Friday, November 09, 2007

Widder electric vest woes

My Widder electric vest is about three years old now. My vest is the old model, which I picked up new really cheap, it was about half the price of the newer model that was already out. I get a lot of use out of it since I ride in cooler temps frequently.

When my vest wasn’t heating up last weekend I knew something must have broke and I started to think that if I can’t fix it, I’d have to replace it.

After doing a lot of reading about the problems people are having with the Widder vests on the message boards, it looks like the vest itself is very well built, but the cable, wiring and switch is not. With heavy use the wires and the switch tend to break easily.

As I read though people’s post I found that many of the wires break near where the cord plugs into the vest. Probably because of the constant bending of the wires, when sitting on the bike.

After checking my cable and switch, I didn’t see anything extraordinary, Mike also looked at it and at first found nothing, after testing the electric current, which was broken, he started looking at the cord again and noticed the crack in the cable.

A small crack in the cable, I didn't even see it at first

Apparently the wires were broken inside. It looked very much like the break that others have experienced, right where the cable ends and plugs in to he vest, right there where the cable has to bend.

Broken wires inside the cable

The cable itself is very stiff, it doesn’t bend easily, so over the years the cable and the wires tend to break. I think Widder knows of this was a problem because they have recently re-designed the hook up system. Too bad many of us are still stuck with old vest and old hook up cables.

New Widder hookup (from the Widder website)

After cutting the cable and re-splicing the wires, my vest seems to work again. The electric tape is protecting the spliced parts. I guess I’m going to try and find a good deal on a old model hook up cable, the electric tape won’t stay on forever, especially in cold weather and rain.

My hook up cable - fixed for now


Payne said...

Sorry to hear of your vest woes; Widder sells connectors that you slip a + & - wire into and screw down with a small screwdriver; I've used them on things like my Battery Tender so that I can connect it to my vest harness on the bike; perhaps you could get some, snip the wires on your existing setup, and replace with these. They're the 3rd and 4th items from the bottom on

Kathlene said...

get a big piece of shrink tubing, or undue your repair and slide the shrinking tubing on there, It worked for me and kept the twisting, pulling etc