Incubator Comparison - LG 9200 & HovaBator 1602n

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Poulets De Cajun, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    I started with an LG 9200 Still Air incubator 5 years ago, and today I purchased a HovaBator 1602n Still Air. The LG shorted out a few weeks ago, and I've just plugged in the HovaBator. I'm starting this thread as a place to dialogue my personal experience with each, as well as a comparison of each incubator. My initial findings are posted below.

    Quality

    Little Giant - lightweight soft styrofoam, a lot of plastic parts, seam between top and bottom never seemed tight enough, no notches for turner plug to fit into, included thermometer is very small hard to read and seems to be light duty, wire floor is smaller guage wire and lighter weight, solid state thermostat. All together a seemingly 'light duty' incubator.

    HovaBator - heavier hard styrofoam, not many plastic parts, wafer thermostat, notch for turner wire, included thermometer is large and easy to read, seam between top and bottom is nice and snug, water tray seems larger with more area, wire floor seams to be made of heavier guage wire and fits nicely into the bottom. Overall heavier duty incubator

    Viewing Window(s)

    Little Giant - larger rectangle windows, nice view into the inside.

    HovaBator - smaller square windows, allows good view but sometimes awkward to see all areas inside.

    Thermostats

    Little Giant - solid state thermostat, very picky and tempermental, small adjustments mean large temperature jumps, small led type indicator light, seems to be very consistent once set.

    HovaBator - wafer thermostat, feels heavy duty with metal parts, doesn't seem to be very tempermental, small adjustments aren't detrimental to overall temperature range, large highly visible indicator lamp, seems to be a little slow to turn back on and allowing an approx 2 degree drop before re-heating.

    Temperature

    Little Giant - took a while to attain a consistent temperature, easily affected by small adjustments in thermostat, but steady once obtained.

    HovaBator - found it very easy and quick to attain proper temps (within a few minutes), doesn't seem to be affected by small adjustments in the thermostat, overall seems to be quite consistent.

    Humidity

    Little Giant - found general humidity to be lower all the way around, I remember having to add sponges at hatch time to help raise humidity, water trays seemed insufficient for the job.

    HovaBator - seems to hold humidity a little better, a noticeable difference from the beginning, not forseeing the need for extra sponges so far, water tray seems much larger in comparison



    These are my initial findings. I've got the Hovabator set up and currently working on getting it set. Within 10 minutes of plugging it in the temps are almost level at 99.5 and we are between 66% and 69% humidity and holding. I found the HovaBator VERY easy to get going. I'm quite anxious to see how easy it is to use as compared to the Little Giant. I've always been a very big advocate for starting with the Little Giant as the knowledge gained while trying to learn how to "steady it" is immeasurable. However, I'm really liking the overall look and "feel" of this HovaBator. I'll continue to dialogue my findings here to hopefully help beginners get a real comparison for the two.

    Meanwhile back at the ranch... if the initial impressions of this little Hovabator prove true, I could be conviced to shut down the big cabinet and use two of these. I have installed my PC cooling fan to make it a forced air just as I did with my LG, so they are both afforded the same chances. We'll see how it goes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2009
  2. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    As of this morning temps are steady at 99.5 and humidity never dropped below 66% over the last 12 hours, and it did get as high as 72%. I took out one of the vent plugs this morning to see how it will fair over the next 12 hours. Taking one of the plugs out didn't seem to have much effect on humidity, but I will check again this evening before I put the eggs in for hatching. I've got to say, for this being the 'base' model of HovaBator, it seems to be MILES ahead of the LG. The design of the Hovabator seems to work much better as well. I can't be sure, but I think the rounded top and 'dome like' sides helps air circulation a lot better than it's square competitor.

    The only thing that I am not liking thus far is the wafer thermostat seems to kick on a little late. It will heat until 99.5 and shut off, but will not kick back on until temps drop to about 97 or so. I've got the thermostat adjusted and screwed tight so that there isn't any chance of it moving, and I'd like it to be a little more consistent and quick to turn on, but overall not much of a complaint.

    I'm really liking this thing so far!
     
  3. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    Well I put the first 10 eggs in the new HovaBator last night. The temps are steady at 99.5, but the thermostat still seems a little "loose." It will kick off at 99.5 but wont kick back on until about 97 or so. I suppose this doesn't make that big of a difference because the internal temperature of the eggs does not drop that fast, probably just my OCD.

    For such a small incubator, this thing is REALLY holding humidity VERY well. It is holding it much higher than I had originally anticipated. I've got the fan running, and I also have one of the vent holes open and it's still holding at 71% to 75% with no great degree of variation, and I haven't even had to add a sponge or anything!

    Overall this basic model HovaBator has been fairly effortless as compared to the Little Giant. Though it isn't the plug and go model like the 1588, and doesn't have the large picture window, it is still very impressive. I'm hoping it lives up to its initial impression and gives me a great hatch. I've got another dozen or so eggs to go into the HovaBator on Tuesday, so we'll see how it goes.
     
  4. KattyKillFish

    KattyKillFish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2009
    Dillingham, Alaska
    VERY good info. im glad i bought the Hova-bator to replace my ancient brower which has had to be babysat since i started it up. i think i need to change the wafters in that thing...

    also, thanks for all this info! it's very helpful!
     
  5. kinnip

    kinnip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I'm glad I sprung for the Hovabator, or I may have had no chicks pipping. I just bought an LG still air to use as a hatcher. I can't even keep the humidity up to 40%. Every egg I've put in there has resulted in sticky disaster. I've got one large sponge in now. I guess I need to add more. How many did you find you needed?
     
  6. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    Thank you for posting this, Chris.

    I don't personally own an LG, but I do own this model HovaBator and I've been very happy with its results so far.
     
  7. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    I'm telling ya! This little 1602n is very impressive for the price and features. NOT what I expected at all! Its WAY better! I'm seriously SERIOUSLY contemplating shutting down the big bator and just buying a second one of these!

    I'll continue to dialouge my findings and personal comparisons here.
     
  8. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    This is the third day that I have the new Hovabator running, and its holding temps/humidity perfectly. I did add a little water to the water tray last night just to top it off, but it's holding humidity between 71% and 76% steady. After taking the top off last night, it regained humidity within a matter of minutes!

    When I used the LG, I remember struggling to get humidity this high, and constantly having to fill the very small water trays. I also remember having to add sponges in the first few years, and the last few I got smart and added a few shallow trays under the wire. Even then I had to keep the plugs in, or cover half of the vent holes with electrical tape to keep the humidity up. Now that I've worked with this Hovabator, it is my FIRM opinion that the LG should specifically be used as a still air (and/or with a specifically designed extremely low cfm fan for the LG). I think adding the fan to the incubator really messed things up, as the water trays weren't sizeable enough. I think they were a little TOO small for the size of the incubator, and the fan helped dry it out to much. I think I had better hatches in the LG without the fan.

    The HovaBator does have the PC Cooling fan that was once in my LG, but it functions MUCH better in the HB. The water trays are much larger in the HB and do not dry out as quickly. I've had the HB running since Friday night and the water tray was only a little less than half full. I could have probably gotten another day out of it without having to refill.

    At this point I think its safe to say that I am 90% certain I'll always use a HovaBator from now on, and that it is a MUCH better incubator than the Little Giant.

    I am just as certain that I'll be buying a second (or third) Hovabator 1602n in order to stagger hatch. This little thing is evening showing up my old (and very large) Lyons Electric cabinet incubator. The cabinet bator holds temps to the "T", but lacks severly in humidity. I have NEVER been able to get humidity higher than 50% in the cabinet, and its in the same room as the HB!

    So anyway, I'm a converted LG fan and now rooting for HovaBator! I'll post some final information once I see how this hatch starts going. Due to start tomorrow!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2009
  9. Poulets De Cajun

    Poulets De Cajun Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:I'm sorry I didn't see this question yesterday....

    When I was using the LG as a still air incubator, I used half of a sponge that was shaped like a ball. I cut the ball in half and put half of it in the incubator, flat side down of course. The ball was probably about 4 inches in diameter I guess.

    When I added the PC cooling fan to the LG, which I now believe was TOO powerful for the LG, I used the same sponge, but had to add a shallow tray of water under the wire. The tray was the grease tray from my George Foreman grill, LOL. It was about 6 inches long and maybe an inch deep. It fit perfectly. But needless to say, with the fan I had to have MORE water in the LG.

    Another trick that I learned with the LG was to cover HALF the vent holes with electrical tape. Take the red plugs out so that you get good circulation on both sides of the incubator, but cover half of the hole with electrical tape. By covering more, or less, of the hole(s) you can more accurately control humidity percentage.
     
  10. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Overrun With Chickens

    5,006
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    Apr 23, 2008
    Central Louisiana
    I have 2 of the 1602N & last fall used them as they were, hand turning eggs (1 to incubate & 1 for a hatcher). Since then, my husband rigged fans in both, & I bought an auto-turner for 2 batches of eggs I set last Tuesday & WOW--the humidity & temps are right on & as steady as can be! I opened up & added water one time & that's been it. For the $$, I have to say, I'm impressed.
     

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