DIY Incubator innovation

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by newinthegame, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. newinthegame

    newinthegame Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 13, 2014
    Hello!

    I am new to this forum. I live in Sweden where we don´t have a good forum like this! Last year I build a homemade incubator. It had a hatchrate of about 40% so not very good!. I am very new to electronics so I learning all the time.I had some problem with the turning and a bad tempsensor. I have now started to work on a better version.

    I´m going to start with the control system. A microprocessor is the brain of the system. It makes the temp and humidity readings and controls the heat source ( two light bulbs). A couple of friends also want´s this system so I am going to build a system that is easy and safe to use for everyone who builds a DIY incubator.

    My demand on the system are:

    Be able to monitor temp and humidity on a PC.
    No high voltage wiring.
    Accuracy of about 0.5 C.
    Cheap to build (not more than 15 $).

    I am using a dusk relay to turn on and off my light bulbs. My processor controls the relay with a simple LED which is taped on the relay. By this way you don´t need to do any dangerous high voltage wiring.

    My questions are. What more functions would you like to have on a incubator control system?

    The attached picture is a screenshot of my computer monitoring my two sensors.

    [​IMG]



    Sorry for my bad English!

    //Johan
     
  2. HatchCraft

    HatchCraft Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to Backyard Chickens Johan. I enjoy reading about the innovative and creative ways people design and build incubators. I'm a little old school and don't see the need to monitor my incubator with a PC, but I'm sure that will appeal to the younger crowd. The older I get the simpler I like things. I think the most popular functions will include auto egg turning with adjustable timing , active humidity control, and maybe an alarm function if humidity and temp deviate from set parameters. The photocell relay and LED is a novel idea. Working only with low voltage will be safer for the novice builder but i prefer working with 120v. Our line voltage of 120v in US is a little safer to work with than Sweden's 220v. A $15.00 material budget sounds a little tight. I will be interested in any progress you make perfecting your designs. As a side note my wife's side of the family is Swedish. We attended a Swedish heritage festival in Sanford Fl last week. Lots of Swede's in Sanford. Had my fill of Lingonberries.
     
  3. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Tjena, Johan

    I like the idea of being able to monitor historical temp readings, but I would consider using a thermostat for the actual temp regulation work. Some things that will help you achieve more stable temperatures in the incubator are a fan and some sort of heat storing mass (like a rock or a sealed bottle of water).
     
  4. newinthegame

    newinthegame Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 13, 2014
    An alarm for temp and humidity was a good idea! I have been thinking of active humidity control but don´t know how to solve it yet. Any ideas?

    I will have a egg turning in my incubator. That system is already finished. I use a 0.5 RPM motor that turns the egg two times per hour.

    My system works as a thermostat it takes temp and humidity readings one time every second. And then regulates the heat after that.

    I decided that a would like a LCD display to show the status of the incubator. At least in my version of the system. So now it is possible to see the status on a PC program as well as on the LCD.



    [​IMG]
    Bad photo of my LCD.
     
  5. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    One idea for active humidity control would be a sliding plate covering several small water containers. When it's too dry, you make a servo slide the plate so that it reveals more containers, and when it's too high, you slide it to cover more of them. The larger the exposed water surface, the more water will evaporate into the air.

    My suggestion for a standalone thermostat was mainly a precaution, since (at least in my own experience) bugs aren't that uncommon in homemade software.

    Somehow I think a one second reading interval is a bit too tight, once a minute would probably be enough and you wouldn't end up with a situation where the temp is balancing right on the interval and setting the heater on and off all the time. It will take longer than a second for the temp to stabilize anyway.
     
  6. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    My idea for automated humidity control is an ultrasonic fogger (Amazon has 24 volt ones for under $10) and a 12v computer fan that pushes the fog into the main airflow. The fan might not be needed.
     
  7. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Somehow I think that might push the humidity a bit too high. Might be good for duck eggs though. But all in all, the automated humidity control is a bit overkill in my opinion, since it really doesn't need to be adjusted all that often as long as you keep an eye on the overall weight loss of the eggs. That's probably the best way to measure humidity anyway.
     
  8. Daedalus62

    Daedalus62 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Hi all,

    Some very nice ideas in this thread, keep it up!!... I'm also planning on a full automated unit... Someday, when i have the time to dedicate to [​IMG]...

    A couple of thoughts...

    As a microprocessor I think the Arduino, besides being an affordable option, can take care of all the sensors/parameters/controls in question... Temperature control, humidity control and timed egg tray auto-turning... Someone out there with a circuit and workable sketch for the Arduino?... [​IMG]

    On the humidity control... In a small incubator, the ultrasonic fogger also seems to me like overkill... I like the sliding plate idea, but I like something like this even better: http://www.instructables.com/id/Desktop-Humidifier-1/

    Another (simple) option is just a 12V PC fan blowing across the water surface, it immediately raises the humidity %...

    My 2 cents

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  9. newinthegame

    newinthegame Out Of The Brooder

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    Many good ideas! The fogger solution sounds cool. But my system works on 12v. I have a smal 12v water pump. Do you think it is possible to do something with it to control humidity?
    For microcontroller I use a pic16f690. Low cost about 3$. I have drawn PCB and manufactured them in china. For tempsensor I use ds18b20. For humidity dht11 about 2$.
     
  10. Daedalus62

    Daedalus62 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Hi newinthegame,

    Of the top off my head, I can't see a practical application for a water pump in humidity % control inside the incubator... Maybe in a water tray level control auto toping system, from an outside water tank/bottle?... Just a thought...

    But this won't adjust humidity % inside the incubator... Like I mentioned before, a simple idea (for a small incubator) is a 12V PC fan (easily obtainable), turning on when the humidity % drops below a certain value, just blowing across (parallel) the water surface of a water tray... I've tried it, it works.

    Nice going with the pic, hope that all comes out well.

    Microcontroller programming is all new to me (I'm just starting my first steps in Arduino!), so please bear with me...

    Instead of two different components to monitor temperature & humidity, can't you just do it with one?... I believe DHT11 does both functions, please see datasheet... BTW, I'm aiming at DHT22... Same as DHT11 but more precise.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015

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