Brower TopHatch Autoturn Incubator & humidity, thermometer

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Chellester, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Chellester

    Chellester Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am considering getting the Brower TopHatch Autoturn Incubator. In everything I have read about it, I can't find any info on the following:

    1. Humidity, as in where you put the water, how well it's controlled, etc.

    2. Does it have a built in thermometer/hydrometer, and if not, where do you put it where it's not going to get knocked about by the egg turner?

    Any info I can get from current/former owners will be greatly appreciated! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2007
  2. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used the Top Hatch for two seasons and upgraded just a few weeks ago to the TX-6. It is a very reliable unit and superior in my opinion to the foam units. At least the ones with the wafer thermostat. It does not have a built in Therm/Hygro very few do. You can set a small one the the spokes of the turning wheel. During hatch time, they do tend to get pushed around but at that point it is no problem I always used two. One with the probe that rested on the eggs and one combination unit that sits on the spokes. The water goes in the bottom of the tub, same principal for all the incubators I know of. One thing about the unit is if you keep it in a place that experiences temp changes it will respond to higher or lower temps in your room. I found that making a cozy type wrap out of the large Bubble Wrap helped stablize the temp change especially during the winter months when we use a space heater.

    The thing to know is that it makes a bit of noise and temp is controlled by a light that turns on and off to maintain a steady temp. That can be annoying if you plan to use it in a bedroom that is occupied. I had mine in the Spare bedroom.

    The top hatch is more durable than the foam units and cleans up very easily. If you are thinking of getting one. I recommend a Fluker Thermostat/Hygrometer, available at Petco and Petsmart. It is made for use in repitle habitat and they don't seem to be affected by high temp and humidity for extended periods of time. I have had several cheaper ones and each of them would go wacky on me after a week in the incubator. The Flukers is small and I found it to be very reliable for the two times I have used it once in the Top Hatch and once in the TX-6.

    I hope this helps and good luck
     
  3. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is great info. I have been looking at the Top Hatch also.

    Jaynie, can I ask what made you decide on the TX-6 as opposed to the TX-7? I've been looking at these as well - trying to decide if I want to spend that much money. . .

    Thanks,
    Lori
     
  4. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am cheep ( pun intended) Actually I found a used one on Ebay. I ended up paying 125.00 plus shipping of around 25.00. That is approxmately the cost of a new Top Hatch. I sold my Top Hatch here on BYC for $ 75.00 so basically I only have $ 75.00 new dollars in it. It works like a charm. If you are home during the day the turner is not necessary. I would consider the TX-7 without the turner to start if it is possible and then upgrade it with a turner. The turner is external to the whole unit and the same action can be made without opening the incubator. I will upgrade to the TX-7 electronics when I need up replace anything. I don't hatch extensively because I raise Silkies and Sizzles (same difference) the more chickens I get the more broodies I have. I now use an incubator only when I want something at a time when no one is sitting. An upgrade may be years away at the rate I am going.

    I guess if I had to advise anyone that is going to hatch more than once or twice a year, consider buying a good one up front, and save the wear and tear of wondering what whet wrong. I had good hatches with the Top Hatch but humidity was hard to force up during the dry winter months for some reason. I needed to have a humidifie in the room. The thermostat on the TX-6 is awesome. I did not adjust it at all during the 21 days. There was only a 1 degree jump on the day they started to pip. The humidity control is so simple and I don't know why the Brower folks don't try to duplicate it. There is a bottle on the side that is a resevoir and based on the adjusting screw that controls the flow, it keeps the water channels filled to the correct level at all times. You control what that level is but once you are happy with it you don't have to worry until the bottle is empty. It surprised me how much water went through that unit in 21 days. More than I ever had in the Top Hatch which is probably why I had a challenge getting humidity up at times. The only drawback to the TX-6 is cleaning the dome is ackward. You have to sort of take it apart to really clean it. I am always afraid I will not get things back correctly when I do that. I used a vacume cleaner this time and blew the thing out then vacumed with suction.

    That is about all I can add. I feel you will not be sorry about getting the Top Hatch if that is in your budget range. If you can spare an additional 50 bucks go the the TX 6 or 7 without the turning motor. When you think about it that is about the average price for 2-3 orders of eggs. If you get good results then it is worth it. I started with a still air Hova Bator and after three failed hatches with shipped eggs I sold it and got the Top Hatch. I never regretted it in the least. As I learned more and more, I realized much of the problem was with the eggs but that is part of the learning curve.
     
  5. Chellester

    Chellester Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jaynie, thank you for all the great information. The more I read, the more I think I might just get one of the TX models instead of the Top Hatch.

    Right now, I am using a Hova-Bator as my incubator for the first 18 days, and a Little Giant as a hatcher. Both are circulated air models. I've had pretty good results so far, but I think I'd do a little better with shipped eggs if I had a better incubator.

    I use the Flukers thermo/hydro combo you mentioned. I have two of them, one for each incubator, and like you said, they are extremely accurate.

    One more question: how do you handle multiple egg batches, or do you just start and hatch one batch at a time?
     
  6. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a homemade styrofoam hatcher. I will be putting together a tx-6 hatcher from parts that were included with my incubator. The little foam unit worked great but I do not have a thermostat on it and I am not much of a do-it-myserfer when it comes to wireing things. I hatched my first batch in the TX-6 last week and I did not use a hatcher, I just set the eggs and hatched them straight through in the same unit.
     
  7. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am the one that bought Jaynie's TopHatch. I think its great, but all the points she brought up are true and from what I have read on reviews, they are true of all of them, wasnt just hers. I am sure I would also have a very difficult time with getting humidity up if I incubate in winter.

    They are also very prone (from what I have read ALL tophatches are) to temp fluctuations. If you have a room that varies or has drafts, you need to be there to adjust temps or you will have fluctuations a little beyond what you are hoping for. And like she said, a cozy helps.

    It did perfectly for me, but have only used it once so far. Planning on more, a little later on. I am very happy with it tho. It does have a light that flashes off and on, I had it in my living room so it rather looked like I was running a brothel or something from the street! [​IMG]

    Actually when I drove home late one night, it was more like the mother ship getting ready to take off.
    Jill
     

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