Thermometer / Hygrometer to double check incubator

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Thermometer / Hygrometer to double check incubator

Postby estepeste » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:08 pm

I've borrowed a Janoel JN12 from a friend, she has hatched ducklings in it successfully.

I am using my friend's 2-in-1 thermometer/hygrometer to double check the Janoel's reading (and to provide a hygrometer reading).
Seems the thermometer is out by about 1 degree or so. I THINK. I have no way of knowing whether the hygrometer reading is correct.
Now I have also purchased a separate hygrometer from Trademe to double check things.
Their readings are way different from anything else.

Incubator temperature is reading 37.5, my friend's thermometer is reading 36.2, meat thermometer is reading 36.3
Hygrometer - my friend's hygrometer is reading 45%, the Trademe hygrometer is reading 55%

WHICH ONE DO I BELIEVE????

My Meat thermometer seems pretty good (the stick type that you put into a roast). I double checked its measurement and it read 100 degrees for boiling water.
Is it ok to use a meat thermometer in the incubator for air measurements??
(I couldn't calibrate any of the other thermometers/hygrometers).

I have fertile eggs I need to put in, but won't do so until i know what's up with the readings.

Thanks heaps
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Re: Thermometer / Hygrometer to double check incubator

Postby Kracka » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:26 pm

I would be dubious about the meat thermometer - I'd wonder if it was accurate through the higher temperature ranges
so down at 37.5, its maybe too low for it to be working accurately

its a tricky one - if your friend has hatched ducklings in the incubator and the incubator is reading 37.5 I would tend to believe that thermometer (assuming it hasn't somehow gone out of kilter since it was last used)

with any incubator, we get told to record all the settings you use and record the results
in a lot of books, they'll give you a hint as to what problem indicates what is wrong
ie if they hatch early, maybe the temperature is a bit high etc

so it might be a case of try it & see what the results are - if they're late hatching, then maybe the real temperature is lower than what it actually says
but by then you may have ruined that batch of eggs
so not an easy decision
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Re: Thermometer / Hygrometer to double check incubator

Postby seatil » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:43 am

As you've noticed, by getting multiple uncalibrated (or single point calibrated) devices you're setting yourself up for confusion and doubt - which thermometer/hygrometer do you trust today? As none of them are properly calibrated you have absolutely no idea which to trust. Even if you had 100 thermometers and 99 agreed it doesn't mean that those 99 are right - they could all be equally wrong.

You're better off sticking to a single device and fiddling with it over multiple hatches as Kracka says. Yes, it's possible that your first hatch may be a bit hit and miss depending on how inaccurate the thermometer is, but make a note of the settings (including the date, the egg source and the thermometer used) and adjust as necessary for future hatches.

Or, you could two-point calibrate your chosen thermometer. This basically entails making use of the boiling and melting points of water, but only works for thermometers with sufficient range to measure 0C and 100C, which, if it's an old fashioned analog thermometer probably won't then have the resolution to show the difference between 37.5C and 37.2C. This site has a guide on how to do this: http://byo.com/hops/item/412-calibratin ... techniques It's important to follow the techniques correctly, otherwise you'll be incorrectly calibrating the thermometer to something like 2C and 98C instead of 0C and 100C.

It is also possible to buy two-point professionally calibrated thermometers (with and without certificates). I have a digital two-point calibrated thermometer for the kitchen and used it with an incubator last year (it got well cleaned afterwards!) It was great in the incubator and it's really useful in the kitchen too, especially for cooking roast meats to perfection.

Hygrometers have even more variation between devices than thermometers. I can put three hygrometers into the same incubator box for a few hours to acclimate and at the end of it they'll be in so much disagreement with one another that I can hear them arguing. Use a single hygrometer; note what it says. Next time around if humidity is believed to have been a problem you can then aim for "more" or "less" as required.

Alternatively, there is a method that involves weighing the eggs every 2-3 days and adjusting humidity to keep the eggs on a specific rate of weight (fluid) loss. It's a lot of work though. I did it with one hatch last year as a curiosity, but didn't get any better results than I normally get.
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Re: Thermometer / Hygrometer to double check incubator

Postby estepeste » Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:41 am

Thanks for that input, it is helpful.

Seatil, can you remember where you bought your digital two-point calibrated thermometer from?
I "calibrated" my meat thermometer and it was reading 100 degrees at boiling point, will try the 0 degree as well today. :geek:
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Re: Thermometer / Hygrometer to double check incubator

Postby seatil » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:54 pm

Mine's the basic model Thermapen. Came with a calibration certificate. I also ran the two-point calibration test here and it was spot on. They don't come cheap though. I think I picked mine up through Amazon UK.

I should note that even with calibrated equipment there's still an element of fiddling from batch-to-batch. For example next time I do quail eggs I'll be raising the temperature by a tiny nudge.
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Re: Thermometer / Hygrometer to double check incubator

Postby Kracka » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:40 pm

and the temperature and humidity outside the incubator can have an affect...
it shouldn't affect how the thermometer/hygrometer read, but it sure has an effect on the outcome
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