UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

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UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby Claudiusx » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:44 am

This is an update from the previous thread, viewed here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=252370


Sorry for the long delay in updates on this. It took awhile, but we finally made a breakthrough and have come to a conclusion.

We have confirmation via independent testing that newer sunblaster fixtures do not reflect UV anymore. Unfortunately, we are not sure exactly when this change occurred, but if you recently bought a sunblaster fixture (most likely in the last year or so) there is a good chance you have a "bad" reflector.

Unfortunately, the easiest way to confirm or deny you have a working reflector is still using a solar meter. However, we do have a method for you to check your reflector even if you don't have a solarmeter. It is slightly subjective, as it relies on your own eyesight and interpretation of what you see, but it should still help you decide what you should do if you own a sunblaster reflector.

[Click image to enlarge]

In the above picture, you can see a few differences in between the two images. The most striking, and easiest to spot difference is in the quality of the mirrored image in the reflector.

You will note on the mirrored image in the left hand reflector, the image is slightly blurry, it has an almost textured look. This is the WORKING REFLECTOR
The reflector on the right side, shows a much clearer reflection. This is most likely a symptom of the reflector being coated in some type of varnish, which makes it a better mirrored surface. This is the BAD REFLECTOR

So, clear crisp mirrored image = bad reflector
Slightly blurry mirrored image = good reflector

[Click image to enlarge]

Reflector 1 is the good reflector
Reflector 2 is the bad reflector.

So, your best bet is to try to use your reflector as a mirror. If you can see objects clearly with it, you most likely have a bad reflector. If your objects show up as slightly blurry, you likely have a good reflector.

If you have any questions or need help identifying your reflector, try to take a good picture of your reflector mirroring an object, and hopefully we can help you determine whether your reflector is bad or not.

If you have a solarmeter and use a sunblaster fixture or any other fixture with reflector, we encourage you to please test it and post the results. There is a chance that other manufacturers buy from the same factory in China.

Arcadia reflectors are made in a separate factory, and have been confirmed to work as intended. They will be available in the US sometime this year. They are already available in the UK.

A couple people to thank who have helped me with this whole process:

Dr. Frances M. Baines , M.A., Vet. M.B, M.R.C.V.S
John Bines - who confirmed my initial observation of a visual difference between working and non-working reflectors - And verified with his solarmeter
John Courteney-Smith from Arcadia Lighting
Our Contact at Sunblaster
And of course everyone in Dr. Frances' group who helped test their reflectors

-Brandon
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby Claudiusx » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:54 am

.
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby Claudiusx » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:57 am

.
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:12 pm

That's really interesting. Excellent work! I'm going to double check my T5 fixture from Reptile Basics when I get home. That was a cheaper option that I bought to test out and found that (via Solarmeter) the output was almost useless compared to the SunBlaze fixtures I usually use https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/88847/SUN-960345.html

It will be interesting to see if the visual effect is the same in that reflector.
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby Claudiusx » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:28 pm

Hi Liam,
Let me know what you find. Reptile basics is one of the companies that we are trying to also get in contact with to find out if they buy from the same factory.
So if you could test your reflector that would be great!

-Brandon
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby CooperDragon » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:35 am

Interesting findings. I compared 3 side by side. The ReptiSun Hood, ReptileBasics T5 and the SunBlaze 24'' T5. The finish on each of them looked pretty much the same. Polished but a little wavy/distorted. The SunBlaze has the widest angle which I like. All of them are 1'' tall. The ZooMed is 2.5'' wide at the opening, the SunBlaze is 3.5'' wide, and the ReptileBasics is 2.25'' making it the most (focused?). Since I had them all out, I decided to give them an output test. I used the same 22'' Arcadia 12% bulb in each of them.

Zoomed 4.8 UVI at 12''
Sunblaze 3.5 UVI at 12''
ReptileBasics 3.0 at 12''

The results are surprising because the ReptileBasics isn't as weak as I remembered. Still not great, but not completely useless. The ZooMed performed better than I remember and the SunBlaze is right about where I expected it to be.

[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby MrSpectrum » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:47 pm

CooperDragon wrote:Since I had them all out, I decided to give them an output test. I used the same 22'' Arcadia 12% bulb in each of them.

Zoomed 4.8 UVI at 12''
Sunblaze 3.5 UVI at 12''
ReptileBasics 3.0 at 12''

The results are surprising because the ReptileBasics isn't as weak as I remembered. Still not great, but not completely useless. The ZooMed performed better than I remember and the SunBlaze is right about where I expected it to be.

I'm guessing those outputs are with reflectors(?)
Did you measure them without reflectors for comparison?

Also, when I measured mine (Three Reptisun 10.0 T5s), I took readings w/ & w/o reflectors at 4 different spots around the 8" x 16" basking platform--one at the middle of each side. This gave me an idea of how wide the dispersion was; I got mostly just under 2.5 on three sides, and around 3.5 on the 4th side where the bulb was closest and overhung the platform by the most. I got better readings without the Sunblaster reflector than with it, so I left it off. My platform is 9" from the bulb, but I think your bulbs are stronger than the Reptisuns.
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby CooperDragon » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:49 am

MrSpectrum wrote:I'm guessing those outputs are with reflectors(?)
Did you measure them without reflectors for comparison?


Yes, I was trying to compare the reflectors and used the same bulb in each fixture. I didn't see a way to remove the reflector from these fixtures and did not take any readings without the reflector. I took the readings straight down from center at 12''. I have done previous tests with these fixtures to include information about the UVI spread to the sides and have included that in previous posts. Those were designed more to compare bulbs than fixtures. This time I mainly wanted data from that ReptileBasics reflector and to compare its output to the others using the same bulb and conditions.
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Re: SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS- SOLVED!!

Postby lilacdragon » Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:23 pm

:blob5: Brandon, our Reptile Lighting Facebook group has been working hard on this and we have FOUND THE ANSWER!!!
A whole batch of Sunblaster reflectors have simply had their Aluminized Mylar reflectors slipped into the black holder BACK TO FRONT!!
They can be fixed in a few seconds.
Let me explain.
We have discovered that all the new T5-HO reflectors use Aluminized Mylar. Basically it's a transparent plastic strip that is shiny but does not reflect UVB. Then this has a really incredibly thin film of aluminum applied to it like a really thin spray -just one one side. Some reflectors also have a thin lacquer applied over this aluminum but this does not prevent the aluminum from reflecting UVB.
So what we have is a thin plastic strip, one side (aluminum coated) reflects UVB, the other side (no aluminum) does not.
This is then slid into the black curved reflector holder in the Chinese factory.
And...
Recently they've been feeding these into the holders back to front, with the aluminum side facing backward, against the black holder, and the shiny bare Mylar facing the lamp.
So of course, the reflector doesn't reflect UVB! The Mylar absorbs it. The reflector strip put in back to front only reflects visible light. The visible light isn't absorbed; it goes through the transparent Mylar, reflects off the aluminum, and to our eyes the reflector looks okay.

The solution couldn't be simpler.
First, make sure your Sunblaster strip IS the wrong way round.
If you have a UVI meter, with a right-way-round reflector strip, you will get about twice the reading you get if you take the reflector off altogether and test the lamp with no reflector at all. If your reflector strip is back-to-front you'll get virtually the same reading with it, as with no reflector at all.

Don't have a meter? Brandon has shown you that the "good" side of the reflector strip has a faintly matte or "orange peel" effect, plus, if you scratch a tiny corner of it you will see the silvery layer scratch right off, leaving just a see-through plastic backing - the Mylar. If your reflector strip is back-to-front it will look very shiny and smooth, and if you scratch, all that you see is a scratch on the shiny surface - the silver isn't lost.

The fix is really easy.
Take the reflector off the fixture.
Now gently slide the sivery reflector strip sideways, it will come right out of the black holder. Turn it over so the back now faces the front. Slide it back into the holder. Now, the slightly matte aluminized coating is facing the lamp.
You have a completely repaired reflector! :blob5:
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby Claudiusx » Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:37 pm

Hi Frances,

I tested that theory originally ( I think I mentioned it back in one of my earlier emails) and I did not find flipping the strip to work.

I will go back and verify, but I'm about 99% sure that I did that originally, and had no improvement. We have another member here with a recent bought reflector and solarmeter who can test this too.

It would be great though if I was simply mistaken, as this would be quite an easy fix. Give me 10 minutes, I'll be back with what I find :)

-Brandon
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby lilacdragon » Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:49 pm

Oh dear... If this doesn't work, we're back to the drawing board...
Several people have turned "good" reflectors round and turned them into "useless" ones... but not yet tried to repair ones that were found to be bad..
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby Claudiusx » Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:24 pm

lilacdragon wrote:Oh dear... If this doesn't work, we're back to the drawing board...
Several people have turned "good" reflectors round and turned them into "useless" ones... but not yet tried to repair ones that were found to be bad..


Yes.. I tested both.

Here are the results using the same fixture and the same reptisun 10.0 T5, allowed to warm up and stabilize each time:

Good Reflector
11.9 UVI @ 5 inches
reflector insert flipped -> 7.1 UVI at 5 inches
The difference visually is just as you described though on the reflector strip surface.

4 UVI @ 12 inches
2.1 UVI @ 12 inches

So the doubling effect is much more noticeable at further distances of course.

Bad Reflector
6.9 UVI @ 5 inches
Flipped -> 10.8 @ 5 Inches

2.3 UVI @ 12 inches
3.2 UVI @ 12 inches

FWIW, removing the reflective material and reinstalling the plastic housing of the reflector results in a UVI reading of 2.3 at the same 12 inches.

So this is why I was so convinced that flipping it wasn't a viable solution at first, because my numbers weren't doubling like they did when I used a good working reflector and removed it. But this was all early testing, before I knew of the visual difference. Now that we know the visual difference, I think it still can help people get better output from their lamps.

So it still seems there is a possibility that there was a slight change in manufacturing and it wasn't just the reflective strip being flipped, but flipping the strip to the "orange peel" side at least increases output.

What concerns me is the large variation between reflectors and the UVI at the same distance. Why 1 reflector gives a 4 UVI at 12 while the other gives a 3.2 at 12. Hopefully this doesn't come down to a quality control issue, or a manufacturing issue.
As you can see, with my initial "bad" reflector, the numbers do not match up at all to my good working reflector, even when the bad reflector is switched to the "better" side.

Mr. Spectrum here can hopefully do the same test at 12 inches and tell us what he gets by flipping his reflector.

-Brandon
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby lilacdragon » Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:36 pm

Brandon, are you using different ballast (base) fixtures as well, or are your readings from two reflectors clipped onto the same ballast (base)?
Just trying to find any other reason for this difference ...

I gotta go, it's 1:30am here, but... my maths is not very good this late. What percentage increases are you seeing with the two different reflectors "good" sides vs. no reflector or "bad" side?
I've seen good Sunblasters give between 1.7x and 2.0x boosts over no reflector at all..
So is the boost the same but the total output less?
How can that be due to the reflector?
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby Claudiusx » Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:48 pm

Hi Frances,

All numbers are with the same fixture and the same bulb. I remove the reflector in between tests. The only variable that changes is the reflector itself.

So 1 of my good reflectors at 12 inches about doubles the UVI level:
Reflector flipped to bad side = 2.1 (Actually worse than not using a reflector at all, no reflector at all gave a 2.3)
Reflector flipped back to good side = 4.0
So if we use no reflector reading of 2.3 and compare to a good reflector giving me a 4, that is an increase of about 1.73x

My bad reflector gave a reading of 2.3 at 12 inches with the bad side, and 3.2 when flipped to the "other" side. And still, these tests have all be done with the same bulb and fixture/ballast. I just switch the reflectors for testing.
So, an increase to 3.2 (over a baseline of 2.3) = 0.71x increase. That is less than half of the increase of a working reflector.

I hope that makes sense.

-Brandon
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Re: UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

Postby Claudiusx » Sun Mar 08, 2020 6:27 pm

Oh and one more addition, I emailed you back but forgot to add this:

So one thing I think we need to think about is this..

The reflective strip holds its shape when removed from the black reflector housing correct?
So why are some of these strips aluminized on the convex side as opposed to the concave?

If it's a simple matter of the factory worker sliding the reflector in, they wouldn't fight the nature of the strip, they would put it into the reflector the way it was curved naturally.

That leads to two trains of thought in my mind.

1. Manufacture has in fact changed, and they coat the strips in a different way now. (perhaps they used to use a machine that sprayed the concave side from underneath, and now they have a machine that sprays the aluminum from over head, coating the convex side)
2. Or the strips are actually flat when the factory workers handle them, and once they are slid into the reflector, some type of heat or some other process is applied to make the shape of the reflective strip more permanent. Or perhaps the strips just naturally become curved like that with time. (however I've left a strip out of its reflector housing for 6 months at this point and it has retained its shape.)

I think option 1 is most likely, change of manufacturing which now coats the wrong side of the reflective strip.

It would be something worth asking your group to think about, and I will ask sunblaster.

-Brandon
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