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2-Tier Tables


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#1 deetooarruk

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 11:40 PM

Hey all!

It's been a while since I've had time to visit. I'm currently building a new tortoise table for little Speedy, who is doing fine. Apart from the non-compliant/destructive behaviour in rebellion for my promises made three months ago, I've been forced into building him a new table earlier than I can afford.

Has anyone built/seen/owned a 2-tier tortoise table?
Does their tortoise explore both levels?
Is this a first?
Or not recommended?

This is the specification:
2-Tier tortoise table constructed from Hardwood Decking, sealed with vivarium sealant, painted and varnished with Water-Based paints, with stairs-landing-stairs access configuration. Galvanized Mesh to keep the cats out. 700mm x 1250mm ground floor, 700mm x ~625mm 1st floor area. Have not finished the build, don't know how high it will be.

Ground Floor:
- Waterfall Feature on ground floor, including Bathing Pool, Water Filtration Kit and Digital Variable Water Heater with overheat protection.
- Air Cooling system to take ambient room temperature down 5 degrees below to assist maintaining 10c difference in high ambients.
- Low power Dimmable Ligthing to simulate daylight conditions.
- Rocks and Bark from current enclosure.

First Floor:
- Basking Zone using MegaRay 100w Combined Lamp.
- 100w Ceramic Heater to assist with low ambient temperatures.
- Water Dish for hydration.
- Rocks and Bark from current enclosure.

Control Automation:
- Light Level Sensor to control Lighting on-off timing to simulate sunrise conditions with 12-hour on timer.
- Humidity monitoring.
- 8-point Temperature Monitoring with Heating Control.
- Lighting and Heating overheat protection via automatic shutdown.
- Waterfall Heater and Pump interlocks prevents operation in low water flow and water heater overheat conditions.
*consider - Variable Lighting positioning (Lower/Raise Bulb according to ambient temperature/light level)

Technology:
- Mini ITX PC with 10.4" Industrial Touch Screen running Windows 7 Professional with 1-touch manual override, access to settings, monitored points, fault diagnosis, overlay graphing and customised data display screens.
- WiFi, Secure VNC and VPN for remote monitoring/system administration via the Internet.
- Emerson Einstein Facility Management System to provide main control and logging data for up to 6 months+
- Crouzet Mini PLC to provide backup control in the event of main controller failure.
- Uninteruptable Power Supply to provide up to 4 hours of mains failure.

Price: Open to offers... ;)

The picture was taken during light, about 3 hours before I stopped work after tripping over the Mitre saw.

So, do you think it's over the top?
More to the point, who would like one? :)

Jay :)

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#2 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 09:06 AM

Hi deetooruk :welcomeSign: Two tier tort tables are used, sometimes so the tort can have two levels to use and sometimes as a space saving way of keeping two torts that cannot housed together.

Your post reads like an upmarket estate agents ad. :giggle: Are you contemplating starting a business selling these?

#3 deetooarruk

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 09:48 AM

Hi Chrissyan,

I'm an engineer by heart, and I'm useless at selling things. Somehow, I always seem to lose out on any deals I secure. I'm glad my post sounds like an upmarket estate agents ad, one to provide the most swanky-est, coolest tortoise enclousre there is and two, to reflect the nature of my research and development into artificial climate control - as with my main trade, refrigeration.

Most of the Control and Technology has been made up of decomissioned electrical refrigeration parts, just a few things I have purchased.

I would like to produce these for sale,and stop sticking money in someone else's pockets... And when mine is finished, I will post pictures - in fact, here is one I took this morning.

I've run out of money for this month, and my wood supply is down to the last 1.5m of deck board - damn.

Jay :)

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#4 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 02:43 PM

Price: Open to offers.

These tables are obviously hi-tec and time consuming to make. If you are serious about this, in my opinion you really cannot let your prospective customers name their price. You will need to do the maths in terms of every expense involved, including your time & marketing and come up with a price where you can make a profit, otherwise it will just not be worth your while. :)

I'm useless at selling things

In that case you need a trustworthy business partner who can sell and market for you, :)

#5 deetooarruk

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:52 PM

Thank you Chrissyan, you have given me some food for thought. I will have to see how this project goes, further my research and development into a cost-effective controller that can take the current control/techology price tag from just over 4.5k to just under £250. That's the focus for the time being.

I would like to think no one would be as crazy enough to purchase my specification - it is purpose is more suited as a research and development piece than a permanant showcase.

Thanks for your interest, it's made me feel that much more positive about the whole project.

Jay :D

#6 deetooarruk

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:32 PM

So, the project has been going since September? I completely forgot about the time, not being home an awful lot, and every-other-spare-minute doing things for other people...

Speedy's enclosure is comming on well, it's built, has legs and most of the controls are in place.

The paint was a struggle - trying to find a suitable paint that will be safe for him was a task, ending up asking the experts and paying silly prices for an absolutely awesome paint. In fact, the painting process has taken up most of the time: from 2 weeks to find the paint and 4-5 days drying per coat..

The electronics are in R&D again - in an attempt to replace the temperature management system with a cheaper system while not skimping out on safety and compatability.

I'm enjoying seeing the finished product and I know Speedy likes it - He has already tested the waterfall about 3 weeks ago and had a good mornings walk round today.

Pictures will follow, eventually. :)

Jay :D

#7 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:54 PM

Pictures will follow, eventually

Yes please :winkgrin:

#8 Hettie

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:27 PM

Ooooh yes pictures please. Our little guys will undoubtedly be green with housing envy!!

Paula x

#9 deetooarruk

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 03:06 PM

Right then...

I don't want to give too much away because I'm going to do a product shoot, so I'm going to put up some development pictures, as you've twisted my arm...

I'll put more up later on... Time to get my 'Lazure' on... :)

Pic 1: The 2nd from final build (The top has been dropped by 1-2")
Pic 2: Inside the downstairs, with the downstairs light installed
Pic 3: R&D / Testing the Waterfall Feature (It's not the final build, some componants have been changed)


Continued in a few hours...

Jay :)

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#10 deetooarruk

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 01:34 AM

Ok, I've done some much needed researching: Hibernation.

I'm gutted; more so with myself. He should be sleeping, though my ignorance nearly lead him to 2 more years without deep sleep.

I should have done more research on this subject, I had a feeling he wasn't right this winter, and coupled with the bad start he'd been given, it can't be getting easier for him :(

I just purchased him a medical-grade fridge (I knew this was comming, and prepared for it wisely) that can be intergrated into his setup - what's better, is that I'm qualified fridge engineer and the stuff it runs on is what I'm trained in, both electrically and mechanically :)

Nevertheless, I'm going to have to sweet talk the missus into letting me add another 110mm to the legs...

And four more pictures...

Pic 1: Into the logic of the Waterfall... Very Technical!
Pic 2: The 2nd before final Waterfall System Install
Pic 3: The enclosure with all doors and windows installed
Pic 4: The painting, I think it looks too dark?? Any comments?

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#11 Hettie

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:12 PM

Can ya tell what it is yet skip? Lol!!

Loved the picture of the pile of wires, a little above my head I'm afraid. Although I did recognise picture one as being control centre..
This is going to be good!!

Paula x

#12 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:55 AM

Wow, I like Hettie am not even going to pretend I understand pics one and two, pics three and four do look great though, what a 'des res' as for it being too dark, surely when the UV is set up that will change? :)

#13 deetooarruk

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:28 AM

After a well deseved rest, over 10,000 km away, I have returned to this cold place once again.
Indonesia was beautiful, the island of Java and Bali have their own traits, both being each as beautiful as the other...

So, back on with the project today, these are the intended modifications aiming for a move next weekend:

I've been given the go ahead for the extra 120mm increase in the lower area, to accomodate his new winter bed. 2-man job, so my friend is going to lend a hand for an Indonesian lunch...

His waterfall splash pool is to be increased 2-fold, as this will give hm enough room to get comfortable. The waterfall system won't be fully operational till beyond he moves in; he will have a the pool in there, but the waterfall is awaiting parts comming from somwhere in Asia.

Things to change once the paint dries and he moves in (hopefully next weekend):
1. The original heating system is to be removed for safety/health reasons as it is made from cast aluminium, and could corrode and poision the waterfall water. It is going to be replaced with a TEC-style ceramic heater, with no metalic parts in contact with the water - two good things, no chance of electrocution and the other reason for metalic transfer.

2. The water to be supplied is to be processed through a Reverse Osmosis system, stripped of the nasties in tap water, re-mineralised with calcium and various other natural minerals, salts and other natural goodness :)

3. The incorporation a waterfall low-level refill pump, to top up the water when low.

4. The incorporation of the fridge system before hibernation season.
The fridge is pretty specal, reason being, I can remove the supplied electronic controller (as it has no temperature control, just temp readings!?!?!) and replace it with another one that will communicate directly with the existing system and have a better energy saving functions than the standard one - the original will give the temp readings and the audiable alarm if it gets too warm. (just need to get a new controller, back to work monday :)

Oh, and I brought him a little friend from Indonesia, you will see it next weekend with a bit of luck :)

Jay :)

#14 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

Hello Jay, just an off topic comment... I was in Indonesia a few years ago!!!! Java, Lombard, Bali..... Wonderful places. I would recommend highly for a holiday with a difference x x x hugs x x

#15 deetooarruk

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:04 PM

Hey Stella, I would agree with you completely and it is such a beautiful place... We were mainly in Yogyakarta, Java (where the family live) and Sanur, Bali... It was an interesting holiday, to say the least :laugh:

Anyways, onwards and upwards...

Speedy finally moved in last Sunday!! A few adjustments to the height, it's back down to the original height as it had become overpowering in the living room. His fridge will be stored and used as and when its time... It's not completely finished, the doors need to go on the bottom to form a cupboard with the touchscreen and information lamps / user controls on the doors.

I spent last Saturday/Sunday from 11pm till 4am working on the electronics and wiring to get the basics running (Lighting and Heating), and re-commissioning the system, making a clean, fresh start. It was a struggle to stay awake and put the wires where they should go (many attempts from 3am onwards...), putting in the basic programming so that at 8am, the light came on :)

1.5 bags of topsoil and the same of play sand later...

On Sunday evening, the waterfall was commissioned and running, although, I missed out the programming that starts the pump at 9am, so it was a cold bath without the waterfall that he spent an hour and a half bathing in... :P

After gutting out the original water heating system, which had become over-complicated and deemed unsafe by me, I opted for a 300w in-line aquarium heater - with total isolation from heating element to water, as to remove any conductivity that may occour from leaking voltages within the heating element. The heater has a ceramic-glass lining over the element to prevent charging the water with mains power. Also, the original was 780w, so I'm saving on power consumption, sacrificing a 10 min warmup for a 30min warmup from 15c-30c.

As for the water used for bathing..... Reverse Osmosis, as mentioned in a previous post. If you don't know about R/O, then the process is that the water is pushed at 80psi+ through Stage 1: A 5-micron sediment filter to remove sand, dirt, metal, plastic, etc... then passed across Stage 2: an activated charcoal filter to remove gasses such as flourides and chlorine, then passed through Stage 3: the R/O membrane that removes 99.999999% of all impurities from standard tap water, including bacteria, heavy metals, hardness... After the nano filtration, it passes through Stage 4: The De-ionisation filter to remove any last impurities, producing 0.0TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) water. That's great you say! The purest water... Not quite... The issue is, the water produced becomes slightly acidic from processing, leaving stage 4 at about 5.5-6.5pH - too acidic for him, and could eat away or rot his shell. So, adding Stage 5: The remineralization filter, made from calcite, coconut carbon and other healthy minerals, the pH balance goes slightly alkali, approx 9.0-10.0pH. After putting it through the pump and running it through for a couple of hours, the pH level dropped to 7.0-8.0pH - Perfect!! :D
Monitoring the water quality for Nitrate (NO3), Nitrite (NO2), Ammonia (NH3/NH4), pH balance and TDS to be done on a weekly basis and treated as aquarium water. Careful watching of levels because of the wee and poo he may do in the bath could change the balance of the system. Using R/O processed water should last longer between water changesand not get any of the green algie forming in the system, as well as prolonging the filter media in the pump.

He's settled in well, and he likes the stairs, or shall I say slide, climbing up and sliding down, spending most of the time up top where it's warm. The TD from hot zone (up) to cool zone (down) is approx. 12c, a much better gradient.

I will post the final specs and pricing with the enclosure shoot - hopefully Sunday.

Jay ;)

#16 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

Wow!!!! X x x hugs x x

#17 Guest_Chrissyan_*

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

Looking forward to the pics :)

#18 jessyprice

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:35 PM

We use reverse osmosis in my lab at work and our water sits at about 5.5, had never thought of using this for tilly x we do use it for any plants we have in the prep room as all our college tap water is treated x

#19 deetooarruk

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:15 AM

Hi Jessie,

 

The water produced is quite acidic, therefore the balance needs to be restored or exceeded. Pure R/O water should NOT be used for consumption as it can cause acidosis, where the body tries to balance the acidic levels by dissolving the calcium in bones and teeth, and a tortoise being mostly of bone material, may rot his shell... I've balanced the water between pH 7.5 - 8.75.

 

Actually Jessie, I'm finding it difficult to identify the pH of low TDS water - my universal liquid pH identifies the R/O water as being acidic (6.5), but my digital pH meter reads alkali (10.5). I've used strip indicators as a medium, but they report 8.0... Which one is most accurate by your experience?

 

My poor little cat (Chester) has been hit by a car this weekend, it's not as bad as when the big cat (Billy) was hit. Billy suffered much more than Chester, but survived and is healthy now... Chester fractured his femur and the socket in his pelvis, so he's currently being looked after by the amazing vets at VetsNow/PDSA Hospital in Bristol. He's stable and comfortable, but he's awaiting transfer to the Animal Hospital for an operation :'( I'm glad Speedy doesn't go out that far.

 

So, I'm still looking for time to get the doors on and finalising the software :o

 

I've re-plumbed the waterfall, as it was quite noisy and I think it scared him into using it. One of the drains has become the feed, which can cause problems with airlocks, but it only happens when a mini-whrilpool is created on the drain-side.

 

Now for more delevopment pics.....

 

Pic 1: Installing the Controls

Pic 2: Wiring the Controls

Pic 3: Downstairs

Pic 4: Speedy Upstairs

Pic 5: Original Waterfall

Pic 6: Upstairs

Pic 7: Touchscreen User Interface (Incomplete)

 

Hopefully, I should be back on the project soon, to finish what I started :)

 

Jay :)

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#20 jessyprice

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 05:59 PM

Unless you have a definite way to calibrate your meter i wouldnt use that, experience says universal indicator, especially as i dont kno which strips you use x if u wanted a second test to that u could make up some red cabbage indicator cheaply check internet it v easy, i stick to tap water for tilly no need to make things quite so complicated, i really sorry to hear about the cat i hope all turns out ok, i have an awol rabbit at the mo, i let him roam the garden in summer and just lock his hutch at night but as it sunny let him out today, and he now sulking under shed for being in all winter!!!!!!!




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