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Feed, Caging, Supplies & Services Discussions concerning the feeding requirements of any of our critters, the cages they need to live in while in our care, and all of the supplies and services needed to do this right.

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Old 03-13-2020, 05:43 PM   #1
Kirks Herps
Flexwatt / heat tape problem

I fired up my new incubator to get it ready for some expected clutches. It wouldn’t get up to temp and temps were oddly uneven. Hotter on the bottom than the top. So I added egg boxes with vermiculite, added bottles of water in the bottom like I’ve seen on YouTube. No change , Emailed the manufacturer ... no response
So I decided to dive in and found the back of the flexwatt looking “bubbley” like no other heat tape I’ve ever seen. I will be replacing it. What’s your thoughts?
Thanks Kirk

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Old 03-13-2020, 06:42 PM   #2
The bubbly back is normal, that's the fire retardant coating that Flexwatt has and other products don't have. If you're having trouble with uneven heat it's a connection issue. Did you solder or crimp the extension cord to your tape? You will probably have to redo the connection and the issue will resolve.
Old 03-13-2020, 09:56 PM   #3
Kirks Herps
The incubator is brand new. It’s supposed to be one of the best on the market. It sure is pretty. But I think it has a few design flaws.
Since I had this problem I started doing some research and have found other people with similar problems.

The temperature across both pieces of flex watt seemed to be pretty even. The connections on both pieces of flex watt seem to be very good. I just don’t think it’s enough.

I had the incubator running at pretty much full song for upwards of four days and I got temps of between 83 and 85 great for leopard geckos but not ball pythons. it looks like the flex watt was overheated kind of wavy and I thought the bubbles was a indication of being over heated. Like I said never seen that before. Good to know it wasn’t
Thanks for the information. I am going to a larger piece of flex watt rather than it split into two pieces.

The pictures show the connections after I removed the clips

Old 03-13-2020, 11:20 PM   #4
Ah, I think I misunderstood you. I thought you meant the Flexwatt itself was heating unevenly, which would definitely be a connection problem. Soldering the connection is definitely better than crimping if you know how, the plastic cover gets crimped too and can sometimes affect the connection.

If the incubator is heating unevenly then either it's not well-insulated and/or the heat tape simply isn't putting out enough heat for the given incubator volume. I know folks who use Flexwatt in homemade cooler incubators and that works well because coolers are so well insulated. I have a Nature's Spirit incubator and they use a ceramic heat emitter, which is better for that kind of plastic, poorly insulated incubator. I don't think Flexwatt could put out enough heat fast enough to heat it, especially if your house ambient temperature is in the 60s or low 70s. You could always try the cheap solution first, wrap the incubator with a blanket or spare insulation if you've got any lying around. Otherwise I suggest replacing the Flexwatt with a ceramic heat emitter. It kind of sucks considering you just bought it, but it's either increase insulation value of the incubator, increase ambient temperature of the room/house, or improve the heating element.
Old 03-14-2020, 08:48 AM   #5
Was the heat tape already installed with connectors when u bought it? Looks to me like they did a crappy job of connecting them. Like snowgyre said u can solder them for a great connection or reptile basics uses a rivet system with eye hooks at the end of there wires. U punch a whole in the heat tape where the connectors where attached. Thn the eye hooks slide in between the plastic layers of the tape. Then a simple rivet of sort goes thru whole & u squeeze it with players. Locks it in thn like soldering. Hopefully picks explain it better.
I personally would get rid of tht tape & start over, seems like a fire hazard. Good luck Kirk.
B and S pythons/Facebook
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Old 03-15-2020, 12:46 PM   #6
Kirks Herps
Originally Posted by snowgyre View Post
I have a Nature's Spirit incubator and they use a ceramic heat emitter
i had a natures spirit purchased in the early 2000's and that was running heat tape with out issue. can you tell me more about the CHE they use, possibly a picture because ive only seen the screw in CHE's unless its a radiant heat panel they are using? I was thinking about mounting a RHP instead of the heat tape.

Originally Posted by chrisis697 View Post
reptile basics uses a rivet system with eye hooks at the end of there wires.
i did see that RBI system with the rivets and IMO looks like the safest heat tape connection possible. thanks for the pics

i replaced the heat tape it came with ( 2 pieces - 11 in wide 12 in length ) with one 3ft long 11inch wide piece of heat tape i had in house. it runs down the back of the false wall and onto the floor of the incubator. ( forgot to take pics before i put it back together ) and its running great maitaining 88 degrees at about 40% on the herpstat.

on a personal note i haven't mentioned the manufacturer of the incubator because i dont want to go there, but i must say im dissapointed with the design and customer serv.

Old 03-15-2020, 01:04 PM   #7
By ceramic heat emitter I mean radiant heat panel, apologies for the confusion. I think the RHP would work a lot better than flexwatt. It has more thermal mass so it will take longer to heat and cool, but that means lower but constant power draw and fewer fluctuations in the incubator. Flexwatt is great but it's meant more for point source heat rather than ambient heat.
Old 03-15-2020, 03:14 PM   #8
Kirks Herps
Any idea of the specs on the RHP that nature spirit uses ? Watts ? Manufacturer ?
Thanks Kirk

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