Random thoughts on building incubators

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by eggonomist, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. eggonomist

    eggonomist In the Brooder

    Oct 20, 2007
    Singhampton, Ont, Canada
    Go easy with me, this is all very new to me. I have been reading a lot on incubators and see many great designs. I have been building an incubator tonight and have the basic design done, i'll be adding an automatic turner later and I made the design with a sump to hold the water as I realized I made a slight miscalculation with the turning radius (45 instead of 90 degree tilt) and needed a bit more room. My thoughts have turned to heating, I know the lightbulb is the favoured method but I think that radiant heat in one spot assisted by a fan can be improved on.
    My first thought is that your basically making a hairdryer. Sooo has anyone thought of dissassembling a hairdryer and mounting it as a heat and fan on it's low setting? or would the element burn out to quickly. Having never owned a hairdryer I don't know how long they would last.
    My Second thought had me looking at scrap products I can get for nothing at the local charitable shops. A food dehydrator with a cracked lid or a broken crock pot could give up their heating elements for a better cause.
    My other question, although should probably be left to another topic, is when/if the chick hatches does it just fall onto the grill above the water? if so do you just leave the debris in the incubator untill the hatching is over.
    OK I have taken up enough bandwidth now, i'm off to read up as much as I can before I make a complete fool of myself.
  2. Hi Adie and welcome!
    I've built several bators and always go back to using my Little Giants (I guess I'm not good at building bators [​IMG]
    The only Q I can answer is
    "...when/if the chick hatches does it just fall onto the grill above the water? if so do you just leave the debris in the incubator untill the hatching is over."
    And the answer to that, is yes.
    Unless there is a problem with the hatch, it's recommended to leave the bator closed til the hatch is finished.

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2007
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    We built a hatcher based on the Sportsman model out of an old freezer. All parts cost less than $75 total and it works great. Getting ready to move eggs tomorrow to it. Not sure if it will help, but here are some pics.







  4. chickenmama22

    chickenmama22 Songster

    Aug 29, 2007
    Hey, I really like the dehydrator heating element idea~ mostly because I already have one that I bought ($6 or less) at a thrift shop.

    I was thinking of using a dehydrator for an incubator until I did research and learned that they run 140 degrees F... a bit too hot, I'd say. Now I'm wondering what would happen if I hooked it up to a thermostat at 99.5.

    Thanks for the idea! Keep us posted on your design ideas!
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I had thought about using the element in my old dehydrator but wouldn't you know it went out on me last week.

    I'd like to see what you come up with.
  6. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    Hair dryers draw lots of power while they are running. I think the reason the bulb works so well is that it is designed to run for long periods and it is not a huge draw of power. There are lots of other alturnatives to the bulb but most are much harder to isolate. Any appliance that has a thermostate, like an electric skillet or crock pot will work but getting to the heat source is not easy.
  7. eggonomist

    eggonomist In the Brooder

    Oct 20, 2007
    Singhampton, Ont, Canada
    Wow thanks for the responses. I want to use the dehydrator as it's only 125 watt, I have a thermostat but I'm now thinking a dimmer switch on the heater would be a better idea and dispensing with the thermostat altogether. That way the heat is always contstant, the fan will keep the air circulating and thus keeping the heat constant.
    The element is the width of my incubator so heat would be evenly dispursed. I was thinking of getting as much air flow while keeping the heat up.
    My other thought was to look at the heaters in car seats. even the $15 ones they use as a massage/heat pad. this way it would always be safe in power failure's, just hook it up to on old battery, and keep a 1 amp charger pluged in and if the power goes the battery takes over. This will be after I finish experimenting with what I have already.
    It's such an evolutionary thing. I should think more about the coop at this point but I can play with the scraps of wood left over while I wait for the next lot of free wood to be salvaged.
    That incubator is HUGE! are those high and low stats on the side, I really like the logic of having the heat seperate and then pipe it to the eggs for even temperature control, although in realistic terms and looking at everyones results it does not seem to make to much difference.
    Mine holds 33 eggs and I don't think I will ever have it full. I had not got aroung to reading about stop turning them on day 18, as I was thinking at full tilt if the poor little one breaks out the wrong time then he/she has a fair drop ahead of them.
    Ok I'm off back to the drawing board.
  8. redneck

    redneck Songster

    May 25, 2007
    I have purchased a curling iron that blows air at a thrift store. I tool it apart to see how it works and have thought about using the heating element in a bator. I would still use a 12v pc fan to circulate the air, I would just let the fan on the iron move the hot air when it cycles on. All would be controlled by a thermostat.

    In my winter project I will be using a industrial heating element that is rated at 11,000 watts at 440 Volts. I will be using one coil of nichrome wire in the heater for the bator. My voltage will be 110 Volts, I figure the element will put out around 150-250 watts. I may even hook up a dimmer switch to further lower the voltage. It will take some time to get it right.
  9. edster951

    edster951 Songster

    everything I have used so far has too high temperature range..

    1. Father in Law's heated foot pad...temp fluctuated too much and too hot, and because of its size it held the "hot" temp too long...and took too long to heat again.

    2. Thermostat out of an oven. Turned off at correct temp, but because the probe was long, it took ages to read the colder temp, so temp droped too much.

    3. Plug in wall thermostat. Good at turning off at correct temp, but on temp was too low, and temp fluctuated too much in the 15min on-off cycle.

    Have just two hot water cylinder thermostats off trademe (local auction site in NZ) for $6NZ. Wil try those when they arrive, assuming they go low enough.

  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I got fed up with making a thermostat... so I just got a thermostat that belonged in your run in the middle commercial incubator and hung it in my incubator... I use a PC fan to circulate air. The total wattage of heat I put into mine is 50W. It is just over 1.5 cubic feet inside and so for mine, any 100W heating element would have been just TOOO much.

    Thing with the commercial thermostat made for incubators... is that it switches on and off like crazy to keep the heat so it's like flashing Christmas lights! I will go though bulbs like crazy but that's fine. I found a box of over 100 of them. [​IMG]


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