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Old 09-29-2006, 02:10 AM   #11
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I just had another idea pop in my head. I originally planned to have the heater on the top like in the first picture. After taking a look at it, I decided it will likely be more efficient if the heater is pointed downwards (like the 4th picture).

First that means that the water will always fill up to the outlet, hopefully keeping the heater submerged at all times. Second, it allows a space for the colder water to collect and heat up (depending on how much movement there is, there might be no stagnant water if the flow is heavy). Third, with the outlet at the top the warmer water is out first.

Of course this is all in theory, but I am hopeful!

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Old 09-29-2006, 09:09 AM   #12
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My question is why? Do you not have a sump to place the heaters in? I am thinking that the flow will be to great to effectively heat the water. There is a possibility of the heater running all the time and burning out sooner than designed. With your design how will you be able to tell if the heater is functioning properly?

My favorite heaters are those that I can place the prob in the main and the heater (Titanium) in the sump. This way the heater turns on based on the temp in the tank, not the water that is immediately surrounding it, which is likely a smaller volume and heats faster.

Just my $.02


Tank: 90 Gal SW Reef in the making

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Old 09-29-2006, 01:41 PM   #13
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Why, is to remove it from the tank. And no I don't have a sump.

Why not? is the question I ask. It doesn't seem like anyone has done it before or knows if it will even work right. I intend to find out if it is a viable solution or not.

There is really only one condition in which I can tell if the heater is functioning properly. If it heats the water, it is working. It may not be working efficiently, but the cost of replacing one is relatively minor when compared to other items that burn out more frequently.

I have a digital probe in my tank and know what temp the tank is at based off of where the heater is currently set. When I put it in it's new casing, I can find out how efficient/inefficient it is based off of comparing the two.

Unfortunately there is no light on the actual heater to tell me when it is active so I can't see if it is on constantly. But I have had several heaters last for years without failing. If I have a reliable one, I don't see it being worn out enough for me to worry about spending $14 every year or two.

I guess it all comes down to curiosity.
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Old 09-29-2006, 07:24 PM   #14
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Definitely lets us know how it goes!
It's good to know you have great taste in Vodka, ever try Kettle One....I know way off topic....
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Old 09-29-2006, 07:40 PM   #15
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Very cool project. Look forward to updates.
"2- before attempting to plant, have a beer or a Bourbon. That will help to steady your hands…" -- elwaine

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Old 10-02-2006, 01:36 PM   #16
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have it so the water exit is at the top. warm water, like warm air, tends to rise because the molecules are moving faster.

I can see it working just fine once the tank gets up to temp, even without baffles or spirals to slow the water down so it heats up enough.

Also I"m curious, keep track of the number of hours needed to make this work. I put a high price tag on my personal time, so if this ends up taking 3 hours to get it working, IMO its not a good trade off money wise.

Still its a cool project if it ends up working.
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Old 10-02-2006, 02:53 PM   #17
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Just a quick update, I was busy this weekend and didn't get a chance to stop by home depot to pick up some extra tubing I needed to do it. I will be stopping by tonight to pick it up, but I still need to glue the heater into place, which will need to sit out overnight.

As for my time invested, since I've been trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. I'm sure I have put in a lot of time but, if I had everything laid out, I would have probably only put 30 minutes or so into it so far (just gluing and dremeling).

Once I hook it up and figure out how to rig it, I'll let you all know if it is very time intensive.
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Old 10-06-2006, 02:58 AM   #18
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So I finally got off my lazy *** and picked up the hosing that I needed. I hooked it all up tonight and have it running now, suprisingly I have no leaks! (well I have one, but it was my fault for saying "nah, I can get away without using telfon tape!")

total project time I would estimate in the 1 hour range. Once you have all the supplies it probably takes about 40 minutes if you are new to dealing with PVC and the DIY side of things. If you had a clear layout and knew what you were doing it would probably only take 20. The other 20 minutes is spent hooking it all up (cutting hoses and what not, probably would have to do this if you got a retail inline heater anyways so I'm not sure it counts).

Of course patience is the key, you have to wait for all the glue to dry so it has to be done over the course of atleast 2 days (day one is assembling and gluing, day two is hooking everything up).

One quick note of warning should you do this! as I found out after I epoxied my heater into place, it turns out the top cap of it (it's a visi-therm stealth heater) is not water tight! I had to put some silicone on the bottom part of the heater to seal it off. I'm hoping this won't affect it's ability to detect water temp, but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

now, on to the important stuff, does it work! (will it really mighty my penis! SNL joke...move along). Still early in the implementation of it, but so far it seems to actually be heating faster and hotter than just sitting in the tank. The tank temp was set to around ~79.2 when it just sat in the tank. Right now it has hit the 79.8 mark and still might be rising. This could be a double edged sword, as it might not be detecting what the water temp is and will continue to heat the water indefinately. Needless to say, I'll be keeping a close eye on it if it breaks 80 degree's.
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Old 10-07-2006, 12:39 AM   #19
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OK, final observations!

A little after posting the above post the temp got up to 80.9 degree's and I turned down the heater for fear of it getting too hot. As it turns out this is MUCH more efficient than just sitting in the tank (could be related to it's position of where it was sitting and a number of other things). I had to drop the dial on the heater to around 75 to get the temp where I wanted it.

Speaking of the temp, I have observed it fluctuate from 78.5 to 79.9 but it stays within those parameter's. This is better than what it was at previously as the temp would drop down to ~77 with the lights off and up to ~80 with the lights on. Typically the temp sits at 79.5 but will dip down a little lower when the lights are off (only have one morning to prove this, but will keep an eye on it in the next few days).

So far this has only been an improvement over what it was before, which is actually suprising as I expected it to be less efficient. Best of all, no more heater in my tank!

BTW, I have a few more crappy pictures to post. I'll see if I can't get them off my phone sooner than later.
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:38 PM   #20
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This is a really neat idea. I’m glad it worked out for you. I wish I had seen this earlier; I could have made some comments to possibly remove some of the concerns.

As far as “slowing down the water” to heat it up more. You’re actually better off with the water flowing quickly over the heater. You keep the heater element cooler, and the temperature that the heater is detecting is actually closer to the actual water temperature, which should lead to less temperature variation. The heater doesn’t cycle near as much since it is being cooled more efficiently and won’t turn itself off due to stagnant hot water around the heater.

As far as having the output (hot water) at the top vs. the bottom, it would make little difference. Thermal driving head (hot water rising, etc) isn’t nearly as strong as a pump. You would be fine either way. I would just set it up so that you have more water flowing over the entire heater.

In any case, congrats on the project. Looks like it was a bit of fun to do, and I’m glad it’s working out.

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