today i would like to share with you a project anybody can make. winter is already here, are you staying warm.?
making heated clothing is as easy as sewing a piece of cloth on top of another piece of cloth, just like regular clothing
an $8 heated beanie, includes in price a rechargeable battery. it will reach upto 40C/100F for minimum 3hrs with the usb powerbank. or constantly on with any usb port – your laptop, a printer, tv, solar panel, phone charger, you can find a usb port on almost anything these days.
you will need;
50cm of 15mm width carbon fiber cloth
50cm minimum 2 pin wire, for power
usb male cable
on/off button (optional)
Task 1: Intro to heated clothing
heated clothing is a new chapter for anyone. we all must follow few simple rules while working with e-textiles. we will be seeing these all over the place very soon. tshirts, pants, shoes – anything.
how does it work?
imagine you are holding a piece of cotton cloth fabric. carbon fiber fabric. it can be used exactly like cloth. you can cut it with scissors, stitch it like any other fabric.
but unlike regular clothing, it is conductive. and when you apply electricity to it, the cloth gets hot. we control this temperature by either with the surface area of the material used. or by changing the voltage.
before posting this instructable, i have aimed to find the best amount of size needed for a certain temperature and long battery life. when applied 5V to carbon fiber cloth sizing 15mm(0.6″) width and 45-55cm(21″) length, it reaches about 40C/100F.
because it is universal, very easy access for power, lots of portable rechargeable battery options, solar backpacks with usb etc. all usb outlets are designed to be at 5V and 1A(1000mA) minimum. yes you can make a heated blanket the same exact way you are doing this hat, but we would need much more fabric and more voltage (bigger power source)
so to keep everything simple, and give everyone an equal chance at understanding i decided to keep it small, simple and cheap yet very effective.
the carbon fiber tape is conductive, which means that when there is electricity going through it, there is a risk that you may get shocked when wet. this is why the tape must be sealed in some sort of non conductive material like plastic/rubber. a very easy fix that we need to watch out for and know about.
heated clothing already exists, what is the advantage of this new technology?
much much more cheaper, a very even heat distribution unlike heated wire. it can bend and be stitched just like cloth, a huge advantage over wire. much easier to work with. this technology is a game changer and you can use it today, right now.!!
Task 2: Sealing & Wiring
for this light duty beanie, i will be using packaging tape. cover the back of the cloth completely with tape
and also the front leaving a tiny surface area in each end to make the wire connections. these parts will be sealed too at the end. check out the wiring diagram above.
to make a more durable and better sealed cloth you can use silicone rubber, rubbing a thin layer all over the cloth.
on one end of the cloth we wire the – negative and the other end + positive lead of the usb/battery. to do this, we strip a certain amount of wire, so the bare wire is visible without the insulating plastic.
then we stitch the bare wire on the the carbon fiber cloth with using the conductive thread.
once we sew the wire and cloth together firmly, we use the conductive glue to make the final connection.
i use a tiny straw and my breath to push the glue down. get it thin and even;
and let it sit to cure, i usually leave it overnight just to be sure.
after glue is set, go ahead and tape the connections as well to seal them in.
now our beanie is ready to accept voltage. again at 5V it should draw 0.5A current (500mA) and reach 40C/100F. the size of the surface area is pre measured for this range. we dont want it to get too hot nor use too much electricity. you could give this piece of cloth 12V and it would get really hot, too hot for your head. and it would use lots of current over 1Amp. this is when we would change the surface area of the cloth to even out the extra heat. and move upto sizes like blankets/jackets.
the quality of our wire to cloth connection will decide how evenly and effectively our beanie will heat up. basically more surface area helps with better connection. you can get sewing help from others if you are new to fashion like me remember we are looking for electrical conductivity at the connection end points, not thermal conductivity. so thermal paste/glue won’t work.
now stitch your wired carbon fiber cloth to your beanie just like any other fabric using regular thread, NOT conductive thread anymore, we are now just mounting the wired fiber together. you can re-tape over the final connection or sew another thin piece of cloth on top for apparel/comfort purposes.
Task 3: Usb and battery/power options
now we have a beanie with 2 wires hanging out of it. all we have left to do is to solder these 2 wires to a male usb jack.
learn how to solder
learn more about usb power hacking
solder the – and + wires from the hat to the far outside legs/pins of the male usb jack. the polarity (negative/positive) doesn’t matter. get soldering help from others if you are not experienced or lack the tools – it is very easy to learn skill and very helpful in the long run.!!
battery / solar / AC
by choosing usb power as source, we unlock lots of opportunities to stay warm. look around you in the room. it must have at least 2 usb outlets.
you can already purchase or DIY make solar chargers very easily, velcro tape it on your shoulders/backpack and plug your usb hat into it while walking around.
sitting on the couch you can use your laptop or usb phone charger on the wall with AC
but most exciting are these rechargeable usb powerbanks. they come in different sizes/shapes. charge it like a cell phone and carry it in your pocket to turn on your heated beanie, charge your cell phone. power up anything usb;
small capacity, lasts 3hrs – $3 included in price
– single cell 2600mAh
medium capacity, lasts 3-5hrs – $7
– double cell 5600mAh
large capacities, lasts +10hrs – $15+
– 10000 mAh
– 20000 mAh
– 50000 mAh
Task 4: Conclusion
i have 2 beanies and a scarf at the moment that I have been using for over a week now. biking in the cold. works so well that you have to see it for yourself. its just great stuff
i have been using a single cell, double cell and a big capacity with double usb outlet powerbanks. all serve different purposes and range at proce from $3-$15 and you can get minimum 3 hours to upto 10+hrs with this very beanie. i can also power up my hat and scarf at the same time from the same powerbank this way.
the closer to your skin it is, the warmer you will feel. you will require more heat to heat up a jacket hoping that it will reach to your body through all the layers of clothing you may have on. this is why little patches of heated fiber, strategically placed around the body under all the layers. this will be a much more efficient way of staying warm.
to get more information about this material and other amazing examples of heated clothing, please follow instructable author shenzhen. he is very helpful and is providing very informative work on here.!
to further your learning, you can look into basic electronics & e-textiles / wearables.
love & peace
wearables – usb heated clothing, in category: technology