incubator thermometer and Hygrometer review and recomendation.

Discussion in 'DIY / Self Sufficiency' started by BobDBirdDog, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. BobDBirdDog

    BobDBirdDog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2014
    Tennessee
    I just wanted to mention my new CHEAP EXTERNAL DIGITAL Thermometer and Hygrometer (humidity tester/monitor), which cost me all of $23.00 with Tax. At the same time, give it a review.

    Source: Petsmart
    Brand: All Living Things[​IMG] Reptile Habitat Thermometer & Hygrometer
    Sensors: Temperature and Hygrometer
    Specs: Separate lead wires to the sensors for easy internal placement.
    Display- External
    Accuracy: Tolerable based on price.
    Type: Digital
    Link: http://www.petsmart.com/reptile/hum...-hygrometer-zid36-5195367/cat-36-catid-500012

    After tolerating my array of Glass and Digital Thermometers, from the AccuRite brands as well as 2 human digital's “ReliOn” from the RX section at Wal-mart, I decided I have had enough. They were bulking up the inside of my incubator and causing me to constantly question actual Temps and humidity, spite the general readings and my having to perform calculations to arrive at a statistical estimate of temp and humidity.

    Enter “All Living Things Reptile Habitat ....” a small thermometer and Hygrometer for pet terrariums, aka exotic reptiles and other beastly critters that require temperature and humidity control.

    My current units were all housed internally in the incubator and I expressed this to the PetSmart floor clerk. I told him that I wanted external sensors (lead wires for both sensors) so I could mount the display as an external unit and the sensors inside (internal) my incubator.

    The floor clerk showed me the unit mentioned above and I told him that I did not think it would be what I wanted, spite the fact that it had two separate long leads to the both sensors. It just looks cheap and there's no way to calibrate it was my comment! In his reply, he said you can always bring it back if you keep the receipt, given the 60 day return policy. Spite my complaints, my cheap nature took over and I was sold.

    Honestly, I did not think much of the unit over my current bulky set up but was willing to try it. I suspected that it would be inaccurate and I would still have to prove my math skills. Upon putting the Watch Battery in the unit and a few button pushes, I had the time and date set, along with my favorite Fahrenheit setting over Celsius. Still the unit started grabbing readings immediately after I put the battery in.

    My largest concern was how would I know how accurate it was? Two quick test will tell me what I need to know so I grabbed some Sea Salt or Salt, some Ice cubes, a zip lock bag, some water and a cup with a lid.
    Humidity calibration on the high end can be determined by making sludge of salt and water but it must be thick like a paste. This concoction will give you a consistent 75% humidity reading so you can calibrate or Calculate the difference in humidity readings. Note: This does not cover the more expensive and accurate hygrometers that can be calibrated on the High and Low ends, I am working on a budget.

    Humidity Test- I mixed up a batch of the salt solution and hung the sensor over it over the mixture (not submerged in it) and put the lid on top. The result was noted after 20 minutes (74.3%), but the 4 hours endurance result was a reading of 74.1% humidity. So the units sensor was off by 0.7 to 0.9, Good enough for me!

    Temperature test- I grabbed some ice cubes and water in a cup and allowed it to cool which should give me a 32 degree Fahrenheit reading. I put the temp sensor in the zip lock bag and submerged it and waited about 20 minutes. My sensor reading floated between 30.7 and 30.9 degrees Fahrenheit, and did so over the period of 2 hours, but the sensor seemed to like the 30.9 degree reading more. Good enough for me and close enough for incubating eggs. 30.9 is 0.1dg from 31 dg F so I say off by 1 degree. (-+1 degree). All my other units were tested as being off by 4-12 degrees F and off in humidity by 10-15%.

    Well there you have it! Over my array of digital and analog thermometers and hygrometers cheap-os, this unit replace 4 units. PetSmart device seems to pass with flying colors and is more accurate than all the others combined; plus the sensors are external so no more bulk inside my incubator. Only time will tell if it keeps its calibration. I just hope that watch battery will last, I bought extras!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
  2. BobDBirdDog

    BobDBirdDog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2014
    Tennessee
    The Accurite Hack / Modification
    Humidity Accuracy - Poor (off by 8-12% higher)
    Out door Temp Accuracy- Good
    Indoor Temp Accuracy- Poor Off by 3 dgs F.

    Looks like the brand Taylor Indoor/OutDoor cheap-o unit has replaced the Accurite cheap-o unit. Taylor is not reviewed but I bet the hack/mod will be similar if not the same procedure.

    As a review , I noted the other units which I discarded in favor of the Newer PetSmart version. However, in a pinch, the cheap AccuRite from Wally World Digital hygrometer and thermometer can be used spite its flaws.

    Flaws of the Accurite- It is advertised and referred to as an Indoor / Outdoor Thermometer and Hygrometer, but the temp is the only outdoor reading you can get. Though it has the external thermometer, the hygrometer is soldered into the circuit board behind the display unit itself.

    The unit does give you a means of comparison between outdoor/indoor temps but only with the undesired addition of an indoor humidity reading. The indoor temp is usually about 3 degrees cooler than the outdoor temp sensor reading and there is no way to adjust these differences. The off by 3 reading leaves you guessing about the actual temperature and the units consistency and accuracy, which the outdoor temp is the more accurate of the two Temp readings.

    The display only offers whole number readings oppose to the desired fractional readings in Temps, thus you are always guessing if your Temp needs a little fine tuning.
    Ex: 99 dg. F -vs- 99.8 dg. F
    In such, the 99 dg. F reading that is displayed could actually be 98 or 100 dg. F readings.

    In order for the unit to be used with an incubator, you will have to put the whole unit inside the incubator in order to get the humidity reading from the unit......and then my humidity reading was off by an additional 8% to 12% (Higher than actual humidity) causing me to do the additional math calculations.

    As such bulk is not desirable in the incubator I have come up with this short modification so that the unit can be external while both Temp and Hygrometer (humidity) sensors can be placed inside the incubator. The readings are still off as mentioned above. but for $13.00s what more can you expect. Its a real easy Mod.

    The External Hygrometer/Humidity sensor Hack or Modification
    Tools needed:
    Soldering Pencil
    Rosin core solder
    Knife
    Small Phillips head screw driver
    Electrical Tape.
    Time to complete- 10 Min's
    Skills needed- Know ho to solder
    Difficulty- Simple and Easy!


    This units internal hygrometer sensor can be removed and made into an external hygrometer/humidity unit. While it will still be off, if you are in a pinch it is better than not having one, and for $13.00 at wally world, its feasible.

    Take the back of the unit apart by removing the 4 philip head screws, 2 are located just beneath the battery compartment and 2 are located at the top. Go ahead and plug in your soldering iron so it will get hot.
    Look at the wires coming into the box and then unsolder them so that you have removed the external temp sensor and wire.

    Now cut the external temp sensor wire so that you have a shorter Half length of the temp sensor wire. Strip the ends and re-solder the temp sensor and wire back to the original spots where you unsolder ed them. It does not matter which wire connects to a specific solder point, only that one wire connects to one point and the other wire to the other point.

    Using the length of wire you cut away strip both ends so you have a mm of wire exposed for soldering. Now, look at the electronic board and you will notice a square sensor that has 2 leg's soldered to the board. This is the internal hygrometer sensor that you will remove.

    [​IMG]

    Using the length of wire that you removed and cut "the remaining un used wire", tie a simple knot 1.5 inches from one end.

    After you remove this sensor, solder one end of the wires (the one with the knot) to the location where you un-soldered the sensors legs. Remember, 1 wire to each solder point.

    On the other end of the wire, simply solder the an end of each of the wires to the legs or the sensor and use some electrical tape to cover the legs by wrapping the tape.

    Cut a access hole for the new wire to extrude through in the plastic case so that the wires are not cut or pinched when you put the unit back together.
    The knot you made should be to the inside of case. The purpose and goal of the knot is to create enough slack so that when you pull on the (now) external wire, it snags at the hole thus not allowing tension on the wire-to the internal soldered points.

    Once finished, put the unit back together, replace the battery, and you have an external temp and hygrometer. The readings will be the same, so use the first post to figure out how much the sensors are off and do the math when using the unit in the incubator.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015

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