Stupid incubators

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by duckncover, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. duckncover

    duckncover Duck Obsessed

    Jan 17, 2009
    North Eastern PA
    out of a total of:

    8 call duck eggs
    12 ring neck pheasant eggs
    over 30 button quail eggs
    over 30 coturnix quail eggs

    I've only hatched 1 duckling and 3 button quails...

    I've used 3 different incubators (1 little giant, 1 homemade incubator that I sold, and one new homemade one that needs repair)

    My new incubator (chic-chick-bator model) keeps flickering and won't hold a temperature. I really didn't notice this until day 5 of my 22 button quail eggs incubation and it was too late. I need a new thermometer and hydrometer because the ones I have now aren't digital.

    Can anyone post a picture of their chic-chick-bator's thermostat so I can find where to put the needle at.

    I can't stand this anymore...I didn't try chicken eggs yet but they are my next victims since they are easy to candle. Maybe I should just give up...I feel like I'm wasting time and money at this point.
    I don't get an allowance but I get a set amount of money to spend for the month for helping out until I get a job. I'm pretty much sick of sitting at home because I have no money from buying eggs that don't hatch.
  2. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 23, 2008
    Murphy NC
    I guess everybody has a theory about where to place the thermostat. By the way, You didnt say what kind of thermostat you where using. Anyways, the temps at the thermostat dont really matter, its the temps at egg level that are what you need to be concerned with.

    Now with that said, most commercial home appliance type thermostats ( hotwater heaters) have a very wide hysteresis. Hysteresis is the difference in when the thermostat actually turns off and turns on. This can vary by several degrees. Also the older the thermostat, usually the wider the hysteresis becomes, one reason the wafer thermostats wear out and stop holding temps ranges verywell. the closer the thermostat to the heat source, the more subject it is to extreme temperature. The actual heat source can also have its own hysteresis where as it can become to hot and overshoot the desired temperature giving off residual heat, even after the thermostat has stoped supply power to the heater. Even a light bulb will stay hot for a little while after it is turned off. This residual heat can cause the temps to overshoot the desired levels and even when cooled off can take a long time to turn back on again because the temperature is still greater around the thermostat than the desired temperature settings you are trying to maintain around the eggs. For this reason many people have to experiment with where to place the thermostat to find that proper balance where the thermostate turn on/off and the proper temperature is maintained around the eggs.

    Nichrome resistance wire is about the best heat source to use in an incubator because of its ability to heat up fast and also cool down fast, especially if there is a fan blowing across the heater wire. This ensures that there is not an extreme overshoot of heating and allows the thermostat to work within a narrower heat range. Nichrome wire can be lenght adjusted to where the heat it gives off is close to the actual temperature that you want to achieved. With the coreect lenght and size of nichrome wire, it is possible to design a heat source that wont go over a certain temp such as 99.5*. to do so would probably mean it would take the incubator a long time to get up to the desired temp setting and a long time to recover any heat lost because the incubator door was opened letting out stored heat. It would also mean the heat source would be running continuously, not good on the electric bill.

    True electronic thermostats (not electronic hotwater heater thermostats ) usually have a smaller hysteresis, or narrower difference in their on/off cycle. Some of the more expensive ones use computer chips that can actually sense when the temperature is approaching the preset range and actually turn off the heat source before it is allowed to overshoot the desired temps. Even the best electronic thermostat wont provide accurate temperature settings if it isnt used with a proper heat source in a well built enclosure that will minimize heat loss.

    I know I didnt answer your question about where to place your thermostat, but hopefully, I gave you some sort of ideal as to why location is so important. My suggestion is to stop putting eggs in any type of incubator until you know that the temperature is staying where you want it to stay. Do a little trial and error without the eggs. Let the incubator run 2 or 3 days to make sure you arent getting big temp swings. Once the incubator is fixed so that the temps at or near where the eggs would be placed is maintained at the proper level, then you can try adding eggs. Give it a day to stabilize before doing any adjusting of the thermostat, it shoold stay and operate after stabilization at or near where it was running without any eggs in it and minimal thermostat adjusting should be all that is needed.
  3. fremo

    fremo Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 27, 2009
    Most people starting out incubating think that all you need is an incubator and you can stick it where you like and wait for the hatching. The most important thing to realise is the room temperature of the area you put your incubator in. If you put your incubator in a room that has a low temperature it will never get up to working temperature to have high hatchability. If your incubator is kept in a room with a controlled temperature of 25deg C then your incubator should crank up to the required heat. If the incubator is kept in a room that is only 16 deg. it will effectively just be heating up the room and not be able to get the desired hatching temperature.[​IMG]
  4. cook_kaka_ook

    cook_kaka_ook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2009
    As a first time user of used incubator from a local craigslist ad, I successfully hatched 13 out of 19 chicken eggs. The only hard part was the tedious turning of the eggs 2 to 3x a day. The secret maybe is setting up the incubator in a room where the temperature change is minimal. Good luck in your next endeavor.
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 23, 2008
    Murphy NC
    A well designed incubator should be able to overcome normal temperature fluctuations inside a home. Of course if you keep you house heated to more than 100* most incubators wont act as a refrigerator and bring the temps down. Dealing with extreme temps variations, as could be experience if say the incubator was placed in a unheated garage during the coldest part of winter, would be asking to much for a hobbiest incubator. I recently took my incubator out of the room I had been using it in to store it in my basement. Temps had never varied more than a tenth or two and hatchrates ran close to 100%. I am expecting to hatch another run of eggs in a couple of weeks so decided to check the incubator out in its new home. I turned it on and it quickly got up to temp and seemed to be stabilized. Later that evening I built a fire in the woodstove which is also located in the basement, not thinking about the incubator of course. The next morning the incubator temps where at 104*. I suspect the temps in the basement where close to 104* as well becaus it was very hot in the basement. To overcome such a extreme heated situation I would have to add some sort of cooling devise to the incubator, which would make the incubator very expensive. My best and easiest course of action will be to just take my incubator back into the house where temps adverage a much more favorable temperature range and hatch out my next batch of chicks.

    Cheap styrofoam incubators dont do a very good job of retaining heat. Yes they are better than a cardoard box, but the size of the incubator is already very small and styrofoam doesnt have any real mass to help hold stored heat. It will keep a cup of coffe from burning your hand, but heat does radiate thru the stryrofoam pretty easily. Wooden incubators dont have the same insulating qualities as the styrofoam, but they makeup for it in thermal mass, where as they are able to store heat energy, thus helping to maintain a contant temperature inside the incubator. Plywood incubators have poor incubating quailities as well, having an Rvalue somewhere in the same range as Snow. They rely on massive heat sources to maintain correct temperature ranges. This works but isnt really very economical to operate as a better insulated incubator would be.
  6. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    When building a incubator using a light an hot water thermostat wait to mount the thermostat. Put it in the middle of the incubator at first an adjust it to where it kicks on at about 98.5 to 99. Do not worry about how hot it gets before it kicks off yet. Once you have that set you want to move the thermostat closer to the light little by little. As you do you will notice that the thermostat will kick off sooner an sooner. At some point, usually around 2 to 3 inches from the light the thermostat should be cycling relatively fast. It should still be coming on at the temp you set but now should be going off at or a little over 100. I think the fan should always be ether blowing heat off the light on to the thermostat or completely on the other side of the incubator. It should never be blowing cold air on the thermostat.
  7. Eggcellent

    Eggcellent Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2009
    Michigan's Thumb
    I bought one of the Zilla thermostats for reptiles and it is rock solid. I never have over .8 degree separation between high and low temps... and it never creeps up or down.
  8. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009
    I have found that there are far less issues with temps if you put bator on an inside wall, which keeps it away from the windows. My problem has been with humidity not so much temps. Stick with it. I'm still practicing. I've only been doing small hatches except for this one due sunday. Started with 18 eggs and am down to 10. You'll get it. [​IMG]

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