Ask Me About Heated Gear

KEN PHENIX

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IBA Member
#1
Since we all rely so much on our heated gear and getting repairs can be difficult if not downright dubious, our Fearless Leader Michael Kneebone asked me to start a thread here to share my experience. I’m happy to kick around anything from general heated gear Q & A, diagnosis & repair, retrofitting older gear, DIY projects and my own custom made electrics – anything.

Back in 2007, armed only with the desire to tour in winter and the knowledge that layering alone wasn’t cutting it I searched the web for solutions. Living on the gulf coast I couldn’t justify the expense of retail electrics for what I perceived to be a few days a year. So I found some old DIY blogs and began learning ways NOT to build a light bulb. I experimented with different materials and perfected my techniques and lived in my experiments on winter trips. Eventually I began repairing and building electrics for fellow riders.
 
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KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#2
TEST YOUR NEW GEAR:

Take an ohm reading at the plug of your new heated articles to establish a baseline reference and to check the accuracy of the manufacturer’s adhoc wattage claims. Wattage is a variable based on voltage output which also varies with rpm. But ohms don’t lie. A higher ohm reading later will indicate a break somewhere in the heating circuit. This information can be particularly useful when initiating a warranty claim. Gyde/Gerbing for example, warranties their microwire heating pads for life but everything else including electrical connectors and plugs for one year. If a glove is dead, it’s probably the plug or a connector which you might be better off fixing yourself. If the glove reads a higher resistance than it used to (say greater than 13 ohms) chances are there are breaks in the microwire heating elements and you might have a warranty claim.
 
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KEN PHENIX

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IBA Member
#3
RETROFITTING & REPAIR:
Many of us have heated garments that no longer work or are no longer compatible with current products that could be revitalized. What’s in YOUR closet?



WIDDER:
Several riders have asked me if I can repair / retrofit their old Widder gear. "Send it over and I'll take a look" was my standard response. Well somebody took a chance and took me up on it. I found the Widder vest to be a very well crafted simple design that's relatively easy to work on once you get past the non-standard plugs and single circuit controller.

Most notable is that the heating elements in the sleeves (arm chaps) and power supply wires for the gloves were on the same circuit and configured in a series. If one of the snap terminals comes loose, both arms and both gloves go dead. Therefore it is NOT advisable to connect Widder gloves directly to another brand of heated jacket. They could get too hot. Conversely, if you just change the plugs in the removable sleeves you'll only get 25% power to any other brand of gloves. I have yet to see any Widder gloves but from what I hear, they were terribly bulky and by now they all leak. It probably wouldn't be worth the effort to convert them.

If a Widder vest is dead chances are it’s a broken connector near the plug and an easy fix. This vest still worked so my solution was to change the power plug to a contemporary standard 2.5mm coaxial and install independent power supply leads for the gloves. The snap terminals are still utilized for the heating circuit in the sleeves but the sleeves themselves had to be permanently attached. Now this vest is compatible with any current dual controller and heated glove on the market.

Thank you Jim Dyer.





Here's my technique for securing the power supply wires. I double stitch between the insulators to a piece of heavy felt. Then I cover the whole thing with Plasti-dip.




 
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KEN PHENIX

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IBA Member
#4
AEROSTICH:

I had the privilege of playing around with an Unobtanium vest. Very well made. One of the connectors had come loose which broke the single copper heating circuit. The repair took minutes. By my measurement, this vest was designed to be used safely without a controller and only produces around 45 watts. Its owner asked me to beef it up a bit. I used a power plug I cut off one of Hoagy's dead controllers and added a new redundant carbon fiber heating circuit that independently produces 80 watts. ( I use 13.5 volts in all my wattage calculations) The original heating circuit and SAE plug is still there as a back-up.

Thank You Garland Arnett

Here's the broken connection on the original circuit.


And this is the new carbon fiber.




And thanks Hoagy Carmichael for donating the plug! :D
 

KEN PHENIX

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IBA Member
#5
"WATERPROOF" LINERS EXPOSED:
Why do so called waterproof gloves begin to leak after a while? Is genuine Gore Tex worth the price? You bet it is. I've examined several gloves and have been shocked at what I found inside. Here are some examples of proprietary "waterproof" liners. They are little more than sandwich bag material which deteriorates and tears over time.

Here’s an Aquatex liner from an old Olympia glove The leather is still in great shape but the baggie material has disintegrated.


When I launched my heated gear facebook page someone from China contacted me to solicit these Hipora liners. No thanks.


Notice the stitching right through the liner on the fingertips!


This is the thin vinyl lining I found inside a Gyde/Gerbing glove. Yes, it was split in several places.


And THIS is a new Gore Tex liner taken from a Masley military glove - obviously more durable.


That's why I seek out Gore Tex gloves to work with. I've often wondered why bona fide Gore Tex is so curiously absent in the heated motorcycle glove market.
 

KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#7
GLOVES:
I learned the beauty of genuine Gore Tex just like everybody else – by getting soaked. Everything is waterproof – until it’s not. So I chose the ReV’it! Alaska, a top quality leather glove with ample insulation and Gore Tex to wear over my homemade stand alone heated liners. Problem solved. But as I did more certification rides, doffing and donning two sets of gloves at every gas stop became frustrating. That’s what prompted me to develop my integrated heated liner system that stays in the glove. Now I can add heat to virtually any winter glove on the market.

Here’s my beloved ReV’it! Alaska. Heavy goatskin, beefy knuckle protection and palm sliders, Thinsulate and Gore Tex. When I learned they were being discontinued I started buying every pair I could find and kept two pair for myself.


Though not as robust as the Alaska, the Olympia WeatherKing might be the best winter glove value out there. Good leather, big gauntlets, Primaloft and Gore Tex. I have added heat to more of these than any other glove.
 

John negus

Well-Known Member
#8
G'day All..We don't get that cold here in Oz but in winter there are plenty of zero degree days especially in the southern states. Heated hand grips are standard fare these days but apart from layered thermals I use the Avade heated vest..it works off a small lithium battery which last 4-6 hours and has two settings. Has two carbon chest patches and a larger back patch. Best of all its very lightweight and not bulky. I carry two batteries on rides and they are quickly recharged. The controller is on the wrist and easily accessible even on the run. I recommend this vest..Cheers and yippee. .jn (www.avade.com.au)
 
#9
Timely. I am in the market for my first set of heated gear. I was leaning toward Warm & Safe. Any thoughts on them?

I have had good luck with a pair of Olympia Gortex gloves that I have had for about 10 years. They still keep me dry. But, not warm enough for extended cold temps. Just last week I stopped into the local dealer and tried on the Olympia Weather King you have pictured above and liked the glove a lot. And it fit, the fingers are long enough. What do you do to make them heated?

Do you make other gear?


Brian
 

KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#10
Timely. I am in the market for my first set of heated gear. I was leaning toward Warm & Safe. Any thoughts on them?

I have had good luck with a pair of Olympia Gortex gloves that I have had for about 10 years. They still keep me dry. But, not warm enough for extended cold temps. Just last week I stopped into the local dealer and tried on the Olympia Weather King you have pictured above and liked the glove a lot. And it fit, the fingers are long enough. What do you do to make them heated?

Do you make other gear?


Brian
Thanks Brian, I totally agree that Gore Tex is the best waterproof liner material out there. I hand stitch an insulated carbon fiber braid to thin liners like the Seirus Dynamax and gingerly attach them inside the gloves so they won't pull out with normal donning and doffing but can be removed without damaging the glove. The Primaloft insulation is better and my carbon fiber braid is demonstrably higher wattage. Therefore the gloves are warmer. The best and simplest way to measure a heating circuit is to check its resistance. The average Gerbing glove measures around 13 ohms. The heat circuit I use in my gloves is set at 9.3 ohms. The lower the resistance, the higher the wattage.

Yes, I make all the electrics I wear and have for almost 10 years. I have made jacket liners for other riders too but they are time consuming and not as cost effective. Warm and Safe is an excellent choice. I use their controllers. The gloves I have down to a science - and nobody else makes a Gore Tex heated glove.

Ken
 
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KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#12
For those of you with big paws, here's a heads up on the most impeccably crafted glove I've seen in a while, the Held Freezer II. They are still available at Revzilla and possibly other sites in size 11 and up for $149. Remember, if you want to add heat order one size up. I'm working on a pair of Freezer II's right now. Great leather construction, Primaloft insulation, Gore Tex, super warm - all the heated glove you'll need.


https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/held-freezer-ii-gloves

https://www.facebook.com/Phenix-Flaming-Hot-Heated-Motorcycle-Gear-571738242984574/
 
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KEN PHENIX

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IBA Member
#13
I had to use Klim liners to get the finger length necessary for these size 12 Held gloves.


Here are some shots of the completed gloves.


 

Roy Kjendal

Premier Member
#14
Just wanted to give my +1 the Ken's work. He did a set of heated gloves for me and his customer service is excellent. Turnaround was quick and he Ken made sure I was happy with the results...Thanks Ken!
 

KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#15
Thanks for the good word Roy. If you don't mind, pass those gloves around a bit at Jax. I sure wish I could be there.

I will have another pair of WeatherKing's exactly like yours ready to go in a few days for whomever wants them.







 
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KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#16
Well I hope everyone has a great time at JAX. I wish I could have gotten away to go this year.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to illustrate why I do this. Finding an all leather heated glove with Primaloft insulation and a bona fide Gore Tex waterproof layer seems to be impossible. And I figured out a way to fill this gap in the market. Then there's the math. I always say ohms don't lie. The average retail heated motorcycle glove reads around 13 ohms at the plug.
13.5 volts / 13 ohms = 1.04 amps
13.5 volts x 1.04 amps = 14 watts

My sealed carbon fiber heating loops read 9.3 ohms.
13.5 volts / 9.3 ohms = 1.45 amps
13.5 volts x 1.45 amps = 19.6 watts

Better insulated gloves + higher wattage = warmer hands.
And we all know nothing else rivals genuine Gore Tex.

 

KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#17
Most heated jacket liners sold today have ample wattage to keep you warm. The chief complaint I hear is they are not form fitting and do not hold heating elements snug against the torso and even allows some cold air in through the bottom. Here's an inexpensive fix. There aren't many items at Cycle Gear I'd consider top quality but the Freeze-Out brand zippered base layer top they call a "gilet" is on that short list. It's crazy warm, much more convenient to don and doff than a pull-over base layer and is surprisingly well made. Mine has survived 4 years of rough service including being run over by hundreds of cars after slipping out of my bungee net on the Pacific Coast Highway. (that's another story) I have wired mine for heat but that's currently too time consuming to be cost effective. However, for a mere $39 this "gilet" can be worn over your existing heated jacket for greatly improved fit and heat retention. Maybe order a size up or try one on in the store. Add another $10 farkle and get free shipping.

https://www.cyclegear.com/gear/freeze-out-zipped-gilet

This is definitely not intended to replace your LD Comfort base layer by any means but it is an effective inexpensive way to snug up your loose heated liner.
 

KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#18
For those of you with big paws, here's a heads up on the most impeccably crafted glove I've seen in a while, the Held Freezer II. They are still available at Revzilla and possibly other sites in size 11 and up for $149. Remember, if you want to add heat order one size up. I'm working on a pair of Freezer II's right now. Great leather construction, Primaloft insulation, Gore Tex, super warm - all the heated glove you'll need.


https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/held-freezer-ii-gloves

https://www.facebook.com/Phenix-Flaming-Hot-Heated-Motorcycle-Gear-571738242984574/
I just scored possibly the last pair of size 10 Freezer II gloves in captivity! They'll be size Large after I add heat to them. Give me a shout if you want them.

Revzilla still has sizes 11 and up in stock. Remember to order one size up if you want me to add heat.
 

hdatontodo

Premier Member
#19
I'm just getting back into motorcycling. Years back I had a mix of Gerbings microwire and older model gear, which I sold. What brands should I be looking today to get heated gloves, jacket liner etc. Thanks.
 

KEN PHENIX

Premier Member
IBA Member
#20
I'm just getting back into motorcycling. Years back I had a mix of Gerbings microwire and older model gear, which I sold. What brands should I be looking today to get heated gloves, jacket liner etc. Thanks.
The Warn and Safe HeatTrollers are hard to beat. Warm and Safe is a good bet for jacket liners too. FirstGear's heated gear is also made by Warm and Safe. You might find a summer deal on a FirstGear jacket liner for under two bills. The Gerbing brand has undergone some changes the last few years. Due to illness the Gerbing family had to sell the company and the buyer was Gyde Supply. Gyde's reputation has proven less than stellar. Gyde plans to stop producing motorcycle gear and focus on other markets. You might find some Gyde items cheap on ebay but you're on your own. The original Gerbing family is back with limited offerings under the Gordon's label.

I can do hand made heated base layers but at present they're time consuming and not cost effective. My forte is heated gloves. Warm and Safe offers pretty good and reasonably priced gloves but they are not guaranteed waterproof. As illustrated in this thread, I specialize in adding heat to top name Gore Tex lined winter gloves. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
Ken
409-363-1417
https://www.facebook.com/Phenix-Flaming-Hot-Heated-Motorcycle-Gear-571738242984574/
 
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