Homemade incubator questions

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by JeremyKSullivan, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. JeremyKSullivan

    JeremyKSullivan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just built an incubator. I went with the ice cooler design. I measured the heat cycle with a digital multimeter that has a thermocouple probe. The heat cycle is as follows:
    - At 100 degrees, the light/heat comes on for about 35 seconds.
    - During this time, the heat climbs to between 103 and 104 degrees.
    - The light/heat goes off.
    - The temperature drops back to 100 degrees in about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
    - Cycle repeats.

    Is this sufficient for incubating eggs or should I change something?

    Also, what is the best way to maintain proper humidity levels?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    I use the light bulb kind. I have a 8-9'' box 15 w light w/ heat sheild in metal bowl eggs are in wire basket at the back of the box. It has been holding the heat great, candling is going well. this is day 14. I have hatched eggs before but this is the smallest box I have done it in.
     
  3. JeremyKSullivan

    JeremyKSullivan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I changed the light bulb closest to my thermostat from a 40 w bulb to a 75 w bulb. This changed the heat cycle to:

    As soon as lamp comes on:
    100 degrees for 5 seconds
    101 degrees for 3.6 seconds
    102 degrees for 4.4 seconds
    103 degrees for 8 seconds

    Light off
    102 degrees for 13.4 seconds
    101 degrees for 25.4 seconds
    100 degrees for 1 minute 2 seconds
     
  4. JeremyKSullivan

    JeremyKSullivan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know 100 degrees is the target, but will these short periods of fluctuation hurt anything?
     
  5. Quyen Le

    Quyen Le Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where do you place the thermometer? Do you have a fan? Show us your set up then we can give you feed back.
     
  6. JeremyKSullivan

    JeremyKSullivan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the thermometer near the bottom center of the cooler. Yes I have a fan. Will try to get some pics posted ASAP.
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    A way to know what the steady temperature would be is to make a water wiggler. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/164639/how-to-make-a-water-wiggler-pics
    In reality to just check the steady temp put a glass of water in position of where eggs will be and put a glass or probe thermometer you trust is accurate in that. The idea being your getting the temperature that the interior of eggs will be by using water. The air temperature in your incubator will fluctuate but the eggs will stay steady, so will a small mass of water.

    In doing this you can adjust your thermostat until the wiggler or your glass of water is 99-100F. Then keep your thermometer in same place you'll be reading it during incubation and see what the air temp is. It will be different and this is the temperature with that thermometer in that place in your incubator you would reference to incubate at. Knowing that the interior of eggs will be 99.5F.

    I think that makes sense.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Of course if you made a wiggler then you'd just reference that all during hatch. Always seeing a steady temp will be less nerve wracking too. If the incubator loses temp or a temp spike it will be a slow process in eggs and wiggler. Temp spikes of 103 of air cause stress but unless the egg reaches that everything is fine and may only require a slight adjustment to thermostat as the incubator is working in.

    Last year I had a new hovabator. The waffer in use started to fatigue as it was new and being used. The temperature slowly dipped but after few weeks and 2 to 3 nudges of dial stayed steady as a rock.
     
  9. JeremyKSullivan

    JeremyKSullivan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, here is the heat cycle of the air


    And here is the construction of my box.


    Thanks for the advice. I built a water wiggler. Results will be posted soon.
     
  10. JeremyKSullivan

    JeremyKSullivan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks a lot for the advice about the water wiggler! After constructing it, I bought an indoor/outdoor thermometer/hygrometer. I put the outdoor temp probe inside the water wiggler and left the unit inside the box. I also put a thermocouple lead inside the water wiggler, ran it outside the box, and connected it to a multimeter. After more adjusting on my thermostat, the air temp is staying around 107 degrees. The water wiggler temp stays constant at 99 on the thermometer and 100 on the multimeter. No more fluctuations! Thanks again! Looking forward to hatching my first batch!!!

    Here's a video of it in operation.


    Now I just need to do some reading/learning about humidity levels. It's staying near 29-30 but I have no water supply inside.
     

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