Ole' Colemanator 6 Dozen Incubator
1st I looked at all the other DIY incubators on BYC.
2nd I looked at my cooler collection and decided they were all too small.
3rd I looked on Craig’s List to see what was available and found this like new Igloo 56 quart thermoelectric missing the cord $4.
Tested and researched it, found out it only cools no heat. Decided to make this my new travel cooler. Bought a new cord $20.
4th Decided to turn my decades old Coleman Model 5640 that I know heats into the incubator spending as little as possible.
1st Remove the door seal, I fond this to give plenty of ventilation.
2nd After testing found out you have to turn it up side down & reverse the polarity of the heat sink fan for operation in heat mode.
3rd Decided the easiest way to turn the eggs is turning the whole thing, so made cradle legs & rack from 2 ½ x ¾”.
And 4 shelves, added (4) 1 ¾” long ¼” dowels to keep the egg cartons from sliding. The square hole was just a fan experiment.
4th Fastened a computer power supply fan blowing toward door to one shelf & placed at top.
5th Make holder for Ebay temp $14.57 & humidity $29.99 controller and wired it all up.
Black from heat sink to positive, white from OEM fan to positive, wire for computer fan to pos & neg – runs all the time.
Black OEM fan & red from heat sink (5 amp) through temp control with 14 ga wire.
6th Calibrate & test it. You will need accurate dry & wet bulb thermometers, humidity chart & what local weather says.
Local weather said 64% my sling cyclometer said 65%. Had to adjust humidity controller calibration to +6 to get right reading.
And the temp controller calibration to +2*.
Taped the sensors in place closed the door & test ran. Humidity dropped from 65% to 29.8% at 99.5*.
I cant believe it dropped that much. Humidity is weird stuff, added two soaked sponges.
48.8% is all the sponges could do & I would have to keep adding water.
7th Looked around for humidity supply and chose the Hankscraft humidifier that has been sitting on a nightstand in my childhood bedroom since I was born in 58. Got a 3/16” nylon barb splice $1 & cut the barbs off one end. It fit perfectly in the original hole.
It’s just two metal plates ¼” apart in a Bakelite tube & starts to steam in 30 seconds. Took it apart cleaned the plates and it’s like new. Isn’t 50s tech great.
8th Drilled a ¼” hole in the center of top handhold for tube.
You have to reposition the tube when you turn the eggs to keep it dip free so condensate can’t collect.
Spent about a total of $70 to build it. That’s $3 more than I paid for 24 Dominique eggs shipped to me.
Wednesday July 30 2014 loaded it with 62 shipped eggs.
Temperature controller set 99* on 100* off. Humidity controller set 25% on 30% off.
Put a sponge on each side at door to soak up the hot water spit out by humidifier and two outside to catch water that runs out.
Wednesday Aug, 6 7th day candling had 44 live, 12 did nothing, 6 blood rings. Day 10 still have 44 squirmers.
Sunday Aug, 17 lock down with 44 eggs on hatching trays. Pulled the steam tube to the bottom so it wouldn't spit scalding water on eggs. Raised the humidity setting to 65%. Couldn't keep the temperature down with this much live steam being pumped in.
Ended up sitting the humidifier on the floor in front of the bottom door crack and letting the steam get sucked in. This worked great.
12 chicks were fully developed and drowned without pipping. Not happy with that at all. Raising the humidity to 65% is bunk!
UPDATE: The computer power supply fan was too big and pointing it at the door blew too much air out. Replaced it with a CPU fan mounted on door blowing down. And drilled a 1/4" hole in the bottom and fed the humidity from the bottom. Works much better because I can't find the door seal. I would put it back on and just leave a two inch opening at top and bottom. If I could find it!