Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
VFlyer

Military Surplus Helmets w/ CEP?

Recommended Posts

Just curious if anyone has experience or input on buying a military surplus helicopter helmet and outfitting it with the CEP headset.

 

Didn't get to actually try any on, but the guy said they normally get them weekly and normally price around $50. Says they are all 1982 and newer.

 

So for maybe $300 or so with the CEP, a nice helmet/headset combo? I'm guessing they are probably pretty uncomfortable and heavy, but perhaps its worth the money saved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They should be standard Gentex SPH5s. I got mine, with CEP installed, off ebay for ~$240, shipped. It did require bidding on a lot of auctions to get it, though. I'm not really concerned about the safety aspect, I just wanted to get a helmet, because I'm required to wear one, and I'm not thrilled about wearing one in use by multiple people. Installing the CEP kit is easy enough if you have common mechanical and soldering skills, and I highly recommend them.

 

The military helmets will almost certainly have low-impedance electronics, and you will need a new microphone for one. The low-impedance (8 ohm) microphone won't work with most civilian avionics, but the speakers will be fine with CEP. I had some civilian mikes available from old headsets, so that wasn't an issue for me. I also changed the speakers to high-impedance models, and found that the volume was unbearably high, and changed back to the older military speakers. With that setup, I normally run the volume at less than a quarter, and at half volume I can't stand it, even with my aging ears.

 

So plan on changing the microphone as well as adding CEP. They aren't that expensive, and you will have to do it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They should be standard Gentex SPH5s. I got mine, with CEP installed, off ebay for ~$240, shipped. It did require bidding on a lot of auctions to get it, though. I'm not really concerned about the safety aspect, I just wanted to get a helmet, because I'm required to wear one, and I'm not thrilled about wearing one in use by multiple people. Installing the CEP kit is easy enough if you have common mechanical and soldering skills, and I highly recommend them.

 

The military helmets will almost certainly have low-impedance electronics, and you will need a new microphone for one. The low-impedance (8 ohm) microphone won't work with most civilian avionics, but the speakers will be fine with CEP. I had some civilian mikes available from old headsets, so that wasn't an issue for me. I also changed the speakers to high-impedance models, and found that the volume was unbearably high, and changed back to the older military speakers. With that setup, I normally run the volume at less than a quarter, and at half volume I can't stand it, even with my aging ears.

 

So plan on changing the microphone as well as adding CEP. They aren't that expensive, and you will have to do it.

 

Thanks for the info! I did a quick search on ebay and all of the SPH5's are $500+. In all honesty I haven't done much research into helmets and the compatibility of everything, this just popped in my head while I was driving by one of the surplus stores (Army to be exact).

 

How do I determine if its a SPH5, just based off the year? Any thoughts on the extreme price disparity?

 

I remember reading your recommendations about CEP in a few older threads, which actually got me interested in them. I can't say that my soldering skills are all that great, or even my wiring skills in general, but perhaps they could do it for the right price?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are looking for a helmet to save your life in a crash, please stay away from something found in a surplus store. There are good used helmets out there that you can pick up and have refurbished and tested for a reasonable price. To expect something out of an Army/Navy store to protect you in an accident is asking for trouble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surplus stores that I have ever seen have less than reasonable prices, especially compared to the exchange or clothing store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anything from the mid-eighties or later should be SPH5. The SPH4 had a web suspension, which truly sucked. Very, very uncomfortable. If it has the newer TPL instead, it should be an SPH5. I wouldn't really worry about the model as much as the suspension.

 

If you don't know how to install CEP, you should be able to get it done at any avionics shop. I have no idea of the cost for that, but it shouldn't be prohibitive. The online helmet stores will also do it, but it's likely to be more expensive.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Thanks for the info! I did a quick search on ebay and all of the SPH5's are $500+. In all honesty I haven't done much research into helmets and the compatibility of everything, this just popped in my head while I was driving by one of the surplus stores (Army to be exact).

 

How do I determine if its a SPH5, just based off the year? Any thoughts on the extreme price disparity?

 

I remember reading your recommendations about CEP in a few older threads, which actually got me interested in them. I can't say that my soldering skills are all that great, or even my wiring skills in general, but perhaps they could do it for the right price?

 

Also, the company that sells CEP will install it. At least for my David-Clark headset, they offered to do it for free, if I shipping both ways. I can't speak for a helmet, but when you call to order, ask them if they'll do it. If they won't, any electronics repair shop should be able to do it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I started learning to fly (strangely enough, my instructor is the previous poster! Hi Kenny! lol) I didn't like the DC headsets, so I wanted a helmet, but didn't want to pay the major price like the ones you see on Ebay, so I bought one of the SPH5 helmets that was ex army in OD green. I was able to gut the helmet and buy all new parts for under $400. I also had it sprayed by a buddy that owns a panel shop so it came up like a brand new one. If you're concerned on price, that's the way to go. There are a couple of parts stores that have really great prices to construct all the parts you want including CEP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are looking for a helmet to save your life in a crash, please stay away from something found in a surplus store. There are good used helmets out there that you can pick up and have refurbished and tested for a reasonable price. To expect something out of an Army/Navy store to protect you in an accident is asking for trouble.

 

I am curious as to why you say this. I would think the exact opposite as they would be designed for an application and environment where crashes are more likely and head protection to be more necessary.

 

It seems like they would be the real deal vs a knockoff, but perhaps Army "Surplus" is misleading me. I would think they have one too many of something, but that it still meets all the necessary requirements for someone on active duty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going to an Army "Surplus" store is not what it used to be, not saying that referencing helmets specifically. But the surplus store of yesteryear was filled with stuff direct from use in the field etc. Now you go into one and it's filled with chinese knock offs of everything from BDU's to knives. It would not be a place I would want to hope to find a helmet mate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I checked back again today and they didn't have any in stock. I asked the guy about the model and he said they were SPH4's, but last time said they were 1982 and newer. Kind of feeling like I'm chasing a wild goose. Oh well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...