heat mat THERMOSTATS

t-bob(west wa)January 15, 2014

Hi folks, since I ended up having to buy most of my starts this past summer, I decided I really need to buy a thermostat for my heat mat.....I see one--- HydroFarm MPTRTC-----has anyone used this particular thermostat? what is your opinion of it? Did it seem to work properly?

any other suggestions of companies or models?
thanks---Bob

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smokemaster_2007

One thing to do with your heat mat is to put it on something that doesn't conduct heat like styrofoam.
Other wise the mat has to heat up the counter it's on along with your trays...

I have a couple hydrofarm thermostats on mats that came with the 72 cell starter kits/mini greenhouses.
They work ok.
Annuums and wilds seem to like 75-80 degrees , Chinwense 80-87 degrees.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 5:35PM
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esox07 (4b)

I have two mats on my hydrofarm thermostat and they work great. I even use a dual thermometer with probes that i stick down into the soil on a couple of my starter containers to make sure the heat is what the thermostat is set for and it is very close. I am very happy with that investment.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 5:53PM
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Chad5(6)

I think that I'm gonna purchase the 20x20 hydrofarm mat plus the thermostat. I have a gift cert. to Johnnys, and after receiving all of these precious seeds i figure its worth it! Can't hardly wait for next month!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 6:24PM
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esox07 (4b)

Good luck chad5. I run two of the 20x20 mats. Let us know how it works out for you....we like pictures :)
Bruce

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:29PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I am using a heat PAD. I bought it from Walmart. It has 6 settings. I use the lowest(1) still can get too hot . So I pad it with more dish towel to control it to about 85F. It is working fine. I just checked the temperature. It is 86F. C. annums germinate faster than the hot c. Chinese. Then, from time to time there are bad seeds.

Patience is a virtue.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:31PM
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judo_and_peppers(Tampa FL)

when I germinate seeds I don't use any heat. I just put the seeds in soil, and put them outside. with one tray it dropped down to the 40s a few days after I started, and all of the seeds still sprouted just fine. I don't see what the big deal is. yeah, it may take a few days longer, but so what?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 1:42AM
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t-bob(west wa)

well Judo, if I lived in Florida you are right, I would put them straight in the ground, but I live north of Seattle and we can't put seedling out until the first part of june, so it is a whole lot different. I don't think if you waited until seeds sprouted by sowing that if they ever sprouted would you ever produce a ripened pepper, but we do our best with where we are

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 1:52AM
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judo_and_peppers(Tampa FL)

hey now, no need to get upset. for one I don't put them straight in the ground, if at all. I primarily grow in containers. when it gets down to the 30s I bring them in.

what I'm saying is that the seeds will still sprout despite fairly cold temps. so I don't understand the point of all this extra equipment and/or effort for getting it to an exact temp, when it may only make a few days difference anyway.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 2:51AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Gardening in FL and SOCAL is like cheating in the final exam: LOL

This post was edited by seysonn on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 10:19

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 3:48AM
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esox07 (4b)

I agree with seysonn about the FL and socal thing.
Up here, to grow peppers, we have to start in February and keep them inside until June before we can only hope for lows in the 40's. This presents a lot of problems for us from lack of real sun to all the diseases and maladies that plants are subject to growing indoors. So, anything we can do to help them out is a big plus. Cut us some slack up here, we are trying.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:07AM
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judo_and_peppers(Tampa FL)

my apologies, I didn't realize I'd struck a nerve with that comment.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:11AM
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esox07 (4b)

Judo, I hope you didn't take my post as return fire. I didn't mean it that way. If you posted that there was a cat 3 hurricane coming, someone up here would probably say: "what's the big deal, just put a cardboard box over the pepper plant and be done with it." While a lot of us make our growing much more complicated than really necessary, there are certain things that we do indeed have to deal with depending on our unique growing conditions.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:18AM
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maple_grove_gw

T-Bob,

I have 4 or 5 of that thermostat, I really like it.

One thing I will point out which you should not do...
At some point last winter it was rather cold in the basement and it looked like my seedlings were starting to suffer. I moved a little heater down there and plugged it into the thermostat to keep things from getting too warm. The heater was like 1200W or something like that, I don't remember exactly but it was a little over 1kW. Darned thing burned out the thermostat. Now it reads the temp., but will not power anything which is plugged into it.

But for heat mats, it works great.

Alex

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 12:51PM
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esox07 (4b)

I think those Hydrofarm thermostats are designed with heat mats in mind which are not very high wattage. The specs for the Hydrofarm MTPRTC is only 1000 watts so you probably overloaded it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hydrofarm MTPRTC Digital Thermostat For Heat Mats

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 1:17PM
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tsheets(5)

Judo, I have germinated seeds both with and without a heat mat / thermostat. My germination rates vary greatly year to year (some good some not so good) so I can't really say for sure how much the heat helps in my space, but, I believe it does help. The problem with going longer is sometimes the seeds will rot if they stay in the damp soil too long. It's better to try to get things going as quickly as possible. At least that's been my experience..

Maple: As I was reading your post I first thought that was a good idea, but, by the time I got to the end, it sunk in how much power those space heaters draw. Hungry little things!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 7:00PM
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smokemaster_2007

My point of view is that I grow a lot of weird varieties from time to time.
A LOT of times certain seeds NEED a constant temp. to germinate.
They just won't germinate at 70-75 degrees or whatever. They NEED 77-79 degrees ONLY to sprout.
Too hot or cold 1 in 30 seeds MIGHT sprout.
At 77-79 degrees I get 1 in 5 to sprout if not more.

It depends on your grow.
ALSO I had problems with learning how to properly use heat mats.
YOU MUST insulate the heat mat from what it is placed on (without the thermostat).
OR the shelf/whatever either gets too hot/obsorbs all the heat and your soil is cold...
Without the thermostat you are relying on the mat itself to regulate it's temp.
Sitting on a warm shelf that it heated up doesn't let the stuff on top get warm enough.
I find a LOT of basement growers complining about cold seed trays,without thermostats.
regulating the heat on un insulated mats adds too many variables to get the heat wher it is needed.
Mat runs on a wire rack acording to room temp.
You cook your seed trays.
On a heat conductive surface the trays get too cold.The mat feels a warm shelf it's set on and shuts off.Cold seed trays result.
Once they put scraps of the 1 inch packing styrofaom sheets under the mats their problem was solved.
Just adding a sheet of packing styrofoam CAN make a BIG difference.
Just something to think about,depending on your grow.
The bigger it is,the more important it is to get even sprouting and growth.
Especially when you have a winter/short season.

for a single 72 cell starter or several 12 cell startes.
I find the smaller ones are a LOT easier to get the bigger/early stuff out of without messing up the cells around the sprout I want to pot up...

http://s403.photobucket.com/user/smoemaster_2007/media/IM004351.jpg.html?sort=2&o=1058

Covered mini greenhouses add up to the same amount of cells and take up the same space.
They are just easier to work with.

http://s403.photobucket.com/user/smoemaster_2007/media/IM004352.jpg.html?sort=2&o=1059

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:37PM
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t-bob(west wa)

Thanks all for the recommendations and discussions. I ordered one of these and have even organized my storage room in preparations to getting seeds started. I like the styrofoam insulator and will look for some at our "Take it or Leave it" dump.
Thanks once again and good luck to all this upcoming season---Bob

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 10:57AM
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judyj(Z5 CO)

Though I realize this is an older post, Smokemaster, are you saying that mini-greenhouses work as well as the heat mats? I have one for developing plants but there's no room for starters. I was looking at getting heat mats, but if you feel a mini greenhouse would have a similar effect, I'll just get another one of those and see how it works for the starters.

My only concern is that it does get cold here, and it still won't be warm enough to keep the starters growing.

Best,
Judy

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 10:14AM
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CanadianLori(6a Oakville)

I bought some on sale thinking that I might use them to help extend the season in the fall. Too hot for mature roots? Silly idea?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 10:33AM
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CanadianLori(6a Oakville)

I bought some on sale thinking that I might use them to help extend the season in the fall. Too hot for mature roots? Silly idea?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 11:20AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I've never heard of it being tried.

Hmmm. You look like a scientist there, Lori. Eh? Care to do an experiment?

Dennis

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 1:00PM
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CanadianLori(6a Oakville)

Well, I think I will try it. I want to utilize the energy my solar panels provide. I have a deep cycle battery for night use and of course when the sun shines, I, ve still got about 120 watts of power not needed to re harge the battery. I have been using the power up until now to run fans very successfully. So nice to see things running without an umbilical to the grid. Cheep, cheep..

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 3:22PM
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