Best Place For Flexwatt?

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
Anyone out there have a good place online that you've had prior experience with purchasing Flexwatt heat tape and products?

I'm looking for some 3-5" runs using the 11" product and while I've checked places like Bean Farms, BigApplHerp and others I'm more interested in a solid review from places you may have purchased.

Thanks!
 

dianedfisher

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Messages
331
I use several different widths and all of mine has come from the bean farm. I bought their connectors and my husband wired them in series so I only have to use 1 dimmer switch to adjust the temperature for a shelving unit with six or seven shelves. Diane
 

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
Thanks Dianne!

I was looking to doing more a Thermostat setup than a Rheostat (dimmer) setup however can you tell me how yours seems to work? The area I'm heating for my T's is a cabinet that I plan on placing the flexwatt on the back panel inside the cabinet and while only using roughly 300w total in heat tape I was thinking a thermostat would be better than dimmer since the area has the potential to drop in temp faster than other locations.

If the Rheostat method works where there is constant temperature and wattage flowing and it's not too bad I may just opt for your route instead of the extra 40-50$ for a controlled Thermostat.

If you have the time and willing to do so maybe a picture of the setup and how you have it in series (similar to what I'm planning) would be very helpful and appreciated!

Thanks!
 

Dexter

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
19
I buy mine direct from Helix controls. They solder the extension cord right to it and use heat resistant electrical tape to cover the bare ends. Paul from Pet center USA uses this very same setup. They are nice and will speak with you on the phone and get the size you want. I use an inline dimmer switch from like home depot. like this www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Dimmer...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 so i dont have to splice into the heat tape cord.
 

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
Give me a debate as to why many have used Rheostat (dimmers) versus Thermostat setups.

With a Rheostat I see the benefits of being cheaper and being able to adjust the wattage so it gets hotter or colder depending on the location on the dial however your constantly powering the heat tape. While I can see how that has it's benefits what do you do when the temperature gets above a particular temp? I imagine you have to be around to shut it off or unplug it, no?

With a thermostat and probe you reach the desired temperature it turns off and yes while I could see in a very variable area where it could fluctuate and turn on and off repeatedly (thus using more electricity) at least during the heat of the day it will be off and thus not only saving power but also thwart any risk by constantly supplying power.

I initially was going to go with a Big Apple thermostat, rated 800w, that would allow me to set a temp and once achieved would allow the temp to falloff up to +5 degree then kick back in to re-achieve the desired temp. In the heat of the day it would stay off but now that I see others using dimmers I'm just second guessing.
 

2bears

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 26, 2006
Messages
67
flexwatt with Helix

I have used flexwatt heat tape with Helix heat control for several years on different set ups and allways worked well for me.
Just follow the directions and place the Helix probe in a safe location.
As your considering your options would suggest you place a safe set up over a cheap price.
Good luck.:cool:
2Bears
 

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
I have used flexwatt heat tape with Helix heat control for several years on different set ups and allways worked well for me.
Just follow the directions and place the Helix probe in a safe location.
As your considering your options would suggest you place a safe set up over a cheap price.
Good luck.:cool:
2Bears
Thanks.. I'm thinking for my application and paranoia I'll probably stick with the thermostat w/ probe over the dimmer that's always on. Not that anyone who uses one is wrong but I'm thinking in my application it's just easier and safer having the thing turn off.

Cheers and thanks all..
 

dianedfisher

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Messages
331
The dimmer is very touchy and erratic, but for an open area I am not worried if the heat climbs a little. I have a digital thermometer attached to one of the panels to monitor the temp. I use a heat emitter on a rheostat for my enclosed spider cabinet and I think you're wise to do so in an enclosed area. I only plug the flex watt in during the winter months when my house temps drop to the upper 60's. It runs behind the enclosures (11" flex watt) but leaves plenty of cage space for the T's too escape the heat if they choose to). I know my T's will survive the temp drop but their growth slows considerably during the winter months without the added heat.
Diane
 

Dexter

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
19
I was also considering a proportional thermostat. The dimmer is simple and effective it's just that i find im constantly worried and monitoring the T's 5+ times a day to tweak it. The thermostats seem to run 100-130. Herpstat has one and Helix has one. I wonder which is better or if it really matters. Let's get on that debate!
 

Ictinike

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
460
The dimmer is very touchy and erratic, but for an open area I am not worried if the heat climbs a little. I have a digital thermometer attached to one of the panels to monitor the temp. I use a heat emitter on a rheostat for my enclosed spider cabinet and I think you're wise to do so in an enclosed area. I only plug the flex watt in during the winter months when my house temps drop to the upper 60's. It runs behind the enclosures (11" flex watt) but leaves plenty of cage space for the T's too escape the heat if they choose to). I know my T's will survive the temp drop but their growth slows considerably during the winter months without the added heat.
Diane
Yep sounds similar to what I want and wish to do. While they are perfectly safe in comfortable ambient temps they also aren't in the ideal conditions and I just feel right trying to provide a bit more heat during those winter months. Thanks again Diane!

I was also considering a proportional thermostat. The dimmer is simple and effective it's just that i find im constantly worried and monitoring the T's 5+ times a day to tweak it. The thermostats seem to run 100-130. Herpstat has one and Helix has one. I wonder which is better or if it really matters. Let's get on that debate!
Well I'll have to check the one I was looking at for being fully proportional but it's the one from Big Apple Pet Supply and is their brand. Up to 800w with a few bells and whistles but I'm sure not as much as a Helix or Herpstat nor at the same cost.

I figure with a 6" run fully fleshed out 11" Flexwatt heating in the cabinet it's going to run just under $100us w/ shipping. Not too bad and I'm sure the 11" Flexwatt will provide well enough heat during those months where the house can and does get a bit below 60's all the time.

Cheers again and thanks for all the info..
 

Dexter

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
19
yea i saw that one. It says it has a +/- of 3 degrees. I wish they would do +/-1 degree. I just hate to have the temp like a roller coaster all day.
 
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