thermostat upgrade?


12 Years
Mar 19, 2008
Elk, WA
I picked up a few LG incubators for cheap. 2 have wafers, 1 is a solid-state...otherwise they are alike. If the primary issues with the LG are thermostat related, would replacing the LG therm with a better one do the trick?
Replacing wafers is always a good idea

It might not be easy though, and might also cost more than the incubator. Wafers do work, and have worked for a long time. If you are upgrading the wafer incubators, check to see if the solid state device will fit in the others. If it fits ok you can probably just buy the partd as spares.

With the LG ..... as far as I am aware, it is not the wafer specifically that is the problem, but the method of adjusting it.
I was thinking more along the lines of swapping out the LG thermostats (wafers and solid) for a more accurate type. I found some posts on a snake/reptile page from people who have used "ReptiTemp" thermostats and Ranco thermostats to control the temps in their habitats...someone built an incubator out of a refrigerator and used heat tape and a ReptiTemp for the thermostat. The Ranco is set digitally, the ReptiTemp is manually set, but both are supposed to be very stable.

I haven't been able to find any mention of anyone swapping one of these thermostats into a foam incubator, though. The pics I saw of the Ranco look like it would fit fine on the outside with the wires running through to the heat element. Considering they have a bit more at stake than "just eggs", either seem more reliable than any LG thermostat.

May just have to give it a try. The 3 LG bators, including 2 turners, set me back $30 total, so there's not much to lose by trying, I suppose.
I was thinking more along the lines of swapping out the LG thermostats (wafers and solid) for a more accurate type.

Ok ... take a look here

This is one I built using a Ranco. I was lucky, I have an old freezer that I use to brew beer and I had the Ranco to control it. I have the two stage version.

The problem is that the Ranco costs more than the incubator

The other problem is that better can be had cheaper. I used the Ranco because I had it, and results were excellent, but in my never-ending quest for perfection I have found better, cheaper.

The Ranco, like all the other electronic thermostats is an on/off controller. It just happens to be a very high quality one that is highly adjustable. For incubator purposes it is just fine, but the 2 stage is overkill.

Better would be a PID process controller from Ebay, with a T-Type thermocouple. That's what I plan on trying next.

The contoller will be around $50 shipped, and the thermocouple about $15

The benefit is in the method of control. PID controllers have 3 settings. On/Off, proportional and PID. The proportional is a burst controller that aims to replace measured heat-loss by rapidly cycling the heater. Brinsea uses them, as do R-Com. They are very stable, esp. in stable ambient temps.

PID goes a step further, and uses proportional control while, at the same time, measuring the change in ambient temperature and allowing for it.

It's probably the ultimate control, and would allow an incubator to be used in a barn or shed (not the LG, the heater isn't big enough)

Food for thought, come on back if you have more input.

I believe with a good thermostat and a 200w or so element a bator could be kept anywhere. Whenever I find the components that suit me Im going to make a cabinet bator.
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Well the discussion is around *what is a good thermostat*.

The size of heater has to be matched to the expected rate of heat loss from the cabinet. So 200W would suit some and not others.

I believe a Sportsman has a 200 or 250W heater, but it's a big cabinet, and the older ones prefer reasonably stable ambient conditions as they use wafer thermostats. The modern ones are probably much more tolerant of external conditions.

One would expect an incubator would simply hold an internal temp. according to the setting, almost regardless of the external temp, if the heater is big enough. In practise, however, it doesn't seem to work that way.

The problem with a styrofoam incubator is simply that too big a heater would melt it, as they give off a fair amount of heat locally.

The heater I put in mine is 125W .... I wouldn't want it in a Hovabator, but it's great in the wooden cabinet.

Bigger cabinets also have a great deal more thermal mass than a small table-top. That in itself probably helps the heat control enormously when ambient temps vary.

The downside is cost.

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