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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:15 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Abels Bay, Tasmania
First of all: thank you all for the first class info available on this site! Your projects are an inspiration and your advise is very much appreciated!

I wanted to build an incubator for up to 100 eggs, just manual turn. I don't mind opening the box to check for water etc and turn by hand. I looked at the various designs and I copied from Denis and similiar ones. Thanks guys!! This is the "open box":
Image
As you can see I am using two fans plus two halogen lights. The lights sit in a wire frame. They are downlights that come with 50w 12v globes, but I already have 20w globes because I think the 50w will be way too hot. There is room for another downlight in each compartment if needed. Air is sucked into the heating compartments by the two fans and blown out underneath the tray. Exhaust holes are visible in the close-up.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Sorry, I hit the wrong button! To continue:

Some exhaust holes can be closed until the best air circulation results. I will add fresh-air intakes in front of the fans. Intakes to be adjustable. I will also add outlets, not sure where. Lid will be in three parts, middle part with glass. I only want to use this incubator until day 18 and transfer into my small ones for hatching. But I could add a flat hatching tray if I wanted to hatch in this one. An autoturner could find place on that flat tray (the type used in the foam incubators), but would obviously about half the number of eggs the unit can take.

Water trays fit underneath the eggs.

Material is 18mm plywood painted with commercial oil based paint and painted before assembly. Assembled with acrylic gap filler between joints.

Thermostat is the PID unit plus SRS and sensor which was described very well in another thread. I ordered from Auber in the USA and should have them in a week.

I will take more photos as it all comes together.

My biggest concern right now is that the heating compartments might get too hot and that I might have to line them with e.g. fibro sheeting. Hopefully that won't be necessary.

I chose this set-up for the safety that comes from two separate heat/ventilation sources.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:46 pm 
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I'm not sure of the cabinet size compared to mine. Depending on the heat loss through the lid and the cabinet, I don't really think that two 20Watt globes will be enough. You will have to experiment, but with mine, I started with 2 60W globes (not halogen - normal incandescent) and found that I had to change them to 100W. I also found that adjusting the fan speed has an effect on hot and cold spots as well. Mind you, I lose a fair bit of heat through the perspex viewing lid.

You mention that you are having three sections in the lid. I would recommend having them hinged separately so you can open one at a time. It's useful to be able to check fans, lights etc without opening the main lid of the egg area. In mine this would be more important because I've got my water containers in the end. If you open up the whole thing as I have to do, you lose your heat and it just takes a bit of time to get back to temp.

How are you going to refill your water trays? Are you going to pour through/around the eggs as we do with the Bellsouth?

It looks like you've done a great job. I think you'll be glad to went for the PID.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:57 pm 
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Showy Hen
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chicken07: how did you vary speed on your fan? Is it 12v and you brought the voltage down to reduce speed?
I still have the original 50w globes in the halogen lights and bought 20w globes because I saw that Denis uses the 20w halogen globes. There is room in the heat compartments for a second downlight in each if the temp is way too low.

I built the lid this arvo. Just one large lid but with a double glazed window over much of the "egg space." I still had 3mm glass and used two panes and a rubber tube to keep them apart. But before I take a photo I will paint it!

If this works I will build a second one for hatching, but without the PID. My son is going to build a microcontroller that's can connect to PC via USB and is programmed when connected to PC. It will data log. But I am not as yet too comfortable with the idea that the PC has to run if I want to see what is happening. The great thing about the PID is that you can check and change without the added power demand of the PC (even if that is not much). Just plans at the moment. I have to master the PID first! Once I get it!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:03 pm 
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I used a variable fan speed controller from Bunnings - it cost about $20. It was designed for ceiling fans. (Mine is 240V). But I wouldn't be concerned if you haven't got that. It will work without it. I'm sure if Denis has an incubator of similar size that is working fine with 20W globes, then it must be workable. If you have double glazing you won't have as much heat loss as me either.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:24 pm 
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That looks awesome, I am really inspired. I just recieved an old hatcher which is basically just a wooden box with a light bulb in one end. I don't know how succesful it was as I was given it by a lady who bought it 22nd hand to sit her printer on it. So it needs a big overhaul but you have just given me some great ideas.

:?: Do you have the fans connected up to the same power source?
:?: Where did you get your halogen fittings? And are they connected to the same power outlet
:?: What are the dimensions of your box and heating compartment?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:36 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Just a quick reply:
-both fans will be connected to the same plug pack to be on at all times (could be run alternatively from relay as I have seen done here on the forum)
-both halogens are low voltage. Both have their own transformers. Both transformers get their power from the one relay. They were $13 at Bunnings. I looked into puck lights (Denis suggested them) but they did not suit me as the globes were too small and they did not seem to generate enough heat (different halogen globe from downlights) and others were too expensive but would have worked
-size of box is 800mm long by 500mm wide by 250mm high. Heat compartments take away 130mm from the egg compartment (each). Egg compartment therefore is 500mm wide by about 500mm.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:16 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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Oh ....
And the mesh, did you shape it yourself???

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:47 pm 
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Showy Hen
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yes, not very difficult. It's just 13mm x 13mm heavy duty aviary mesh.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:20 am 
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Superior Bird
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Looks very impressive indeed. You have got yourself covered with the lights because you have 2 x 50W transformers that should be enough to drive whatever you find you need. Your incubator is closer in size to chicken07's than the couple I used 20W globes in which from memory were smaller than normal size I made with 2 x 50W. I sold them at auction and presume they are still working OK.

On the subject of datalogger:
Datalogging is fantastic when you are building an incubator and checking it out etc. But once you know how she goes then it gets very boring very quickly.

What I do is I stick a little radio chip in the temp controller circuit and do all my testing and calibration etc. What you see on the graph gives you a very very clear picture of what is going on. Should look like a very small rise and fall about a very stable average. You can also try a few different programs or change a few things about your design if needed to improve things. Then you can program an alarm to be just outside the normal little peaks and troughs.
Alarm will go off the second something not quite normal happens, it will tell what you(or others home at time) need to know when you need to know it, whether you computer is switched on or not, even wake you from your sleep.
I take it a step further and when everything is absolutely spot on a blue LED comes on. So if no alarm everything is fine, if a blue light then everything absolutley spot on. I don't program for a setpoint of 99.75 anymore but the setpoint moves to get an average of 99.75. Program calculates last 100 readings and adjusts if necessary. chookmadhubby did a thread where a foam incubator/ reptile cord gave an average way higher than the setpoint.

A blue LED is quite a bit cheaper than an LCD module but can be seen from a long way away. You don't lose by not having an LCD readout because most thermostats with them just sit on the one value anyway.
What I am trying to say torsten is I love what datalogging can do for me, but there is better ways to monitor your incubator over the long journey.

http://www.microzed.com.au/datalogger.htm Is your son aware of this module. It will log data directly to your computer, through USB, or store it on it's own memory for download. It is picaxe which is what I use. Beauty of this one is the free software for programming picaxes has a wizard that will program the chip for you. And you get to see the program so you learn the language really quickly. It could drive a SSR too if you edit the program to control it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:09 am 
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Showy Hen
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Thank you Denis!
That is a lot of information to absorb! I'll let you know about the progress!

Cheers from Tasmania


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:10 pm 
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Champion Bird
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Hi torsten
It looks great so Far and I have added the link to the sticky.

I have to agree with Denis that the LCD temp display is redundant when you have confidence in your thermostat.
He introduced me to the picaxe microcontrollers and they are great little peices of technology.

Trev

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:14 am 
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Showy Hen
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An update:
my parcel from Auber Instruments arrived and I fired up the unit. To my great surprise I had a real problem getting the temperature up with two 50w halogen bulbs. I taped the lid shut to temporarily seal it 100 per cent. It has a double glazed window. Heat loss through the walls should be minimal. Even after hours the max temp reached was 86F. Room temp around the high sixties. I had both 12v fans running.
Then I tested incandescent light globes. I used two table lamps (had no batten holders here) with one 60w globe each and placed them on the tray in the centre of the box. I know that they should have been in the end compartments for a clear comparison, but I used what was at hand. Anyway, the fans were on and the airflow strong so that the heat was distributed well. After 15 or 20 minutes the temp reached 98 F and I stopped the test.
To me the point (at least for my incubator) is: two 50w halogens create a lot less heat than two 60w incandescents.
I won't try with more halogens or 100w halogens. I will install two 60w incandescents in each heating chamber and I am sure that will be plenty.

BUT: wouldn't it be nice to use a little control box where all 240v ends? Have detachable leads from incubator to control box that only carry 12v? This was the one big plus of low voltage halogens. I have an idea though, and I think I will play around with it at a later stage. Use a reasonably large transformer 240v AC to 12v DC. Switch it with the SSR. Use resistance wire to build a 12v heating element to the size needed and use one in each heating compartment. The resistance wire needs to be wrapped around a non-conductive material that is heat resistant. I work a lot in art glass and plan to use a glass core for the heating element. Resistance wire is very cheap. Dick Smith sells is for $4 per 4m roll. The only real expense is the transformer. I am not sure if it would damage the transformer in the long run to be switched by the SSR that often. If that is a problem then the transformer would need to be on 24/7 but the heating elements would need to be switched. Let's assume two elements of 200w each, the the SSR would need to switch 400w 12V or 33 Amps which is more than the SSR I have (rated at 25 A).

Food for thought, but I think it is worthwile. Wouldn't it be much better to have a heat source that is designed to produce heat rather than light?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:26 am 
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Prime Pekin
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Glad I read that... I was just about to run out and buy a couple of halogen bulb set ups LOL.

I am planning something similar to yours but upright. Although I may still give the old oven a whirl? :thumbs:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:20 pm 
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Heat and light are exactly the same thing. If you get that simple fact wrong then you will of course struggle.
You can google words like electromagnetic spectrum etc.

Basically a light globe radiates many different wavelengths (or frequencies) of energy, some of which you can see and some of which you can't. But all this radiated stuff is exactly the same it just has different names.

The stuff you can see we call light. But you could call it "heat we can see".
The other stuff we say is wasted as heat you could call "light we can't see".

It is true that from a lighting perspective a lot of the energy is wasted in a globe because we can't see it.
But from our point of view, a heating perspective, it is very very wrong to say that light is wasted heat. In fact the light is the most efficient deliverer of heat you have happening, or should have happening.
You should be encouraging radiant heat more. This includes both the radiant heat you can see and that you can't. Radiant heat is basically just little packets of pure energy that travel until they strike something, if not reflected then this energy is absorbed by the object they strike.

Your incubator is cold for a number of reasons.
You are wasting all your light. By not directing it at which you want to warm. A nice white shiny inside of the incubator results in all your radiant bouncing off until eventually it flies out the window.
In terms of trying convective heat then you are probably further from the mark. You can only heat air if the air molecules hit something that is warmer than they are. Look at hair dryers, fan heaters etc. They all force air to hit their elements. The other alternative is to have a very large surface area that is warmer for the air to hit. Say a smallish element to heat something metal with a large surface area for the air to hit.
For the most part the bulk of the air just doesn't go anywhere near your globes.


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