Calibrating my incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by vwight, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. vwight

    vwight Just Hatched

    May 23, 2014

    I'm new to hatching. This is my first time. My eggs arrive in two weeks. I just set up my Farm Innovators Digital Still Air Incubator (Model 2150) and am trying to calibrate the temperature and check for fluctuations.

    The good news is, the incubator is holding a constant temperature where it is being stored.

    The bad news is: I don't know that the "real" temp is. The incubator says it's is holding at 99.5 degrees F with 20pct humidity. But I have another temp/humidity gauge INSIDE the coop at it reads 98.6 degrees/10pct humidity. I also placed the old fashioned mercury thermometer, which came with the incubator, inside and it says the temp is around 96 degrees (but it's very hard to read).

    Which temp/humidity should I believe? How do you know what the real temp/humidity is?

    Thanks so much in advance for the help/guidance.

  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Never trust the guages on an incubator. Stop adding every thermometer you own into it or you'll have a headache.

    First and foremost you should have a heat sink in there to mimic mass of eggs. A brick or few good sized stones will work or even a bunch of water bottles. Those will stabilize the heat swings just like a few dozen eggs in the incubator will. If you purchased only a dozen eggs then I suggest you keep a few bottles of water in there to aid in steady heat. Also note it will take hours for incubator to settle on temperature until the mass you put in gets up to temp.

    Calibrating. The cheapest and most readily available accurate thermometer is in your medicine cabinet. Use a glass or digital oral/rectal thermometer to fine tune your incubator temp. I put a digital down a vent hole and read the high temp then turn it on and off until I get a low temp and average the two. Low temp is 30 seconds after the heating unit turns on. Temp still goes down until heat element warms up.

    There is a salt test you can do to calibrate hygrometers too. So between an oral thermometer and salt test your good to go. I use a small cigar box temp/hygrometer unit in the incubator. The temp only reads to whole degree but it's an indicator if anything is going wrong. I fine tune and make all adjustments during incubating with the oral thermometer. Walmart sells Accurite combo units for little money. Those are good as you get the temp (calibrate) as indicator things are well or not and a hygrometer unit you can fit in a ziplock bag to salt test for calibration.

    Salt test:

    Fill milk/juice/soda cap with salt and add drops of water until saturated. I pour off any standing water.

    Put hygrometer and cap into a zip seal bag and wait at least 4 hours. I provide small pillow of air.

    A salt environment at room temp will be 75% RH. Take your reading and subtract 75. That is your calibration.

    Ex. your reading is 82%RH, 82-75= -7, you'd always subtract 7 from your readings for true RH.

    Write the calibration on masking tape and stick it to incubator as reminder.
    1 person likes this.
  3. FarmerMac

    FarmerMac Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2014
    X2, don't trust the incubator gauges until you know they are correct as Egghead_Jr said.

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