Temperature in the incubator

Yvonne G

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I have my tortoise eggs in vermiculite, nestled inside small plastic tubs, holes in the sides and covered with the lids. The incubator is a Reptibator. It has a digital read-out on the lid, and I have a thermometer laying on the floor of the incubator. Going by the thermometer, which I wanted to be around 86F degrees, I set the digital read-out until the thermometer showed that temp. The read-out on the lid doesn't match, but that's ok. As long as the temp inside is where it want it, I'm happy.

So I finally broke down and bought one of those temperature reading point and shoot thingeys:

temperature gun.jpg

...and I thought, "What the heck. Let me check the eggs in the incubator." None of the eggs are showing the temperature I want. Some show upper 70's, some show lower 80's. The medium is also different temperatures.

No wonder my eggs take so long to hatch. I'm incubating them much too cool...that is, if I'm to believe what that yellow gizmo is telling me.

So I adjusted the read-out up to 90F, and to be on the safe side, I added another thermometer inside.

incubator a.jpg incubator b.jpg

It shows 90F on the digital read-out, and the two thermometers inside show 86F. I had been using the thermometer on the left, and didn't realize the increments are too small. With the other, cheapy thermometer, I can plainly see that the temp is 30c, or 86F.

But this still doesn't speak to the problem of the different eggs being different temperatures when "gunned."
 

wellington

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You should get another gun, same kind and test that one. If they both read the same, then I would say they are correct. If they both read different, then the one that is way off from your other gauges would be the bad one and then return it.
 

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Do you have a thermometer with the two lazer dots? The dots must line up and become one on the object that you're trying to read. If the dots are apart the readings may differ wildly. I use them for reading exhaust head pipes and setting carburetor mixtures.
 

Yvonne G

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It never occurred to me that the point and shoot thingey might be reading an incorrect temperature. But I really can't afford to buy another one to test that theory.
 

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A digital, non contact thermometer is very accurate. If you have different readings that are constant with several tries, it's likely NOT the gun. If egg "a" is this temp and egg "b" is another when tested a few times..and the readings are the same each time, it may come down to the level of biological activity going on inside each egg? I have no other guess.
 

Yvonne G

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Oh...I hadn't thought of that. Thanks.
 

WithLisa

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What happens if you switch the position of the eggs? Maybe there is a temperature gradient inside the breeder (e.g. hotter in the centre or underneath the heating element).
 

Tom

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Those temp guns are actually very sensitive. I would not use one to check or adjust my incubation temps for two reasons:
1. When you pop open the incubator and tub lids, you are allowing cold dry air in. The dry air will cause evaporation on the eggs surface and your gun is reading those cooler temps at the evaporation site, both on the eggs and the substrate.
2. Those guns send out a cone shaped "beam" and measure the return. The farther away from the surface, the larger the area you will be measuring. I don't know how the software of your gun tells it to compute multiple different temperatures all in one area, but this could be a reason for your issue. Suppose you held your temp gun 3' above a lit lighter and a cup of ice water, so that it is measuring both of those items and the ground under them? If you move the gun closer to the cup it will read colder. Closer to the flame and it will read higher. Which is the correct temp?

The utility of those guns is measuring surface temps, like basking spots, or the ground outside on a cold day to see if its worth sunning young tortoises, or a tortoises carapace. I would use more conventional thermometers, like the ones you already have for incubation.

Now good luck deciding which conventional thermometer to believe... :)
 

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The dual lazer type are more accurite. For that very reason. Because you must line the two with the exact area. It is a pin point measurement. Tom is much better at articulating things. And he is absolutely correct.
 

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i have the same temp gun and it always reads 1-2c higher than the digital and mercury ones. i use it more to torment the cats tho lol. they love chasing the dot around the floor.
 

wellington

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@Tom, I actually have two temps guns. One reads in the manner you spoke of above, in a cone shape area and has no point and shoot light. The other one I have reads in a straight line and only what the light is shining on, which you would want to be as close to the item as possible as to not pick up the temp between gun and item. It depends on what kind you have as the the manner it will read temps. However, you would still have to open incubator no matter what kind you are using.
 

Tom

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@Tom, I actually have two temps guns. One reads in the manner you spoke of above, in a cone shape area and has no point and shoot light. The other one I have reads in a straight line and only what the light is shining on, which you would want to be as close to the item as possible as to not pick up the temp between gun and item. It depends on what kind you have as the the manner it will read temps. However, you would still have to open incubator no matter what kind you are using.

I've not seen any of the "pin point" ones you refer too. All the ones I've seen use a cone. Most of the units even give you a diagram listing the angle of the cone and a spread for a given distance on a little sticker right on the unit.

Thanks for letting me know other types are out there.
 

Team Gomberg

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I thought mine was a "pin point" gun..until I read Tom's last post. It does have the cone sticker and I totally forgot it was there...
 

wellington

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Oaky, the ones I have are both Raytek. The "cone" one like Tom talks about and then the red light laser one. The red light one is a point and shoot and will measure the temp in a straight line when one inch or less to object. Over the one inch mark, it does start to measure temps similar to the cone one, except, in a narrower cone then the other. Hope that made sense.
Hubby has to use these on the job. They went to the infrared point and shoot ones as they were more accurate then the cone ones. Hope this helps, sorry, I can't find any numbers to tell you the exact ones they are.
 

Team Gomberg

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Hmm... mine has the red dot. But still has an invisible cone, right?
Interesting but I don't want to derail the temp thread...
 

Tom

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Hmm... mine has the red dot. But still has an invisible cone, right?
Interesting but I don't want to derail the temp thread...

The laser can help aim them, but yes all of them measure a larger area as the unit moves farther away. Some may have a narrower "cone" than others, but it is still measuring an area and not a tiny point.

I'm only speaking of the commonly available regular ones. There might be pin point ones available for specialized purposes in some professions that I would have no knowledge of. Like the one that Barb's hubby uses on the job.
 

ZEROPILOT

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I have a Raytek auto pro. It's a dual lazer and can read the temperatures of individual wires in a cluster of wires. Though it states a 1/2" at 8", I've found this type to be very pin point accurate. No cone here.
 
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