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Old 09-20-2010, 06:43 PM   #1
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Default Fermwrap - 2 for 1?

I'm pretty sure if you cut a fermwrap in half you can just get another set of clips and a plug and essentially get two wraps from one (it's made up of two 1ft sections). My question is will these now much smaller wraps produce enough heat (with a temp controller of course) to adequately warm a 5 gallon batch?

This stuff appears to be the same and is rated 20W per foot:

http://www.reptilebasics.com/11-flexwatt-heat-tape.html

Assuming Fermwrap is rated the same would 20W be enough?

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Old 09-20-2010, 07:13 PM   #2
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I am interested in this. I dont know the answer for you but hopefully someone else will. *subscribed*

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Old 09-20-2010, 08:13 PM   #3
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-or-

How about buying the heat tape and clip/plug set from the link above and making your own? Look like Fermwraps go for about $40. You could make your own for $12.

Just a thought.

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Old 09-20-2010, 08:17 PM   #4
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Yup, I was thinking that too and might just do that. But the reason I asked about splitting my existing one is because I was talking to another homebrewing friend about building his own. I sent him links to the clips/plugs and the heat tape and he was going to place an order. I figured if I could split mine into two I would just ask him to order the clip/plug portion for me and we would split shipping. If it would work just as well as a "whole" one then I'd go that route. If not, then yes, another $6-$10 for a full-sized one makes perfect sense.

So....anyone know if 20W is sufficient for 5 gallons?

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Old 09-20-2010, 10:15 PM   #5
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I made my own out of that stuff, works great. I can post pics if you want. I actually kind of made a tutorial but never posted it.

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Old 09-20-2010, 11:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SPLASTiK View Post
I made my own out of that stuff, works great. I can post pics if you want. I actually kind of made a tutorial but never posted it.
Sounds like some useful info... if ya have a chance post it up. I'm sure there are people here that would love the info.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:10 AM   #7
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Sounds like some useful info... if ya have a chance post it up. I'm sure there are people here that would love the info.
Please do!
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:06 PM   #8
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Please do!
I'd also like to see it. I had bought an aquarium heater a couple of winters ago and was using it to heat a water bath for fermentation, but its dead and I need a replacement. This looks to be a cheaper (and less messy) route to go. subscribed.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:24 PM   #9
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I ordered 3 more fermwraps from reptilebasics after bending over for my first fermwrap. They are the same thing. If you order from reptile basics, you can have them assemble them for you and it comes just like the real thing.

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Old 09-21-2010, 11:24 PM   #10
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Default Here goes...

Excuse the not so focused pictures... and the fact I kind of took pictures of different sides of the ones I was making haha.

So in the spring I needed a couple more fermwraps so I ordered two online at around $30/each (they're even more at some retailers). After a week my order still hadn't shipped (apparently they were out of stock and mistakenly didn't contact me but thought they had)... I was getting antsy and searched around on the major forums to see if anyone had ever made their own or had any reasonably priced non-light bulb alternatives. I was surprised to find nothing here (though maybe I didn't look hard enough?). They looked pretty simple to make so I figured they must have a huge markup unless that heating tape was expensive.

I eventually found a "homemade fermwrap" thread on the BN forms where someone else was looking for cheap alternative. It was only 7 posts long with two people mostly discussing a website malware issue. I'd expect such a thread to be more popular! A website one guy posted had a tutorial on making something that looked exactly like the Fermwrap, with the same parts and everything.

Apparently people make these in the Herpetology community as they need to heat cages for the snakes and reptiles they keep as pets. You can even wire them in parallel.

The heat tape is called "Flexwatt" and comes in various sizes: 3" (10 watts per foot), 4" (8W), 11" (20W) and 17" (20W). The commerical Fermwraps we see are made from approximately 2 feet/panels of the 11" Flexwatt.


Some Flexwatt comes in panels has nifty little cut here lines about every foot. (Each panel is 12.5" to give room for the wide cut here area, check end of thread to see completed comparison pic). The retailer I bought from recently switched to the non-panelized stuff. With the non-panelized, you just cut to any length in the clear plastic, between the black heating elements. Don't cut through the black elements! I used a yard stick and boxcutter to cut mine nice and straight, scissors would also work cut through it fine if you have a steady hand.



So, let's get started:


Chop the end off a standard extension cord you can find at Walmart for around a $1.




Pull apart the two wires about 12 inches. You might need a knife to make a small incision between the two wires to make it easier to pull.


Then, cut about 1/4" of the insulation off each wire with cutters, or a sharp knife.



Insert one wire into a metal connector. You can simply put the bare wire into the hole and crimp it closed with pliers. I pushed the brown cord a little ways in so it was snug in there before I crimped.




Slide the Flexwatt into the metal connector's slot so it's teeth align with the shiny silver metal strip. Fold the connector piece sticking up down and into the plastic. You can hear the teeth bite into the plastic and touch metal. Crimp it in place with pliers (not pictured). Repeat on the other side with the other one.



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