Updating an old GQF 1402 cabinet incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by WalnutHill, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I had the good fortune to purchase a dead GQF 1402 over the summer. It isn't dated, but I believe it was manufactured around 1997. The turner didn't work, the incubator wouldn't heat up, and the electronic controller had overheated and scorched the inside top of the cabinet and warped the thermostat housing. It was rusty, crusty, and cheap. It came with all the trays, and an active rodent nest as well. It was just what I was looking for.

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    I was really glad I took the truck by the time I got home with it. Rodent mess stinks. The bed of the truck smelled.

    I left it outside, and pulled the fiberglass insulation that had been packed into the fan tunnel and on the water shelf by the busy rodents. I scraped and wiped and sprayed it until it only smelled a little. I pressure washed the egg trays and shelves, and brought it all inside.

    A little time with my ohmmeter showed that the egg turner switch worked, and the voltmeter told me I had power to the switch and from the switch to the motor. But the motor showed no signs of life, so I ordered a turner motor and "clock" motor from GQF. An hour or so of fighting rusty hardware later, and the turner was up and running. I left it for a couple of days to ensure it turned reliably. A visual inspection had shown that the resistance wire used in the heating element had broken, so I installed a new heating wire. Hurrah, it heats!

    Neither of the indicator lights, for heat and for turner, worked. Oh well.

    I set the secondary wafer thermostat to the recommended 102F. It stayed stable at 102.

    I then adjusted the solid state controller to 100F as recommended. Now the incubator remained at 100F as if the dial was stuck...it didn't move!

    I ran a set of turkey eggs through and the incubator did a fine job turning and maintaining temperature.

    Incubation season is over for me, so I figured I'd do a full cleaning and restoration of this old beast so that it will be nice and clean for spring hatching.

    More to follow.
     
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  2. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

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    sweet following!
     
  3. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Disassembling the cabinet is quite straightforward. Most panels are simply screwed together with aluminum edging, and thin foam insulation to fill the gaps between panels. The bottom of the chassis and the water shelf also benefit from a bead of silicone caulk.

    First remove the door, then the turner assembly. Start with the trays, then the turner motor link, and work your way down.

    All the mechanicals are confined to the upper shelf. To remove the upper shelf, the power cord and both indicator lamps must be cut free, and the thermostats unscrewed from the case side. Then unscrew the brackets and slice through the silicone.

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    The chassis is made of painted plywood, so simply scrape off the old weatherstripping and scuff sand and wipe down the panels, then apply your favorite paint. I used Rustoleum Painter's Touch in Semi-Gloss White.

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
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  4. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

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    are you going to keep the body or just go with the guts and make something with heavy insulation and plastic? wondering whats in that head of yours...[​IMG]
    Have you ever used a cabinet before? I am not fond of the way they need to use humidity. I am glad I went with a cooler even though that takes a dish of water here and then during incubation.
     
  5. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I am retaining the plywood box. I have an infrared thermometer, and the cabinet does not lose too much heat during operation. Old weatherstripping is the biggest flaw. but is one easily corrected.

    I will be putting casters on the bottom for easy portability as well as for additional air gap for insulation.

    I did not have any trouble maintaining 35-40% humidity during a Michigan summer, but I know that during heating season I will need to add water to the water pan. I'll likely craft my own reservoir and float system.
     
  6. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

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    [​IMG]
     
  7. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I had to take a few days off for business travel, but the time cured the paint on the door, back and top very well.

    I received my replacement indicator lamps. Part number 20C849, they are a same color-same style replacement for the original lamps.

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    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  8. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Next step, tearing down the equipment shelf. I drew up a rudimentary wiring diagram, and will try to do a better one later.

    Shelf is bare...and this incubator had a small fire once upon a time. Based on the damage to the board and the thermostat, I believe that the heating element wire broke and shorted to the grounded grid between the insulator screw and the grid. This caused high current draw, which overheated the screw and burned the mounting board. Since the wire was broken and the thermostat stayed powered on trying to heat the incubator, the thermostat also overheated and badly warped its enclosure. It didn't look nearly so bad until I scraped off the burned wood. The paint remained reasonably intact, but the wood behind turned to charcoal.

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    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  9. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Reassembled the refinished door and door hardware. I am going to skip adding a window for now.

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  10. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

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    [​IMG] moving right along!
     

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