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time to build another incubator

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

found this for $40. Its the size of a dishwasher so there plenty of space to work with and its covered in stainless



It was working but not cooling. So I called in a favor and had a friend take it into work to reclaim the gas but it turned out the reason it wasn't cooling is that it had no gas so that was a bonus.


The last one I built is still working great so im planning on building my own controls again.


No real plan just going to make this up as im going along. Im still wondering if I should turn it upside down as most of the available space is in the bottom and behind the lower 2 slide out draws (where the compressor use to be mounted). If I do turn it upside down then the vent at the bottom will be replaced with a control panel. (not as simple as it sounds as I will have to move the feet and make a new cover out of stainless but its doable)

  Waiting on parts from china so I will probably take a few more pics then start removing all the draws and runner to see what space I have to work with. I have already started testing some code for the controls and I promised the wife that this one will be simple to operate.

post #2 of 35
Thread Starter 

still a little fluid on the design. My wife said no to standard egg turners and has requested turner trays as she likes to mix hatch and trays make it easier.  I have removed the draws and I figure I can install 4 to 5 trays that turn.  We want the trays to be on draw runners so we can open the door, Pull out the tray then remove or add eggs. 

   We mark our eggs with the date they are set so every day some have to be added and removed.  As the hatcher is separate this does not cause a problem it just means the heater needs to be oversized to recover quickly.

  Humidity will probably be made auto again and all the readings will be displayed on 7 segment leds. I have most of the electrical parts already (arduino) but im having to wait on bearings and stuff for the turner.


I have a few ideas on what to use as a heater.


1/ ptc heater.

2/ bulbs.

3/ engine heater, pump and pc cooler radiators. (crazy but I like the idea)


I figure the turner has to be assembled first as its easier to work the heater in the space left rather then trying to build the turner around the heater. Hopefully get the bearings this week so I can start knocking up a proto-type.

post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 

I finally have a idea what im doing (I asked the wife and she told me what my idea


so I drilled 4 large holes in the back near the top then drilled another 4 near the bottom.  Then I started to make a heater plenum that screws on the rear that will house 4 light bulbs and 5 computer fans (80mm). 

  The fans will be speed controlled by the arduino so I can set the amount of air being circulated. I also plan to install a light sensor so the arduino can test the bulbs and show a alert if one needs to be replaced. I might also monitor the fan speeds as well.


 I have modified the spacing between the draws so I have 3 full size that will hold hova bator turners and 1 half size draw that will hold egg trays (this will be used to allow shipped eggs to settle).


  The heater plenum was made from metal ducting and will be wrapped in insulation. The metal is razor thin so ive got a few wimp stickers putting it together. Im still working out how to install a service door to access the bulbs and the fans but I have a general idea.

post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 


It turned some pictures side ways but you can see the general idea. This is the rear with the holes drilled



this is the inside (door removed so It doesn't get scratched)




inside with the draws installed



draw slides out and a cheap turner I had laying about installed to test fit



bottom draw that will hold shipped eggs (test fitting trays)



piece of plastic being used as a control panel. I will post more on this later as its going to have a lot added



heater chamber still waiting on fans



side picture of heater chamber



test fitting the chamber



another pic of chamber.


the chamber will be wrapped in shinny insulation which is why theres a gap between the chamber and the incubator (it also allows the bulb wires to exit)

post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 

installed the bank of 5 fans under the bulbs then added a couple of 40 watt and a couple of 100 watt bulbs then test ran the heater. Turns out im not half as insane as I thought I was. The airflow is smooth and warm and the bulbs do not over heat the chamber. My biggest fear was that the fans would rattle the chamber and cause a annoying sound but its smooth as silk.


I have added temp and humidity display to the control panel. The wife wont allow me to add all the other displays I wanted so they will be hidden. She wants clean and simple......(shes a spoil sport). Next I have 2 fans to add inside the control panel (she wont see them there) to divert air down at a angle and led spot lights to the rear (im thinking soft blue) again hidden from view.


 I wanted to go with another humidity duct like I did on my last build but I also want to test the usb type so im going to order one for a few bucks and test that first.


will post more pics when I get a chance.

post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 


rear of the incubator with the chamber installed and insulated


the piece of insulation over the door is not in the picture


the door slides in to slots from the top



another view or the back



changed the inside to slots. Just waiting to get to home depo to pick up the crome vent covers



the fans and bulbs ready for a fun heat test tomorrow




tomorrow I hope to put the door back on the front and do a heat test. The power supply has to be installed under the unit and im waiting on relays for the lights so this will just be a plug in test for now.

post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 

once the incubator is installed under the counter top no one will be able to see the rear so its not my neatest work.

post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 

well I installed the vent covers and that slowed the air flow down so I expected a bad test. The test was worse than bad it was terrible.


10.6 degree swing from top to bottom. I expected less than 2 degrees so tomorrow I plan to add extra fans internally to fix the problem. One of the problems is that im using silent fans. They are silent but they are also real weak compared to the noisy high speed pc fans im use to.

post #9 of 35

You do nice work. Its going to be a sleek looking incubator with the full glass front. Professional sheet metal work on the rear ducting. Did you test it with the turner trays installed?  I made a couple units in which the turner trays fit tight on all sides forcing the air to flow through the trays from a vent at the bottom to a return at the top, but directing the air through several levels of  trays created too much resistant.  In my case higher velocity fans made the temp differential worse.  I know it's a common design of many incubators. I just couldn't make it work to my satisfaction.  Thanks for sharing your project, I know you can make it work.

post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 

thanks hatchcraft.


Some one on this site posted a lot of information explaining what they had tried when it came to fans and air flow. The basics seemed to be that high velocity gets the air to where it needs to be then slow mixer fans are used to blend the air.


In my past builds I have used faster fan near the heaters then added 24v fans running on 12v to do the blending which has worked out well. You are 100% correct about the trays causing a problem which is why I made a decision early in the build to go with only 3 trays rather than the 5 that could be installed. As none of the blending fans have been added yet I expected a few degrees temperature difference between the top and the bottom but I was amazed that it was possible to get 10 degrees. The trays should be at least 4" smaller than the draws (I haven't bought the hovabator turners yet but from there quoted size they shouldn't be a tight fit). For testing im just using sheet metal to simulate the trays.

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