LG incubator madness - very stable, then added water/eggs and insanity

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by superchemicalgirl, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    I got a free LG 9200 still air incubator. I have a Brinsea Octagon but the amount of eggs that I wanted to hatch simply didn't fit into the Octagon. Then a very nice person told me I could have her incubator, because she didn't want to hatch anymore. I got the incubator, read all about it and learned that it was difficult to use/regulate but there were some tricks to it. Three days into playing with it (without eggs or water and I also removed the turner because I wanted to hand turn to give the eggs a better opportunity to move about the bottom and get equal exposure to warm/cool areas) I got the bottom temperature to fluctuate between about 99.2 and 100.8, which, from what I read, seems to be the ticket. I had this same temperature in my water wiggler, on the bottom grate, too. It was very stable.

    Then I decided to put eggs in. I also filled up the small trough in the bottom with water as the humidity in there was 10% without water.

    I read to not adjust the temperatures (unless they went high) the first 12 hours. I got up every 1-2 hours and looked at the temperatures. I had 4 thermometers in there (one in the wiggler) that all seemed to basically agree on the temperature (with normal allowance for differences in position).

    The temperature(s) went down as expected and then came back up to about 95. And stayed. 12 hours later, still between approximately 95 (in the wiggler) to 98 on the bottom of the incubator. I even got out another temperature probe that we have for cooking and a really old mercury thermometer. They agreed it was about 95 to 98 in there.

    Early this morning (about 11 hours after starting incubation) I removed the eggs from the LG (at this point I still have room in the Octagon, the last shipment of eggs was delayed and should be here today) into the Octagon. The Octagon recovered to 99 within about an hour.

    Is this incubator possessed? Is this normal for still air LG? Why would it have been fine and stable and then not? Did I not wait long enough for the temps to come back up?

    I've read through a ton of information about this incubator and don't see this particular problem. Thank you for your assistance.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    When you ran your tests, the incubator was empty. By adding the eggs and so forth, you've cut the interior cubic inches in half. The unit needs to stabilize, that's all.

    Making quick adjustments up or down, creates yet another unstable period, and before it stabilizes yet again, you've likely adjusted the knob again, sending it yet another period of trying to stabilize.

    In the future, run your tests in the basement or an interior closet where the ambient temps never swing or change. That can be a hard place to find in house with central heat and AC units. The temps swing in the ambient house 5 to 10 degrees between night and day between sunny days and cloudy days, between times when you bake in the over or don't bake. Lots of changes and variables.

    Run your dial in test, in the future, with Bio mass inside the incubator that mimics the amount of eggs you intend to set. 8 little plastic honey bears, filled with water, or something similar can replicate the volume of the eggs.

    For now, stop making major turns on the knob. The adjustments need to be tiny. Barely moving the knob. Then give the machine a couple hours to seek a level. I find it can take as much as 2 days to stabilize an incubator, especially those of lesser quality.
     
  3. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Thank you for the calm advice. That bio mass advice is helpful and not something I would have considered was a big deal. I haven't made major changes to the settings... but I did throw two full water bottles in there as "heat sinks" on someone elses advice. That put the temperature down to about 88 between opening it and the cooler water. I don't plan to touch it much the next couple hours (but I do plan to fret over it). The eggs I have that are going to be incubated in it still haven't arrived at my post office per the tracking. So I've got at least 24 hours since they need to rest after receipt.

    Also if it takes 2 days to stabilize a cheap incubator, and I have to open it to turn the eggs 3 times a day... does it ever truly get stable?
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The eggs, internally, never swing as wildly as the air temperature. The eggs can take a degree up or a degree down, but they need to average on the money. The more you can eliminate radical, 4 degree swings, the better.

    Sometimes, these inexpensive incubators are just too fussy. I dislike that level of hovering and attention required. Most of these cheap incubators will not work well unless they are situated in a basement or a space that is rock solid on temp, with no change in ambient air. Even the expensive incubators can struggle with handling being in a room that swings from 65F at night to 77F during the day, with the sun beaming in. That's a lot to ask of this level of equipment sophistication.
     
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I would suggest adding an old computer fan to help stabilize the temps, still air incubators have a hard time with that. There are lots of instructions for this on this site, or I could walk you through it easily. I have done that to an LG still air and it had some decent hatches after that. Ultimately, I replaced it with a Genesis Hovabator and that is fantastic by comparison. You already have the turner, and it is compatible with the LG's, so getting the LG was a bargain anyway, and the LG makes a great hatcher to prevent the mess in your other incubators and let you have staggered hatches. As a hatcher, I still recommend the computer fan, but because it is on a separate plugin, I unplug the fan as soon as I see the first pips, still air is really better (IMO) for the final hours as they eggs are hatching, and the temp control is much less important, remember the chicks are producing their own body heat now.
     
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  6. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Thank you, both. A few hours later and it's still in the mid 90s. I upped the temp just a tweak. Post office just called that my eggs are in but they're closed until 1330. Still have plenty of time to get this right.

    I'm not sure I want to put a fan in... me and electricity do not mix. Even with good directions.
     
  7. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Who is your "tech support person" for your computer? Everyone knows at least one computer geek they could ask for help. Most likely they have an old computer somewhere they can scavenge a fan from (and therefore justify to their SO why they still need "that old junk"). For anyone who's ever upgraded components in a desktop PC, this is pretty trivial stuff.

    It's free, works great, and let's you turn off the fan for the hatch - win,win,win!
     
  8. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Tech support person (BF) generally also not keen on electricity. Our tech support usually works like this: I break something. He gives me his thing to replace what I broke, he buys new thing. This works for us... he gets something new, I get something that he knows how to use...


    With some minor tweaking the incubator is back to 99.X on the floor of the incubator - depending on location. However, the wiggler is at 95.7. I'm really confused. Do I trust the floor temp is correct or do I up the floor temp so the wiggler is at 99?

    Post office called... my eggs are in. [​IMG]
     
  9. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    I have read that room temp between 70-80. I use my office that has a door and doesn't get a lot of traffic. Thermometer on the exterior wall.

    A small heater can help keep the temp at the 70-80 mark if need be. I read lots of folks use the basement. I haven't, but may give it a try.

    I have a friend who uses an old still air and she says she does fine. The heat with pellets but I haven't asked her were she situates the incubator.

    I have a genesis 1588. The old kind. I do okay but not always great. I think egg quality and health count for a lot.
     
  10. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    This is Maine in winter. Nothing is 80 degrees. We heat with pellets and a wood stove. The rooms heated by the pellet stove are much more stable temp wise.

    I put the other set of eggs in this morning, the bottom is now reading 98.x with the wiggler reading 95.5. Gotta open it soon to turn them and then I'll leave it alone until it's time to turn in the morning. I'll make the call whether to adjust it back up in the morning. That'll be 24 hours. But this is exactly what I saw with the first trial (that I aborted). The eggs this time were proper temperature - some came out of my Brinsea, the rest were room temp.
     

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