The controller allows 3 Watts /ft. of tape.
I originally had 10 ft. of tape
which I knew was not going to be enough to get all 3 hives hooked up. This setup was from my "EasyHeat Fuse Plug. I don't have all the information but I believe it is design to turn on at around 35 deg. F and turn off at 50 deg. F. I then went and bought 20 more ft. with a new "Frostex" (Tyco) controller. When I say "tape
" it is not a flap piece of tape but a double wire encased in plastic and covered with a braided wire. It is approximately 1/2" diameter.
Anyway, I took one controller with 10 ft. of tape and coiled it as seen in the following picture.
That's all 10 ft. coiled in my center hive (hive #2). The other setup I pushed probably 5 ft. into the other two hives. The remainder of the other 10 ft. was lost inside of piping leading to the hives. Lets see if they are visible in the following pic.
This is an older pic when I had all three hives connected to the same tape but the distance was too long to have enough wire to distribute enough heat to all hives. The tape is fed through the electrical plastic pipe at the bottom of the hives.
Something to take into consideration...the instructions for spreading the tape on a water pipe calls for either wrapping the tape around the pipe or running straight runs. The amount of wraps depends on the diameter of the pipe. Also, the pipe and tape requires to be insulated so that the heat stays in the pipe and does not escape into the atmosphere. In my case I don't care if the heat escapes, actually I want it to escape INTO the bottom of the hive.
Another thing to take into consideration.....if the heat tape shuts down at 50 deg. F it probably stays only shut down for a short time in this temperature. There is actually some heat loss going through the plastic pipes. I took the tape outside and held it in my hands while I had it plugged. The tape ran continuously and felt warm to the touch but it did not get hot to the touch.
rdy-b, the above picture should give you an idea of how I got it inside the hive. I had to finagale the controller so that it would fit INSIDE the hive so as not to get wet. I managed.
I have more pictures on my website at http://www.beesbatsandbeyond.com/
Go to the Bee Equipment page. I am still in the process of adding information...so its not finished.