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Old 07-03-2019, 05:29 PM
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Default 365 day season timers

Are there no timers that will simulate the sun for the entire year? And I would like it to be based on a Latitude you specify. Throw in the moon cycle as well.
Seems like somebody might want such a thing. IDK.
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Old 07-03-2019, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

Quote:
Seems like somebody might want such a thing.
Somebody might very well. I can see the appeal. And technically speaking, it shouldn't be too hard to produce. The hard part would probably be in getting the enterprise to pencil out.

OTOH there's always the good ol' real thing. For plant growth, I run my lights about 9 hours a day, all year. But the animals clearly know what season it is; my herp room has a window. (In all honesty, I'm certain the plants also know what time of year it is.) To make it perfectly clear for them all, I also turn off the supplemental heat in winter, allowing the room to go to ambient-basement temp (which is nice and cool). For what I keep (and what I keep is largely informed by what my living situation facilitates), all this is pretty fabulous. It's good for them, and it's good for me. Less battling the real world to create a likeness...

So I guess I would - as always - ask, "why?" For what problem, would this be an improved solution?

Don't take this as unfriendly - it isn't. It's just a straight question, without a sharp hard point to it. Providing an earnest answer could open a discussion, which seems your intent. (I am - as you are - unaware of the commercial availability of a timer such as you describe.)

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Old 07-03-2019, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

I've always wanted to setup some kind of recording device on my roof; record the sun/light levels for a calendar year, and then download that data and put it into some kind of raspberry pi control device and some awesome dimmable LED strips or something. Basically, it would function like the LEDs you can get that simulate storms and flashes and things, but totally automated based on real outside sun levels. Could mimic clouds moving even across the sun, etc. But, never found the time, and don't know enough programming to do it.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

There are many "astronomic timers" both hard wired and inline. These don't dim, though -- they just provide 110vac -- so there isn't a moon cycle.

A Neptune Apex does exactly what you want, but may be overkill.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

It seems like such a device might better be handled by just making a schedule for yourself based on data about the seasons and moon cycles, etc., finding the values that need to be put in and the dates that the timers need to be changed for those values, and tacking that schedule to a wall. Perhaps there is some internet resource that gathers and coordinates these details to tell people exactly what the light source is and is going to be in one place or another every day of the year. I don't know enough about climates to know if that sort of thing is possible or not.

It may be likely that in the future there is a very flexible timer that can be programmed very finely by an app, or an app that includes dates throughout the year and the time periods for each date to have the power on, or even a timer that outright coordinates power with the latitude, moon cycle, weather, seasons, etc. (Actually, the first 2 of those 3 may already exist, and I just don't know it. I don't think the third one exists yet, but it's hardly unrealistic.)

Like jgragg said, though, if you aren't after ultra-realistic settings, but just want the plants / animals inside the box to survive, it's possible already to do that.

But it's a good question to ask.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:00 PM
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You wouldn’t want a photoreceptor in your latitude to automate light duration for equatorial plants.

You could get sun rise/set times for your approximate areas based on shortest and longest day of the year and use a simple sine equation to model how long each day will last. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could figure out a work around with a spectral designs controller to do this.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

Plants are remarkably tolerant of lighting variations, I honestly suspect it'd be fine. Even if you just capture the mid year summer sun schedule you'd still have a fun, cool thing to play with there as far as light programming.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

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Originally Posted by jgragg View Post
So I guess I would - as always - ask, "why?" For what problem, would this be an improved solution?

Don't take this as unfriendly -
cheers
I don't.

Maybe some plants would benefit, IDK
But some frogs may benefit more, IDK
I'm not saying it would be easy to create but it shouldn't be too hard.
A RasberryPi with a PWM module should do it. I just haven't had the chance to use something like that. And if your going that far you might be able to add temperature and rain to the controller. I'm just surprised no one has done it (that has advertised that fact). Even when I kept fish I wish I had something like this. Maybe this will prompt me to join my local maker space.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

I mean, also, just because it'd be awesome.
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

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So I guess I would - as always - ask, "why?" For what problem, would this be an improved solution?
I run my main lighting circuit in my rep room -- which runs many of my viv lights, since they're the main lighting in the room -- on such a timer. I do it to help cycle my snakes and geckos for breeding.

There's actually anecdotal evidence that it helps do what I'm trying to do: rosy boas can be cycled for breeding on daylight length alone (though I also give mine a cool rest period), and seasonal breeders like leopard geckos can stay on their seasonal cycle with no seasonal temperature variance at all.

Equatorial animals -- such as Brazilian Rainbow Boas -- don't seem to respond to this, though, and can be cycled even out of season with temp variations (this is related to what DPfarr said about equatorial plants). I also have one of these on a Masdevallia terrarium in a different room, and I'm not seeing much response from the Masdies to the seasonal light variation.

I don't have a moon cycle in my rep room, though. I do have one on my reef tank, and I'm convinced that it does nothing for the reef inhabitants at all.
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Old 07-08-2019, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

This has already been done before with a Raspberry Pi. Essentially it pulled data from an online source and imitated the parameters in the animal's native country for that particular day. If that appeals to you go for it. But there are already astronomical timers easily available at Lowes or Home Depot that adjusts daily to changes in sunset time, adjustable 10 - 60 northern or southern latitudes, and can be individually offset +/- 1-240 minutes from both sunset and sunrise times. The closer you get to the equator the less seasonal changes their are in photo period. At the equator, its pretty much 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

Seasonal changes in photo period in addition to temperature have been used to improve reproductive success in breeding various caudates such as axolotls and tiger salamanders.

Variations in seasonal photo period have been shown to govern the concentrations of neurosteroids in the brain of amphibians. One study I found states that "Photoperiod may be a more important environmental factor than temperature for the regulation of neurosteroid levels in the brain."
See:
Inai, Y., Nagai, K., Ukena, K., Oishi, T., & Tsutsui, K. (2003). Seasonal changes in neurosteroid concentrations in the amphibian brain and environmental factors regulating their changes. Brain Research, 959(2), 214-225. doi:10.1016/s0006-8993(02)03745-9

Seasonal changes in photo period may of benefit to dendrobatids that are reported to be seasonal in their breeding behavior, such as Dendrobates leucomelas and certain Dendrobates tinctorius locales such as Matecho.
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Old 07-08-2019, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

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Seasonal changes in photo period may of benefit to dendrobatids that are reported to be seasonal in their breeding behavior, such as Dendrobates leucomelas and certain Dendrobates tinctorius locales such as Matecho.
Why would this be? Equatorial animals are responding to seasonal variation other than daylight length, no?
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Old 07-08-2019, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: 365 day season timers

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Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
Why would this be? Equatorial animals are responding to seasonal variation other than daylight length, no?
Certainly the biggest factor may indeed be the wet and the dry seasons. During the dry seasons, they spend most of their time hiding in dark and moist crevices where moisture is conserved. During these times they are also less active and their periods of activity are much shorter. One poster on Dendroboard has noted that during the dry seasons Dendrobates auratus may seem nonexistent because they are all hiding in moist nooks and crannies of their habitat. A seasonal change in photo period in addition to a wet and dry season may more appropriately mimic this in captivity as not all vivs are created equal. Changes in the light/day cycle influences neurosteroids in the brain (has has been already stated), but they also influence metamorphosis time in tadpoles by influencing the levels of hormones such as melatonin and corticosteroids. The adults may also be affected by this which might trigger them to lay eggs.
See:
Wright, M. L. (2002). Melatonin, diel rhythms, and metamorphosis in anuran amphibians. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 126(3), 251-254. doi:10.1016/s0016-6480(02)00012-6

But of course this is anecdotal, it hasn't been tested before in dendrobatids.

Last edited by Tinc Tank; 07-08-2019 at 06:28 PM.
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