Hova-bator 1602N Still Air Incubator First Impressions. and Upgrades.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by TucsonAZ, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 15, 2011
    I am new to chickens and don't have many, in an effort to expand my flock I ordered 12 turken eggs as kind of an experiment to enjoy with my kiddos. I made an incubator with old scraps, a styro cooler from a dumpster, an old light fixture, computer fan, plexy top and a brick switched from side to side as a turner. It was a total mess, I got 3 eggs to hatch (I was actually okay with this for shipped eggs and my first try) but even that took some helping them along, I didn't have a clue of the humidity, had zero ventilation holes, it wasn't pretty.

    I made a new incubator this time with two lights (an 11 and a 7w) so there would be a backup, vent holes and so on as well as dual hydrometer and thermometers as well as fans. This kicked ass and kept to within .5 degrees but humidity was tough to address and I hated turning them (part of the reason humidity was hard).

    I found a new 1602N on craigs with the turner for $70 and worked out a trade with the guy thinking I would use it as a hatcher and take a row off the turner for the other incubator. I decided with all things concidered I was best of using the 1602N and selling my home made version or keeping it around as a backup. This may change but as it sits that's my thought.

    As for the 1602N, I know that still air is less than ideal, fortunately this thing is set up to put a fan on in 10 minutes or less. I CAN NOT see paying more than a couple bucks more for one with a fan or more than $10 for an aftermarket kit. The holes are already in the top for an 80mm computer fan, I had one with red leds in it laying around and the leds are a REALLy nice feature. To mount it I simply cut out 4 nickel size plastic disks (to keep the screws and fan in place) from an old deli cup top, I put the 2.5" pan head screws into the four holes top center, threaded the plastic washers almost tight, put the fan (set to blow air up and away from the eggs, it worked better this way) up to the screw heads and gave each a couple turns to lock them into the plastic holes on the fan. Worked perfectly and is totally quite and solid in there. I would not us a 12V power supply as it creates too much airflow, I would look for one that is more in the 5-6v range, an old cell phone charger, the plug from a modem or cordless phone maybe. I wired that in and used some heat shrink tube to make it look neat.

    The last word of advice is the wafer style thermostat, it sucks! I am more the set it and forget it type and that thing seems about worthless to me as my house normally has a 15 degree temp swing (I live in AZ). I bred reptiles for a living long ago so I had a Ranco temp controller laying around. I disconnected the old controller, connected the white and blue wires that were connected to it to each other with a wire nut and plugged the unit into the Ranco after inserting the temp probe [from the Ranco] into the 1602.

    That makes a huge difference, the temps are stuck right at 100 degrees and they don't move more than a 1/2 degree so it's perfect and those two additions removed the only flaws I saw in the design.

    So here is my advice, the 1602N seems like a fine little unit but the Ranco can be found for $40 and the fan for free as can the power supply. I wouldn't personally buy this unit to run as it comes out of the box, I'm sure it's fine and will do the job but it will require in my opinion more than the $40 the Ranco costs in tuning and daily maintenance. The egg turner is a different story, I'm lazy so I like it but it isn't needed.

    All and all it would cost you $140 to set yours up as I have this one, I'm not sure if better can be found used for the price but these upgrades are well worth the money if you plan on hatching eggs more than a single time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  2. TucsonAZ

    TucsonAZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 15, 2011
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  3. montain_dweller

    montain_dweller Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2011
    Continental divide
    How difficult was installing the new thermo controller?
     

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