OK I made a coolerbator yesterday. Calling it the picnicbator. I decided to use the smaller cooler I have had for a few years (and never used). Here it is
The top on this cooler is not hinged to the cooler. It comes completely off and actually has a storage area inside. Like so
When I opened the cooler up I found two plastic trays inside. Looked like excellent water wells to me.
OK so I started the lid modifications by cutting a 6"x6" piece of Plexiglass and drew a 5"x5" square inside the lid.
I then cut the box out of the lid using a jigsaw (this was extremely difficult because of the 4" recess inside the lid) and turned out like this
Next I made a couple pieces of Z style aluminum (lucky enough to have a brake on hand) sliders for the window and screwed them to the lid like so
Since the window slides to the open position, the bator can be accessed without removing the lid entirely, limiting the amount of temperature and humidity loss GREATLY! I can also close the top lid to keep the flashing light from bothering me.
So now onto the box itself. These are the devices I installed into the cooler itself
So first I figured out where I wanted the fan and drilled my bolt holes for mounting. I also drilled 12 11/32" holes on 2 sides (6 holes each) for ventilation (before mounting the fan to avoid accidentally hitting it with the drill bit). Installed the fan.
Now onto the heat bulbs and wire screen. I used 1/2" hardware cloth for the screen (plan to cover with shelf liner). I cut a small 5"x5" piece of 1/2" plywood from a cutoff and mounted the plastic lampholder directly to that. Used a cord from a trash electronic device and just left the plug on it. Wired the other end to the fixture. So after I put the water wells, heat source and guard screen in I had something that looked like this
Next up is making my controller. I constructed a box 6"x5"x5" out of a cutoff of 1/2" plywood. On one end I mounted the digital temperature controller. On the other, I mounted a receptacle and drilled holes for the main power input and the thermocouple sensor to come out. Wired it all together and closed up the box ends.
So the heating element just plugs into the receptacle and the thermocouple goes through the vent hole close to the heat source.
I've got it running right now, and with one water well humidity is sitting steady at 57%. I don't think I'm going to be able to use the other. It's too big. So still working out a couple minor kinks but that's what I've got so far.
I really hope nobody quotes this post
VERY VERY COOL!!! GOOD FOR YOU!!!!
Thank you for the info. need to watch the videos when I get home. It appears to be spinning correctly but the mount holes that were already there have the fan centered on one of the big ventilation holes. it seems that its just blowing the humidit out.
of course!! any time! that hold can be closed, if you feel the need to create another do it off to the side, but glue that plug in