So I built my wife a simple incubator last weekend. I had some fun doing it. I'm designing v2.0 right now and I know due to cost and time constraints I would NEVER be able to build everything I wanted to do.
What features would you want that are REASONABLE, ACHIEVABLE (in the home, DIY) and not cost prohibitive for an average US worker (within a few hundred bucks).
Our current one is built on a cooler, uses a PTC 100W heater mounted on a large heat sink w/ fan controlled by a temperature controller. We have an independent 10W LED light controlled by exterior switch. Humidity is controlled by sponge/rag method. Additional temp/humidity monitoring are done with standalone devices. A large plexiglass opening is on the top for viewing. Pretty much a basic design as documented on this site many times over...
Basic incubator requirements:
- Maintain a temperature 99.5F +/- 1F
- Have room for a wet sponge
- Allow access for manually turning eggs
- Automated candling / removal of eggs
- Robot arms
DIY/Homesteader Requirements (that I've seen around)
- Multiple thermometers
- Automatic turning
- Automatic temperature controlling
- Automatic humidity control
- Opening to control water
- Fogger for humidity control
- Wifi camera
- Redundant heating system
Some ideas I've thought of that I haven't seen yet
- Light inside incubator that will allow candling of eggs without removing from incubator (maybe side compartment) --- ~$10
- 2-axis turning of eggs (might not be cost-effective) --- ~ $20-$30
- Automated venting (using actuators) to reduce heat or humidity (fan based) by comparing with outside conditions --- ~$15
- Automatic temperature logging and humidity logging (I'm sure someone is doing this) ~price of computer and sensor, $15-$30
- Program for variable temperatures (saw some literature for the benefits of INCREASING and DECREASING temperatures in incubators. (same as above)
-- Industry incubators will increase the temperature which lowers the hatch rate but improves muscle development
-- Industry incubators will decrease the temperature by 0.1F per day after day 8.
---- Basically, allow DIYer to choose a pre-determined "hatching configuration" or create custom profiles that may suit their needs.
- Remote configuration (sure someone has thought of this or is doing this somewhere) --- incl. w/ computer
- Count-down timer (or count up) --- LCD screen, computer - $10-$15 (LCD)
- Text reminders or warnings to do work ... "add water", "candle eggs" <do work> --- incl. in price of computer
- Independent data log for analysis --- i.e., after hatch "input hatch rate" --- incl. in price of sensors and computer
Not sure of the chances I'm going to build the one I want. Wife is discouraging it because of all my other honey-do lists and we basically don't need that many incubators. This is more just a fun (or I hope it to be) exercise in seeing what other people have when they dream about their perfect incubators.