The Unintended Anniversary Gift Incubator
This is based on MissPrissy' s incubator with a few changes.
Materials List (scavenged if price unlisted):
Omaha Steak Syrofoam Cooler from your anniversary present. (Thanks Dad and Ann!)
A bit of leftover hardware cloth
Bottom of plastic take-out container
Kiddie cup from restaurant
Instant Read Thermometer
Wine corks or rolled up paper towels
12 volt transformer from some old, abandoned, electrical thing
Thermometer/hydrometer from Wal-Mart $4
Hot water heater thermostat: $8 Home Depot
Plexiglass sheet: $3 Home Depot
Snap light fixture for night lights (I didn't want to have to wire up a fixture) $6 Home Depot
25 Watt bulbs $2 Home Depot
Old egg carton
Gaff tape (couldn't find the duct tape).
Step One: Gather Materials.
This took me around three hours due to the fact that we have a million places to put and forget stuff.
Step Two: Assemble the Parts
- Cut hardware cloth to fit the bottom.
- Put band-aid on finger where hardware cloth stabbed you.
- Install pan under hardware cloth.
- Cut hardware cloth guard to shield chickies from electrical stuff.Step Three, the hard part: Wire the dang thing
Step Four: Final Set-Up
- Stare at thermostat. Figure out how to wire the power in and out.
- Cut the clicky on/off switch out of the light fixture cord.
- Split both cut ends of the light fixture cord apart and strip 1/2 inch off of both ends.
- Cut two holes into the wall of the cooler for the power cords for the thermostat and PC fan. Run the wires through the holes.
- Wire unribbed side of light fixture cord into thermostat. Join with other piece of unribbed wire. Splice together the ribbed side of the cord.
- Install light in Incubator. I cut a hole in the hardware cloth and snapped the fixture into that hole.
- Cautiously plug in to see if light works.
- Undo any tripped breakers and wire it the other way if you did something wrong.
- Cut the end of the transformer (the part that plugs into some unused machine, not the part that plugs into the wall). Separate the cords and expose 1/2 inch of bare wire.
- Splice the wires of the PC fan and the transformer together.
- Cautiously plug that in to see if it works.
- Undo any tipped breakers and rewire appropriately.
- Cover bare wires with splicer caps or electrical tape.
- Install fan and thermostat into incubator using twistie ties through the walls of the cooler.
- Check again to make sure it all works.
- Enclose electrical stuff behind hardware cloth guard.
- Cut a hole in top of the cooler smaller than the glass. Tape glass to top of cooler from the top.
- Poke 4 air holes at the bottom and two larger holes (plug with paper towel wad or corks) to regulate humidity.
- Let the incubator run overnight to get an idea of levels. Adjust thermostat until the incubator reads steady at the temperature/humidity you want. To make this easier, set an open top quart jar of water in the incubator. It serves as a "heat sink" and will help keep both temp and humidity steady.
- Fill Kiddie cup with water, insert instant read thermometer into top of kiddie cup. This tells you the interior temp of the eggs.
- Calibrate thermometer/hydrometer in bag of 1/2 cup salt and 1/4 cup water. Don't let the unit touch the salt and water mixture! After eight hours, it should read a humidity of 75%. Put in incubator after calibration.
- When the levels hold steady, set eggs. I used an egg carton propped on its own lid so all I have to do to turn is lean it to the other side.
- Try not to candle every single day. Admit to no one that the spider thingies fascinate you to the point that you must gaze at them regularly.
- Cross fingers, be a basket case for 3-4 weeks, and join the ranks of hatchaholics.Please send me a PM if something isn't clear or if I got my facts wrong.