Wine Cooler Incubator Conversion

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jhall6293, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. jhall6293

    jhall6293 Chirping

    Feb 23, 2015
    South Carolina
    So, I wanted to make an incubator because a nice, brand-name incubator really wasn't/isn't in the budget. It started with my cooler curiosity and I watched many videos on construction. I was in Home Depot about two months ago and found a wine cooler for $36. It is a simple design and spacious, yet sleek and easy on the eyes - plus it has an LED light in the top that can be turned on and off. This wine cooler did not have any type of Freeon in it - instead it used a metal cooling plate and fans.


    So, first I tried using light bulbs and a water heater thermostat, but the temps were fluctuating like crazy, even with different wattages, so I ordered some heat tape from a reptile supply website and a thermostat off of e-bay after watching a video on YouTube about how to convert a water cooler into a reptile egg incubator. I'll be glad to post it upon request (meaning I'll have to find it).


    I lined the inside of the wine cooler with heat tape, like I said, and as pictured above. I affixed the heat tape with electrical tape simply because it seemed safest and the color doesn't stand out. I've seen others use regular packaging tape, metal tape, etc. The water bottles are in there just to give the cooler some volume. The cooler came with two fans, one is a smaller fan, maybe 5 or 6 volts, the other is a 12 volt fan and they both plug into the back of the original circuit board. I simply rearranged them. There's one fan on the inside top of the unit to blow heat downward and the one you see at the back, which blows toward the front.


    Hopefully you can see the fan at the top of the picture above and the fan at the back. My camera kept focusing on the thermostat probe. I put the 12 volt fan at the back and the lower volt fan mounted at the top with a screw. The thermostat I ordered was $14 shipping and all, and it seems quite accurate, so far. I wired the thermostat to the heat tape and powered the thing up and within a minute, it was working perfectly (after half an hour of programming the thermostat, of course lol - another YouTube video). Basically, the heat tape has a metallic conductor that runs down each side. Each side is wired with clamps and after that process is complete, it looks ready to plug into the wall, but it should never be used without a thermostat.


    Basically, I cut the cord in half from the heat tape. I inserted one wire from the cord from the heat tape into the "LOAD 1" and the other wire into "POWER 4." I was left with the other cord that plugs into the wall. I stripped the wires on that cord and plugged one wire into "POWER 3" and one into "POWER 4". To complete the connection, I took a smaller piece of discarded wire and made a connection from "LOAD 2" to "POWER 3" and that gives the heat tape electricity. None of this made sense to me at first, because I am definitely not an electrician, but again I found a YouTube video that explained almost exactly what I was trying to accomplish.


    I taped everything up with electrical tape and taped the wires down. That is the circuit board that the two fans plug into, also the circuit board that the cold plate plugged into. The cooler came with it's own integrated temperature probe. It maxes out at 99*F on the front, as shown in the first picture. It's not needed, but I suppose it's cool-looking.

    Anyway, that was my wine cooler conversion project. If any of you have questions, feel free to ask. Hope this helps other people like myself, who were clueless.

    In all, I have spent $36 for the wine cooler + $10 for the heat tape + $14 for the thermostat + $.50 for the electrical tape - $60.50 total...can't beat it - I am super pleased!

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