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Homemade Mini Frig Incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MrsCountryChick, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. MrsCountryChick

    MrsCountryChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found Great Info online on making a Homemade Mini Frig Incubator (meaning the size of a Dorm Frig). It calls for a heating source of -flexwatt heat tape-. Anyone ever used this before in an incubator? It calls for a Reptile thermostat that controls the heat tape. I guess the thermostat can control temperatures anywhere from 70 to 110 degrees. The thermostat even has a cover so it can't be 'bumped' off the temperature setting once you have it calibrated where you want it set at. Neat the way it can be installed easily into a refrigerator interior. The flexwatt heat tape is supposed to be more reliable than a light bulb or other source of heat. No info on an auto turner for a mini frig tho. [​IMG] I only have a regular front opening mini frig, but it'd be Real neat to use these instructions on a mini wine cooler (the electric mini frig style ones) --Especially since they have an open glass front for watching. Have to keep my eye out for one of those. Anyone with any experience in creating an incubator in this manner? [​IMG] Or out of a mini frig?
     
  2. cockadoodlemom

    cockadoodlemom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2007
    Texas
  3. conny63malies

    conny63malies Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a ft of 10in flexwatt if you need it. Otherwise you can get it at www.beanfarm.com or at bigappleherp.com
    which thermostat are you refering to? a on off type thermostat or a proportional one? They can be pretty expensive running up tp 150$
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  4. MrsCountryChick

    MrsCountryChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have info I came accross online that has the person making a incubator in a mini frig (mine is smaller than the one they use, mine is almost like an entable size mini frig) than what this person made their incubator in. & they say lower on the page they ultimately used (2) strands of 2ft long 11in wide flexwatt heat tape. They wired it as to plug directly into an outlet, but instead of plugging it directly into a socket, they got a reptile thermometer that the flexwatt plug plugged into to regulate the electricity to the flexwatt heat tape inside the frig. My small frig would surely need only half the amount of that for heat. From what I've researched the thermometer has an electrode wire (like the hydrometers people put inside incubators) so it can monitor the heat inside the incubator & when it hits that certain heat amount it cuts the electricity off to the flexwatt tape. The thermometer has an adjustment on it, which I'm sure will take a little bit of messing with to get it to the right temperature. But it even has a protective cover so the setting on the thermometer can't be 'bumped'. So that seems nice. I like the idea of not having to add metal to the frig to disburse the direct heat from a light bulb. I'm 'leaning' towards this basic concept, but I know many people have success with varied designs.

    Oh the link for the incubator is at:
    http://www.arbreptiles.com/cages/incubator.shtml

    & another link where flexwatt tape is used is here:
    http://www.arbreptiles.com/cages/rack.shtml

    So I'm 'guessing' it must be widespreadly used in the reptile world. Oh & the heat controling thermometer is a meter that's used for heat rocks to be plugged into for reptiles, so it's used for the purpose of regulating a heat element by controling the electricity.

    Wow a Real expen$ive thermostats can be. Oh the thermostat I'm meaning is relatively cheap @ $22.99 & it controls 'multiple devices' it says, & I only want it to control One device. It's here:
    http://www.reptiledirect.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=112

    Only bummer is I read how flexwatt is supposed to be kept at 95 degrees [​IMG] & I've read egg incubating temps are to be 100 or as close to it as possible. That's 5 degrees over what flexwatt is recommended for. But even the light bulb ones aren't prob 'technically' supposed to be used hot like for incubators. I've also read people using waterbed thermostat heaters for a heating element too. Gonna have to research that now, hmmm.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  5. Magick

    Magick New Egg

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    I know this is late - hopefully it will help someone.

    The sites you are looking at are geared towards incubating reptile eggs. Reptile egg incubation can range from 76F - 95F over the course of 3 to 9 months! Most reptile breeders don't blink at the proportional thermostat prices - in fact they often run 2 for security - but the hatchlings often bring in prices of over $1000 each, depending on the species and/or color mutation.

    Flexxwatt can maintain temps needed to incubate chicken eggs with no problem. I have a large homemade incubator that I am planning on using for chicken eggs while there is a lull in our reptile egg production.

    Since I am a chicken newbie, I am hoping our experience with hatching reptile eggs will put me ahead of the learning curve. At least with chicken eggs I won't have to worry about getting 100% humidity wile keeping the eggs dry!
     
  6. Critters-InThe-Country

    Critters-InThe-Country New Egg

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    Quote:Thanks for the info. But my interest is mainly about the flexwatt tape. I've seen it's use for primarily reptile incubation use or cage heaters, but any & all info I was able to find on flexwatt heat tape it's hightest "rated" heat use was for 95degrees..... & chicken incubation needs 100degrees.... So is that "safe" to use it at 5degrees higher than what the manufacturer recommends? Safely I mean.
     
  7. Oklahoma Lightning

    Oklahoma Lightning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the same question, is it safe at 100 degree?
     
  8. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've used flexwatt at 99-100 degrees and had it be eminently reliable. It's also really nice in that a bird can snuggle up to the tile I put over the heat tape and never be burned. They love leaning on the walls.

    I used flex watt in my second homemade bator - a metal cooler. It worked pretty well but because the cooler was metal had trouble reheating if it cooled too far and I had to add a light/heat source.

    Then I built a mini frig bator and I love it. I'll be putting flex watt in it as well, right now it's heated by under cabinet puck lights and works like a charm but I'd rather use the flex watt.

    You would LOVE a mini-frig or wine cooler bator, the extra insulation is a huge bonus, the space is lovely.

    My second hatch in this bator is running great. On time, on temps. It just rocks. This will be the keeper I modify until I get the Dickey.
     
  9. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used it and had NO problems with it. Remember several things. It has to be mounted with heat safe materials - like the good marine expoxy puttys, or pure silicone, it should be UNDER tile or glass, not exposed where it can be touched. It needs to be sealed away from chick parts.

    I have never had a problem with it. But the use is "off label" and YOU are the part manufacturer and only your skill determines if it's put together right.

    I really like it. I plan on using it again. I find, rigged properly that I really like it and the chicks like it, which you can't say about a lot of heat sources...

    Mine is rigged currently under tile. Which provides my heat sink as well as an easily cleaned surface.

    As to the guy with spare 10 INCH - I'd love to have it if it's still available.
     
  10. DANNY

    DANNY Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2009
    GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA
    I am trying to understand this. What is wrong with using an incubator heating coil and thermostat. It sounds to me like putting lawn mower parts on your washing machine.
     

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