help with incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Thenewgoat, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Thenewgoat

    Thenewgoat Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2016
    Okay i have a small problem one of my bators are not working right it is an unbranded ebay incubator i got 2nd hand. The incubator reads in Celsius but i added a extra thermom to check it out and the bator says it is at 37c which is 99f but my extra thermom is only reading 95f. I can not turn the temp up any more it wont let me i have it wraped and just had to put a set of eggs in it that are on day 15 so they have been in there a day because my other foam bator is having mood swings lol. what should i do.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I suggest you calibrate your thermometers so you know what you are dealing with. It’s not unusual for a thermometer to read incorrectly when you first get it, mainly from manufacturing flaws. Make sure it is reading precisely.

    There are two potential problems. The first is that some thermometers are not repeatable. That’s what I mean by “reading precisely”. You need a thermometer that is accurate to within 0.1 degree each time. Some thermometers, such as the ones that you hang outside to get the temperature, are accurate to within 1 or 2 degrees. Say you get one that is accurate to 2 degrees. If the actual temperature is 99 it might read 97 one time and 101 the next. Most of those aren’t that bad but a 1 degree swing could be 98 to 100. That’s just not accurate enough.

    The other problem is that although they may be very repeatable, they are just set wrong. If you look on the shelf at the store where they sell them, those outside thermometers may read several degrees differently. I’ve seen a 9 degree difference in two seemingly identical thermometers side by side on the same shelf in an air conditioned climate controlled store. When I get one of those to hang up outside I get one that reads in the middle where most of them are reading.

    So how do you calibrate? I see Canoe gave you a link so I won’t. I don’t much like the boiling water/salty ice water method. That tells you if you are accurate at freezing and boiling. That’s useful if you are checking a candy thermometer where it is around boiling but that’s not the temperature ranges we are working in.

    I use the medical thermometer method. That’s where you use a pre-calibrated thermometer designed to be used orally or rectally to compare yours to in the range we are working. There can be problems with that though. It’s hard to find an old-fashioned medical thermometer at the drug store anymore, at least around here. They mostly sell the ones that use other methods. I don’t know enough about them to trust they are reading air temperature correctly. I haven’t read Canoe’s link, maybe it addresses this. The issue with the old-fashioned thermometers is that they only give you a high reading, you have to shake them back down to get a second reading. If your incubator temperature fluctuates much it can give you a wrong reading unless you are careful.

    So get a thermometer that is accurate to 0.1 degree (C or F does not matter) then check it to see that it does work as it should. To me this is key no matter what. The thermometers that come with the incubator are notorious for being wrong.

    It sounds like your incubator is holding a steady temperature, which is encouraging. But what kind of incubator is it, still air or forced air. I think this may be your real problem but all I can do is guess. This problem is typical in a still air. Hot air rises. In a forced air it doesn’t matter that much where you take the temperature, at least in theory the air is mixed up and the temperature should be the same anywhere inside though you may still get some isolated pockets, especially in homemade incubators. But it is critical where you take the temperature in a still air. You can get a pretty substantial difference in readings by moving your thermometer up and down. The normal recommendation in a forced air is 99.5 degrees, that’s what you want the middle of the eggs to be. But the normal recommendation for a still air is 101.5 degrees taken at the top of the eggs. That’s a 2 degree Fahrenheit difference in half the length of your eggs. That’s substantial.

    I know this is a long post but I’m trying to explain why these are important. These are the two most common causes for what you are seeing. If this doesn’t help let us know and we can think about it some more. Good luck on the hatch!
    1 person likes this.

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