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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran frankykeno's Avatar
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    Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    It is extremely important to control any heating equipment to avoid spiking temps. Spiked temps can and will cause belly burns on a snake so you want to avoid that at all costs. The use of a thermostat or rheostat as a controlling device on a heating source accomplishes that goal.

    Basically a rheostat is a lamp dimmer switch. It looks like this....



    This is the Lutron brand available at Home Depot and most other major stores. It retails generally around $10.00

    http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=100001525

    The rheostat (lamp dimmer) gets plugged into your wall socket and the heating equipment you are controlling gets plugged into the outlet on the dimmer. Like this....



    These dimmers are rated for up to 300 watts. You should get in the habit of knowing what wattage any heating appartus is and not exceed what your controlling device can handle.

    Now once you have your rheostat plugged into the wall socket and your heat source plugged into the rheostat you need to see how these things work.

    Move the slide up until the LED light is brightest....mark a C there in permanet marker. This indicates "cool". In other words the dimmer is exerting the maximum control on your heatpad therefore restricting electricity therefore causing the heatpad to cool. Now slide it down until the LED light is dullest....mark a W there in marker. This indicates "warm". This is the least amount of control from the dimmer (rheostat) on your heating appartus therefore allowing it to pump out more heat.

    Almost everyone, me included, uses a lamp dimmer type rheostat backwards at first. Something in the human mind just says that bright light LED must mean more heat when it's actually exactly the opposite.

    Now it's time to find the "sweet spot". That's very dependent on the temps of the room the tub is in, how big the tub is, choice of substrate, depth of substrate, etc. To make this easier on you choose a place in the room your snake is in that's not against a window or in direct drafts or in direct sunlight. Not on the floor either so you aren't getting cold floor drafts. This should be the most stable spot in your room with the least temperature fluctations.

    Once you set up your tub there watch it over the course of 48 hours. You are aiming for 90 degrees warm side, 80 degrees cool side. When you find that spot on the slide that holds those temps best....mark it with a line. This is the "sweet spot" for that rheostat on that heating equipment in that room.

    Looks like this....



    This is where most often your tub will sit correctly but you must make it a habit to check this at least twice daily. Also check it at any other time that room's temps take a dramatic dip or rise due to weather conditions, a window open, whatever.

    Rheostats aren't as good or reliable as a good thermostats but they are quite workable if you are willing to check them 2 or 3 times daily.
    ~~Joanna~~


  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to frankykeno For This Useful Post:

    camel (07-29-2012),Casillas_Brian (10-27-2011),CINCYBall (01-25-2011),Exotic Ectotherms (12-31-2008)

  3. #2
    BPnet Senior Member jglass38's Avatar
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    Re: Limmer Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    Nice! Sticky this!

    When I first started out I used cheap rheostats. Better than nothing even if they do take a little tweaking to get close to the temps you want!

    Great post Jo!

  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran frankykeno's Avatar
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    Re: Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    Thanks Jamie. I figure it's better if they use this than nothing at all controlling their heat source. I had to laugh though. I just this minute noticed I originally called this thread "Limmer Dimmer Rheostat Instructions"
    ~~Joanna~~


  5. #4
    Registered User XGetSome's Avatar
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    Re: Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    Thanks for the Advice, I need to label mine.

  6. #5
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    Re: Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    hey guys I currently have a fairly young June 08 female that I bought in August, and I have been using a UTH for some time now without a rheostat or tstat only because I did not know about this option! music to my ears as a broke college student!!!! but anywho... I have a 20L tank setup with 2 layers of paper towel under astro-turf...I have placed my thermometer probe directly above the UTH but inside the glass and hooked up the dimmer.. the thermometer immediately read 120 degrees but the surface of the astro-turf was just warm, maybe between 80-90 degrees.

    So here is my question, after that rambling...
    what temp should I be trying to maintain with this subtrate? I have it pretty consistent at 115 degrees, too hot? I noticed that if I allow it to drop to around 110 degrees my warm side temp will drop a bit under 90degrees.

    Thanks for any help!

  7. #6
    Registered User t-Roy's Avatar
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    Re: Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    So that takes only one plug in. Can I plug in a power strip and have that rheostat control the whole strip for multiple heat tapes?

  8. #7
    BPnet Veteran llovelace's Avatar
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    Re: Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    No power strips are grounded and cannot be plugged into this type of dimmer
    Check out what's available at


    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

  9. #8
    BPnet Veteran llovelace's Avatar
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    Re: Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    You can plug an extension cord into the dimmer, then you'll be able the plug 4 heating units into the extension cord. I believe that will work
    Check out what's available at


    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

  10. #9
    BPnet Veteran llovelace's Avatar
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    Re: Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyd6929 View Post
    hey guys I currently have a fairly young June 08 female that I bought in August, and I have been using a UTH for some time now without a rheostat or tstat only because I did not know about this option! music to my ears as a broke college student!!!! but anywho... I have a 20L tank setup with 2 layers of paper towel under astro-turf...I have placed my thermometer probe directly above the UTH but inside the glass and hooked up the dimmer.. the thermometer immediately read 120 degrees but the surface of the astro-turf was just warm, maybe between 80-90 degrees.

    So here is my question, after that rambling...
    what temp should I be trying to maintain with this subtrate? I have it pretty consistent at 115 degrees, too hot? I noticed that if I allow it to drop to around 110 degrees my warm side temp will drop a bit under 90degrees.

    Thanks for any help!

    Do you have a temp gun? Anywho you want your warm side temp around 92-94
    Check out what's available at


    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

  11. #10
    BPnet Veteran llovelace's Avatar
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    Re: Light Dimmer Rheostat Instructions

    Also just a quick note that Levitron also has a light dimmer for around $8.95, it works the same as Lutron.
    Check out what's available at


    "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

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