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Is my MVB working

Discussion in 'Habitat Lighting' started by replover, Jan 6, 2006.

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  1. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Hi, I replaced my florescent with a mercury vapor bulb today. Self ballastered.

    I positioned it above the basking platform, and measured the temperatures below it after it was on for like 30 mins. It was a little too hot. I noticed that the ceramic socket was quite hot too. So I switched it off, and positioned it higher up above the platform, and switched it back on again.

    When it went on, I heard a slight rattling sound, almost like the sound when you switch on a florescent light in a garage, for about a second or so. The light switched on as normal, bright as ever, hot as before. Didn't think much about it then.

    Now, I just read online that SBMVBs can burn out when you switch them off and then on again before they are 100% cooled off in temperature! In that website, it says that the bulb will completely burn out, no light, no heat, no UVB. But I can't help but wonder what was that fizzing/rattling sound?? It lasted like half to one second. Can it be that the UVB emitting mechanism has burned out but it still produce the same amount of light and heat???

    I am not talking about a decay over months here. This is a brand new bulb. As long as the bulb switches on, it should still be emitting UVB, right?

    How can you tell? I can't really get a UV meter now.
  2. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member


    To the best of my knowledge, if that MV is producing light, it is producing UV. (Of course this would not be true if the light were old and was decayed.)
  3. empoyner

    empoyner Established Member

    I have heard a similiar noise with my EBs and in the past with my SBs. I know the EBs are still giving off UVB since I have a meter now. I have also seen a very slight flickering in a few of mine but again I have tested them and found they are fine. Both EBs and SBs do take about 15 minutes to come on if you try to turn it on right after turning it off--I guess because of the heat. I do not know of a way to know for sure though without having a meter though.
  4. jmherp

    jmherp Elite Member

    Which MVB are you using? SOME of the brands have a safety feature on them to where they wont turn on untill completely cooled. I know mine are the way, and beleive it or not some times during the day, if it gets too hot, it shuts itselft off and comes on about 10 minutes later...
  5. replover

    replover Elite Member

    empoyner, have you heard that same flickering/rattling sound with your SBs and tested any to see if they were affected at all? I really can't afford a meter now but I just want to know if that sound means it is DEFINITELY not emiting UVB or it is a normal sound that occurs now and then and that should not be worried about.

    jmherp, I am using "Rep Pro" brand SB MVB.
  6. empoyner

    empoyner Established Member

    I didn't get my meter until after switching to the EBs. But I would hazard to guess that the same would be true with SBs.
  7. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member

    Replover, you did indeed break the cardinal rule of SB Merc Vapor lamps.

    SB MV lamps have a very fragile filament. They should never be moved around while hot, that is when the filament is the most fragile. Also, they need 15 minutes to reset.

    Based on what I see with the RepPro lamps, they should be fine. They are strong, though unstable, UVB producers. If it lit up again, it is emitting UVB. We are currently testing these lamps at ReptileUV.

    These lamps do burn extremely hot! Please make sure they are in a ceramic socket fixture, firmly mounted to an unmoveable surface and out of complete reach of the iguana, a wire cage around the face of the lamp fixutre is best.

    Glad to hear you have them. I would have loved to ship you a Mega-Ray lamp, but shipping to China is extremely expensive, so this is a good option.

    As with the rest of your set-up, quit playing with it! LOL You need to give things time. Those lamps will burn bright and hot until the burn-in phase is over, then things will change.

    As long as the iguana can move away from the light and heat, there is no danger in it.
  8. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Donimik, Yes I know I broke the cardinal rule, hence my posts.

    I can look up into the lamp from where I stand inside the enclosure and see the wires. There are like some thickish wires sticking out from the base of the lamp, connected by some springs. I can see it clearly and the springs are all intact. There is also a "Glass case" inside that has two wires on either end and a "Cup" on their middle. There is no wire connecting these.

    When you say "it should be emiiting UVB if it is emmitting light", you only refer to that as in SUDDEN damage, right?
    So, after say, 6 months, even if it is still emitting light, it may have "decayed" to the point of no UVB, and need to be replaced? Or can I use it as long as it is emitting light? In other words:
    1) SUDDEN damage when bulb is new and hasn't decayed over time - if it has light, it is still OK UVB wise.
    2) GRADUAL DEGRADATION over time, it can still be emitting light but UVB amount has decreased to nothing/nill?

    Otherwise, I don't see how you can make sure they haven't been moved or shaken around because they are shipped from overseas by the bulk and I KNOW how terribly the postal service handles packages. I run a mail order business, and when packages get returned, they are completely CRUSHED.

    I would be VERY interested in seeing the results of your tests at Reptile UV of these rep pro bulbs. Please let me know as soon as you have any results.
    When it comes time to replace my bulb in a few months (6? 8 months?), I would very much also be interested in trying a MEGA RAY. I wouldn't mind paying extra shipping unless it is outragous but that depends on the postal service. Please do let me know then.

    I heard that there are these "UV test cards" that are like little plastic cards (business card sized) that test the relative strength of UVA and UVB. I know they are not nearly as accurate as the meters, but I would presume they are cheap, and they can at least give an idea of whether the bulb is working AT ALL or completely broken. I saw them but have no idea where to get them. They are meant for beauty conscious women who test the sunlight for UV before they go outside to estimate what SPF sunscreen they should wear. LOL!

    All in all, should I feel reasonably safe that the light is still working now? It still has light as before. Over the past day of burning, it has graudually dimmed somewhat (at first it was hurting my eyes so bad!). Not much, but it is noticeably a little dimmer than the first switch on. The color of the light is the same. White colored light. When shone on the platform, the circle is a kaladoscope of different colors, red, yellow, blue, green and white. Is that gradual decrease in light normal? What could that rattling sound have been, in your experience with MVBs? I haven't heard that in the subsequent times the light was switched on. I just want to make sure the IG is getting proper UV.
  9. replover

    replover Elite Member

    I may add, I took a quick look at the bulb while on, and I notice that the light is coming from the little glass case inside it. It was shining like a ball of light and thats where pretty much all the light came from. It looks so fascinating!
  10. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member


    I see that you ask very similar questions on other forums.

    To answer your questions:

    This lamp will decay, as all MV lamps do. Some of these lamps decay quickly, some slowly over time (the inconsistency factor once again). We all face the very same issue. The only REAL way to be sure of UVB output is with a meter. I would be intersted in looking at these UVB cards. Sounds like an interesting concept. The lamp will give you 4-6 good months of UVB, after that time, it will be questionable and can only be confirmed by measurement with a meter. That's why I suggested you get a couple of these lamps to start with. Yes, over time the lamp will decay and even though it is emitting light, it's UVB might be weak. Right now, I don't think that the sizzling caused any damage.

    Never look into the light of a working mercury vapor lamp. It's the equivelant of looking into the sun without sunglasses to block the UVB.

    The elongated nature of these clear-faced lamps require that they be housed in a ceramic socketed, deep "reflector" hood. The UVB is scattered out of the entire lamp, so the relfector hood focuses the light and UVB down toward the target area. Very important!

    They are not as fragile in a cooled state, that's why we can ship MV lamps in the mail and they still work. They are only fragile when the filament is still hot. Hence, the 'don;t move them when hot' rule.

    Interesting thought: You don't order anything through the mail, yet you own a mail-order business?? Seems like diabolically opposed positions. LOL The saying goes (for store purchased things), "If you bought it, a truck brought it". Trucking, in my extensive experience, is just as hard on product as shipping through the mail. So, the same rules apply. LOL

    I think your lamp is just fine. If you are overly concerned why not return it to the store for replacement. Tell them the thing "flickers" and you don't trust it. They should replace it without issue, if they stand behind their product.

    Write to me privately at with a shipping address and I will see how much it costs to ship to China. We can go from there.

    Keep up the good work!
  11. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Hey Dominick,

    Yes, I know it has to be in a ceramic socket and I do have the lampshade with relective material. I have two bulbs (one is just heat, the other for the MVB, it's winter here and it takes 2 bulbs PLUS a heater to get the temperatures right). I am using the ceramic socket from Rep-Pro too and one from Zoo Med, as they turn out to be pretty much the same price as ones from hardware stores here.

    I sense that you are perhaps annoyed that I post similar questions on other forums? :eek: I do apologize if this bothers you, but the two forums which I post on have different readers and I wanted to get different people to give me their insight. I don't think this disrupts the discussion in any one forum. And yes, I do worry a lot about things that I care about. It is a problem that I am trying to correct. But it's better for me to ask more questions and care too much than to not care and end up with an unhealthy iguana, right? :)

    And yes, I own a mail order business but I don't order through the mail unless necessary. I know this is contradictory but the fact that I own this mail order business shows me the horrors that the postal system subjects the packages to! I used to sell a whole variety of things, even porcelain ornaments and decorations, but after a few times, I said NO MORE! They keep breaking in the mail, and I always replace the damaged product or refund the buyer when they return it to me. I know I am honest, but I know that a lot of other mail order business owners will not be so understanding. I used to buy a lot through the mail, and a lot of times, I would get a damaged product and the person wouldn't be willing to refund or replace. I once ordered some resin dolls and the company just completely disappeared and their website gone, e-mails bounced, nothing. I had paid with paypal and they had just emptied out their account and fled. Hence my aversion to ordering through the mail myself. In fact, nowadays, in my own business, I am only selling things that aren't easily breakable like plastic toys, T-shirts, that kind of thing.

    Yes, I do know I tend to worry too much. :)
  12. empoyner

    empoyner Established Member


    I can attest to the integrity of Reptile UV. I purchase all my UVB needs through them. Whenever I have had any problems they have taken care of it immediately with out a hassle. Any delays was due to their manufacturer not shipping to them in a timely manner. I truelly believe you won't get any better customer service. Their SB design is used by other companies but I will not consider them because of the customer service I get from Reptile UV cannot be found at the big companies or through third parties.

    I do not believe Dominick is annoyed. I think he just made an observation. Many of us post and crosspost at many forums including him. I post mainly at 3 places but read and occassionally post at several others. It helps to get many opinions. Also it is good to know what is posted at other places by people at the other forums. There may be something mentioned somewhere else that gives us a better picture of what's going on.

    It is obvious that you care very deeply about your baby. You are very diligent. It is just that owners can sometimes over stress their iguana by their overzealousness to make everything perfect and that can have an effect on his behavior. Iguanas do not like (and even hate) change. Even if it is a great change. It almost always take them a long time to adjust.

    If you do want to change to the MegaRays go ahead and email Dominick. He will do his best to accomadate you.
  13. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member


    I'm not annoyed at all. I believe the same thing Marie does; it's good to get many opinions and them formulate your own. It was simply an observation, nothing more. Besides, now at least I can reply to you by name! LOL

    The mail order thing is just ironic, that's all. Funny to hear a mail order business owner state that they do not order through the mail. Kind of self-defeating. LOL! But, I do understand what you mean. I too have to refund and/or replace product that is damaged in shipping. Just drives me nuts! You do everything you can to protect it and sometimes they manage to find a way to damage it. LOL I also manage the business through Paypal. There is a better way but our store front designer is busy at the moment. ;-)

    It's good to worry, keeps you on your toes. But consider that you are doing better than most new iguana owners and you can relax a bit.

    I've received your private e-mail and will get back to you on that. ;-)
  14. replover

    replover Elite Member


    I don't doubt ReptileUV's service at all. I've never ordered from them but I have heard all good thingsabout them. I was only pointing out the pitfalls of some mail order companies that are unrelated to reptile products, hence my aversion to ordering online myself these days.
  15. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Anthony, we understand! That is why you will frequently see posts asking about good places to order things online. Many of us have ordered thru internet and we have absolutely no qualms about saying good things or bad about the way we were treated. Sometimes very loudly!;)
    As Marie said most of us belong to and post at more than one forum. It is indeed wise to get all the different opinions that you can. You just have to be careful that you are posting on a quality site as opposed to that ran by a 12 year old with a care book.
    And IZ is a quality site!
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