Heated Bicycle Jacket

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by ZnsaneRyder, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    I want to make a heated bicycle jacket. Are you folks tired of riding in the cold and not staying out long, because it's too cold to be bearable to get anything done?

    Do any of you folks already have a heated jacket? If so, tell us more about it and how well it works.

    I was looking around online and see there are several styles of heated jackets for sports players and motorcyclists. Most use a Lithium battery and carbon-fiber for the heat elements, and vary between 65-200 watts.

    Since I am making my own, and don't know where to get conductive carbon-fiber, I'm planning on using thin copper coil wire (thin #30AWG) and making several coils in the front, and upper arms, and I'll run it from my 12V NiCd bicycle battery, and also have 12V NiCd's inside the jacket so when the batteries get low, the warm batteries themselves will also provide some heat.

    Another idea is to scrap a heated blanket and use the heat-elements.

    I want to be able to ride the bicycle for hours to find a job or go out of town, but the cold has kept me grounded locally, and I really want to ride FAR, as I intended to use the bicycle for, and handling the cold would be the key thing to making it happen.

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I like the idea. I get the feeling that overall efficiency is a problem with something like that. It might take a lot of battery to get a moderate amount of heat.

    but I don't really know.

    Still, aren't you in Florida? Couldn't you get along well with typical winter clothes like you find here in the frozen north?

    All the same....an automotive battery connected to one of those cheap power inverters would give you 120 volts, ac. connect that to a stripped out electric blanket (like you suggested) and you might have something that works at a good price.

    then just charge it up overnight.
  3. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    ok -- hey ZR

    we all know that you are very good with your hands
    yes - you can make most anyTHING if you set your mind to it

    but dude -- be careful now
    you are going to be wrapping this ELECTRIFIED thing around your body

    in case of a mishap -- you have been know to have a few

    we don't want you to burn anyTHING off your body -- know what we mean ???

    ride that THING and take care of your THINGS
  4. MotorMac

    MotorMac Member


    Cold in Florida??? LOL!! its where I go to get warm!!
  5. MotorBicycleRacing

    MotorBicycleRacing Well-Known Member

    I have a 12 volt heated vest that I used on my motorcycle. It was
    indispensible, just keeping the core of your body warm was enough to keep you comfortable in very cold conditions at high speed. My feet getting cold
    was my only problem area.
    My vest is over 20 years old and was made by Widder Lectric

    Looks like they went out of business.......

    It probably draws too much for a battery on a bicycle though.
    Heres a review site of some newer models
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  6. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    Thanks for the info Forbisher!

    I already have a 55W light +accessories that draws from a 12V 4AH battery and gets me over 45mins, so I imagine with a larger battery, or dual batteries, 2 or 3 hours total time on a ~50W jacket should be obtainable. On and off sparing usage as needed combined with pedaling should stretch it out even longer to make riding more comfortable.

    I also just got the nice opportunity to get 2 old 18V Black&Decker NiCd drill batteries, mostly working with just a few shorted cells, but I have some extra cells from R/C car batteries, so I should have another complete 3x12V battery with over 4AH, with 30 good cells, so that's an additional bike battery.

    I'm up for the challenge.
  7. MotorMac

    MotorMac Member


    Good thing you have a trailer to haul all those batteries and to push your bike!
    Watch the cops don't pull you over to ask where all the batteries came from!
  8. MotorMac

    MotorMac Member

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  9. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    Thanks, that clears up some ideas.

    I already have MORE than 2200mAh with a 12V battery pack, and will have an extra 12V battery pack, and I also have lots of lithium-ion batteries, so I imagine achieving 2.5 - 7 hours is possible. Also, the NiCd battery I use is lightweight, and makes no difference in the ride at all, which is why I chose it over a heavy Lead-Acid battery. Also my homebuilt packs are wrapped in electric tape, and nobody seems to recognize that it's a battery. :D I have no worries about someone thinking I stole my own batteries with all the wires I have.

    I'd like to use a car battery, but it's too big and heavy for my trailer. :(

    Now my brother's new 2.5HP trailer in the works is designed to hold a large car battery, and I imagine you would have heat all day with one of those.
  10. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest


    This may be a good starting point. Much less expensive since they don't include any batteries. Ad says the vest uses 8 AA batteries... if this is done in series it would equal 12V... If in series-parallel config it would be 6 volt supplied. Either way I'd be willing to bet you can hook fairly large batteries to this vest. May require a potentiometer or other limit for current/voltage.
  11. DetonatorTuning

    DetonatorTuning Active Member


    when i developed my winter riding gear i found that the MAIN key was to establish a complete air and waterproof shell.

    i use GILL brand sailing jacket and bibs for the outer shell, i use a military issue polypropolene base layer and if needed a mid layer of whats know as the "extreme cold service" brown bear suit.

    with good boots, gloves and snowmobile helmet i can ride in -0 windchill and never feel it.

    layering under a good shell is much easier and probably cheaper.

  12. BrettMavriK

    BrettMavriK Member

    Yes, but that would take the fun out of it...... =-]'

  13. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    With enough clothing layers I'm sure that will help. Having those thick layers hold in the heat from the heated jacket would be even better.

    Also, I just got the heating elements needed!!! I got an old 49W medical heating pad to use! I can wrap this pad in the front of the jacket between clothing layers.

    It's 120V normally, but I already have a switching power supply (SMPS) I built a while back for another project, that will take the 12VDC and bring it to over 100VDC, so I figure that this will do to warm the heating pad. The heating pad should take a DC voltage fine, as I measured 315 ohms in either polarity, so it's just a regular resistive coil!:grin5:
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  14. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    I was under the impression that most Direct Current doesn't actually zap you since it's constant. It's Alternating Current that messes up your nervous system. That's why you can touch ALMOST any electrical part on a car while it's running and not feel a thing.... just not anything between the coil and plugs.
  15. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    Sparky, AC or DC it does NOT matter much as far as you getting shocked. It's the voltage that matters.

    12V in a car won't shock you even if you tried. In my personal testing on myself, I find you need minimum of ~30V with moist hands, or 50V or more with dry hands to start to feel a shock. It really takes 100V or more to get a good shock. It's the current that shocks you, but it takes a lot of voltage to overcome your body's resistance for the current to flow.

    However the spark plug wires and coil in a car are in excess of 20-40KV AC which is a very NASTY shock! (KV=1000 volts)

    Either way, it's good to be careful with electric, no matter how much.

    However, for this project, I would obviously insulate all connections to avoid shock or short circuits, and also if the pad got too hot, I would either turn it off or remove the jacket.

    If I caught fire from this THING, I'll be sure to post it here first! LOL ;)
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  16. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    Pretty sure it's the current that matters most... seeing as how I know a guy who got ZAPPED by a 100,000,000 Volt bolt of lightning and went on to close the restaurant he was working at at the time. Electricity is very trickley, I mean tricky.
  17. Revorunner

    Revorunner Member

    Your right on the money Sparky,it's the amps you have to worry about.:ack2:

  18. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    That's what I mean. Yes, the guy got shocked with 100,000,000 volts, but there was not enough current available to kill him. However, you can have 1 million amps and 1 volt, and you won't feel a thing.

    So, yes it's the current that matters as far as the damage done, but it takes a high voltage for the current to flow, see what I mean. It even says in wikipedia.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  19. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    It's the amps you have to worry about, but there has to be a high enough voltage for the amps to flow in the first place as said in the wikipedia article.

    It's ohms law. I = V/R


    I is current
    V is voltage
    R is resistance

    Voltage, divided by the resistance, equals the current flow.
  20. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    Now that all is said and done, enough about the electric is dangerous talk. I appreciate all the concerns, but it really takes away from the discussion and the design in progress.

    I do NOT FEAR electricity AT ALL and never have and never will. I purposely shocked myself as I previously stated to make that point.

    I'm well aware of how electricity works, and have been since I was 8 years old. I know and understand Ohm's Law. I have recently built a few SMPS, and it takes quite a bit of electrical/electronics/components knowledge to build one to work efficiently. I've also built a 350W RMS audio amplifier with nearly 150V DC across the filter capacitors, dangerous, but only if you touch where you don't belong like a child.

    Here's a DIYaudio forum thread I made when I built my first High-Powered SMPS, my name being Eworkshop1708 +/-50V rails (100V total)

    The subject is still the heated bicycle jacket. And because I'm using a 120V heating pad, I plan on giving this pad 100-150V DC to heat it properly, using a 12V SMPS to multiply the voltage from the battery.

    I'll keep you guys posted on the progress.