Heated Jacket? 65 or 90 Watt?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by rycomm, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. rycomm

    rycomm Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    348
    Location:
    Lee's Summit (KC) MO
    I recently got a Firstgear heated jacket. I've been putting this off thinking I could get by with more layers. I gave in but I've been second guessing my decision after doing some post purchase research.
    I got the 90 watt jacket, thinking it would pull less current if I turned it down. I'm sure it would be fine on the V-Strom at just about anything over idle. It would probably be too much for the DRZ or TU. Should I have gotten the 65 watt version. It is still new, and I can exchange it straight out from my local dealer.
    I also got the single zone controller. Everything I've read since I bought it says the dual zone is much better. I don't have any heated gloves or pants, and haven't planned on adding any. But, heated gear may be the best investment I never knew I needed. This too is still in the package, and can be exchanged for the dual zone for the difference in price ($30, I think).
    It's starting to look a lot like winter here, and should do the exchange soon so I can get some use out of the new gear.

    Thanks,
    Ryan
    #1
  2. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,046
    Location:
    Maine
    A PWM controller can make a 90W jacket act like a 65W jacket No controller can do the opposite.

    I have a 90W jacket and like it.
    #2
  3. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,456
    Location:
    Kensington, NH USA
    I have the 90w, BUT I cheaped out, have a single controller, no problem, except when the pants are worn, the top is significantly warmer than the pants. Looking back, I could have gotten the 65w and been better off. JFWIW
    #3
  4. worwig

    worwig Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,337
    Location:
    Hog Mountain
    Install a voltmeter on the bike, and just turn it down if needed.The controller will turn it down to the same as a 65 watt, or less, easily.
    #4
  5. mookybird

    mookybird Gramps

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Olympic Peninsula, Washington State
    I have a 90 watt jacket and a dual controller, I'd suggest the same setup.

    There are so many choices that influence how the gear works, does the bike have a fairing/hand fairings etc. On my xr400 I use a heated vest with no controller, it is somewhere around 55 watts and works great compared to no heat.

    My 90 watt jacket under a snug fitting winter leather jacket is usually run on high, put the same setup under a pressure suit with a good windshell and high will cook you like a turkey, point I'm going for is every bike and setup is just enough different that you want choice/flexibility

    I think you'll be real happy with the setup you bought, if you later add gloves my experience says a dual controller is better.
    #5
  6. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,433
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    I have the 65w, & yet to need it turned all the way up. I'm wearing it under textile w/liner. The coldest I've been in so far is 30* F. YMMV
    #6
  7. spoon

    spoon Rubber's gone!

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    219
    Location:
    Snow in New Mexico
    I have the W&S 90W liner with gloves and the duel controller. When it is in the teens I will turn the liner up to maybe half way, and the gloves almost all the way up. I would probably be OK with the 65W jacket liner but I'm keeping the 90W unit. A neck sock/gator go a long way in keeping drafts from going down your neck - thus you warmer. Just my experience.
    #7
  8. StuartV

    StuartV Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,571
    Location:
    Manassas, VA
    You should ask heat-troller_mike.

    I thought the way the controller works is that when it's set at, for example, 50%, it would cycle the gear on and off several times a second, so that the total On time is 50% of the time. If so, then that means that when it is On, it's drawing the full load of power (i.e. 90W) - but only very briefly. That seems like it means the bike would need to be able to handle a 90W load, whether you ever run the jacket at 100% or not.

    That said, I personally am all about future-proofing. So I got the WnS jacket liner and the dual remote controller. Then I ended up adding the WnS heated socks and I am glad I got the dual controller! I turn on the socks before I ever turn on the jacket and generally run them at a higher setting when they are both on.

    ps. In case you didn't know, Warm n Safe makes the heated gear that First Gear sells. It's identical, just with the FG label on it.
    #8
  9. the_gr8t_waldo

    the_gr8t_waldo Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,181
    Location:
    tacoma warshington
    reguardless on what jacket you get, the power used to put you your "comfy zone" will be the same
    #9
  10. rycomm

    rycomm Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    348
    Location:
    Lee's Summit (KC) MO

    After doing my initial research, I went with the Firstgear for two reasons. The first was the many positive reveiws of it and the W&S, and second I have a well stocked semi local dealer. It does seem well built.
    I think I may just stick with what I got. If I need the 2 zone later, I guess I can sell the single. Until then, I'm not out the extra few dollars or the trip back to the store to exchange it.

    I think I may hook it up to my power supply with a watt meter hooked up in line and see exactly what it is pulling at different power levels.
    I thought of doing this earlier, but didn't want to take it out of the package if I was going to need to exchange any of it.

    I may have a bit of time this weekend, if I'm lucky.

    Also, does anyone know how many "spare" watts a DRZ puts out.

    Thanks, Ryan
    #10
  11. rjsurfer

    rjsurfer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    207
    A couple of things, first the DRZ puts out 200 watts not as much as I would like but after making a few changes on the bike it works out OK with my heated gear.I changed out the headlight to an HID, a nice savings of 35 watts or so from my Halogen bulb (plus twice the light). Changed my rear stop/running light to LED another nice savings. And lastly ran 14 gauge wires directly from the regulator to the battery bypassing the poor OEM wiring and plugs.

    I run a 75 watt jacket and 17 watt gloves with no problem now, my newly installed voltage indicator never drops below 12.5 volts. And to be on the safe side I shut everything down 5 minutes before I get to my destination.

    When you check your current draw test it when riding if you can, I know my setup draws very little juice when standing still when I'm on the bike and the wind and cold are blowing through my jacket that's when you see the real draw,

    If you're really worried. get the kick start option for the DRZ, around $200, something I have been thinking about.


    Ron W.
    #11
  12. jgas

    jgas Stoogely Adventurerer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    843
    I have been looking at the cheaper end heated vests. I don't usually go on long fast rides, I do stuff like ride dirt roads to a singletrack area, ride, camp, then ride home. My time at high speed on pavement is not much but my time at 35-40 mph on dirt roads followed by some tight singletrack is alot. I just hate to invest in an expensive setup when I know I'll likely tear it mess it up somehow.

    I have been looking at some cheapie heated vests from Sportsman's Guide and Cheaper than Dirt for around 50 bucks, but they all seem to only heat the back area which would be ok for me. I'll have layers and a heavy riding jacket over the vest to keep the heat in. Often I overheat rather than get too cold whenever I hit the slow trails.

    Anyone try any of the inexpensive vests? Any to stay away from?
    #12
  13. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,046
    Location:
    Maine
    It is true that at 50% the jacket will draw 90W when on and 0W when off. If your charging system cannot supply the entire 90W then the battery will supply the difference. The charging system needs to only supply the average or net power draw (plus a little more) or just over 45W in this example. The battery will smooth out the voltage changes if the changes are fast enough -- kind of like a shock absorber on small road irregularities. If you use a switch to manually turn the jacket on and off, the voltage will change -- the same way a shock absorber cannot smooth the road rising and falling over longer distances.

    A PWM controller with high frequency makes the changes mostly invisible to your battery and charging system.

    I use a 90W jacket at full power on bikes with 210W and 280W alternators. On a bike with a 170W alternator I can draw the battery voltage down low enough that the alternator takes a while to charge it back up.
    #13
  14. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,711
    Location:
    Minn.
    I picked up a used Gerbings heated jacket LINER, and wear it under a Darien. I don't have ANY controller, and just run it flat out/wide open on my KLR, with no problems. I just flip the inline lighted switch off for awhile if I get too warm. Not a problem. Even the collar is heated. I rode 135 miles on Thanksgiving up here--- it snowed. I was toasty.

    Gerbings got good gear me thinks... :wink:
    #14
  15. mookybird

    mookybird Gramps

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    213
    Location:
    Olympic Peninsula, Washington State
    Jgas.... I don't remember the cost, I think it was over $100. my heated vest is made in Canada by Black Jack and the plug is the same as a battery tender and it plugs directly into the pigtail on the bike which makes no controller necessary.

    If I recall it's about 55 watts and it's a robust, high quality product. I use it on an old xr400 with a baja designs dual sport kit. The battery pack is a small rechargeable unit designed to pass the dmv requirements and has no useable function beyond that.

    I've run hundreds "actually thousands" of miles with this setup on and while the headlight is pretty useless while running the vest, the heat is enough to make a huge difference on late season trips when it's cold in the mornings and evenings.

    I really like the vest, on my local commuter bike which has a big afterrmarket electrical system I still use my gen 4 jacket only because the wiring in the sleeves makes the use of heated gloves easier. If not for that detail I would choose the vest over the jacket liner everytime because it layers much easier, puts out a nice amount of heat an rolls into a tight bundle that slides into a small pocket on the vest that carrys my tools etc on offroad rides.

    If I recall Black Jack makes their gear inhouse on vancouver island "don't quote me on that because I'm not sure, this was an impulse purchase on a road trip in BC" they are made in suit sizes so you can get one that fits well.
    #15
  16. StuartV

    StuartV Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,571
    Location:
    Manassas, VA
    One of the benefits of good heated gear is that you don't have to wear all those extra layers. That pays off in 2 ways. One, you're more comfortable riding when you don't feel like the Michelin man. And two, you turn the liner up to Hi when you're toodling along "getting there". Then, when you hit the singletrack and, normally, you would take off layers to keep from getting hot, you just turn the heated liner down or off. No need to remove layers and no need to overheat when you get to the slow, tight stuff.

    It seems that many riders approach cold weather riding by layering up and then, when that's still not enough, they add the heated gear. I think that approach is backwards. I put on my summer riding gear. If it's too cold for that, then the next thing I add is my heated liner(s). If it's still too cold, with the heated gear at max, THEN I think about adding long johns and/or fleece or whatever.

    I hate feeling like a stuffed sausage casing when I'm riding.
    #16
  17. BobB

    BobB Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    33
    I have the 65W jacket liner and gloves running off the same controller - which isn't the best setup. The gloves run really hot when I crank up the controller enough to make the jacket warm enough. Next time I'll go for the 90w jacket liner.

    I recently added a pants liner and socks and another single controller. I also now have a built in controller on the 'strom.

    So any ideas on what is the best way to set things up when using all four items? (keeping an eye on the voltmeter of course...)
    #17
  18. dman

    dman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    677
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    That's pretty much what I do but I see by your profile that you're also in Northern California. Most places we can get to warmer climes pretty quickly and it's not that cold. anyway. I'd hate to be stuck somewhere REALLY cold with a heated gear failure and no backup. I keep a direct battery connection available to bypass my controller if it fails.

    -dman
    #18
  19. KansasKawboy

    KansasKawboy KK

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    969
    Location:
    Outside Kansas City
    Ryan I have the dual controler because I have a jacket, pants, gloves, and socks. I control the top half with one side and the bottom half with the other.

    You can run the jacket on your TU, I run all of my stuff on mine.
    I have this power point on the handle bars.
    [​IMG]

    and bought this handy plug in volt meter at wally world
    [​IMG]

    I mount the volt meter on my tank bag
    [​IMG]

    the voltage drops when the gear cycles on but I can ride in stop and go traffic and it still does alright. I always shut the heated gear off about a mile from my stop so the battery is fully charged.
    #19
  20. StuartV

    StuartV Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,571
    Location:
    Manassas, VA
    My philosophy is, if my heated gear fails, I'll find the nearest Walmart or equivalent and buy some sweats, etc, to get me home. If I'm going to be riding where I'll be too far from civilization (and I use that term loosely when I'm using it to mean "someplace with a Walmart") to risk having no heat, then I'll pack along the long johns and fleece, just in case.
    #20