Rugged Radios: Helmet Kit Install
A helmet kit is basically a set of speakers and a microphone that installs into your helmet. Helmets that are outfitted with helmet kits are referred to as “wired”. With a wired helmet plugged into an intercom or radio, you’re able to speak with other wired helmets without having to stop and remove your helmet.
There are a few different components that make up the helmet kit:
The speakers provide audio inside your helmet, and are able to stick into your helmet using an adhesive velcro pad. The velcro is also great for re-positioning the speakers for optimum placement.
Next is the microphone. Most helmet kits have a flexible microphone boom. The flex boom is great for positioning the microphone closer to your mouth when you put on your helmet. More on that later.
The next major component is the “offroad” plug. This is the Nexus jack that is used to connect your helmet to the communications device you are using. This jack is designed to quickly connect or disconnect when getting in or out of your vehicle. Our popular off road helmet kits feature a “Duralink” plug that basically sleeves over the jack it’s plugged into to seal out water and dust.
The last component is the 3.5mm jack. You can use that jack to plug a music device directly to your helmet and stream the music through your speakers. The jack can alternatively be used to connect ear buds if you need to eliminate excess sound.
We have helmet kits that include all of these components, as well as virtually any combination of components to suit your needs. For example, if you only wish to use earbuds with your helmet kit, the HK-OF-M only has a microphone, 3.5mm jack, and the Offroad plug.
One thing to address though is making sure that your helmet is capable of being wired. First you need to make sure the helmet covers your ears since this is where you are going to mount your speakers. Another thing to consider is if your helmet has a place to install a microphone so that it can be positioned directly in front of your mouth. If your helmet does not have a spot close enough to your jaw line to effectively secure a microphone boom in front of your mouth, you will not be able to clearly speak into the microphone.
This tutorial is going to show how to “wire” (or install a helmet kit into) a Pyrotect helmet using the HK-OFSP-3.5 helmet kit. If the helmet kit you are installing does not have one of the components, such as speakers, simply skip the steps that address those components.
There are many different style of helmets on the market, and it would be very difficult to address each and every one individually in these instructions. For that reason we are going to focus on helmets that are similar to Pyrotects. If your helmet padding does not work the same way as shown in the pictures, do not hesitate to ask me for advice on how to complete a step for your specific helmet.
-The first step is to gather your tools needed to do the install. You’re going to need a helmet kit, a helmet, a hot glue gun with a glue stick, a flat rounded tool that’s firm enough to push wires into the padding (we used the handle of a crescent wrench), a zip tie, and scissors to cut the excess zip tie off.
– Here we have our to-be-wired Pyrotect helmet. While not all of you will be wiring the same helmet shown here, a lot of the techniques work with other major helmets used by racers as well as recreational wheelers:
– Find some way of propping the helmet upside-down. The helmet will be like this throughout the install and propping it this way will stop it from rolling away while working on it:
– Some helmets, like this bisected Motocross style helmet below, have a little pocket for your ear that allows you to simply stick the velcro patch onto the shell, and apply the helmet speaker:
– That makes the install a little bit faster and easier but we’ll show you what to do here if you have a Pyrotect that doesn’t have that “pocket”. Start by removing the cheek pad that’s velcroed to the shell. We start with the one that’s not going to have the mic boom on that side:
– You’ll notice the hole where the chin strap goes through on the cheekpad. On the velcro side, you can access the inside of the cheekpad. Fold down the fabric as shown in the picture below, and work the speaker into the inside of the padding. Be sure to insert the speaker so that it’s facing the right direction, towards your ear. Notice on the picture how the foam is not between the speaker and where your ear will be:
– This picture simply shows me making sure the speaker is where the wearers ear will be inside the helmet. This would be a good time to put the helmet on see if the speaker needs to be adjusted. If everything checks out, reattach the cheek pad and you’re good to move on:
– The cable that goes from one speaker to the other will need to be secured somewhere in your helmet. The best place on this helmet is along the rear pad that runs along the back of your neck. Begin pushing the wire down between the padding and the shell of the helmet, just enough to get it started.
– Using something that will not damage the cable, such as the rounded handle of a crescent wrench seen here, carefully but firmly push the cable down between the back pad and the shell as shown, until you’ve reached the other cheek pad:
– Cable securely hidden:
-Repeat the same steps as before to secure the speaker into the cheek pad. The only difference is you will have an extra cable coming off the speaker that goes to the rest of the helmet kit:
– Before putting the cheek pad back on, we’re going to anchor the helmet kit cable junction to the helmet. This provides extra strength to the pigtails that will come out of the helmet, making it harder to mess the helmet kit up should they be pulled on or stressed while riding. There’s a little metal ring that attaches to the shell of the helmet, this is where the chin strap is attached, circled in the picture. Insert a zip tie into the ring and make a loop, being sure not to tighten the zip tie all the way. You’ll need to leave the loop large enough to fit the helmet kit cables into before tightening all the way:
– Insert the part of the helmet kit where all the cables join through the loop in the zip tie, once it’s through the loop, tighten the zip tie to secure the cables and remove the excess zip tie:
– Now that the cables are secured with the helmet, it’s time to figure out where you’re going to secure the flexible microphone boom. You want to position the microphone so that it will be directly in front of your mouth when you have the helmet on. keep in mind that you may need to bend the mic boom when you have the helmet on to position the mic close enough to your mouth. The microphone should intermittently touch your lips when you speak for optimum performance. What we do is line the mic up so that it is right in the center front of the helmet, then shift the mic and boom slightly towards the direction of the mic boom. This slight offset makes it so that when you bend the mic to be closer to your mouth, the microphone is flat against your mouth instead of angled a certain direction. It’s a small detail, but it’s an easy way to make sure you achieve the maximum potential of your helmet kit mic:
– Now that you know where you’re going to mount the mic boom, it’s time to secure it to the helmet. We strongly urge you to not modify, drill, or screw anything to your helmet. This can compromise the structural integrity and will void the warranty of the helmet. The best way we’ve found to secure the mic boom without modifying the helmet itself is to use hot glue. First apply a bead of hot glue along the helmet shell where the boom will attach. Apply the microphone boom to that bead, then carefully build up the glue around the mic boom to give it the best grip:
– You will need to hold the mic boom securely in place until the hot glue has cooled and cured. now that the mic boom isn’t going anywhere, you can reattach the cheek pad to the helmet over the mic boom. You may need to push the pad firmly against the shell to get the velcro to stick since the boom is between them now. The pad will contour itself around the boom, and will stay securely inside the helmet:
– As an optional step, you can secure the 3.5mm jack to the helmet to using a strip of velcro. This keeps the jack from hanging free when not in use
-You’re all set! If you prefer to have the pigtails on the other side of the helmet than we have pictured here, simply start with the other side of the helmet first, ending with the side that you want your pigtails to come out.
If you have any questions about helmet kit installation, feel free to ask away. If you have a helmet that is different than the Pyrotect, and these instructions don’t work for that helmet, definitely don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll offer alternatives to what’s described in this write up.
Post your comments and questions HERE