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  1. #101
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,899

    Default Re: Talk About Your Incubator

    Could it be the heat pad? May I suggest before breaking everything, try a 50W reptile heat lamp, as an experiment. That's what my PID is using, in a bigger cubic area than yours, and it will bring the temp up to 95 no worries even if the outside temp is 40.

    I am interested in what you are doing Phoebee, because I would prefer to use a heat pad also, for the reasons you stated. But my technical guy didn't think it would get the temp up but the science he threw at me was beyond me.

    Will follow your results with interest.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #102
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Talk About Your Incubator

    I think this must be the thread my mentor has been following, because he mentioned the reptile heat lamp. I have no doubt that works fine. I prefer not to use incandescent lamps because if they burn out the system goes cold, and because we may be putting some water in this to get the humidity up. I like the idea of a nice gentle heating pad (safe for damp contact and with the heat spread out. BTW, I kept a corn snake for 24 years ... she had a heater made from a coffee pot warming element. The heating pad is slow but safe. Just to be sure, though, I have a 110W flexible silicone heater on order (designed to heat engine oil pans). I have the system rigged so I can just plug in any heater that uses 120 V and less than 3 amps.

    I also like that this little heating pad was $15.

    I'm doing a couple of backup measurements, but the preliminaries say the insulation is the culprit. A temperature gradient test is underway at the moment comparing temperature drop across the ice chest top and across some R11 foam on top of that is showing that the lid R value is definitely less than 2. The sides are thinner than the top, probably where the majority of the heat loss is occurring. Adding insulation around the ice chest gets the temperature up dramatically.

    A quick on-line search of reviews of ice chests shows little evidence that anybody actually tests these things in any meaningful quantitative way. I don't consider myself an expert at this but it is not my first involvement in this sort of testing. In the past I've been involved with tests of insulated containers used for shipping blood and other products, cold weather footwear, pizza bags, and some other odds and ends.

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Talk About Your Incubator

    I bought a 40 dollar chicken egg incubator at Tractor supply. I keep a wet wash cloth in it and keep it at a steady 92-93. Several batches of queens have developed and hatched normally. It beats the problems with keeping them in the hive until the near hatch date.

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Talk About Your Incubator

    There is no reason in the world why an egg incubator can't be made to work ... and with the cost of electronics these days it may be just as cheap to put a PID controller in one as to use a mechanical thermostat.

    I have not installed it yet but I've got the parts on had to put together a backup thermostat for the PID controller. I've had PIDs fail. We had a $210k machine at my last job that had several controllers, one of which had a bad habit of locking up full on. Another used solid state relays that failed about once a year. If one of these things fails ON it can do a lot of damage. Overheating was a problem, but our cooling used liquid nitrogen, and that can be just as bad. So for critical jobs they also sell backup limit controllers and put alarms on them. For my system, I'm putting a mechanical thermostat between the PID controller and the heater, inside the incubator.

    The thermostat will be set for around 98-100 F. It is a wall-mount power thermostat intended to control electric baseboard heaters. It cost $20, $2 more than the PID controller.

    The question is, which ones actually have decent controllers? Obviously, a lot of you have tried egg incubators that have excessive temperature swings.

    If this is the one you bought, I notice it says it has a solid-state thermostat.

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/stor...-air-incubator

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