Mini Refridgerbator Incubator
How to Build A Mini Refridgerbator Incubator
I decided to build this Mini Refridgerbator Incubator when it became apparent that my first clutch of ball python eggs was upon me. My current hovabator incubators were not large enough. This lead me to searching the internet to find out what other breeders were using for incubators. I found that most were using custom built incubators and I decided that this was the way to go for me as well.
I knew that I wanted to use a beverage container from the beginning because they had sealed doors with a full size window for egg viewing. Their size was ideal for the space I have to offer as well.
I purchased an Avanti EWC1601B 16 bottle thermoelectric wine cooler. I intentionally sought out a broken unit to save money and scored the one pictured for $53.99 (shipping included) off of ebay. It had a few dents and a broken piece of plastic but was still sealed, which is all I wanted.
I began by removing the back of the wine cooler. This gave me access to the internal components that made this thing operate. I then removed those components since they would never serve me any purpose. This offered me an access point for the heat tape cordage as well as the proportional thermostat probe without having to drill new holes.
As the image above shows there is a fan shaft in the rear of the wine cooler. Since I had removed the working components the shaft was empty and allowed me to run the 11" heat tape wiring and the proportional thermostats probe within it.
Once the wires were run through the shaft I then wired in the heat tape. You can learn about wiring heat tape here: Wiring Heat Tape.
Once the 11" heat tape was wired I proceeded to tape it to the back of the cooler, over the fan shaft, using aluminum duct tape.
With the heat tape installed I decided to place a digital thermometer in the incubator to get a second opinion on how accurate the temperatures were. I opted to adhere the thermometer to the corner of the door, inside, attached to the glass. I used hot glue to attach the thermometer.
I ran the probes wire along the bottom of the viewing windows lip. I used a dab of glue to keep the wire positioned. I then transitioned the wire up the side of the glass and had it leap across to the inside of the cooler midway up the door. The probe was affixed to the shelf in which the thermostats probe was attached.
I added a fan to the incubator to circulate the air after I allowed the incubator to run for a bit. I purchased a computer fan from a local tech store that could be plugged into a wall outlet. I floor mounted the fan, aiming it up toward the shelves. I have the fan elevated off of the floor with some 1/2" nuts to allow for proper air circulation. The fan works wonderfully.
As it turns out, this was a less than ideal location for the placement of the thermometer. As the humidity built and condensation built on the glass, the water ran down and inside the thermometer, rendering it useless. I have since just added one to the shelf.
Now that the heat was installed and I had a secondary temperature monitoring method in place, I moved on to setting up the Spyder Robotics Herpstat 1 I was using to regulate the temperatures. This unit controls the internal temperature of the cooler in the same way your homes thermostat regulates the temperature you select. Below is the unit in its completed state.
Author: Richard Brooks
Images - © Richard Brooks