Note from the Editor:
I received this email on March 8, 2009 from a
webBikeWorld visitor who modified the
Heated Vest for his wife, who has breast cancer. I
edited the document and I am posting this information in
the hope that it may help others, but note that I have
no personal knowledge of whether this process is an
Thanks to your enthusiastic reviews of the Jett Battery
powered vest, I bought one last month. The vest is
all that I hoped it would be: a powerful heater, easy to
use, well made, and comfortable.
You could pass this
information along if another reader asks if a front
chest heater or heated vest for hyperthermia treatment
for cancer exists.
My wife Lois and I do have a
motorcycle, but our more vital issue is that she has
breast cancer that has spread to the skin of her chest.
We bought the vest to assist her therapy.
She is taking an oral
chemotherapy drug called Xeloda which is supposed to be
effective on the skin. I have also read that heat
will assist in treatment of cancer.
Duke University Medical Center, Hyperthermia Treatment
Program at the Department of Radiation Oncology, Duke
Comprehensive Care Center for more information.
Also this Google search result for "hyperthermia
My intuition says that the
best way to beat a resilient cancer is with a strong
immune system, and the immune system's usual tactic is
to start a fever.
I believe the vest will help
Lois, and moving the heaters to the front suited my need
to make a personal contribution and to simply DO MORE.
She wears it at least 5 hours per day.
I would be glad to
correspond with others who want a battery powered vest
that heats in front, or who are involved in breast
cancer and want to explore hyperthermia.
Lois is doing very well so
far, though it is too early to say anything definite.
She is as active as ever. We live day to day, and
hope. Thanks again for your tip.
How to Modify a Jett
Battery Powered Vest to a Front Heater for the Chest
All of the nice things they
say about this vest on webBikeworld.com are true.
When I say "right," I mean
the right of the person wearing the vest.
What you need:
Enough ability with a sewing machine to use it in
very awkward places.
A seam ripper is a small hand tool with a pointed
end and a sharpened notch just below.
Nylon fabric any color, about a square foot.
I recommend a dark color thread rather than black,
so you can more easily fix your mistakes, and later
show off your sewing to your friends. Very little
new sewing shows on the outside.
A skinny worn out bar of soap with a sharp edge.
2 pieces of 22 gage stranded wire, 24 inches long.
Most likely telephone cable, but be sure its
Soldering iron and solder.
6 inches of heat shrink tubing, approximate outside
diameter 3/32 inch.
5 hours, plus or minus a lot.
Willingness to risk destroying the heating ability.
Willingness to end up with a garment that looks (on
the inside) less than "Factory perfect."
Some warnings. Except for
one cut described below, do not change the wiring, open
any factory wiring terminal, or sew across a wire.
Do not add to or reduce the heating capacity. Be
careful not to cut the nylon fabric of the garment with
Where do you want to move
the heaters to? They will fit between the arm hole
and the center opening, and above the drawstrings at
chest level. This is where these instructions
describe putting them, and the wires are long enough to
reach this on the right side.
I spliced in more wires to
reach that place on the left. Suit yourself.
You can use the edge of a worn out bar of soap to
temporarily draw squares or lines as you consider this.
Remove the battery and the
Release all drawstrings to
the most slack possible.
On the inside bottom of the
vest, use the seam ripper to unsew the bottom seam for
the full distance between places that the drawstring
cord comes out, then make the opening two inches wider
on each side.
The seam which runs from the
arm hole to the bottom of the vest should be modified
for easier reassembly by slitting the lowest ¾ inch of
white insulation away from the seam.
Lay the vest with its lining
side down, with the opened seam toward you. Lift
the back to expose a little of the inner side of the
liner. Note how the maker used patches to make
paths for the wires. You'll do that the same way.
Use the seam ripper to unsew
the wire patches from the riveted cord strain taker to
the lower heater and between the heaters. Don't
remove the strain taker.
Note how a heater has wires
you can feel in a serpentine pattern. Don't unsew
these wire paths, but there is square sewn around the
outside of the heater which you should unsew from both
heaters. All wiring is now free after the riveted
The following step that did
not occur to me until the project was done. With the
heaters at the upper chest, the chest draw strings will
cause the heater to bunch up, and that does make hot
spots. I would remove the two chest draw strings.
With the vest still in the
same position, use two hands to find the right breast
area, under the vest shell, under the insulation, on the
inner surface of the liner, where the chest drawstring
meets the zipper. You may only be able to flatten
out a couple inches square area, but you can work with
Set the lower heater near
that, with its wires entering from the direction of the
wearer's center back. I think that is your lower
left. If the heating wire's "S" pattern is running
up and down, flip the heater over to make the S pattern
run side to side. Undo any extra twisting of the
wires from the strain taker to this heater.
Set the heater in the little
flat place you made. The critical corner is just
above the drawstring, at the zipper. A flap of the
heater fabric can overlap the drawstring or the zipper,
but you must have at least a quarter inch (a half inch
is better) of space between the heating wires and the
drawstring and between the heating wires and the zipper.
Soon you will sew thru there.
Use a pin to hold that
corner to the vest liner (not to insulation or shell).
Use more pins, avoiding the wires, patiently, spreading
out the heater and pinning it to the liner. Do it
over if it wants to lie on the zipper or draw string, or
if it bunches up, or if becomes a parallelogram.
The result must be a heater
that lays flat against you, or it will make a
dangerously hot spot. I had to pin it several
times to get it right. I recommend using eight
pins per heater so that it will stay in place as you sew
I want to keep "how to sew"
out of this, but I also recommend that before you take
the vest to the sewing machine each time, that you hold
the vest up to make sure that you have not pinned to
layers you don't intend, or included folds of fabric
Sew the heater to the vest
liner an inch at a time, starting next to the wires'
entry, around to the other side of the wires.
Don't sew across garment wires or heater wires.
You may sew closer to the heater wires than the factory
did, where that suits you.
Now that you are committed,
the next step is to make the wires longer to the farther
(formerly the upper) heater. As I said at the
beginning, 24 inches extra was enough for where I put
the heaters in a size Large vest. It would be good
to have the wires be a little longer than necessary.
Is 24 inches enough for you?
Cut the red and black wires
at half way between the two heaters. Strip a half
inch of insulation from the four cut ends, and from the
four ends of the add-on wires. The vest's wires
seem smaller that 22 gage, but 22 feels substantial.
Color doesn't matter except to your sense of propriety,
nor does connecting red to black as long as you complete
the circuit thru the heater.
Add 4 pieces 1½ inches long
of very small heat shrink tubing at each end of the
extra wires. The best wire splice is as if you
grab someone else's wrist and that person grabs yours.
No 180 degree bends. Twist wire A around wire B,
and B around A, so that each will nearly reach the
other's insulation. Solder the joint, slide the
heat shrink tubing over the splice, and shrink it.
The next step is the patch
over the wire from the first heater back to the strain
taker. Lay the vest on its back with the zipper
spread wide enough to let you feel the two ends of the
wire you will cover.
Measure the length of
the patch you will need. Either use a patch you
removed or make a patch. The factory used unhemmed
patches, but I find it easier to cut the patch a bit
wider (1½ inches) and hem the four sides. This
gives it some stability.
Before you move the vest,
use 3 or 4 pins thru the liner only, to mark the route
of the patch. Turn the vest over, expose the
inside of the liner and part of the pins, and use the
soap to draw the path. Remove the marker pins.
Pin one edge of the patch to the side of the path and
sew it on.
Back on your work table, put
the wires and their connectors under the patch.
The wires to the second heater emerge at the bottom of
the first heater. Carefully keeping the wiring
away from the patch's second edge, sew that also.
Before you can attach the
second heater at the left, the Jett logo must be removed
with the seam ripper because it is sewed thru all
layers. Once it is off, you'll see a different red
logo beneath. If you like the outer logo better,
you can re-sew it on thru the insulation and the shell.
Attach the second heater by
following the instructions above for the first one.
Except for the wires going in at the opposite lower
corner. Your experience will make it go faster,
but observe all precautions, please.
The route for the wires
across the back can be a strait line between corners of
heaters. Make the first patch run about half way
across. Add a second patch for the rest of the
distance. Make patches from scrap nylon, whatever
color it is will never show.
Use the marker pin and soap
method. Where the wires are too long, they can be folded
back on themselves (since they are not heating) and tied
with thread so that they will go easily under the patch.
Before you reclose the
bottom of the vest, test the heaters by briefly
connecting the controller and battery.
The bottom drawstring should
be laid in the folded up back of the vest. I found it
helpful to pin the fold tightly around the drawstring.
This keeps the string out of the way and defines where
the fold in the back should be.
Did you notice how the first
sewer of the vest had some trouble sewing over the seams
that come down from the armholes? Cutting the
lowest ¾ inch of insulation away from that seam made it
Next you pin the turned up
flap of the back thru the inner liner, the white
insulation, and the back. The tricky part is to get
enough of the inner liner to go in there. Perhaps
a line drawn with soap would help. Use lots of
I write this on the day that
I finished the project, so feedback from my wife is
preliminary. She likes the feeling of front heat.
Perhaps the chest draw strings should NOT be tightened
because they may cause the heater to make a fold on
itself, causing a hot spot.
We invite you to edit,
correct, and improve these notes. The second time
thru a process always shows improvements. We don't
care if you republish this version or your improvements.
Our motivation for modifying
the vest is not primarily comfort while motorcycling,
though that we will appreciate it. My wife has
breast cancer and we hope heat will enhance the
chemotherapy. A Google search for "breast cancer
hyperthermia" led us to the web site of Duke Hospital in
North Carolina. They're quite clever.
Ben and Lois Brown.
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