I checked my incubator last night, like I always do before I go to bed, and was horrified to see that the temperature was only 24°C when it should be 35°C. I checked to see if the temp setting had been inadvertently changed, but it hadn’t. I opened the door, and found the fan constantly running where it was trying to heat up, but the heating element was cold.

I had two trays of queen cells in the incubator, some of which were due to emerge today, and they will have died due to cooling – or so I thought….

I emptied the incubator this morning, as I was going to strip it to see if it was repairable, and noticed that I could see the queens moving in two of the cells (ones that were due to emerge today) so I placed the lot into my Chameleon’s vivarium to warm them up and see what happens.

In the mean time, I stripped the incubator down, and found the heating/cooling plate (a Peltier Tec1-12075) had failed. This is a fairly common component – and cheap, so I ordered some replacements so that I can repair the incubator. I ordered a higher rated component (Peltier Tec1-12076), that the manufacturer states has a life expectancy of 200,000 hours, and a failure rate of 0.02% under high load testing, so it will hopefully do a turn.

tec1-2706 cooling/heating chip as ordered
The incubator stripped down, with heatsinks removed
The faulty Peltier Tec1-12075 cooling/heating chip
The heatsinks that fit either side of the chip – one side is for heating, the other for cooling

To be safe, I have ordered a new incubator that has alarms for high/low temperature and high/low humidity and power failure. The old one, once repaired, will be kept as a spare or for emergencies as it can run from a 12V power source, such as a car battery.

The new incubator, on order

The new incubator is actually a chicken egg incubator that will hold 48 eggs, and has an automatic egg turner. I will remove the egg tray, and will stand the cages with queen cells in on the mesh base of the incubator.

The egg tray will be removed to enable me to place queen cells in the incubator.

Fingers crossed, all should be ok with the new incubator and the repaired old one – I can’t stand for much more to go wrong, this has really knocked me back on the queen rearing front now.

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