Instrument Calibration - Help Please

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by magdelaine, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm picking up dozens of eggs this weekend and I've got my incubators on so I can determine if I'm getting the right temperature, etc. I have an old hovabator that needs a fan installed and a borrowed Reptipro 5000. I have two analog hygrometers, one analog "incubation thermometer", two digital thermometer/hygrometer combinations and one "egg-ometer". With the exception of the two analog hygrometers, EVERYTHING is reading something different, and are off by 10 degrees plus. I finally decided to try putting cups of water in the incubators to see if I can use a regular digital thermometer to get a read on ambient temp, but I don't even know for sure that this thermometer is accurate either, so it may be pointless.

    Do you all have any ideas on what I can do to figure out what the temperature actually is in the incubator? And is there something special I need to do to the hygrometers to make sure they are accurate.

    TIA

    ~elaimne
     
  2. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    To calibrate the hygrometer: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/calibrating-hygrometer

    Thermometers can be checked by using a medical or bulb thermometer than has been checked for accuracy against it. Put some ice cubes in a glass add, cold water, wait two minutes then stick the bulb thermometer in the water. It should read 32 if it is accurate. Then place the bulb thermometer and the thermometer you are checking together in the bator and you'll know how accurate the others are by comparison. Note that the two need to be side by side as bators generally have hot or cool spots.

    Hope that helps. Good luck.
     
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  3. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I've made some progress. I've got one scientific thermometer that I've tested in ice water and is accurate. The "fancy" incubator (Reptipro 5000) has to be set at about 116 degrees to reach an actual temp of 100, whereas the digital thermometers in the Hovabator read 107/108 when the scientific thermometer reads 100.

    I also have little cups of water in the incubators and I use a basal body thermometer to test the water in these cups. They test at 95 degrees in the Hovabator to 93 degrees in the Reptipro after leaving them over night. The thing is, shouldn't they also be reading 100? Have any of you ever used water to test actual temperatures?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  4. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    I would say no, they should be reading less than air temp. I'm sure someone that has kept all the scientific mumble jumble in their head can pop in w/the scientific answer, but I'm thinking water warms and cools at different rates than air. (Probably something to do with mass and density...lol) It can be 100 degrees outside, but your pool isn't going to 100 (unfortunetly...lol)

    I plan to get the egg o meter for my next hatch. It'll be interesting to see the difference between the internal and ambient temps.

    Incubators are known for their gages to be off. I swear the only reason the manufacturer puts the gages on (especially the cheaper models) is so they can charge more for their product and make you think it's a better product.
     
  5. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is the one we got: http://www.amazon.com/Egg-o-meter-A-Better-Egg-Thermometer/dp/B004XNMH92

    You know what's really crazy is that we used it for our very first attempt at hatching eggs; Marans eggs which tend to not be easy. We had 3 out of 9 hatch in the first batch and 6 out of 16 in the second. We were using a still air Hovabator and the temp was kept at around 103 except for a temp spike of 108 degrees. Now, knowing what I know, I think that the eggs were actually at around 95 degrees the whole time and only got up to 100 that one time during the "spike". Does that sound possible, eggs hatching at 95 degrees? Oh boy oh boy.
     
  6. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    My first hatch I bought a brand new thermometer and I didn't check it, cause, hey, it was new. I use a Little Giant w/fan and egg turner. I worked hard to keep my temp at the 99/100 mark. I was feeling good about going into lockdown with 17 viable eggs, (though I thought they looked a little behind I was hoping it was just my newbie inexperience.) I finally had one hatch at day 23/24 anda second the next morning. The second one died during the night and left me with my one little chick. I bought two other thermometers and did the comparison. The one I used showed 6 degrees lower than the others. So when I thought my temp was a steady 99/100, it was 93/94 for the average of the incubation. (That's why I now use three thermometers in my bator..lol). I felt it was a miracle we got the one we did. He's now a very spoiled pet chicken, and he does have a couple issues I feel is directly related to the delayed development, but he is a sweetheart!
     
  7. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess I'm not the only one! We were lucky that it must have been just a few degrees warmer than what you had.

    I tested the scientific red dye thermometer by putting it in boiling water, and it was on the dot 212 degrees. So I guess that is the one to trust. At least at this point the digital ones are within half a degree of each other, so I know if they say "107 degrees" it's really around 100.
     
  8. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    I was dumbfounded when I found out it was that low. It totally explained why they looked behind at lockdown and why he was late. I'm surprised even my one hatched and survived.
     

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