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Need help....radiator shutting off

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by JLM, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. JLM

    JLM Active Member

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    Ok you can see all the details of my enclosure here https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/it-has-begun-outdoor-enclosure-build.153194/page-4#post-1548225

    I mostly followed @Tom 's nightbox design with a few extras I've seen on other threads.

    I have this heater
    Optimus H-6003 Portable Oil Filled Radiator Heater, Mini, 16 x 6 x 15 inches https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MXEDAV2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_fjIjAb277MRHQ

    I have this thermostat
    Inkbird Temperature Controller 306 Pre-Wired Dual Stage Thermostat & Timer Time Switch Only Heating for Reptile, Seedling Heating Mat, Germination,Planting ect.AC 100~240V,1200W https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FTQ669S/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_4qIjAbWPK09G3

    The issue is that I can see it on my nest camera turning on and off (via the light on the front panel) even when the temp is well below the setting on the thermostat controller. It's like there is a safety shutoff or something on the heater. In reading the reviews I found one similar review that noted this. Has anyone else had this? This size heater should be plenty to heat the enclosed area but not if it's not running when the thermostat tells it to and keeps shutting itself off.

    Ideas??
  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I don't know that thermostat. Does it say on the package what the range is? In other words, how many degrees below the set point does it go before kicking on, and how many degrees above the set point before it kicks off? Most thermostats of that style are set at one degree.

    From what you describe above the most obvious question is: Where is the thermostat's probe? It should be in the coolest area of the enclosure, away from the heat source, and not touching a wall. If the fans are blowing heat onto the probe, or if the probe is near the heater, then it will shut off prematurely.

    Also: Did you turn the little dial thermostat on the heater itself most of the way up? If that dial is set too low, it might be turning the heater on and off too. I found temps swings of 15-20 degrees when I first tried to use the oil heaters without a separate thermostat.

    What is the humidity inside the box? Is the thermostat protected from the humidity in any way?

    Lets start with these items and then go from there.
  3. JLM

    JLM Active Member

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    The thermostat is set to 85 with a 1 degree swing. The probe is in a cooler area and thermostat will read 75 (matching the heat gun) but yet the radiator is not running. The dial is all the way up on the radiator. Humidity is 82%. Controls are in a plastic tote for protection. It's like the heater has its own mind. Thanks tom
  4. JLM

    JLM Active Member

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    Also I have a separate "air temp" sensor about halfway up side wall. It also matches heat gun reading
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I see two possibilities:
    1. The digital read out on your thermostat (Or dial on some models.), is not necessarily accurate. Sometimes I have to set the dial to "88", to get an actual temp of 80, or I had one that was low, so a setting of "76" on the display held my temp at 82. Use your thermometer to set the temp, not the display of the thermostat.
    2. You have a malfunction. Either the thermostat or the heater are malfunctioning. Does that thermostat have the usual two indicator lights? One indicator light to show that the unit is receiving power from the outlet, and another light to indicate when the unit is "on" and sending power to the heating elements? If yes, is the thermostat turning the outgoing power off prematurely, or is the actual heater turning itself off, even though the thermostat is still sending power?
  6. Turtulas-Len

    Turtulas-Len Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Have you tried running the oil heater without the external thermostat to make sure it is operating correctly ?
    Tom and Yvonne G like this.
  7. JLM

    JLM Active Member

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    The radiator is currently plugged into outlet directly (for a few days) and temp has been maintained within comfort levels. It's getting cold again tonight so we'll see how it holds.

    Tom I'm not sure what you mean about using therm to set temp. The heat gun reading and probe/thermostat reading are the same. About 10 degrees below the on/off setting for the therm to run the radiator. The therm shows current reading from probe as well as current setting at same time. There is a light indicating that it's 'on' when the heater light is also on so juice is flowing. Also it's 1200watt therm and I think 6-700watt heater.
  8. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    How to explain…

    Imagine there are no numbers on the thermostat read out. Imagine instead it is a dial with no numbers. Right now you, where you have it set is too cool, according to your thermometers. Turn the dial up and ignore the numbers on the read out. Only go by the numbers on your thermometers.

    In other words, your stat is set to 80, but your therm reads 70. Turn the stat up to 85, and then see what the therm says. Go up to 90 on the stat, and see what the therm reads. Trust your thermometers, and do go by what the stat display says.
  9. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Perhaps you are getting radiant heat (IR) that is giving a high reading with the probe, yet the air temp is lower. Is the probe in a direct line of sight with the heater? In looking at picture of the enclosure it looks like the heater sits much higher than the barrier seperating the tortoises from the heater. I both Tom's and mine, that barrier is almost the height of the heater. That might be a difference. Think how much heat you feel in front of a radiant heat source even when the temperature is much lower. IR can almost instantly create a feeling of heat much quicker than the refresh time of most thermostats. Possibly that is kicking off the thermostat much quicker than air temps are rising. Since IR is "line of sight" try blocking the line of sight from your probe to the heater.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  10. JLM

    JLM Active Member

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    Thanks...here's a closer look at the heater from my nest cam.

    Attached Files:

  11. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Is that the thermostat's probe mounted to the ceiling? What is the wire that is going over the door?
  12. JLM

    JLM Active Member

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    Those are fans that's the power wire that goes over to my "plug box". The probe would be in the rear right corner (behind you) if you were in the box facing the way the camera is oriented. I wanted to try something different tonight and lift the heater above the box. Unfortunately my husband noticed that there was a puddle of oil. So we shut everything off and brought Ruby in for the night. I'll have to overnight ship a new heater and try again
  13. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    In all my years of using these heaters, I've only had that happen once. It happened because I over tightened the chain that I was using to hold the heater in place. Totally my fault. None of the other ones have ever leaked and I've got around a dozen.

    At least now you know the problem and how to trouble shoot it next time. :)
  14. JLM

    JLM Active Member

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    Yeah I think that's what happened is with the chain.
  15. JLM

    JLM Active Member

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    Argh! Heater won't be here until Monday!!! Guess she"ll be "camping" through the weekend
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