Help with my old-school Hova-Bator?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Dread Pirate Roberts, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. Dread Pirate Roberts

    Dread Pirate Roberts Songster

    Jan 20, 2009

    I've got an Hova-Bator that apparently predates the instructions that are available GQF's website.

    There are a couple of discrepancies (or flat-out misinterpretations on my part) between the instructions I've downloaded and the actual model I have. Based on two less-than-spectacular hatches, I believe the issue is low humidity. Of the two clutches I've run through the 'Bator, I've managed to hatch only 2 of 12 and then 3 of 21. In both cases, there were other eggs which failed to pip, but when broken open after 24 hours contained dead peeps wrapped in what appeared to be dried-up membrane.

    Here are some photos with my explanation and questions...



    Here's where I believe I went wrong. The instructions mention only two troughs: "thermal" and "circulated". In the case of this old-school 'Bator, it appears that the "circulated" is actually made up of two troughs. I've filled all three with colored water to illustrate this point. In hindsight, I feel that I should have recognized this ambiguity and filled both "circulated" troughs during the last three days, but hey, hindsight is 20/20, right? I read the instructions literally and just filled the one "circulated" trough.


    Any thoughts? I'm expecting a shipment of "cheap" eggs any day now so I can test this 'Bator again before purchasing more premium eggs.

  2. brooster

    brooster Songster

    Jun 14, 2007
    northwest Ohio
    do you have a hygrometer? i dont even know which trough i use, i just add water accordinly
  3. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    A hygrometer is a MUST have for ANY incubator. I used to have one of those and I filled the middle two for incubating, and all three for hatching. That being said, I live in the South where it's humid on Christmas Day!!! Your experience may be different. I also just keep one plug in the whole time. IF you had a hygrometer you would know whether or not you need to add a wet sponge or remove some water.

    ETA: I kept mine on 100.5.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2009
  4. Dread Pirate Roberts

    Dread Pirate Roberts Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    Thanks for the replies. I'll pick up a hygrometer for sure.

    Another question: The way the components are currently wired, the fan comes on only when the heating element is on. Does it not make more sense for the fan to run continuously? I've noticed that there is a huge temperature gradient as the eggs are lowered (removed from the turning racks and placed on the wire). With the fan running continuously, it seems to me that the temperature would be more consistent throughout the inside of the 'bator. I did snip and reconnect all the wiring for cleaning purposes, since I found this thing up in the barn, all covered in filth. I'm certain that I rewired it as it was, but it struck me as odd that the fan would come on only with the thermostat.
  5. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    I don't know about the fan because I use all still airs but I agree just get a hygrometer. They are quite cheap at petstores and even hardware stores. Solves all the questions of how much water to use.

    The time of year you hatch and where you are does impact how much water you need to add.
    I live in the South where it's humid on Christmas Day!!

    Christmas is not the coldest and dryest day in the north. Until the past few years it was actually fairly common not to have a white christmas in Iowa and all the snow and cold to start the first week of jan. Jan is the coldest and snowiest month of the year followed by the beginning of Feb and hopefully by the end of Feb it's warming up with the odd march snowstorm. I nearly lost some buttons right after christmas because it got warm and the humidity was almost 80%. With the record snowfalls the past few years though we've been getting lots of snow before christmas and then even more snow after it. [​IMG] Right now is some of the lowest humidity we've had and I had trouble getting my incubator to 55% for this button hatch.​
  6. CindyS

    CindyS Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    Geneseo, Illinois
    Your incubator has evidently been tampered with. the fan should run ALL THE TIME. Do not use it again unless you repair the fan problem. I have purchased 2 at farm auctions that have had this same problem. fortunaly I have smart people in my family that can fix these right up;) there was a post awhile back showing the diagram for wiring the fan, dont know when it was. Your incubator is in good shape for an older model.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  7. Dread Pirate Roberts

    Dread Pirate Roberts Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    Quote:You're absolutely right! After reading your post, I confirmed on GQF's website today that the fan should indeed run continuously.

    I'll be rewiring it today, purchasing a wet bulb thermometer and giving it another go with some Ameraucana eggs later this week.

  8. charlotteda

    charlotteda Songster 9 Years

    Dec 28, 2008
    Pickens SC
    You can get a good cheap hygrometer in the outside thermometer section at Walmart.

    If you can fix your fan to run all the time... why not use the hova bator without it .
  9. cutiepieacres

    cutiepieacres Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    S. CA
    even with the fan on all the time I usually have to adjust the temp slightly when I move the eggs down off the turner as it is 1 or 2 degrees lower down on the bottom.
  10. danamillette

    danamillette Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    Northern Wisconsin
    I dont know about it being tampered with. I have the same model and the fan cycles also.

    Let me investigate!!

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