DIY basking spot getting to hot, what am i doing wrong?

Juanita66

New member
I recently built a basking ledge for my 4 month beardie out of styrofoam which i then grouted and used water based polyurethane to waterproof. I set up his new enclosure yesterday and when i went to check the temp on the basking spot witb my infrared thermometer i got a reading of 144° while the surrounding area still under the heat lamp was omly 112°. Could it be the dark color of the ledge (dark grey) or maybe the polyurethane? I have a 100w bulb would lowering the wattage resolve this ? What other materials can i use that are less heat absorbent?
 

blue11

Sub-Adult Member
Oh wow! That’s a lot!

So - Is your new platform closer to her basking bulb? If it is the same proximity, you sure can try a lower wattage / play around with different wattages until you get the reading your wanting.

Does that temp gun measure other areas the same - like is there a chance your temp gun could be off?

When I switched out my girl’s styrofoam platform with a pillow and blanket as she got into her elderly years - I had to change my wattage as well.
 

Juanita66

New member
Original Poster
It was only reading that high directly on the basking ledge and it was extremely hot to the touch so i removed it
I am wondering if maybe the materials i used are causing the heat retention, i am planning on building another set up for when he is fully grown and i want to avoid this kind of mistakes.
 

blue11

Sub-Adult Member
I don’t know about the materials used in relation to temps …. but someone else on here sure might! I suppose if something isn’t as solid - like a ledge would be - it would have the potential to get hotter - but the only thing I could initially think of was its proximity to basking bulb - and then also, a ledge having less mass than something with more mass, or if you’re temp gun is reading correctly on other surfaces you’re sure of - then maybe it’s a surface type issue.

I would also post this up under the Lighting section and/or the Enclosure section too - they talk a lot about set-ups and temps in those two places, and it might get a lot more views that way too 🙂
 
Last edited:

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
I recently built a basking ledge for my 4 month beardie out of styrofoam which i then grouted and used water based polyurethane to waterproof. I set up his new enclosure yesterday and when i went to check the temp on the basking spot witb my infrared thermometer i got a reading of 144° while the surrounding area still under the heat lamp was omly 112°. Could it be the dark color of the ledge (dark grey) or maybe the polyurethane? I have a 100w bulb would lowering the wattage resolve this ? What other materials can i use that are less heat absorbent?
Please get a digital probe thermometer and get a actual reading -- IR guns cannot read off certain materials --- the gun could be off but you want a digital probe --- if its real hot to the touch my guess it is incorrect temp but you want to know exactly what that temp is --- we need CooperDragon or Claudiusx to chime in here
@CooperDragon
@Claudiusx
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
I think you're right in that the reading may be inaccurate. The ledge may be absorbing heat, especially if it is dark in color, but I think it would be best to double check the surface temp using a digital thermometer with a probe as suggested.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
This is why I don't recommend IR thermometers. The surface material has a huge role in whether or not the reading is going to be accurate.

Place a probe thermometer on the spot and leave it be for 10 minutes. That will be your reading.

-Brandon
 

Badwolfe

Hatchling Member
This is why I don't recommend IR thermometers. The surface material has a huge role in whether or not the reading is going to be accurate.

Place a probe thermometer on the spot and leave it be for 10 minutes. That will be your reading.

-Brandon
IR guns usually tend to be more accurate on solid surfaces than those cheap probe thermometers are. They use cheap grade probes and aren't as accurate as people like to believe.
 

SPandS

Juvie Member
From what I understand the solidness of the surface doesn't matter, it's the emissivity of the surface that does. Difference materials have different emissivity ratings. Unless you can adjust your ir temp gun and also know the correct number to adjust it to you will not be getting the correct temp. That is why probes are suggested.
 

Badwolfe

Hatchling Member
From what I understand the solidness of the surface doesn't matter, it's the emissivity of the surface that does. Difference materials have different emissivity ratings. Unless you can adjust your ir temp gun and also know the correct number to adjust it to you will not be getting the correct temp. That is why probes are suggested.
IR Thermometers are actually designed to read surface temperature where as the cheap probe type ones used by a lot of reptile keepers are actually designed to read ambient air temperature
 

SPandS

Juvie Member
Yes I understand they are meant to read surface temps but again the emissivity of the surface material matters. If something gives off an emissivity rating of let's say 1.5 but you have an ir gun set to an emissivity rating of 1 you will not get the correct temperature of said surface. So unless you have an ir gun that you can adjust the rating and also know the rating of the surface an ir gun is useless.
 

Badwolfe

Hatchling Member
Yes I understand they are meant to read surface temps but again the emissivity of the surface material matters. If something gives off an emissivity rating of let's say 1.5 but you have an ir gun set to an emissivity rating of 1 you will not get the correct temperature of said surface. So unless you have an ir gun that you can adjust the rating and also know the rating of the surface an ir gun is useless.
Even most cheap IR guns these days tend to have an adjustable emissivity rating and setting this to 0.95 will give you a far more accurate reading of any material that you should find inside your viv compared to cheap chinese made probe thermometers.

And if you want to be super accurate it takes less than a minute to google the emissive rate of any material in your viv :)
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Even most cheap IR guns these days tend to have an adjustable emissivity rating and setting this to 0.95 will give you a far more accurate reading of any material that you should find inside your viv compared to cheap chinese made probe thermometers.

And if you want to be super accurate it takes less than a minute to google the emissive rate of any material in your viv :)Most
Most cheap IR guns DO NOT have adjustable emissivity. Most people do not know what emissivity is. Most digital with probe end thermometers are extremely accurate. Unless you have testing/data that shows otherwise? If you do, feel free to post it. Otherwise, every "cheap" digital with probe end thermometer I've ever tested has been within a degree or two of the actual surface temperature. a degree or two is more than accurate enough for our uses here.

There are many materials in an enclosure that fall outside of the .95 E Value that most IR guns come set to.

-Brandon
 

Badwolfe

Hatchling Member
Most cheap IR guns DO NOT have adjustable emissivity. Most people do not know what emissivity is. Most digital with probe end thermometers are extremely accurate. Unless you have testing/data that shows otherwise? If you do, feel free to post it. Otherwise, every "cheap" digital with probe end thermometer I've ever tested has been within a degree or two of the actual surface temperature. a degree or two is more than accurate enough for our uses here.

There are many materials in an enclosure that fall outside of the .95 E Value that most IR guns come set to.

-Brandon
we'll have to agree to disagree - if you set an IR gun to its lowest emissary setting and then its highest it will also come to within a 'few degrees' so not quite sure what point you are making.

Would also be interested in what items used as a basking spot would vary far from the higher end of the emissary scale, that even with an emissary level set to .95 would read very inaccurately
 
Last edited:

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
we'll have to agree to disagree - if you set an IR gun to its lowest emissary setting and then its highest it will also come to within a 'few degrees' so not quite sure what point you are making.
You can very easily test this yourself in a manner of 5 minutes and come to the conclusion that your statement is false. Put a pan on the stove and set the burner/element to low-mid. Let the pan heat up. Take a reading with your e value set to as low as your device allows (My gun allows for a low of .10 E.) record the temp. Set your gun to it's highest E value (mine is 1.00) record the value.

Because it's such an easy experiment, I decided to do it too (still, feel free to test it yourself). With my IR gun set to an E value of .10, the pan read 960F. 3 seconds later after adjusting my E value to 1.00, the pan read 230F.

The point is, IR guns need to be calibrated to read the material they are being aimed at. The inaccuracies of IR gun's due to emissivity is greatly compounded when the surface material is reflective/shiny/etc., such as in this case when the OP is attempting to measure his DIY rock which was coated in a protective coating such as polyurethane, which adds a sheen to the surface.. Sure, the inaccuracy may not be as apparent when it's something more organic such as a log, because most wood types are near the .95 E value.

With more and more people using fake DIY rocks, and other creative items, this can very quickly be a cause for concern. Which is why the recommendation here is to use a digital with probe end. Or at the very least, use one first to verify your IR gun is reading your surface temperature properly.

You can buy an expensive digital with probe end if you want, the difference in accuracy between the cheap and expensive is negligible.

Generally, the closer a material’s emissivity rating is to 1.00, the more that material tends to absorb reflected or ambient infrared energy and emit only its own infrared radiation. Most organic materials, including the byproducts of plants and animals, have an emissivity rating of 0.95. These are ideal surfaces for accurate temperature readings [with most IR guns being set standard to .95].

Substances with very low emissivity ratings, like highly-polished metals[reflective or shiny surfaces], tend to be very reflective of ambient infrared energy and less effective at emitting their own electromagnetic waves.
Digital with probe end thermometers don't suffer this issue. IR guns do. There is no arguing that fact.
Both thermometers can have a place on a hobbyist's tool belt.

-Brandon
 
Last edited:

Members online

Still Needs Help

Latest resources

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

Pearl Girl wrote on moorelori1966's profile.
i feel so sad reading your about me 😢
Clapton is acclimating okay I think. He's quick as lightning so I'm not sure how much I should bring him out of his house yet. He's not at all interested in his salad though. I wonder if I should change what I'm giving him. Least he's eating his crickets.

Things to do:
Buy calcium powder
Material to raise surface for basking spot
Scenery decals for back of tank
Taking my beardie for a walk
Hi everyone, I have a question please. I have a thick branch I got from outside. It has been in freezing temperatures so I know that it is insect free. I took it off the ground and sat it up during a night we got down to 15 so the entire thing would freeze. Well tonight I put white vinegar all over it too cleanse it since it won't fit in my oven. Do I need to rinse with water tomorrow or is it fine left alone dried?

Forum statistics

Threads
155,703
Messages
1,253,808
Members
75,870
Latest member
2butlerbeardies
Top Bottom