Egg Incubation Chamber

[Mazomen] left the expensive ready-to-order options for others and built his own egg incubation chamber. It keeps the eggs warm and happy in a Styrofoam lined box. Temperature regulation is handled by an ATtiny26 microcontroller in conjunction with a DS18B20 temperature sensor. When the temp drops, two 60-watt light bulbs in the chamber above the eggs are turned on and the air is circulated with a small case fan. If you’ve already made the switch to automated vegetable growing this project will make your chicken raising easier as well.

[Thanks RicoElectrico]

20 thoughts on “Egg Incubation Chamber

  1. I built one of these about a year ago but used a pic instead of an attiny. The reason the fan is used is to get a uniform heat distribution and to ensure that the humidity stays high. Without a fan the air in the unit forms into “layers” with cool air at the bottom and hot air at the top. This makes it difficult to get good regulation of the air temperature and humidity. With the fan it doesn’t matter where the heat source is. However, putting the heat source on the top gives you a degree of safety. If the fan fails the unit will get hot on top but the egg chamber will be cooler. Since eggs can tolerate being cooled while incubating (mamma hen gets off of the nest occasionally) they are more likely to survive. Having the heat source below means the eggs get baked if things go wrong.

  2. If I was going to use a microcontroller I’d want it to keep track of a lot more than just temperature monitoring, otherwise its like sandblasting a soup cracker. Why not just make a quickie circuit with a relay and a transistor and a thermal resistor or something like that? That said the concept is good, I just wouldn’t bother implementing it like that.

  3. I would not recommend anyone build this.
    Eggs MUST, I repeat MUST be turned many times per day (absolute minimum of twice per day). Commercial incubators all have automated turning. Birds turn their eggs in the nest multiple times a day.
    If you do not turn the eggs (or even forget a few times) the embryo or yolk of the egg sticks to the side and the chicks either die or come out badly malformed.
    Source: Experience raising chickens, pheasants, turkeys, ducks, and peacocks.

    I suggest adding a motorized timer to tilt the tray back and forth a few times during the day.

  4. “I would not recommend anyone build this.”

    Well it pretty obvious that the guy who did build it knows to turn his eggs from the markings (x and o) on the eggs. Anybody who does build it is advised to look at the multiple sources on hatching eggs available on the web. I used cheap foam incubators for years before building my own unit similar to this. It works great at a fraction of the cost of a pro unit. When I built mine I built it big enough to accommodate a “egg turner” (actually an egg tilter – about $40 – Google it) so I wouldn’t have to turn them by hand. In addition I would recommend a way to monitor the humidity since it’s important too. Wal Mart sells a little temp/humidity unit for about $12. The suggestion above for an automatic humidity control (Honeywell HCH-1000-002) sounds like a good idea to implement but I’m not sure how to implement the actual control. Spray atomized water into the fan at a controlled rate? Change the airflow through a chamber containing a wet sponge? This need experimentation.

  5. Let’s see… one old freezer off Craigslist: free. Couple of ceramic light fixtures and bulbs: $5, a fan from a broken space heater: free. a thermostat from an old water heater: free. Add a few pans of water with some sponges in them, and perhaps a bit of duct to control air recirculation and mix.

    For the cost, I just bought the commercial egg turners and wired them up. Cheap and easy.

    I’m thinking a micro-controller is massive overkill here. There are much better designs all over the web.

    And come on, there isn’t even an Arduino in this thing, what’s it doing on Hack a Day?

  6. The microprocessor is not overkill if you want to:

    – Have a Overtemp/Undertemp/Failure alarm
    – Have a way of monitoring the temp realtime (lcd)
    – Log temperatures over the incubation period
    – Have very TIGHT temp control (+-.017C) measured with the sensor AT THE EGGS

    “Thermostat from an old water heater” Really? Have you actually made that work? I’ll bet you can’t get less that a +-2C degree regulation that way. And I bet it would take a week to get it at the right temp if you ever could.

  7. the stat from a hot water tank is a very effective way of controlling the heat in an incubator! my father has had hundreds of chicks successfully hatch in home brew incubators controlled exactly like that. eggs temps don’t need to be controlled to such ridiculous tolerances as +/- 0.017 deg C!

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