DIY Heat Controller for heated gear

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by 65 Flathead, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. 65 Flathead

    65 Flathead Been here awhile

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    Some of you may be following my thread http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=514532 where I built my own heated jacket liner and gloves. Now for the heat controller.
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    As best I can tell, all the brand name heat controllers work off of PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). The circuit modulates (or cycles) off and on at a set frequency. In the case of mine 100 hz. I have read some posts that say this frequency may cause annoying interference with communications and audio gear, and the frequency should be reduced to 10 hz. I have no installed audio on my bikes so this is not a problem.
    With the frequency being constant, what you are varying is the relation of “on time” versus “off time” on each cycle. This is referred to as % Duty Cycle. For example, at 100 hz, each cycle will last one hundredth of a second (.01 sec). At a lower setting, the on time for each cycle may be 20 % of the cycle time, or .002 sec, and the off time would be 80 % (.008). At a higher setting the numbers would reverse (80% on vs 20% off) These numbers are infinitely variable between 0 and 100% duty cycle.
    This is a very effective and efficient method of regulating power.
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    While scrounging around thru my myriad piles of junk (I mean spare parts), I realized that I didn’t have all the components I needed to build a duel heat controller (15 amp PWM circuits) at my immediate disposal, and would have to break down and buy some materials. In my search, I stumbled across these units at http://store.qkits.com/moreinfo.cfm/MX033 . They are already assembled and tested, and as cheap as I could buy the individual components.
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    The only drawback with these is size. Using two of them for duel control of my jacket and gloves makes for a bulky package. I ordered the project boxes that the website listed as the correct size, but they weren’t. Fortunately they were big enough to fit both circuit cards in one with some modification.
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    I completed all the wiring before installing everything in the box.

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    Then installed.
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    While I used Size N coax power connectors on the output to be compatible with the brand name gear, I used the trusty SAE connector to connect power to the bike.
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    I removed a strong magnet off of one of those magnetic mechanic parts bowls and glued a piece of that super grip material advertised to stick on the dash of your car and hold your cell phone in place at 12 G’s or some such nonsense.
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    I then glued this to the bottom of the box.
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    I just stick it on my gas tank, plug it in, and go. I wanted my unit to be portable from bike to bike, otherwise, I would have removed the potentiometers from the circuit board, ran some shielded wire to a small box mounted around the handlebars, and tucked the rest out of the way.
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    I went on a 50 mile test run just to try everything out, and it was wonderful!! This is my first experience with heated gear, but that one ride has changed my priorities on it. Riding year round, I no longer see this as a luxury, but a necessity.
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    In retrospect, I must admit that I only saved about 30 bucks over the Warm and Safe duel controller, and don’t have nearly as compact a unit. Had I been making only a single controller, and had he box fit correctly, it would have been a good deal. Unless you’re a really hardcore do it yourselfer of just don’t have anything else to do, don’t try this at home kids.
    #1
  2. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    nice job, if you every go to V 2.0 an easier, simpler and much cheaper solution is to pick up a PWM controller designed to control a couple of PC fans. Some of them are overbuilt and can handle 10amps and they usually run about $10 at an online pc mod shop. If you get one designed to fit in a 3.5" bay it can be very small and easy to mount either permanently or in a little control box if you want to velcro it to your tank or handlebars.
    #2
  3. 65 Flathead

    65 Flathead Been here awhile

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    Good Idea, I have seen those, but didn't know they would handle that much load. Thanks
    #3
  4. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    as long as you pick one up that uses pulse width modulation to lower output instead of a rheostat and it can handle at least 10 amps PER CHANNEL you'll be fine. They even sell em as kits without mounting hardware so you can mount it anywhere you like.

    Mine is mounted in a radioshack project box which is U bolted to the center of my handlebars on my cruiser (no plastic to mount switches and knobs)
    #4
  5. JStancampiano

    JStancampiano PhotoJoe

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  6. 65 Flathead

    65 Flathead Been here awhile

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    That's the one I used. It works great, just make sure to secure the heat sink somehow. It's not attached to the circuit board, just the MOSFET. Vibration would break it if not secured.
    #6
  7. lovias

    lovias Been here awhile

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    65 Flathead--speaking of heat! The previous owner of my Connie C-10 installed 2 BMW outlets in the faring. How can I determine if they are safe to use for my electric jacket/gloves? She lived in Texas, a bit warmer down there I think, and her mechanic is somewhere even further away. Thank you.
    #7
  8. 65 Flathead

    65 Flathead Been here awhile

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    First of all, you’ll need to determine what size wire is going to the connectors. With heated jacket and gloves you “shouldn’t “draw more than 10 amps with everything on wide open. For 10 amps you need at least 18 AWG wire between the battery and connector. 16 would be better bringing your safe limit up to 20 amps. Of course a 20 amp draw in addition to headlights and ignition would be putting your alternator near cardiac arrest, but I like a little overkill on my wiring. Next I would make sure the wires going to the connectors were fused as close to the battery as possible. This protects your system in case tour controller shorts out or the wire going to the connectors shorts against the frame. If all you are running is your heat controller on the circuit, I would go with a 10 amp fuse, this should protect the wiring, and still give you the power you need for the heat.

    Hope this helps
    #8
  9. theWolfTamer

    theWolfTamer Lupie on a Mission

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    Is this what you're talking about? I want to try to make the heated gloves. Thanks.

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    #9
  10. dfc

    dfc Reluctant Cannonball

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    I applaud your effort,nicely done, even if a bit bulky. I wired in one of those q-kit pwm's for my liner. I even wired a potentiometer with an on/off switch remotely and stashed the rest of the board under the tank. In my opinion it had a problem at the low to med range supplying power.

    YMMV
    #10
  11. 65 Flathead

    65 Flathead Been here awhile

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    Did you use shielded wire to your pot? If not, this may have been the root of your ptoblem. I checked both of mine with an amp meter and I seem to have a steady range with pots mouned on the board.
    #11
  12. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    No clue, you would have to check the specs on it before ordering it up. But judging by the tiny size of the box, I'd say probably a bit weak, maybe for gloves but not a 100w liner.
    #12
  13. lovias

    lovias Been here awhile

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    65 Flathead--Thank you.
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  14. 65 Flathead

    65 Flathead Been here awhile

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    My pleasure
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  15. wos

    wos Long timer

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    I used one of the qkits and stuffed it into a cheap $2 walmart camera case. Threw it on the belt of my jacket and have easy access to adjust it.
    #15
  16. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    these look good, only $20

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    #16
  17. 65 Flathead

    65 Flathead Been here awhile

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  18. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Here is my design. I've used it for about 15 years now.
    http://ftp.pwp.att.net/w/a/wayneorwig/utils.html#heatctrl

    It is fairly simple and compact. My goal was to make it not care about polarity. In the end, I simply used a relay for the pulse width output. The relay contacts care less about polarity. They aren't too bothered by momentary overloads if you have an oops. And the contact life rating with a resistive heater load is decades.
    #18
  19. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    I'll check, saw them on ebay, if you go on ebay just search for PWM and scroll down till you see them.
    #19
  20. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    found this, costs a few bucks more, it's $34, custom dynamics sells the same thing for $38 in case you wanted to also order other stuff from them.

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    Zane® Control Products AMD-48R-12V 12vdc Mini Dimmer (pdf file) with PWM/pulse width modulation, for handheld devices and OEM applications. This a terrific size for space limited installations such as lanterns and control boxes. Rated for up to 8.0 amps in a confined space to 12.0 amps in free airflow at 12vdc. Includes knob and lock nut. You can then drill a hole in your choice of wall plates purchased locally.

    90 day limited warranty - see pdf document

    AMD-48R-12V 8-12 amp Mini Dimmer - UPC 16800
    Price good for up to 10 pieces. For larger quantity please email for quote.
    $34.00



    Also, hotgrips offers a small PWM controller knob, simple two wire hookup. However the base is rather large.

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    #20