The 'Billy'Bator is Built!

Bantam Chase

8 Years
Jul 11, 2011
I JUST got done (tools are still all over the computer desk) finishing up the 'Billy'Bator - I turned a large Coleman cooler into an incubator following Rush Lane Poultry's directions and super-handy you-tube videos. Cost all of $30 out of pocket and will make a great hatcher... not ready to part with my LG w/ the auto-turner. (now if I could wire up the auto turner for in here... hummmmmmm)

At GoodWill I found a kitchen gadget that had a 120v AC to 12v DC inverter to power the computer fan for $5, the hot water heater thermostat cost $10 at Lowes, plus two $5 light sockets (though I might have been able to do this cheaper) and a $2 extension cord. There were some glamorous touches here in there like solder for the wire joints instead of wire nuts, and I did 'splurge' and buy some wire hangers to make the backside look nice and neat.

Materials bought - $30 (inverter, thermostat, lights, cord and wire hangers)
Materials on hand - $FREE cooler, glass, computer fan, screws, lightbulbs, caulk, solder and electrical tape

Tools used - 1 1/2" hole saw, 1/4" drill bit, electric drill/screwdriver, dremmel and/or jigsaw.

Pictures will come later - we've just moved (in fact are homeless right now...) and the camera is in a box in the new garage. Its warming up right now, so we'll see if there are any hot or cold spots, and if two 40 watt bulbs are enough to bring it up to 100... and how sensitive the thermostat is. I"ll worry about humidity later, since this is mainly to be used as a hatcher right now.
After fighting all day with temperature swings (and panicking over the coming hurricane) I put several 1/2 gal juice bottles into the 'Billy'Bator. I filled them with 100-ish degree water first, and viola! Its been holding steady at 100 degrees w/ or w/out the lights on. 3 cheers for heat sinks! I'll do a bit more figuring so the hatch tray won't be so close to the bulbs - maybe just having two bottles instead of 3 and putting them onto of the wire... or babyfood jars... hummmm........
good idea - I like the mass of the juice jugs, but they raise the grate too high. I've got a bunch of those floating around somewhere, I think... tomorrow's project!

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