…and shout ‘inflate you stupid bugger’
I got to play with one of those inflatable live vest.
The sort that you would stick over your head in an airplane emergency
- it was an out-of-date one that was lying around.
And it was quite interesting.
Automatic inflation comes from small screw-in CO2 bottles, and the most robust thing about the jacket is the valve block that directs gas from the bottle into the bladder – see picture
Tugging the toggle pulls a lever in the block that pushes a needle into the bottle, then retracts it to let the gas flow.
Whereas the rest of the jacket is simple stuff, the valve block looks like it has received a lot of development.
There is dual redundancy – with two of everything inflating two flotation bladders – in effect two complete identical life jackets sewn back to back.
This cause a bit of confusion in our simulated emergency (OK, while standing in the shed), as you can put your head through in either direction but there nothing on it to indicate this.
So almost a minute was wasted trying to read the tiny writing on both sides to see which way around was ‘right’, when either would do.
Once the buckles were clipped in place, the pull-the-toggle bit was most satisfying and the vest inflated in a fraction of a second.
Attached was an equally-satisfying whistle, and a sadly well-out-of-date water-powered light.
Not only was the battery out-of-date, but the life-extending sealing plugs (shown re-installed at the top) had fallen out at some point in the jacket’s storage history – there is only a tiny bit of friction to keep them in.
Supposed to work in both fresh and sea water, the cuprous iodide/magnesium battery needed salt to deliver enough to make the filament glow.
There is something about a similar battery in this article, section 17.6.1
The beam is a horizontal ring plus a thin vertical column.
I thought that it would have an led, although this would have meant an inverter for white devices as the cell voltage seems too low.
Looks like ACR’s more modern lights do have leds, and have a more conventional lithium battery that does not need water for power.
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