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Soil Heating Cable

Scott has a good point about heat sink.  As with any DIY project good 
common sense is really important.  It doesn't take much heat to melt the 
plastic coating on the heating cable, be aware of it's fire hazard.

The heating cable I have has a thermostat wire that runs with in the 
heating the cable.  So it is very unlikely over heat.  Run it with or 
without a heat sink will be fine.  But not all heating cable are built this 
way.  I can plug in my heating cable sitting on my counter top.  After an 
extended period the cable will still only be at the temperature I set it 
at.  A flaming aquarium is not a pretty sight. =)

The rubber mat looks really good.

Bill Wu

>Bill Wu pointed something that wasn't obvious to me, that heaters, such
>as, for example, those not originally intended to be put inside an
>aquarium can be still be used because:
> > You can place the heating cable under the aquarium, it will still
> > heat the
> > substrate.
>The substrate heating cables I have seen that are intended to be placed
>inside the tank cannot be safely used out of water -- without the
>substrate and/or water  surrounding the cable, they do not have a
>suitable heat sink to ensure that the insulation does overheat.
>I would have thought that coils intended to be buried in soil would
>also rely on a considerable heat sink -- but it really depends on the
>design.  Other potential under-the-tank substrate heaters are:
>Waterbed heaters  -- usually extrordinarily overpriced but you can buy
>similar heating blankets from Omega Engineering (type address all on
>one line)