Wine Cooler Bator Project - Just about done w/ pics!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jettgirl24, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Hi Guys,

    I got a really nice wine cooler that I'm converting into a bator. I've got the project mostly finished but I'm having one problem... I placed the light bulb as far as I could from the top but it has started to melt the plastic above it anyway. I'm not sure what to do about this... I'm hoping I can figure out a barrier to put above the bulb to prevent this so I don't have to move it. The problem with this size fridge is that there aren't many places to put the bulb without interfering with the racks. Anyone know what I could use as a barrier? I found some automotive products that are designed to keep heat form the engine from burning the hood... Any car buffs out there who know if this might work for my purposes?

    Anyways, here's what I did!

    First I pulled it apart and it appears that there is no freon as far as I can tell... In fact there are already two built in fans that are wired up and everything so I think I can use these instead of installing a computer fan! YAY!

    Here are pictures of the cooler torn apart:

    On the bottom you see the circuit boards. Just above the circuit boards is a square wafer thingy... Not sure what it is but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the cooling. I'm going to snip that off and twist on a wire-nut connector. Above that are the two fans. I reinstalled the bigger one back over the hole you can see between the two fans. Right now I just have the little one sitting in the back portion not doing anything. If I need it I think I'll cut another square in the bottom of the fridge and install the smaller fan there but the will be a little more work so I'm trying to avoid that if possible.

    [​IMG]


    Here's what I removed. There are the two metal cooling grate things (I have no idea what the proper names are [​IMG]). There's also a styrofoam block with another one of those metal wafer thingies in it. This one isn't wired to anything, it's just hanging out embedded in the styrofoam. This stuff I'm just going to toss, I shouldn't need it for my purposes.

    [​IMG]

    The next step was to install the light bulb kit that will act as the heating unit. I decided to place the light bulb at the top of the cooler just above the fan. Hopefully this will be enough heat and air circulation to keep the bator at the right temp without hot spots. One issue I encountered was too much ventilation. The fridge has a big vent in the back metal cover as well as on the two sides. I covered up the entire ventilation opening right behind the fan and about 3/4 of the ones on the sides with duct tape to get the temp up but still allow for some airflow.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've got my thermometer/hygrometer in there now, it's been in for about 30 minutes and we're at 96.6 degrees and rising in the bottom of the incubator right now. Once it gets up to temp in the bottom I'm going to put the thermometer on the top shelf and see if I've got a hot spot up near the bulb. After that I'll add in some water to check it's ability to get the humidity up for normal and lock down conditions.

    Here's a pic of it now:

    [​IMG]

    The only things left to do are to add in water for humidity, install the thermostat, and put some hardware cloth down on the racks so the babies don't fall through. I may have to alter or build new racks if that doesn't work well but I'll use scrap material for that. For the thermostat I'm going to go with the ReptiTemp which I'll order next week. Thanks to the fact that I got the cooler for free and it already had the fans, the entire project will end up costing be about $35.00 for the ReptiTemp and the light fixture kit. In terms of time it took me about 2 hours but a lot of that was spent figuring out how everything works since this is my first time on a project like this. If I were to build this same one again I could probably whip it out in 45 minutes or so. Not too bad if I do say so myself!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    I know NOTHING about homemade bators, but here is push to the top.
     
  3. Robo

    Robo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2010
    Knoxville,TN
    I would put some tin foil over it.
     
  4. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    Originally...Does this unit not both heat & cool to keep the contents at a desired temp???? If so, you wouldn't have had to change a thing. Just wondering as I have Reptipros & another similar that work this way.
     
  5. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Originally...Does this unit not both heat & cool to keep the contents at a desired temp???? If so, you wouldn't have had to change a thing. Just wondering as I have Reptipros & another similar that work this way.

    You are probably correct, I believe it did heat and cool but the thermostat only went up to 72 degrees I believe. There were two reasons why I took it apart and didn't want to mess with it.... First I know absolutely nothing about electrical systems so I had no idea how to modify it so that the heat could go higher. Second, the thermostat on the cooler was the thing that was broken (hence th ereason I got it for free) and I had to idea how to fix it so that the temp wouldn't fluctuate incorrectly when I'm incubating. The lightbulb heater was so super easy that I figured for my first attempt I would just go with that. It would have taken me a lot more time to learn how to modify/fix the cooler to heat and I'm feeling pretty anxious to get incubating [​IMG] When I move I may try to do this project again so I have a second incubator (or hatcher?) and then I'll probably spend the time to learn about electrical systems and do it up proper when I'm not feeling so impatient.​
     
  6. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    I can't add too much info to this thread but will be watching because I have been wanting to find a large non working wine cooler to make a bator from. I have wired my own computer fans to my old LGs myself but that is about the extent of my handiness LOL! I tried to get dh to do it but he kept procrastinating so finally I just did it and luckily didn't blow anything up...
     
  7. Cranman

    Cranman Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2010
    Sanford NC
    I think adding foil on top of the bulb will reflect the heat and may help. Also it would seem better to have the bulb lower, since heat rises and you have the bulb up there I think it will be hard to keep the top from being much hotter.
     
  8. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    Quote:You are probably correct, I believe it did heat and cool but the thermostat only went up to 72 degrees I believe. There were two reasons why I took it apart and didn't want to mess with it.... First I know absolutely nothing about electrical systems so I had no idea how to modify it so that the heat could go higher. Second, the thermostat on the cooler was the thing that was broken (hence th ereason I got it for free) and I had to idea how to fix it so that the temp wouldn't fluctuate incorrectly when I'm incubating. The lightbulb heater was so super easy that I figured for my first attempt I would just go with that. It would have taken me a lot more time to learn how to modify/fix the cooler to heat and I'm feeling pretty anxious to get incubating [​IMG] When I move I may try to do this project again so I have a second incubator (or hatcher?) and then I'll probably spend the time to learn about electrical systems and do it up proper when I'm not feeling so impatient.

    Gotcha! [​IMG] Was wondering why you were revamping a "working" unit! Good luck!!
     
  9. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Thank you Robo! I put an 8"x8" square of tin foil over the bulb and we're up to temp now with no more melting. Working on humidity now and I hope that won't be an issue. It's hovering at 30% right now and slowly rising. I'll make sure I can get it up for to both incubation and lockdown temperatures before I put anything in it. I am having a little trouble with a hot spot at the top compared to the bottom so it looks like I'm going to have to do a little electrical work after all. I'll have to rewire the smaller fan so that it's long enough to run to the inside of the bator. I'm planning on mounting it at the top pointing down to try and keep the warm air at the top moving down to the bottom where it's cooler.

    Update: So the upside of the temperature difference is that the cool spot is the perfect temperature at a steady 99.5 so basically I just need to increase air circulation and I think that will take care of the problem. I'm having a slight difficulty with humidity now... It seems to have leveled off at 32% so I got a larger, more shallow dish to cover a larger surface area. Hopefully this will resolve that problem. All in all I'm working slowly toward the right conditions. Once I've got it reaching the right temp and humidity levels with no hot spots I can install the thermostat and should be good to go. I'm still waiting on that to get here in the mail so it gives me a chance to resolve some issues in the meantime.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  10. robnms

    robnms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2010
    Gulf Coast MS
    I just finished building one, I planned on it being a bator but the GQF egg turners won't fit and I'm not turning by hand so it's a hatcher. I think you need to set it up just like you're gonna use it and start fine tuning from there, you also need to get the temps close and then give it a few hours to do some fine tuning, they are so well insulated and hold heat for a long time and a small adjustment will take an hour or 2 to level off. I also think your vent might be too big, you only need to move a small amout of air and it's easier to dial in the temp without much fresh air exchange.

    Here's a few pics of the inside while it's running

    This is the top with both lights and a wire shelf for the glass water dish and a jar, both also act as a heat sink and the humidity is perfect for lockdown.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the 2 fans mounted on the top, 1 is blowing down and the other up, it keeps the temp on the very bottom at 99.0 to 99.7 and that's close enough for me. It took a few days to get it dialed in and I'm not touching it. You can see I used aluminum coil stock for a heat shield for the bulbs. The bulb on the right is a 13 watt flourescent curly Q bulb that keeps the heat around 86 alone and the bulb on the left is a 40 watt that cycles on and off about every 2 seconds. I mounted the water heater thermostat on a strip of coil stock that bends easy for those fine tuning adjustments. It's about 1.5" from the bulb, I didn't do any modifications to the thermostat and it works great. I used coil stock to do adjusting and the dial on the T-stat and finally got it close enough to perfect. The adjustment is set almost to 125.
    [​IMG]

    I set some eggs in lockdown on Friday night and you can see a pip on one of the eggs.
    [​IMG]
    All ready for the hatch, I even put a little food in there in case some pop early. I also put in a little fence to keep them from falling out when I open the door.
    [​IMG]
     

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