Whohooo!!! My new incubator with proportional Thermostat

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by bumpershoot, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] [​IMG] Meet the new incubator!!

    [​IMG]


    My hova has been giving me heartburn in a serious way. Since my house is not climate controlled, it can jump around with the best of them no matter what I do. My floors are heated, so they are steady, but if the outside temp gets real hot or cold real fast (which it can in NM...all in the same breath) the floors don't adjust quickly and neither does the Hova, thus the highs and lows can come about. Plus, don't get me started on the Hova's behavior after a power outage![​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]!

    After the second outage and resulting temp spike of 104(!!!!) I decided that enough was enough and the incubator that I was going to build in May was going to be built NOW (I still have live ones, btw, which is a miracle if you ask me)...so to the internet...and I found this beauty:

    http://www.spyderrobotics.com/products/herpstat.html

    because it's a proportional thermostat my highs and lows are minimal and I can check the temp log to see if there has been a spike AND it recovers from me opening the 'bator extremely quickly - less then one minute. YEA!

    My fans are on a separate power supply (with back up from 9v battery) so if the room gets hot and the thermostat kicks off the 'bator will begin to cool quickly with all the air circulation. If we have another power outage the jars of water that act as heat sinks will help keep things steady until I can have another heat source. In my heart I'd love to add a UPS (uninteruptable power supply), but it's $200, so not for a while! [​IMG]
    A few more rounds of fried eggs and it will be worth it, though!

    This box is big and HEAVY. It's a tool box that my DH built ages ago out of 1/2 inch plywood. Takes two of us to move it empty. He liked it that way because he'd take it to Mexico to build houses and, let's just say, full of tools the likelyhood of someone just walking with the whole thing full was pretty low. Individual tools could be swiped, but not a wholesale snatch. But I digress...

    The reason I re-allocated the box from DH was that it was big enough to be insulated and still put in the auto-turner plus I have no time right now to build a box. Too many other building projects going on. Anyway, I got a plastic storage bin from Target that the turner fit in, so the amount of insulation you see in the pic was determined by the amount of space between the plastic bin and the plywood box. There is no other reason as the thermostat is good enough to adjust for temp swings quickly.

    You will also notice that I chose a ceramic reptile heater as my heat supply. We tried a light bulb and it was too weird watching it grow brighter and dimmer as the thermostat adjusted. I felt that the ceramic heater would be better suited, as this is exactly what it was designed to do, thus less likely to die on me. It just screws into a normal light socket and I wired a plug from and old extension chord to in order to plug into the thermostat. I can add that pic later. It'll make sense when you see it. Very simple. You could have no wiring skills and get this part right.

    On each end of the box is a one inch hole to bring air in and push out, plus they allow me to run the electrical chord for the turner and run a tube in for water.

    I can post more pics on some of the details of this box later if anyone is interested.

    My next problem is that I have a split hatch. Day 18 for the first group is Wed. I am trying to figure out a way to keep everyone in the box at the same time without moving anyone back over to the darn Hovabator. The biggest issue is humidity. What do the folks that have the big cabinet incubators do about the humidity disparity between those hatching and those turning? Inquiring minds would like to know!

    You can't tell from the pics, but I can actually take 2x4's and put them underneath the turner and raise it up, which would leave space for those hatching next Sat to be. I also have space enough to put the turner on the 2x4's and move slightly to the right and then portion off with metal cloth a 8x16 space for the hatchers if I don't want them to have access to the space underneath the turner. So all that is manageable, but what about the darn humidity? Right now it sits between 40-50%. In this box it will be easy to jack it way up, but I don't want to drown those in the turner. So, any suggestions ya'll have would be appreciated!
     
  2. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,472
    20
    171
    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    You are da man!

    You got yourself Humwee not a bator



    I almost flip when I found what the thermostat cost you.

    LOL

    But hey, nice toys do not come cheap.

    I am sure this bad boy will do the job for you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009
  3. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:HAHAHA! No, it's not a cheap thermostat, but then I have that much in eggs in that pic, so at some point you just bite the bullet!
     
  4. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    4,639
    26
    256
    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Nice thermostat!!! That made my want it list. If you figure the cost of high end eggs, a ruined batch or two - would have more than paid for it.

    Thanks for the post - I'm using Flexwatt Heat Tape - for reptiles to heat my bator so I totally understand avoiding the lightbulb thing.

    I think my next project is a bigger bator that will hold a rack. For now I'm stuck with my homemade ugly bator but when I step up, that thermostat is going to be on my list.
     
  5. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    Quote:HAHAHA! No, it's not a cheap thermostat, but then I have that much in eggs in that pic, so at some point you just bite the bullet!

    Hey bumper, next time your 'bator is empty, would you mind giving me the full MODE picture type gallery? I am in love with that 'bator!
     
  6. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey Boyd, I have pictures of most of it being built which I can post in a little while. The box itself my husband built years ago. I just did a wife-snatch [​IMG]
     
  7. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    I know, but I want the glamor shots!!!! Close up of your heating element... and your thermostat has me drooling.
     
  8. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you guys think this thermostat is trick, you should check out the one Spyder sells that you can check temp on -line. Can you imagine? I'd never get any work done!
     
  9. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    The beginning:

    [​IMG]

    The thermostat working:

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the fuzzy picture. You can see the power supply for the thermostat and the power for the heating element coming in and going out of the bottom. They are the white chords. The grey chord on the left of the thermostat is the line for the temp sensor. All of these chords are amply long. Spyder did not skimp on length at all.

    This is the plug from the light socket which holds the heat emitter, which then plugs into the thermostat.

    [​IMG]

    an extension chord! It seems cheezy, but it's quite a nice one and it works. Really, it makes sense. Spyder is a very small company. What you care about is what is in the thermostat. So, when they built the box then used one end of a power chord to power the thermostat and the other to control the heater. I thought it was rather cost effective. It probably would look a touch more professional if it were black, but frankly it's fine.

    The heating element is one of these:

    [​IMG]
    a heat wave ceramic heat emitter sold on line and at most reptile places. They run $20-$25.


    The guts of the fan system:

    [​IMG]

    I have a teenager. He sodders. He wires things together out of scrap computer junk. He scrounged the fans from dead computers that breed like bunnies around here, pulled wiring from them to daisy link all the fans together and then ran them though this box that used to be a cd something or other. The switch toggels between DC and battery back-up and the whole thing is powered by a wall wort.

    This is the fan controller screwed to the box:

    [​IMG]

    this picture is turned, so to be upright it needs to rotate to the left.

    here you can see some of the wiring for the fans

    [​IMG]

    I think those are the most important bits. Realistically, I could hook the thermostat up to the PIA Hovabator and it would probably make the thing usable. It is the essential piece to the whole box. Next is the heat emitter. Everything else is just support staff.
     
  10. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by