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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:50 pm 
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Superior Bird
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Hi there;
Just thought I'd share some of my experiences in making incubators. It's a bit of a hobby of mine. Actually I am "into" microprocessors and electronics more so than carpentry at the moment.

You are looking at $20 of timber and about an hour to screw together and paint the ouside.

For this incubator the only tools you need are a drill and a screw driver. A rechargeable drill doubles as a screw driver so it is only one tool I guess. :wink:

I go to the hardware store and grab a panel of 450x1200x12mm MDF board that serves as the base and the lid.
I also grab a 2.4m piece of 190x20mm pine board.

I ask the chap working there to cut the MDF board in half ~600x450mm.

I get him to cut two pieces of the pine the same length as the MDF (~600mm) for two of the sides. Ask him to trim the end of the board before he starts as the ends are usually a bit rough and the saw he has will do a neater job.
Also I have him cut two pices of pine 410mm long for the remaining sides.
He will do a much better job of getting everything square and straight than you will at home.

So with everything already cut to size I just screw it all together. With the above incubator I glued a piece of lino to the base BEFORE I started attaching the sides.

I've used Carlton Bunker lights in this one. They were on special at Bunnings. They are designed for attachment to exterior walls so can handle rain so long as they are installed correctly on a vertical surface. Use a quality 60W globe (Phillips Classic tone). The lights don't get very hot and chickens need not be protected from touching them.

I put in a couple of 12V fans I picked up at computer swap meet for $5. These ones have some sort of cowling on them for some reason. I kept the cowling on as it is the "guard" so nothing hits the fan. The 12V for the fan can be supplied by a 12V DC plugpack.

A few holes are drilled for ventilation and placed away from where the eggs will sit. Because of the necessary ventilation it is only silly to try to seal the lid perfectly. I haven't yet put clips/locks on the lid and this is the result I get 15mins after turning it on.

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Eventually I expect the lid to twist or bend a bit and will put clips in appropriate place to minimise any gaps between lid and sides.

I don't have a window because the light turning on and off lights up the whole room. If I need to look I just lift the lid. Lifting the lid has zero effect on temperature and humidity. Both are back to normal in 2 minutes.

I haven't made an egg basket/tray yet but you can see a piece of mesh that I will use and the shelf supports that will suspend it. Hatched chickens will go onto the floor of the incubator which will need the non slip sheet as well.

Relative Humidity is holding well at 40% with the lunch box as a container.

Shown below is how I use down lights and fan to heat an incubator.
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Same "box" as the red one above but with my auto tilt arrangement.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:38 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Thank you denis!
That does look easy! and hubby being a carpenter i dont need to worry about the whole box thing just the wiring :roll: which i may also get him to do :lol:

Just a ? how do you keep the temp stable is there a thermostat attached or do the fans keep it at the right temp?

Thankyou for sharing you ideas. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:45 pm 
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Golden Cockatoo
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thankyou for sharing your brilliant hard work denis,
great deal of information to digest here
cheers
jacquie

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:43 pm 
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Golden Swan
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It sounds so simple Denis. Thankyou for going to the trounbe of posting. As Happyhenz asks, what do you use for a thermostat and how is that wired in?

NellyG

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:54 am 
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Superior Bird
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Sorry, yes you do need a thermostat.

I make my own thermostats so unfortunately I can't say I have found a particular model/brand lives up to it's specifications etc. as I haven't used them personally. Basically when I started none would do what I wanted so I built my own. Having a degree in Scientific Instrumentation and the capabilty to build my own circuit boards helps a bit I suppose.

I'd go for the electronic types that you plug your heater/lights into and where you can place the sensor probe right on the eggs. Digital readout is helpful I suppose.

NellyG;
You wire the lights exactly the same way a licensed electrician would attach them to an earthed plug and simply plug into the thermostat. It wouldn't be responsible of me to post wiring diagrams but you can pm me.

The ideal thermostat for me is one that switches on and off at exactly 37.7 degs C from the day it leaves the factory till it eventually lets it's smoke out. None of this fine adjustment nonsense, it should be the factory's job to calibrate it and the designers job to make it possible. A sensor you can place on the eggs so you know THAT'S where it is the 37.7C.

If the thermostat can get that right all the rest is unnecessary and in some cases lets in the possibilty of operator error.

Would be nice if a manufacturer would recognise thats all we all need and that they can make them cheaper than those that have an adjustable range.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:59 am 
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Newbie
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Hi Denis,

You say you build your own thermostats. I have been working on this for a while but I haven't the degree in electronics, or more importantly the training that leads to the degree, to make much progress past a PWM controller with a thermistor as a probe. I hope to progress to a programmable PIC at a later date, as an intigrated system, once I get all the seperate parts of my incubator working. What are you using.

Regards, Terry


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:05 am 
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Superior Bird
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Hi Terry;
I'll pm you about microprocessor systems to help you get started. You should be finished by Christmas. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:14 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Denis,
how are you obtaining data for the graph?.
Do you have the thermometer interfaced directly to a datalogger or computer?.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:52 pm 
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Superior Bird
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A tiny 433MHz radio transmitter chip in the circuit sends any information I program the microprocessor to send in serial form.
A corresponding 433MHz radio receiver chip is in a similar circuit and connected to and powered by Serial COM or USB port.

Not too different to stuff used in car door locking systems.

Then it's Serial port ---->Terminal Program------>Text File----->Excel.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:02 pm 
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Superior Bird
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Very impressed Denis. Wish I could get one for a hatcher!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:36 am 
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Showy Hen
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[quote="Denis"]




Shown below is how I use down lights and fan to heat an incubator.
Image
Image
Image

Hi Denis and others,

I am in the process of building an incubator based on two down lights as heaters and a computer fan for forced draft. My question is concerning the direction the lights face. If they face the eggs like the unit above Denis has made, wouldn't the direct radiant heat from the lamps create hot eggs nearer the lamps??
Other incubator designs mention wooden baffles to prevent this from happening.

I hope you can help out in this issue
Neil


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:04 am 
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Superior Bird
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A reason I use downlights is eggs can actually be closer to the face of the downlights than to an ordinary globe. Most of the heat from a downlight is actually out the back.

You can just hang a piece of tin against the face of the downlight too.

I have just come across some puck lights which I will use in future as you don't have to cut holes for them.

I tend these days to more like the following.
Image

It's the same set up just the vertical board the lights and fan go on is not as wide and the egg rack can go over the top. The horizontal board with the hinge actually overlaps by as much as possible so don't get light shining on any eggs.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:18 pm 
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Showy Hen
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[quote="Denis"]
I have just come across some puck lights which I will use in future as you don't have to cut holes for them.

I tend these days to more like the following.

Image



Thank you for your comments Denis.

Interesting variation on your incubator design as shown in your photo above.

I'm not sure what you mean by a "puck light" in your earlier reply.

Regards,
Neil


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:56 pm 
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Superior Bird
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http://www.lightingfacts.com/Puck.html

A 12Volt 20W light fitting shaped like a hockey puck. Mine are surface mounted. They are also called Under Cabinet Lights I think. They are used for cupboards etc. Most likely use is in your kitchen where it is common to have cupboards overhanging your bench. You fix these chappies to the underside of the cupboard to light the work space of the bench. Mainly used I think to fix under something because it casts a big shadow from your main ceiling room light.

Often rangehoods over stoves have lights in them (but not these ones). Not so much because you need a lot of light over the stove just because the rangehood will block direct light from your main light.


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 Post subject: puck lights
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:19 am 
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Showy Hen
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Thankyou Denis for that explanation. 2 x 20W puck lights are lower in power consumption than down lights but would you have a longer heat recovery time?

I guess it would depend upon the internal capacity of the air space, hot air leaks and the ambient temperature difference.

Regards
Neil


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