DIY Heated Gear...no longer worth the savings - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 27 Old 12-04-2013, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Heated Gear...no longer worth the savings

When I got back into riding 5 years ago, heated gear was expensive. I figured it still was expensive these days, so I went ahead and made my own heated vest, gloves, & trollers.

So far my jacket is a pain in the ass to put on with all those exposed wires getting caught on things. It works well, but is a pain to handle.

Glove liners....after spending a few hours with a thread and needle and still doing repairs to my crappy threading skills, I simply quit.

Got two DC motor controllers for $10 apiece. I re-did the wiring about four times trying to make it look professional. Worked well until I relocated some wires again, now they don't work.

Screw it all. I ordered a pair of Venture Grand Touring gloves. Unfortunately they don't work when the voltage is above 13.8V due to a factory defect. Now I have a pair of W&S classic gloves. Much warmer and better fitting.

At $118, the Firstgear Remote dual Troller is worth every penny, and is less than half the size of my outfit. Gloves were only $116, and I don't have to deal with that needle and soldering bull, and no more exposed wires.

If I get a good bonus this month...gonna order a W&S heated vest liner & socks. Probably will get the OEM handguards to deflect the wind as well.

Life is short. Need to scratch off many bucket-list tasks. Need to spend more time riding and not sweating the small things.

1995 Honda CB750 - sold
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1990 Honda PC800 -sold
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post #2 of 27 Old 12-05-2013, 05:05 PM
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I've been on the fence about attempting this project. Your experience is what I'm afraid of.

Plus, I tried to shop for some of the teflon-covered 30awg Cu wire and it seems pretty expensive. Seems it would cost $25 just for the wires to do vest and pant liners, maybe additional fabric costs (cotton layer to keep wires off my skin) and at least $50 for a dual controller. It's still cheaper than new, but at a cost in time and effort.

For my cold fingers, I just received oxford grips in the mail ($50 sale price at Revzilla right now). I'm trying to extend my OEM handguards and I'm hoping the combo will mean I can even use my light-weight gloves all the time.
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post #3 of 27 Old 12-05-2013, 05:20 PM
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Pay attention to the power draw on all the heated gear. On my bike (2004 DL1K) I could turn on the heated jacket liner and the grip warmers fine, but adding the heated gloves at the same time was too much. I could turn off the heated grips and use gloves and liner fine together.

I would recommend a full jacket liner over a vest as well. I know several people who started with a vest and had to switch to full liner later. Their arms got too cold.

Do your feet get cold enough to need heated socks? I never seem to get cold feet or legs. Might be the boots I wear.

One other thing you should pick up is a cheap 12v digital display. I bought two of these from hong kong for $3 each with free shipping and they work great, or get one from your local supplier for $20 and be happy. You need real time monitoring of your battery voltage with heated gear so you don't make a one way trip someplace with a drained battery.
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post #4 of 27 Old 12-05-2013, 05:38 PM
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Agree. Boots that are large enough (or hiking boots) for an extra pair of socks will be OK, and keep the balls of your feet on the pegs. You are not likely to be able to run a full compliment of heated gear, i.e, grips, jacket/pants/socks and gloves without losing some battery charge. Voltmeter mandatory on this bike as far as I'm concerned. If you know you are going to stop 10 or 15 minutes down the road, shut as much of the heated stuff off so the stator has a chance to put a little extra juice into the battery.
I went for a Wee spin today only had heated grips on behind the barkbusters (it was 6C/43F) and it was OK for my 20 miles round trip.. I don't have any hookups for heated gear yet as I just got the bike...... love my Warm & Safe stuff (First Gear is W&S made).
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post #5 of 27 Old 12-05-2013, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Believe me, the power draw was the first thing on my mind.

My heated vest (CycleGear's Freeze-Out jacket liner) does a good job of keeping me warm alone. It is on the small side, so it clings to my blubber, which means I don't need a whole lot of amps of juice to keep my torso warm.

The gloves will draw a lot of juice at full blast, about 7 amps, which is a lot more than I need, but riding at 70MPH in 38 degree weather will remove heat quickly, so I will be looking at getting OEM handguards to help reduce the need for more heat.

Probably will look into cutting up some black plastic bottles while I am at it....

And, yes, my feet do get cold. Never bothered me until I started taking BP meds, now they get cold easily.


To make the heated vest or jacket, you need at least 33 feet of wire to limit your current draw without adding a big-ass resistor, so picture yourself securing 33 feet evenly on the vest. If you must do it, do the jacket, as it is easier and a lot faster than the gloves.

Heated socks go for $40 to $60, a bargain compared to how much you have to contend with while preventing wires from getting damaged every time you slip your boots on.

The dual remote controller is so small & easy to install, it is not worth even trying to make your own, even for fun. The whole thing fits in my vest's pocket with all three coax leads. Controller is the size of half a cigarette pack and can be velcro'ed anywhere you want. It even has automatic reset overload protection.

1995 Honda CB750 - sold
2005 Honda Rebel -sold
1990 Honda PC800 -sold
2007 DL650 - sold
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post #6 of 27 Old 12-05-2013, 09:36 PM
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I tried that 20 years ago and realized then that the 100 bucks for a Widder vest was worth it. I've spent several hundred dollars on heated gear since, worth every farging penny!
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post #7 of 27 Old 12-06-2013, 05:24 AM
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I use a pulse width dc motor control from china I think its $25 at dhgate

It is pot controlled but NEEDED on a strom because you can watch your system voltage and back her off if/when low
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post #8 of 27 Old 12-06-2013, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugMagnet View Post

One other thing you should pick up is a cheap 12v digital display. I bought two of these from hong kong for $3 each with free shipping and they work great, or get one from your local supplier for $20 and be happy. You need real time monitoring of your battery voltage with heated gear so you don't make a one way trip someplace with a drained battery.

Terrific idea! which display did you pick up from HK? Specialty site or just thru ebay?

Thanks!

2009 Vee
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post #9 of 27 Old 12-06-2013, 10:02 AM
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Dash8 has a good question. A suggestion of a purchase without a source is absolutely useless!
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post #10 of 27 Old 12-06-2013, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veeeh View Post
I've been on the fence about attempting this project. Your experience is what I'm afraid of.

Plus, I tried to shop for some of the teflon-covered 30awg Cu wire and it seems pretty expensive. Seems it would cost $25 just for the wires to do vest and pant liners, maybe additional fabric costs (cotton layer to keep wires off my skin) and at least $50 for a dual controller. It's still cheaper than new, but at a cost in time and effort.

For my cold fingers, I just received oxford grips in the mail ($50 sale price at Revzilla right now). I'm trying to extend my OEM handguards and I'm hoping the combo will mean I can even use my light-weight gloves all the time.
I made some heated gear a few years back and it has worked well for me. I enjoyed the project while doing it. The secret for me was the wire. Don't use copper. The magic stuff for me was stainless steel beading wire from Hobby Lobby.

It has a relatively high resistance, is really easy to find, stranded, etc. If you need more length, for a jacket or something, you just get the next larger diameter to balance the whole Ohm's law thing.



Maybe tomorrow I'll post some pics.
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