My new mini fridge incubator! $60!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mirandaleecon, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just made an incubator out of an old minifridge.
    Here's how;
    I paid $25 for the fridge, but if I was patient, I probably could have gotten one for free. Just posted an add on craigslist, got quite a few responses and a couple were willing to give me one free but they were too far away. I cut a hole in the door and glued a piece of glass (no idea where this came from) so I had a window.

    I used a couple computer fans (<$5, could be free if you know someone who builds computers or you have some you can break down), mounted in one of the plastic shelves, facing opposite directions to create good airflow. I wired these into old phone chargers.

    For heat, I salvaged a light socket and had to buy one ($3), wired them into old computer power cables.

    To control the heat, I bought an inkbird temperature controller ($18) and wired it to an outlet ($2) and mounted these two in a project box ($8). I plugged the lights into this and set it to the temperature I want it to cut the lights off.

    So, this amounts to about $60. A lot of these things can be salvaged, if you keep your eyes open and can be patient. I'm not sure how many eggs it will hold because I haven't quite finished the shelves. I just make one really rinky dink one to test it out with. I imagine it would hold at least 60 though...

    If anyone wants specifics on wiring (I tripped a breaker 3 times and shocked myself once! But I figured it out!) let me know. I am obviously not electrically savvy so if I can do it, anyone can!

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  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    It looks fantastic! Hopefully it performs as great as it looks!
     
  3. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! So far it's doing well. The light only comes on for a couple seconds then stays off for several minutes. Only thing that I need to work on is the humidity. No water at all in there and it says 60%. Not sure how accurate the hygrometer is though, it's the only one I didn't calibrate...
     
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd definitely calibrate it just to be sure. But, if it is accurate, you could add some rice filled socks or dry paper towels to absorb some of the excess humidity.

    I really do like that 'bator! I might have to keep an eye out for a mini fridge and have my husband make it into an incubator (so he can get shocked :p ). I've been using LG styro 'bators for years, but I've been looking to upgrade to something bigger and more reliable for a while. Something like this might just fit the bill!
     
  5. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am going to calibrate it as soon as I get home. Work has me flying to DC today and flying home late tomorrow. This weekend I will be tweaking some things and trying to come up with a turner.
    I didn't even think of rice. I actually have some sewn into a bag that I use as a heating pad. Got rid of the microwave so I have no way to heat it up now...

    Thank you! I'm actually quite proud of it, even if it's not perfect. I wasn't sure it would even work. I will say, if you can find something like a wine cooler that already has the window, it would be a lot easier to put together...
     
  6. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My test batch goes into lockdown today!

    Of the 15 I set, two were clears and one was an early death. All the rest look great except the air cells are a bit on the small side despite not having a drop of water in there the whole incubation. I realized this might be due to not having any air vents (thought opening the door for turning/candling would be enough) so we drilled a couple holes in the side yesterday. Also realized that after lockdown, there would be no fresh air getting in without the vents. I haven't added any water yet, I'm going to candle them today and if the air cells are still small, I will wait until I hear some peeping and throw a couple sponges in there.

    And it's looking like these will hatch on day 21 instead of early. Just about all my hatches in the Styrofoam incubator started hatching around day 18-19. The thing was always fluctuating temperatures and almost every hatch had spikes so I'm sure that's why. My fridge bator has held steady temps the whole time and even yesterday when we had the door open for about 5 minutes to drill some holes, the temp was back up in less that 2 minutes.

    I had planned on using the POS Styrofoam bator for hatching, but after my last batch (20/29 into lockdown, 9 hatched, 1 chick died mysteriously a day later, so 8/29), I have decided to just go ahead an hatch in my new incubator. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get the humidity up high enough for hatch originally but now it seems like I should have been more concerned with getting it down for incubation.

    Anyways, I'm excited! I will post pictures/updates in a couple days!
     
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I keep seeing free mini fridges on CL and an so tempted. My mom has an old food dehydrator my dad built that I want to try first.
    Good luck with the hatch.
     
  8. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm already looking to build another one! This one works so much better than I had anticipated, and WAY better than my old one...

    That sounds pretty interesting, I haven't seen any made out of a dehydrator before. Seems like it would be pretty easy, the heating element and fan are already there, just need a thermostat to regulate the temperature...keep me posted, I would love to hear how that goes!
     
  9. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Day 20 and I woke up to 5 pips! One of them is one that I was worried about because it had a weird air cell, seemed like the veins were attached to the shell way up high but you could see the air cell lower down. Hard to explain but I'm happy it pipped.

    I tried adding a bowl of water to up the humidity but it shot up close to 90% so I took that out and it stayed around 65% all day yesterday. Now it's down to 55%. Kind of wishing I put a "service door" that I could just fit my hands in to add a sponge. The fridge door is a bit disruptive to open. I'll work on that for next hatch...
     
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Can you please clarify for me regarding placement of fans and bulbs, in relation to the sensor from your Inkbird? Also, how bout ventilation holes, where, size and how many. I'm doing a dorm fridge this winter. Have everything needed except for the 12V converters for the fans.
     

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