DIY Incubator with dimmer instead of thermostat?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Bettacreek, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, some instructions on incubators tell you to poke holes in the styrofoam to control heat, others tell you to use a thermostat. I'm afraid of wiring a thermostat, and the prewired ones are $70+, so, would it be plausible to use a dimmer switch and just check the incubator temperatures a few times a day? I'm a stay at home mom, so I'm here basically 24/7 and would be able to check it on a regular basis. However, if it's going to really mess with hatch rates or totally fail, then I can try to get my step-father to wire one for me (he's an electrician).
     
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    You can use a dimmer you just have to have a room to put the incubator in that has a very steady temp or watch it almost constantly.

    Wafer thermostats are extremely simple to wire. Just cut one of the two wire going to your heat source(light) an wire the two loose ends you just made to the two prongs on the thermostat. I'm not a fan of the wafer thermostat but because of ease of wiring its the best option for most people.
     
  3. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    Also, once you get it "set" where it is running consistently, you still have to keep an eye on it, because as the chicks develop more in the egg, they increase in biomass and produce more heat as they grow and metabolize, and believe it or not, in a day, or even in a few hours, things can change so much that the temp can jump up to 110 in a few hours, especially if it is suddenly a "nice afternoon" and the inside temp goes up a few degrees in the house. I know this because I worked for a family and their son had a home made incubator with a hard wired light bulb and some holes that he plugged and unplugged with scotch tape and when he was gone to school I would try to keep an eye on it for him and regulate the temp as much as I could and still get my work done for the other family member I was taking care of, but it was constant fiddling and his hatch rate was terrible and he had a lot of leg deformities and no hygrometer in there. He just "winged it" and sprayed them with a spray bottle when he thought of it. He was just a young kid and I was trying to help him succed but then I changed jobs.
     
  4. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
  5. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

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    Psh, I think I'll just invite you over to make one for me... Lol. I wasn't planning on making a turner, but seeing your's, I might just have to (after finding trays or something for quail eggs). The wiring scares me, I'm afraid of messing something up and either causing a fire or electrocuting myself. Plus, I can't seem to find those wafer thermostats around here (or even on ebay).
     
  6. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
  7. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

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    I could probably modify something to make a rack. Thanks for the link, a two pack gives me the perfect excuse to make a seperate hatching bator so that I can hatch out more than a batch at a time. Lol.
     
  8. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
  9. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

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    What's the difference? Is the second "whole assembly" just a bracket to attach it or is there something that I'm missing? Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  10. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I made a very simple incubator out of a styrofoam box, a 25 watt light bulb and a dimmer. You can buy them at Lowes or Home Depot. They are called table lamp dimmers. You plug your light assembly to the dimmer and then the dimmer into the electric outlet. It is very simple and there is no wiring to to. I found the water heater thermostat to allow way to much temperature swing before cycling on or off. Mine varied around 5 degrees before it cycled on or off. You do need to monitor the dimmer but once you get the setting correct and if your room temp is stable it work fairly well. I would not like to do it this way for 21 days but I did hatch quail in it from day 1 through day 21.

    Some people have used the cord to their electric skillets as a thermostat. I have considered doing that but have not yet tried it as I am pretty backward where electrical things are concerned.
     

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