Saturday, October 9, 2010

The heater arrives!

Here's the habitat in it's present form, nearly ready for use:The heating element is that red patch on the wall. I'm thinking it should be wall mounted for a few reasons: First, so the hamster has a choice whether to be in contact with it or not. It's very warm to the touch (not uncomfortably so) and heat transfers very well through the feet; if I put it on the floor the hamster wouldn't have much choice but to walk on it. Also, although (as you can see) I've laid down a layer of kitty litter to handle waste, I'm worried urine might short it out. I could always seal it up with tape so it's moisture proof I guess. Thoughts on placement of the pad are welcome as I really haven't decided yet.

In the picture I'm testing how long it'll run on a 1500mah 5v battery. Still goin' strong after 2 hours, with only 40% of the energy used up. The battery that I'm actually using will be much smaller but roughly the same capacity, so we're looking at about 5 hours of heat. And the habitat should stay warm for a long while afterwards as this type of plastic is an excellent thermal insulator. I'm worried about keeping it cool enough actually, although the constant passage of air through the chamber should have a moderating effect, and by placing the pad on the wall I empower the hamster to regulate his own temperature by getting closer to or further from it.

In the third habitat, if this one is a success (and that appears certain) I'd like to have a power cable as part of the umbilical, and solar panels to keep the air pump, lights and heating pad running indefinitely.


  1. I am so excited to see this in action. When do you think it will all be ready to go under?

  2. 1. Before November.
    2. It's a shirt. I bought it online.

  3. Have you thought of a name for the hamster yet? That brave pioneer will need a name.

  4. five hours seem a little short for a whole day submerged. lakes in november aren't too warm and with the constant exchange of air (with a mighty strong airpump as you wrote) the warmth won't stick around. you should look into that... the air supply will probably cool off quite a bit aswell depending on the fabric of the tubes.
    superfucker'll pick up a cold pretty fast is my guess.

  5. I've thought of that. My plan is to put the pump and the battery, wrapped in a blanket, in my backpack. Loosely enough so that air can easily enter, but it will trap the heat of the battery, and warm the incoming air.

    Like it?

  6. Nice jacket.

    If it's feasible, I would use a wireless thermometer, like those used in meat smokers, to monitor the temperature in the habitat. Failing that, steadily increasing times submerged is probably the best choice concerning the safety of the hamster, starting at only a few minutes and working up to a full day; just in case temperature drops more than expected, or some other similar problem occurs.