There are several incubators on instructables... why create yet another? Because choice is good, and I liked something from each of the others, not one in particular.
- Check once/twice a day to rotate eggs
- Not spend too much (I had a lot on hand, spent $50 more)
- Use skill I have to build
- Not be too complicated
Those last two bullet items mean to write some software, which is what I do for a living. I spent about a day to get this done. I also had my 9 year old and my wife helping. Turned into a great family project!
Here are some of the instructables that I got idea's from:
UPDATE: So I did not have enough fresh air entering the incubator. Because of this my eggs did not hatch. If you follow this build, just make sure you add more ventilation than I did.
Step 1: Container & Egg Holder
- Hole saw
- Utility knife
- Nail gun & compressor
- Staple gun
- Foam container (Walmart)
- Plexiglass (Lowes)
- Duct tape (Lowes)
- 5/8" x 1.5" wood scraps (Wood stakes - Lowes)
- Screen mesh (Lowes)
Using the hole saw we cut a viewing hole in the top of the container. Using a utility knife I cut a piece of plexiglass a little bigger than the viewing hole. Then traced the plexiglass onto the container and used the utility knife to trip a bit more of the container so the window would sit flush. Duct taped plexiglass into position.
For the egg holder, I used the scrap pieces of wood to make a rectangle tray about the same size as the opening of the foam container. Then stapled the screen to the bottom of the frame. Finally put some slats to be able to divide up the eggs.
I didn't want the egg holder to be on the bottom, but instead suspended. In order to do this, since the container is tapered on the inside, I carved into the styrofoam a tray holder with the utility knife and the rasp on the corners and two long edges.
Step 2: Electronics and Wiring
- USB cable
- Arduino software
- Soldering Iron
- Wiring station
- PCB holder
- Wire cutters/stripers
- Arduino (Adafruit)
- LCD Shield for Arduino (Adafruit)
- DHT-22 Temp & Humidity Sensor (Adafruit)
- Sunfounder Relay (Amazon)
- Case Fan (Amazon)
- Wire connectors
- Shrink tubing
- Light bulb & socket
- Old extension cord
- Old wall wart/power converter
- Power strip
I am not the best with electronics, but I can follow others work and hack through stuff (sounds like my coding as well). The wiring diagram is attached, and should be correct :)
I then got everything working to what I hope are good specs. The LCD gives a readout of the current temp and humidity. Basically if the temp falls below 100 degrees, then I kick on the light, if it goes about 101, I kick it off. Simple. It seems to cycle the light on and off about every minute to two minutes.
The fan is powered on it's own by a 12v wall wart. I added a connection point so that I could install the fan in the incubator without putting in a big hole.
Step 3: Finishing It All Up
- Felt pads
- Piece of wood
- Zip ties
I cut a whole in the container for the light socket and all the wires to feed through. I didn't have a nice box to mount the Arduino and relay in, so a tupperware container does the trick for now.
Attached the fan to a piece of wood with zip ties. Put some felt pads between the fan and wood to reduce noise. Was going to glue the wood to the container, but ended up just letting it sit in there.
Finally, used little plastic container to hold some water. Put the tray into the top and was ready to go.
The incubator stays pretty close between 100 and 101.
Things I would/will change:
- I am probably going to lower the egg tray
- Better container for the electronics
- Auto egg turner
- Alarm if it goes over 102 or under 99 (email alert would be cool)