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Help With Wiring Light Fixtures

Discussion in 'Electricity/Wiring' started by AjaMichelle, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Unfortunately with monitors we need to use as low a wattage as possible to keep from cooking off the humidity and still achieve the desired surface temperature.
    This means it needs to be as close as possible while still maintaining a safe distance.
  2. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Thanks for all of the information. :) she's never messed with her lights before, but I of course can't guarantee that she never will. Also, I was unaware that flagstone retains heat well.

    What should I do when the spot is too hot? I really didn't think that would be an issue. :/

    Right now it's only 116*F and the lights have been on all night. (I'm just keeping track, that had no bearing on what we're talking about. :) )
  3. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Can't recall who said it but you would need to wire in a dimmer.
    Easy to do. Not any harder than what you've already done.

    It's a spotty internet day for me. Keeps cutting out
  4. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Awesome! I'll start looking at those then. :) you guys are the best!
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Aja, I always prefer to have my heat bulbs hanging loose rather than fixed in place, it means I can adjust the height/position back and forward. Apart from the danger of the monitor grabbing hold of one, in your case it could cause a burn because the animal would be more likely to hang on longer than if they are free swinging. What wattage are those bulbs, and why not add a third, you can always use a dimmer if it gets too warm?
  6. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Right, but I wouldn't deem 12" from the basking surface safe. My point was there are ways to provide both effective and safe means of heating. Simply shifting the bulbs and angling them towards the top basking surface is one way to achieve this. This will put the bulbs further out of vertical reach while still providing the proper amount of heat. As they are they will be putting out way too much heat and the animal can easily reach them...this, to me, is not an ideal setup (no offense, Aja). Aside from this, with all the water in the enclosure plus the overall size of the enclosure and amount of substrate a couple 50w halogens aren't going to dry it out.
  7. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    In their current position you would have two options...dim them or use lower wattage bulbs. The benefit to using a dimmer/rheostat is that you can adjust at will. Too cool? Bump the slider up. Too warm...bump that sucker down. Voilà.
  8. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    As always, thanks for all of the input. :)

    Matt, I take no offense to your opinion that this isn't ideal. :)

    So she's currently in a 5L by 2W by 3T enclosure, and has been for a year. Her current lighting arrangement is two 45 watt halogen flood bulbs contained in free-hanging Exo Terra deep domes. The surface of the bulbs is 12 inches away from her basking platform. Her basking platform is made up of granite and slate slabs and dirt. The basking temperature is consistently 130*F to 140*F. The platform has never been too hot and she's never touched the bulbs.

    I figured since the volume of the new enclosure is slightly larger, 6L by 4W by 4T, using the same bulb combination that has worked would likely result in temperatures that weren't quite high enough, instead of too warm, so I would only need to worry about raising them, if need be. I left room to the right of the bulbs for the addition of another bulb.

    So the basking spot in the new enclosure is the same combination of variables that have worked perfectly for a year, with a few changes. The flagstone was added to protect the integrity of the wood from her claws, and for belly heat as she's shone an obvious preference for the granite and slate she has now over the dirt. Also, there is no longer any way for her to hang on the lights. There's nothing available for her to hold onto if she tries, just the glass of the light bulb.

    I have tried hanging lights, fixed lights, various types of bulbs and bulb combinations, along with varying the distance from the bulb face to the basking platform. Nothing else has worked. I'm not even really concerned with rH, as Matt mentioned, she has 40 gallons of water cycling through the tank. But the enclosure has always been too warm when I've tried to use higher wattage bulbs, farther away. And if I want to use higher wattage bulbs, the next tier is 90 watts which is too much. I don't have access to anything between 45 watts and 90 watts in the halogen flood bulbs that I like.

    So I'm going to see if this lighting set up continues to work over the next week as the enclosure off-gasses. So far, the humidity is 60% and the cool spot in the enclosure is 75*F. I had all of the lights on for 24 hours with the doors closed and the flagstone surface temp never went over 124*F. I turned the lights off last night and took another surface temp reading 12 hours later and the surface temp was 76*F with the doors open (so the same temp as the room). The lights are back on now so I'll continue to check the temps of everything. :)

    Mike, thanks for sharing your experience with the heat retention capacity of flagstone. I was unaware of this and will be sure to monitor the surface temperature. :)
  9. Rakoladycz

    Rakoladycz Elite Member

    I am currently using some kind of slate stone and I have actually have the exact opposite problem. I have gotten it to reach 120ish while the log right next to it is still reaching the 140's... My stone is a light color like yours and may even be flagstone, I think a darker stone would be better. Was my next thought anyway.
  10. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Interesting Randy.
    Is your stone quite heavy? Maybe it's not as dense.
  11. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Darker, denser material has lower albedo and thus holds onto more, and reflects less, radiation. If you switch to a darker material you'll definitely have higher readings on your temp gun because less of the thermal radiation is being reflected back to the lights.

    However, if you're getting readings of 140*F on the wood next to the flagstone, I would be tempted to say the temperature of the basking spot should be sufficient.

    You have good belly heat at 120*F and your rudi's are dark so they'll reflect less of the radiation from the lights, and likely match or surpass the desired 140*F surface temperature of the thermoregulation gradient.

    Switching to a darker stone will allow you to create a spot that gets hotter and stays warmer for a longer period after lights out. But I feel like this is only significant if you wanted more heat from below. :) I think I'll stick with my flagstone unless the temp readings I get off of her back are too low. :)
  12. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    My thoughts exactly.

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