Anyone have experience with the "NEW" ReptileUV MegaRay's

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BadCon

Sub-Adult Member
Anyone here have any experience with the new style Reptile UV MegaRays? I just recieved a 100w self ballasted bulb and have let it burn in for 12hrs, and when using my Solar Meter 6.2 and 6.5, I'm observing some VERY troubling results.
Before people start posting their experiences from 2009 onward, I am referring to the brand new bulbs from the new manufacturer that they started shipping in 2013. I'm well aware of their previous troubles.

I've got an email into ReptileUV and am waiting for a reply. I'm just wondering if anyone with a Solartech Solarmeter 6.5 has taken any readings from their bulbs?

I'm withholding final judgment until the bulb has a couple days of burn-in time and I hear back from Reptile UV, but anyone with just a Solarmeter 6.2 needs to really consider getting a 6.5 to measure UV Index. Because the UVB readings are excellent on this bulb, but the UV index is so high that I don't even want go near it.

Right out of the box with 1hr of burn-in time I measured 200mircowatts of UVB and a UV Index of 20 at 14" from the bulb face. After 12hrs those readings are now 190microwatts of UVB and a UV index of 20 at 14" from the bulb face.

For comparison, I also measured one of my 6 month old Reptisun 10.0 tubes (T-8). To get 200microwatts of UVB the meter was moved to approximately 1" from the bulb face, where I measured of UV Index of 7. Right now outside my house in Central Texas I measured approximately 280microwatts of UVB with a UV Index of 5.9.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
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Moderator
Sheesh those readings are nuts. I wonder if they'll go down to normal after a bit more burn in time. What are you getting from around 20-24'' out? For reference I was getting 1.1 at 6'' from my old ReptiSun 10.0 and 4.1-6.7 with and old and new Zilla Desert 50 from 6''. My Arcadia T5 is putting out 11.2 at 6''. I don't have experience with the MegaRays but am interested in hearing about further readings from it.
 

BadCon

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
I'll measure from 24" once the bulb has had another day to burn-in. However I'm not optimistic the readings will be any safer. Sure, the levels will drop, but the ratio of UVB to UVI will likely remain the same, which is the metric of a good bulb. Also 14" is the distance from the bulb face to the top of my adult dragons head, which is why I chose that distance to assess safety.
My Reptisun 10.0 can produce the same about of UVB with less then half the UV Index. There is some nasty light being emitted by that MegaRay to drive the UV Index that high. I could probably use the thing to sterilize surfaces...no thanks. I'm gonna have to start wearing sunscreen now when handling the thing, as all the measurements I've done has left the skin on my hands feeling cooked.

Little bit of back story. I used MegaRays back in the mid 2000's when they were all the rage. I continued to use them when in 2009 they started experiencing manufacturing issues, which resulted in me getting a bad sample that nearly blinded one of my dragons. I tossed the bulbs in the trash and never looked back. After reading about their new manufacturer, and the fact they are once again using bulbs with the interior lens coating, I decided to give them another shot. I was under the impression that each bulb sold is tested, though on this sample I did not observe the permanent pen marks that I had on previous megarays which indicated they had been tested. Also, anyone who tested this thing must be blind, because a UVI of 20 at 14" inches is crazy. At 12" its even higher. This is the 100w variety. I'm terrified to think what the 160w model does.

The highest UVI recorded on earth was 17. Food for thought...


On a more positive note, I submitted payment Monday evening. Got a notification that a shipping label was printed that same day. The bulb was shipped on Tuesday, and I got it on Friday. I'm very satisfied with the shipping and handling, its just the product that has be concerned. Haven't heard from ReptileUV yet, though it is the weekend. I'll see what they say on Monday.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Geez. At least you have a new way to sanitize your tank - just put the thing in a portable fixture and scan everything around. No more need for a steam cleaner... :D
 

diamc

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Wow, those readings are dangerous. I would test again after 4 to 5 days burn in time. Please let us know what Bob from ReptileUV has to say.

I also had some problems years ago from bad MVB's, Megaray & T-Rex so I'm thankful I have a Solar Meter 6.5 now to be able to double check my Arcadia MVB's UVI readings of & on.
 

BadCon

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
After approximately 85hrs burn-in:

@12" bulb to meter:
UV-I ~20
UVB ~200

@14" bulb to meter:
UV-I ~16.5
UVB ~162

@26" bulb to meter
UV-I ~4.8
UVB ~50

Looking at a 20% decay rate. Still the same UV-I/UVB ratio. Skin on my forearm feels cooked, so I'm done with measurements for now. I'll leave the bulb going to asses further decay, but my opinion has been formed.
Bob is currently testing his inventory for quality control. Bob has stated that everything is good so far.

From what I can gather, this bulb is an outlier. The UVI should be somewhere around half of what it is currently.
 

BadCon

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Was in contact with Bob from ReptileUV by phone. He is taking care of the issue. We'll be comparing measurements between our Solarmeter's to check for accuracy.

Very satisfied with how this was handled.


My Solarmeter 6.5 was the best $200 I ever spent. Everyone who keeps herps should at the very least, own a 6.5.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
They're an expensive item that I'd consider a luxury for a lot of owners, but I agree. I got mine a month or so ago and absolutely love it.
 

diamc

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
I love my Solar Meter 6.5 too, has paid for itself time & time again.

Please keep us updated on what Bob has to say.
 

BadCon

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
I received my second MegaRay sample today and I was very surprised when I opened the box.

First off the packaging is completely different, and I would say improved. Offers a good lighting chart and literature about the bulb.
Upon opening the box I was greeted with the same bulb design as my previous sample but with one major difference, there is a frosted exterior coating on the lens of the bulb. This is very similar to the stuff that was applied to MegaRay's years ago when they first had glass quality issues. Having experienced those older Megarays with the flaky coating, this coating appears more uniform and more durable. However, there were signs it was already being rubbed off on the edges of the bulb from the packaging, though its not really needed at the edges anyways.

ReptileUV's website states that their new German bulb manufacturer was using the inner (inside the bulb) frosted coating as was used on the original Megarays. My first sample clearly had this coating, however as mentioned above that sample's output was not safe. So I'm thinking Bob applied the exterior coating to reduce the UVI numbers with the second bulb he sent me. My question is, why would this need to be done? Did they get another batch of bad glass, or a bad shipment of bulbs? Purely speculation, but that coating was applied for a reason.

Bob tested this sample and wrote the UVI and UVB numbers on the bulb in sharpy. He wants me to test it with my meters and report any discrepancies. Bob stated on the phone that SolarTech had a batch of inaccurate meters a few years back due to using different sensors, and that my initial measurements with bulb #1 could be wrong. This may be the case, though my meters both came with "birth certificates" stating their accuracy. I will post an discrepancies I observe in the measurements.

Part of the phone call with Bob was talking about the UVB to UVI ratio. Bob stated that MegaRays are typically 2 to 1, which he claimed was the highest in the industry and that other MVB's on the market were 1 to 1. My first sample was 1 to 1, as seen from the measurements, though we've established this was a faulty bulb, so I'm hoping sample 2 is better.

I have the second sample in my possession. I've turned it on and taken some measurements. I'm not going to comment until the bulb has had some time to burn in, however I can say that the UVI and UVB are significantly lower across the board...significantly. I'll post official numbers tomorrow.

In the mean time, here are the last set of measurements I took from the first sample. Its got a little under 100hrs of burn in time.

Megaray 100w SB (sample 1)
@ 12"
UVI - ~22
UVB - ~215

Photos of new packaging and new bulb.
Old on left, new on right.
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20141004_001318_zpstprf08xn.jpg

20141004_001326_zps7pv6pzem.jpg

20141004_001334_zpszsihwmqx.jpg


Bulbs, sample 1 on left, sample 2 on right.
20141004_001731_zpsjkjyklza.jpg

20141004_001805_zpssxb1xkhy.jpg


The coating on sample 2. This is on the outside of the bulb and was not on sample 1.
20141004_005541_zpsp1udetiz.jpg

20141004_005453_zpsc8sgc2j1.jpg

20141004_005549_zpszixogz9n.jpg
 

BadCon

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
After 12hrs of burn in time, here are the measurements from sample 2.
@12"
UVI - 4.7
UVB - 55

Interestingly the bulb had "UVI 6.5" and "UVB 125" written on it. I'm assuming those were measured at 12". My results are lower across the board, so someones meter is off. All my previous measurements with other bulbs have been spot on with advertised levels and measurements that others have posted online. So I can't explain the discrepancy, but its there. Oddly my UVI readings are lower then whats on the bulb, so if my meter reads low...then what was the actual output of sample 1 :shock:.

But there are the measurements, take them for what they are worth. I have an opinion, but out of respect I'll keep it to myself.

Cheers.
 

diamc

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Thanks so much for taking the time to update this thread & posting the pictures and measurements so far.

Definitely a big difference in the bulbs appearance. Odd that there is such a discrepancy in the meter readings. For a brand new MVB, I would actually prefer a UVI reading a little higher than 4.7 and in the 6.5 range that Bob measured.

I would imagine that Bob's readings would be at the 12" distance too but might be worth calling him or sending an email just in case the distance was different. Maybe it would be worth sending him pictures showing your exact readings.

Sure IS scary to think about what the actual readings were on the first bulb if your meter is reading low.
 

BadCon

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
diamc":1b0rg8m5 said:
Thanks so much for taking the time to update this thread & posting the pictures and measurements so far.

Definitely a big difference in the bulbs appearance. Odd that there is such a discrepancy in the meter readings. For a brand new MVB, I would actually prefer a UVI reading a little higher than 4.7 and in the 6.5 range that Bob measured.

I would imagine that Bob's readings would be at the 12" distance too but might be worth calling him or sending an email just in case the distance was different. Maybe it would be worth sending him pictures showing your exact readings.

Sure IS scary to think about what the actual readings were on the first bulb if your meter is reading low.

I've posted pictures on the UVB meter owners message board. I have a parallel conversation going on over there.

Here is something strange. So Bob sent me two packages, one of which he stated was a mistake. They both came and were both opened before I verified the tracking numbers to see which one was supposed to be mine. The sample 2 bulb is the one Bob was supposed to send me, however the 3rd package was also a 100w SB Megaray. Lets call this one sample 3. No exterior coating on the glass, looks identical to sample 1, but the UVI and UVB measurements are almost identical to sample 2 @ 4.4 and 50.
So I'm rather curious what the deal is, and why some bulbs are coated and some are not. If I had to guess, I'd say that the output of the bulbs from the factory is not consistent and the coating is used to bring them into spec.

Despite what was written on the bulb, I believe my meters are accurate. When measuring my Reptisun and Arcadia tubes, they match the results of others posted online, and have never returned a reading that I thought was odd or unreasonable. If my meters are truly that far off as compared to Bob's measurements, approximately 28% low on the UVI and 50% low on the UVB, then my Reptisun tubes are ridiculously strong. I'm half tempted to contact Solartech and ask them if they are familiar with a batch of inaccurate meters being sold, and to see if I can send my meters back for testing.

This little testing project started because of an interest to get a concentrated UVB source for an animal who I thought would benefit. The low output of sample 2 makes it worthless to me, and the animal in question probably won't need it come next week.

So anyone with a Solarmeter 6.5 who wants to test out this bulb, get into contact with me via PM. I have not fully decided, but I will likely be willing to ship it off to someone so it can be tested, just to get another data point to determine the reliability of the results observed so far.
 

Taterbug

BD.org Addict
I got the impression you can contact Solarmeter to have your device calibrated - not sure what sort of fee they might charge though.

Interesting thread though, glad you had the meters to check!
 
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