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frazzledfozzle

Ecrotek incubator

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been using one for a while now, I like it , certainly wouldn't use it as a cell carrier but is good for incubating cells, get good hatches.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, olbe said:

been using one for a while now, I like it , certainly wouldn't use it as a cell carrier but is good for incubating cells, get good hatches.

 

 


@olbe have you used it plugged into 12 volt either a battery or a vehicle ?

im just wondering how it would go used as a backup during a power cut ?

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1 hour ago, frazzledfozzle said:


@olbe have you used it plugged into 12 volt either a battery or a vehicle ?

im just wondering how it would go used as a backup during a power cut ?

If you’ve already got an electronic incubator wouldn’t you be better to get a small generator to use as backup power?

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No Fraz, only ever used on mains power, will maybe try that in next couple of days, see how it goes

 

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3 minutes ago, olbe said:

No Fraz, only ever used on mains power, will maybe try that in next couple of days, see how it goes

 


that would be fabulous if you could

I would be really keen on how you think it Performs 

55 minutes ago, Ted said:

If you’ve already got an electronic incubator wouldn’t you be better to get a small generator to use as backup power?


ideally I’d like something that kicks in automatically but I don’t seem to have any luck getting anyone to make something up for me it seems to be in the too hard basket .

@olbe have you used the incubator for young cells just capped 5-6 days old ?

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It is possible to buy uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) in a box that will run a device on mains power and in event of a failure of the grid will take over for a limited time. They have replaceable sealed lead acid batteries in them normally such as used for backup of burglar alarm systems. It really depends on what how many watts are involved as to whether the cost and the length of time for the backup is viable. They normally give off a continuous Beep-Beep when they are functioning and this would normally only give you say 30 minutes to wake up and go find a small generator. 

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On 11/05/2020 at 6:57 PM, frazzledfozzle said:

Anyone here have any feedback for me regarding this incubator?

 

Hi Frazz.

I have been using an incubator like this for years but bought mine from TradeMe rather for around $200 rather than this $500 version (mine doesn't have the foam inserts). This is an incubator for keeping cells outside of a beehive environment (i.e. once they are sealed and you want to free up space in cell raiser/finisher colonies), rather than a carricell alternative. These would be rather clumsy for that purpose I think and you'd have to adjust the power input away from a mains socket.

When making queen cells I (presumably like most) use cell bars that are the internal length of a standard frame. The dimensions of these incubators are perfect for these. My cells stay on their cell bars until they are ready to go into colonies.

Kids need the computer for school meetings now...

 

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Thanks for the info @Otto.

 

I have a fridge converted into an incubator using the kit from Beeline as well as numerous carricells.

I love the carricell but only use them once the cells are 9-10 days old .

 

The fridge incubator works well but I’m always nervous about power cuts because I have no backup so if it happens while I’m away or in the night I Can lose hundreds of cells in one go which is terrifying !

like you I’m needing to free up space in my finishers so take cells out once capped.

Ive tried putting another bar into a finisher that already has finished cells in it but the bees never draw out the second batch of cells as well as the first so it’s not really ideal.

Im thinking with this incubator I can perhaps have the cells on a battery type system when I’m not around so it doesn’t matter if there’s a power cut.

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If there is space, you could create a heat sink by having sealed bottles of water always in the bottom of the incubator, so when power clapped out, would slow the cooling. Somewhere I have the formula as to how to slow the emergence of queens  by slight cooling so could perhaps just land up with a longer time in the cells if cooled for just a short amount of time.

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it could be worth seeing if one of these products could back up the fridge

 

 

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If I faced this dilemma I'd power a 12 volt incubator off a car battery, have a dedicated 12 volt battery charger permanently hooked up to it, but with on/off cycles arranged through a wall socket plug-in timer. It wouldn't take long to figure out how long the battery lasted, set the timer to suit.  #8 solution

 

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3 hours ago, yesbut said:

If I faced this dilemma I'd power a 12 volt incubator off a car battery, have a dedicated 12 volt battery charger permanently hooked up to it, but with on/off cycles arranged through a wall socket plug-in timer. It wouldn't take long to figure out how long the battery lasted, set the timer to suit.  #8 solution

 

In this case I believe the 288 cell box is powered by 230VAC.

However you can still do as you propose if a 12VDC inverter is added to the shopping list. Very handily, Ecrotech also sell those matched for the incubator. It also said somewhere in the links that it was 150watts.

So current draw is about 12.5amps at 12VDC. The inverter has a 15A fuse. That means you might want at least a 20Ah of battery to last for power being down for an hour and to cover conversions and peaks. A good modern battery charger is smart and can be left permanently on without a timer. So, IMO you don't need to buy a timer. The charger will not do any damage, but will still kick in when needed. I guess if you might have an 8 hour outage overnight you should have minimum of 160Ah of usable battery capacity (20Ah x 8).  Maybe buy 320Ah on the label this means you can take out 160Ah with good longevity if you don't take batteries below half full.

What we have just described already comes in a box that you can buy called a UPS, already discussed. But depending on prices and amp hours, the inverter + battery + charger option could be cheaper and better. It would be sensible to look at all the options. 320Ah seems like a pretty big UPS and could be 3 batteries involved. Certainly makes the incubator itself the cheapest part of this system. Anyway, just thinking aloud, a real expert will be along shortly.

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I leave my cells in the swarm box they were raised in and always treat them with kid gloves but I have seen things that made me wonder whether it's always necessary. I was once putting out some 10 day cells late afternoon at home and had two left over which I forgot about . Next morning I saw them on top of the lid and thought oh dear I forgot about them, had a look and they were busy hatching.

My experience as you can kill a darn sight quicker by being too hot than you can with a bit of cold.

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1 hour ago, john berry said:

I leave my cells in the swarm box they were raised in and always treat them with kid gloves but I have seen things that made me wonder whether it's always necessary. I was once putting out some 10 day cells late afternoon at home and had two left over which I forgot about . Next morning I saw them on top of the lid and thought oh dear I forgot about them, had a look and they were busy hatching.

I think Day 9 & 10 cells are a lot hardier than most give them credit.  If the carricell or incubator is faulty on these days, or we have an all day powercut, I don't worry about it because I know they will hatch

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@yesbut and @ChrisM I think what you are both saying is just the thing I’m needing but I actually don’t understand what you are saying if that makes sense :) 

 

This kind of stuff is like maths, it makes my head hurt and turns ordinary English words into a foreign language which I just cannot understand.

 

can you dumb it down as if you were explaining to a 5 year old :) 

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Ok . Step 1 get him to read it !

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15 hours ago, john berry said:

I leave my cells in the swarm box they were raised in and always treat them with kid gloves but I have seen things that made me wonder whether it's always necessary. I was once putting out some 10 day cells late afternoon at home and had two left over which I forgot about . Next morning I saw them on top of the lid and thought oh dear I forgot about them, had a look and they were busy hatching.

My experience as you can kill a darn sight quicker by being too hot than you can with a bit of cold.

I completely agree. It is one of the reasons I will never use a carricell. A metal box left in the sun for even a very short period of time can overheat and kill queen cells. I just use a polystyrene box with a foam insert and bottle of warm water. 

I live in town so power cuts are a rare thing. I do remember one time we had one during the night. I woke up and realised so got out of bed, filled a couple of old milk bottles with warm water and put these in my incubator with the cells to make sure they didn't cool down too much.

@frazzledfozzle If your queen cell incubator has a decent amount of spare space putting a couple of decent sized bottles of water or a jerrycan or some bricks etc in to help stabilise heat and help slow cooling could work quite well (same concept as a nightstore heater).

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The little cell carriers I have made from Philbee's design with a controller go up/down in temperature quite a lot, but I've never managed to kill a cell using one.

I think cells are quite robust in the latter stages where I'm transferring them to hives 48 hours prior to emerging. I've found that if I put a wet cloth and a metal plate in the base of my cheap carrier that the temperature of the whole box varies a lot less because there is some actual mass to heat, not just foam and cells that have no real mass. Off topic, but I think it is a bit dodgy when cell carriers are advertised as incubators, as if they were the same thing.

 

 

Back to the UPS thing. There seems no point in buying a new incubator if your existing one is fine. But whatever incubator you operate, the issue is how to safeguard your incubator if there is a power outage. (am I right so far?).

 

How a UPS works doesn't matter, they just do, we can leave the maths to someone else.

The kind of UPS you would need to do that job to keep the incubator going for 8 hours is quite large and quite expensive and even if you follow @yesbut's  diy recipe, it is still quite expensive for the capacity needed.

 

Instead, I suggest buying a basic UPS that will cover you for a short time only. The critical thing is that you can hear it, that it wakes you up and that you can then transfer it to a generator for the rest of the night; if you know you have a problem.

 

This is an example that costs $169 and will give you an audible beep when the power is off. It is no different from Mummzie's link, just a specific example.

In worst case if you sleep very soundly, you may need some kind of baby monitor speaker by your bed to ensure you do not sleep through it.

 

 

merged responses

 

just for interest I got a quote for UPS that will do 150W for 8 hours. The written quote is detailed, and I'd be happy to pass it along to you, but the total cost is $3182.69 including GST. It is a very nice looking and smart unit, but the cost is very high. A small generator is still needed after 8 hours if the power is still out. I'd go for a $169 and a baby monitor, but I'm not earning a living from bees and it really depends how dodgy your power is as to where you draw the line.

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My solution assuming you have a 12volt incubator, old battery, and  old charger would cost about $16 for the timer.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, ChrisM said:

ust for interest I got a quote for UPS that will do 150W for 8 hours. The written quote is detailed, and I'd be happy to pass it along to you, but the total cost is $3182.69 including GST. It is a very nice looking and smart unit, but the cost is very high. A small generator is still needed after 8 hours if the power is still out. I'd go for a $169 and a baby monitor, but I'm not earning a living from bees and it really depends how dodgy your power is as to where you draw the line.


I only need one power cut with 300 cells sitting in an incubator to lose thousands of dollars so the expense is warranted in this instance :) 

 

the setup I have is made by beeline and is plugged into power we live rurally so a power cut for longer than 2-3 hours is Not uncommon. With being away from the property most of the day every day during the season we aren’t around to turn on a generator so need something to kick in automatically and off again when the power comes back on. 

Edited by Mummzie
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21 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:


I only need one power cut with 300 cells sitting in an incubator to lose thousands of dollars so the expense is warranted in this instance :) 

 

the setup I have is made by beeline and is plugged into power we live rurally so a power for longer than 2-3 hours is Not uncommon. With being away from the property most of the day every day during the season we aren’t around to turn on a generator so need something to kick in automatically and off again when the power comes back on. 

 

Then you need to talk to a competent Electrician.  It might cost, however, it is a 1 off cost.

 

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2 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

 

Then you need to talk to a competent Electrician.  It might cost, however, it is a 1 off cost.

 


interestingly I have talked to numerous electricians and none of them seem to have a clue about what to do Or what is required :( 

 

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2 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:


interestingly I have talked to numerous electricians and none of them seem to have a clue about what to do Or what is required :( 

 

 

OK.  Then talk to an electronics person.  Someone who is involved with CCTV (security cameras and systems)  They have that sort of system in all their systems.

 

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16 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:


I only need one power cut with 300 cells sitting in an incubator to lose thousands of dollars so the expense is warranted in this instance :) 

the setup I have is made by beeline and is plugged into power we live rurally so a power cut for longer than 2-3 hours is Not uncommon. With being away from the property most of the day every day during the season we aren’t around to turn on a generator so need something to kick in automatically and off again when the power comes back on. 

 

In that case a UPS is appropriate and with regards to fire risk and insurance, I do not recommend a diy setup without a lot of custom work that will cost more than an off the shelf unit. Most UPS are designed to keep computers/servers/internet running in case of an outage, but your incubator is in the same regime. Ask @Grant, he probably has one somewhere.

I do have a PDF file that explains their products and a written quote (also pdf) for a particular product that I think would be a good place to start. I'll attach these. 

Basically this the DIY system of components all in a box that is proven/professional. You can just plug it in and then you can switch off the power at the wall and watch this thing kick in.

In the OP you linked to the ecroteck 288 incubator, I looked up its power requirements. I don't know the power requirements of the beeline unit; so that should be checked. Someone called Liz Hatton provided me with the quote and I said at the outset that I was "asking for a friend". 

Best you call them up and get them to explain it in plain english to you. Maybe they'll suggest a cheaper alternative when they have a clearer understanding.

Things I would note is that the 8hour requirement is involving two 48V batteries worth a grand each in the quote. I think this will last a little bit longer than "an old 12V battery in the shed". However, these won't last forever, so it would be worth asking Ms Hatton if you should budget on them being replaced about every few years. If she says they normally last 5 years, then you'd be spending another 2k every five years. Hopefully they last 10 years. Aside from that the unit should last you a lifetime. You should ask how will you know when batteries need replacing. My solution to that would be to turn off the power at the wall and then run the incubator for 8 hours with no cells in it; to warm it up, prior to start of the season. This will give you a practical confidence. There are some fangled ways you can plug in a computer to interrogate this device and all kinds of screens and so on, but I assume you only want to plug it in and go. Maybe it would be sensible to look at the Beeline unit to see what power requirements are on the label at the back of the machine.

 

Key issues are how many Watts does the Beeline unit use and do you need something different from 8 hours until you wake/return to find a genset.

 

I contacted only one company at random, I can't say if they are real expensive, dodgy or good value. However, so far as I can see they seem 'on to it'.

good luck

 

Smart UPS SMTSMX.pdf Applied Engineering SMX750I.pdf

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