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  1. #1
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    First Time Rack, help!! belly heat question

    ok i've gotten all my melamine cut and ready to go BUT since the shelves are only 6inches apart i have to cut all the grooves for my heat cable before construction other wise the router won't fit between the shelves. I'm just stumped on how many passes i need to make with the cable!! i can't really find to much info on heat cable to begin w/ let alone a description of how far to space it apart/ how much area to cover. I'd prefer to use belly heat but i'm getting so frustrated trying to figure out the layout i'm bout to just say the hell with it and go back heat and enclose the back. The shelves are 4ft ea. and will go up 9 levels. and hold both 41 qt and 32qt sterilite containers. First i bout 2 of the zoo med 11 foot cables to find out there was only about 9 feet of usable heated chord between the 2 of them. Returned that and got 2 of the 23 foot 50watt heat cables and i still don't think that'd be enough length to heat 1/3 of ea tub. But then again i don't even know how far to space it so really i have no idea how much to use. Pretty much just giving up for the night at this point and hopefully somebody will respond to this post by morning with more ideas. I just didn't want to go the flexwatt route because i've read several reports of stuff burning and what not and although plenty of ppl swear by it i just moved in with my sister and well she's tolerant enough of all the balls, leopard geckos, and chameleons, on top of fresh water and saltwater fish tanks i brought with me w/out me starting a fire. That'd prob be it for me and my animals. Realy reconsidering the heat cable though since i just can't find any info on it. ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!!! i spent $500 at lowes today and i'm ready to build something!!!

  2. #2
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    Re: First Time Rack, help!! belly heat question

    Why are you using heat cable instead of tape? I use heat tape and don't have to cut a groove. You really don't want to cut through the melamine anyway as it exposes the particle board at that point. Get heat tape, leave room at one end to fit the cord and then just tape it down with foil tape.

  3. #3
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    Re: First Time Rack, help!! belly heat question

    One other comment as far as fire goes. I'm not sure why you are using 50 watt cable. I use 8 watt, three inch wide flexwatt and it can go up to at least 110 degrees, much hotter than what you probably need to keep ball pythons warm provided the room isn't too cold.

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    Re: First Time Rack, help!! belly heat question

    i guess i'm just intimidated by using the tape due to the fact that IF it burned my house down i just worry that insurance wouldn't cover it because i'm not an electrician and wired up a heater on my own. If i'm just being paranoid PLEASE by all means let me know. I realize that the few cases i read about hot spots and ppl starting fires/ melting tubs and injuring reptiles were more than probably due to ignorance and ppl not using quality thermostats. (i have a helix proportional thermostat on the way) I've wired up full hoods running like 800watts of power compact lighting for breeding coral. IDK just something about wiring up a device capable of high heats myself and putting it onto wood inside my house that sketches me out. Thats the only reason i bought the cable. Now i just can't find any info on it. thanks....

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    Re: First Time Rack, help!! belly heat question

    I'm not sure why you think the cable is safer than the tape but I'm not familiar with it. Any of them I think could potentially cause a fire. I'm cautious as well as I had the same concerns. My thoughts are to go with the lowest wattage possible to achieve the heat needed. My snake room stays in the upper 70's and I've found that the 8 watt heat tape keeps the warm side in the upper 80's to low 90's (basially 88-92) with a good thermal gradient. I use a Herpstat but the Helix is good also. You can also plug that into an on/off thermostat with the heat on it set slightly higher. What this does is if your Helix gets stuck, the thermostat it's plugged into will shut it off. You tape both probes down right next to each other. From what I've heard, 8 watt heat tape maxes out at 110 degrees, hardly enough to start a fire (not to mention at 8 watts, it doesn't draw much electricity either). I plan on testing this at some point by plugging one directly into the wall and monitoring it with a heat gun. Again, there really are not guarantees of not having a fire no matter what you do but there are a lot of people using Flexwatt. You also want to completely cover it with foil tape. This not only keeps it in place but keeps the tubs from rubbing the plastic coating off of it.

  6. #6
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    Re: First Time Rack, help!! belly heat question

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiffy420 View Post
    i guess i'm just intimidated by using the tape due to the fact that IF it burned my house down i just worry that insurance wouldn't cover it because i'm not an electrician and wired up a heater on my own. If i'm just being paranoid PLEASE by all means let me know. I realize that the few cases i read about hot spots and ppl starting fires/ melting tubs and injuring reptiles were more than probably due to ignorance and ppl not using quality thermostats. (i have a helix proportional thermostat on the way) I've wired up full hoods running like 800watts of power compact lighting for breeding coral. IDK just something about wiring up a device capable of high heats myself and putting it onto wood inside my house that sketches me out. Thats the only reason i bought the cable. Now i just can't find any info on it. thanks....
    you can order flexwatt pre-wired
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