Getting Started / Thermostat options

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by yellowchick, May 12, 2009.

  1. yellowchick

    yellowchick Out Of The Brooder

    54
    1
    41
    Oct 15, 2008
    C, Arkansas
    I haven't been poking around the hatching site long but I thought I would add my dilemma of building my own incubator and hope it helps some one else.....I searched and searched on here about the best thermostats and decided to use a water heater thermostat, it was cheap and easy to get. After having it plugged in a few days, having to lean it up on the light bulb to regulate only a couple degrees at a time and blowing 4 light bulbs from the constant on/off I decided I needed something different. So I went to the local discount store and bought a dimmer light switch, I figured I would just be able to set it and forget it.....for the most part that worked fine. After unplugging my 80mm PC fan I was able to regulate the temp a lot easier (within 1 degree up or down). After a couple days of this, I wasn't feeling comfortable with having just one light bulb for heat (I was using a 25w bulb), I just knew at any time while I was at work it would blow and I would have to start all over. So I talked with a guy I work with and he suggested using a rheostat. Sounded like a good idea so I went to PetCo to see if they had one, they didn't...but they had a "ZILLA Temperature Controller 1000 Watt 3 Plug" It was expensive but I was to deep into it now to care what it cost and I was NOT going to give in and buy an already build incubator. So when I got home with my zilla temp controller I put the probe on top of the eggs and adjusted the controller, to what the temp was already in the bator. (I slid the probe in through a vent hole in the side) Once adjusted, I unplugged my dimmer controlled light bulb from the wall and plugged it into the zilla. Let it do it's thing while I researched how warm I should keep my now still air bator and adjusted it a couple times to get the correct temp. Once I got it where I wanted it (took about an hour of small adjustments) I watched it control the temp within .2 degrees. I was amazed. After letting it run over night, it is still controlling within .2 degrees. I still have my light bulb on a dimmer so when it shuts on/off it doesn't jolt it with full power and runs the bulb for a longer time before shutting back off. (where I had the dimmer position before the zilla, I turned the knob just a tiny bit up so I knew it would get warm enough if needed and it was still going to shut off at the right temp) I have the option to add a second bulb to the bator now and if one goes out I'll still have a back up that's warm enough that the bator won't have any fluctuation of temp. I just wanted to share my initial challenge so it might help someone else that's just getting started, and maybe save a lot of frustration. I am very pleased with this thermostat/controller.
     
  2. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,472
    20
    171
    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    Quote:Congratulations!

    You are a fast learner, I do not understand why most people claiming they are looking for "best" thermostat, wind up buying water heater therm which by desing is not accurate.

    Thermostat is the heart and the most important component in any incubator, you can use a carton box and the cheapest light bulb there is, if you have decent quality thermostat you will hatch chicks, period.

    And you do not need to spend more than 30 bucks to get an excellent one.

    LG thermostat cost just about same, but it is a piece of garbage, probably worse than water heater thermostat.

    That's why you need many years "on hand" training and you need to kill hundreds of eggs to "learn" how to hatch chicks in "Little Monster" (LG)
     
  3. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    17,489
    88
    351
    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    I have to say that I built a bator using the water heater themostat and have never blown a bulb yet. In fact I have had the same bulb for two yrs now, and have had excellent hatches. I don't get why you had to lean it up on the light bulb. Mine is sitting about 5" from the light bulb. I have posted a pic of my setup. Maybe you wired something wrong. My fan is wired separately. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. yellowchick

    yellowchick Out Of The Brooder

    54
    1
    41
    Oct 15, 2008
    C, Arkansas
    4-H,
    If I didn't lean the therm up on the bulb it would heat up to 105 before shutting off then get to 95 before turning back on. I did not feel comfortable with that much of a swing. I propped it up on the bulb so it would heat up faster and kick off at a lower temp but still turn on at a higher temp. The wiring was correct. My fan was wired separately as well. Just didn't have much luck with it. If it works for you that's great but I haven't seen too many post about them working well. Maybe the newer water heater stats are lesser quality than the one you have. I'm using GE soft white bulbs but picked up some 25w reptile bulbs today to replace the one I'm using now and add a second......as a side note, even in my rooms, lights bulbs don't last long, we get about 3 months use out of those 9 year light bulbs...and no we don't run them 24/7.
    ....I notice your fan is off in the picture, or you have an extremely fast shutter speed, do you have your fan on a timer?
     
  5. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    17,489
    88
    351
    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    My new camera is fast. With my old camera, it would have been blurry. Actually my fan is wired to a transformer that has different voltages on it so the fan can run four different speeds on. It is kind of neat, if my humidity starts to climb, I just increase the fan speed. My fan does runs continuously.
    You got that right about some bulbs not lasting long. I have an outside light that just loves to eat the bulbs. I started saving the packages and receipts when bulbs say the are guaranteed for so long.
    Good Luck with yours!
     
  6. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    8
    131
    Jan 31, 2009
    GEORGIA
    I think it's great that you made your own. I believe that part of this hobby is building your own incubator...the feeling of accomplishment is very rewarding. The journey of research, design, construction and finally turning it on and adjusting is fun. I like to tinker as well, and I'm at the stage of building a cabinet incubator....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by