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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Philadelphia, MS, USA
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    633

    Default New Incubator Pics

    After using a chicken egg incubator for the last 2 years I wanted something with more capacity. So last summer at HAS I bought a double deep polystyrene hivebody from Modern Beekeeping. It gave me the insulated cabinet to turn into an incubator.

    I mounted a Ranco electronic temperature controller on the outside of the bottom box and used it to run two 40 watt light bulbs as a heat source. I mounted a small fan inside to provide air circulation. I had a piece of 1/4" aluminum plate bent to form a stand over the lights to serve as a heat sink. It also gave me a place to set a dish of water for humidity.

    The top box can hold 12 cell bar frames with 45 cells each to give me a total of 540 cells at a time if needed.











    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    syracuse n.y.
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    1,991

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    I like it, lets us know how it works out this summer!
    shouldn't the sensor be in the top box? I would think there could be a large amount of variance in the temp between the top and bottom?
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,670

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    I agree with wildbranch. The sensor needs to be where you want the temperature held constant.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    It looks to me as though the thermocouple is on a bendable wire that rises up into the second box.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania/Florida
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    When you need the next bigger solution, Use an old refridgerator, and heat it and humidify it the same way you do with this one. That is what we use. We use that exact same thermostat controller, actually we use them a lot.

    Luckily we already had an old fridge with a non working condenser on it, no need for it to cool anymore.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    2,670

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    It looks to me as though the thermocouple is on a bendable wire that rises up into the second box.
    Yes, but the probe is sitting on the metal plate above the bulbs. The temp on that plate may not be a good measure at the cells. Even with the fan its a good idea to colocate the sensor to what you're trying to control.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    6,029

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    Nice tidy unit.

    With the water positioned above the heat source the humidity may get too high. I found a RH of around 64 works well but with that set up you may well approach 90 +. You'll know if the newly hatched virgins have distended abdomens then shrink after a few poops.

    Also myself and another guy did a lot of testing in real brood nests RH is not the often claimed 90, we found it surprisingly variable, mostly between 62 & 70.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Bonn, Germany
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    [QUOTE=Broke-T;1068155]... I bought a double deep polystyrene hivebody .... It gave me the insulated cabinet to turn into an incubator.
    ...I mounted a small fan inside to provide air circulation. ...



    It's a kind of resonance tube.
    You can surely hear the vibrations caused by the fan.
    These loud sounds and slight shaking engage my imagination and emotions. Do they matter to the queens?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,118

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    Looks good, but I bet unless it is a really cold room one bulb will do the job with less temperature spiking. You also might try putting some bottles of water in there to act as thermal mass for the same reason.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  10. #10

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    I would a a small fan to stop hot spots. Other wise it looks good.
    David

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
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    633

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    Smokepole - It has a fan mounted on sidewall.

    David - I put two bulbs in so if one blows I am not without heat. They are 40 watt appliance bulbs so not too hot.

    sjj- the fans does have a very slight vibration but so do bees.

    Astrobee - I plan to attach probe to wire between the boxes which will put it closer to cells.

    Oldtimer- will do some checking of humidity.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
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    327

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    Johnny, I think you will find the temp to be more consistent with the probe close to the heat source, not at the top of the box as some have suggested. The further the thermostat probe is from the heat source, the greater the swing of temps will be in the box. A fan should help prevent this to some degree, but will not solve the problem entirely.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    My incubator is a similar size and has 2 fans, when I was testing it I had some very accurate probes in it & surprising how there can be dead spots. Have tried to make the 2 fans to blast somewhat against each other to make turbulence but not undue wind on any of the cells.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,670

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    Quote Originally Posted by standman View Post
    Johnny, I think you will find the temp to be more consistent with the probe close to the heat source, not at the top of the box as some have suggested.
    This was debated at length some time ago, and in fact there was an youtube video for an chicken incubator that showed by having the sensor at the location where you want to control the temps yields smaller temperature variations. That being said, each enclosure is different. The design and location of the thermal mass matters, so you'd be wise to test it before use. In Johnny's design, the Aluminum plate at the bottom being so close to the heat source may produce a temp overshoot. Ideally you want thermal mass for stability, but not directly at the heat source. Just need to test it out using multiple sensor locations and additional temp probes. Stability at the sensor is somewhat meaningless unless the sensor is near the cell location.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania/Florida
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    249

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    A few pics of my home engineered incubator are in my photobucket gallery,http://s1273.photobucket.com/user/as...0Spring%20Nucs


    Also here is a direct view, I think everyone will see a few similar ideas to Broke-T

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    Johnny,

    I used to build and collect old redwood poultry incubators. You have a nice layout for your incubator. I assume the bulbs are wired independently, so as you said, if one burns out then the other will still heat. Also, your 40 watt bulbs are just about right, it is what I use in my little table top incubators. To get a relatively stable temperature, it is best to use a lower wattage so that they are on a good portion of the time. This is also influenced by your room temperature and insulation value of your material.
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,663

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    i'm thinking about getting an incubator this year. for those of you using them, what day are the cells removed from the starter and put in the incubator?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    I usually take them out of the finisher hive on day 6 after the cell cut (equivalent to graft) and they go into the incubator. IE, if the cells were cut Wednesday, they come out of the finisher & into the incubator the following Wednesday.

    That's just because new cells get added to the finishers weekly and the bees do a better job if the older cells are removed.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    many thanks oldtimer.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
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    633

    Default Re: New Incubator Pics

    I graft every Friday and reuse the same cell builders. I pull the previous weeks cells in the morning and put new graft in that afternoon. That makes the cells 11 days total, 4 days at grafting plus 7 days in cell builder. They stay there till I put them in mating nucs the following Monday afternoon or early Tuesday morning.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

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