how to stabilize temps in styrofoam cooler?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mel58, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. mel58

    mel58 In the Brooder

    Dec 8, 2007

    I have a LG 9200 styrofoam cooler with electronic thermostat.

    use a water weasel with accurite probe inside.

    plugged into surge protector.

    I live in a house with baseboard heat. no basement. I am having trouble keeping the temps constant. it was varying between 98-102 and then spiked during the day at 109 [​IMG]

    that probably killed these eggs but want to try to get it down before ordering more eggs.

    this is about my 4th or 5th time trying to hatch. all shipped eggs, about a 20% hatch rate but I always have problems with temp spikes.

    after much cussing I have finally got it stabilized from noon to 9 pm today by putting it in my shower, smothering it with towels, blankets, sweatshirts, keeping the door closed and shades pulled down. also pulling curtain closed. I've been running only difference of 99.5 to 99.7 since. will see what happens when temp drops tonight. I work nights and leave at 2am so will have good idea of how it will go.

    ok, so trying to find a better way to duplicate this. don't want to go without a shower for 21 days and only one bathroom.

    my dad suggested putting the incubator in my oven which I only use twice a year. I use the top every day but not the oven. he thought the oven would be insulated very well because it has to keep the heat in. anyone have any thoughts about this? I will run a test with thermometers to see if using the stove top raises the oven inside temp.

    another thing I wondered about was buying the old fashioned kind of chest freezer. not the styrofoam jobbies and putting the incubator inside of it. reading online, some claim to keep ice frozen for five days so must be very well insulated. may have trouble finding one big enough. will I have problem with air exchange in it?

    I know some are converting fridges to bators but wondered about just sitting the bator in an unused fridge and closing the door? (mine died a month ago and will be in my kitchen until spring or at least warm weather to haul off).

    sorry for the long posts. I've been reading your site for several days about bators and ready to throw this one in the trash but not ready to shell out $200+ for a better one without trying harder.

    I've had this bator 2 years but this is only second batch of hatching I've ever tried. I got kinda disgusted the first time. the temp swings made for some nasty hatches with chicks hatching but dying shortly after with unsealed navels mostly.
  2. ladybug4ut1

    ladybug4ut1 Songster

    Nov 13, 2007
    Central Florida
    i have one of those and i put a pair of hemostats on the adjuster to make it easier to adjust. where do you have the incubator located on the floor or on something. Another good idea is to hang a blanket behind it to try to keep drafts off of it. It takes real little turns to adjust. I wrap a towel around mine where the two join so no leakage of air and i do not take out vent plugs until day 18 that are in the top. Hope that helps a little. Good luck

  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Any of those ideas should work, but with temp spikes... think about maybe getting a new thermostat wafer just in case, or shielding any metal that touches the metal adjustment knob to the thermostat as artificial cold will make it stay on. Putting the box in your oven should be fine, as most heat from cooking shouldn't go into the oven. A closet or fridge will work too. Good luck!
  4. skeeter

    skeeter Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Parma Idaho
    how about put it in a cardboard box?I agree with silkiechicken ,id look into a new thermostat
  5. mel58

    mel58 In the Brooder

    Dec 8, 2007
    this one has an electronic thermostat. so I should replace this electronic thermostat with a wafer?

    its on the floor of my shower but on top of the box it came in. and the shower curtain in closed and bathrooom door against drafts.

    someone here or on another board kept saying they thought it was the digital thermostat that was keeping the newer ones so steady but I could not find a place online that sells a digital thermostat but I'll look harder. I did find this article telling you how to convert a large chest cooler into an incubator which looks pretty interesting:

    teeny 850 sq ft house, closets packed but I'll try to make room.

    thank you all again. I'll look for hemostats, thermostats and probably give the oven a try (and truly have buns in the oven! something miraculous for a 49 year old woman). or checkout coolers at walmart and then try his plans to convert it to an incubator down the road.

    I probably will eventually give up and buy the brinsea octagon 20 from what I'm reading here but I'm hanging on to my $250 pretty tightly until no other choice [​IMG]

  6. d_rooster

    d_rooster Songster

    Mar 19, 2007
    North Augusta, SC

    If you can't find a pair of hemostats for gripping the control knob, then get a larger alligator clip. I got alligator clips in the electrical section at the Wal-mart that work fine for gripping the control knob on the LG 9200. You just need something to grip the knob and make it easier to visualize how much you are adjusting when you twist the knob. I make very slight adjustments on mine, then wait about 10-20 minutes to gauge the change in temp.

    I have my LG 9200 in a sunroom area (converted finished garage) that doesn't get much of a draft. However, I've still noticed some drift from time to time. Usually, I find mine drifting a little lower which is better than drifting too high. I think that room temperatures, even without any drafts, can greatly affect the LG 9200. I'm using a space heater in the room with mine to try to keep the room temp above 70 degrees at all times, especially at night.

    I think your idea to put the incubator in the oven sounds like a very good one. If you've got a light in your oven, that could also provide enough gentle surrounding heat to help maintain a cozy environment for the incubator.

    Good luck with getting the LG under control. I bit the bullet and purchased the Hovabator Genesis with the egg turner for my next batch. The Hovabator Genesis (1588) seems like a Cadillac compared to the LG which is more like a Ford.
  7. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    Did the temp spike to 109 in the water weasel?

    My 3 9200's never spiked. I had temp variations and problems
    with thermometers but never a problem with the built in digital
    thermostat. We had some great hatches and a few not so great
    but that was because of innacurate thermometers. We just
    bought water weasels.

    How many eggs did you put in? I find the more mass the more stable the

    Do you have the fan kit for your 9200? The air movement made the temps much
    more stable.

  8. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Hi, I put some water filled bottles in there. But the thing that works best for me right now is bubble wrap lain looslely over the bator. This is the first 24 hrs with no change.
  9. mel58

    mel58 In the Brooder

    Dec 8, 2007
    Just wanted to update:

    in the shower didn't work, even with blankets and towels piled on top, the shower curtain pulled, the door shut, drapes shut and bator off the floor on a box.

    I then put it in my oven. based on your posts I also filled water bottles with lids off and filled the spaces around the oven with them. that seems to have finally cured it though we have also had pretty stable and relatively warm(ish) temps here the last few days.

    its day 19 today. I haven't opened since yesterday except to sneak more water in through a vent hole. before moving to the stove I had another spike of 106 degrees. so that makes a 109 temp the first week or so and then a 106 degree spike at about day 15. this is the temp inside the weasel.

    does anyone think there is any chance whatsoever for these eggs? I must have a slightly rotten one in there. I can smell a slight smell when I open the oven but in smelling the eggs on day 17 I couldn't determine which one it was. candled and saw no movement whatsoever in any. I had candled on about 14 or 15? something like that and threw out those with no growth so these all DID have fairly developed chicks in them [​IMG]

    I'm going to buy either the lyon or brinsea bators before my next hatch. just have to decide which one [​IMG]

    thanks for all your suggestions. I don't know what my problem is, some of you seem able to get good hatches with a styrofoam bator but I am either not careful enough or my house just fluctuates too much [​IMG]
  10. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    You are working way to hard to keep your temperatures stable. You have a bad thermostat and I doubt you can do anything physical to prevent spikes. A new thermostat will most likely fix the problem. I dont' know how much it will cost or how easy it is to change out. I am sorry for the frustration you are feeling but believe me many of us have been there.

    If you are going to continue to hatch chicks and you can justify the increased cost then both the Brinsea and Lyon TX7 are wonderful incubators. I have the Lyon TX 6 that I bought second hand this year and I love it. It is a Gem. The water control system is so simple but so effective. I never had to open the incubator except to candle eggs. It was steady in humidity and temperature until I had to increase it on day 18. It makes hatching so easy you feel sort of left out. The TX 6 and 7 both hold fewer eggs than other incubators. I can hatch 16-18 bantam eggs and possibly 14 standard eggs. That works good for me because I don't want lots of chicks to brood at once.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: