Introduction: DIY Carbon Tape Heated Vest

Picture of DIY Carbon Tape Heated Vest

diy heated clothing kit

The pattern made from some factory vest.
6 meters of carbon heating flex tape from and now on Amazon placed on back and both sides. By touch carbon is a little bit like a loose weave silk. It's very soft but strong enough. Because of big length it provides uniform heating of body.

Step 1:

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Step 2:

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Step 3:

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Tape connected in parallel 6x1m. It takes about 3A under 12V (36W).

Step 4:

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You can sew wire to carbon tape to make a good and flexible connection. The contact place shouldn't be hotter than the tape itself. If not you must increase the contact area. The best idea to place wire between two layers of carbon tape.

Step 5:

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Contacts may be sewed by sewing machine or just wraped with a wire.
But as you can see sewed contact is colder than the tape itself (left contact).
Wraped contact (on the right) is more hotter than tape.

Step 6:

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Carbon tape can be extended. Place two pieces of carbon tape together on each other with little overlap and sew it on. As you can see the connection place is not hotter than the tape itself.

Step 7:

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Sewed contact very flexible.

Step 8:

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It's powered by 6x18650 connected in parallel (2x3).
I use it with an adjustable controller.

Step 9:

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With a half power. I use it with my heated gloves and insoles.


NWBrewer (author)2013-10-06

I like this. Have you tried snap buttons instead? That way you can disconnect the connections.

NWBrewer (author)NWBrewer2013-10-06

Can you wash it?

Shenzhen (author)NWBrewer2013-10-07

Yes, I can wash it without any problem.

rngy (author)Shenzhen2017-11-22

Can you put it in the dryer?

Shenzhen (author)rngy2017-11-22

Yes, of course.

rngy (author)Shenzhen2017-11-22

I'm assuming on low heat or tumble dry? I'm guessing the wires can become damaged on high heat

Shenzhen (author)rngy2017-11-22

We used silicone wires only. Depends on quality they can 300F-480F.

Yes, you can tumble dry it.

Shenzhen (author)NWBrewer2013-10-07

You can see the battery connector and a power button the same as placed inside right there.

Jsoa (author)2017-08-31

I use my old seat warmers in my car, from this one

so it was a great idea)

But i still use my new car seat warmers.

Maintiss99 (author)Jsoa2017-09-05

Is there a better option you can recommend?

Shenzhen (author)Maintiss992017-09-05

1. Good
2. The best

Maintiss99 (author)Shenzhen2017-09-05

How about this one?

Looks like it has multiple options, and 12v at 3.3a

Shenzhen (author)Maintiss992017-09-06

Looks great and should work perfect.

Maintiss99 (author)2017-09-04

The power bank I am using is this one

Shenzhen (author)Maintiss992017-09-05

As I can see in your power bank specifications at 12V it can 0.6A only... very low level. I think with that power 12x0.6=7.2Watts you can heat insoles or gloves but for a vest you need 20-50 Watts.

If I were you I would better use this one bank:
At 12V it provides 3A that means 36W.

Maintiss99 (author)2017-09-04

I have been trying to finish my vest. I hooked up the first section of tape last night, and connected it to an aili power bank on 12v, and got 126 degrees which I was happy with. I hooked up the rest of the sections today, but have had some problems. If I turn it on at the 6v setting, all sections go up between 79 and 81 degrees, however, if I try to raise the voltage to 9v or 12v, the power bank immediately shuts off. All connections are sewn on with silver glue on also. Do you have any idea why this is happening?

Shenzhen (author)Maintiss992017-09-05

As I can see on your power bank specifications at 12V it can 0.6A only... very low level. You need 3A at least.

Maintiss99 (author)2017-02-20

I have been working on this. I connected the wire to the tape with a seen connection, and with a carbon based conductive glue, as I bought it thinking it was the same thing. I am getting over 112 degrees near the connection site, but only 92-93 at the middle of the tape. Do you think it could be the use of the carbon based glue over the silver glue, or should i look at another area to identify the problem?

Shenzhen (author)Maintiss992017-02-20

Carbon fiber allways have a good connection with a wire. But all of wires will oxidize very quickly and connection becames bad. We have to cover the connection point with something and here the problem is. Every glues we used will get between the contacts and electric current will go through glue too, so a glue must: 1. prevent oxidization; 2. to have a low resistance. Cabron glues have very high resistance (~100 Ohm/mm) and becames very hot under current as you have already saw. It cannot be used for a heated clothing at all. Silver glue has low resistance (~0.1-0.01 Ohm/mm) and glued connection point never get hot.

Maintiss99 (author)2017-02-20

That was supposed to be a sewn connection

RobertF238 (author)2017-01-14

Can this be wrapped around a steering wheel? A regular heated steering wheel cover is too bulky for my wife's small hands.

AngelaP101 (author)2017-01-10

hi! I'm super new to this. I'm fairly good with regular sewing, but this all confuses me. I was asked to make a vest that is heated. They want adjustable heat, to be able to charge using a USB port, and something that will last like 10 hours. Also, they would like accessories such as socks, hat, scarf, and pants. Is this doable? The less wires the better. What materials would I need? And can I incorporate all pieces with one controller, with multiple on/off switches for the different items? Please help! Thank you!

Shenzhen (author)AngelaP1012017-01-10

We can help you with design and calculations. Where will you use it? What will be surroud temperature, air speed, your activity? Can you cover your heated clothing with a good quality and thick thermo insulator?

USB can 10 watts only. It is enough for socks, hat, scarf or gloves but not enough for a heated vest, I think, but of course it depends on many factors.

Even if you made it just 10 watts you need 10 Watts x 10 hours = 100 Watts battery. It is a big and bulky battery...

Anyway we know how to make it and ready to help you. Please, write to our email

ElectricFuzz (author)2016-12-15

I was looking to improve on a commercial heated jacket that I bought. Can this carbon tape be integrated into the heat system of the jacket?

Shenzhen (author)ElectricFuzz2016-12-15

I think it should be depends on our diy knowledge. My friend did it perfect with his branded heated vest. He replaced broken nihrome to carbon rope 3mm.

DanP60 (author)2016-12-07

Question if OP is still active. Why the ZigZag pattern? Can I cover the entire surface in the tape or will it draw too much power? I am a recent BSEE graduate and understand the concept, but am wondering what exact materials I need in addition to the tape?

What gauge wire is used?

Is it possible to use a larger batter to last long or to have multiple battery packs you can interchange every couple of hours?

Shenzhen (author)DanP602016-12-07

Well you could place it any pattern you would like I just tried to heat more area.

Yes you should cover it with a cloth fabric because the carbon is an open wire.

You also should cover it because any heater regures a thermo insulator on outside. The best for now is Thinsilate, the second Polartec.

I recommend you a soft silicone multystranded wires 18 AWG.

We used a larger battery, battery packs, bikes, cars, boats battery and any one we have.

ninazz (author)2016-12-03

$10/m is an interesting business for you but it's quite a fortune for us. Anyone found a cheapest carbon tape? Heating carbon is dead cheap look here

SianA9 (author)2016-11-26

I really like the concept. I will make a similar vest but thinking of ways to use flexible solar panels on my backpack / coat instead of batteries. Since It doesn't get "THAT" cold in The Netherlands and I'm not always cold while riding my back and I'm simply just a fan of solar panels and green energy, I would appreciate it very much if any of you had tips and tricks on how to realize this project. I know I would first have to start by simply making the basic jacket with tape and wires. But how do I connect the solar panels, they don't have to provide on demand power I just want as much power/warmth as the sun provides. Thanks in advance.

Shenzhen (author)SianA92016-11-26

What is the voltage and maximum current your panel rated?

SianA9 (author)Shenzhen2016-11-28

I'm considering buying a couple of these:

3W solar panel
• Typical voltage: 5.5V
• Typical current: 540mA
• Open-circuit voltage: 8.2 V
• Maximum load voltage: 6.4V

(how much of these panels is advisable and what's the best way to connect them?)

Shenzhen (author)SianA92016-11-28

Well, the most of branded heated clothing have 50-75 watts of heat even chinese heated clothing have 10 watts at least. So with that 3 watts you could heat only mouse. I recomend you 5 or 10 the same solar panel.

Davemon (author)2016-05-02

The tape is so much better than the wire for vest #3 that I've made. The wiring just seems so wrong but by using your wiring schematic I just need to add connections to the tape to increase tape length. I ended up with 8 meters of tape sewn in so 8ea 1 meter energized sections of circuits to the 6 in your project.

b171204 (author)2016-04-18

Hi Shenzhen,

I finally managed to build my own heating vest with your perfect support :-) Love the heating vest - thanks for your brilliant instructions.

One last question: To with percentage do you unload your bpack? I bought a battery voltage tester (here) to monitor my batteries.

Again, thanks a lot.

Shenzhen (author)b1712042016-04-19

Make an instructable about your vest and we send you 10 meters carbon for free!

And you get our prize of $50 if it became Featured!

b171204 made it! (author)Shenzhen2016-04-22

send you a private message. Yes, will do it for a heating vest and heating socks

BTW: Here are some pictures showing my heating vest in action.

Shenzhen (author)b1712042016-04-22


Shenzhen (author)b1712042016-04-18

Yes, we used the same tester.

b171204 (author)Shenzhen2016-04-18

And? To with percentage to you unload your battery pack? I read this "Never completely discharge li-ion battery ( below 2.5V under load )". What about you?

Nominal Voltage: 3.6 V
Charging Voltage: 4.2 V
Minimum Voltage: 2.5 V

What about your experiences with this batteries? I mean, having an actuall working range between 3.6V and max 2.5V is not much, or?

b171204 (author)b1712042016-04-22

Found the answer to my own question.
The final discharging voltage with is 2.5 V (also called as Minimum Voltage) ;-)
Thanks anywhy

b171204 (author)2016-03-28


I build a battery back based on 12 6x18650 connected in parallel and serial to get 13.600 mAh and 14,8V and I'm using only ~4m carbon tap (15 mm).

Now, my first test (only a beta test to get a feeling of (a) continues heat, (b) last long, (c) get family with what I'm doing) was a kind of OK but I burned the 12V RF Wireless Remote Switch probably because of peak output current 12A.

Q: Do you have any idea how I can still use my BPack but with a different switch or can/should I sill use the recommended 12V RF Wireless Remote Switch? Actually, any switch to control the heat is welcome.

Thanks in advanced

Shenzhen (author)b1712042016-03-28

1. How do you connect the tape?

2. What is the current for now?

b171204 (author)Shenzhen2016-03-29

Hi Shenzhen,

the connection was the issue. I connected the tape in parallel with just 55cm in between which was to much for the Remote Control. I tried it first with a distance of 1m (as you did) and it worked perfect but it got colder and colder as closer it get to my neck.

So, I decided to short the tape/connection to just 55cm (instead of 1m) and that burned my Remote Control (max power output: 5A),

I ordered 5 new and now am trying to find the optimal distance for a 3,50 m long (15mm) tape. Can you recommend a optimal distance for me?

Thanks in advanced

Shenzhen (author)b1712042016-03-29

Well at first those 12A RF dimmer maybe arent comfortable but the most powerfull on the market. They even do not hot at 10A. I think it was an accident it died.

1. We recommend you to make your vest 30-50W of total heat power for that battery pack you made.

2. If I were you I would make it ~50W.

But with tape you have it could be 5 pieces x 70cm.

(0,93A x 5 = 4,65A; 4,65 x 12V = 55,8W)

Shinichi0831 (author)2016-03-19

How do you decide what battery to use? Is there a rule to follow when choosing them? Thanks!

Shenzhen (author)Shinichi08312016-03-19

The best you can find for now is Panasonic 18650 3400 mAh. You could use the most of rc toy li-ion batteries. Anyway you should use a protection board.

The rule is:

battery capasity you should to buy = your heated clothing power consumption x run time you need.

Example: 50 W x 2 hours = 100 W

If you will use a 12v battery 100W / 12V = ~8,5Ah

So if you like your 50W heated vest lasts 2 hours you need a 12V 8,5Ah battery.

Shinichi0831 (author)Shenzhen2016-03-21

All carbon fiber weaves can be used to do this right?

Shenzhen (author)Shinichi08312016-03-21

Well, yes and no...

Yes, because all of carbon fibers are conductors and can heat.

No, because the most of them have thick fiber, does not have constant resistivity, too tough to be used for clothing.

b171204 (author)2016-02-17

Hi Shenzhen,

I'm looking for such a heating vest since month but they are all incredible expensive and than I found you / your heating vest - amassing!!! I already bought 10m of tap and the recommended WiFi controller. It's already at home but now I'm struggling with the right power supply.

I'm looking for exact the same setup what you have done (6m of tap in a vest). I have searched for your suggested batteries but I don't know if they last long enough. I need a power supply which heats the vest for, let's say, 3h to 4h+ with "not that much of continues heating" (whatever this means ;-) ).

May I ask you why you are not using RC battery packs like or Is it because of the voltage?

How many batteries do you recommend for my purpose (vest with 5m to 6m tap; up to 4h using by mind head)?

Thanks for your perfect manual, it's fantastic



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