For all the home made incubators, how control temperature.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by silkiechicken, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    So here's a question for all those who made their incubators. What did you use to automatically regulate the temperatures. As of now I just have dials controlling the lights but it's manual to adjust. Where did you get a automatic thermostat? Thanks.


    So I see this everywhere:

    Down on the page it talks about this micro switch assembly, where do you get such a thing!!! I can't find it!!!
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2007
  2. mlheran

    mlheran Songster

    I've had a question about building an incubator as well (and also wondered where the heck to find that "micro switch assembly"!) but am wondering why bother with the wafer thermostat?

    It seems that all of the newer incubators use the solid state wiring for a more consistent control of the temperature, so why not use a non-wafer thermostat? Are they hard to find or wire?

    It seems like everything I've read says that the wafer takes longer to "settle" into a temp and therefore takes longer to readjust when needed. Is this not the case? I'd really like to know before I give it a try! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2007
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Thanks, do you think I could just bolt that into a incubator? It looks almost like it was made to fit in a particular location in the incubator it was made for.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Yeah, wafer is the easy way out, solid state is always better. Really I am fed up with making a temperature control unit and at this point will go with anything rather than nothing. There is a digital one in the works here but it isn't gong anywhere and I have three eggs in the bator that I am sure have probably killed by now. I've had 100% hatch using the incubator at school with these eggs but I have to use mine now. The difference is that the school one is like 700 bucks.. mine is so far only at like 100 including the 50 or so on the darned parts for the temperature control unit that I might not even use.
  5. McSpin

    McSpin Songster

    Jun 1, 2007
    South Western NY
    When making my incubator, I didn't want to increase the costs with expensive parts. So, I experimented with the dimmer switch setup for controlling temps. I found the dimmer switches to be rather inaccurate and touchy at the lower power output settings. I got much more consistent results by using the smallest light bulb I could get away with and still keep the incubator warm enough. This way, I was using the dimmer switch closer to the full power settings. The switch worked much more accurately there.

    The other keys i found for getting consistent temps with a dimmer switch:

    Non-fluctuating room temps. I put mine in the basement, where is seldom varies more than 2 degrees over a 3 week period.

    A box with a lid that is easy to put on in the exact same position after turning eggs. If the ventilation changes, you will not be able to keep the temperature consistent.

    A fan for circulation. If you use a still-air setup, temperatures are far less likely to be consistent throughout the incubator.

    Not completely related to temperature, but the temperature/humidity combination is apparently also important. I found the cheap electronic hygrometers to be worthless. Readings are all over the place on the 3 different units I've tried. I made a wet-bulb thermometer and it works like a charm.

    The end result is that my incubator has not varied more than a half degree with measurements taken with a medical grade themometer in a water weasel. I haven't had to fiddle with the dimmer switch. I set up the incubator 2 days early and got everything fine tuned before the eggs went in. For the first week that's gone by, it's been hassle free and accurate.
  6. aran

    aran Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    i have yet to try my incubator out on eggs ( maybe next week or so) but I tried the manual dimmer thing too...way too inaccurate. Yesterday I put in a $6 water heater thermostat from home depot and so far apart from having to mess around trying to find the right spot on the dial, the temps have been stable. I guess my take on this is if there is going to be any fluctuation in temp I want it to be down and not up. So I will probably set my bator at about 99.8-100.5 and leave it to go up and down by a degree or two as it chooses to dependent on room temp etc.

    My humidity is kind high at 65-70%->is this too high for the 1st 18 days?
  7. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    I did try the wafer thermostat in my orginal Omaha Steak Box incubator. I did not like it al all. That is the part of the Hova Bator that I did not like as well. It cost 20+ and It never fit just right. If I was going to try again I would search for something like a water heater thermostat or or some other type of electronic unit. I would not know how to wire it but I could probably find someone who could. Mc Spin is right about using the lowest wattage bulb you can and even several 7 watt bulbs on a string. Those are available in the hobby shop for doll house use. That way the heat sourse is spread out more evenly. Keeping the unit in a temperature stable environment is important when not using a thermostat. Even my Brower Top Hatch will fluctuate if the temperature in the room changes substantially.
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Aran, what thermostat brand did you buy at Home Depot? The only one I could find for under $15 is for temps between 120 - 170 degrees F.

    Would a waterbed heater/thermostat work?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2007
  9. aran

    aran Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    i got the " lower pole" thermostat...unfortunately i threw away the packaging to give you the name brand but there were several to choose from including the one which had multiple screws on the top and the one i bought which only has two screws on the top and 1 dial. I will find a link to one at lowes for you:
    ok here is the one at is about $1 cheaper at homedepot but is not on their website:

    hope this helps...

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