Solarmeters

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Solarmeters

Postby CooperDragon » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:34 am

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I'm thinking about getting a Solarmeter as my next big purchase. Based on what I've read, it sounds like the 6.2 and the 6.5 are the popular models. It looks like the 6.2 is geared toward reptile lamps and the 6.5 is geared toward outdoor use. I will use it primarily to measure UVB output in the enclosure. What are everyone's thoughts on these models? Do you have any other models/brands worth considering?
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby Taterbug » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:16 am

Have you joined the uvbmeter owners group on yahoo? They may have the "latest" recommendation - it seems to have gone back and forth over which is "best" for our needs.

I got the 6.5 mainly because it's readings are easier to compare across light sources, it basically gives a reading for the photosynthesis potential of the light. I used mine when I replaced my bulbs, when I check them for decay and when we are out for natural sun. UVI is also more meaningful to me since it's easier to find UVI readings than irradiance for natural habitats.

The 6.2 readings are actual irradiance rather than UVI, but since it's a "spectrum" you are getting a general reading of a pretty variable input.

For measuring the life of the bulb both meters will give an indication of "output now vs output the " it's just going to depend on what you want the numbers for and other uses.
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby CooperDragon » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:48 am

I have joined the UVB meter owners group, and forgot all about it. I'll go do some reading there to get the latest and report back. I'm kind of leaning toward the 6.5 because it's tempting to monkey around with it outside. The 6.5 is used in this video as well which got me hooked on the T5 lights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUu24MNO2Ho
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby Taterbug » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:15 am

I've not been unhappy with my purchase. It's actually rather fun to take measurements around the yard, to the park, different times, shade vs sun etc. At least this way I feel like I'm getting a little more utility for the money.

The device is well built and seams quality - I ordered direct from solarmeter and the delivery one was great. Zoomed has a rebadged one (for more money) but is the same model. Solarmeter seems to be the only (close to) affordable brand worth getting.
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby CooperDragon » Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:15 am

Here is a good response on the UVB Meter Owners forum:
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/UVB_Meter_Owners/conversations/topics/8476?reverse=1

"The Solarmeter 6.2 is still a very valuable tool - I wouldn't be without mine!
These are really good meters, solid, reliable and worth their weight in gold.

What I now say to people is this - If you don't already have one, I'd suggest buying a 6.5 instead because the numbers are so much easier to understand, and because you can directly compare sunlight with lamp light. (OK, physicists will tell you it is only an approximation, and that's true, but for all practical purposes it seems perfectly reasonable to approximate...)

But if you already have a 6.2, keep using it!
Use it to monitor decay in your lamps, by routinely, maybe once a month, holding it at a set distance from each lamp in its vivarium, and make a note of the reading.
Use it to set up new lamps, when you know they are good quality from a reliable brand, and you are replacing like for like - you know what sort of readings are "good" for your reptile in his basking zone...

But don't compare sunlight readings with lamp readings - or different lamp types with each other - because that's where the weakness lies, in using broadband "total UVB" meters.
Some UVB- emitting mercury vapour lamps are particularly problematical because unlike sunlight, they tend to have a higher percentage of their UVB in the shorter wavelengths (290 - 313nm) than the longer ones (314-320nm) and the shorter wavelengths are far more powerful at producing vitamin D3 and burning skin, than the longer ones.
This means that a Solarmeter 6.2 can give a fairly low reading from some MVBs which is equivalent, in terms of sunburning strength, to a much higher reading from real sunlight.

I know what you're all going to ask me now.... So how can we find out what's a "good" reading from Lamp X, compared to sunlight..... Sigh.
At the level of technology we have right now, and given the big natural variation between individual lamps even from the same batch; slight inevitable differences between sensor responses in different Solarmeters; even if folks all publish their sets of readings from both meters, everything will be an approximation.
But having said that.... see if I've got the lamp tests posted in our files section, for the lamps you're interested in. I publish tables of readings for both meters, at all distances measured, so you can get some idea of the UV Index represented by any given Solarmeter 6.2 reading, by comparing across the tables.

Hope this helps. (But chances are, it just muddies the water a bit more :( )"
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby Drache613 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:14 pm

Hello,

I use both the 6.5 & the 6.2 models for overall analysis.
Normally a "good" UVB light should be at least 25:1 meaning 25 times UVB to 1 UVI per the strength.
For instance the reading of a nice strong sunny day the UVB would be say 300 uW/cm2 with a 10 UVI which would be a 30:1 ratio.
Of course that could be a bit lower but you get the idea.

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Re: Solarmeters

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:17 pm

Thanks Tracie. I ordered the 6.5 today and look forward to mucking about with it. I want to at least make sure that the UVB fixture is at proper height for Dundee. Once that's set I plan on testing UV readings on the front patio over the course of the day. Not quite sure what else I'll do with it yet, but I want to make sure everything is optimal for the Dundee.
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby Drache613 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:25 pm

Hello,

That sounds great, you will enjoy your new meter! They are so helpful.
Let us know how Dundee is doing once you get his light all set up. You will find a lot of variances on the outdoor UVB readings, too. I like keeping a notebook of recordings.


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Re: Solarmeters

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:08 pm

The Solarmeter came today. Took a reading outside (an hour or so before sunset) and it read .2-.3

Under the Arcadia UVB on the basking surfaces (about 12'' from the bulb) through mesh top read 1.5-3.0. It read 6.0 at the same distance with no mesh.

For reference I turned on my old T8 ReptiSun 10.0 and at 6'' it read .5 through the mesh and .8 without the mesh. On top of his travel tank (through mesh) it read .5. Quite a difference between the bulbs! It will be nice to keep track of output and get some readings during the middle of the day outside.
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby Wolfeden » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:49 pm

That's great info CD, keep it coming!

I would be really interested in your readings at 8" & 10" through the mesh top, if you get the chance.

Thanks.
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby Wolfeden » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:57 pm

Also, if you feel like going the extra mile...

It would be very helpful to me, and my dragon, if you could post a picture of the screen top you're using. Maybe with something that shows scale like a ruler, pencil, penny etc. on the top.

Just trying to get a better feel for what I can expect in my enclosure.

Thanks again. :D
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:38 pm

Directly under the light I get 5.2 at 8'' and 4.2 at 10''. My basking site is about 8'' behind the UVB. At 8'' back and 8'' down I get 1.7 and at 10'' I get 1.0. Still double what I get from the ReptiSun 10.0 at only a few inches away.
Here are some photos. My tank is the Exo Terra 36''x18''x18'' with the front opening doors and removable mesh top.

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Re: Solarmeters

Postby Wolfeden » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:02 pm

YOU'RE AWESOME!
And thanks to your assistant, as well. :wink:

This information is extremely helpful to me, thanks so much.
And funny, I was going to ask you for some readings not directly below the UVB but forward or back from it. You did that too!

Again, many thanks. I've been worrying that maybe the UVB is too strong on my basking spot (obviously not the case) but now I'm more comfortable with my setup and I know I can even safely add another basking spot even higher if I want.

:D :D :D
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:10 pm

Glad to be of help. Let me know if you want readings at any different points and I'll be glad to take them. I have an Arcadia T5 and a ReptiSun 10.0 T8 available for testing.
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Re: Solarmeters

Postby Wolfeden » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:22 pm

Sounds good.
I have the Reptisun T5 10.0 and a very similar screen top so the data you've provided is exactly what I needed.
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