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DIY Heated Vest Ideas & Recommendations

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' at netrider.net.au started by JustCruisin, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. Hi there,

    Been freezing myself lately due to my morning motorcycle commute to work on a regular basis even with several layers of clothing on. I recently made a custom order for a motorcycle leather jacket which comes with a polar fleece vest liner & I was looking into doing a little project for myself & that is to turn that vest into a heated one. I know that brands such as Gerbing, Firstgear & Keis do heated clothing & liners for us motorcyclists, but I believe that one can be made cheap with the right materials & almost any kind of fabric. I'm looking for tips, ideas & recommendations from others that will be able to help me fulfill this little project. What kind of parts should I use eg. wires, connectors & maybe a small controller to control the temperature. I'm hoping for something that will warm the vest up & myself without actually melting anything as well as having the option of either connecting it to the bike battery or just normal batteries. I'm not too fussed with the looks of the vest (the wires can stick out inside the vest). If I manage to do this little project, I might also look into heated inner glove liners.

    I've also attached pictures of people with their own DIY heated vest liners.



    Cheers.
     

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  2. I've found info on this in the past via Google. You can buy the appropriate heaating wire and my recollection was that the length ofn the wire used determined the overall resistance and therefore how hot the vest ran.

    The other issue to consider is whether your bike will cope with the extra power load, particularly if you start running other accessories like heated grips, auxilliary lights, bar fridge etc.

    While I have used a heated vest if you want to stay warm it would be my weapon of last resort and i would be using a bunch of other stuff first including thermals and a bunch of layers under a warm textile jacket, decent gloves and boots and wind protection
     
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  3. I've found info on this in the past via Google. You can buy the appropriate heaating wire and my recollection was that the length ofn the wire used determined the overall resistance and therefore how hot the vest ran.

    The other issue to consider is whether your bike will cope with the extra power load, particularly if you start running other accessories like heated grips, auxilliary lights, bar fridge etc.

    While I have used a heated vest if you want to stay warm it would be my weapon of last resort and i would be using a bunch of other stuff first including thermals and a bunch of layers under a warm textile jacket, decent gloves and boots and wind protection
     
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  4. The Gerbing vest is rated at 54w with a power supply requirement of up to 4.5amps at 12v.

    So that works out at a total resistance of 2.66 Ω.

    Jaycar sells resistance wire at 13.77 Ω per metre, so about 5x 1 metre lengths wired in parallel would get you in the same power rating.

    I'd use a PWM type controller to regulate the heat, that way you wouldn't be wasting any power.

    PS - Have these figures double checked before making your own DIY defibrillator.
     
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  5. I don't use any other things that require power. I did have a 12v power supply on it, but it stopped working after my fall so I chopped that off & taped the wires in case I wanted to twist something else onto it. It's also protected by a 15A fuse. Nonetheless, I don't think it would be too harsh on the bike. I'd probably have two extra accessories running on the bike at best. Otherwise, there's always the rechargeable lithium ion battery route?
     
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  6. Is that all it is? Resistance wire in most brand name heated clothing? I know they generate heat from the resistance as I used to be an electrician apprentice but I thought it was some kind of special micro heating element being used... or maybe they have that but you can also achieve the same result with other kinds of wire...
     
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  7. +1 on PWM controllers, have a chinese cheapie on my heated grips, works well. Rig up an external potentiometer and put it on the bars. Heated vests sound like a good way to get burned to me, not like you can just hold the bar where the elements aren't like you can on heated grips.
     
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  8. Got me thinking, so did bit more Googling and it appears they use a carbon tape as the heater element, about US$10 a metre and 6 metres needed for a vest as used in this DIY setup: DIY carbon tape heated vest

    The 15mm tape of 1m length draws 0.65 amps at 12v (7.8w) and heats up to 47°C
     
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  9. My Dad told me a story about being in a 24 hour race in the UK as a younger man. He had "cleverly" put a nipple on the muffler and ran a tube into his heated leathers. He had to strip off in pit lane because he was so hot.

    Not productive but topical, makes me smile.
     
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  10. plenty of pre-fab options out there to make life easier, eg 2X Carbon Fiber Heated Seat Heater Kits 2 Heating Pad 12V Universal for Winter | eBay

    or pull apart something like this.. $12 how bad could it be? :D Car Cover Backseat Heated Pad 12V Backseat Heater Seat Heating Cigarette Lighter | eBay

    or if you are worried about rain, get a silicone heating pad, and waterproof connectors. will be fine in the wet
    eg 200mm Silicone Rubber Heater Pad - 3D Printer Supplies: Stepper Motor, Lead Screw, GT2 Pulley n Belt, stepper driver and 3d printer parts.
    Silicone Heater | eBay


    OT but, try getting this sent to you by post these days :D
     
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  11. I looked at the seat pad options as well, not sure if they would work as good as the tape, the pads look like they are 20x10cm, not sure how flexible they would be (there would be some flex of course because they are made for seats), how water proof would they be, and the connections I saw looked a bit frail. To get the same area coverage you would need 2 seats worth of pads, that puts the price up at the same as the carbon tape.

    Speaking of price, it looks like it would cost about AU$85 for the heating sections, say another $40 for the vest material itself, $15 for wire and connectors, $30 for a controller, that's $170 without a battery or charger. Bunnings sell their AEG jacket (long sleeves, 12v battery and charger) for $199, and I think the other brands are about that price as well. These all come with warranty and require no more work than taking them out of the plastic bag.
     
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  13. That is a good price. Considering the tape alone is going to cost the amount of the whole vest!

    Plus the plug is USB. I wonder if that would allow direct plugin to a USB port on a bike as well.
     
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  15. Or to be on the safe side, they sell their battery packs for $30 so maybe you can use 1 battery while your bike is charging the other one. Rinse & repeat?
     
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  16. Just looking at their online video, they only mention heat pads on the back of the vest - nothing on the front, which is where I think would be the most benefit.

    JustCruisinJustCruisin - Did you end up ordering one, and if so - are you able to confirm, or comment on the vest?
     
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  17. I forgot to checkup on that until I bought the thing. The vest is good & it does heat up, although as you said, I wish they had it on the front aswell so I told them about suggestions on placing some on the front aswell. Nonetheless, I can't complain for $85.
     
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  18. [QUOTE="OT but, try getting this sent to you by post these days :D[/QUOTE]
    Yeah after looking at that you could just imagine what customs would think is being smuggled into the country. LMAO
     
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  19. @ JustCruisin True - for $75 it's probably cheaper to buy the best pull it apart and make your own from the parts, or even modify the existing vest as opposed to trying to make your own from scratch. Pitty for but a small oversight it could have been perfect at that price though with no changes.

    Might be fine for hiking, etc - but I'm guessing on a bike it's not going to be as effective.
     
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  20. Actually I'd still use it on top of my leather jacket that has a polar fleece liner for that extra kick & plus the vest is windproof which helps.
     
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