For the average user, Digital with probe ends are better

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For the average user, Digital with probe ends are better

Postby Claudiusx » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:34 pm

Feel free to change my mind! Lets discuss! :mrgreen:

The average hobbyist doesn't know about emissivity values (from here on refereed to as E or E value) of materials. Nor is there really any expectation that they should.

If a person wants to learn more about that, and wants to accurately use an IR gun with adjustable E values, then great! But this is a discussion on the average hobbyist who doesn't know this about temp guns, and doesn't care to go through the headache of figuring out which material they are measuring and finding a suitable e value for it.

This is why I believe a digital with probe end is a better tool for the average hobbyist. Sure, they might not be as precise as some temp guns can be (when calibrated to the material) but being off by 1-3 degrees is nothing compared to being off by 10's of degrees depending on the discrepancy of the material you are measuring to your guns E value setting.

Most IR guns that aren't adjustable, come set at an E value of .9-.95 Those values do in fact cover a large number of common materials, but they also are very far off of some other common materials used.

For instance, a member here was using a temp gun, and was having some issues. His basking surface was made of granite. Granite rock has a E value of .45 That is WAY off of the .9 most devices are calibrated to. If that user never brought up the subject, he never would have known that his readings were way off.

Which brings me to the next point. If a person seeking help states that they are using an IR gun, it would be a good idea IMO to ask what their basking surface material is made out of. This would rule out any major issues with the guns accuracy.

You don't have to do this with a digital with probe end.

In conclusion, IR guns have their place, but IMO digital with probe ends are superior for the average hobbyist.
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Re: For the average user, Digital with probe ends are better

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:08 pm

I think the key part of what you're saying is to find out what their basking surface is made of. A lot of the items people use are close enough to get a decent reading in the ballpark. I've always had pretty good luck using a cheap temp gun without worrying much about emissivity. If someone comes in and has some really wacky sounding surface readings then it would be good to dig in a little further and try to help calculate adjustments for them, but most people aren't able to or not willing to fuss with that sort of thing so simplified advice is a good route to take in order to prevent confusion.

I've been recommending using two probes lately. One for the basking surface and one for the cool end. I do this because since getting my herpstat I've found it helpful to glance at the display and see my gradient right away and not have to move probes around. I am able to secure the probes too which is helpful (rubber band around the basking log at the moment). Given the relatively low cost it's not much of an ask. Tight budgets are also something to consider when giving advice and is often worth asking about (and then calculating the best route with the given budget).
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Re: For the average user, Digital with probe ends are better

Postby Claudiusx » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:18 pm

CooperDragon wrote:I think the key part of what you're saying is to find out what their basking surface is made of.

Exactly! I guess that was my one real suggestion for anyone giving advice. Just like we ask for type of uvb, and type of thermometer, I feel we should also ask for the basking material if the OP states they use an IR gun.
CooperDragon wrote:simplified advice is a good route to take in order to prevent confusion.

1000% AGREE Thats exactly why I started this, and stated it's not to be expected that everyone with an IR gun learn these things! It's just not necessary. If we ask for their surface material, there is nothing complicated about that IMO. And there is no real reason to comment on why we want to know that unless they ask. And if they do, a brief explanation such as "certain materials read different than others" would suffice unless they really wanted to learn more!

But, simple advice is the best IMO. Which is why I personally think that a digital with probe is best for the average hobbyist. Less things to be confused about.

CooperDragon wrote:Tight budgets are also something to consider when giving advice and is often worth asking about (and then calculating the best route with the given budget).

Another good point (although I don't know if you were trying to make this point lol) but they are cheaper. If someone comes in here broke after buying one of those kits, and only has dial thermometers, it's good form IMO to recommend the digital with probe also from a cost standpoint, as opposed to the temp guns.

And to be clear, I use both devices. And I love both. I just think for someone new to the hobby, and even for the average hobbyist who has learned much about proper husbandry, the IR guns just don't provide much benefit over probes besides quick readings.

-Brandon
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