Electric Heated Jacket How-To

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Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby RatherBRiding » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:43 pm

OK so I made a heated jacket to wear since it got really cold and I'm still commuting to and from work. I thought I'd share a How-to in case anyone else was interested. I will say that my jacket may end up without the sleeves (making it a vest). I didn’t use any wires in the sleeves and it’s kind of bulky in my arms with my other layers. I’m still evaluating if I want to cut them out or not. I can’t put them back so I’m still undecided.

Parts list:
*Jacket you don't mind tearing up. I got mine at Walmart for $5. It needs to be snug so I went down a size (I bought a medium and usually wear a large).
*24' of Nichrome wire, 26 guage. I bought mine from MCMaster-Carr. It was around $16 shipped and was WAY more than I needed.
*non-insulated wire crimps. I used the small, red connectors and just took the plastic off.
*4' Connection wire (I used some 2 conductor speaker wire. Probably 16 or 18 gauge). Just measure it around your waist and add 16” or so.
*Male & Female connector to wire to bike.
*Inline fuse holder with a 5A fuse.
*On/Off toggle switch.
*Stitch Witchery sheets. (I used this to fuse my jacket and the added material instead of trying to sow it together.)
*Material of some kind to conceal wire. (I bought some remnant fleece at Joann's for about $4.)

***Note*** If you already know how to calculate the load you want to build into your jacket OR you just don't care how to and want to take my word for it, skip to the next part ***Build instruction***
First, a general electronic understanding:
P=Power, E=Voltage, I=Current, R=Resistance (in Ohms)

Ohm’s Law Power: Conversions: Parallel Resistance Addition:

E = I x R P = I x E P = (E x E)/R (1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 + 1/R4) = 1/RR
I = E/R I = P/E P x R = (E x E)
R = E/I E = P/I R = (E x E)/P



So, if we are going to make a 50 watt Jacket... We know the voltage and power, We just need the resistance. R = (E x E)/p; R = (14.5 x 14.5)/50, R = 210.25/50, R = 4.205 Ohms. I rounded this to 4 ohm just to be simple. so the jacket is actually about 52.5 Watts at 14.5 supply voltage. (Remember our batteries are being supplied by our regulators at close to 14.5 Volts).

We are going to use a parallel circuit to use as our load. When resisters (or our "load") are in parallel, you divide 1 by each resister value (1/R), add them together (1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 + 1/R4), then divide 1 by this sum [1/(1/R1+ 1/R2 + 1/R3 + 1/R4)]. We know we want 4 ohms total (that's the "sum" from above). (1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 + 1/R4) = 1 divided by 4 = .25, since all the loads will be the same resistance, we can simplify this circuit by saying (1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 +1/R4) = 1/R x 4. So, 1/R x 4 =.25. Divide both sides by 4 and you get 1/R = .25/4 = .0625. 1/.0625 = 16. So, each of our parallel loads need to be 16 ohms.

Lets look at this again, without all the words :D

(1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 + 1/R4) = 1/RR
(1/R) x 4 = ¼
(1/R) x 4 = .25
[(1/R x 4]/4 = .25/4
1/R = .0625
R = 1/.0625
R = 16


***Build Instructions***
This is what we are going for:
Heated Jacket.JPG


First, fold your jacket so the inside, back of the jacket is facing you. Make sure it’s as smooth as possible.

Jacket back flat start.JPG


Lay your Stitch Witchery on the jacket and cut it to about the same size as the back of the jacket.

Stitch Witchery Back.JPG


Now take your Stitch Witchery you cut out and use it as a pattern to cut out your covering material (fleece is what I used).

Stitch Witchery fleece.JPG

Fleece.JPG


Now lay your jacket, inside of the back facing you. Lay wires straight, starting at the bottom and run them to the shoulder, 2 on each side. Make sure the wires don’t touch. In my picture you will see I didn’t gather the wires together at the bottom. I wish I had gathered the 2 on the left together and the 2 on the right together. This would have made 1 less connection when I got to the power connections. I used some tape to hold the wires in place. Just make sure you use the tape far enough away from the Stitch Witchery so the tape doesn’t get inside the jacket.

Back SW with wires.JPG


Now cover your Stitch Witchery and wires with the cover material (again, I used fleece).

back with fleece & wires.JPG


Next, get a towel large enough to cover the jacket. Wet it and ring it out. Lay the damp towel on top of the fleece.

Towel.JPG


Now for the iron. Follow the instructions on the Stitch Witchery package. Here are the high-lights. Turn the iron on, I used the wool setting. Hold the iron down on one spot at a time. I started at the shoulder and worked my way down. Don’t move the iron back and for the like you would to iron a shirt. Just hold it in one spot for 25 - 30 seconds. Then move on to the next spot. After you get the entire back ironed, flip it over, re wet your towel (don’t forget to wring it out) and do it from the outside, too.

Iron Back.JPG


The wires are about 6’ in length which is longer than the jacket would use if I just installed straight pieces. On the back part of the jacket I installed the wires in a straight line since most of the wind hits in the front, I wanted the additional wires (heat) in the front. Since the back had straight wires and I only used about 2 to 2.5 feet across the back, I’ve got 3.5+ feet to use in the front. This means I can “zigzag” the wires side to side to take up the additional length. Remember to keep the wires from touching.

Heated Jacket Front.JPG
Heated Jacket Front.JPG (16.33 KiB) Viewed 2872 times


Before installing the front part of the wires, make sure to measure out your Stitch Witchery and your cover material (Fleece).

Here is a picture of one of the sides in the front with the Stitch Witchery. Look close and you can see the wires and how they are laid out in the zigzag pattern. I used pins to hold the wire in place. I expected them to be hard to remove after ironing the material together, but they weren’t.

Front WS & wires 2.JPG


Next, lay your cover material on top of the Stitch Witchery and wire. Put your damp towel and press the iron for 25 – 30 seconds (just like you did on the back).

Now you’re ready to connect all your wires. My jacket had a small opening/pocket type thing at the very bottom. Just large enough to slid the “hook up” wire (speaker wire) in. I laid the jacket flat, spread out so the bottom of it was straight and flat. I cut a small slit in the bottom (using my cutters) at the left side edge of the jacket and at every place the heating wires would be connected and fed the speaker wire through.

Cut holes 4 wires.JPG


Her you can see a couple of the heating wires (if you look hard enough) next to the hook up wire.

Wires1.JPG


Next, you need to strip off some insulation from your hook up wires and crimp your heat wires to it. Pay special attention to which wires go with which hook up wires. The heat wires in the front go to your hot wire (+12 volts) and the ones on the back side go to the ground wire. Actually it doesn’t really matter which side (front or back) gets the hot or ground, just as long as you make it the same on both side. If you connected the hot to both sides of the heat wire, it will never get hot. I just designated hot in front, ground in back, to help keep it simple.

On a side note, I did use a dash of solder on all the connectors. The Nichrome wire doesn’t solder well since it has such a high heat tolerance, but it helped fill in any gaps in the connector and “smoothed out” the ruff edges of the crimps… And it couldn’t hurt, right??

Here is a drawing of what it would look like if the sides of the jacket were cut and you laid it flat.

Jacket spread with wires.JPG


Here are a few pics of the hook up wire crimped with the heat wires.

Wires4.JPG


Wires with crimps.JPG


This next pic you will see the 2 long wires out of the side. This is where I put my connector that will connect to the bike. Make sure you sit on your bike, decide where your going to connect your vest to, and measure from that point to where the wires come out of the jacket. Min is about 2 feet or so.

Wires3.JPG


The next pic is with the connector on and wires covered. Notice the Velcro attached to the connector wire? This is so I can secure the wire inside the jacket when I’m not riding (say in a restaurant eating lunch, etc). You don’t want to look like some weird-o with a wire hanging from somewhere in your crotch area :roll

Connector and wire 2.JPG


Here’s a pic of the wire Velcro-ed to the inside of the jacket.

Connector velcro.JPG
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby RatherBRiding » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:54 pm

A few of the completed jacket.

Front outside.JPG


Front inside.JPG


Back outside.JPG


Back inside.JPG


Next, let’s hook it up to the bike.

You need a place to put your switch. I stole 97CatNTenn’s location for his fan switch.

Switch 1.JPG


You will run your hot wire from your battery, through a fuse, to the switch, out of the switch, and to the connector. The ground wire will go directly from your negative battery to your connector. The connector I used is a simple 2 position that I found in the trailer light hook up section at Autozone. Any kind of connector should work. Just make sure the hot side is not able to short out against the frame when not plugged into the jacket. I know other people have used RCA connectors (female on the bike, male on the jacket) but I liked the trailer type connector better. It seems to be a little more water resistant that a mounted RCA plug. And I can tuck it under the seat in the summer and it could double as a battery tender connector if/when I ever buy one.
Here is a pic of how to wire it.

Bike wiring.JPG


Under the seat. The jacket is the orange fused wire. The other 2 inline fuse wires are for my Audio Amp and my GPS.

Battery connection 1.JPG


Here is the connector with the seat installed.

Bike Connector 2.JPG


There you have it. Enjoy heat throughout the winter. Add the heated grips (see other resent threads about that) and you will be toasty.

Jaymee
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby sweetlou » Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:29 pm

Wow!

How does the heat wire connect to the speaker wire to run out of the jacket?

This seems awfully affordable!

Lou
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby RatherBRiding » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:26 pm

Hey Lou, I just used some crimps. Twist the heat wire to the speaker wire (or what ever type of wire you are going to use) and slide the bullet crimp over the wire and crimp it. I did solder the connection, but just as a precaution. The Nichrome wire has a high heat tolerance so the solder really doesn't "bond" with it but since it's twisted with the copper hook up wire (speaker wire) and crimped, I didn't think it could hurt.

I hope I answered your question....

And yes, the cost was less than $40 and that included all the conectors and everything, although I had some stuff already, like the speaker wire, the bullet connectors, etc.

Jaymee
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby Ride4Life » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:33 pm

Whoa! ... nice!

I know you said you were going to do it ... but i honestly thought
you were kidding when you said it.

Another Hall-of-Fame post for the how-to's and CAPP's.
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby RatherBRiding » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:03 pm

Ride4Life wrote:Whoa! ... nice!

I know you said you were going to do it ... but i honestly thought
you were kidding when you said it.

Another Hall-of-Fame post for the how-to's and CAPP's.



Thanks. Oh I was very serious!! It heats up nicely. I road in last week when it was 12 deg outside and I was toasty warm. Only thing cold was my face and I had my Balaclava on. I was even a little too warm when I got stuck in traffic while leaving work when it was about 30 deg.

Next on the list is a trim pot so I can adjust the wattage so I can dial it down a tad when I'm sitting in traffic or when it's warmer outside.

Jaymee
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby CoolJoker197 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:07 pm

great topic, i've got the vest from my teknic jacket that i never use to play around with this.
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby 97catintenn » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:49 pm

Why didn't you post in the How-To section under The Master List?
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby RatherBRiding » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:02 pm

97catintenn wrote:Why didn't you post in the How-To section under The Master List?


I PMed back and forthe with Dr Dave and he put it in the How To Master List.

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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby thesnowgod » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:35 pm

GREAT How To. Definitely moving to the How To section. ;)
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby 97catintenn » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:53 pm

Very nice work on the how-to. They don't just happen on the their own. For one, you actually have to do the work and then photograph it and write a report on it :lol


It starts off easy, and you did a very nice job with it!
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby zero420 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:39 pm

HAHAHA that is sick!
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+1

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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby ClayB600R » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:37 am

oh surreee...now i see thiss too bad its not 20 degrees anymore :p im just playin man, great work! i will be making me one of these in the very near future. would you mind if i shared this with other riders back home?
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Re: Electric Heated Jacket How-To

Postby RatherBRiding » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:51 pm

ClayB600R wrote:oh surreee...now i see thiss too bad its not 20 degrees anymore :p im just playin man, great work! i will be making me one of these in the very near future. would you mind if i shared this with other riders back home?


Hey, it will get cold again. It happens every year during the winter :jester

Feel free to share this. That's why I made it. :cheers

I received a few PM's from a member that has some concerns on the Nichrome wire. I'm paraphrasing our conversation, he doesn't want me to copy and paste our PM's due to work issues with his boss.

Anywho, he wanted me to mention that if the wire gets bent a lot it could heat up at the bend and burn someone. I haven't had any problems but I've only used mine about a dozen times so far. In doing my research, I did hear off some others having problems when they did sleeves on their jackets. Apparently the movement up and down, back and forth and so on, caused the wires to break and the sleeves no longer worked. Since the jacket is wired in parallel, if one "leg" has a break, the rest will work but get hotter (use more power).

Also, according to my source, if the wire gets saturated in water (just don't try and go swimming with it.... or ride around in the rain without rain gear) it can cause failure as well.

My source recommends using copper wire. In doing my research, I found other that used copper wire but to get the correct resistance, you had to use A LOT OF IT. I just didn't want to try and hide all that wire inside a jacket. It could be done, and actually has been done, but the one's that have used it switched to the Nichrome wire due to it's higher resistance per foot. It's really up to you if you want to use it or not. My source also suggests using something similar to what's in electric grips. I'm not sure how easy it would be to get that much (or little if you were to order it in mass quantity) but it would be ideal if it was readily available. The others that used copper, just stripped it out of some Cat5 (Ethernet) computer cable.

So, I guess I just want to make sure everyone knows this isn't a $150 heated jacket that's been through quality control and you do this at your own risk. So far, mines great and I'm glad I did it. It's a little warm during 40 degree days if you layered up for the 20 degree morning. I just have to learn to leave a layer or 2 off for the trip home :ok

Anywho, any questions, just PM me...

Jaymee
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