24 October 2010

DIY More Heated Gear

23 October 2010:
After the last ride, I knew it was time to make sure my heated gear was ready for the cold.  I've been happy with the fan controller for running the gloves but at only 30w, I doubted it's ability to power the pants I started just as the last cold season was breaking.

As soon as October started, I decided to go ahead and order a couple of pwm dc motor controllers to replace the large fan controller I've been using to handle power to the glove liners.

15a DC PWM Motor Controller
On the forums, everyone seems to get theirs from Quality Kits, but I wanted one with a knob and the potentiometer not attached to the board.  I think this will give me more flexibility when selecting a box to mount it in.  I ordered 2 of the 3a version from ebay that has a max output of 60w, figuring they would be enough for the pants liner on one and the gloves liner on the other.

While waiting for the controller to arrive, I decided to go ahead and finish the pants.  Earlier this year, I took a pair of thermal underwear and highlighted where my thighs and shins were with a marker, then wired 30ft of the single stranded 30awg teflon wire in those spaces with a quilting needle.   I used the weave of the garment to thread the wire through.  This will make the pants 48 watts, similar to the commercial manufacturers' liners.

Next, I connected the telfon wire to a wired SAE plug.

Then I ran wires from an old pc power box to the pants to see if I got singed pants like I did with the gloves when I tried to use the same wire.  I left it running for over an hour before deciding they wouldn't catch fire and putting a second thinner pair of thermals on top of these using stitch witchery at the ankles and waist for a more "finished" look.

Of course, with the pants finished, I couldn't resist connecting them to the fan controller to see if they'd work with it.  They don't and I fried the controller.  I guess I still haven't learned because I think this is what happened to the first fan controller!  Good thing the other ones are on the way!

Once I was satisfied with the pants, I started thinking about a jacket liner.  It would have been nice to have one on the last ride, especially after I took a short ride with my winter jacket during the week and determined it was still to warm for it.  Too warm for the winter jacket but too cold for the summer jacket in the mornings. I'm not going to carry two jackets around so the best solution is the heated liner.

Instead of using the liner from the summer jacket, I rooted around the closet until I found a fleece pullover that I hardly wore and never really liked.  It would be perfect for a liner!  I decided to use the same amount of wire for the jacket liner as the pants liner, 30 ft producing 48 watts.  I don't know if this will be enough for a jacket liner, but it's a good start.  To attach the wires, I made tiny pieces from duct tape and taped the wire in the pattern I wanted:

I connected this to a power supply too for about and hour just to be sure the wire wouldn't singe the fleece.  Once I was happy, I soldered the 16 awg auto wire to the teflon wire,

used stitch witchery and a patch to secure the connected wires to the garment,

then re-purposed a long sleeve t-shirt with the scoop neck I don't like to cover the wires.  For the final step, I used more stitch witchery to "sew" the shirt and the fleece pullover together.

It also serves to secure the wires in place should the duct tape fail.  Since I don't have the controllers yet, I haven't attached the shirt to the fleece in case 48w is not enough for the jacket liner.  For now, I'm done.  I still have to connect an sae plug to the wires coming from the jacket liner.

17a, 12-40v Dc Motor PWM Controller
In the process of making the liner, I realized I'd either need a third controller or one with more power.  I'm opting to get one with more power and use the second 3a controller for Cruzman's Heated Vest that I just decided to make tonight.  That one will be a 17a one that maxes out at 405w, it's only a couple dollars more than the 15a one everyone else gets so the extra insurance is worth it.  I just hope it gets here before the really cold weather comes.

The only heated thing I won't have is insoles.  Making those will depend on how my boots perform in the cold weather!

I'm a little disappointed the controllers didn't arrive at the end of the week, their earliest expected due date, because I wanted to give the heated stuff a test in the morning.  I am planning to join Cruzman on another ride soon so hopefully they'll be here in time for that or else I won't even have heated gloves.  So far the weather hasn't been so cold that I've needed them.  My regular winter gloves should suffice but once you've ridden with them, it's hard not to ride without them when the temps start to drop.

Here are links to all of the DIY Heated Clothing posts.  

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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