I finally decided to fork out for a SRC Bluetooth collar for my Schuberth crash helmet.
It's a brilliant bit of kit. Connects to my mobile phone easily. Will talk to a GPS or PMR radio. Has a built in FM radio (not great quality, but it works) and you can listen to your MP3s whilst you ride.
The big downside that I've found so far is that the charging socket is REALLY rubbish. I think they must have used a cheap connector or it's a slightly different standard to your usual Micro USB connector. I find it really difficult to connect the charger and not all standard Micro USB plugs will fit (thanks to the silly cowling)
My solution to this was to get hold of a PowerMat charging system. They're usually quite expensive and are used for charging small devices like your mobile phone or hand held gaming system.
I found them for sale on Amazon for about £5!... So I immediately ordered one and also a "PowerCube" (bit of an inaccurate name as it isn't a cube... but I guess 'PowerSquare' sounds a bit naff). Total cost for the Mat and Cube was £9.43 (That's about $15 USD)
So.... Bits needed:
The device you want to make wireless (in this case, a Schuberth C3 Helmet with SRC Bluetooth)
A Micro USB cable.
Heat Shrink tube (at least 40mm or 1.5in wide)
A needle and thread.
My apologies for the blurriness of some of these pics. Especially the finished product pics. Really need to get a better camera.
This pretty much goes without saying, but I take absolutely no responsibility for anything that goes wrong when recreating this project (including but not limited to : Frying USB devices due to wrong polarity. Alien Abduction. Soldering Iron burns. Piers Morgan. Any damage to your helmet)
This Instructable is not endorsed by Schuberth helmets in any way and is completely unofficial.
Step 1: Rip Apart That PowerCube
Carefully prise apart the PowerSquare... err... I mean PowerCube.
You should find inside a circuit board held in place with glue.
Try and cut away some of the glue from the edges and very carefully prise out the circuit. Don't allow it to flex too much when doing this.
You can throw away the casing... you don't need it now.
Step 2: Kill a USB Cable and Attach It to the Circuit.
First of all, de-solder the red and black wires from the circuit (Make a note which connection they go to!)
Now take a Micro USB cable and cut it about 15cm (that's 6" to you Americans) from the plug.
Strip the cable back about 20mm (an inch) and cut off all wires except the red and black.
Solder the red and black wires to the PowerCube circuit board (into the same connectors as the ones you de-soldered earlier)
You can test it at this stage if you want.
One thing to note about the image here is that the circuit is on the top and the coil is on the bottom. You need to make sure in the next steps that you know which side the coil is on!
Step 3: Package It Up.
Take a piece of wire and make it into a loop (see the picture) Have it laid over the circuit so that it protrudes slightly each side.
Now take some heat shrink and cocoon that sucker!
Step 4: Attach Things to Your Helmet
Using a needle and thread, carefully sew the assembly onto the helmet at the back of the neck. Use the looped wire from the previous stage as an anchor point (the yellow wire in my photos)
MAKE SURE YOU ATTACH IT COIL SIDE DOWN - That is, coil side so that it'll be in contact with the PowerMat.
Be sure to only sew it loosely, this is important as you want the circuit to be able to 'float' slightly so that it's pulled into the right place by the magnet on the PowerMat. If you sew it too rigidly, then you'll need to be extremely precise when placing the helmet on the mat.
Have a look at how the helmet goes together at the back. There are various folds and pockets in the fabric of the collar. I was able to plug the USB cable into the charging socket and hide a lot of the cable inside the folds of the SRC collar. The connectors themselves were pushed up inside at the very back of the neck.
Step 5: Try Things Out.
As you can see from the picture, the helmet sits on the PowerMat and the magnets inside pull the charger into the right place. It required surprisingly little messing around to get it working.
The rather dark image with the red lights shows the helmet actually charging.
Step 6: Afterthoughts.
This could really be done to just about anything that needs regular charging.
Mobile phones are the obvious one and what the PowerMat was designed for. However there are surprisingly few 'fitted' charging panels for phones (certainly not for my phone)
Anything else that requires 5v of power or will run of a USB supply.
I also considered wiring the charger directly into the SRC. I decided against this for two reasons - firstly, it would definitely invalidate the warranty and secondly, there is no way in without cutting into the fabric (There is a zipper around the circumference, but it's been sealed and is not openable)
This way, the charger is simply connected to the normal charging port.
I was initially worried about having this small disc down near the base of my neck... but after wearing the thing, I was unable to pull the lid around in any way that got the disc anywhere near my neck... So all good and I feel quite safe.
Here is a video demonstration. You can even hear the little connection noise that the PowerMat makes on use.