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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Testing The Egg Incubator, Mandarin Wine

Popped down to the workshop at 8 am to set up the 24 hour test on the incubator and ended up there for 6 hours. The problem was the temperature. The wireless temperature and humidity transmitter didn't have a min/max function which is essential for a full 24 hour test. The solution was simply to insert a probe from one of the many digital thermometers that are stored in the winery (La Cave).

The test rig

There result was a discrepancy between the two thermometers. There was also a big discrepancy between in humidity level in the transmitter and an old hygrometer sitting in the water tray. Attacking the temperature problem first 5 separate probes were inserted into different parts of the incubator. This resulted in 6 different temperatures, some differing by 2 degrees C.

After installing a second fan and moving both fans to different positions and testing the results a final configuration was established that kept the temperature variation to just below one degree. A insulated baffle between the heat source and the egg storage section prevented radiant heat distorting the readings and both fans were mounted in front of and just above the heat source pulling warm air and pumping it across the eggs.  Each test meant dismantling the setup, relocating the fans, reinstalling all the probes and recording temperature variances. What a pain!

There also needed to be confirmation that the temperature was in fact the temperature so the thermostat could be calibrated. With 12 thermometers inside the incubator and some with probes sitting side by side it was established that a bulb thermometer was broken, one transmitter was not transmitting and one digital thermometer was out by one degree. Finally the thermostat was calibrated.

The humidity issue was also resolved when by comparing the results of 3 transmitters and the hygrometer. One transmitter had both the temperature and humidity measurements that worked.

The whole setup was left running after all the min/max settings were reset.

And then some work got done i.e. putting out silage and hay for next doors cows. While I was fiddling with the incubator Jean got some real work done around the garden.

The Mandarin wine had a Brix reading of 17 which was borderline. Yesterday another small batch of Mandarins was juiced with a kitchen juicer and the batch frozen. This morning before embarking on the marathon temperature testing it was taken out of the freezer to defrost. When the defrosted juice reached 21 Brix it was added to the main batch raising the combined batches to 18.4 which is a potential alcohol a little above 10. Well above the minimum 9 recommended for stability. Some NWS Chardonnay yeast was added and an airlock fitted. Lets see what happens.

Mandarin Wine warming above the fireplace

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