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Topic: Controlling and powering a heating element, thermometer, and screen. (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


So I am making an incubator that I want to be able to control with my Arduino Uno. I am thinking about using a heating element and digital thermometer to do his but I don't really know how to get the high voltages that I will need for powering the element other than that I will need a relay and transformer. I am somewhat new to Arduino and new to using high voltages or anything with AC current. I would also like be able to read and possible control humidity of the air inside the incubator and view everything on a small LED screen, but that is a secondary goal to mainting temp I need. Please tell me or direct me to a good tutorial on how to set up and design the high voltage stuff for a small temperature control system.

I am thinking about using a heating element like this one to do the job. What do you think and what more would I need?


Something like this can help you control a 120 AC device If your unfamiliar with high voltage.
I've seen a DIY incubators use a low watt light bulb to produce enough heat for chickens, unless your looking to build something a large. In which case, if you are familiar with household wiring, a light bulb and an  incandescent bulb pigtail like this would be easily wired up to a relay like this...

The relay kit from sparkfun


...put the bulb in the bottom.  Get a $3-6 temperature sensor, and mount it in the central. Part of the incubator or. Wherever you. Can get the best reading for where the eggs will lay.  Then it's. a simple. Matter to have the Arduino monitor the temp, turning on/off the relay-light bulb, and displaying the temp on the LCD. There a nice temp/humidy sensor combo that be real handy in this case, as you need humidy too, if I'm not mistaken, ya words the end of the hatch.

I has a couple of these, haven't used them yet, but think they'd be perfect for your application.


You should have at least two bulbs for redundancy. Sometimes one burns out! I found that two 30W bulbs for the ~3 cubic foot incubator I built was plenty to keep the heat up, but then if it's not you can always add larger bulbs. The shell of my incubator was a plywood cabinet with 1/2" of extruded foam insulation board.

Something I would suggest watching out for is humidity control. I continually found it very difficult to keep my humidity up and if I were to rebuild my cabinet I would add some type of misting system to do that. Assuming you're building an egg incubator, especially during the hatching stage if the humidity is not high enough the chicks will get stuck in their shells.

You'll also want to add in some air circulation to keep the heat even in your incubator. Small, computer fans will do that nicely.


Thanks a lot for all the help so far but I am building a cell incubator for growing mammalian cell cultures, not a chicken incubator. :)

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