Outside heat enclosure

Mikki

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Hi Tom,
My tort is about 35 lbs now. The enclosure is 4x4, however I set up an area in his corner that he likes for the mat & for a RHP to either hang OR mount it under the wooden roof that is obviously now mounted to the wall so he has a ceiling over the corner area, the mat in the corner and now I am wanting to get the RHP for for the top heat. I know it got down to 38 degrees last night and the 700 watt mini oil filled heater probably is not going to keep the whole enclosure at a comfortable ambient heat. I know he will be warm in his corner, but as far as the rest of the enclosure should he want to move off the mat, I do not know what to use to give a nice ambient heat for him.
What is your opinion on using the Chicken Brooder Heat Panels?
 

dd33

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I took this photo for you of the chicken brooder panels in one of our outdoor night houses. Forgive the mess of cords, this is one of my many partially completed projects. You will also notice the Kane mats on the walls in the corners. I use them on the wall because most of our night houses do not have floors.

heat-panels1.jpg




Here are some FLIR camera photos that I took last year comparing the heat output of the Chicken Brooder panels and RHP panels.



This is the brooder panel set to low power (25 watts I believe)
chicken-25w.jpg

Here is the Chicken Brooder set to high power (200 watts I believe).
chicken-200w.jpg


Here is a 120watt RHP from Vivarium Electronics. There is only a photo of 1 panel here but I tested two of them and they were nearly identical in their heat output.
rhp-120w.jpg
I think that the RHP from Vivarium Electronics are likely a better quality product and they may be safer as well. Depending on the RHP you select, they can have a larger surface area so they spread out heat a bit more. They may even use less electricity doing so. The RHP have a higher surface temperature but the tortoise should never be able to reach it anyway. The chicken brooder panels are cheaper, easier to hang, and generally in stock at any tractor supply if you need one in a pinch.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Wow! Thanks for sharing this! I really enjoy that kind of posts :)

I doubt about lower power usage of RHPs. Since all electrical heaters have near 100% conversion ratio. However, they might be more efficient in terms of directed IR radiation. If a brooder panel heats more at the back side we lose some of it's power on convectional air heating (or just frying the ceiling). But if I interpret FLIR images correctly, the IR emission is the same between RHP and brooder panels.

A build quality might be an issue, I agree. There are some negative reviews on Amazon (mostly attributed to rheostat function on this panels).
 

dd33

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Wow! Thanks for sharing this! I really enjoy that kind of posts :)

I doubt about lower power usage of RHPs. Since all electrical heaters have near 100% conversion ratio. However, they might be more efficient in terms of directed IR radiation. If a brooder panel heats more at the back side we lose some of it's power on convectional air heating (or just frying the ceiling). But if I interpret FLIR images correctly, the IR emission is the same between RHP and brooder panels.

A build quality might be an issue, I agree. There are some negative reviews on Amazon (mostly attributed to rheostat function on this panels).
Alex,
My assumption on the power usage is based on the manufacturer specs. The brooder panel claimed to be 25/200 watts and the RHP claimed to be 120watts. I made the assumption that the RHP is using less power because it has a higher surface temperature while claiming to operate at a lower wattage. That is likely incorrect as I am not taking into account the frequency that either panel is turning on and off to maintain that temperature. You are right, converting electricity into heat is a simple process, any loss of efficiency should just release more heat.
 

Maggie3fan

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What is your opinion on using the Chicken Brooder Heat Panels?
I actually have a small Redfoot and I use one of those brooder panels and a black light bulb...ambient temp is today 85 my tort table is 6.5 ft by 4.feet. I have the brooder panel in one end and the che at the other...black light bulb in the middle just like this...I have visible humidity...DSCN1009.JPG


......DSCN1008.JPG

DSCN1008.JPG
DSCN0991.JPG
DSCN1708.JPG
I use the pool noodle trying to stop the drips out on the carpet. There is 6.5 feet table and there's a platform holding the green house...The temp and humidity in the table is damn near perfect. The humidity looks like thisDSCN1011.JPGBox turtles are getting a greenhouse for them....This turtle came from a trip to my sister's. She was a wild turtle...look at the tooth mark on her carapace...DSCN1237.JPGshe's kinda mean and does bite...lol
 

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Maggie3fan

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Here is where my tortoises live...All my tortoises are rescues...inside this shed (6.5' x 4') there's a oil filled radiator heater on a shelf, there's a big mat keeping the ambient temp 80 or better...there's a sleeping box with the Kane heat mat in the corner, that's on a rheostat...the mat stays above 80... from my experience you won't stay and change your ways...the shed also has 3 basking lights and 3 che's. Also in this photo are 3 pens keeping each species alone. I make large pens outta cinder block100_1491.JPG100_1480.JPG
There's a doggie door on each side of the shed...
Mary Knobbins lives here...

this is her side of the shed ...
100_1475.JPG
this is Mary Knobbins last year but the mat is easy to see.
100_1102.JPG

I'm gonna go play with tortoises...adios
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Alex,
My assumption on the power usage is based on the manufacturer specs. The brooder panel claimed to be 25/200 watts and the RHP claimed to be 120watts. I made the assumption that the RHP is using less power because it has a higher surface temperature while claiming to operate at a lower wattage. That is likely incorrect as I am not taking into account the frequency that either panel is turning on and off to maintain that temperature. You are right, converting electricity into heat is a simple process, any loss of efficiency should just release more heat.
You may be right in that sense, that all that wattage is efficiently projected below the panel (hence higher surface temperature) as panels have no significant thermal capacity (opposite to oil radiators).
 

Mikki

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I ended up getting an optimus 700 watt mini oil heater which I think will work great. I also got a Zoomed ReptiTherm heat pad. I do have a question. Thermostats have a probe and I'm confused as to how to use one for a heat pad. If my tortoise is sitting on it how does a thermostat tell the temp of the mat itself using a probe from the thermostat? The heat pad goes up to 119 degrees and has an overheat shutdown but I want to be able to set the mat to a certain temp so I know my tort isn't getting burned. I'm confused as to how to use a thermostat on the heat pad. There isn't a dial on the pad to set it like the oil heater, can someone tell me how a probe will tell how hot a mat is or explain to me how to hook up something to it to regulate the temp of a mat. Thank you so much!!! Its going to be cold tomorrow night down 39 degrees and I really want to use this.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hm. I would place a thermostat probe no more than inch or two from the mat. Other option is to use a rheostat/dimmer to cap the power consumption and temperature. Or you can drop a carpet, rug or rubber mat over it. Then only a temperature gun would tell you if it's working as it should.
 

dd33

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I ended up getting an optimus 700 watt mini oil heater which I think will work great. I also got a Zoomed ReptiTherm heat pad. I do have a question. Thermostats have a probe and I'm confused as to how to use one for a heat pad. If my tortoise is sitting on it how does a thermostat tell the temp of the mat itself using a probe from the thermostat? The heat pad goes up to 119 degrees and has an overheat shutdown but I want to be able to set the mat to a certain temp so I know my tort isn't getting burned. I'm confused as to how to use a thermostat on the heat pad. There isn't a dial on the pad to set it like the oil heater, can someone tell me how a probe will tell how hot a mat is or explain to me how to hook up something to it to regulate the temp of a mat. Thank you so much!!! Its going to be cold tomorrow night down 39 degrees and I really want to use this.
I use the probe the way @Alex and the Redfoot suggested but I have to hang them higher than 2". 2" would be better for sensing the temperature but our tortoises have chewed up the probes on several occasions now so I try to keep them just out of reach.
I have seen people put the probe under the mat as well. I haven't done this myself but I would guess that it is much more accurate than having the probe placed at maximum mouth reach for the tortoise.
 

Mikki

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Hm. I would place a thermostat probe no more than inch or two from the mat. Other option is to use a rheostat/dimmer to cap the power consumption and temperature. Or you can drop a carpet, rug or rubber mat over it. Then only a temperature gun would tell you if it's working as it should.
Thank you for responding. So if I got a rheostat that would let me set the temp of the mat itself? When it was on for 45 minutes I could touch it with my hand. You feel the heat higher as you move your hand around on the mat at each point you touch but once you keep your hand on it pressed down it's not as strong just nice warm heat and not like the strong heat you feel if you move your hand across it. I hope you understand what I was trying to tell you
 

Mikki

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Thank you! I'm j just curious about them and they have a safety cover you can put around it to. I don't think they get very hot on the outside but they still have a safety cover. They do look cool
Tom,
I got a zoomed ReptiTherm industrial heat pad for my boy. It says it has an overheat shut off at 119 degrees. My question is, if you use a thermostat for a heat pad how can you tell the actual temp of the mat itself. Using a probe isn't going to tell me the temp of the mat or allow me to set a mat to a certain temp. So I'm confused on how to control the temp of the mat itself. I let it stay on for 45 minutes and I could touch it with my hand and if my hand was stationary on a certain area the heat was nice but if I moved my hand to another spot you felt a higher heat at first until again I let my hand sit stationary. I'm afraid of it being too hot for my boy once it heats up to max heat. It says you can mount it to the wall but idk how he's going to really get heat from it. Please can you give me advice about this.
Thank you
 

Mikki

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I use the probe the way @Alex and the Redfoot suggested but I have to hang them higher than 2". 2" would be better for sensing the temperature but our tortoises have chewed up the probes on several occasions now so I try to keep them just out of reach.
I have seen people put the probe under the mat as well. I haven't done this myself but I would guess that it is much more accurate than having the probe placed at maximum mouth reach for the tortoise.
The probe I have now in the enclosure is literally almost touching his shell and knock on wood in his 3 years of age he's never bothered the probe. I'm going to try and see how hot it gets under the pad and see if that will work but honestly I don't know if it even gets warm under it. I didn't remember feeling that when I picked it up
 

Mikki

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The probe I have now in the enclosure is literally almost touching his shell and knock on wood in his 3 years of age he's never bothered the probe. I'm going to try and see how hot it gets under the pad and see if that will work but honestly I don't know if it even gets warm under it. I didn't remember feeling that when I picked it up
I thought about mounting it under his drop down ceiling in his corner but I didn't think it would radiate enough heat for him. It gives instructions to mount it to a wall but again idk if it really would do anything. I think him sitting on it is the best option but i have no way of telling the temp of the mat itself.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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The only way to tell mats temperature is an infrared thermometer. Or to leave thermometer probe directly on it for a half an hour. You have to do some experimentation with probe placement, covering the mat and so on.
Also, heat mats manual states, it should be covered (this way it differs from a Kane mats, for example)
 

Tom

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They attach to the wall? How low g do I put it and would it burn my Scooter? Do they have a thermostat? Sorry Idk anything about them and Since my oil filled heater isn't here yet I can cancel my order and buy those. I just need guidance as to how many I would need and info about where to place it. I have a new thermostat coming Saturday( it already shipped) I got another one because the one i have only alternates heat source. I can't have 2 heat sources running at the same time on the thermostat I have.
Any thermostat can be used for multiple heating elements, as long as you don't overload it beyond its rated wattage. Most of them are rated for 1000 watts, so an 80 watt Kane mat and a 78 watt RHP, will be well under. A 700 watt mini radiant oil heat is also well under.
 

Tom

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Tom,
I got a zoomed ReptiTherm industrial heat pad for my boy. It says it has an overheat shut off at 119 degrees. My question is, if you use a thermostat for a heat pad how can you tell the actual temp of the mat itself. Using a probe isn't going to tell me the temp of the mat or allow me to set a mat to a certain temp. So I'm confused on how to control the temp of the mat itself. I let it stay on for 45 minutes and I could touch it with my hand and if my hand was stationary on a certain area the heat was nice but if I moved my hand to another spot you felt a higher heat at first until again I let my hand sit stationary. I'm afraid of it being too hot for my boy once it heats up to max heat. It says you can mount it to the wall but idk how he's going to really get heat from it. Please can you give me advice about this.
Thank you
The heating strategies we have been talking about are for your 4x4 foot night box. The "enclosure" is the whole outside area where he walks around during the day and there is no way to heat that.

If your box is properly insulated and sealed then these heating strategies should easily keep it above 80 on a 38 degree night. Only your thermometer can tell you.

I would not have bought the ZooMed heat mat. I use and recommend Kane mats for a good reason.

You don't need to worry about the surface temperature of the heat mat. You need to work about the air temperature inside the heated night box on a cold night. The surface of the heat mat has to be well above the set point of your thermostat for it to keep the air temp in the box where you want it. If your tortoise starts feeling warm enough after laying on the heat mat, it can move over off the heat mat, but still be in the warm air inside the box. PLace your thermostat probe way over on the other side of the box away from any heat source. If the box over there on the cold side drops below 80, the heat sources will be turned "on" and the tortoise can go get warm. If the surface temp only gets to 80, your tortoise will never get warm enough. If the air in the box is over 80, the thermostat will turn thereat sources "off". During cold weather, I set that thermostat to 86. During warmer sunny weather when the tortoise can bask outside in the sunshine to get warmed up, I set the thermostat back down to 80.
 

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