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Heated Gear, Do It Yourself ( ST1100/ST1300 ) *

Started by KoTAOW, October 24, 2009, 02:54:48 AM

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Original photos and written procedure by Ken Hastie:


D.I.Y. Heated Jacket for Motorcycling

Toasty for a tenner...

If you are determined to put your motorcycle away during the winter, these words may not be of much use to you. If you already venture out in cold temperatures, then you will know how uncomfortable it can be when the cold takes it's toll. Read on and you will find out how you can eliminate most of this discomfort at surprisingly little cost, and perhaps even be tempted to keep the bike on the road during the winter months, when a whole new opportunity is available to you to see a different environment on two wheels.

Winter motorcycling can actually be a lot of fun!

As a newly-married and hard-up youngster, I remember travelling to work on my 250cc BSA C15 out of necessity. They were cold days, and I would frequently take quite some time to thaw out before I was of any use to my employer. These days were brought back to memory vividly when I rode from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to York one cold weekend in November to see one of my sons. I was so chilled, I had to stop at a Little Chef 15 miles before York to thaw out by way of a pot of tea, and gloves held under the hot air hand dryer in the Gents!

Motorcycle clothing technology

As in all areas, technology has advanced, and not least in respect of your beloved two-wheeled activity. Modern motorcycle clothing tends to be of better quality, offering greater protection against the elements, and I can attest to this by recently completing a 700 mile weekend trip to the Isle of Mull on my 750cc BSA Rocket 3, sometimes in ideal conditions, but at other times in horrendous and very wet conditions, yet my good lady and I stayed bone dry. It has taken me something like 25 years to settle on a good combination of clothing, which is basically Hein Gerecke leathers with quilted liner and flexible Hiprotec body protection, a Moto-line waterproof oversuit, Alt-berg made to measure leather boots with waterproof membrane, and Rukka overmitts.

Keeping warm

So that takes care of wet weather protection; warmth is quite another matter. It is best to avoid the body core temperature dropping, because once this has happened, it is extremely difficult to restore it. Also, it is a natural function of your body to reduce the blood supply to your outermost extremeties when the core temperature drops too far. Hence your fingers and toes feel the cold first, followed by your hands, arms and legs. Such modern devices as electrically-heated handlebar grips and heated clothing are wonderful things, but can be expensive, and on older motorcycles can draw more current than the bike can produce. I have heated grips which cost £39.00 but have the nice feature of a manually selectable start-up power consumption of 45 watts, and an ongoing consumption of 15 watts, which is no more than a rear stop/brake light bulb. It is only necessary to run at the 45 watt setting for a couple of minutes, and then 15 watts is quite sufficient to maintain that temperature.

Commercially available heated vests

Heated vests are available, mostly from USA manufacturers such as Gerbing and Widder, but they can be expensive, starting at around £120.00. They work on the principle that high resistance wires are used which generate heat when a current is passed through them. A new jacket about to be launched has used a new concept which is to use electrically conductive carbon woven material, which is claimed to be more reliable and effective, but will only be available in North America, and the cost is expected to be around US$ 200.00.

The "do-it-yourself" option

However, there is another option, which is to make your own, and it is not as difficult as you may think. Being a Northerner, where we have a reputation for being 'careful' with our hard-earned readies, I recently set about doing just that and was surprised how inexpensive and easy it was, especially given my limited knowledge of electronics. I located a couple of items on the internet that described how to do it, and it was the webpage of Sue Diaz that appealed to me, because it looked the simplest way to do it. If you have access to the World Wide Web then the U.R.L. is

I selected this method because of it's simplicity. It uses a single length of thin wire which acts as your heating element, and is therefore quite easy to work with, and avoids the need for too many cable joins, which can be a source of difficulty if you don't have nimble fingers and good eyesight !

I have been using the heated vest now for two years, and no problems apart from one occasion when I had to repair the connection between the heating element and the power supply cable.

The technical bit (you can skip it if you want; you don't need it)

Here are some derivations of Ohm's Law which may help you in your calculations. It doesn't really matter if it is all gobbledegook. I am not an Electronics Engineer, and managed quite adequately without it.

Volts = Amperes x Ohms
Amperes = Volts / Ohms
Ohms = Volts / Amperes
Watts = Volts x Amperes
Watts = (Volts x Volts) / Ohms
Watts = Amperes x Amperes x Ohms
Ohms = Watts / (Amperes x Amperes)

The heating element

Wire is available in many thicknesses (gauges) and you need to select one which will provide sufficient resistance to generate the heat you are seeking, yet without drawing too much power from your electrical system. I used a 100ft reel of 30awg (American wire guage) wire from RS Components for £8.00; R.S. Part Number 177-0621, and here is the specification if you are really interested (you don't need to be):

30 awg conductor 7 x 0.1mm strands 4 amp maximum current Total thickness 0.81mm Temperature rated to 200 deg c - much more than you will ever see!

This is a relatively low resistance PTFE coated wire which is U.L. listed, so I didn't have to translate into swg (Standard wire gauge). The PTFE insulation on the wire is suitable for high temperature, and also has a slippery feel which makes it easier to thread into any garment. This particular wire has a resistance of about 0.1 ohm per foot, and I started by cutting off a 40 ft length, then gradually cutting down two feet at a time until I reached my target of about 3.0 ohms. In fact, the 30 feet length I ended up using, provided 2.9 ohms which was near enough to what I was looking for.

As the resistance is 2.9 ohms, the current draw is 13.8 volts/2.9 ohms = 4.75 amps.
Wattage is (13.8 x 13.8 volts) / 2.9 ohms = 65 watts

The embarrassing bit

This is where you have to hide from your friends (and your wife) in case they see you with a sewing needle in your hand ! I bought a knitters sewing needle and ground a sharp point on to it, as they are normally quite blunt. The eye of the needle was just the right size to grip the wire as it was pulled through, so I didn't 'lose' the end. I sewed the wire into the torso area of my quilted vest which zips in and out of my Hein Gericke jacket. It is best to try to sew the wire into the quilt itself to avoid too many bits of wire showing. You can do this by sewing up the liner a few inches then come out again, and then sew back in to the same hole you just made for the next few inches.

If you don't have a detachable liner, then buy a cheap quilted bodywarmer instead, the thinner the better. How you sew the wire that is to act as your heating element is up to you, but I calculated that I had enough wire to manage four runs up and down each breast, and then 7 runs up and down the back, and a couple of runs horizontally across the lower back. Don't be fooled into believing you need all the heat at the front of the vest - you don't! Runs across the lower back are very important.

Cable connections

It is important to have both loose ends of the wire exiting the vest at roughly the same point, as you have to attach a twin core cable to the ends. In my case, I used a 6 amp multistranded twin-core cable and Lucas-type traditional brass bullet connectors

Strip about 15mm of insulation from the ends of the thin and thick cables, and feed them in to opposite ends of the bullet connectors. Then heat up the connector with a soldering iron and fill with solder. I used lengths of heat shrink sleeve material to cover the resultant join. As an alternative to a soldered joint, you can use a vice to just crimp the bullet connector closed, and then cover with heat shrink tubing. I did try crimping pliers but could not get sufficient force to compress the bullet connector properly, so in to the vice it went. Perfect. 

The power supply lead

The trailing lead of the 6 amp twin core cable should be about 30cm long, so that you can make a loop and secure it to the vest to avoid pulling. You can do this by stitching the cable into place, or by using a few small nylon cable ties, and looping them through the quilted fabric by piercing it. A small plug was attached to the end of this cable which then lies just at the base of the jacket, so it accessible by you when you are ready to plug in. This fitted into a matching socket which I attached to more twin core cable, which ran to a little plastic control box I made up to attach to the handlebars, housing a rocker switch, a 12v LED, and a 5 amp blade fuse. This then ran to the power supply on the bike.

You can choose your own plugs and sockets, but I would mention two things:

You need plugs and sockets that are capable of carrying a load of around 5 amps You need plugs and sockets that will easily come apart should you dismount from the bike and forget to unplug yourself first ! You don't want to exert undue force on the cable leading to your jacket. Remember the heating element cable is only 0.8 mm thick !

I used plug and socket connectors from RS (part number 424-579) which are like "chocolate block" connectors, but with slide in pins. They are easy to wire up, the screw terminals can be sealed with silicone, and they take 10 amps. I did once forget to unplug them when I got off the bike, and they plug separated from the socket easily without any damage.


When I came to test the finished item, at first I couldn't work out why there was no apparent heat in the vest, but my bench testing (literally) used a normal battery I removed from my BSA Rocket 3. A friend on the Internet (Mark Robinson) who is an electronics engineer, suggested the battery on it's own wouldn't provide the power and suggested attaching a battery charger as well. This did provide lukewarm heat, which led me to believe I may have unsatisfactory connections from the 30awg heating element wire to the 6 amp power supply wire.

However, this was not the case, because when I first plugged the set-up into my Triumph Trophy 1200 power supply, and made a test run up to the Cheviot Hills, where I knew there was a bit of snow, it worked perfectly ! Clearly, my vest needed the extra power produced by the bikes alternator to give sufficient power to heat up the vest. I also found that my BSA Rocket 3 alternator also generated enough power to heat the vest. The heat that is generated is at a level that really gives you some comfort. I have used it many times since, and in temperatures below freezing and it has proved to be worth it's weight in gold. In fact I masochistically switch it off for ten minutes or so just to remind me (smugly) how effective it really is, and all for a cost of a few pounds. In fact the reel of wire I bought has also been used by my friends to make another two heated vests.

Other garments can be heated in much the same way, such as gloves and leggings, but wire length and thickness have to be calculated to provide sufficient heat, without drawing too much power.

Try it for gives a whole new take on Winter motorcycling.

© 2006 Ken Hastie, all rights reserved


Original photos and written procedure by Amilcar Hernandez :


Home Made Heated Clothing

I am cold natured and I want to be more comfortable while riding in cold weather. I looked at several commercially made heated clothing, but I was put off by the high cost of the garments. I am always looking for ways to save money; mostly because I have so little of it and want to stretch, my hard earn dollars. I surfed the Internet and found several articles that helped me with my project. I want to thank all the people that were kind enough to post their home made hested clothing projects and information. With their help, I was able to create this write-up, to help me with my hested liner project. If you are thinking about doing the same, I hope this write-up will help you.

Electrical Equations and Info:
Gerbing rates their heated full jacket liner at 77 watts, and Widder rates their heated vest at 48 watts, so I figure that I would shoot for somewhere in between. I am not an electric engineer, so I made sure that I had some understanding of the Ohms and Amperage equations before starting my project. The Ohms Law is a mathematical equation that shows the relationship between Voltage, Current, and Resistance in an electrical circuit. It is stated as:

To solved for amps:    
Amps = Volts / Ohms
13.5 volts divided by 2.7 ohms = 5 amps

To solve for watts:
Watts = Volts x Amps Example:
4.5 Amps x 13.5 Volts = 60.75 Watts

When measuring for resistance (ohms) take into account the connecting wire, intermediate cable, and inline fuse holder. A short wire will heat-up quickly and will generate increased heat. A longer wire will heat-up slower and will generate less heat.

Reference Chart (13.5 volt)


Wind chill at a range of wind speeds and ambient temperatures


  0 MPH 25 30 35 40 45 50
15 MPH131925323845
30 MPH81522283542
45 MPH51219263340
60 MPH31017253239


All you need are a few simple tools which you probably already have.

• Large upholstery needle

• Sewing needle and thread

• Wire cutter or knife

• Wire strippers

• Soldering iron

• Volt/Ohm meter


Beldon Mfr Part#: 83043 002100
• Hook-Up Wire
• Conductor Size AWG:30
• Jacket Color:Red
• Jacket Material:Teflon
• No. Strands x Strand Size:7 x 38
• Conductor Material:Copper
• Outer Diameter:0.024"
• Spool Length (Imperial):100ft


Belden wire  $27.79 for a 100 ft. roll.

Connector:             $1.99
This connector is small, tough, and inexpensive.
You can buy a 2-pole flat connector at any automotive parts store, or at Radio Shack # 270-026 or 270-025

Lower Cord:          $1.99
I decided to use lamp cord wire, to connect the jacket/liner to the bike's battery, because it is limber and tough.
Any 18 AWG, lamp cord wire or the cord from an old iron will work. Radio Shack # 61-2852

Insulated Large Ring Tongues:           $1.69
You can use crimp insulated large ring tongues, to connect to the battery post or what ever you feel is best for you.

Inline Fuse Holder:           $2.99
This type of fuse folder can be found at any auto parts store or Radio Shack.

Push Button Switch:          $4.99
I found this switch a Pep Boys Automotive Store. I used this switch to control my wife’s jacket.
I installed the switch under the right passenger armrest.

Push Button Switch:          $2.59
This push-On push-Off switch is used for a connection with a relay. The switch is small and can be installed on
numerous locations. To install, requires a 3/8" mounting hole.
Radio Shack # 275-1565

Inline Lamp Swith:           $3.75
This switch is available at Home Depot, Lowell, and most electrical and hardware stores.
This swith is used for the simple heated clothing connection. The swith is easy to install.

Heat Controller:           $39.95
I have not had the need for a heat controller. If my next heated project is to hot I may consider this option

Heat-Shrink Tubing:           $2.29
I decided to solder all the connections, and finish the soldered connections with heat-shrink tubing. Radio Shack # 278-1627

The Garment:
You can wire just about anything, but here are some suggestions:

1. A thin lightweight jacket that is not to loose. A snug fit works better.
2. Make sure the jacket, vest, or liner is lightly quilted.
3. The winter removable jacket liner is a popular item.
1. Study the garment that you will wire-up, and plan the route that you want the wire to have.
2. voiding routing the wire over bony areas like the collarbones, shoulder blades, spinal cord, and elbows.
3. You need less heat to the lower back, if your bike has a back backrest.

Wire the Garment:
On my first project, I used my Joe Rocket jacket liner. I did not have to have to take apart the jacket liner. I used a large upholstery needle to wire the liner. I found it easier to thread the wire through a section of the liner (12 to 16 inches). Pull the wire out and into again to the next section.

I used 25 feet of wire, for the liner. I did not have to tack the wire in place because the jacket liner has vertical stitching that prevents the wire from moving around. Depending on the garment, you may have to add a stitch to the wire 6 to 12 inch apart, to keep the wire in place.

I soldered the heating wire to the connector.

Shrink tubing was used to insulate and sure the wire.

I secured the connector at the seam at the bottom left of the liner, with black nylon upholstery grade thread.

His and hers heated clothing connections.

The Switch:
I opted for a relay and push button connection, to control the heat. I wanted a easy to reach button and opted for a handlebar installation. With my left thumb I can turn off the heat without letting go of the grip.

1.  I made a template out of paper.
2.  Next, I placed the template over a 1/16" thick piece of aluminum stock.
3.  I marked out the pattern and cut the aluminum.
4.  After cutting the aluminum I made two bends.
5.  Drilled a 3/8" hole for the push button switch, and a 3/16" hole for the mounting screw.
6.  Bought a stainless steal 5m x 55m bolt.

The Connection:
1.  The first thing I did was to remove the seat and the battery cover.
2.  Next, I installed my homemade switch bracket under the horn button, but first I had to unscrew one of the 5m screws
     under the switch control assembly. The original 5m x 45m screw was replaced with a new longer stainless steal 5m x 55m screw.
3.  I soldered a 4 ft section of wire, to the terminals on the switch. Then I ran the wire down the left handlebar and under the
     shelter and to the seat.
4.  The switch has very little voltage going through it and when the switch is pushed ON the relay will close the circuit
     allowing voltage to the connector plug. I used a 30 amp automotive relay.

I used a low profile push button switch that I bought at Pep Boys, for my wife's connection, and installed the switch under the right side passenger armrest.

First, I had to get an understanding of a relay switch and how it is wired. The Radio Shock 30-amp relay has the following wiring schematic.

I interpreted the schematic as follows:

87 â€" connects to the M/C battery (positive)

30/51 â€" connects to the positive side of the switch

86 â€" connects to the ground side of the switch

85 â€" connects to ground or the master grounding block

NOTE: The pins 86 and 85 activate the relay's internal switch. Little current is needed for these pins, a 20ga wire is adequate. Pins 30 and 87 are interchangeable and so are pins 86 and 85

Amilcar Hernandez © Copyright Aumi & Rosie's Gold Wing Page, All rights reserved


Heat Contollers

Several options are available for controlling "home made heated gear".

Commercial products:

Warm n Safe© ( $69.95 to $99.95 ):

The Heat-Troller© is a pulse-width modulated controller with a 1 second cycle time. That means that over a 1 second period, the power is turned on from about 10% to 100% of the time, adjustable with the knob on the controller. When the power is turned on, full power is applied to the load. In the example given, if the heated grip are 16 Watts each and the Heat-Troller is adjusted to 50%, the grips will get 16 Watts for half a second, then no power for half a second, giving an average of 8 Watts of power. The Heat-Troller is more efficient than a rheostat because it makes very little wasted heat when turned on. For two 16 Watt grips, the Heat-Troller makes less than 0.1 Watts of heat at 50%. A rheostat would make about 16 Watts of wasted heat at the same 50% setting.


Hot-Grips© ( $34.99 ):

The Variable Heat Controller will vary the "on" voltage time many times per second in a range of from .5% to 99.5% which will provide a completely variable heat control for the grips while not creating any localized heat at the controller.

12 volt D.C. negative ground systems (will not work on A.C. voltage), 14.7 volts maximum,
* Sealed case with "O" ring in shaft,
* Electronic circuit protection from damage or malfunction due to:
          -Power Supply Noise,
          -Reverse Polarity,
          -Field Decay,
          -RF Radiation,
          -Load Dump (per SAE J1113a).
* Meets SAE1455 requirements which are automotive standards for tolerance to dust, vibration, severe cycling,
          -40 degrees C to +85 degrees C., Voltage breakdown to spikes up to 600 volts.
* Can accept up to a 4 amp load.
* Includes black plastic knob with white insert symbol for increasing intensity, mounting stem is 7/16"-28 thread., .45" (11.43mm) long,
           Die Cast case is 1 9/16" (39.7 mm) diameter, and .883" (22.42 mm) long. Shaft can accept any size knob
           with 1/4" diameter hole, if you desire a change in appearance. It has two wires (load, battery).


PWM DC Motor Controller from QualityKits ( $19.95 ):

Has a jumper selection for 12 or 24 Volt operation. Large spades for ease of connection. Use crimp on or push on connectors (not supplied) or solder directly to the spades.

Utilizes an LM324 and a P80NF5 mosfet from ST.COM

Power supply :12/24 VDC Frequency: Fixed 100 Hz Load voltage : 12/24 VDC / 15A max

Output : controlled DC motor by PWM (Pulse Width Modulation)

Range : 0 - 100 %

Dimensions: 3.09 x 1.64 x 1.2 inch  (85 x 45 x 32mm)


D.I.Y. Products:

Original procedure written by Ron Butterfield:

There's an electrical principle called Pulse Width Modulation. It was originally used as a precise method of controlling electric motors. The basic idea is to use electronics to turn the power on and off very quickly, and vary the motor's speed by varying the ratio of On time to Off time. This ratio is called Duty Cycle, and is expressed as a percentage. Ideally, you want to be able to control your heat output from 0% to 100%, and anywhere in between.

I found several control circuits designed for motor controls, but they were always more complex than I wanted, with adjustments designed for motor control that I just didn't need. Finally, I came across this dimmer circuit. I adapted this circuit to my needs by changing the capacitor from 10nF to 2.2uF. This brought the frequency down to around 300 hz. The potentiometer does not mount to the board, but rather to the inside of the case. The output from the comparator (LM393) goes to the gate of a remote MOSFET (think of it as an electronic relay).

All the commercial Heat Controllers I had seen were set up to mount to your clothing near your waist. I didn't like that, so I made mine mount to the bike. It fits on a bracket near the clutch lever, and has a status LED so I can see it's brightness vary as I adjust the heat.

I can use skinny wire going to the controller, and mount the MOSFET's remotely nearer the actual outlet for the clothing. The original drawing calls for an IRF540, which I used. I later found that you can get an IRF540FI, which is isolated so that you can fasten it to the frame and do away with the need for a heat sink.

Run the +12V supply to the heated clothing with heavy wire, directly from the battery (with a fuse, of course).

If you use a connector with an exposed pin, make sure the exposed pin is negative, or you will be blowing fuses as it flops about when not used.

The pot on this list is a miniature, weatherproof model with an integral knob (the knob is about 3/4"D x 3/8"H). The box is approximately 1" x 2" x 3". The prototyping board is ~4" x 6", which is much more than needed. The actual circuitry covers ~1" square, and the board is cut large so it doesn't rattle around too much in the box.

Parts For Electric Clothing Controller:

DescriptionQuantityPart NumberEachTotal
Pot, 100K, w. knob124M6603$11.95$11.95
LED w. internal resistor140K0069$0.68$0.68

These are current prices when this was written. This is a large electronics supplier, and prices fluctuate throughout the year. At least you've got a ballpark.

The biggest disadvantage to this control circuit is that only the middle third of the potentiometers travel adjusts the heat. In other words, from zero - 1/3, it's all the way off; from 1/3 - 2/3, it adjusts; from 2/3 - full, it's all the way on. The drawback to this is that it's difficult to make small adjustments with heavy gloves.

A big advantage to doing it this way is being able to have the controller in front of you, where you can see it. Another advantage is the ease of adding additional outlets. All that is required is another MOSFET and some wire, controlled from the same pot.

Well, folks, there it is. If you like to roll your own, this should be all you need to try it. If you want reliability and someone to blame if it quits, go buy one.


Additional Valuable Links

555 PWM heater circuit:

PWM motor controller:

Power MOSFET tutorial:

RF530A (capable of sustained 14 A) looks like it should do it:

Heated gear kits on ebay:


People who've done this before:

DIY heated grips:

A page on electric gloves, etc.:


Resistances for various articles of clothing:

Electric connectors:

Powerlet Plugs, for sale:

Relatively inexpensive SAE/SAE cable: