High Tech Bators

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kingmt, May 18, 2009.

  1. kingmt

    kingmt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2009
    Mason WV
    I had a PM about this & thought it would be a good thread to discuss.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=30014
    This is my incubator that I through together for the contest that I was afraid was going to end before I even got parts to build it. I had only joined the form maybe 3 days before I seen this thread for the contest. To tell the truth I had no idea what I was doing & made aq lot of mistakes along the way. As you can see in the pictures that my heat deflector doesn't fit just right. This is because I first made it out of metal & found that it heats up & keeps heating after the thermostat kicks off & causing to much swing in temp.

    This is from the PM I received: Hi,

    I saw your award winning incubator and I was wondering why you didn't go with computer controlled temp, humidity, and tipping (or turning). That is what I'm planning to do. I've been planning on using:

    http://www.preconusa.com/humidity_moisture_dew_sensors.htm

    but
    I'm going to look into the WatchPort now, seeing that you have one in use.

    I had acquired the Watchport at a very good price & had it on hand to use for a bator already because when I first got into chickens I know I was going to be building a bator. I still have plans on building a turner but I still have the gears turning in my head on how to use a clock ti turn it about 4 to 6 times a day. If you would like to offer ideas on the PC tipper let me know. CPU temp & humidity control sounds like a good thing also but I had not taken the time to find inexpensive ways of doing this.

    I also got the Watchports to install in my coop & greenhouse. This way I know if it gets to cold or hot in them. I can network them all together & the software is so easy. Not very friendly with McAfee though.

    So here it is & open for discussion.
     
  2. kingmt

    kingmt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mason WV
    I thought it would be a good topic.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. KattyKillFish

    KattyKillFish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2009
    Dillingham, Alaska
    your incubator was the one that i was looking at that made me find my way to this site. i was browsing looking for an easy to build incubator and BLAMO, found that.


    i've never built a really great incubator, but if you are willing to fidget with one, you can use a cheap little $5 lamp dimmer with a regular light bulb.

    using light bulbs i think might be a problem though because of the humidity.


    i will be watching this thread to see if i can learn a thing or two about building incubators [​IMG]
     
  4. Dirt Road

    Dirt Road Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 9, 2008
    Southern Idaho
    A great topic I think. I suspect someone will have to lead the discussion who has a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of the applications and how to use them. I fear it's over my head, though very interesting. I would love to try to keep up, and learn more.

    Jim
     
  5. kingmt

    kingmt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mason WV
    Thank you for the reply. I was beginning to think it was a bad post. As for the dimer switch: I don't think that would work unless you could control the temp on the out side of the box as well. If you are exchanging air in the box with air on the out side & that temp changes then the rate of temp change would change also. You would have to use a stat. I am looking at one from Zoo Med called a Reptemp 500R. I found it mentioned on this site. I am useing a water heater stat & it doesn't work very good. The temp stays high & swings a lot. Cut in & out are to far apart.
     
  6. Lensters

    Lensters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adair Village, OR
    I downloaded the Digiport catalog and wow, they have a lot of stuff. If you look under industrial controls I think that you could do everything that you need with their stuff but it wouldn't be cheap.

    The hysteresis on the water heater thermostats is in the range of 6 degrees, this wouldn't be suitable for anything other than a small, high heat loss incubator. I believe the hysteresis on the disc/wafer thermostats is in the range of 1.2 degrees. The sensor I mentioned in the PM has a hysteresis of 0.6 degrees. I couldn't find the spec for the Watchport H. I had been debating how much of a swing to add to it in turn the heating element on and off, then it occurred to me, I can do continuous control, modulating the heat source (like a dimmer switch), and then not only can I eliminate the inherent hysteresis of a bimodal system but most of what is inherent in the sensor. The only time I will have hysteresis error is when there has been a significant temperature change such as opening the door or adding eggs or water.

    You could use that yellow wire on your fan to do continuous control of the fan speed. I plan on doing that with a fan pointed at my water pan to control the humidity.

    The one factor that is always assumed to be covered by ventilation is the CO2 level. I would really like to control it better than by losing all of the heat and humidity out a vent. My biggest problem so far has been finding a reliable yet cheap enough CO2 sensor. I am researching Sodasorb (soda lime USP-NF) that is used in scuba rebreathers and anesthesia for CO2 control. We might not need a CO2 sensor if Sodasorb pans out, but I'd sure like one for testing anyway.

    Len
     
  7. Lensters

    Lensters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adair Village, OR
    I kept getting interrupted while writing my post and I see there was a lot of activity on this thread since I started writing.

    I tried to write my previous post in layman's terms but I'm and electrical engineer with a pretty deep educational background in control systems (I was just a couple classes short of a masters degree when I became a single parent. I decided I couldn't work full time, be a grad student and be a single parent) so some of the terminology might be a bit advanced. If you don't understand something just ask.

    The "cut in/cut out" range of a thermostat is called hysteresis and yes, as I pointed out a 6 degree hysteresis is too much for a good incubator. It should be kept below 2 degrees. Those people who are selling the water heater thermostats on Ebay as "electronic incubator thermostats" are lying on a number of fronts. I wrote them and they are just not brite bulbs or at least they pretend to be pretty dim. I'm keeping the thermostat as my backup thermostat but they are going to get a bad review from me.


    Len
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  8. Lensters

    Lensters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adair Village, OR
    Oh, one other thing... I noticed that Digiport has something called a Watchport/A which can measure tilt. I think that this could be useful to check your egg tipper/turner.

    Len
     
  9. KattyKillFish

    KattyKillFish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2009
    Dillingham, Alaska
    Quote:i've used the zoo med 500R for reptiles, and from my experience it doesn't quite have the precise temp control that you would need in an incubator. they have a cheaper, less touchy thermostat that thy call a rheostat. i haven't used one but base on what i have read about it, it works in exactly the same way a dimmer switch would work. i've used the sliding dimmer switch in an incubator i was building and once i got it where i wanted it, it stayed that way. the problem was the container i used, it was an old plastic terrarium that my nephew kept hermit crabs in. it just wasn't insulated enough. when a window was opened , it would plummet until the temp outside stableized. i am trying to find some free stuff to use to make a proper container (styrofoam, aluminum foil etc) but being in the town i am in stuff like that is kinda hard to come by.

    i do agree that it is not quite as reliable as a real thermostat. i would go with one that they use for tarantulas and exotic spiders. i haven't used one, but one of my friends owns some sort of exotic spider, not sure quite what kind but it needs a constant temp and humidity level or it can get sick (don't ask my WHY people get pets that are so fragile, i will never understand it) but this is the one he uses
    http://gardendesert.com/products/?view=product&product_id=3677


    he has pretty good luck with it, but it is WAAY on the expensive side for me. but we're talking fancy, right? this would be no "just throw it together" project i would think. if i were to build my dream incubator i would need much more than a light bulb and a dimmer switch/slider am i right?

    i would need MUCH more talent than i have now, too. you really got some serious ingenuity when it comes to incubators! [​IMG]
     
  10. Lensters

    Lensters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adair Village, OR
    The Repticare[​IMG] Repti Temp 500R Therm/Rem Sensor is a great concept. I wished they would spec it's hysteresis. I'll have to assume from your comments, that there is a reason they don't have it specified.

    The rheostat is just a dimmer switch wired into an extension cord. That makes you the thermostat, hoping that you don't have to make too many adjustments. If you are comfortable with wiring, I wouldn't spend the money and just get a dimmer switch and an electrical box to mount it in. Like kingmt said, you'll only want to do this if the external temperature is very constant. If you let your house vary by 10 degrees, like I do mine, then it isn't going to work.

    The climate controllers from Green Air are to dream about. If the price wasn't so high I think that a MCC-1 would be a great bimodal (on and off only) controller. It does temperature, humidity and CO2 control, with selectable hysteresis, for only $835! [​IMG] I'm hoping to build my computer controlled system for a price tag closer to $200 including a refurbished computer purchased from Rabbit Refurbs for $80 (hey, that's me, wearing a different hat). Of course I already have quite a few hours into the design and will need to put many more into programming and building before it is done. What would people pay for a kit like this? It seems a shame that all my design and programming effort would only be used in incubators I build for myself.

    I like the Repticare[​IMG] Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitters. I would use a couple in my incubator if I didn't have a source of small ceramic heaters that I can salvage for parts. For anyone considering one, look around online, these and copycat versions of these vary in price considerably.

    Len

    (Am I the only one to sign my name on this forum? Should I be feeling silly about it?)
     

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