Help with homemade incubator

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Old 02-13-11, 11:12 AM
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Help with homemade incubator

I'm trying to make a chicken/duck incubator. I copied the idea from a webpage. They used the bottom thermostat from a hotwater heater to switch the lights on and off to keep the tempurature at the correct level.
I turn it on, the temp gets up above where I need it, the lights switch off, and it cools down to room tempurature, then after about ten minutes the lights switch back on and bring it back up to the higher temp. The temp swing is way too much to be able to hatch eggs.
Is there a way to adjust the on/off cycle of the hotwater thermostat or are they preset?
thanks
 
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Old 02-13-11, 01:58 PM
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Water heater thermostats have a pretty wide swing in temperatures which is acceptable when used on a water heater, but probably too much variation for what you are wanting. I know of no water heater thermostats with an anticipator adjustment. Try looking online for a Honeywell or White-Rodgers thermostat with a sensing bulb or if all else fails, try checking in a Grainger catalog.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 04:59 PM
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Aren't regular house thermostats working on a lower voltage than normal?
 
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Old 02-13-11, 05:11 PM
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The ones in the science project books when I was growing up had no thermostat. You just used a bulb with a wattage that did not produce too much heat and perhaps had adjustable vents. IIRC they were not insulated either.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BirchRun View Post
Aren't regular house thermostats working on a lower voltage than normal?
For centeral HVAC yes but most baseboard thermostats are line voltage.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
The ones in the science project books when I was growing up had no thermostat. You just used a bulb with a wattage that did not produce too much heat and perhaps had adjustable vents. IIRC they were not insulated either.
Hey good idea.......I based it on this one that I found on the internet Home Grown: Homemade Incubator
But I do have a thermometer with a remote sensor inside the box. So could just try different bulbs and different holes open and closed.
I made mine from plywood with no insulation. A 60 watt bulb heats it up very quickly so would need to try maybe a 25 watt bulb.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 05:36 PM
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You might also try putting the bulb on a dimmer. Just guessing.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 05:36 PM
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So if I find a small enough baseboard heater thermostat (to fit inside the box) that would go to 90F like I need, that should work..
Assuming it runs on 120V.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
You might also try putting the bulb on a dimmer. Just guessing.
That would certainly be cheaper than another thermostat.......(better for me).
 
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Old 02-13-11, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BirchRun View Post
So if I find a small enough baseboard heater thermostat (to fit inside the box) that would go to 90F like I need, that should work..
Assuming it runs on 120V.
Even a 240v 2 pole would work. Just go with the cheapest. Not sure if they will go to 90. Baseboard heaters are mythical creatures where I live.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 06:07 PM
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Ya, I guess there's not much call for heaters down there.

I think I'll go with the dimmer idea for now....unless you or someone else has any other ideas.

Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 07:08 PM
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Also as I suggested try smaller bulbs.

Ya, I guess there's not much call for heaters down there
Oh plenty of need sometimes but newer homes have central heat and air and older ones use gas space heaters or wall furnaces.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 07:36 PM
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Oh, I just assumed Texas=warm.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 08:23 PM
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You said you used a 60 watt bulb but note the article said 25 watt and you mentioned that you might try that. I would try the 25 watt first. Also the position of the bulb relative to the thermostat might be a factor.

Originally Posted by BirchRun View Post
Oh, I just assumed Texas=warm.
24 lst week,. 800 accidents, 3 fatalities from black ice, rolling black outs. No it doesn't get cold often but when it does it is a b**ch.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-13-11 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 02-14-11, 05:42 PM
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I went and bought a 25 watt bulb, and a dimmer switch. Hooked everything up and have been watching the thermometer all afternoon. Seems to be working good, just have to fiddle with it a bit to get it to the right temp. That's why I liked the idea of the thermostat.
Oh, well.......thanks alot for the help.
 
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Old 02-14-11, 05:46 PM
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Glad it worked for you. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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