Full Size Fridge Incubator

  1. 5acrehome
    So first off I want to tell everyone Craigslist and youtube are really useful.

    I picked up a Kenmore fridge the classic design freezer on top fridge on bottom and I plan on making this into my incubator for my chickens. Seeing as how my natural incubator is a game hen that likes to wait 3 months between hatches. Right now I have 6 hens and 2 roosters. I hope to expand this to 40 hens and 8 Roosters.

    The fridge is to be gutted of all components and machinical assemblys. Yes the shelves too. Now if your thinking I can't do that then all you have to understand is that this thing was put together by a human it will come apart by one as well.

    I started by removing all the shelves from the inside and and removing the doors. All of this work can be done with a standard ratchet set and a few hand tools however a cordless drill is nice to work with if you have it.

    next look at all the wires in the fridge and freezer areas follow them. If they are in good condition, as mine are, leave them in tact maybe you can use them later to connect a fan,turner,heat source or some other application. remove all the switches and knobs. The fridge isn't going to make use of them in it's current state but you might use them later.

    next flip the entire thing over so that the underside is facing the sky. I found this posistion to be the easiest to work on the compressor and the heat exchanger. Unbolt and remove all the under side. Remember this thing was probably designed to be built quickly in a factory so look for the bolts that are bigger and the metal frame attaches too. Once you locate the these bolts remove the entire undercarriage from the fridge. Mine came off in two peices the compressor/heatexchanger and the drip pan + Compressor fan. Save the compressor fan it is built to last. You might be able to trade the compressor for a heating element from a local repair shop if it still works.

    There is one other sticky point which I should cover, the freon. If your fridge is still working then you have freon in the system. On the undercarriage there will be a copper tube which goes from the compressor to the fridge this line has to be cut in order to remove the compressor. If yours has freon and you cut the line it will escape quickly when you cut this line I would not stick around to breath the stuff in. Cut the line make sure to open the line by pinching the tubing back into a semi circle and then leave it alone for awhile, say an hour.
    now you should have an empty shell of a fridge. Lets turn to the doors. Now you can leave them intact as they are and it would not effect anything but your internal space. I want that space so the permolded door inserts have to go. If you feel around the seems of the doors weather striping there should be screws on metal holding backets that you will need to remove. After you remove those screws the door mold and the stripping should fall away. Recover the door with what materail is best for you. flashing or plywood even hard plastic sheeting.

    At this point you should have a blank empty container to work with however you like. I will update with photos after I can borrow a digital camera someday.

    date: /08-06-10
    So it is Friday and I had abit of extra cash so I have bought some of the supplies to build the egg trays for the incubator. The bottom area that is open is 36"hx26"wx24"d. I plan to make the trays with the dimensions of 22"x24" total. The rails are made of pine 1x4 sides and back. The bottom is going to be the smallest hardware cloth I could find. Tomorrow the construction of the frames begin. on a side note i have aquired a motor out of a ice maker which I hope to use as the power for the controller arm to power the setup.
    Objectives to date:
    build a rack system for egg rotation.
    aquire a powerful and cheap A/C motor for rotation control.
    ball bearing attachment system for the rack for limited resistance during turning
    cut ventalation into the fridge system for freash air intake and circulation from freezer heat pump area.
    setup heating element in freezer compartment. light bulbs or water heater element? old toaster oven element? hmmm.
    programagable timer for fan system and heating elements.
    safety kill switch - manual and auto. Don't want to have something burn down now do we :p
    **much later and pretty much only a thought at this point but a USB/Wi-Fi control unit**

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