Some time back I needed a hard hat for work. Being that I'm in the Sunshine State, I figured something full brim was the better option, although these are rare beasts here in Brisbane.
It later gained some velcro dots for mounting a headlight and battery. In that regard, it replaced my old "hat lamp" that I built some 8 years before (when 1W LED modules were considered "bright").
Fast forward a few years, we had bought one of these cheap hard cap/earmuff/visor combos from Bunnings for a brush cutter, and after about 9 months, the harness on it crapped out. So I went looking around to see if I could retrofit this old one from work with the necessary bits.
Turns out the hats are rare but becoming more common, the accessories are next to impossible to source. There are plenty for the cap-style, but not full brim ones like this one and they generally don't co-operate with the detachable brims that are also common. The 40mm brim isn't much, but it sure beats nothing and goes all the way around!
The linked earmuffs work with the TA-440 hat I have, they're designed to work on MSA's range which you can buy here. The visor (made by ERB) and the earmuffs were sourced from Amazon.
Looking at the earmuffs this afternoon, it dawned on me that the ear cups could accommodate headphones very easily. I just had to feed the wires in through the back of the cup. I do emergency communications work for Brisbane Area WICEN, and they do the International Rally of Queensland annually. I just pop the visor off, rip the headlight off my bike helmet, slap it on the hard hat and I'm ready to go.
With the headlight mounting points and speakers in the earmuffs, I'd have the perfect tool for hearing the radio traffic near the noisy cars, seeing my way in the early hours of the morning and avoiding my neck getting burned to a crisp in the middle of the day.
I have chosen to use RCA connectors in spite of the relatively low insertion force for two reasons:
- They're a fairly hardy connector with little that can go wrong with them.
- The connectors are widely available both as bare plugs and pre-made assemblies.
A microphone is the only other useful bit, but at least now I can listen to music whilst mowing the lawn. I'm thinking this will be a detachable affair, and I'll make a wiring harness up to suit my radio equipment.
When not being used, the cable can be detached from the earmuffs, there's nothing dangling to get snagged or cause nuisance. When in use, one can run the cable in from the back so that tugging on the cable does not pull the plugs out.