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North Compact Air™ PAPR
North Primair™ Series Head Covers
North Primair FM™ Series Head Covers
Fibre-Metal® Welding Helmets & Faceshields for PAPR
North Compact Air Cartridges & Filters, Service Life & Shelf Life
North Compact Air Battery
Decontamination
General Questions about Powered Air-Purifying Respirators
OSHA & CSA Regulations Pertaining to PAPRs
NIOSH Approval Information
Troubleshooting North Compact Air PAPR

North Compact Air™ Powered Air-Purifying Respirators

North has compiled some general questions you may have about PAPR, replacement parts, and what makes it different from APR. If your question is not answered here, feel free to contact us anytime at 1-800-430-4110. To download this page in a Word document, click here. For Spanish version, go here. For the French version, download here.


 


 

PAPR on worker

North Compact Air™ PAPR

Q: What is a PAPR?
A: PAPR are initials for Powered Air-Purifying Respirator. It is, as its name indicates, an air-purifying respirator that has a battery powered blower.

Q: How does a PAPR work?
A: A powered air-purifying respirator uses a blower powered by a battery to pull ambient air through cartridges, filters or a canister. A constant flow of clean air is delivered to the facepiece or hood. The blower can be belt mounted or facepiece mounted. The battery is always mounted on the belt. When the blower is mounted on the belt it can be separate from the battery, or they can be integrated into a single case. The battery may be rechargeable or non-rechargeable, supplying power for 4 to 8 hours depending on the model.

Q: How comfortable and lightweight is the Compact Air PAPR?
A: You will find this unit very comfortable and lightweight, especially when compared to similar style PAPRs.

  • The North Compact Air PAPR features a comfort back pad to distribute weight evenly.
  • The complete unit as it would be worn is only 4 to 6 lbs depending on the filters or cartridges used and backpad configuration.

Q: Can I adjust the flow of the Compact Air PAPR?
A: No, North has preset these units so they deliver more than the OSHA minimum as a safety factor. The exact CFM delivered will vary depending on the cartridges and filter combination that is used and how quickly they load with contaminants.

  • OSHA minimum for tight fitting facepieces is 4 CFM
  • OSHA minimum for loose fitting hoods is 6 CFM

Q: Is an adapter needed to convert my North air-purifying facepiece to a PAPR?
A: No. The unique ‘Y’ breathing tube screws directly onto the facepiece cartridge connectors. No adapter or tools are needed.

Q: What North facepieces can be used with the North Compact Air PAPR?
A: The 5500 & 7700 Series half masks, and the 5400 & 7600 Series full facepieces can be converted to a PAPR. This includes the 5400 & 7600 facepieces with welding adapter. View North Facepieces.

Q: What hoods and head covers can be used with the North Compact Air PAPR?
A: Primair loose fitting head covers, Primair Plus and Primair FM hoods are available today. View Primair Series.

Q: Is a breathing tube included with the Compact Air Blower/Battery Assembly?
A: Yes. Either a straight tube for use with the North Primair Series or a ‘Y’ breathing tube for use with North facepieces is included with the complete assembly.

Q: Is a charger included with the Compact Air Blower/Battery Assembly?
A: Yes. A single unit charger with trickle charge is included with complete assembly.

Q: Is a facepiece or hood included with the Compact Air Blower/Battery Assembly?
A: No. The Compact Air PAPR can be used with North half masks, full facepieces and several styles of loose fitting head covers. Additionally, tight and loose fitting facepieces are available in several sizes. This allows users to find the right facepiece or head cover for the job, and to give workers the best fit possible. View North Facepieces and Primair Series.

Q: What type of battery is used with the North Compact Air PAPR?
A: Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). Refer to this FAQ’s section on Batteries for more information. View replacement parts.

Q: Are cartridges or filters included with the Compact Air Blower/Battery Assembly?
A: No. North offers an array of HEPA filter, chemical cartridge and cartridge/filter combinations so you can select the right protection for your job site.
Refer to this FAQ’s section on Filters & Cartridges for more information.

Q: How many hours of use can I get from the North Compact Air?
A: Service life is dependent on environmental conditions. However, a minimum of 8 hours is typical if the battery is fully charged when you first start to use the unit. The exact time of service may vary.

Q: Do I need to charge my battery before using the Compact Air PAPR for the first time?
A: No. The North Compact Air is shipped with the battery preconditioned and fully charged. However, if the battery has been sitting on the shelf at the distributor or your work site for more than 30 days it will need to be charged as there could be a loss of power even though it is not being used or plugged in.

Q: How quickly can I recharge my battery?
A: The Compact Air uses a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery which can be recharged in 4 to 6 hours, depending on several factors including how much service life was left in the battery.

Q: Can I leave my battery on the charger overnight or over the weekend?
A: Yes. The North Compact Air battery features a thermister or "trickle" charge feature which allows you to leave the battery on the charger for extended periods.

Q: How many times can I recharge the North Compact Air PAPR battery?
A: At least 200 times. Exact number of charges may vary depending on environmental factors including excessive exposure to heat or cold. Permanent damage will result if the battery is exposed to temperatures above 110 degrees F or 43 degrees C.

If the battery sits more than 30 days it will need to be charged as there will be a loss of power even though it is not being used or plugged in.

Q: Can I wear North's Compact Air PAPR in a "decon" shower?
A: Yes. North offers a "decon" version for PAPRs for use with tight fitting facepieces and for loose fitting head covers. Add the suffix 'D' to either unit for the "decon" version.
CA101D: Compact Air with "decon" PVC backpad and belt, for loose fitting head covers
CA102D: Compact Air with "decon" PVC backpad and belt, for North facepieces

Compact Air with PVC belt and backpad.

Q: Can I wear my North Compact Air PAPR while going through a "decon" shower if I use High Efficiency Air-Purifying (HEPA) filters?
A: Yes. Compact Air’s HEPA filters are hydrophobic - that is they repel water, so the filters can be subjected to the spray of a "decon" shower.

HEPA filters 40HE were tested after exposure to moisture and passed DOP* penetration, indicating that the filters are indeed hydrophobic, thus allowing filters to be reused as long as they have not reached the end of their service life. Because the carbon of combination cartridges would be affected by exposure to water, it is recommended that these cartridge filter combinations be discarded after having been exposed to spray from a "decon" shower.

*DOP: Dioctylphthalate. The challenge oil aerosol used to test filters. DOP is used because it is the most degrading substance known to NIOSH.

Q: Can I wear my North Compact Air PAPR while going through a “decon” shower if I use chemical cartridges alone?
A: No. The chemical cartridges are not water resistant. But, you can go through a "decon" shower safely if you use a chemical cartridge HEPA filter combination since the Compact Air HEPA filter is hydrophobic. You must always discard your cartridge/filter combinations after they have been exposed to excessive moisture.


CA102 standard backpad & belt shown with 4003HE OV/HEPA cartridge and filters.

Worker with Compact Air PAPR shown with 7600 Series Facepiece.
 

Q: Can I wear North’s Compact Air PAPR while welding or other operation that creates sparks?
A: Yes. But only the Compact Air with PVC belt and backpad, the "decon" version" should be used. The nylon belt may melt when exposed to sparks.
CA101D: Compact Air with PVC backpad and belt, for Primair FM Series
CA102D: Compact Air with PVC backpad and belt, for North facepieces with welding adapter

Q: What are the advantages of a PAPR over an APR (air-purifying respirator)?
A: Less worker fatigue: Because the air is pulled through the filters or cartridges by a blower, rather than the inhaled breath of the worker, the worker does not tire as quickly.

Air is delivered to the worker: A constant flow of air is delivered to the facepiece or hood. While this air is not cooled, the effect of the air does cool the worker.

Higher protection factors: Because a PAPR has a positive pressure rather than a negative pressure inside the hood or facepiece it has a higher protection factor than the comparable APR version.

North 7600 full facepiece
 

Q: What are the advantages of a PAPR over a SAR (supplied air respirator)?
A: Less initial cost: Supplied air respirators require a pump or a compressor with filtration system, hoses and couplers that add to the initial cost of set-up.

No hoses to drag around: A powered air-purifying respirator is self contained, with the battery and blower worn by the worker. A supplied air respirator has a hoses that limit the worker’s mobility.

                                                            
North Compact Air PAPR           North 85300 Series SAR with pump,
CA101 with hood                       hoses and couplers

Q: What are the advantages of a belt mounted PAPR?
A: Better weight distribution: The blower is located on the belt rather than the facepiece, so the weight is distributed where it is easier to carry, rather than pulling on a worker's neck.

Hoods and tight fitting facepieces: Because of the weight of the blower, facepiece mounted PAPRs can not accommodate hoods or other loose fitting head covers.

Chemical cartridges and HEPA filters: Facepiece mounted PAPRs are only available with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air-purifying) filters, since the weight of a chemical cartridge mounted on the facepiece would be too great for this style of PAPR.

                                           
Photo of PAPR on worker                          North Compact Air™ PAPR


Q: Is the North Compact Air a belt mounted or facepiece mounted unit?
A: It is a belt mounted unit.

Q: How comfortable and lightweight is the Compact Air PAPR?
A: You will find this unit very comfortable and lightweight, especially when compared to similar style PAPRs.

  • The North Compact Air features a comfort back pad to distribute weight evenly.
  • The complete unit as it would be worn is only 4 to 6 lbs depending on the filters or cartridges used and backpad configuration.

Q: Can workers wear the blower battery assembly on their side?
A: Yes. The backpad is designed so the PAPR can be worn with the blower battery assembly behind the worker or on his side - ideal for workers who need to sit, such as when operating forklifts.

Q: Is an adapter needed to convert my North air-purifying facepiece to a PAPR?
A: No. The unique 'Y' breathing tube screws directly onto the facepiece cartridge connectors. No adapter or tools are needed.

Q: What North facepieces can be used with the North Compact Air PAPR?
A: The 5500 & 7700 Series half masks, and the 5400 & 7600 Series full facepieces can be converted to a PAPR. This includes the 5400 & 7600 facepieces with welding adapter. View North Facepieces.

Q: What hoods and head covers can be used with the North Compact Air PAPR?
A: Primair loose fitting head covers and Primair Plus hoods are available today. The Primair HD loose fitting head cover with faceshield availability is pending NIOSH approval. View Primair Series.

Q: Is a breathing tube included with the Compact Air Blower/Battery Assembly?
A: Yes. Either a straight tube for use with the North Primair Series or a 'Y' breathing tube for use with North facepieces is included with the complete assembly.

Q: Is a charger included with the Compact Air Blower/Battery Assembly?
A: Yes. A single unit charger with trickle charge feature is included with complete assembly.

Q: Is a facepiece or hood included with the Compact Air Blower/Battery Assembly?
A: No. Rather than limiting you to only one PAPR type, North offers a simple 1-2-3 ordering system.

  1. Cartridges &/or filters
  2. Blower/battery assembly
  3. Facepiece or head cover

This allows you to customize the North Compact Air PAPR - providing you with the right system for your job site.

The Compact Air PAPR can be used with North half masks, full facepieces and several styles of loose fitting head covers. Additionally, tight and loose fitting facepieces are available in several sizes. View North Facepieces and Primair Series.

Q: Are cartridges or filters included with the Compact Air Blower/Battery Assembly?
A: No. Rather than limiting you to only one PAPR type, North offers a simple 1-2-3 ordering system.

  1. Cartridges &/or filters
  2. Blower/battery assembly
  3. Facepiece or head cover

This allows you to customize the North Compact Air PAPR - providing you with the right system for your job site.

North offers an array of HEPA filter, chemical cartridge and cartridge/filter combinations.
Refer to this FAQ’s section on Filters & Cartridges for more information. Link to Filter/Cart. section.

Q: What type of battery is used with the North Compact Air PAPR?
A: Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). Refer to this FAQ’s section on Batteries for more information. View replacement parts.

Q: Are peel-away windows available?
A: Yes. There are 3 sheets per set, 5 sets per package

  • 7600 & 5400 Series Facepieces: North part number 80836A
  • Primair Plus Hoods: North part number PA105
  • 'Y' Breathing tube for tight fitting facepieces: North part number CA114 (10 sets of 3)
  • Straight breathing tube for Primair Series: North part number CA113 (10 each)

Q: Can I use the tight fitting blower/battery with a hood?
A: No. The tight fitting and loose fitting blower battery assemblies are NOT interchangeable. Use of the Compact Air PAPR in any configuration not listed on the NIOSH Approval Label could affect the flow of air to the facepiece or hood - providing either too much or not enough air. It would also void the NIOSH approval.

Q: What is the difference between the tight fitting (CA102) and loose fitting (CA101) versions?
A: There are two main differences.

  • The amperage of the battery
    • CA101: 9 amp battery to deliver a minimum of 6 CFM to the hood or loose fitting facepiece
    • CA102: 7 amp battery to deliver a minimum of 4 CFM to North’s tight fitting facepieces
  • The breathing tube
    • CA101: straight breathing tube to fit the Primair Series head covers
    • CA102: 'Y' breathing tube to fit North’s tight fitting facepieces

Q: How can I tell the difference between the tight fitting (CA102) and loose fitting (CA101) versions?
A: The blower and battery housings are color coded.

  • CA101: blower & battery is black with yellow trim
  • CA102: blower & battery is blue with yellow trim. The ‘Y’ connector on the breathing tube is also blue.

North Primair™ Series Head Covers

                          
North Primair PA101         North Primair Plus PA111

Q: Are there different styles of hoods and head covers?
A: Yes. The North Primair Series offers several styles to meet most workplace needs.

  • Primair are loose fitting facepieces
  • Primair Plus are hoods
  • View Primair Series.

Q: What is the Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of the Primair and Primair Plus Series?
A: The Primair loose fitting head covers have an APF of 25. The Primair Plus hoods have an APF of 1,000.
OSHA Web Site

Q: Are they available in more than one size?
A: Primair is available in three sizes: small, medium and large to provide a secure fit for most workers. Primair Plus and Primair HD are available in a universal size.

Q: What is the advantage of Saranex coating?
A: Saranex coating provides some chemical resistance. It is not chemical proof and should not be used where a full chemical suit is required.

Q: Are replacement hoods available?
A: Yes. Both Primair and Primair Plus replacement hoods are available. View Primair Series.

Q: Does the Primair FM hoods meet ANSI Z87 or CSA Z94.3-02 for eye protection?
A: No. The visor of the hood is a co-polyester material and does not provide impact protection. As with all hoods, primary safety eyewear must consist of safety glasses. If additional eye protection of a faceshield is needed, you should use the Primair FM Series headgear. View Primair Series.

Q: Why does the Primair Series include a headgear?
A: Use of a headgear helps to keep the head cover secure on a worker’s head. The integrated manifold directs air over the lens.

Q: Why is it important to direct air over the lens?
A: Air delivered to the front helps to keep workers cooler and more comfortable, plus it eliminates fogging on the inside of the lens. Air directed to the front also means that the air is not hitting the back of the head where it can be uncomfortable for the worker.

Q: Is the headgear adjustable?
A: Yes. There are three adjustment points including a ratchet system so workers can obtain a secure and comfortable fit.

Q: How do I adjust the headgear?
A: Refer to the Primair Users’ Instructions. Download.

North Primair FM™ Series Head Covers

Q: What is the difference between the Primair FM 200 and 300 Series?
A: While they my look the same from a quick glance, there are a few differences. Primarily:

  • The Primair FM 200 Series incorporates a Fibre-Metal hardhat into the headgear. The Primair FM 300 Series does not include a hardhat.
  • The 200 Series uses the Quick-Lock attachment system for welding helmets and faceshields, the 300 Series uses the Fibre-Metal 3-C style attachment system.

Q: What is the Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of the Primair FM Series?
A: Both the Primair FM 200 and 300 Series hoods have an APF of 1,000.
OSHA Web Site

Q: Are they available in more than one size?
A: No, the Primair FM Series is only available in a universal size.

Q: Are replacement hoods available?
A: Yes. Both Primair and Primair Plus replacement hoods are available. View Primair Series.

Q: Does the Primair FM hoods meet ANSI Z87 or CSA Z94.3-02 for eye protection?
A: No. The visor of the hood is a co-polyester material and does not provide impact protection. As with all hoods, primary safety eyewear must consist of safety glasses. Additional eye protection may be obtained with the use of faceshields.

Q: Why does the Primair FM Series include a headgear?
A: Use of a headgear helps to keep the head cover secure on a worker’s head. The integrated manifold directs air over the lens.

Q: Why is it important to direct air over the lens?
A: Air delivered to the front helps to keep workers cooler and more comfortable, plus it eliminates fogging on the inside of the lens. Air directed to the front also means that the air is not hitting the back of the head where it can be uncomfortable for the worker.

Q: Is the headgear adjustable?
A: Yes. There are three adjustment points on the 300 Series, including a ratchet system so workers can obtain a secure and comfortable fit. The 200 Series has a hard hat style suspension that can be adjusted to lower or raise the position of the hard hat. It also has a ratchet adjustment in back.

Q: How do I adjust the headgear?
A: Refer to the Primair FM 200 and 300 Series Users’ Instructions. View FM200 or FM300 User Instructions.

Q: What Compact Air blower and battery assembly do I need when welding or grinding?
A: The CA101D with PVC backpad and belt should be used anytime sparks may be present. Compact Air

Q: Why do I need to use a flame resistant cover for welding and grinding?
A: The inner hood material will melt when exposed to flame, so it needs to be protected whenever you are performing any operation that may create sparks.

            Primair FM200 Carbtex Hood

Q: Do I need a flame resistant cover for the breathing tube?
A: Yes, the breathing tube material may also melt when exposed to direct flame.

                 Primair FM300 Carbtex Cover

Q: What material is the flame resistant hood and breathing tube made from?
A: The North Primair FM flame resistant covers are a weave of Kevlar® and carbon based fibers that are sewn using Kevlar thread. This blend of carbon based fibers and Kevlar will not ignite, and is lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Q: Will the Primair FM flame resistant covers protect me from all flames?
A: No, they are flame resistant, not fire proof. These covers are designed for occasional sparks and spatter encountered during welding and grinding, not prolonged or intense exposure to direct flame. If exposed to intense flame, especially for more a few seconds or more, it is possible the fabric will be compromised.

Q: Will the Primair FM flame resistant covers ignite if exposed to direct flame?
A: No, as a flame resistant material it will not ignite. But prolonged exposure to direct flame may damage the material enough that the hoods underneath are exposed.

Q: Can the Primair FM flame resistant covers be laundered?
A: Yes. These covers can be laundered as frequently as desired without loosing their FR properties. Refer to the Users’ Instructions for complete laundering information.
View FM200 or FM300 User Instructions.

Fibre-Metal® Welding Helmets & Faceshields for PAPR



Q: Can I use any model of Fibre-Metal welding helmets or faceshields on the Primair FM Series?
A: No, the welding helmets are part of the NIOSH approval, and only those specific models listed on the NIOSH label may be used. The list of approved helmets is long, and includes all shades and variants of welding filters. Refer to “How to Order” for a complete listing.

Q: Can I use another manufacturer’s brand of welding helmet or faceshield?
A: No. Use of any brand other than the approved North and Fibre-Metal accessories voids NIOSH approval and may result in serious injury or death.

Q: The windows on many brands of faceshields have universal slots, so it is possible to use other brands on the Primair FM Series. Why can’t I use another manufacturer’s window if it fits?
A: NIOSH approves respirators are complete operating assemblies, including all accessories. The windows are considered part of the complete assembly and are listed on the NIOSH approval label. Refer to “How to Order” for a complete list of all Fibre-Metal windows approved with the PAPR.

Q: Does the Primair FM hoods meet ANSI Z87 or CSA Z94.3-02 for eye protection?
A: No. The visor of the hood is a co-polyester material and does not provide impact protection. As with all hoods, primary safety eyewear must consist of safety glasses. Additional eye protection may be obtained with the use of faceshields.

Q: Do faceshields provide eye protection from impact?
A: No. OSHA and CSA do not consider faceshields as part of the primary eye protection, and require workers to wear safety glasses in addition to faceshields. This is true whether or not the faceshields are worn as part of the Compact Air and Primair FM PAPR system.

North Compact Air Cartridges & Filters, Service Life & Shelf Life

Q: What filters and cartridges are available for use with the North Compact Air?
A: The Compact Air PAPR offers several chemical cartridges and filter combinations
Filter
40HE High Efficiency Particulate Air-Purifying (HEPA) Filters
Chemical Cartridges
4001 Organic Vapor
4003 Organic Vapor, Chlorine, Hydrogen Chloride, Sulfur Dioxide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Chlorine Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide (escape)
4004 Ammonia / Methylamine
Chemical Cartridge / Filter Combination
4001HE Organic Vapor with HEPA filter
4003HE Organic Vapor, Chlorine, Hydrogen Chloride, Sulfur Dioxide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Chlorine Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide (escape) with HEPA filter
4004HE Ammonia / Methylamine with HEPA filter
PAPR filters and cartridges


Q: When do I change my filters?
A: Filters are changed when you start to notice a drop in air flow. Use your air flow indicator to test whether filters need to be changed. As the filters get clogged, less air passes through and thus less air is delivered to the facepiece or hood.

 40HE HEPA filter for Compact Air PAPR.


Q: When do I change my cartridges?
A: Cartridges must be changed based on a site specific cartridge change schedule. North’s esLife™, part of our ezGuide™ software program, helps users develop objective change out schedules for gas and vapor cartridges. North is in the process of updating this guide to include our PAPR cartridges. Meanwhile, OSHA accepts historical data as a basis of a change schedule.

Determining change schedules based on historical data.
Take the lowest breakthrough time for a worker in a specific site, with specific conditions (temperature, humidity, contaminant concentration, etc), and multiply it by a safety factor (OSHA recommends 80% and EPA recommends 60%). Use this number as the change time. The longer you record data, the more reliable the change time will be for the employee working at that site. Data recorded for several employees at that site can then be generalized into a single change time for that site.
For more information on OSHA’s recommendations visit their web site: http://www.osha.gov

4003HE OV/AG cartridge with HEPA filter for Compact Air PAPR.


Q: Do North Compact Air PAPR filters and cartridges have a shelf life?
A: No. As long as the filters or cartridges have been stored in a clean, dry environment, away from excessive heat or cold they are fine. Snap the blue caps provided with your filters or cartridges back on when storing.

Q: Must I use all three filters or cartridges, or can I plug one hole and only use two?
A: You must use all three filters or cartridges.
First, only using two air purifying elements would void NIOSH approval.
Second, using the PAPR in any configuration other than as approved by NIOSH would affect the air flow delivered to the hood or facepiece and could result in injury to the worker.

North Compact Air Battery

Q: What type of battery is used with the North Compact Air PAPR?
A: Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH).

Q: Why is a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery better than a Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) battery?
A: NiMH batteries do not have a memory so recharging is easier and faster. They are lighter weight. But most importantly NiMH batteries do not diminish in power during operation, unlike NiCad batteries which will gradually lose power during the day.

Q: How many hours of use can I get from the North Compact Air PAPR?
A: Service life is dependent on environmental conditions. However, a minimum of 8 hours is typical if the battery is fully charged when you first start to use the unit. The exact time of service may vary.

Q: Will the air flow of the North Compact Air PAPR start to diminish as I use the unit?
A: North’s Compact Air PAPR features a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery which delivers an even power supply through the entire work period.

You may notice a decrease in air flow during the course of the work period if you are using a HEPA filter or cartridge filter combination. This is caused by the loading of the filter with particulates. When air flow has decreased to the point that less than 4 CFM is delivered to the facepiece or 6 CFM is delivered to the loose fitting head cover, then is it time to change the filters. Exit to a clean environment and check your air flow with the air flow indicator provided with your unit.

Q: How do I tell when the battery needs to be charged?
A: The power delivered by Compact Air’s nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery will drop off suddenly and significantly, indicating that the battery needs recharging. There will not be a gradual loss of power prior to this. Any minor loss of air flow during the course of the work period is usually an indication that the filters need to be changed.

Q: Do I need to charge my battery before using the Compact Air PAPR for the first time?
A: No. The North Compact Air PAPR is shipped with the battery preconditioned and fully charged.

However, if the battery has been sitting on the shelf at the distributor or your work site for more than 30 days it will need to be charged as there could be a loss of power even though it is not being used or plugged in.

Q: How quickly can I recharge my battery?
A: The Compact Air PAPR uses a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery which can be recharged in six hours or less, depending on several factors including how much service life was left in the battery.

Q: Do I need to run the battery down prior to recharging?
A: No. The nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery of the North Compact Air PAPR does not have a memory, so you do not need to run the battery down prior to recharging.

Q: Can I leave my battery on the charger overnight or over the weekend?
A: Yes. The North Compact Air PAPR battery features a thermister or “trickle” charge which allows you to leave the battery on the charger for extended periods.

Caution: not all PAPR batteries feature a trickle charge, so if you are not using a North PAPR, check the manual of your specific unit.

Q: Do I need to remove the battery from the backpad to recharge?
A: No. The battery can be connected to a charger while still mounted on the backpad, or you can remove it from the backpad, allowing the unit to stay in service with a freshly charged battery.

Q: How do I know when the battery is fully charged?
A: When the green light on the charger is lit. The red light is lit when the charger is still recharging.

Q: How many times can I recharge the North Compact Air PAPR battery?
A: Over 200 times. Exact number of charges may vary depending on several factors, including the amperage at your site.

If the battery sits more than 30 days it will need to be charged as there will be a loss of power even though it is not being used or plugged in.

Decontamination

Q: Can I wear North’s Compact Air PAPR in a “decon” shower?
A: Yes. North offers a “decon” version for PAPRs for use with tight fitting facepieces and for loose fitting head covers. Add the suffix ‘D’ to either unit for the “decon” version.
CA101D: Compact Air with “decon” PVC backpad and belt, for loose fitting head covers
CA102D: Compact Air with “decon” PVC backpad and belt, for North facepieces

Compact Air with PVC belt and backpad.


Q: What is the difference between the standard North Compact Air PAPR and the “decon” version?
A: The standard Compact Air features a nylon belt. The “decon” version features a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) backpad and belt. Otherwise they are the same.

Q: Can I wear my North Compact Air PAPR while going through a “decon” shower if I use High Efficiency Air-Purifying (HEPA) filters?
A: Yes. Compact Air PAPR HEPA filters are hydrophobic - that is they repel water, so the filters can be subjected to the shower spray of a “decon” shower.

HEPA filters 40HE were tested after exposure to moisture and passed DOP* penetration, indicating that the filters are indeed hydrophobic, thus allowing filters to be reused as long as they have not reached the end of their service life. Because the carbon of combination cartridges would be affected by exposure to water, it is recommended that these cartridge filter combinations be discarded after having been exposed to spray from a “decon” shower.
*DOP: Dioctylphthalate. The challenge oil aerosol used to test filters. DOP is used because it is the most degrading substance known to NIOSH.

Q: Can I wear my North Compact Air PAPR while going through a “decon” shower if I use chemical cartridges alone?
A: No. The chemical cartridges are not water resistant. But, you can go through a “decon” shower safely if you use a chemical cartridge HEPA filter combination since the Compact Air PAPR HEPA filter is hydrophobic. You must always discard your cartridge/filter combinations after they have been exposed to excessive moisture.


General Questions about Powered Air-Purifying Respirators

CA102 standard backpad & belt shown with 4003HE OV/HEPA cart/ filters.
Worker with Compact Air PAPR shown with 7600 Series Facepiece.

Q: What is a PAPR?
A: PAPR are initials for Powered Air-Purifying Respirator. It is, as its name indicates, an air-purifying respirator that has a battery powered blower.

OSHA Definition: An air-purifying respirator that uses a blower to force the ambient air through air-purifying elements to the inlet covering.

Q: How does a PAPR work?
A: A powered air-purifying respirator uses a blower powered by a battery to pull ambient air through cartridges, filters or a canister. A constant flow of clean air is delivered to the facepiece or hood. The blower can be belt mounted or facepiece mounted. The battery is always mounted on the belt. When the blower is mounted on the belt it can be separate from the battery, or they can be integrated into a single case. The battery may be rechargeable or non-rechargeable, supplying power for 4 to 8 hours depending on the model.

Q: What are the differences between a PAPR and an APR?
A: PAPRs use a blower and battery: Air-purifying respirators (APR) remove contaminants from the ambient air with either filters, cartridges or a canister (air purifying elements). With APRs the air is pulled through the air-purifying elements as the worker inhales. Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR) utilize a blower to pull the ambient air through the air-purifying elements.

PAPRs have a constant flow of air: The blower supplies a constant flow of air to the worker.

PAPRs have a positive pressure inside the hood or facepiece: Standard air-purifying respirators have a negative pressure inside the hood or facepiece. The constant flow of air generated by the PAPR blower creates a positive pressure inside the hood or facepiece.

PAPRs have a higher Protection Factor: Because of the positive pressure created by the flow of air, PAPRs have a higher protection factor.
North Compact Air PAPR with 7600 full facepiece.



Q: What are the advantages of a PAPR over an APR (air-purifying respirator)?
A: Less worker fatigue: Because the air is pulled through the filters or cartridges by a blower, rather than the inhaled breath of the worker, the worker does not tire as quickly.

A flow of air is delivered to the worker: A constant flow of air is delivered to the facepiece or hood. While this air is not cooled, the effect of the air does cool the worker.

Higher protection factors: Because a PAPR has a positive pressure rather than a negative pressure inside the hood or facepiece it has a higher protection factor than its comparable APR version.

Q: What are the disadvantages of a PAPR over an APR (air-purifying respirator)?
A: Higher initial cost: A PAPR respirator costs significantly more than an air-purifying respirator. This initial cost can be offset by increased worker productivity.

Additional weight: The blower and battery add weight. Belt mounted PAPR units put this weight on the waist, and are thus less noticeable. In some models a PAPR may actually appear to weigh less and be more comfortable to the worker, as cartridges are mounted on the belt and not the facepiece.

Q: What are the advantages of a PAPR over a SAR (supplied air respirator)?
A: Less initial cost: Supplied air respirators require a pump or a compressor with filtration system, hoses and couplers that add to the initial cost of set-up.

No hoses to drag around: A powered air-purifying respirator is self contained, with the battery and blower worn by the worker. A supplied air respirator utilizes hoses which limit the worker’s mobility.

                                                                
North Compact Air PAPR PA101 with hood.                  North 7600 with pump and hose.


Q: What are the disadvantages of a PAPR over a SAR (supplied air respirator)?
A: Higher operating cost: Powered air-purifying respirators use cartridges or filters that need to be changed on a regular schedule. Supplied air respirators do not use air-purifying elements, saving the cost of replacing these filters or cartridges.

Additional weight: A PAPR requires a worker to wear a blower and battery, adding weight to the unit.

Q: What is the difference between a belt mounted and a facepiece mounted PAPR?
A: Both have a battery that is worn on the belt. The difference is where the blower is mounted. On a belt mounted PAPR the blower is on the belt, either integrated into the housing with the battery or separate. On a facepiece mounted PAPR the blower is located on the facepiece, usually next to the filter or filters.

Q: What are the advantages of a belt mounted PAPR?
A: Better weight distribution: The blower is located on the belt rather than the facepiece, so the weight is distributed where it is easier to carry, rather than pulling on a worker’s neck.

Hoods and tight fitting facepieces: Because of the weight of the blower, facepiece mounted PAPRs can not accommodate hoods or other loose fitting head covers.

Chemical cartridges and HEPA filters: Facepiece mounted PAPRs are only available with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air-purifying) filters, since the weight of a chemical cartridge mounted on the facepiece would be too great for this style of PAPR.

Q: What are the disadvantages of a belt mounted PAPR?
A: Breathing tube: Belt mounted PAPRs have a breathing tube to deliver the supply of air. When positioned in the front this tube can get in the way. North has solved this problem with the unique ‘Y’ breathing tube that goes over the worker’s back, out of the way of the work zone.

Q: Which PAPR is right for me, belt mounted or facepiece mounted?
A: Both are NIOSH approved. Which one you chose depends in part on the job requirements. Facepiece mounted PAPRs are only available with full facepieces and HEPA filters. If you require chemical cartridges or desire a hood, than you need to use a belt mounted PAPR.

Some people prefer facepiece mounted PAPRs because it eliminates the breathing tube, which can get in the way of the work zone. North’s Compact Air belt mounted PAPR uses a unique ‘Y’ breathing tube that goes over the worker’s shoulders, taking the breathing tube out of the work zone.


OSHA & CSA Regulations Pertaining to PAPRs

Q: What are the Assigned Protection Factors (APF) for Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR)?
A: Assigned Protection Factors for PAPRs are higher than comparable air-purifying respirators (APR), and generally the same as comparable supplied air respirators (SAR). Note: There are disagreements between agencies (OSHA, NIOSH, ANSI and CSA) as to specific APFs. For more information visit our page on Assigned Protection Factors. View APF (Assigned Protection Factors) Chart

Q: How much CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) does the Compact Air PAPR deliver to the facepiece or hood?
A: The amount of air will vary depending on the filter or cartridge used, and whether the filter is new or near the end of its service life. Tight fitting facepieces: 4 CFM minimum is required by OSHA. Hoods and other loose fitting head covers: 6 CFM minimum as required by OSHA.

Q: How do I check for the correct air flow?
A: Use the flow meter provided with the North Compact Air PAPR, replacement part number CA132. For Compact Air PAPR with a straight breathing tube: With the unit turned on, insert the flow meter in a vertical position at the end of the breathing hose. Check the ball in the airflow meter. It must be above the line marked 6 CFM or 170 LPM. For Compact Air PAPR with the ‘Y’ breathing tube: With the unit turned on, insert the flow meter in either of the swivel connectors on the breathing hose and block off the other with the palm of your hand. Check the ball in the air flow meter. It must be above the line marked 4 CFM or 115 LMP.

                                                           
Checking air flow on Compact Air’s                         Checking air flow on Compact Air’s
straight breathing tube.                                          ‘Y’ breathing tube.

Q: How do I perform a User Seal Check (aka Positive Pressure Seal Check) on a North Compact Air PAPR?
A: Tight fitting facepieces: With the facepiece donned and the blower on, test for positive pressure inside the facepiece by gently breaking the facepiece seal at your cheek. Airflow should be heard and felt. If you feel it, allow the facepiece to reseal. If you do not feel and hear airflow a positive pressure has not been obtained. If you can not obtain a positive pressure refer to the section on Trouble Shooting.

Performing a Positive Pressure Seal Check.

Hoods and loose fitting head covers: It is not necessary to perform a positive seal check on hoods and loose fitting head covers.

For more information on the use and maintenance of North’s Compact Air PAPR refer to the Users' PAPR User's Instructions.

Q: Do workers who wear a PAPR need to be fit tested?
A: Tight fitting facepieces: Yes, if the workers are at or above the contaminant’s Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL). Below the PEL use of a respirator is voluntary and fit testing is not required. Hoods and other loose fitting head covers: No, fit testing is not required.

Q: Because a PAPR provides a positive pressure inside the facepiece I don’t need to fit test - right?
A: Wrong. Fit testing is required on any tight fitting facepiece when worn at or above the Permissible Exposure Level (PEL).

Q: I need to fit test my workers who wear PAPRs. Can I perform a Qualitative Fit Test (QLFT) or is a Quantitative Fit Test (QNFT) required?
A: Qualitative Fit Testing is the minimum requirement for Powered Air Purifying Respirators.

Q: How frequently do I need to fit test my workers?
A: In the United States fit testing is required at least annually. In Canada fit testing is recommended annually, and required every two years.
Exceptions:

  • Some contaminant specific regulations (such as lead and asbestos) that require fit testing every six months.
  • Some Canadian Provinces have additional fit test requirements. Check your local regulations.
  • When the worker has any change to the facial structure that will affect the fit.

You need to have a complete understanding of all fit test requirements for your specific site.

Q: Can I use a surrogate mask to perform fit testing?
A: Yes. But it is not necessary with the North Compact Air PAPR. A surrogate mask may be used as long as the mask has the same fit characteristics as the actual mask that will be worn (material, size, facial seal design). However, the adaptability of the North APR to PAPR system allows workers to be fit tested wearing their own mask. Additional adapters or a surrogate mask are not needed.

Q How do I perform Qualitative Fit Testing (QLFT) on a PAPR?
A: QLFT needs to be performed with the facepiece in a negative pressure mode. To put the unit in a negative pressure mode you need to either (1) turn the unit off and have the worker breathe through the air purifying elements without the use of the blower; or (2) use the mask in the APR configuration. The adaptability of the North APR to PAPR system allows workers to be fit tested wearing their own mask. Additional adapters or a surrogate mask are not needed.

Q How do I perform Quantitative Fit Testing (QNFT) on a PAPR?
A: Like qualitative fit testing, quantitative fit testing (QNFT) needs to be performed with the facepiece in a negative pressure mode. Currently there are two types of quantitative fit testing methods available, the Controlled Negative Pressure Protocol (Dynatech) and the Generated Aerosol Quantitative Fit Testing Protocol (TSI Porta-Count). The adaptability of the North APR to PAPR system allows workers to be fit tested with either method while wearing their own mask. The standard APR adapters for the specific QNFT method are required. The adapter for the Porta-Count is North part number 770021. Contact Dynatech for information on the appropriate adapter for their fit test apparatus.

Q: Which PAPR can be worn by workers with facial hair?
A: A PAPR with loose fitting head covers is the only type you can use. (North’s Compact Air CA101 or CA101D with Primair Series head covers). OSHA forbids any facial hair between the face and facepiece seal.

Q: My workers use a hood / loose fitting head cover (Primair Series). Do they still need additional eye protection?
A: Yes. The visor or faceshield of a PAPR’s hood or loose fitting head cover is not considered primary eye protection. Additional protection of a safety spectacle that meets the ANSI/CSA Standards is required. North Safety Eyewear

Q: When is an intrinsically safe PAPR required?
A: An intrinsically safe PAPR is required whenever you have a very high concentration of particulates, which creates a risk of explosion. Coal mines, some pharmaceutical facilities and grain silos are a few examples.

Q: Does the North Compact Air meet the UL/ULC requirements for most industrial applications?
A: Yes. North’s Compact Air PAPR is UL listed for the United States and Canada, meeting the requirements for the majority of industrial applications. But the North PAPR is not intrinsically safe, a requirement for a select number of applications.

NIOSH Approval Information
(National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health)

Q: Is the North Compact Air PAPR NIOSH approved?
A: Yes. The Compact Air is NIOSH approved for use with North’s 5500, 7700, 5400 and 7600 Series air-purifying masks, and for use with North’s Primair Series hoods and head covers. NIOSH approval for the Primair HD is pending. View NIOSH Approval Information for the North PAPR (National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health)

Q: What filters and cartridges are available for use with the North Compact Air?
A: The Compact Air PAPR has NIOSH approval for several chemical cartridges and filter combinations
Filter
40HE High Efficiency Particulate Air-Purifying (HEPA) Filters
Chemical Cartridges
4001 Organic Vapor
4003 Organic Vapor, Chlorine, Hydrogen Chloride, Sulfur Dioxide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Chlorine Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide (escape)
4004 Ammonia / Methylamine
Chemical Cartridge / Filter Combination
4001HE Organic Vapor with HEPA filter
4003HE Organic Vapor, Chlorine, Hydrogen Chloride, Sulfur Dioxide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Chlorine Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide (escape) with HEPA filter
4004HE Ammonia / Methylamine with HEPA filter
View NIOSH Approval Information for the North PAPR
(National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health)


  40HE              4001             4003            4004           4001HE       4003HE       4004HE  


Q: Why do Powered Air-Purifying Respirators use HEPA filters when all other air-purifying respirators use other classifications of filters like N95 and P100?
A: When the NIOSH Standard 42 CFR Part 84 was introduced, powered air-purifying respirators were exempted. As a result, the filter classification for PAPR is still referred to as HEPA (an acronym for High Efficiency Particulate Air-Purifying).

Q: North’s Compact Air PAPR has a standard 40mm DIN thread. Can I use another manufacturer’s 40mm threaded cartridges or filters with this unit?
A: No. Use of any other manufacturer's parts, including cartridges and filters will void the NIOSH approval.

Q: Is there a NIOSH approved PAPR for CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) respiratory protection?
A: No. The NIOSH Standard for a CBRN PAPR is still under review. Once it is finalized and published, then manufacturers will be able to design a unit to meet this Standard and submit it for approval.

Q: Is there a new NIOSH Standard for PAPR?
A: No. NIOSH has announced that there will be a revision to the Standard CFR 42 Part 84 regarding PAPR. The proposed changes will go through a formal review process, with a projected completion of 2007. Until then the current Standard applies.

Q: NIOSH is changing the Standard for PAPRs. Are units sold today still OK to use?
A: Yes. As long as the PAPR has a current NIOSH TC Approval number, it is OK to use the unit.


Troubleshooting North Compact Air PAPR

The PAPR fails to turn on

  • Battery is not charged. Recharge the battery or use a new battery that is fully charged.
  • The switch on the battery is in the "off" position. Push the switch to turn it on.
  • The power cord between the battery and blower is not connected or is broken. Reconnect the cord. If it still does not work and you suspect the plug or cord is damaged, replace the blower.

The PAPR supplies insufficient airflow

  • The battery is near the end of its charge. Recharge the battery or use a new battery that is fully charged.
  • The air-purifying elements (filters or filter cartridge combination) have loaded with particulates. Replace your filters and or cartridges with new ones.
  • The breathing tube is blocked or leaking. Check the tube for blockage. If you suspect the breathing tube is leaking replace with a new one.

The battery fails to charge

  • The power cord on the charger is not properly connected. Reconnect and try again.
  • The power cord on the charger is damaged or broken. Replace the charger.
  • The battery is defective or has reached the end of its battery life. Replace the battery.

The battery discharges too quickly

  • The battery is not fully charged. Recharge the battery until the green light on the charger is lit.
  • The battery is not charging fully. Discharge the battery completely by running the blower unit until it stops on its own; and then recharge the battery completely (green light on the charger will light up).
  • The charger is defective. Replace charger.
  • The battery is defective or has reached the end of its battery life. Replace the battery.

How to tell the difference between the CA101 & CA101D and the CA102 & CA102D?
The blower and battery housings are color coded.

  • CA101, CA101D: blower & battery is black with yellow trim.
  • CA102, CA102D: blower & battery is blue with yellow trim. The 'Y' connector on the breathing tube is also blue.

North Safety Products should perform all other repairs.

Prior to return shipment contact North Customer Service at 800-430-4110 to obtain a Return Goods Authorization (RGA) number. Clearly mark the RGA Number on the shipping container and return the product to us at the following address.

North Safety Products
2000 Plainfield Pike
Cranston, RI 02921

All products must be cleaned and "decon"taminated prior to return shipment and must be shipped prepaid.

 
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