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OfflineLightTripper
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Registered: 08/10/08
Posts: 14
Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator
    #8795016 - 08/19/08 12:21 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)
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* Low cost if there's an old refrigerator available.

Hey, All.

Newbie grower who viewed a youtube video featuring a refrigerator outfitted with a light and thermostat for optimal incubating temp.

Recalling I had an old, small freezer I couldn't sell at a garage sale, and, armed with a degree in elec engineering (I knew it would come in handy someday), I set off for big box home improvement stores.

Parts List:
1 - 120 Volt Thermostat (the type used for electric floorboard heaters, single or double pole)
1- Utility Light with reflector
1 - Inexpensive Indoor/Outdoor thermometer (with wired probe for outdoor temp)
1 - AC extension cord with a plug and socket.
Assorted bulbs

Total Cost - $30

1. I Cannabalized the freezer by taking out the compressor, coils, etc. as all they added were unneeded weight.  Caution: freon will squirt out when the lines are cut.

2. Cleaned and disinfected the freezer with 10:1 water/bleach. Mine had been in the garage for awhile and had some mold inside.

3. Drill a hole through the side of the freezer large enough to run an AC cord and thermostat probe wire through. Not too big.  The idea is to maintain the insulating property of the freezer/refrigerator.

4. As temp is critical and these thermometers are cheap and innacurate, calibrate the thermometer by comparing it with a more accurate one. I used my Davis weather station, or compare with the temp at your local airport via noaa.gov. My thermometer is +1 degree off, and about -3% off on humidity. 

5. Cut the AC cord in half.  This leaves a plug and socket.  Make sure they're long enough to do the job.

6. Strip an inch of insulation off each conductor on both sides of the AC cord.

7. Wire and test the thermostat and light outside the freezer.

a. These thermostats have a Line Side and a Load Side.  Connect the socket length of AC cord to the Load side with the wire nuts included in the thermostat package, and wire nut the Line side to the plug length of the AC cord.

b. Turn on the light and plug it in.

c. Rotate the thermostat.  The light should come on.  I tested further by applying heat via a hair dryer and then put the thermostat in a working refrigerator.

d. The thermostat I used requires two AA batteries to work, so put them in. I didn't at first and didn't know why the rig wasn't working.

8. Run the cords through the hole after disconnecting everything.

9. Reconnect everything and put the light and thermostat on the bottom, and the temp probe on the top shelf where the jars will be kept.  Tape the probe to the side - make sure not to cover the probe with tape.

10. Set the thermostat for 86 degress, and chart the temp over a few hour period to find the right settings before using.

The rest is trial-and-error.

I found a 100 watt light bulb was too much in the small ex-freezer.  The change in temp (or delta T for you engineers out there) was 1 degree per minute, and the temp outpaced the thermostat's ability to respond.  By the time the thermostat killed the light the temp was too high.

I settled on a 60 watt. (I also didn't want to give my entire paycheck to the local utility company.)  The delta T is more gradual, and the thermostat keeps the temp within a 3 degree range.  I also found the thermostat was more responsive if placed near the light.  The 60 watt is on less than 5 minutes per hour.

This method theoretically will work with any enclosed space - cabinet, big cardboard box, etc.

Word doc with pix attached.

PM with any questions.

Good luck,
LT


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OfflineMHbound
Ballin Out At All Cost
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Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 6,512
Loc: Under The Rainbow
Last seen: 1 year, 8 months
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: LightTripper]
    #8795169 - 08/19/08 12:56 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Nice write up. :thumbup:


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Offlinetorqueman
Male User Gallery


Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 174
Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: MHbound]
    #8795795 - 08/19/08 02:45 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

:picdidnthappen:


--------------------
Why haven’t you? What do you have to lose?
When there is so much to gain.


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Invisibleblood4blood
Calmer Than You Are


Registered: 04/26/07
Posts: 6,013
Loc: The Valley
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: torqueman]
    #8795831 - 08/19/08 02:54 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

you know cakes & bulk substrate colonize just fine at room temp.  unless your house is way hot or way cold.  incubators are a waste of time and money imo!


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OfflineLightTripper
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Registered: 08/10/08
Posts: 14
Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: blood4blood]
    #8796176 - 08/19/08 03:53 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Right.

But far faster at optimal temps.


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Invisibleblood4blood
Calmer Than You Are


Registered: 04/26/07
Posts: 6,013
Loc: The Valley
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: LightTripper]
    #8796202 - 08/19/08 03:57 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

your only talking a couple days though....maybe.  do you think it's really worth it?


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Invisibleseven
.
Male

Registered: 06/09/08
Posts: 1,478
Loc: north carolina
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: blood4blood]
    #8796228 - 08/19/08 04:01 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

lots of people get less contamination when they do away with incubaters. colonization in the mid to lower seventys is smarter as bacteria strives in higher temps


--------------------
grind


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InvisibleRahz
Dead Gone Forgotten
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Registered: 11/11/05
Posts: 6,981
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: LightTripper]
    #8796239 - 08/19/08 04:03 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

I'm curious as to whether you're using the light for heat (I'm assuming your grow area is cooler than optimal), or for light?

you have the bulb wrapped in foil? Or you're using the intermittent light as a pinning factor?

I want to guess that with moderate FAE, an insulated grow chamber would naturally raise temps above ambient.


--------------------
rahz

comfort pleasure power love truth awareness peace


“Walking around 6 million years ago. Looking kind of human 1 million years ago. Writing things down 6 thousand years ago.”


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OfflineLightTripper
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Posts: 14
Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: blood4blood]
    #8796268 - 08/19/08 04:07 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Do as you like, as I do.


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OfflineLightTripper
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Registered: 08/10/08
Posts: 14
Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: seven]
    #8796280 - 08/19/08 04:08 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Then set for the 70's.


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OfflineLightTripper
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Registered: 08/10/08
Posts: 14
Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: Rahz]
    #8796315 - 08/19/08 04:13 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Yes, light for heat.

No foil.  Pix in attached .DOC.


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InvisibleRahz
Dead Gone Forgotten
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Registered: 11/11/05
Posts: 6,981
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: LightTripper]
    #8796354 - 08/19/08 04:20 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Cool. I can't see the pics... missing a filter.

just curious, how are you facilitating fresh air exchange?


--------------------
rahz

comfort pleasure power love truth awareness peace


“Walking around 6 million years ago. Looking kind of human 1 million years ago. Writing things down 6 thousand years ago.”


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OfflineLightTripper
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Registered: 08/10/08
Posts: 14
Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: Rahz]
    #8796379 - 08/19/08 04:24 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

It's a Word doc with pictures imbedded.

Think you're confusing incubating jars for ccoloniztion with fruiting after the jars have been colonized.


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Invisibleseven
.
Male

Registered: 06/09/08
Posts: 1,478
Loc: north carolina
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: Rahz]
    #8796392 - 08/19/08 04:26 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

no fae is needed in colonization. only gas exchange via filters.


--------------------
grind


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InvisibleRahz
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Registered: 11/11/05
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Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: seven]
    #8796423 - 08/19/08 04:31 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Doh, I knew that. I was thinking FC.

My bad.


--------------------
rahz

comfort pleasure power love truth awareness peace


“Walking around 6 million years ago. Looking kind of human 1 million years ago. Writing things down 6 thousand years ago.”


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Invisibleseven
.
Male

Registered: 06/09/08
Posts: 1,478
Loc: north carolina
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: seven]
    #8796444 - 08/19/08 04:33 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

did you think of keeping the compressor for temps that get to high? compressor comes on and cools things down. just a thought.good for people in hot climates,who dont have airconditioners ? i dont use an incubator just room temp for me. just throwing input.


--------------------
grind


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OfflineLightTripper
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Registered: 08/10/08
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Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: MHbound]
    #8796465 - 08/19/08 04:37 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Thanx, MHB.


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OfflineLightTripper
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Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: seven]
    #8796532 - 08/19/08 04:48 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

No, it was an old freezer. Even when set at the lowest temp it was below 32 degrees.

From an engineering perspective there would be no way to offset that low a temp with such a small heat source.

The temp is constant within less than 3 degrees with the 60 watt lamp and thermostat. In searching this board with "Optimal Temp," consensus is 84 degree air temp to allow for the 2 degree exo-thermic heat produced inside the jars, thus 86 degrees total. It's reported this temp halves the colonization time.

Post wasn't meant to be about optimal temps or coloniztion times.  It was meant to offer plans to anyone with $30 and the desire to make incubating a bit more precise and controlled.  And since I had an old freezer and the expertise. . .


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Offlinebobthetoolman
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Registered: 08/10/08
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Last seen: 8 years, 6 months
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: seven]
    #8796542 - 08/19/08 04:49 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Tripper, you may want to edit your warning about the Freon, since it is a violation of federal law to release any refrigerant into the atmosphere. The fines begin around $30,000.
If you want to really turn a fridge into an incubator, reverse the flow of refrigerant and it becomes a heat pump. Switch the fridge control out for a digital thermometer operating a relay to control the compressor and you would have one bad ass incubator.
If anybody wants to try this, be warned it can be lot more complicated than it sounds, but if you happen to have a friend that is a knowledgeable HVAC tech...........:grin:


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OfflineLightTripper
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Registered: 08/10/08
Posts: 14
Last seen: 10 years, 12 days
Re: Building a low cost * constant temperature incubator [Re: bobthetoolman]
    #8796623 - 08/19/08 05:04 PM (10 years, 3 months ago)

Hmmmm.  The laws of my state are far more draconian about cultivating controlled substances.

No need to edit.  Just watch out it doesn't spray you in the face.  It's not rocket science.


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