Inflatable Costume Setup Instructions
[box style=”alert”]IMPORTANT! MILDEW WARNING: DO NOT PACK UP YOUR INFLATABLE COSTUME WET OR DAMP![/box]
This has been a common error of many owners in the past. Three problems can occur:
- In a new inflatable, before the colors have had a chance to settle and lock into the fabric, packing up the inflatable wet could cause the colors to run onto other fabric. This seldom occurs, but it can happen.
- Mildew will certainly grow on the fabric when it is packed up wet and left for any period of time. Once mildew has gotten on a fabric, almost nothing can be done about it.
- Moisture can damage the coating of the fabric over the long run.
Bleeding or mildew is not covered under warranty because fabric may bleed or mildew if it is stored, folded or packed up when wet. This includes leaving the inflatable deflated when wet. We buy the best fabric available, yet many fabrics will bleed when stored or left wet. Since this is beyond our control, it is not covered under warranty.
The best way to dry an inflatable costume thoroughly is to totally inflate it for a long time on a dry day. You may also need to temporarily stretch the inflatable out somewhere — a garage, basement or wherever — this is still much better than packing it up wet.
Remember, damage from improper care or mildew is not covered in the warranty.
- Remember that inflatable costumes are tall! Be very attentive of obstacles such as doorways, tree branches, light fixtures, or any overhead protrusions.
- An assistant should accompany the inflatable costume at all times to assist the wearer with moving through low clearance spaces, ascending or descending stairs, crowd control, and general supervision.
- DO NOT place fingers or foreign objects into the blower motor openings, as this can result in serious personal injury and equipment damage.
- DO NOT smoke cigarettes or cigars, or come into contact with open flames or any hot surfaces.
- AVOID using the inflatable costume during times of inclement weather such as strong winds, electrical storms, rainstorms, or snowstorms.
- AVOID escalators, stairs, stadium bleachers, and any steep inclines.
- AVOID swimming pools and other open bodies of water.
- Exhaust fumes can be sucked into the costume through the blower air intake so use caution when in parades or around any areas with heavy vehicle traffic.
- Hot weather and/or prolonged physical activity (such as marching in parades) can over-exert the costume wearer. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and rotate wearers more often in hot temperatures.
[box style=”alert”]The rule is SAFETY FIRST! Use common sense and good judgment.[/box]
General Use and Care Instructions
We recommend that you do practice inflation before you arrive at your first real event to ensure smooth operation.
Please read all instructions carefully before use. If there are any questions, call Boulder Blimp Company at (303) 664-1122 for additional service.
Choosing the costume wearer
A costume is a highly visible representative of your company. So you will want the wearer to be polite, responsible, and someone who loves to have fun! Select an outgoing “people-person” to perform in your costume. Almost any size person can wear an inflatable costume, energetic performances in the costume usually requires the wearer to have some level of physical fitness.
Choosing the costume assistant
Inflatable costumes are certain to draw a crowd!! For this reason, you should always have an escort accompany your costume. The escort can provide valuable assistance in group supervision, and crowd control, and can prevent problems created by the occasional unruly person or child. The escort should be authoritative and maintain a safe environment for both the crowd and the costume wearer. The assistant can help the wearer get in and out of the costume and be a rotational wearer themselves. The assistant also represents your company and should be responsible, polite, and friendly.
The costume is constructed of 7.5 oz vinyl coated nylon fabric, and is very durable. It can be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner like 409 or soap and water. Always test a small area of fabric on the inside of the inflatable to make sure it won’t discolor the fabric or remove the painted artwork.
Putting on your inflatable costume
Chose a clear, clean area about 10’ x 10’ so you have ample room to maneuver. It is helpful to have a chair. It is imperative that you have an assistant help you get in the costume. It is handy to have a tarp or large towel to lie on the ground so your costume will not get dirty.
First put on the waist belt with the blower on it and adjust the belt so it fit your waist snug but comfortable. Take the belt off and set aside for the next few steps.
Slip a charged battery into the battery holster and velcro the top flap so it is secure in the holster.
Slide the battery holster onto the left side of the waist belt.
Lay the costume out on the floor in front of you with the front of the costume towards the floor. Open the zipper; the zipper will be in the back or on one of the sides. Spread the costume open at the zipper and locate the shorts inside the costume.
This step is easiest if you can sit down on a chair behind the costume on the floor. Step into the shorts, and if your costume comes with inflatable legs and shoes put your legs through the elastic leg bands too. Stand up and pull the shorts up to your waist and cinch the belt on the shorts tight at your waist.
The assistant can help you put the belt with the blower and the battery on it around your waist over the shorts waistband and buckle it closed. If you have not already adjusted the belt to fit your waist do so now. Position the shoulder strap for the battery over your right shoulder and adjust the webbing strap so it is comfortable and the weight of the battery is distributed between your shoulder and your waist.Insert the end of the blower intake air tube into the velcro holder in the bottom of the costume. You may have to extend the tube in order to reach it to the velcro connection.
Slide the battery “pig-tail” connectors from the blower onto the battery terminals, black wire to black terminal and white wire to red terminal.
Flip the power switch on the blower to “On” so the blower is pumping air.
With your assistant’s help pull the costume over your head and zip it closed. You will have to support the costume with your arms until it is nearly full of air. The assistant should make sure the air intake for the blower, a small vented area on the bottom of the costume, does not get obstructed with the loose fabric until the costume is nearly inflated.
Put your hands out of the armholes, if your costume has open hands, otherwise your costume may have inflatable hands and the wearer is free to do anything they want with their hands inside the costume. Since the costume is basically a large bubble of air around you and it cannot be balanced to fit a variety of body shapes and sizes it may need to be balanced inside by the wearers hands or arms. Moving around in the costume at first will feel awkward but after a little practice you will get more accustomed to it.
The assistant should check the outside of the costume so that it is clean and you are ready to perform.
Taking off your inflatable costume
- Have your assistant help you unzip the costume and lower it over your head. Turn the blower off and disconnect the “pigtails” from the battery.
- Disconnect the blower intake tube from the velcro attachment at the bottom of the costume.
- Have the assistant help to support the belt as you unclip it at your waist. Set the belt with the battery and blower aside for the moment. Be very careful with the battery and blower and do not drop them.
- Open the clasp on the shorts belt and loosen the shorts.
- If a chair is available use it, otherwise sit down on the floor before you try pulling your legs out of the costume.
- Roll your costume up and store it in the carrying bag it came in, and pack away your battery and blower in the carrying case it came in. The costume, in its bag, should also fit in your carrying case to add more protective cushioning for the batteries and the blower. If your costume is too big it will just have to accompany the carry case.
Charging the batteries
- Plug the battery charger into a proper 110-volt wall outlet before connecting it to the battery. Check that the red switch on the back of the charger unit is on 115 (the 230 volt setting is for International voltage).
- The indicator light on the front of the charger should always be green when the unit is powered but not connected to a battery. Make sure the charger unit is functioning properly before proceeding.
- Connect the black wire clamp from the charger onto the black terminal on the battery, and then connect the red wire clamp onto the red battery terminal.
- If the battery is fully charged the indicator light will remain green. If the battery is not fully charged the light will change to yellow. When the indicator light is yellow a “fast-charge” will charge the battery to 90%. Once the battery charge has reached 90% the indicator light will change to green. After the light changes to green the battery should be left to charge for another three hours to ensure full power.
- Disconnect the power supply to the charger before disconnecting the batteries from the charger.
- Always use the charger on a hard surface with ample air circulation. When in use, the charger will generate heat.
- Keep all electrical equipment and cables away from water and flammable materials.
- NEVER DROP CHARGER UNIT or BATTERIES. Dropping the equipment can cause serious internal damage. If the batteries or charger are dropped please contact Boulder Blimp for replacements.
- Boulder Blimp Company delivers all batteries fully charged. The batteries are 12 volt sealed gel-cells and certified safe to check on airlines.
- Fully charged batteries provide power for up to 2 1/2 hours. Unlike other types of batteries, these batteries will be damaged if they are fully depleted of power. DO NOT use batteries for more than 2 1/2 hours without recharging. It is important to always hook all device cables according to the color codes, black-to-black and red or white to red.
- Do not expose the batteries to extreme heat (such as being left in a car trunk on hot days, or stored next to a heater in a basement), as this will shorten the life of your battery.
- Be careful not to bend the battery terminals during use, or during packing.
- Return any non-working batteries to Boulder Blimp for proper disposal.
- The charger is a 12-volt lead-acid sealed charging unit.
- INDOOR USE ONLY – Do not expose to rain.
- Disconnect the supply before making or breaking the connections to the battery.
- WARNING: Explosive gases- Prevent flames and sparks
- Provide adequate ventilation during charging.
The blower won’t turn on:
- Check that the “pigtail” wires from the blower are securely connected to the battery terminals. Also, make sure the plastic ends on the “pigtails” are solidly attached to the black and white wires.
- Try the other battery, because the one you are using may need to be charged.
The costume does not fill quickly, or has low pressure:
- Have the assistant check on the outside of the costume that the area around the blower intake vent is not covered by any folded over material.
- Make sure the zipper is completely closed.
- Check the blower tube connection to the velcro flaps at the air intake vent in the bottom of the costume.
- Make sure the shorts of the costume are cinched closed at the waist so no air is lost in this area.
- Have the assistant hold the costume up while the wearer puts their arms out through the armholes to keep the air from escaping the costume.
- It can take 30-45 seconds for a costume to fill up, depending on the air volume the costume requires.
If a red light appears on the charger:
- When the charger is plugged in and not connected to a battery, it should always display a green indication light.
- If the indicator light is red when the charger is not hooked to any batteries, there is a problem with the charger unit.
- If a battery is connected to the charger and the indication light is red there is a problem with the battery and it should not be used.
Use the repair fabric supplied for small holes. Apply small patches on the inside of the costume, using vinyl cement that can be purchased at any local hardware store. We recommend a local sewing repair service for repair of larger rips or tears. This will save shipping costs and can be done by any business that uses industrial sewing machines (upholsterer, hot air balloon repair, awning maker, etc.). Repairs can also be done at Boulder Blimp Company.