DIY minibator

COsteveo

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 16, 2014
128
11
73
I put this together using a bunch of things I had on hand. It's a bit small and I'm new to this, but I'm hoping to get about 2 dozen jumbo quail eggs in there. Note: The thermometer doesn't read temp correctly but I have it in there to measure humidity. The thermostat is reading high because the water I put in there was a bit too warm.

I started by punching a hole in the styrofoam on the right side, just big enough to feed the power plug through. I wired up the computer fan (I forgot it has a blue LED) by splicing it into an old cell phone charger. It runs at about half speed, which is perfect for this application. I used 3" long screws through the fan and just pressed them into the styrofoam. It's not very sturdy but gives the clearance I need.

I had the Hydrofarm thermostat and heat cable left over from some reptile projects, so I just fed the temp probe and heat cable through the same hole. It's 25' of 100W cable, which is way too much power. I have only about 5 feet inside the cooler, with the rest outside.

The heat cable lays on the bottom of the cooler with about a half gallon of sterilized gravel on top. I didn't think I'd find a piece of masonry small enough to fit, so I just rounded up some gravel from the back yard and put it in the over for 15 minutes to kill any baddies. Having that thermal mass in there keeps the temperature fluctuations in check; it cycles from 98 to 100.4 and back down over about 15 minutes. I want to bump it up a half degree, but the thermostat only sets on whole degrees.

The thermostat's temperature probe is on top of the gravel but under the hardware cloth. The water and thermometer are on top, which is where the eggs will go. I don't have any ventilation holes but I can add those when necessary. I also need to find a smaller water dish.



 

COsteveo

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 16, 2014
128
11
73
Thanks. I meant to grab a digital thermometer and humidity gauge at Home Depot today but they were sold out of the one I wanted. I'll get one before setting any eggs.
 

COsteveo

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 16, 2014
128
11
73
I let it run over the weekend and checked the temperature by dipping a digital meat thermometer in the water - it was reading consistently around 96, so I bumped the thermostat up 2 degrees and let it equalize. The digital thermometer/hygrometer arrived today so I tossed it in and I've been getting 99-100 all evening (right next to the thermostat probe, which is also where the eggs will be) while the thermostat is reading 100-102. I replaced the big tub of water with a shot glass and I'm getting 55% humidity (pretty good for Colorado!). I'll add a second shot glass at lock down. The thermostat is for starting seedlings so I suppose it wasn't designed to be terribly precise. Anywho, it seems to be right where I need it.

I have two dozen jumbo coturnix eggs arriving in two days so hopefully it'll be smooth sailing from here.
 
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