I'm so frustrated I could just cry. I've been (okay, by "I" I actually mean mostly my brother, with me as his gopher and cheerleader) working on converting an old lab (human) incubator into a hatch egg bator for almost two years, on and off. This is before we started on it.
What we've done:
1) installed a new thermostat.
2) added a new heating element (disconnected the dual heating elements that were embedded into the walls).
3) added a water pan with a tube through the side of the bator so I can turn a knob & add water.
4) installed a false wall on the BACK/inside, about 1.5" from the wall, and installed TWO fans (computer fans) at the top, blowing toward the BACK. We cut the bottom 1" off of the bottom of this false wall, and the air circulation is now excellent.
5) installed a new seal for the clear glass front.
Between each step, we have tested & made notes on what changed in temp/humidity. I have a temperature monitor that records the highs and lows each day, so I know without a doubt (unless that unit is faulty) if there were spikes or dips.
The very last thing we did was added a new heating element; when we did so, we removed the racks and the turner to allow more room to work, and we didn't need them anyway just yet.
My husband installed a new vent at the top that came from a commercial testing oven (for auto parts). You can see the small vent on top in the picture above - it was about the size of a dime or smaller. The new vent is adjustable and allows for a much larger opening if need be.
We tested the unit, and VOILA! It held for 7 straight days at 99 (the monitor does not register increments, so it could have varied from 99.0 - 99.9, but I'm fine with this range). NO dips, NO spikes - we were ecstatic!
Then, we had a small fire (long story, suffice to say some of the insulation dropped onto the heating element when we installed the new vent, adn the element had been mounted onto a piece of wood temporarily so we would know if it worked where we'd placed it, which was right in front of the air flow coming through the bottom of the false wall, on the floor), and had to purchase a new heating element.
We thought for sure we had this all wrapped up.
Installed the new heating element, put the shelf with the turner back in & hooked it up, added a pan and water in the bottom, and turned it on. Now, I can't get it past 95! I have turned the knob at the bottom (which, before now, would move 3 degrees PER HASH MARK) TWO FULL NUMBERS (equating to 8 hash marks) and it's still not going above 95 now.
The things we did AFTER doing the "dry run" which could be contributing to the problem:
- The vent in the top was added. I don't believe this is the cause.
- We added the new heating element. Is it possible the heating element is faulty? I can't think so, it's a simple design, purchased from GQF, and the exact same heating element we had before when we were at 99 consistently.
- We put the turner back in (which added another shelf). Could it be that this rack and egg turner have reduced the air flow by 4 degrees? Hard to believe, since the shelves are perforated - see pic - but, I guess it could be?
- We put the humidity pan back in with water. The pan is on the bottom, and "could" be interrupting the air flow through the false back, though I am using a pie pan, which takes up roughly 1/3 of the bottom and is not DIRECTLY in front of the false back.
Does anyone have any ideas or feedback? I am FO frustrated, and we were practically doing cartwheels when we were sticking at 99 before doing the above. I could just cry!
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Just for fun: First & second generation "olive eggers," and a few ducks - Welsh Harlequin, Black Swedish, Black Runner.