Incubator temp issue

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Argam1998

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I built my own cooler incubator. Iam having an issue my herpstat is set to 84 but probe reads 86. I have bearded dragons inside right now. I’ve tried everything to lower temps but they keep raising back up to 86 . What can I do ? Faulty herpstat ?
 

Draven88

Hatchling Member
Well my first thought is that while probes and herpstats are normally quite accurate that 1 degree F off would be a reasonable margin of error on each and if in opposite directions could be the cause.

I know you said you tried everything, so if I mention something already done I apologize but there wasn't examples given. First off I would try lowering the herpstat until you see a change on the probe (over time of course to avoid to drastic a change). Also location and ambient temps around the incubator can have some effect if it happens to be in sunlight and such but this should cause the herpstat to adjust accordingly.

Are you using heat tape as the heat source or something else? This is definitely a case of the more details you can provide he better advice that can be given.
 

Argam1998

Member
Original Poster
Draven88":3cqezsq0 said:
Well my first thought is that while probes and herpstats are normally quite accurate that 1 degree F off would be a reasonable margin of error on each and if in opposite directions could be the cause.

I know you said you tried everything, so if I mention something already done I apologize but there wasn't examples given. First off I would try lowering the herpstat until you see a change on the probe (over time of course to avoid to drastic a change). Also location and ambient temps around the incubator can have some effect if it happens to be in sunlight and such but this should cause the herpstat to adjust accordingly.

Are you using heat tape as the heat source or something else? This is definitely a case of the more details you can provide he better advice that can be given.

I’ll try to give as much Info as I can. I built it out of a wine cooler. Heat tape 3 feet connected correctly. I have a strong fan also on top that I can adjust the speed. When I build the incubator I wanted to be air tight. First time I thought that’s how it worked. But when I close the door the temps stay around 86-87 I have herpstat set to 83. Says 0% of energy is being used on herpstat which is correct because it’s not giving any heat but the temps still rise above what I set it.
Now I’ve tried cracking the door open 2 inches and it helps keep my temps exactly where I want them. Iam starting to think I shouldn’t have made it so air tight. Maybe the air inside needs to circulate out ?? That’s my only guess that seems to be working right now.only problem with leaving the door cracked is the herpstat is always on heating says 100% of energy being used. Maybe I can try drilling a hole or two behind the incubator ??
 

Draven88

Hatchling Member
In a traditional incubatror you would buy they are sealed so that is the correct way. And it is ideal that it would get to temerature and hold that heat so it only kicks on the heat tape minimally as needed. The fan to circulate the air is also good, the goal of that is even temperatures all over. For the fan though is it setup with a channel to draw air in from opposite where the fan is? By that i mean if its at the bottom blowing up it will be most effective if it gets its air from a channel that goes up the back or side that intakes the air at the top.

If you arent getting good circulation of air you could still end up with hot spots at the top. Since its in use right now you could fashion a channel out of cardboard tape for short term and as a guide for the future permanant one.

I do suspect that with the heat tape its getting to temp and turning off but where the tape is is hotter and continues to radiate heat. I would expect if left it would cool to the set temp turn on and repeat the cycle much like opening the door forces it to. Since you said it was a wine cooler i would bet yhe heat tape is on a metal surface, and that metal is getting over your set temp to heat the air. I would check that with a laser temp gun if you have it to see by how much.

What i have seen in many DIY incubators is to have the heat tape in the channel of air, and that makes the transfer of heat from the tape to the air more efficient. That means less heating time, but also less excess heat build up in thr metal the heat tape is attached on as its better transferred to the air which should help with that heat still radiating once the tape is off.

While vents will work to let heat out it will alsi cause that tape to be on far more and the closer to it the hotter it will be, so i would try making a channel.that firces the air to circukate over the tape first. That can be taken out but sealing up vents will leave you with less efgicient spots and possible problems.

I would be interested if you could post pictures to see if i could help you with a more specific design.
 

Argam1998

Member
Original Poster
Draven88":2a6q60wy said:
In a traditional incubatror you would buy they are sealed so that is the correct way. And it is ideal that it would get to temerature and hold that heat so it only kicks on the heat tape minimally as needed. The fan to circulate the air is also good, the goal of that is even temperatures all over. For the fan though is it setup with a channel to draw air in from opposite where the fan is? By that i mean if its at the bottom blowing up it will be most effective if it gets its air from a channel that goes up the back or side that intakes the air at the top.

If you arent getting good circulation of air you could still end up with hot spots at the top. Since its in use right now you could fashion a channel out of cardboard tape for short term and as a guide for the future permanant one.

I do suspect that with the heat tape its getting to temp and turning off but where the tape is is hotter and continues to radiate heat. I would expect if left it would cool to the set temp turn on and repeat the cycle much like opening the door forces it to. Since you said it was a wine cooler i would bet yhe heat tape is on a metal surface, and that metal is getting over your set temp to heat the air. I would check that with a laser temp gun if you have it to see by how much.

What i have seen in many DIY incubators is to have the heat tape in the channel of air, and that makes the transfer of heat from the tape to the air more efficient. That means less heating time, but also less excess heat build up in thr metal the heat tape is attached on as its better transferred to the air which should help with that heat still radiating once the tape is off.

While vents will work to let heat out it will alsi cause that tape to be on far more and the closer to it the hotter it will be, so i would try making a channel.that firces the air to circukate over the tape first. That can be taken out but sealing up vents will leave you with less efgicient spots and possible problems.

I would be interested if you could post pictures to see if i could help you with a more specific design.

Currently at work I can’t post pics but when I get off I can take as many as I can and post them to show you my set up . I get what you’re saying though.there is a giant flat metal part in the back of the fridge. And the heat tape is on that I wanted to take it out but I got lazy and just taped over the giant metal part. That totally makes sense the metal gets hot even if the temps are set to 83. Also for the fan I’ve seen videos and everyone just puts it at the top pointing down. I’ve never heard of creating a vent. Kind of confused on that part. Can I just make the fan blow toward the back wall where the metals at ? Or put a cardboard on one side sideways so it kinda blows it towards down the metals ? From the top? Kind of confused on that part. I can post pictures of the whole thing in a few hours!!
 

Draven88

Hatchling Member
Argam1998":3b5ba9ko said:
Can I just make the fan blow toward the back wall where the metals at ? Or put a cardboard on one side sideways so it kinda blows it towards down the metals ?

So the short answer is yes you can direct the airflow directly at the heat tape and that should help the heat transfer to the air better. Which in turn should help if the metal is heating up and then radiating heat even after the heat tape turns off. That could be made even better if you place a piece of foam board insulation between the heat mat and the metal forcing less heat to get to the metal all together.

But for the more complicated side, the more you can force ALL the air to circulate the better and more even all temps will be. For example think of a basic beardie enclosure. Basking spot 110F hot side in the 90s F range cool side at 80F. If I put a fan in there I can average out the air temperature somewhat but that basking light will always be hotter even with perfect circulation (think of placing a divider board in there that basically forces all air to move in a circle/oval around the tank). If I can however somehow ensure that ALL air circulates past that heat bulb (by narrowing the path going past the bulb more air comes closer to the bulb) its going to draw that heat into the circulating air getting the ambient air up closer to matching the heat bulb.

The same concept/theory applies to heat tape I said fan blowing up as hot air want to naturally rise but it could be down and work just fine. The key is ALL of the air circulating as much as possible (to equal all air temps) and minimizing heat being absorbed anywhere above the ambient air temp you want the air as even when the tape turns off if that metal say 10 degrees F hotter its going to radiate out till it equalizes with the air then is will all cool to your set temp and start again when it turns on. You don't need the channel as long as you can get all the air moving around but it makes it easier.

Keep in mind here that I am basing this off of when the heat tape is on its likely getting to 90F maybe hotter in the closed space (while heating the air). So a heat reading of the tape and metal its attached to will greatly help in confirming the problem and correcting. (using a laser temp gun or having the probe directly on those parts)
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
For my first clutch ever, I did the same DIY incubator from a styrofoam cooler.

My suggestion is simple really, if you set your thermostat to 84 and it's keeping it at 86, just back your thermostat down a couple degrees.
It doesn't matter what you set it at, what matters is what it can keep it at.

I used an aquarium heater submerged in a shallow pool of water at the bottom of the cooler. No temperature settings on the heater itself, just a dial that went from warm to hot.. took a few hours to dial in where I needed to have it set to get the temperatures I needed, but that's my point. If your thermostat is making it too hot, just lower it down until it keeps the temp you want. Despite what you tell it to be set at.

I didn't have any fans or air circulation, and all of my eggs hatched in that incubator. It worked so well I used it for the next 2 clutches I got before finally buying one. And I only bought one as space was kind of tight in my DIY one.

-Brandon
 

Draven88

Hatchling Member
Just a couple of things with that, because that did work (as it should have) with the cooler and the aquarium heater. Nice idea as long as you can also maintain humidity at the right levels (not sure how much that pool of water would raise the humidity). I do a similar trick in my incubator of closed water bottles so that when i have to open the door those help it to get right back up to temp.

To go further into why I say the temps on the heat tape and the metal its on matter so much. Lets say that starting out the heat tape of course is going to full on 100% power to get it heated up to 84. That's going to mean the heat tape and metal might be heating to 90+ before the air over the sensors reads 84, and well that's kind of the point to heat the air. But has the side effect that now the metal is OVER the target temp when the heat tape turns off because the air reached 84 its going to effect the entire internal temp. And adding to that that its at 0% usage it is kicking off. Now if all is working perfectly set at 84 you would expect that it will slowly drop from the 86 or so its reaching till it hits below 84 and turn back on repeating the cycle over and over. So my fear in simply saying lower the target temp is that it will drop the max its hitting but then will drop too low before kicking back on.

Now of course if the incubator temp swing is all within the right range then that should be fine. So if you set it to 82 but it heats to 88 shuts off slowly drops to 82 then kicks back on not to drop below that, then you are within the 84F + or - 2-3 degrees as you should be aiming for. It may even end up evening out if say it drops to 84 and the herpstat come on at low power only for small amount it wants to raise the temp.

That now brings a question to mind. Has this been running for a long enough time to settle in to temperature or is it that it shot up above when turned on and it really didn't have a long time to cycle and settle in? I always start mine up at least 24 hours before intending to use it if possible.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
I get what you are saying but it shouldn't matter too much. The thermostat is maintaining the ambient temp 2 degrees over what it's set at, so lowering the setpoint by 2 degrees should have the desired affect of bringing the ambient down the 2 degrees desired.

The heat tape will definitely heat up hotter than what it's set to, and then radiate heat even once it's turned off, but if it's been maintaining 2 degrees hotter, lowering it 2 degrees should also make it maintain 2 degrees less too.

Anyways, this is what you get to deal with when you try to DIY something, gotta monkey around and figure out a way to make it work :)
But that's half the fun too.

-Brandon
 

Draven88

Hatchling Member
Claudiusx":24kpgtac said:
I get what you are saying but it shouldn't matter too much. The thermostat is maintaining the ambient temp 2 degrees over what it's set at, so lowering the setpoint by 2 degrees should have the desired affect of bringing the ambient down the 2 degrees desired.

The heat tape will definitely heat up hotter than what it's set to, and then radiate heat even once it's turned off, but if it's been maintaining 2 degrees hotter, lowering it 2 degrees should also make it maintain 2 degrees less too.

Yes I do absolutely agree, and in my first reply did say try bring it down slowly. I have been going on the assumption that this was being tried first. Even if that works though I still personally would want good airflow to keep temps and humidity even throughout the incubator. It may be overkill, but if I'm building something like this it is what I would do to ensure the best match to the professional commercial units.
 

Argam1998

Member
Original Poster
Draven88":1w3gz47w said:
Claudiusx":1w3gz47w said:
I get what you are saying but it shouldn't matter too much. The thermostat is maintaining the ambient temp 2 degrees over what it's set at, so lowering the setpoint by 2 degrees should have the desired affect of bringing the ambient down the 2 degrees desired.

The heat tape will definitely heat up hotter than what it's set to, and then radiate heat even once it's turned off, but if it's been maintaining 2 degrees hotter, lowering it 2 degrees should also make it maintain 2 degrees less too.

Yes I do absolutely agree, and in my first reply did say try bring it down slowly. I have been going on the assumption that this was being tried first. Even if that works though I still personally would want good airflow to keep temps and humidity even throughout the incubator. It may be overkill, but if I'm building something like this it is what I would do to ensure the best match to the professional commercial units


Finally got some photos. I ended up taking the giant metal panel in the back out. Heat tape is only on plastic now. Also made a funnel for the airflow to go by the back wall. The first hour of running the incubator the temps were fine but after the third hour temps went back to 91. Was set at 84. Now I’ve tried lowering the temp on thermostat but nothing happens. Iam thinking my living room is just too warm and it just gets too hot in there. Maybe I need a few holes like a vent ? To let some air out but not so much where my thermostat is on all the time?? Sorry for the late reply :/

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102779-2645682246.jpg
102779-5212552962.jpg
102779-4201965639.jpg
102779-8936555227.jpg
 

Argam1998

Member
Original Poster
102779-660635825.jpg
Argam1998":1ht63e0c said:
Draven88":1ht63e0c said:
Claudiusx":1ht63e0c said:
I get what you are saying but it shouldn't matter too much. The thermostat is maintaining the ambient temp 2 degrees over what it's set at, so lowering the setpoint by 2 degrees should have the desired affect of bringing the ambient down the 2 degrees desired.

The heat tape will definitely heat up hotter than what it's set to, and then radiate heat even once it's turned off, but if it's been maintaining 2 degrees hotter, lowering it 2 degrees should also make it maintain 2 degrees less too.

Yes I do absolutely agree, and in my first reply did say try bring it down slowly. I have been going on the assumption that this was being tried first. Even if that works though I still personally would want good airflow to keep temps and humidity even throughout the incubator. It may be overkill, but if I'm building something like this it is what I would do to ensure the best match to the professional commercial units


Finally got some photos. I ended up taking the giant metal panel in the back out. Heat tape is only on plastic now. Also made a funnel for the airflow to go by the back wall. The first hour of running the incubator the temps were fine but after the third hour temps went back to 91. Was set at 84. Now I’ve tried lowering the temp on thermostat but nothing happens. Iam thinking my living room is just too warm and it just gets too hot in there. Maybe I need a few holes like a vent ? To let some air out but not so much where my thermostat is on all the time?? Sorry for the late reply :/

.
102779-8936555227.jpg
102779-2645682246.jpg
102779-5212552962.jpg
102779-4201965639.jpg
102779-8936555227.jpg
 

Argam1998

Member
Original Poster
102779-6916484865.jpg
Draven88":1bt4hu5f said:
I’ve tried cracking the door and my temps seems to keep stable. I think I have my incubator too air tight. Air is not circulating out.

Claudiusx":1bt4hu5f said:
I get what you are saying but it shouldn't matter too much. The thermostat is maintaining the ambient temp 2 degrees over what it's set at, so lowering the setpoint by 2 degrees should have the desired affect of bringing the ambient down the 2 degrees desired.

The heat tape will definitely heat up hotter than what it's set to, and then radiate heat even once it's turned off, but if it's been maintaining 2 degrees hotter, lowering it 2 degrees should also make it maintain 2 degrees less too.

Yes I do absolutely agree, and in my first reply did say try bring it down slowly. I have been going on the assumption that this was being tried first. Even if that works though I still personally would want good airflow to keep temps and humidity even throughout the incubator. It may be overkill, but if I'm building something like this it is what I would do to ensure the best match to the professional commercial units.
 

Draven88

Hatchling Member
While it may be working for you and that is great, being air tight shouldnt be a bad thing. It should be makining it easier to maimtain a temp if it isnt fighting airflow of different temp coming in. What is the room temps where it is located. And i see some wires but cant see where your actual temp probes are located. The one hanging looks like a seperate stand alone meter to me.
 
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