Introduction: $15 Dollar Heated Gear for Motorcycling, Impossible. or Is It...
I like to ride all year. "If I'm not slidin, I'm ridin" is a common phrase I can tell anyone as they pass by, astonished I'm still riding into the colder season. At 20 degrees, if there isn't ice, I can be found on my bike, starting it up to make my way into work or wherever I happen to be going.
Heated gear, even gloves, can easily go over 150.00 if you don't already have the heat controller.
Then one day, I was walking through Menards, a hardware store for those who don't know, and spotted a $15 dollar 12 volt fleece blanket that you could plug in. Little did they know, I would cut this blanket apart to get the wire out to use for something else.
This is my thermal insert, made by Tour Master. I sewed additional fleece at the ends of the sleeves, because it just wasn't made long enough for me, and the fleece fixed that part. Now that it's getting into the low teens and single digits, it's time for another weapon, something a little warmer than I can make myself.
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This is the lot. Somewhere near 30 ft of 12 volt warmliness, just waiting to be added, strategically, to make your cold weather riding more tolerable. What you don't see is the 30 minute timing circuit that comes with it. I just cut that off and added the wires again, soldered, complete with shrink tubing. The circuit is only for shutting off the blanket after 30 minutes and you would otherwise have to press the button for another 30 minutes of heat. I just spliced in a connector that I can pull out and push in as needed, to disconnect the power. You can make an inline switch if you like, I just mounted a plug to my bike to plug it in.
Another appealing feature about the draw of this system is approximately 40 watts. That is very close to 3 amps. I have a 28 amp alternator on a 1991 ST1100, so there can't be a lot of accessories to tax the available power.
This is the third attempt at putting the wire on the jacket. The first time I just tried to wrap it around as a loop that it came as. Don't do this. Making it a single strand to work with, will aid in being able to distribute the heated wire where you would like to. Just add wire at the end, to make it come from the jacket where you would like, heat shrink, and connect it to your power source.
Place safety pins in a pattern and leave them open.
Place them all over the jacket. Use your imagination. Where do you run the coldest? I chose to put more wire where the wind hits me. There are wires on the back, but you'll note there are a lot less wires on the back than there are the front.
Now that you have the wire harvested from the blanket, put both ends together, find the middle and put it on the safety pin in the back.
Let the fun begin, invision where you want this to go, where do you want to be warm?
Do you see what's happening here, you don't just have to go through a safety pin one time. There will be plenty of wire left. Don't like what it's doing? Ran out of wire? Just rewind, loop it through some other way.
The left side is complete. I will go to the right side and basically do the same thing. The safety pins do not bother me, only a small portion of the metal is on the side that I wear. Once I put this liner back in the main jacket the only wire that can be seen is the one that hangs out the bottom, waiting to be plugged in to the source on the bike.
Mostly done. It doesn't matter if you were not close to where the wire comes out of the jacket. Use a scrap piece of wire you might have harvested from an extension cord to get it to the edge of the jacket.
Look at the black wire in the middle of the jacket. It ended up finishing in the middle. I just added a piece of wire to make about 30 inches stick off the front left corner of my jacket, with the plug on the end.
The jacket doesn't get crazy hot, but it could mean the difference of you being more comfortable and extending your riding season for not that much money and you got to make something yourself.