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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:39 pm 
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This is an idea that we are trying. It's still a work in progress and we haven't been successful so far. If anyone else has thought of doing this they may be interested.

The idea is to stop having to refill the water reservoirs at the top of the E2. We bought a float switch from someone on ebay (not good), and got a piece of aquarium tubing and a little pump.

It looks like this when connected up:
Image

Image

Image

There are a few problems that we're still mulling over at the moment.

Firstly, although the pump works, the float switch does not work at all so the water keeps pumping up into the container until it overflows. Something's wrong there, or we're doing something wrong. We'll have to have a closer look at the switch.

Secondly, when you turn the power off to the pump, the water all siphons out of the reservoir again as the bucket is lower than the container. Although that seems obvious, we didn't think of that before we tried it. We might have to look at a valve of some sort to deal with that.

If we can sort it out, we were planning to use a water container the size and shape of a 20L jerrycan. I think that amount of water would last at least 2 or 3 weeks depending on the weather.

In the meantime, we going to start up the incubator without it done. We have eggs to go in.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:49 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Hi Chicken07,

test the float switch with a multimeter (or similar). It probably uses a Normally Closed contact that opens when the switch floats, and in this case the switch is wired in series with the pump.

Instead of using a "valve of some sort" to stop the siphoning, you could have the water enter the plastic water container above its top edge (similar to a fountain), then when the siphoning action begins only air will enter the tubing (as the water returns down to the " bucket").


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:09 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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I have just re-arranged Shayne's incubator shed so two E1s, the E2 and all the brooders are side-by-side.
Co-incidence that you have put this thread up CO7, because today over a pub lunch i mentioned to Shayne that i am gouing to make use of my gravity water system for them all.
I personally would feel safer with a mechanical system, for reliability and less disasterous outcome should a switch fails and the pump keeps pumping... or the pump fails and humidity drops:

- Mains pressure to a gravity water reservoir in the shed roof.
- plumbing to each incubator reservoir which has a float in each.
- auto gravity waterers for the brooders.

I think this basic sort of system should be very reliable...
- mains pressure to the reservoir- the float needle/seat fails or leaks= overflows into the overflow tray and drains outside the shed,
- the floats in the incubators are only under 2m head of pressure= very unlikely that any float valve will fail under such little pressure compared to mains pressure.

I already have an old gravity hot water cistern, with float, shutoff valve and overflow tray, plenty of plumbing and a couple of auto gravity ball waterers- so just need 3 incubator dish floats and connect it all up :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:01 pm 
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Ohhh I like the sound of that RF. I wonder if I could rig something up for my RCom20. Thinking, thinking...... I'd also need to have some system of wetting the sponge as that dries out and i have to take the incubator apart to re wet it. Maybe a drip line onto the top of it that drips when the reservoir line is on. Wonder how I could work that out...... :hmmm:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:25 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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Just adding to a gravity water system line of thought, the cheapest water reservoir you can connect to mains pressure is an old toilet cistern from the tip buy-back section :thumbs:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:50 am 
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If you can arrange your incubators side by side then all the water dishes will be at the same level and if you can think your way through it then the cistern will be the only float you need.

This is how my 3 chook pens get automatic water.

Image

This was posted in the gallery May 2008 so it has worked without a problem now for over 3 years.
I wouldn't use the siphon method for your incubators though because you can't fill the hose with water the way I am able to outside.
But with the Multiquips if all your dishes are at the same height above the floor, you just remove the cups, connect that hose to the poly hose attached to a cistern to the wall at right height. Allow yourself a good 10 minutes and the job is done.
Keep the flexible hose that Multiquip provide connected to your incubators water dish because to empty a dish all you have is lift the dish a few inches let the water drain back.

If your chooks don't mind their water dishes being a meter or so above the ground that one cistern can keep everything full.

No value I can see in having individual floats for each dish, if they are all the same height above the floor.
Finding a float for such shallow dishes might not be that easy, but good luck with it. Don't stress if it turns out to be harder than looks, you can do without them.

Cisterns even new aren't that expensive, a real plus is they have a built in over flow. As is, that overflow may be too high above your waters working level so you might have to drill a few holes so that it will overflow at the cistern before the incubator.

You need an overflow on each of your individual incubator dishes and run it outside the incubator, (use the left over fitting from the cup) with whatever type of automatic water filler you use.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:02 am 
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Clever Cockerel
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Some good points Dennis, although a few are based on assumptions- and fair enough.

In my case, I will need a float in each is because each incubator's top plate is at a different height.. slightly... one E1 is an early multiplo and the other is a later multiquip, and are different in heights by a few inches. The E2 is an early multiplo too but is shorter than the other two, being a totally different layout.
So i could put adustable feet on each or pack them up to be the same height, but as you know with them, the water trays are quite shallow, so the tolerance is quite tight.
A float on each gives double redundancy should one float fail- and working on aircraft- although everyone tells me my projects dont have to fly to London and back... a couple of forms of redundancy cant be a bad thing when reliability is what you are after with an incubator :thumbs:

Suitable ones are these on ebay:
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Poultry-Drin ... 3a652779ec

I have previously seen small float valves that are a brass needle and seat with a metal wire arm and a cork sized float on the end. They were cheaper still. They would be perfect if only i could find them again... :roll:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:49 pm 
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The big thing is not to have the water overflowing into an incubator.
Think of each float as an accident waiting to happen, a bit of grit or wear over time and they will start to leak. You now have 3 accidents waiting to happen. I'm not sure what you mean by double redundancy in your case.
With the cistern the overflow outlet is huge, and copes easily even with mains hose running straight into it.
For the water level of the cistern to overflow you need the float to fail and the overflow to be blocked which is unlikely.
If you can build in adequate overflows for each of your dishes then you should be fine.

I've no idea how big that plastic drinker float is but looking at the E1 here, with its half melted plastic container, keeping it far enough way from the light so it doesn't melt may be an issue.

It will be interesting to see how your project ends up ruffled feathers, you'll enjoy it when it's finished. A big downside to the multiquips is how often you have to top up the water. Such huge cabinets but they still couldn't work out a way to put more water in them. That space up the top is huge but the light is in such a %$#@ of place. I have to change one here from globes to elements so hopefully with sensible positioning I can free up some of that space.

When all your incubators are autoturn it is a shame to have to stay just to top up water. But even with the multiquips you don't have to. You can just put a deep dish of water on the hatching tray.

The beauty of making your own incubators is you just decide what you want and build it to suit your requirements. Just build in room for a deep water container, autoturn, set your eggs to hatch the day after you come home and you are free for nearly 3 weeks. We've been able to take the little one away for fortnights on holidays to Gold Coast/Sunshine Coast, Cairns and recently Sydney with eggs in the incubator and not have to worry. But having seen the Brads Brooder project I don't think we are gonna be visiting Sister in Law in London anytime soon. :chicks:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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Denis,

I am sure building your own incubator you will get all the features you want but I find the E1 and E2's that we have just fantastic how they are. RF is always wanting to make our whole chicken set up less work for me but really it is no hassle to fill up the water trays every few days and they have never melted. We still go away on weekends and if need be there is always helpful neighbours around.

Last few seasons I hatched close to 1000 chicks and never had any issues. To me that is a fantastic incubator.

Cheers
Shayne

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:37 pm 
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Shayne;
As good as they are, they can be improved, as Brad knows. Have a bit of faith in the guy for goodness sake, it's not rocket science.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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The double redundancy is that if one float valve fails as in sticks closed which is not as common as leaking, but has been known to happen to cheap needle and seats, especially plastic pivot shafts that bend or flog out, then all incubation capacity wnot be affected. With an overflow tray and outlet on each, this is the only unlikely thing that could go wrong over the years.
I know it will be very reliable this way, especially with twin globes In each and a petrol generator on standy next to them.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:15 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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Hi Denis

I have TOTAL faith in Brad. He is an amazing engineer. All my point was that if someone is looking at buying an E1 or E2 they are fantastic as they are even without modifications


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Shayne

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:30 pm 
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Ruffled Feathers wrote:
The double redundancy is that if one float valve fails as in sticks closed which is not as common as leaking, but has been known to happen to cheap needle and seats, especially plastic pivot shafts that bend or flog out, then all incubation capacity wnot be affected. With an overflow tray and outlet on each, this is the only unlikely thing that could go wrong over the years.
I know it will be very reliable this way, especially with twin globes In each and a petrol generator on standy next to them.


Sounds good in theory, time will tell.

The guy who owns this incubator has used a cut down icecream container. On the walls of the container the plastic has melted/perished from the globe, looking at this and the water scale in the dish I can see 50mm is about the maximum depth of dish. Because the float is inside the dish, it is closer to the big globe and of course sits higher than the water level .... I'd try to find a float that doesn't melt if I was you.

For others who want to be able to stay away from their incubators for longer it doesn't have to be so complicated.
Probably the most obvious thing that is really poor about the E1,2's is that tiny little cup. It is pathetic.
Why don't people just get rid of it and instead use its fitting in the bottom of nice big flat tupperware container of 2 litres or more. Simple shelf on side of the incubator at the right height. $2-10 & 2-10 mins and we've probably more than tripled the length of time between refills.
Seriously, if you are still using that cup isn't it time you asked yourself why?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:29 pm 
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Yes, you could find and fit an larger externally-mounted tupperware style container. The factory container is actually just a 1.5L plastic food container from Woolies, so another one of these at the same height, ourtside is the easiest to get 2-3 more days of top-up free days.
However, when you get your E1 up and running, you will find that when you have eggs in an incubator, you check them most days to candle them- and if you dont have auto turn, to push the lever across.
So lifting a watering can and filling up a little cup every 3rd day is not really going to cause too much of an inconvenience :lol:

Still, having something FULLY auto gives us all a little more flexibility, so along with auto turn, an auto humidification system being so simple and cheap to set up, is a worthy little project in my opinion- providing it's reliable.

As for the icecream container, that represents what i stand for- do it dodgey, get problems... do it right, get reliability and you wont have to worry about it again.
Our containers are rigid thermosetting, as per original. You would be asking for dramas if you put a flimbsy thermoplastic container in there beside a 150w heat source :roll:

Anyway we have performed a textbook hijack of C07's thread, so i'll set mine up and post some pics later :thumbs:


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:17 am 
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Sorry Cath.
I have a similar one of those float switches here as you know. It works fine for me and I had no trouble when we took a trip to Sydney recently.
You asked are you doing something wrong?, I doubt it, I think you might have a dud.

Here's how to check. Wire up your pump straight to your 12V plugpack and your pump should run. Then you cut one of the two wires from the plug pack and insert your switch between the two ends you cut.
Now if your switch is working the pump should switch off and on every time you move the float ring up and down. If it doesn't then it's probably a dud you can't do anything about. I notice yours doesn't seem to have as long a shaft as mine. Pull the plastic circlip off and see if having more travel helps. Then inspect the inside of the float and you should see the dark ring of the magnet I think. On mine that ring is not centered, if yours is the same maybe the float ring was put on upside down. I doubt any of that will help unfortunately.

It is pretty easy to make your own float switches using micro switches. I'll be doing something similar to what you want in the next couple of weeks. The guy who the E1 here belongs to doesn't like to be stuck at home while he's incubating so I will add the larger container instead of the cup for when he's at home and he can turn on the motor system when he goes away for weeks at a time like I do.
I've already done the auto turn for the E1, much easier than I anticipated. 20-30 minutes tops.


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