Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

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Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Claudiusx » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:04 am

Hi everyone,

So after months of testing and research, we have finally come to a conclusion on the sunblaster reflector issue. This was accomplished in large part by Dr. Frances and the members of her facebook page, along with myself and a few others on beardeddragon.org.

A few months ago, I had noticed that one of my sunblaster reflectors wasn't actually reflecting (increasing) UV output like it should. With some more tests, I realized that the reflector was essentially doing nothing. I got the same results as I did without a reflector installed. I reached out to Dr. Frances Baines and we started working on the issue right away. After a few months we hit a stalemate until I was able to get into contact with Sunblaster. Our contact at sunblaster mentioned a visual difference we could look for, and that led to some great progress. Soon after, some members in Frances group had discovered what the issue was.

Simply put, the mylar reflective strip was being slid into new sunblaster fixtures backwards. Here is a good image to help explain:
Image
(photo credits: Francis Skibicki)

As you can see, the reflector strip needs to be placed into the reflector housing the right way, otherwise the reflective side isn't showing, and no UV will be reflected back down to your reptiles.

So, how do you tell if your reflector strip is installed backwards? Well Francis Skibicki has created a nice poster to help you determine
Image
Here is a larger image of the visual difference between the reflector strips being rightside up or not.
Image

Dr Frances has put together a much more in depth PDF that is available to be downloaded and viewed here:An Issue with Sunblaster T5-HO Reflectors

So, I encourage everyone to look at their reflectors and verify that their mylar reflective strips are placed in the housing the right way. If not, try to be careful when removing and replacing the strip. There has been a report by Mr.Spectrum of the mylar strip breaking during this process.

Please ask any questions or post here for help identifying your reflector. And it wouldn't hurt to let us know if you checked yours and found it to be the right or wrong way :)

Previous versions of this thread:
Do You Use a Sunblaster T5 Fixture?
UPDATE - SUNBLASTER T5 REFLECTORS - READ

-Brandon
Follow along with all my beardies. Check out my thread here!: Claud's Crew
P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
Click here if you use a Sunblaster fixture - IMPORTANT
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby MrSpectrum » Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:23 am

lilacdragon wrote:I may be mis-interpreting Mr. Spectrum's test method but what I think he has done is to measure the readings taken from the sides of the basking platform, i.e., his meter is positioned at an angle, pointing towards the fixture diagonally, and the "middle of the bulb" readings are from a distance that is 4 inches to the side and 9 inches below the tube.
These readings, because the meter is "looking" at the tube from well to the side, are going to be from the tube itself and only ONE side of the reflector; the other side is not visible to the meter sensor. So you are only going to get 50% of the expected boost....
However, when the meter is directly under the tube and reflector, as it is at the two ends, the sensor can "see" reflections from both sides of the reflector plus the tube itself, hence 100% of the reflected light and 100% of the expected boost..

This is incorrect; my meter was pointed vertically (straight up) for all readings. I took readings the way I did because my dragon does not bask in one dimension; he basks in 2 dimensions (well, 3 actually), moving where he chooses--for both warmth and UVB--atop his 16" x 8" platform. At very rare times, he'll bask on a 4" x 8" step 2.5" below and directly left of the main platform. I have not taken readings on that step.

In subsequent readings along the left and right sides of the platform, I was able to determine that any increase in UVI was only directly under the centerline of the bulb. Any increase dropped substantially as soon as the meter was moved as little as one inch off of that centerline, and dropped off entirely at approx. 2" in either direction off centerline. IOW, the area of increase from reflection was limited to the footprint of the reflector. Beyond that, there is no increase.

In attempting to determine why my reflector kinked and shattered upon attempting to flip it, I learned that mylar comes in different formulations. While mylar can be formulated to be UV resistant, it is more expensive to mfr. and mfrs. will only do it in large special orders. Unless specified to be UV resistant, mylar will break down (becoming brittle) with exposure.

I can only speculate: I don't know what type of mylar Sunblaster specifies for their reflectors, or if a substitution may have been made at the factory. My guess is that they didn't expect reflectors to be flipped (or need to be) so becoming brittle may not have been a concern. If installed properly initially, the aluminum coating may have blocked and negated deleterious effects of UV eposure.

Since my reflector was so brittle, I can only surrnise that the UV of the bulb caused the mylar to break down due to the reflector being installed incorrectly at the factory.
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Mflav » Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:13 am

My reflector totally cracked in a bunch of pieces putting it back after flipping it to the correct side. Now what do I do???
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Claudiusx » Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:55 am

Sorry that happened, we did put a warning to be careful when doing that as it could crack. It would seem that the longer the reflector is left backwards, the more brittle it will become as its exposed to the uv.

You can still use aluminum foil to reflect your uvb quite well. I still need to test if aluminum tape would work.

You can also just keep the black reflector housing on, and get the bulb closer. 6-8 inches for a t5 without a reflector.

I will try to contact sunblaster and ask of they would be willing to send out new reflectors to those of us who break ours trying to right them.

-Brandon
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P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
Click here if you use a Sunblaster fixture - IMPORTANT
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Mflav » Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:13 am

I was as careful as could be but it was just way too brittle. I ended up using the foil. My dragon is about 12” from T5 10.0 no screen is that a good distance? Also yes please let me know what SunBlaster says about replacement.

Melissa
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby DorgEndo » Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:20 am

I wanted to share some random thoughts I had.

At first I don't like the idea of scratching something I bought in case the scratch causes long term damage. However, the cost of a reflector isn't that much in the grand scheme. (A person prepared with a dragon should have a few hundred dollars on back up for new supplies in my opinion, because it is necessary for life, have back up plans.) I've gotten blood work to test my girl's calcium levels which definitely costs more than getting a new reflector hood. If I didn't have the blood work tests I am 100% certain I would be scratching up my reflector and have already made a dozen posts asking for second opinions about if mine looks okay. Unless you are regularly get a blood tests, say once a year, you don't know. It would be worth scratching up that hood and risk the damage to ensure it was installed correctly. My T5 hood is by Arcadia and it never occurred to me to double check it. Thank you for the quality information to everyone who has been working on this.
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:29 am

There should be no issues with the Arcadia reflectors. Especially since we made Arcadia aware of the sunblaster issue, i'm sure they have double checked and made sure.

The scratching method is done just to a very very small section, and just a tiny scratch. It won't have any measurable effect on it's reflectance even if you scratch the reflective side. (just a very small area!)

But, it's really not necessary with the arcadia fixture :)

Thanks for your thoughts. It's good to share them as you never know if someone else thought the same thing or if the method wasn't clear enough.

Personally, I feel the visual test is good enough. But I understand how some might not be able to differentiate the two sides with their own eyes.

To anyone else, if you are unsure, you can always post a picture of your reflector, mimicking the pictures up above, and we can help you determine :)

-Brandon
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P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Mflav » Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:44 am

So what do I do about my sun blaster now that my reflector crumbled turning it around???
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:49 am

Mflav wrote:I was as careful as could be but it was just way too brittle. I ended up using the foil. My dragon is about 12” from T5 10.0 no screen is that a good distance? Also yes please let me know what SunBlaster says about replacement.

Melissa


Mflav wrote:So what do I do about my sun blaster now that my reflector crumbled turning it around???


Hey Melissa,

Sorry I missed your earlier response.
12 inches is fine without the screen. Are you using Al foil or the tape?

I haven't heard back from sunblaster on the matter, but I will reach out again to them.

-Brandon
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P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Mflav » Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:56 am

I am using foil shinny side facing out. I know you said 12” is fine but he’s not always directly under it while basking just it just beam down like the basking light or does it bean outward also? I have a 75gallon tank UVB and basking on one side. Fixture is going across middle on hot side. My question is does the UVB reach him if he’s not directly below it but on same side?
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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Claudiusx » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:06 am

Yup, since the bulb shines out in all directions (minus the reflector side), if the light is reaching him he's getting UV. He doesn't need to be directly underneath it. He can be at an angle to it.

You can just measure the distance from the bulb to him.

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Re: Final Sunbaster Reflector Update (other reflectors too)

Postby Mflav » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:15 am

Great thank you! I figured that otherwise what would be the point of reflector but just wanted to make sure.
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