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Do You Own a Temp Gun?

SnakeCharmr728

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
725
Please everyone! Be aware that if you aren't reading your basking temperature with a temp gun then you're not accurately measuring your basking temp. There is no way to measure it without one, even digital probes only tell you surrounding air temp. When keeping a basking species you MUST own a temp gun. Knowing your temps is vital to your animals life. Recommended tegu basking temps are 125-140f, with 115-125f for hatchlings. Monitor lizards: basking temps to be 140f+.

Many veterinarians and some enthusiasts will sometimes confuse air temperatures with surface temperatures, citing that such high basking temperatures would be fatal to your lizards, this is misinformation. Surface temperatures exceeding these recommended numbers have been documented (via temp gun) in areas as far north as New York!

You can find temp guns as low as $15 and up to $100 at your local hardware store, radio shack, amazon online, ebay or even pet stores that carry reptile supplies. You can also order fine quality temp guns at tempgun dot com.

Probe thermometers are great for measuring air temperatures, but cannot accurately display surface temperatures. Until you have a temp gun to accurately measure your basking surface, it's all guesswork.

written by Kayla Goldberg.
 

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Brian A

New Member
Messages
26
Do these sometimes malfunction? Mine is now reading 95 in his basking area abou 6 inches from a 160 watt MVP and a CHE. Doesn't seem possible to be that low. Also doesn't even register 100 plus in bath water at hottest temp.
 

Jrock23

Active Member
Messages
194
Temp guns are great, I got mine from amazon and I use it for all my animal enclosure...
 

Deven

New Member
Messages
8
I'm sure they could malfunction. I bought the TempGun PE2 and it works great. Haven't had a malfunction yet.
 

DougK

New Member
Messages
8
One thing to be aware of with infrared temp sensors is that reflective surfaces can read a lot lower than they actually are. I have one I use when cooking and it reads 100-200 degrees cooler than it actually is if I point it at stainless steel without any oil in it. I can't imagine a rock or something being reflective enough to throw off the readings much though.
 

sr3052

Member
5 Year Member
Messages
55
Location
Long island, ny
Do these sometimes malfunction? Mine is now reading 95 in his basking area abou 6 inches from a 160 watt MVP and a CHE. Doesn't seem possible to be that low. Also doesn't even register 100 plus in bath water at hottest temp.

That's funny you say that I also have 160mvb in the past always took reading of 105 yesterday couldn't find a spot over 95 go figure
 

beantickler

Active Member
Messages
209
Location
Pittsburgh
You get what you pay for... I have a snap on infared with option to flip from C to F... It is highly accurate as checked yearly for our annual safety check at my work. I have owned it for close to 10 years now. I am a big fish collector and originally bought it for them but now use it everywhere.
 

Roadkill

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
502
Location
Earth
beantickler has said something rather important that typically goes well over the head of most hobbyists - that you get what you pay for. Beyond this, it also helps in understanding how your infrared thermometer works. Everyone likes to think "point and shoot", and if it were just that easy, then we wouldn't see some selling for $5 and others for $5000.

Any of the cheap ones will have lower accuracy, possibly less specificity, and much reduced target area to distance lens focus ratio. For most people's usage, many of these really aren't that important, except that it often leads to erroneous use of the device and incorrect readings.

Accuracy: Most cheap temp guns report a pretty narrow range of accuracy .... and they are usually lying. They are mass produced without quality testing, and so while the specs may say ± 0.5 degrees, they are usually more in the range of ±4 degrees Fahrenheit, and that's even with a correctly gauged emissivity. Emissivity is something that nearly all hobbyists completely overlook, and for the most part it isn't going to change the reading much for most objects. Emissivity is the measure of how readily a surface will shed heat, and not all surfaces are the same. A true black body (a physics ideal) has a high emissivity of 1.0 (basically 100%) and most matte surfaces are quite high, usually >0.90. Shiny, reflective surfaces such as metals have a lower emissivity (depending on if it's polished or not, could have a range of 0.1 to 0.6). The temp gun uses the emissivity to calculate the surface temperature of what it is reading. A very cheap temp gun will not have an emissivity setting, and depending on how the producer has it built, could be set to something appropriate for your use....or maybe way off. Many temp guns DO have an emissivity setting, allowing you to adjust the emissivity to get a better reading depending on the surface material you are trying to read - for most skin types, a setting of 0.9-0.95 seems to be appropriate. For other materials, it helps to get a good scale to judge by, as can be found here: http://www.raytek.com/raytek/en-r0/ireducation/emissivity

The other key area where I see people incorrectly using their temp guns is the distance-to-spot ratio (D:S). This is a reading of the area being measured in relation to the distance to the object. Most of the really cheap guns have a D:S ratio of 8:1, although I think some of the older/extremely cheaper are 5:1. This means that if your gun is 8 inches from your tegu, you're measuring a circular area of about 1 inch. Some temp guns come with a laser dot to indicate the center of this circle on the target, this increases the cost of the device. Some temp guns have two dots, typically to indicate the diameter of the circle (further increases the cost), while some either have a whole series of dots or an actual outline to indicate the whole circle area being measured on the target (higher cost). This is where I see the most error from most users: they'll point the temp gun at their reptile from a few feet away and think they are measuring their pet when in fact they're measuring their pet, the substrate, and the wall behind and getting an average of all. The other way that cost increases in temp guns is by having a greater D:S ratio. Commonly you can find 12:1, but I believe you can actually get your hands on 100:1 these days (these ones you COULD read the temperature of your animal from a few feet away, but you'd be paying a hefty price to do so).
 

dpjm

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
384
There is a way to get around the emissivity problem. If your non-contact temperature reader does not have an adjustable emissivity setting then check the manual to see what the factory default emissivity setting is. For instance, my temperature reader is a Temp Gun PE1. No adjustable emissivity setting, but the factory emissivity setting is 0.95. Black electrical tape has an emissivity of 0.95, so I can apply electrical tape over any object, wait a minute for the temperature to regulate, and measure the temperature of the electrical tape, which will be the same temperature as the object.
 

Roadkill

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
502
Location
Earth
There's still an error margin with the black electrical tape, but not so much that it would matter much for what hobbyists are going for.
 

dpjm

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
384
I think that for the low temperatures we are reading it is pretty negligible. At high temperatures it would make a bigger difference. Also, like you said in your previous post, there is an accuracy issue that is not related to emissivity but to the quality of the thermometer. The black electrical tape will not fix that problem.
 

Roadkill

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
502
Location
Earth
It really isn't an issue of the temperature range in this case, and for most hobbyists' purposes this isn't really an issue of concern for them. However, for those who perhaps want to get a much more technical understanding of the issues at play, I point you towards the recent article of a good friend and collaborator of mine: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1095643316300435
 

dpjm

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
384
Thanks, I wish I still had my library privileges from UVic. They vanished around 5 years ago, unfortunately.
 

Raegennaomi

New Member
Messages
4
Please everyone! Be aware that if you aren't reading your basking temperature with a temp gun then you're not accurately measuring your basking temp. There is no way to measure it without one, even digital probes only tell you surrounding air temp. When keeping a basking species you MUST own a temp gun. Knowing your temps is vital to your animals life. Recommended tegu basking temps are 125-140f, with 115-125f for hatchlings. Monitor lizards: basking temps to be 140f+.

Many veterinarians and some enthusiasts will sometimes confuse air temperatures with surface temperatures, citing that such high basking temperatures would be fatal to your lizards, this is misinformation. Surface temperatures exceeding these recommended numbers have been documented (via temp gun) in areas as far north as New York!

You can find temp guns as low as $15 and up to $100 at your local hardware store, radio shack, amazon online, ebay or even pet stores that carry reptile supplies. You can also order fine quality temp guns at tempgun dot com.

Probe thermometers are great for measuring air temperatures, but cannot accurately display surface temperatures. Until you have a temp gun to accurately measure your basking surface, it's all guesswork.

written by Kayla Goldberg.

My boyfriend is a welder and has one of these at the house. I never thought to use it as I have all of my inside terrarium equipment. IllI make sure to start using this when he's home! Great info!
 

Bram040

New Member
Messages
26
Location
Eindhoven, netherlands
Today i got my new temp gun i got the
Bosch - PTD 1 Thermodetector
Wich got 3 emission settings, and it can also messure humidity, and can predict chance of mold forming. Its super easy to use its kinda costly around 90 euro, but as junk costs money also and the product will likely have a verry long lifespan i absolutely recommand it

But omg what a differance with the air temp, alot more then ive imagined,

But can someone explain to me why the surface temp is more accurate then the air temp, cuz unless im walking on bare feet, the surface temp doesnt matter to me that much, but the air temp does.. like if the ground is burning hot from the sun, but there would be a cold wind im getting cold.
Is it cus they are much lower to the ground then i am?
And if such should there be a different optimal air temp and surface temp?
Are those temps u see everyone naming tempgun temps or air temps?
 

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