Frequently Asked Questions for HabiStat thermostats
Q. I have a heat mat which thermostat shall I use?
You can use any thermostat except the Dimming thermostat. The Dimming thermostat needs a minimum load of 40 watts. A heat mat can be controlled with a Dimming thermostat if the combined load (with more than one heater attached) exceeds 40 watts.
If you WANT a constant surface temperature for, example, a hatchling snake rack, then the Pulse proportional offers very accurate control and a continually warm mat, rather than a hot/ cold cycle.
There are basically 2 ways to control a heater.
One is to turn it on, full power until the set temperature is achieved and then completely off until the temperature drops down below the set level and then on again. This is a simple on/off device like the Mat Stat, the Temperature Thermostat and the Twin Channel Thermostat.
The other way is called proportional.This is a more effective way of controlling heaters as they are rarely full on and rarely completely off. Just enough power is supplied to the heater to maintain the set temperature.
The two examples of proportional thermostats are the Pulse Proportional and the Dimming Thermostat.
The Pulse Proportional Thermostat “pulses” electricity to the heater. These “pulses” can be short pulses if the temperature is close to the set temperature, or can be long pulses, if the temperature is too low.
This type of thermostat works very well in accurately controlling many types of heaters including ceramic heaters.
Q. If I want to control several heaters in different cages, with one thermostat, what should I be aware of?
You must ensure that if you are controlling several heaters in different cages, then all the heaters must be the same capacity and the cages must be the same size exactly with the same ventilation. The probe must be placed in a representative place in one of the cages.
They should also be on the same level - don’t forget hot air rises. If you have four cages stacked on top of each other being controlled with the same thermostat the top cages will always be hotter than the lower cages.
Finally, think about false economies. In the event of a thermostat failure, you could have several overheated cages rather than just one.
Q. Can I run more than one heater off the same thermostat and if yes, how do I attach them?
Yes you can providing you don’t exceed the maximum load the thermostat is designed to take. Please also take note of the points raised in the question above.
You can use power boards available from hardware stores to plug several heaters in the thermostat “heater” socket.
Q. I have a ceramic heat emitter which thermostat shall I use?
Ceramic heaters get to very high surface temperatures, so it is better to control a ceramic heater with a proportional thermostat. We recommend the Pulse proportional thermostat as the most accurate and effective controller. Benefits will be reduced maximum surface temperatures and more accurate control over temperature.
Reduced risk of overheating the heat resistant cable used to attach the holder.
Q. I have a light bulb which thermostat shall I use?
The only thermostats designed to control light bulbs are the Dimming Thermostat and the Temperature thermostat. The Twin Channel Thermostat and Mat thermostat are not designed for use with light bulbs.
Dimming thermostats dim the light gently up and down continuously. No flashing lights to distress you and your animals. As such dimming thermostats are and ideal choice for use with light bulbs.
When used for hot spots, if used with the appropriate wattage spot lamp, then the hot spot should be available for the animals to use all the time when controlled by a dimming thermostat.
Q. I have a light emitting bulb attached to the thermostat but It just keeps flashing?
It seems like you have chosen the wrong type of thermostat to control your light bulb. Ideally dimming thermostats should be used with light bulbs.
Q. Can I use a Temperature Thermostat with a ceramic heater?
Whilst the Temperature thermostat will control a ceramic heater it is not recommended. Being a simple on/ off switching device the ceramic will be turned on full power until the set temperature is reached and will then go completely off until the temperature has dropped enough for it to come on again.
Because ceramic heaters get very hot it is safer to use a proportional thermostat, like the Pulse proportional thermostat.
Q. Can I use a Temperature thermostat with a light emitting bulb ?
The current single channel On/Off temperature thermostats incorporate a relay which makes them reliable to use with light bulbs. The twin channel thermostat and Mat thermostat use solid state switching which should not be used with light emitting bulbs. Temperature thermostats when used with light emittnig bulbs will cause them to switch on and off repeatedly. Would you like to sit in a room where the lights are turned on and off day and night? This can distress your pets and cause frequent failure of the light bulbs. In the long run heat mats, ceramic heat emitters and radient enclosure heaters will prove more reliable and efficient ways to heat your enclosure.
Dimming thermostats are designed to control light bulbs and gently dim the bulb up and down as required. If you want to use light bulbs for heating these are the correct choice.
Some animals require a drop in temperature at night in order to simulate their natural environment.
Both the Dimming and Pulse proportional thermostat have models called “Day, Night “ that allow this to happen.
Simply, during the day the thermostat keeps your animals at the temperature set on the dial.
At night, the temperature can be lowered with either a time switch or a night eye (which senses when it gets dark and automatically switches to night temperature). The drop in temperature can be varied between 2 degrees celcius and 10 degrees celcius lower than the temperature you have set during the day.
This adjustment is made on the little red knob sticking out of the bottom of the day/ night versions. Turn the little red knob fully clockwise will lower the temperature a lot. Turn it fully anticlockwise will only drop the night time temperature a little bit.
Inbetween will give you a drop of around 7 degrees celcius.
Don’t forget - if your cage is in a warm room it can only drop to the temperature of the room!
Q. I am confused as to how the day night function on my thermostat is set up?
Firstly set your day/ night thermostat up like a normal thermostat and ignore the “day/ night” bits!
If you are using a timer to control the day/ night cycle, plug the lead supplied into the timer and into the side of your thermostat.
The important thing to remember (and this confuses many people!) is that the timer should come on for the night time period. This means that your timer should be on at night and off during the day cycle.
The main power supply to the thermostat must stay on all the time!
Yes, that means that in the night cycle you have two power supplies into your thermostat, and that is correct!
If you are using the night eye to control the night time then simply plug it into the mains and place the other plug into the socket on the side of the thermostat. The Night eye will sense light levels and switch between day and night automatically. Simply place the sensor near a window to reproduce the seasonal day lengths.
Q. How do I adjust the night time drop in temperature?
With the day/ night timing all set up, simply use the little red knob to adjust your night time temperature. This knob adjusts the drop between 5 and 25 degrees lower than the day time temperature. At night, the temperature can be lowered with either a time switch or a night eye (which senses when it gets dark and automatically switches to night temperature). The drop in temperature can be varied between ** and ** degrees lower than the temperature you have set during the day.
This adjustment is made on the little red know sticking out of the bottom of the day/ night versions. Turn the little red knob fully clockwise will lower the temperature a lot. Turn it anticlockwise will only drop the night time temperature a little bit.
Don’t forget- if your cage is in a warm room it can only drop to the temperature of the room!
The Night eye is a switch that senses light and dark. It can only be used with one of the day/ night thermostat and will automatically switch your thermostat to your night time temperature setting automatically. When it gets light again, it will automatically turn your heater back up to your daytime temperatures.
The Sun switch is a switch that senses light and dark. It can be used to turn appliances on during the day and off at night.
For example attach your fluorescent lamps to it and they will automatically be turned off at night and back on again in the morning.
The Moon switch is a switch that senses light and dark. It can be used to turn appliances off during the day and on at night.
For example, if you require a gentle, background, night time heater, plug your mat stat and heat mat into the Moon switch. When night comes and your main lighting and heating goes off, this will run your night time heater until the morning comes
The Sun/ Moon switch is a switch that senses light and dark. It is a combination of the Sun and Moon switch.
Plug your Dimmer and spot basking lamp and all your fluorescent lamps into one socket.
Plug your night time mat stat and heat mat into the other socket and plug the Sun/ Moon switch in.
It will automatically detect day and night for ever more. No more remembering to lights and heaters on and off!
During the day your fluorescent lamps and basking spot lights will all be on.
When it gets dark, your fluorescent heaters and your basking spot lamps will be turned off and your night time heater will come on.
What could be simpler!!
Q. I want to cut my plugs and/or sockets off.
The plugs and sockets are there for a reason. They are to comply to safety standards and to make the unit safe to use.
If you cut the plugs off, there is a likelihood of electrocution and you will invalidate your warranty! Sorry!!
Q. I want to drill holes in the back of the unit, it this safe to do?
No! The thermostat box is full of components- any holes drilled will certainly damage the thermostat. Do not try to take the lid off as it is a legal requirement to protect against this. There are no user serviceable parts so you can’t take the lid off. If you try you will break the pot and the circuit board and will have a non working thermostat with no warranty! You have been warned!
Q. The heater is not coming on ?
Is the heater connected to the thermostat properly?
Is there power to the thermostat?
Is the temperature in the cage higher than your set temperature?
Q. The heater is not switching off ?
The first thing to check is whether the temperature set on the thermostat has been reached. If it hasn’t then it is likely that the heater is not powerful enough to reach your set temperature.
Turn the dial down until the neon heater indicator goes out and check that the heat has gone off. If you turn the dial up and the heater comes back on then this is the likely cause. Fit a bigger heater.
If the temperature has risen over your set temperature, try turning the dial down to see if the neon heater indicator and the heater goes off.
Try turning the dial up again, bit by bit. If the heater seems to be turning on and off at these settings then look at the position of the probe.
Is it too close to the heater?
Is the probe in a draft?
If adjusting the dial on the thermostat has no effect whatsoever on the heater then check the wiring to the heater. It is not uncommon for ceramic heaters to “cook” the wires where they go into the holder. This can cause problems and has been known to damage the thermostat.
It may be that your thermostat has developed a fault which will require its return.
Q. I think my thermostat is broken what shall I do?
Check the heater is working by plugging it directly to a power point and not via the thermostat.
When controlling heat mats and strips, particularly on small snake rack systems the probe should be safely hot glued or fixed to the surface of the mat. You will then be controlling the surface temperature of the mat. A little investigation may be necessary to establish the temperature in the snake boxes that are sitting on the mat or strip.
Once set this should remain a constant.
We find that the Pulse proportional thermostat is a very effective controller as the mat remains warm for most of the time, providing the snakes with a warm area.
Q. With an overhead heater, where should the probe of the thermostat be?
That depends on what you want to control. Most cages require warm and cool areas. The probe needs to be placed in relation to the heater and the type of animal being kept. It would be pointless to put the probe at the top of a cage housing ground dwelling snakes. Similarly you would not control the floor temperature of an arboreal lizard cage.