What is an IncuKit™?
For starters, the IncuKit may be the world's easiest way to make your own incubator. Why? Because it combines the essential components of a good incubator into one handy little device. It combines the fan, heater and thermostat together so all you have to do is install the IncuKit into your container and you have a regulated incubator!
We have two versions of the IncuKit.
1.) IncuKit Mini - intended for small incuabators that need upto about 30-40 watts of power.
2.) IncuKit XL - use the standard single fan/heater unit with your choice of control unit for medium sized incubators that require up to about 125 watts of power. For large cabinet style incubators that require up to about 250 watts of power, add the extra fan/heater and your choice of control unit.
The way you would use each one is a little different, but there are some general guidelines that will apply to each of them.
1. Select the IncuKit that is the right size for the container you will use for your incubator
This starts will understanding how many watts of power your container will need in order to get and keep the incubator at the correct temperature. If you have a larger container, very little insulation and it's kept in a cold room, you will need more wattage. If your container is small with great insulation and the room temperature is warm, you may need very little wattage. A simple way to determine the wattage you will need is to do the lightbulb test. Start by making your best guess about how much power you will need. Let's say 30 watts, for example. Then get a light bulb that is close to that wattage and turn on the bulb in your container. Use a thermometer to see how easily that amount of power heats up your incubator. Use caution when doing this test since lightbulbs can get very hot and cause fire if they get something else too hot.
2. Determine where in your incubator you will mount the device
The most common place to mount the IncuKit is on the ceiling of your selected container. This generally allows for the best airflow and even heat distribution throughout the incubator. The device comes with the mounting hardware you need to do this.
3. Make the appropriate mounting holes in your container
The IncuKit comes with a template you can use to make holes in the appropriate place. Use the template to mark where the holes need to go and make the holes with whatever tool is required, based on what your incubator is made of.
4. Mount the IncuKit according to the directions provided with each kit
5. Test the incubator to ensure proper function
Just like any incubator, give the container plenty of time to stabilize before you make any determinations regarding how well it is working. The IncuKit Mini and the IncuKit XL come preset to 99.5 F, which is the appropriate temperature for most bird eggs. So for your reptile eggs you will need to adjust them down. But that is very simple to do. The IncuKit XL will need to be adjusted so after installing and turning the unit on let the incubator stabilize. Then adjust up or down as needed based on the reading on your thermometer. Wait for 20-30 minutes between adjustments to ensure it's properly stabilized.
One issue that comes up occasionally with the IncuKit XL is the lack of adaquate air circulation because of size and setup of an unusual incubator design. Depending on the set-up of your incubator, there may be too much interference to get good air circulation from the fan(s) that are a part of the IncuKit XL. This will usually result in the top part of the incubator getting warmer than the bottom part. If this is the case, you may need to concider a different container or adjusting your setup and installing the heaters and fans in another location in your container. This will require some trial and error, but that is part of the fun of Do-It-Yourself incubators is figuring our the correct configuration and setup for a unique incubator you are currently building. Otherwise you would have bought a standard model off the shelf.
One item to note when using an IncuKit to incubate reptile eggs is that reptile eggs do not require the air circulation that bird eggs do. Too much air circulation can dry out eggs so that is something to consider as you position the IncuKit in your incubator.
We do offer the IncuKit XL for Reptile Incubators with 1 fan/heater unit with a special reptile adapter extension which will only allow the fan to be on ONLY while the heater is on. This ensures the heated air is circulated throughout the incubator, but the fan is not on continuously like on the standard models. The unit looks the same as the standard IncuKit XL Basic Thermostat with 1 fan/heater units, but has been modified with an adapter to ensure the fan is only on while the heater is to distribute the heated air.