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Old 03-30-13, 10:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Quick ad easy incubator build

Being that we are going to be getting 3 times the amount of eggs as usual this season, I was forced to build a couple of more incubators. Not really a bad thing. LOL. Total time to build is about 8 minutes an incubator.

Anyway, I figured since I was building I should take some photos and document just how fast and easy it really is. Maybe this will help those who would like to build their own instead of buying some of those crappy commercially available ones.

Here it goes...

First, you need a wine chiller or any small refridgerator. I like to use the wine chillers because of the clear glass fronts. I can check on eggs without having to open the incubator.

Wine chiller


Next, you will need a drill with a spade bit to drill a hole for the heating element wire (heat tape, heat mat, heat cable)

I use roughly 4 feet of 11 inch flexwatt heat tape rolled up to heat my incubators.

Drill and spade bit


Next, you need a quality proportional thermostat. You want something reliable that will last. Do not skimp and be cheap when it comes to this. It is the most important part of your incubator.

We are big fans of Reptile Basics line of thermostats, They are ver reliable and look awesome. It is a very good thermostat. We use them for both our incubators and rack systems.

Quality proportional thermostat


You will then need a heat source. Like I said, I like to use about 4 feet of 11 inch flexwatt heat tape rolled up and set at the bottom of the incubator. This creates a nice even heat distribution with needing to use fans.

You may also need wire cutters/strippers, electrical tape and some wire caps.

So, you start by drilling a hole in the back of the wine chiller or refridgerator big enough to fit 2 small wires through. Go from the outside in to avoid hitting any tubes or the motor.

Drilling hole




Now, this particular heat tape came wired already so I had to cut it and resplice it.

Cut electrical wire
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Old 03-30-13, 10:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

So now you run the wire for the heat tape through the hole you have just drilled and set your heat tape in.

Heat tape set in incubator


Now, if need be, resplice the wire for the heat tape.

Resplicing wire




Ok, after you hav spliced the wire it is time to insert the thermostat probe through the hole into the incubator.

Inserting thermostat probe






I like to set the probe somewhere in the middle of the incubator. It allows temperatures to be stable throught the entire incubator.

So next, you plug the heat tape into the thermostat and plug your thermostat into the wall socket. Set your thermostat to whatever temp you require and your incubator os up and running and ready for eggs.

Setting up stat


Finished incubator
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Old 03-31-13, 08:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

That is awesome!
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Old 03-31-13, 09:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

great thread mate

those thermostats look like a good bit of kit

cheers shaun
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Old 03-31-13, 10:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

Great pictures!
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Old 04-01-13, 06:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

That is amazing. For an eight minute build, I like it but there are a few fundamental issues with your incubator. Nothing that will kill eggs, but some stuff that I would rather not be copied by others.

1. Rolled up heat tape: fire hazard. Heat tape is meant to be rolled out and laid flat. Stacking it like you did creates additional heat between the layers and may cause fire.
For a 4-5 cu. ft. incubator, you also overkilled it on the amount of tape you used.
2. Fan: You need one to circulate the air. Period. No further explanation provided.
3. Probe placement; near the heat source down low is NOT the place for a probe. Up high is where you want it. Heat rises. The temperatures in your incubator (coupled with the fact that you have no fan to move the air) may be 10-15 degrees higher up at the top than it is where you have your probe.
Dangerous.
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Old 04-01-13, 07:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

This may be a stupid question but where do you put the fan?
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Old 04-01-13, 08:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

In the middle at the back I would say or maybe on each side depends how big the fan. They are all good points that mykee said.
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Old 04-01-13, 08:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

Quote:
Originally Posted by mykee View Post
1. Rolled up heat tape: fire hazard. Heat tape is meant to be rolled out and laid flat. Stacking it like you did creates additional heat between the layers and may cause fire.For a 4-5 cu. ft. incubator, you also overkilled it on the amount of tape you used.
No, it is not a fire hazard. Having it hooked up to thermostat keeps it from overheating. It can never get hot enought to cause a melt or fire.

We have also expeimented for years with different lengths of heat tape. The reason why we use 4 feet is because it actually does not have to get as hot to heat the incubator. You call it overkill, I call it what is needed to run the incubator efficiently and safely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mykee View Post
2. Fan: You need one to circulate the air. Period. No further explanation provided.
When you make a sweeping statement like that, you should present an explanation. Its like me saying bigfoot is real, period, no further explanation provided.

Why is a fan needed to circulate air. I think that the thousands of animals hatched in incubators without fans proves that fans are not needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mykee View Post
3. Probe placement; near the heat source down low is NOT the place for a probe. Up high is where you want it. Heat rises. The temperatures in your incubator (coupled with the fact that you have no fan to move the air) may be 10-15 degrees higher up at the top than it is where you have your probe.
Dangerous.
The probe is placed in the center. And the hotter part is down by the heat tape. Being that we have built about 15 of these incubators the exact same way, I know how they work and what the temperature variations are inside them.

The air circulates naturally due to the action of warm air rising and cool air dropping. It starts warm at the heat source, cools at the top, drops back down to the heat source and so on.

Do not tell me what they temp variation is in the incubators I build or use. The temp difference from top to bottom shelf is about a degree and a half.

My "dangerous" incubators have been hatching reptile eggs for over 10 years. So if you are going to state your opinion on a subject, state it as such. Do not state it as factual information. Especially when what you are saying is way off.

Have a good one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lady_bug87 View Post
This may be a stupid question but where do you put the fan?
Fans are not needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Taylor View Post
In the middle at the back I would say or maybe on each side depends how big the fan. They are all good points that mykee said.
Is this information based on your extensive experience with building incubators and incubating eggs in them?
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Old 04-01-13, 08:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

Gregg...pretty cool design. Sounds like you have a definite track record with these. Can you give a rough cost per unit? Also, having never incubated eggs (but moving toward that), what are the pros and cons of the commercial ones vs your design? Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-01-13, 09:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

The only change I can recommend would be to drop the spade bit in favor of a similar sized bi-metal hole saw of the same diameter. It would make the drilling easier if it was long enough.

Other than that I was inspired for a conversion I am doing.
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Old 04-01-13, 10:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

Eeeeeeerrrr NO sorry if I offended you. Mykee's point's seemed clear and justified but then you corrected him and me. So sorry again.

I will start again great build and thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-01-13, 12:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

Alright, you want to get into it Gregg, ok, here we go:

The acceptable amount of any kind of heat for an enclosed space is 10-15 watts per cu. ft.
You have twice that.
I'll explain; your thermostat is working fine, and the desired temp is reached, the heat tape turns off, and even though the tape went off at say 90 degrees, because of the overkill with heat, it will continue to give off supplemental heat, shooting the temps in your incubator WAY over the set temp of 90. If you are ok with such a large variant, cool. Just trying to state some FACTS (that I have from the dozen or so years of not only building my own incubators, but building them for other breeders as well).
When you use less heat, or the proper amount, when the temp you have set for your thermostat is reached, (granted the heat source has to work a little harder to get to temp), but it wont shoot the temps up over what you require.
Since you've been hatching stuff for so long, you know that too hot kills, too cool doesn't.
ALSO a FACT.

Second problem with your heat tape is the layering you have; the temps won't exceed the desired temps externally of the roll, but in the tiny little air gaps BETWEEN the overlapping tape, that air is getting superheated from both sides, thereby increasing your chances of melting the tape or blowing it out.
ALSO a FACT.

A fan: (Which should be mounted at the top of the incubator blowing down to move that hot air that accumulates up there). I use fans in every incubator I build; why? Because hot air rises. Plain and simple. Without a fan, there is no Magical Unicorn Force inside of the incubator that is moving the air in there around. The temperature variation between the bottom of the incubator where the cooler air is and the top, where the warmer air is could be a difference of up to 5 degrees.
ALSO a FACT.

So Gregg, if you choose to build a half-assed incubator I could frankly care less, I'm not in the business of convincing people to do things MY way. I am however, a huge proponent of doing things the RIGHT way. But when you proceed to tell people that you built your "Eight Minute Incubator" solid, well and intelligently, I have an issue with that, because you did none of those things.

For those of you looking to build an incubator; take more than eight minutes and do it correctly or don't bother doing it at all. After all, better safe than sorry.
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Last edited by mykee; 04-01-13 at 12:30 PM..
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Old 04-01-13, 01:10 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

Or not!
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Old 04-01-13, 03:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Quick ad easy incubator build

Quote:
Originally Posted by mykee View Post
Alright, you want to get into it Gregg, ok, here we go:

The acceptable amount of any kind of heat for an enclosed space is 10-15 watts per cu. ft.
You have twice that.
I'll explain; your thermostat is working fine, and the desired temp is reached, the heat tape turns off, and even though the tape went off at say 90 degrees, because of the overkill with heat, it will continue to give off supplemental heat, shooting the temps in your incubator WAY over the set temp of 90. If you are ok with such a large variant, cool. Just trying to state some FACTS (that I have from the dozen or so years of not only building my own incubators, but building them for other breeders as well).
When you use less heat, or the proper amount, when the temp you have set for your thermostat is reached, (granted the heat source has to work a little harder to get to temp), but it wont shoot the temps up over what you require.
Since you've been hatching stuff for so long, you know that too hot kills, too cool doesn't.
ALSO a FACT.
Firstly, I did not want to "get into it"... I made a post and you TRIED to crap on it with nothing but your own opinion.
Now, on to the topic.
So if this is all facts you are laying out here, why is it that my incubators run at a constant temp? Why do the temps NOT shoot way over the desired temp? Why am I able to hatch hundreds of reptiles every season in my incubators?

Also, one of the reasons I use the amount of heat tape is because of exactly what you mentioned. The heating element does not have to work as hard nor will it get as hot as hot as a shorter length.

Please, state what you think as opinion, not as fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mykee View Post
Second problem with your heat tape is the layering you have; the temps won't exceed the desired temps externally of the roll, but in the tiny little air gaps BETWEEN the overlapping tape, that air is getting superheated from both sides, thereby increasing your chances of melting the tape or blowing it out.
ALSO a FACT.
It does not matter what temp the heating element is at. The heating element will always be a few degrees hotter than the air in the incubator. You do not set your desired temp to what the heating element is. You set your temps to what you want where the eggs will be sitting. The thermostat probe and its placement determines when the heating element is shut off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mykee View Post
A fan: (Which should be mounted at the top of the incubator blowing down to move that hot air that accumulates up there). I use fans in every incubator I build; why? Because hot air rises. Plain and simple. Without a fan, there is no Magical Unicorn Force inside of the incubator that is moving the air in there around. The temperature variation between the bottom of the incubator where the cooler air is and the top, where the warmer air is could be a difference of up to 5 degrees.
ALSO a FACT.
No, it is not a magical force. It is a natural force called convection air current.
And no, Your facts are not facts. How can you sit there and tell me what the temp differences are inside my incubators? I am using them every season with outstanding results. I have been for well over a decade...

YOU can build YOUR incubators anyway you like. If it works for you, thats great. I am sure they work perfectly. But so do mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mykee View Post
So Gregg, if you choose to build a half-assed incubator I could frankly care less, I'm not in the business of convincing people to do things MY way. I am however, a huge proponent of doing things the RIGHT way. But when you proceed to tell people that you built your "Eight Minute Incubator" solid, well and intelligently, I have an issue with that, because you did none of those things.

For those of you looking to build an incubator; take more than eight minutes and do it correctly or don't bother doing it at all. After all, better safe than sorry.
So, what makes your way the "right way" over mine? If it is your opinion that my way is wrong or half assed, thats fine. You have a right to your opinion. The FACT is, my incubators have been workng perfectly for years. So if it is doing the job it is intended to do, why is it half assed or wrong? Because I did not do it the way YOU prefer? Wind your neck in a bit and drop the ego. The FACT is, my incubators work and have for many years. I do not breed snakes and lizards so I can put the eggs in something that will not work perfectly to hatch them as I am sure you would not as well.

You have your way, I have mine. I share what works well for me. Mine may be a bit more simple than yours. I have never seen the need for fans. Air circulates fine, eggs do not overheat or fail to hatch, I have never had a fire or a melt.

Not sure why you insist on insulting me and my intelligence and trying to make it as if I did something wrong by posting this. There really is no need to be a complete douche about it. I have been doing this long enough to know what works. I also do not have a line of incubation products because I do not know what I am doing when it comes to reptile egg incubation.

You have some personality issues my friend, and you shoud get then sorted.
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