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HELP...Strange behavior with Brower Top Hatch...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kiaya611, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. kiaya611

    kiaya611 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just got a Brower Top Hatch Incubator (my 3rd incubator, I have an R-com 20 and a Little Giant 10200 w/fan [that was to be used as my hatching incubator]). I have noticed 2 things with it and I wanted to see if other people had any problems and get other opinions of this incubator.

    The first thing that I have noticed is that it seems to take HOURS for the temperature to reach the desired 99.5° where as with the other 2, it only takes at MOST and hour.

    The second thing I noticed ( and this one is more important as it speaks to a possible problem is that if you move it i.e press on the top, or bottom, or lift it slightly, the light bulb fluctuates (which of course is changing the temperature. I started pressing around on it and found that if I pressed on the bottom of it, it would turn off or on the light. Does this happen to any of you Top Hatch owners or does it sound like I have a defective unit?

    I have a double problem in that I have a dozen rare chicken eggs in it that I started last night. I am worried now that I have a unit that won't perform.

    The unit sounds good, with it's features and not a large price tag, but now I am concerned...do I try to get buy with this until I can buy another incubator to take it's place?...or does it seem like it has a problem?

    Please let me know your experiences.

    Thank you,
     
  2. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kiaya, The top hatch operates on the principal of a fluctuating light. It should heat in 1-2 hours and the light will stay on constantly until the temperature reaches the point it is set for. Once the temp has been reached, the light will go on and off continually. Are you sure you have it assembled correctly? When I lift up on mine the tub will move slightly as it is held in place by the bulb assembly. Nothing happens when I push down on it but then I have not had a reason to do so except to test it just now.

    I don't mean to imply that you have made a mistake in assembly but you may want to go back to the directions. If you still have a problem, contact brower, they are super nice folks and they can get you going. Do you have any other place to put the eggs? It sound like there is a serious problem if your are not getting seeing the light turning on and off at all time. Have to turned the temp dial. You might just have it dialed down to low and it is not cycling on.

    If I can be of any further help let me know. I love my Top Hatch. It has draw backs but it is very dependable and cleans up nicely.

    One other thing, I made a cozy for the tub out of bubble wrap. It helps to stablize the temp when you have a room that has swings. Also keep in mind that the temp is higher as you go up in the tub. I measure it on top of the eggs and keep it at 100 since it is cooler lower down. It seems to work fine that way for me.
     
  3. kiaya611

    kiaya611 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi jimnjay,

    I have been fussing with the Top Hatch for 2 days now. I have read and re-read the instructions. The light (heat source) did stay on continuously until it reached "it's temperature". That's when I started to adjust the little screw on the bottom of the unit. I have adjusted that up and down many, many times waiting until the light starts to dim and fluctuate (indicating that it again has reached it's set temperature). I have let it set for quite a while between adjustments. Yesterday I spent 8 hours adjusting it before I put my eggs in. I had no choice but to put the eggs in because my other two incubators were already in use. I had received my eggs that morning and they had already reached room temp by the time I received the Top Hatch. Nowhere did it say on their site or in any advertisement for this unit that it took DAYS to set this incubator up. I only learned that upon reading the instructions that came with the unit. Between you and me (and whoever else reads this), that seems unbelievably ridicules that it would take a unit like this that long to become usable. I can't even fathom it to be quite honest. It is not as if you are trying to heat up a 100,000sqft bldg with a room heater. 60watts is a fair amount of heat in that small of an area.

    In any case, I was advised by someone else to wrap it in some kind of insulating material, open 2 of the vents, place a towel over the top of it(not blocking the vents and put the whole thing in a box. I did all of that. I wrapped the section that holds the eggs with a material similar to the material used to keep drink cans cold and put it into a box that fit it perfectly (still allowing it to turn freely) and I put a doubled hand towel on top of the unit. It is in my living room away from any windows or heat/cooling ducts and the room temp is certainly within a reasonable range.

    I have found that the temperature fluctuates randomly from about 96° to 103°. If I set the temp lower, then it goes to about 93° to 97°. It doesn't want to stabilize. I would that that with that much insulation around it, it should have no problem holding a temperature. The light acts "normally" dimming and brightening as if it is regulating the temperature, but what ever is controlling the temperature, is quite volatile.

    Another thing that seems to be a problem with it's design is the turning device. I have loaded 2 sections with six eggs each (chicken eggs) and they bunch up and roll sideways and try to roll end over end. This seems completely wrong to me and I can't see a way to change it. I know there are two ways you can put that ring in there and I have it in where it is in the lowest position since these are chicken eggs and I would think that you would not use it the other way unless you were incubating turkey or goose eggs.

    I will call Brower and the dealer I bought it from tomorrow and talk to them about it. As for the rare chicken eggs, I can petty much say they are lost and that really angers me. If I had known that this incubator took a week to set up, I wouldn't have ordered my eggs when I did. Brower needs to make this information clear to people. Even if this is "the best thing since sliced bread" (which I just can't see especially with the experience I have already had, they need to make this information known. I know of places that you can order your incubator AND eggs at the same time!...this certainly wouldn't work with this incubator.

    I am sure you can tell I am not happy. I am by no means an expert, BUT I am not completely uninformed either.

    Thank you for your concern and offer of help. At this point, I don't know anything other than to contact Brower and the dealer and as I mentioned earlier...that won't bring back the eggs that have been lost.

    Sincerely,

    Steven
     
  4. kiaya611

    kiaya611 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I called Brower this morning and spoke to a technician and their belief is that the unit's thermostat has some kind of problem so they are sending me a new complete base for the unit. It is supposed to arrive on Thursday. Hopefully we will see if this solves the problem.

    Regarding the turner issue that I mentioned, the man that I spoke to said that it is natural for the eggs to get " bunched up and go "end over end" during the turning cycle (first 18ish days) since under a hen, the position of the eggs would not be consistent. Since you "disconnect" the turner at the last few days, it wouldn't affect the hatching egg at that point.

    I will be keeping the eggs in the incubator until I am SURE that they have not made it, so I have a bit of a wait on my hands. As the saying goes. "Time will tell..."

    Just thought I would let you know what happened with Brower.

    Take care,
     
  5. Hi Steven, I'm not familiar with that brand incubator, but wanted to say I understand your frustration and I hope the new base solves the problem.
    Even with those temp fluctuations, there's a chance the eggs are developing.

    Good luck,
    Lisa
     
  6. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am glad you called Brower. It is obvious to me that there is a malfunction as you mentioned it does not take more that 2 hours to get an incubators up and running. I understand your time frame but the rule of thumb is to get the incubator stable at least for 24 hours before putting the eggs in it.

    I understand about the concern on the method of turning the eggs but I try to think about how a hen does it when I approach hatching and raising chickens. She sit on the eggs that are lying on their side and then sticks her head down and jumbles them up some and repeats that process often through the day. With that in mind one might question if the turners in other brands of incubators are doing it correctly.
    I have had great results with the Top Hatch but it is not for everyone.

    Don't give up on your eggs. I hope all turns out well.
     
  7. duskwatr

    duskwatr New Egg

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    bought a brower top hatch incubator, used it two hatchings with about a 85 percent hatch, on the third hatch it stopped turning on the second week of the hatch. if it doesnt turn the light doesnt burn, lost that hatching. i contacted brower and sent the incubator back. i got it back,supposedly repaired, plugged it up, put eggs in it and on the second week it stopped again, lost that hatching. they have promised to send me my money back and didnt want their incubator back either.

    since they didnt want it back my husband opened it up and the little plastic gears are all ground down to nothing.
     
  8. duskwatr

    duskwatr New Egg

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    Apr 6, 2008
    does anyone know how to get a parts catalog from brower, or where to find replacement parts for the brower incubator.
     
  9. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

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    Google 'Rocky Top General Store'
    They had lots of parts when I got my Brower.
     
  10. bigjohn

    bigjohn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2008
    Georgia
    I bought a Brower top hatch in March and have been through two hatches. My first hatch of about 50 eggs only gave me two chicks, but my second hatch of 97 has netted me about 30+ chicks. I am learning how to use the incubator since it has a unique design. I have found that getting the temperature to 99.5 is not too difficult without any outside insulation. I do have the unit in a room that stays around 72 or 73 degrees 24/7.

    The only real issue I had with my current hatch (and I believe the hatch would have been much better if I could figure out what is going on!) is that the temp would vary 3+- degrees from one side of the unit to the other side. In other words, I would make sure the thermometer said 99.5 on the included thermometer. Then later I would check the other side with a Spot Check digital thermometer it might read 96.5 at egg level. Then checking the other side would read 102.5, even though the supplied thermometer read 99.5+_ the whole time. I even installed a computer fan in the top of the unit to see if I could get better circulation and even temps, but it did not make much difference in the varying temps from one side to the other. I noticed that most of the eggs that hatched came from the side that had the higher temps, and the eggs on the lower temp side had issues hatching and not many eggs hatched.

    I tried insulating the 'cool' side of the unit and it did bring up the temp by about 1/2 or a degree, but not enough to matter.

    So basically, I am still experimenting. I love the incubator and it's simplicity, but it does stress me to see that much of a temp fluctuation within about 8 or 9 inches of each other. I am constantly checking and rechecking and adjusting to get things 'just' right.

    If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Any ideas or modifications are appreciated. I will try again when I get some more eggs and see if I can remedy the issues. Maybe I will just put all of the eggs on the higher temp side and just not fill the incubator with a lot of eggs.
     

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