What would you pay for??

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by muddstopper, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am just wondering what the market would pay for a contrapsion I am working on. It is an electronic controller for an incubator that regulates temperature, +/- 0.2 degrees, regulates humidity to within 3%, displays the values on an LCD screen, and can control the speed of a turner motor. It also is fully programmable, and is calibrateable for accuracy. It will be completely plug and play and can be mounted on the outside of the incubator and uitlizes a sensor that is connected by wire to the controller and placed inside the incubator cabinet. These features are only found on the very high end incubators and come at a very high price. This controller would make an excellent upgrade to a Dickey or Sportsman cabinet style incubator, or could be used for constructing a incubator of your own design.

    I need to know if their is a market for such a incubator controller and the price range it has to fall under before I spend a bunch of money on a prototype. This unit is being designed with the hobbist in mind, but would be right at home in a commercial operation.
     
  2. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Brinsea is the only small model incubator offering some of that. And you pay for it obviously. 20 or 40 eggs and cabinet incubator prices. OUCH.

    I don't think you bring something like that down into the market for small incubators. And the cabinets... while that is cool, don't need it.

    You'll get some interest from serious hobbyists no doubt. But parts, manufacturing and all you're talking a few hundred dollars, probably more. That's a pricy add on.

    If you could do it under 300, you'd get more takers. Near two hundred even more. If you could wedge it into 150 hobbyists would probably beat down your door.

    On Cbiblis's thread on his fancy homemade incubators we've been discussing pricing points and trade offs in the building of a middle sized, middle market - 96 egg incubator.

    The more bells and whistles - the higher tech, the more $. The small farm, small backyard hobbyist has a working range of between the low end 40.00 bators and the high end small bators - 400.000 give or take a bit.

    Realistically to get a beautifully build 96 egg incubator into the 3-400 range requires the cheaper technology - wafers not electrical thermostats.

    Put a 300 dollar master unit on it and you go up into the high end cabinet bator market again. More even than Dickey or a GQF. Ouch.

    I want one of Chris's incubators. And I'll put together the money for it. But I'll get the wafer, not the electric thermostat.

    If you could bring a controller in under 200 that's something I'd consider saving for. Because it has value.

    But as is, with a wafer or electric thermostat, an incubator already works.

    You're offering ease - not function. Whiz bang and simplicity, and a "tweaking" of a system that already functions. I can't find quite the right words. You're geeking out an already working system.

    To some people that has immediate and large monetary value. Most people are going to weigh cost HEAVILY against budget and ACTUAL gains.

    Since most poultry people are always weighing costs of feed, space, cost of eggs, cost of birds, costs of shows, there's always an ongoing awareness of how much things cost and what the margin is. Most of us make tradeoffs, this or that, two things we want, which gets us progress with less cost?

    In some groups, you'll find those people - try the poultry press, the coop and the other places the real show and gene freaks group up in, and you'll get takers at even fairly high end prices.

    But if you want to break into the small farm, backyard market - keep the margin of profit small, keep the price as far down as you can make it, and you'll sell more.

    If you can't come in under 300 it'd be hard for most people to justify the cost when what they already own works.

    Yes, the units that control the 10,000 egg incubators do do all that. Yes, that's nifty. But the cost of controller is a much smaller percentage of the cost of the entire incubator. And the cost of losing 10,000 eggs justifies the additional technological costs.

    In simple terms dear, I'm not sure you want to put lipstick on a pig...
     
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You bring up some good points about affordability. Lets just do a little math. An electronic thermostat, (Dickeys) is $68 and all it does is control the temps. It doesnt tell you what the actual temp is, you need another piece of equipment for that. Then you add a thermohydrgometer, another $15 for a decent, yet still not accurate unit. All this does is monitor the temps and humidity, it does nothing for controlling how high or low these values are. For that you must monitor the system. For humidity, you add $2 for a pan to hold water and monitor the level, or a automatic humidity system (a trashcan with a plastic tray and float valve) for $33.50. Even with this, you must adjust the float levels to insure that the preset level isnt to high or low depending on the ambient humidity levels inside and around your home.

    $68+15+33.50=$116 Pretty pricey already if you ask me for no more than what you are actually getting. And thses units require constant attention to maintain the correct temps and humidity levels.. It rains outside, the humidity goes up, air conditioning comes on in the house, temps are harder to regulate. Now add in the price of a automatic egg turner and Thats another $50 and only works with one of the styrofoam type incubator trays that only holds 48 eggs. Now you are at $166. Turners for 300egg bators and the price is even more. You can easily get up to $200 for all the individual parts and controllers for a very lowend incubator.
    Do they work? Of course they do, nobody is saying otherwise

    Now the whole purpose of me even trying to comeup with a electronic controller is because of Chris's incubators. If you will go back to the first few posts in that thread, most of the suggestions included ,"you need some sort of electronic Thermostat". I am designing my controller with that in mind. I am working with an electronic engineer in Thialand and a software engineer in Gemany to get these controllers built. I cant disclose any priceing just yet because the units are still on the drawing table. A budget has been set and hopefully we can comein under budget. If we do, I think you will be very suprised at the affordability of these controllers. It wont be less than $100, heck the temp/humidity sensor alone is over $35 and thats buying in bulk from the manufacturer, but I think we can be fairly certain it will be under your $300 suggested absolute high end of the price range, and hopefully much closer to your "beat the door down" $150 price range. (Remember the other much "cheaper" designs cost $166) Just for boot, it will be a lot more user friendly and a lot simpler to adjust and regulate temps and humidity levels and be a lot more accurate.. Even those Wafer thermostats are hard to get set just right and take time to regulate. With my unit, pick a temp, push a button and walk away. If it works, Chris and I will put the first one in one of his incubators and give it a test run.

    Anyways, its not built yet and I will have to just wait and see if it will perform as intended and if it will be affordable. If it endsup costing to much to manufacture and sell, I guess I will have the only one made. Ouch!!!
     
  4. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your cost research you've done. You are right that's what the conglomerate would cost pieced out seperately.

    And yes the first thing I recommend to people when they upgrade is a better thermostat, every time.

    But your sales are supposing someone with a pre-existing working incubator. Pre-existing turner in most cases. Working "enough" thermostat. Because it's highly unlikely anybody is going to strap this bad boy to an LG or a Hovabator.

    So this is an upgrade to what works. Not equipment to create a new unit.

    If you can come in with that kind of control/thermostat and humidity for the "beat the door down" price I think you can really hit the general market niche pretty well.

    I'd save up for that to go either my refurbished antique redwood or the one I'd like from Chris. Because a year of hatching in Chris's bator should yield about enough money to buy the add on.

    There are people who ARE building for themselves nice pre-made kitchen/bath cabinet-based bators and they're a good group for your market. So is anyone who renovates the old redwoods. But like me they're going to weigh cost over gain. So keeping it under 200 is probably your most solid guideline. And into the 150 realm makes it a lot more likely to have wider appeal.

    I dry hatch so the humidity control feature doesn't hold as much of a thing for me but a lot of folks do need the help so it's useful.

    I think you have a great idea. I hope your costs and projections go well. Keep us up to date, eh???
     
  5. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Are you planning to have this all in one box? If it is a wouldn't want anything to do with it. A set would sell better. A thermostat, a thermometer hydrometer an a humidistat.

    Its like the TV/VCR combo. They sold but not well. Its so much simpler to buy what you think you need an replace it as it goes bad. If I have to fork out for everything every time something fails I would rather buy the individual components elsewhere.
     
  6. robbdebbie

    robbdebbie Professional Chicken Bather

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    I would definatly want one. My hovabator works great as an incubator, but I am having a horrible time with my hatcher. Most people want automation, and that is what you are offering. We aren't going to be hatching 100 eggs at a time, so getting a large incubator is not needed. Also, you should think about just getting some sort of styrofoam with a window and mount this bad boy on it. the styrofoam cost would be minute, and now you have a fully functioning incubator. I think that I would happily spend $200 or a little more for something like this. JMO
     
  7. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rebel. I think you missed the part about plug and play. Everything can be purchased as one complete unit, but would also be available in seperate pieces. The circuit board itself would be the only thing that would have to be replaced as a unit. The $35 dollar sensor I mentioned, It connects to the control boad using a simple plastic connector. The Sensor you can even source from a electronic supply house. ( thats how I found it) The humidifier would also be connected with a plugend and is also sourceable from a electronic supply house, and isnt even needed if you want to use the old bucket of water method. The controll board will be already programmd if you dont want to buy the humidifier at time of initial purchase, so you can add it later if you so desire. Even without the humidifier, you will still get humidity readings.

    The turner motor, can be bought at at robotic hobby shop. The speed of which is what is controlled with the circuit board. (software) If you already have a turner moter, you dont have to use the one recommended for use with the controller. You simply dont hook it up.

    Take a look at your digital thermohydrgometer. Its cheap, not very accurate, and if it breaks you throw it away and buy a new one. If you open it up (I have), you will find no owner serviceable parts. They are cheap for a reason. Well, my control boad isnt much larger than your digital hydrgometer and would be almost as cheap to replace.

    Notice I said almost as cheap, not as cheap. Like I said, the sensor is what might go bad, but we are not dealing with a cheap throwaway sensor. Its commercial, calibratable and will probably last a life time. It cost more than your cheap digital thermohydrometer and doesnt come with any electronics and is one of the most expensive parts of this controller. The electric turner motor, might go bad over time, ( so does everybody elses) but would probalby cost less than $10 to replace. ( theirs cost much more and you must buy from them) The humidifier, another $10.

    The electric controller parts are cheap, but parts add up. Designing software isnt cheap, but once written it stays the same, one chip or one hundred. If for some reason the chip that holds the software fails, it could be replaced for 2 or 3 dollars. Shipping fees would be more than the actual price of the chip. Designing electronic circuits is also expensive, I'll probably endup paying out the whazoo for the prototye, but once designed copying is a simple matter. The rest is just resisitors soildered on a circuit board. The control board would be of no use without the sensor, and the sensor wont work without the control board, but either could be purchased seperately in case one or the other fails. Try replaceing the sensors on your typical digital hydrometer. The sensors cost pennies but my eyes cant focus on anything that small to soilder on a circuit board. Mine just plugs in and out and you wont need a magnifying glass to do it.

    I am trying to think of everything, but appreciate all suggestions and comments. Can I keep the retail price down to the $150 range, I dont know. It depends on the demand, buying in bulk has its advantages, but I dont need 1000 microchips if I cant sell them.
     
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Walkswithdog,
    This controller is being designed specificly as a electronic control unit to work with Chris incubators. If it works as intended, it would be a standard feature. Since it is also being designed as a plug and play, it could be used to upgrade older model cabinet style incubators. If the price for a complete incubator was the same for a Sportsman, Dickey, or Chris's incubator, except Chris's incubator had this kind of controller, which would you buy?? Thats the market we are shooting for. ( I think Chris needs to come up with a name for his Incubators.)

    Altho it might possibly work with a hovabator, I couldnt see anybody with good reasonable sense trying to use one in that situation.

    For the doityourselfers, that wants to build their own cabinet style incubators, it would be a one stop shop to pick up all the electronic you could need. It solves a lot of the problems of sourceing a electric motor that turns slow enought to use as a turner. No adding gears or pullies to reduce the speed. How many times have you seen that question on this forum?? How many different styles of incubators have you seen built by members of this forum? How many questions have been asked about regulateing temps and humidity?

    I am not suggesting that anybody should gut their old incubators and replace the parts with anything I might design or sell. If it aint broke, dont fix it. On the other hand, if you have to replace something that has worn out, why not upgrade to a more functionable controller with bells and whistles. Again, this would depend on price which I dont know yet.
     
  9. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Interesting, but not even close. We are not dealing with a kit, but instead a made from stratch start to finish, stand alone system designed specificly for its intended purpose. I suppose one of those kits could be made to work, but I am not an electronic engineer and prefer to let the professionals design my system.
     

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