Building electric clothing

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by HellSickle, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    Being an Anal-hypen-Retentive engineer and cheap-ass, I've decided to build my own electic jacket.

    Cost so far:
    $10 - clearance pile jacket at Target
    $20 - 100 ft spool of 30ga wire with teflon insulation
    $4 - clearance nylon warm-up jacket with mesh liner.

    My plan is to use the nylon warm-up jacket inside-out as the liner. This will place the mesh lining in the middel. I'll weave the 30 gage wire thru the mesh, so no glue or stitching will be required.

    From the following site, and from my own calcuations on wire resistivity, it is estimated that 30 -40 feet of wire will be required. The more wire, the lower the power.

    http://www.shadowriders.org/faq/electricvests.html

    I found that Newark no longer carries this wire, but I found it at the following site:

    http://www.mouser.com/index.cfm?&handler=data.listcategory&Ne=3&terms=566-83000-100-09+&Ntt=*5668300010009*&Ns=SField&N=56610000&crc=true

    I plan on attaching the liner to the jacket with minimal stiching at the sleeves, and perhaps along the bottom of the jacket.

    I'm still debating on whether to run wires down the arms, or keep it just on the torso. I was orginally going to just build a vest, but realized that if I needed a heated vest, I would most likely be wearing a jacket at the same time.

    The only remaining hardware to get is a power connector. I can guarantee that I will sometimes forget to unplug before dismounting, so I need an easy release plug. I'm going to check out some large audio jacks to see if they can handle 3-4 amps of current.

    If I don't spontaneously combust, I'll post a pictorial report as I put everything together.

    -Jeff-
    #1
  2. Yellow Pig

    Yellow Pig Allergic to Asphalt!

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    I've heard of using a flasher relay for the low power setting of the vest.
    #2
  3. GregInBoulder

    GregInBoulder Jerry rules. Get over it.

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    Just don't sign on as a drummer for Spinal Tap. :lol3
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  4. SATEX

    SATEX Long timer

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    I made an electric vest just about a year ago. It worked great, but while using it on its maiden voyage, I had a nasty crash out in the middle of nowhere in West Texas. When the Life Flight EMT's got there they had to cut it (and my almost new $600 Dainese jacket) to get it off of me.

    I healed the broken bones and punctured lung, got the bike fixed, and replaced the jacket with a much cheaper but still effective replacement.

    Wanting to blame anything else but my riding skills for the crash (dual sport ride on dirt road, hit rock, thrown off and hit bigger rock, etc.), so I've decided that the electric vest was bad karma. Dual sport riding is supposed to be elemental and somewhat self-abusive, and it was just wrong of me to be comfy and warm while my riding partner was miserable and cold.

    I still have lots of the Belden Hookup wire, and when it gets cold out I think about tempting fate again.
    #4
  5. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    The AHR part of me really likes this. I could put in a voltage divider, but then I'd just be throwing that excess power away.

    So, it sounds like others have tried this before with the same 30 gage wire. I'll watch out for rocks.

    Mainly, I want something that will fit easily under my 'stich for winter commuting. The 'stich is a little tighter than it was when I first got it 8 years ago. :D

    -Jeff-
    #5
  6. mayday

    mayday Stromer

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    Having the same "cheap" (my wifes' term,I prefer thrifty) gene, I just did the same thing. Bought the kit off ebay that had the wire and a couple of connectors, bought a cheap, lined golf jacket at a discount store; threaded the wires through the jacktet, down the sleeves and on the collar.
    Really pleased with the result. Nice warmth diffused throughout. So far, I found the need for a controller a lot less than some of my other accessories (chaps, boot insoles) and so far on/off cycles are not frequent.
    Having the heated sleeve/collar turned out to be more pleasant than I would have thought and would now consider a requirement.
    Total cost; $45cdn for kit, $14 for jacket, $5 for switch
    #6
  7. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    :lurk

    What you do guys mean "threading" the wires through the mesh? Could you possibly post pics?
    #7
  8. Cheap Ryder

    Cheap Ryder Ride for enlightenment

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    Won't this DC current wrapped around your body turn the iron in your blood into a magnet? I have used electrics for years, wouldn't be without. Where I work we sell one of the major brands and their heat controller just pulses the current at a slow rate for low and a faster and faster rate till high is on all the time. When I ride I turn the stuff on when it is cold and turn it off when it gets warm. One time I wired up some electric socks, you know the kind that run on a couple of D cells. I used a light bulb to drop the voltage and ran them off my bike's battery. Everything worked fine till the bulb got shorted across and I had 12 volts going to my electric socks meant for 3 volts. Did I mention I was wearing buckle up motocross boots? I ended up with the bottom of my toes branded by this little red hot wire.
    #8
  9. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    I'll do pic's as I go along. I'm still looking for the right liner jacket. It will be a windbreaker with one of those mesh liners.

    The wire is .020" OD. I plan on taking 30' of wire, working out a budget for front, arms, and back, and weaving the appropriate length thru each section. Once the wire is woven into the liner, the jacket will be turned inside out and sewn inside a light pile jacket.

    My wife is making sure that my life insurance is paid up. :D

    It's a pretty simple exercise in math. The wire has a fixed resistance per foot. Power = V^2/R. V=12. R is taylored to give the proper power. I'm shooting for 30-40 W for the entire jacket. The less wire, the higher the power. I'll probably want about 30-35' of wire.

    -Jeff-
    #9
  10. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    Sorry, that would only happen if my body were really, really, really, really, rich in iron. The screws in my knee and staples in my insides are stainless, thus would make poor magnets. :D

    Hey, maybe it will be easier to trip traffic signals?

    -Jeff-
    #10
  11. Hair

    Hair Outside the boxer

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    When you think of it you could just wrap up in an old electric blanket. Convert the plug and you are good to go. :lol3
    #11
  12. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    Screw that flasher stuff. Do you want the schematic for one of my vest controllers? Simple and effective. You have to order a special transistor though, they have a low "on" resistance, which means you don't have to use a heat sink.
    #12
  13. Yellow Pig

    Yellow Pig Allergic to Asphalt!

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    Just us a road guard vest as a liner to weave the wire through, then stitch that into a fleece jacket.
    #13
  14. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    What's that?
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  15. Flood

    Flood F5lood.

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    I guess he means this:

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. xtphreak

    xtphreak from B4 "adventure bikes"

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    YES
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  17. Gringo

    Gringo simple by nature

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    I've done four garments like this - I used 28Ga. wire, and for my next I would probably use 30Ga. to reduce the amt. of wire needed to to get the same resistance; weaving the wire into the jacket with a needle is tedious work. These things work well, if you use the right kind of jacket as a base. First I did an old shelled fleece jacket and that was not too satisfactory since the fleece was between me and the heater wires; next I got a poofy quallofil down-like jacket that worked better but it was hard to keep the wires close to the inner liner fabric in such a loosely-quilted jacket, and also that sort of jacket compresses too easily whereever your outer jacket is snug, so you still get cold spots. My most successful one so far was the diamond-quilted liner that came with my wife's IXS 'Sheila' jacket - I measured enough wire for resistance that would give 45W of heat but she has still complained it's too hot (but being from a tropical country, she doesn't ride below freezing), so I'm gonna have to get some kind of heat controller to step it down. She actually got a burn on her arm from where I left a tiny bit of wire exposed where it poked out as I crossed over one of the quilt stitches - she was using it on the interstate in summertime wearing only a T-shirt underneath, she said one spot felt real hot and when we stopped she had a little blister on her arm. So be meticulous about burying your wires well, or wear full coverage clothing underneath.

    After I had good heat up top, I even tried to add heat to the legs of my old 1pc Aerostitch. I took all the wire I had left over and ran it up and down beneath the inner liner around the thighs. It worked but not great - too patchy - you do need a little insulation behind your wires to get the most out of your heaters.

    Next project is to wire up the liner of my Motoport jacket, just in case I ever need it. So far though, it's been warm enough without any help from Georg Ohm...
    #17
  18. xtphreak

    xtphreak from B4 "adventure bikes"

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    ok this cost like twice what the roll of wire etc etc costs

    seems it was $50

    I had a fleece ski vest $0
    heating panels from Kreamer Sports $50 (I think)
    SAE plug (2 for $1.99 @ NAPA)
    roller lamp switch ($1 Lowes)
    12v LED ( $2 @ Radio Shack)


    the panels are like a silicon rubber panel inside a nylon pouch, they said you can sew right thru it with no prob

    the surface temp is like 104 deg F (I think they said)

    they come in a pre-wired set of 3 (I have one each side of my chest & the center one over my kidneys)

    I'll tell ya this ... they get really warm for 24 watts of power :nod

    I got two more panels for my biceps, just never have added them in

    the glove liners are abso-fukin-lutely great :thumb

    15 watts ... uninsulated gloves

    no handguards

    no cold fingers



    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    I built my heated vest from a 10 dollar heated car seat at WalMart...
    but I don't know if they sell them in the USA.

    About 50 watts. Lots of heat!
    #19
  20. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    OK, here's a brief description of my trials & tribulations in building an electric jacket that wouldn't (immediately) immolate me.
    http://www.crystalinks.com/shc.html

    Step 1: Pick up a cheap pile jacket & a cheap nylon jacket with mesh liner. Pile jacket: $10 at Target. Cheap 2nd hand golf jacket: $8.

    Here are a couple pics of the nylon jacket. Finding something with a thin shell & a mesh liner is critical. The shell will become the part laying against the rider, and the mesh will hold the woven wire:

    [​IMG]

    Mesh Liner:
    [​IMG]

    Step 2: Obtain some stranded 30ga wire with teflon insulation. Newark doesn't carry it any more, but I found some at www.mouser.com
    For white wire, the p/n is 566-83000-100-09

    Cost for wire: ~$24 with shipping. I used less than half of the 100' spool.

    Step 3: Decide how much heat you want and cut the appropriate length of wire. Wire resistances can be found at http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm

    Power = Voltage^2/R. Important: remember that your operating voltage isn't 12V, but ~13.5V for a system that is charging. This is very important since the power is proportional to the voltage.

    I selected a length of ~40feet to give me a power around 40-45W.

    Step 4: Turn the windbreaker inside out & weave the wire thru the mesh using a large needle. I wove some thru the collar area, the upper arms, back and front of the jacket. I ran a higher weave density in the collar and front of the jacket than I did in the back. Here are a couple shots of the wire in the mesh liner:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Step 5: Place the liner into the pile jacket & stitch into place. Put in suitable power connectors (& a 5A fuse). I sewed them together along the lapels, and the ends of the sleeves. I left the bottom unstitched until I was done fiddling with my wire distribution. I ended up reweaving a couple of sections due to hot spots. When I was finished I basted the bottom together in 5 spots.

    Here are some of the finished pic's:
    [​IMG]

    I experimented with the power connector & switch. I wanted a lighted rocker, so I kludged one into the wiring. For the power connector I chose a co-axial type for an easy disconnect, should I forget to unhook myself after dismounting.

    [​IMG]

    That's about it. After a couple rearrangements of the wiring, I'm very happy with the warmth. The heated collar is great. Heating the upper arms is very nice. There's still plenty of power left over for the torso.

    Here's hoping that I don't become a human transformer the first time I ride under some high-tension power lines. :huh

    -Jeff-
    #20