be a minimum acceptable flow for it. But, I'm done worrying about it, I think, LOL Aloha from Maui
     
  27. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I believe that the original NiCad battery for the Breathe Easy was 4.8 volts and the headgear was the same helmet as the Airstream (which is probably why the blower unit has the word Airstream on it) and the stated airflow was 10 CFM.

    When I was trying to decide on a powered respirator a couple club members owned the Breathe Easy and said that they really liked it except for the occasional "bad air" problem that I mentioned earlier. Very timely there was a magazine review that compared the Airstream (10 CFM), the Breathe Easy (10 CFM), the Triton (4 CFM), and the original Trend Airshield (6 CFM). The magazine review along with a recommendation from Bill Grumbine are what led me to choose the Airstream. One club member bought the Triton and hated it. Another club member bought the Trend Airshield and complained that it was very top heavy
     
  28. Gerald Lawrence

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    In the long run with all powered helmets it boils down to 1. having enough airflow 2. being satisfied with the inconveniences (weight on head or bad air) and if you can live with them.
    Bill could the power pack be suspended on your back like a back pack? And if so would that be high enough to not draw as much bad air?
     
  29. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I would add add one more item to the list. ... it does an adequate job of filtering the air.

    The new Versaflo blower/filter units have built in lithium ion batteries and there is an option for wearing it as a backpack. It is considerably lighter than the bulky Breathe Easy. However, your choice of filters is limited. That is why the Breathe Easy is still being used with the Versaflo headgear. I suppose that you could rig up something to wear the Breathe Easy and battery on your back if you don't mind looking like a hunchback. :D

    image.jpeg
     
  30. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    By the way, I think that it is an apples and oranges comparison. With the Airstream filtered air is dispensed through the sock filter over its full length so air flowing all over the top of your head. With the Versaflo helmet all of the filtered air is directed over your face
     
  31. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I have seen some way better "belts" for systems like the Versaflow. I might look into this. I have a hunting kidney pack with pockets, this goes below your backpack, on your waist. There are more ergonomic, wider, softer and with a better buckle. My breath easy came with the cheapest plastic belt... Did anyone noticed Nick Agar in the Journal article wearing some kind of unit similar to the Breathe Easy, hooked up to what looks like am Airstream helmet? Take a look at his belt...
     
  32. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I received everything except for the filters today and it was all in new condition possibly never used and in original packaging.

    I struggled for a while trying to get the plastic fitting off the air hose and just as I was about to give up and break the plastic fitting it practically fell off the hose. I was planning on getting a hose clamp to hold the hose on the blower, but it fits so tight that I don't see any reason to get a clamp.

    I think that there are three options for the belt: a shiny plastic belt which is what you apparently have, a nylon webbing belt which is what I have, and a leather belt which we both would like to have. :D If the nylon webbing belt were more heavy duty it would be nice, but my opinion is that it's much too flimsy. I would never consider hanging the battery on it.

    I got the belt adjusted to fit me, but I noticed that the belt slips in the buckle and after a short while the blower is hanging about a foot lower than when I first put it on. There is an outfitter near me so tomorrow I need to get one of the things, a triglide sliplock. They cost about fifty cents, but they really work well.

    image.jpeg

    What you saw Nick Agar wearing was the original Breathe Easy. And, yes it was the same helmet shell that the Airstream uses. That is what several of my club members had when I first joined fourteen years ago... and they warned me about the "bad air"problem.

    The Breathe Easy blower that I bought included the BP-15 NiMH battery which requires a special charger which I also found on eBay. The battery is rated to be 6.25 volts which is the nominal mid-charge voltage. After fully charging the battery, the open circuit voltage measured 7.01 volts. I hooked it up to the Breathe Easy and ran it for a couple hours and then measured the the voltage again and it was 6.42 volts. I also hooked the blower up to my freshly charged Airstream battery and ran it for a few minutes. The full charge voltage on the Airstream battery was 5.34 volts. While it provided plenty of air flow, it was much less than the airflow using the BP-15 battery. I wouldn't quite compare the BP-15 battery airflow performance to a leaf blower, but the comparison did cross my mind as I was thinking of analogies. Is the higher airflow that the BP-15 battery provides absolutely necessary? I don't think so. I can imagine that the increased airflow would be very much appreciated if you live where it is hot and humid and your glasses are fogging up or maybe if you just like the feel of gale force wind blowing across your face. :D

    My filters should be here tomorrow and then I will have a complete system.

    Here are my current thoughts before actually using the system. It's really a lot of stuff and putting it on makes me feel like I should be getting aboard a rocket to the moon rather than turning wood. My 3M Airstream respirator is so nice and simple ... put the helmet on my head and put the battery on my belt and I'm ready to go. With the blower motor in the helmet it's a bit noisy. The noise bothers some people, but it doesn't bother me. You can always wear earmuffs or use active noise canceling earbuds. The particular headgear that I have, the 3M Versaflo M-407 is designed for working in an inhospitable environment which in some ways makes wearing it less comfortable than other Versaflo headgear. It has a heat resistant Nomex shroud that drapes over the shoulders and there is an inner shroud that closes around the neck and is also heat resistant. The Versaflo helmet has a fixed frame in front that the visor rests against and when the visor is raised the frame is still there and can be a bit inconvenient if you want to take a drink of a canned or bottled beverage. Plan on getting some drinking straws. On the positive side, this headgear provides the highest level of protection of any powered respirator. Anyway those are my first impression thoughts, We'll see how it goes after I've used it for a while.
     
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  33. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    @Bill Boehme I have never followed a thread with this much interest. Thanks to you we have establish THE thread for future turners undecided on the versaflow.... I have gained a new understanding of the wife and her complaints about me passing gas. She loves it and tell me it's payback for all the years that I have made her leave the room LOL The problem is no joke folks, it's probably the biggest drawback of the Breathe Easy unit. I had no idea I was such an old fart already. Bill, I believe that I will in the future try to find a battery with higher voltage. Today was a very hot and muggy day here in Maui. I was a little hot where the collar is double on your neck... A little more air flow would be the ticket to perfection. I'm going to take a double look at the battery you posted a link for. I just dont think that the battery had an on off switch... Maybe @AlanZ can recommend a 6.8 V battery for me and more importantly, a charger. I have a super duper charger that I used to use with all types of battery for RC Cars, you can change the voltage, duration, type of battery, etc... Only problem before was finding adapters, seems that every battery had a different type of connector... Take a look at the belt, just a thought....
     

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  34. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Enviro safety is constantly running sale prices and I just noticed that they had the BP-15 battery on sale with a big discount off the list price. If you are patient you can find a good deal on a nearly new one on eBay. The one that I got was dated December 12, 2014 and looked like it had never been out of the plastic bag. You can find the Chargers on eBay for as low as $27. You can't get new ones.

    There is a vest available so that you can wear the unit in the middle of your back instead of your rump.
     
  35. Gerald Lawrence

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    @Bill Boehme Did you ever consider a gun belt for the battery? Easy to take off and very stable
     
  36. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the idea

    I received the HEPA filters today so now I can do a full system evaluation.
     
  37. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    We had another humid, hot and muggy Hawaiian day... I decided to try the Versaflow without the inner shroud. That one fits snugly against your neck. My first impression is I like it way better, way cooler. I dont see anything negative about removing it. I hope I'm not missing something... @Bill Boehme what do you think? Aloha
     
  38. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Maybe that's why the inner shroud has a zipper. :)

    I know that poking my head through the inner liner is uncomfortable when donning the helmet and it's hard to do without first removing my glasses. My concern would have been getting adequate positive pressure inside the helmet to keep the dust out, but maybe the outer shroud is adequate for doing that.

    I have been contemplating replacing both of the shrouds with neck seal like the ones used on the M-300 series hardhats. That would make it much more comfortable and easier to put it on and remove.
     
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  39. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I did a complete system test while wearing everything to compare the difference in performance between the two batteries (BP-15 NiMH battery designed for the Breathe Easy turbo blower vs. the 520-01-02 NiCad battery for the Airstream). Both batteries were fully charged. The temperature was mild in the mid 70's and the humidity was very high with light intermittent rain all day. I wasn't doing any turning so this was just a light duty test.

    The Airstream battery produced a comfortable air flow and no visor fogging and the blower noise was in the background. I would have been able to hear conversation. I felt like I would need a bit more airflow if the temperature was much higher and if I were actually working.

    The BP-15 battery produced a much stronger airflow. As a WAG, it felt like two or three times as much air. The noise level was also much higher as you might expect ... probably twice as loud. And, maybe on a par with the noise from the Airstream AS-400. I definitely would need to turn the blower off and raise the visor to hear conversation.

    I switched back and forth several times between the two batteries and my preference definitely was to use the BP-15 battery. The higher airflow was well worth the increased noise.

    I also unintentionally did the "bad air" test and it made me have second thoughts about replacing my trusty Airstream. I'll continue to evaluate the Airstream against the Versaflo/Breathe Easy.
     
  40. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Be careful with unintentional tests, LOL. I will definetly be looking for a 6.8 battery.... My next big sale I will start looking. Thanks for doing the tests for us. Both, the scientific and the other one.
     

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