I finally installed fans on my Profiler. It required no alterations to the mask itself. Here's what i did as best as i could describe it:
- Two 25mm fans (bought mine here)
- any kind of on/off switch w/ 2 prongs (i used a pull chain designed for ceiling fans, has wires instead of prongs)
- 9v connector
- single AA battery holder (optional)
- extra wire (i got 18 guage)
- zip ties (standard & small sizes)
- shrink tubing
- soldering iron
- wire cutters/stripper
Step 1: Remove lens & visor. Place where you want the fans to go. Now figure out where the switch will be going. Finally, find a good spot for the 9v connector (you'll only need one since a single 9v powers two 5v fans pretty well, i discovered). The optional AA battery holder is in case you want to surpass that 10v the fans add up to (one 9v + one AA = 10.5v) - just make sure the AA holder & 9v connector are connected in a series, not parallel (drew a simple illustration that might clear things up).
Step 2: Figure out how much extra wire, if any, you need to solder onto all connections. I only needed to add some to the fan wires so both fans were connected properly without bunching wires or changing the fans' positions.
Step 3: Time to solder! Now nothing should be attached to the mask at this point. You can complete the entire fan circuit without the mask. Tip: slide on appropriate length of shrink tubing onto wires before connecting them; fray the wire strands, mesh them together & twist before soldering; once solder cools, slide shrink tubing over exposed area then heat to shrink the tubing.
When you're done, you should have a halo of wire that goes, fan, fan, switch, battery connector (and second battery connector if you chose that route) then back to first fan.
Step 4: Attach circuit to Profiler. Line up fan on mask above lens area then run a tiny zip tie through one of the fan's corner holes. Repeat for other fan. I only needed one zip tie on each fan to keep them in place. Next, attach switch & battery connector(s) where you wanted them to be (zip ties are good for that). The rest of the wires can be left loose since they SHOULD neatly follow the path of the goggle strap.
Well I'm very unhappy with the lack of posting around fans in this the "mask forum" So I built my own!
Things have been alittle slow at work so I brought in my flex ize, changed the lens and set out to put some kindda fan system into the bad boy, Now I'm not about to claim to be a master electrician and I can't go into a alot of theroy so if you need help with the common sense stuff don't try and do this yourself!(don't cut, or solder anything until you've got it all layed out as to where it's goin go, and stay) .
First I went to the electrical shop (you guys will have to go to Radio Shack) and got
two 1.18 " NMB 12volt dc fans,
a very small toggle switch,
three 9 volt battery's and three 9 volt battery connectors,
and 4 small bolts, nuts, and 8 washers (these have gotta fit the pre-drilled holes in the corners of the little fans)
and a couple feet of 18 gauge wire.
With your visor removed, you can (plug in your soldering irons so it's good and hot, cause you'll need it by the time your done drillin) drill out the pre-stamped hole guide of the (over your left eye) flex mask.
now place the two small fans (face label down) in between were the visiors center stem plugs back into the mask (they should butt up to the back plate that your forehead touches and form a small V shape) with any luck the holes will line up with the vent holes already in the top part of the mask for you to hold the fans in place with the nuts, bolts and washers.
Ok touch the soldering iron if this happens after you do it's ready! Cut any excess wire and connect the two fans together in series (the red off off fan # 1, to the black off of fan # 2) this will change the voltage to 24v, you should solder these connections and wrap'em with some tape too. Solder the black wire (coming off fan # 1) to one of the toggle switch terminals, solder another small piece of wire(about 8") on the other terminal of the toggle switch, put the visor back in place and tuck and hide the wires where ever you want'em.
So know you should have one red wire (coming off from the fan # 2) and the 8 inch piece coming from the toggle switch, , so that the negative terminal is on the left and the positive is on the right of battery # 1, place the other two batteries in this same alignment and tape the three 9 volt batteries together side to side, take one of the 9 volt battery connector and hook it to the positive terminal of battery # 1 and the negative of battery # 2, take another of the 9 volt battery connector and hook it to the positive terminal of battery # 2 and the negative of battery # 3. The three batteries are now also in series with a output value of approx 27v,
Now here's where I got creative! Carefully cut the third 9 volt battery connector in half and solder the negative clip to the 8 inch piece of wire coming from the toggle switch. Solder the red wire coming off fan # 2 to the positive clip, Now find a old eye glasses (pocket protector style) case, and cut it down (don't cut off the part that clips onto your belt or pocket) slip it in on the left side right between the strap on the goggles and the mask itself, use the belt clip on the case and slip that over the top of the mask (the goggle strap will hold it tight to the mask while the clip will keep it from slippin right thru),
Hook up the battery clips to the battery and slip the battery into the glasses case! Put the mask on and run around the block 4 or 5 times until you're really sweating and huffin' Now flip the switch! Try it! I think you'll like it!
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So, I'm starting the final game of the day...it's really hot and humid. My mask starts to fog up...I suddenly remember, "I forgot to turn my fan on!" I switch it on...but it's too late. I spend the entire game crouched behind a barrel hoping that if I stay still, maybe it will unfog. No luck. I wander back to the starting location, hoping that maybe if I can get in the shade it'll clear up...but it doesn't...it's just darker fog. I hear markers firing...I take several steps...and get lit up. I fall to the ground...trying to find my barrel condom. I continue to get hit and finally the ref yells, "Okay! He's been hit already! Let him out!"
It was at that moment that I realized something must be done to stop the fogging. I tried anti-fog spray...I tried wax...I tried soap and water...I tried Rain-X...and I tried a fan (JT Vortex II). Finally, I went out an bought a thermal lens. And even though I'm confident that a thermal lens WILL solve the problem...I began thinking of other ways to deal with foggin in addition to the thermal lens. Not to mention, I still had to deal with my glasses!
Now, lets look at some options I've tried:
Anti-Fog (various kinds)- This category includes everything I've tried to put on my glasses and lenses to keep them from fogging. It works, but only in less extreme circumstances. It'll last a few games, but once you get sweat on it or need to clean your lens...you have to reapply it.
Vortex II fan- Fits nice on top of my mask, better on the Pro-Flex than the X-fire. Delivers I nice little stream of air. BUT...it's as noisy as Helck and just isn't sufficient to stop fogging, especially in the very harsh conditions.
So, after reading a post somewhere about a guy that put his own fan on a mask, I saw a small PC fan at Microcenter and got the idea to give a custom modded mask fan a try.
This will be several posts in a row where I'll address how I went about making the mask fan, the problems I encountered along the way, and the ultimate result. I'll try to add definitions when I use words everyone might not be (but probably are) aware of.
Once you get the parts, decide where on your mask the parts are going to go. You're going to want the air to go into the top of your goggles, but exact placement of the fans, batteries, and the switch will depend on your specific mask.
My mask is the JT Elite X-Fire mask. It's a relatively cheap mask available at most paintball shops and department stores. The nice thing about this mask is that it has a forehead guard which will allow me to secure items to it. I took my Vortex II fan off and got the visor off my JT Pro Flex. I decide to use the visor not only so I could protect some of the parts (i.e. parts under the visor) but also to give me more options regarding where and how I can attach the items. Here is the mask before modification:
Two additional things to strongly consider during the planning stage:
A) DO NOT do anything to your mask that will make it less safe. do not cut into the mask or goggles if it will leave you open to paintballs hitting your face or eyes.
B) These fans are meant for computers...not to get shot by paintballs. Put the fans in a place where they are unlikely to get hit by a paintball.
For my mask, the main problem was the switch. It was too big to fit between the forehead guard and the visor. I thought about mounting it on the top of the visor, but that would put the terminals in my line of sight and I'd have to run the wire under the visor.
Definition: "terminals"- the terminals are the metal things coming out of the back/bottom of the switch, where you will connect the wires.
So, as you can see in the picture,
I placed the switch upside down with the terminals coming out of the top of the visor. I used a drill and a pocket knife to cut out the hole. I tried using a sanding bit on the drill to widen the hole, but it wasn't working well...so I used a dremmel with a sanding bit and it worked like a charm. The important thing was not to make the hole too wide as this particular switch doesn't bolt on, it snaps in place. I also took this opportunity to mark the holes I would
need to drill for the bolts used to attach the fans to the visor.
The first problem I ran into was that the bolts that came with the PC fans were not long enough so I had to go buy some longer ones from the hardware store ($2/package).
While I was waiting, I decide to do all of the wiring. The wiring is very simple. Don't let it intimidate you. The main thing to think of is, it's a loop. If you connect the battery connector to the fan...you put the black wire from the connector to the black wire on the fan...then the same with the red wire...BOOM...it starts spinning! Now, in my case, there's a switch which is nothing more than a way of connecting and disconnecting the loop. The loop still applies, except the red from the connector will co to the switch, then the red from the fan will go to the switch...and the black wires will connect to each other per normal. Don't get all crazy about the colors of the wires...it really doesn't matter which color does what as long as you're consistent.
In my case, I had two fans with two battery connectors both going to one switch...so I had a little additional wiring to do...which pretty much just involved a 3rd wire going to the terminals. I can explain it in more detail if you want, but it's very easy, you'll figure it out.
Some things that come in handy are connectors and heat shrink wire wrap. The connectors slide right over the terminal. The wire wrap goes around the bare wire and you can use a lighter to cause it to shrink tight.
In retrospect, maybe I should have waited until I had the visor on the mask before doing the electrical connections, it could have allowed me to use less wire. I did need three pieces of wire, two used as "3rd wires" (See above) and one used because the battery connector on the far side (away from the switch) doesn't have a wire long enough to reach the switch, so I had to make it longer.
I accidentally cut the ground wire on one of the fans. You don't really need the ground wires, but the switch has a ground terminal, so I should have just connected it. I connected the ground from the second fan.
Now is the time to connect the visor to the mask. Everything fit great. The batteries were a little snug however. I cleaned up the wires by first taping some together, then using a couple twist-ties to connect the wires to the forehead guard.
I attached the batteries to the forehead guard using cable ties. I may have to tape them as well in the future, but for now they seem to be held in place just fine.
I soldered the wires to the connectors and slid the connectors on the terminals. This is an optional step, just to make sure the wires don't come loose from the connectors. The connectors make it alot easier because if I need to do any maintenenace, I can slip the connectors off the switch terminals and not have to worry about disconnecting and re-connecting the wires. I the wrapped the connectors and terminal with black electrical tape.
As you can see, I concealed the wires using a camo headwrap. I cut a slit in the top in order to provide access to the wires. I tied the slit shut using some spare strands of burlap from a guille kit. I then tried to paint the nuts on top olive green, but it didn't really stick. Hopefully they will be too small to really be seen anyways.
Sorry about the picture being crappy, it was hard to find an angle where you could see how the camo actually conceals the wires. As soon as you shine the light directly at the mask, it goes with through the material and the material looks transparent. Just take my word for it, it would be difficult to see the red and yellow wires from 15 feet away for sure...and if you're any closer than that, I already shot you!!
I'll try to get a better pic of it "in action" when I play this weekend.
Let me get some of the questions I've seen here taken care of:
1) Why do you need to do this? Can't you just use no fog spray or a fan or a thermal lens?
Like I said, a thermal lens will work...but not on your glasses nor will it ventilate the goggle area for those of us that tend to really sweat alot. A pre-made fan will work, but provides only a small stream of air and they tend to be very noisy. No-Fog spray does not work. It'll work for a few games if you're lucky, then you need to reapply it. Maybe some spray is better than other spray, but I've tried different kinds and they all are essentially the same. In addition, they distort your vision by creating a "film" on your lenses and glasses. That film is necessary for the spray to work, so if you wipe it all away, they fog up...either way you have trouble seeing.
2) Isn't this waaaay more expensive than just buying a mask fan?
Depends. If you have the tools and some basic parts laying around, it's actually cheaper...but not by much. I bought a Vortex fan for $25 + shipping off Ebay. The parts to make the custom modification ran $23 + misc. stuff. I would say as long as you don't have to buy a major tool like a drill or dremmel, you probably will spend more on a pre-made fan.
3) I've heard mask fans are noisy. Is this modifcation going to give away my position on the field or make it so I can't hear my teammates?
No. These fans are so quiet that when I first turned them on I thought I had wired it wrong because they made virtually no noise. Pre-made mask fans are VERY noisy...but I've wore one and it won't give away your position or keep you from hearing your teammates. It'll probably just give you headache or annoy you. But these PC fans are much. much, more quiet.
4) How much mechanical ability does it take to do this?
Not much. I'm not very mechanically gifted, and I could have done this project in about 4 hours if I had all the stuff I needed right from the beginning. If you can use a screwdriver and a drill, you can do this mod.
Well, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. It didn't seem to direct as much air flow into the goggles as I thought it would. It was quiet and didn't feel very heavy on my head, but I just didn't feel the air flow like I thought I would.
After reviewing the situation, I decide to switch one of the fans around so both would be directed down at the goggles. I had originally set it up so that one fan was directed downward and one upward. That helped a little, but not much.
After again reviwing the situtation, I tried to move the fans from the visor to the top of the goggles so the fans would sit flush on the goggles. This sort of helped, but not much. And it really exposed the fans to a paintball hit so I moved them back onto the visor.
The only thing I can think of that would cause better flow would be to create vents or "ducts". See, the reason the air isn't getting into the goggles is it's blowing all around above the goggles. The holes on top of the goggles are so small that the air is finding easier pathways. A pre-made fan like the Vortex sits flush with the goggles so the air has nowhere else to go but into the goggles.
My next attempt will be to try and fit something next to the fans to see if it will help direct the air flow. Since I'm not sure when I'll get around to that, I'll post that as a follow-up later in the thread. I'm going to try and use a foam material that should also serve as a cushion for the fans in case of paintball hits under the visor.
With the fans situated like that, the air tends to blow around and not down into the goggles where it would be most useful. So I got the idea to add "divertors" which would direct the airflow. I used some foam material that would be easy to mold.
I wrapped the foam in tape and spray painted it (didn't want little yellow targets poking out). Finding just the right size took alot of trial and error. One problem I noticed was that as I inserted the divertors, they wanted to slide under the mask. So thought of adding twist ties from up under the goggles that could hold the divertors in place.
This didn't work so well. It was very hard to fix the divertors in place and even harder to manipulate the twist tie. Here's what the divertors look like once in place:
Preliminary results show slightly better airflow...but I am concerned that the divertors will pop out in a game situation...we'll give the mask a test this weekend.
Ok I have the dye turbine, big waste of money I think, it does work some yes but the price was disgusting. So! This looks very interesting, how do you folks have it set up one fan intake another exhaust? Both blow out??? Let me know how you worked it out!
I too was very unhappy with the way my goggles would fog up after 2 minutes into every game. It's tough being a sweaty Columbian! I have used everything from thermal lenses to Rain-X antifog. I recently picked up a Vortex II fan for my JT ELite head shield, roughly $37 bucks. Piece of ****! So I decided to do some searching and ran across this topic. Very interesting and very helpful. With "nerdcore's" electrical schematic, I went to work.
I was very lucky in having a store load of PC parts laying around. I disassembled a HDD (hard drive) fan cooler which already had two fairly small fans. What was unique about these fans is that it pushed air in and to the sides of the fan, not in and then out as most fans.
The air from the fans are actually pushing forward into the goggles and backwards to the rear of the mask. Everything is hooked up to a black switch at the rear of the head shield.
The only thing I am currently working on is preventing the fan blades from rubbing against the cheeks, face cheeks, not *** cheeks! It usually does not present itself as an issue until you shake your head left and right quickly. For the most part, I tend to use the fans only when my goggles have completely fogged and I need a quick fix. Stay covered, prop gun, flip the switch, chill for about 1 minute, flip the switch off, stand up and start firing on my brother-in-law!
I also have modified goggles for my JT. I am currently using M1944 military issued goggles which makes it easier to pull up the goggles instead of having to take off the entire head shield.
Last edited by Johnny 5mm : 07-24-2006 at 07:13 PM.
Hey, nice topic guys.
But why not put the fan into the mouth area of the mask?
I've got the same mask as Johnny 5mm does and i'm planning to attach the fan inside the frontal pannel where most of the ventilation holes are. It will be just in front of my mouth. I'll also attach some protection between my lips and the fan, some kind of grate, so my nose and mouth will aslo be protected. Attaching the fan just in front of the mouth will blow out of the mask all the hot air that i breathe out.
And i'd like to ask you how long does the 9v battery last with a single 12v fan.