FlexWatt Heat Tape for Incubators?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by DragonEggs, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. DragonEggs

    DragonEggs Songster

    May 11, 2010
    Borger, TX
    I saw the stuff advertised on e-bay. It looks great and all and I've heard of a lot of people having problems using light bulbs in their home made bators (regulating temp and all that) so I was wondering if anyone has tried to use this stuff in their home made bator yet?

    If not I could really use a math expert on this (since the only math I'm good at is apparently chicken math...)

    It's a 110v output and each 4"x12" strip will use 8 watts of power. I'm not an electrician and horrible at math but how much space would a piece that size effectively heat?

    Do you think this would be an effective way to heat an incubator?

    BTW here is the e-bay listing with videos: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330405659667&fromMakeTrack=true&ssPageName=VIP:watchlink:top:en

    for input!

    ETA: Spellcheck
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
  2. DragonEggs

    DragonEggs Songster

    May 11, 2010
    Borger, TX
    OK, simple math should have told me that I would need around 12 ft of the stuff (8x12=96) to get around 96 watts which I'm not for sure but don't most people use a 90-100 watt bulb in their incubators? 12 ft seems like a lot to fit in to a little space just to heat it, but in one of the videos he said it gets VERY hot, s I'm still wondering how much I would really need to heat a small tabletop incubator (about the size of any other styrofoam incubator). He DID say he used it to hatch quail eggs once. Maybe I just need to e-mail this guy....
  3. BrownEggFan

    BrownEggFan Songster

    Apr 25, 2010
    Central PA
    Dragon, my homemade bator is approx. 12" x 10" x 10" and is an old heavy-duty foam cooler. I'm using a 25 watt bulb to heat it, but after this hatch will probably go to a 40 watt because it turns off & on alot. I'm thinking that with a little hotter bulb, it may increase the cycle time...not a big deal, but I want to try it. Anyway, if you purchased 5', that would provide 40 watts and according to the e-bay listing, you can cut it to shorter lengths if needed. Another option you may want to look into is getting a wider piece? That way, you wouldn't need as many feet and it might be easier to position it in the bator. You mentioned that this gets "VERY hot"; you might want to put some a piece of cardboard (possibly covered in aluminum foil) on the floor of the bator to prevent the Flex-watt from melting the foam. Good luck and let me know how this works out - maybe I'll try some!
  4. Mervin

    Mervin Songster

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Pennsyltucky
    I think you might be talking apples versus oranges. I wouldn't guess that you'd need the same wattage of heat tape as you would light bulb necessarily. You might want to check out some info about the heat tape. Also, I'd think that how well the incubator is sealed and insulated, in addition to the amount and type of material used as a heat sink would changethe needed wattage an awful lot.

    In the FAQ, it states that you should not cover more than 1/3 of a reptile's cage bottom with the Flexwatt, leaving them animal room to escape should the thermostat fail and let the tape get too hot. To me, that would indicate that the heat produced is somewhat low intensity, if the animal is generally able to lay directly on top of it. In that case, I would guess that you would need more rather than less to heat an incubator. With a lower intensity heat, there would be less ability to recover from temperature swings, like those introduced by opening the 'bator. This could be abated, somewhat, by the addition of a heat sink (something that holds its temperature better than air). Capped jars of water or fire bricks might be used in such a fashion.

    If left alone to run, a smallish piece of Flexwatt may heat an incubator to the proper temperature. It might just take a long time to do so and may not have the same recoverability as other heating systems. That's just my $0.02.

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2010
  5. aprophet

    aprophet Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
  6. DragonEggs

    DragonEggs Songster

    May 11, 2010
    Borger, TX
    Okay, I just read that you should use 10-15 watts of heat per cubic foot (1 cubic foot = 1'X1'X1'). The 3" flexwatt gives off 10 watts so I might go with that instead of the 4" (dunno why the smaller size is higher watts....) so if I made my bator 3 cubic feet I would need 30-45 watts to heat it (leaning towards the higher side) which would be 3-4.5 feet of flexwatt. My math right so far? I know my brain is already hurting. IDK how big a hovabator is but if I did I would be able to scale it down a lot better from what you told me. Do you guys think I should lean more towards the lower watt or the higher watt size? (I haven't made my bator yet so the 3 cubic feet is just an example. IDK how big mine will be yet).

    Thanks for the great input so far guys!
  7. thumbless

    thumbless Songster

    Sep 30, 2009
    Mesa AZ
    I just put up some flexwatt forsale in the everything esle for sale section.
  8. DragonEggs

    DragonEggs Songster

    May 11, 2010
    Borger, TX
    Wow, thats a really good deal, but thats quite a bit more tape than I need and I think I'm going to go with the small tape. Where did you get that thermostat if you don't mind me asking?? It looks like a nice one!
  9. thumbless

    thumbless Songster

    Sep 30, 2009
    Mesa AZ
    It was called big apple pet supply but I think them may have changed the name.
  10. jellybellyx6

    jellybellyx6 Chirping

    Jun 14, 2011
    Southern Missouri
    I was just wondering if anyone has tried using the heat tape since the last post for their home made incubators? We have a red bull cooler that we are going to try and converting into an incubator so we are looking for an inexpensive heating element.

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