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PsychoTek Pickle Jar Incubator < 30 bucks

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#1 psychonaut


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Posted 11 August 2007 - 04:42 AM

Hello, this is the 2nd installment of PsychoTek, the series. This time we will be building an inexpensive heatbomb for your incubator.

As with the rest of the PsychoTeks, I am merely providing a beginner pictorial how to of ideas that smarter, sexier, and cooler people than me have already thought up. :bow:They just let me loose with a camera.


Materials List, everything bought at the Mart that Must Not Be Named.
supplies.jpg (I forgot to photo the nexcare tape in this picture, you need it!)

80 oz Vlasic Kosher Dills Pickle Jar - glass with a metal lid - $2.50

Tetra 30-60 Gallon 200 watt heater - $23.00

NexCare 3M Waterproof Tape - 3.00

I had a drill bit set, drill, file, and RTV sealant bought from an automotive store.

Our first step is to remove the pickles and juice from the pickle jar. I hate pickles so this was the hardest step of the whole process. They smell terrible! Rinse the jar out with hot water and clean the lid. Dry it with a paper towel.

Here's what your jar looks like:

Now we open up the heater, and we carefully peel off the bottom protective grommet on the bottom of the tetra heater.
This is going to allow for a better sealing (smaller hole) opening of the heater to the jar lid which means less work for us! Yay!

I took my biggest 1/2" drill bit and drilled a hole through the middle of that pickle jar lid after I eyeballed with the glass part of the heater how big I wanted my hole to be. Then after the first hole, I moved the bit over so it would get a good bite at the lid and drilled a hole right beside the first one.

Then I took the drill and by grasping the base of the jar solidly (lid screwed on), I sawed the drill bit in an up and down motion while drilling to 'widen up' the flimsy metal lid into a round hole.

Once you bore the hole wide enough to slip the glass part of the heater (grommet still is off) through the metal lid, you seal the top of the heater to the metal lid with a VERY thick bead of rtv sealant.

Be sure to use your finger to wipe the bead upwards onto the top shaft of the heater - you want to make sure the sealant is making a waterproof unbroken seal from the jar lid to the heater. Do the best you can, take your time here.

I ran the cord straight up in the air and draped it over a lamp so that the heater would sit 'centered' on the top of the pickle jar lid. Otherwise, the weight of the cord pulls the heater to one side and it doesn't seal to the jar top right.

Wait 20 mins and the bead of RTV sealant that you attached to the heater will be cured on the outside, but still be malleable on the underneath that is not exposed to air. This is useful because we can smush the rtv sealant against the heater one more time to get a better seal.
Wait another ten minutes. Now we do the same thing to the bottom side of the lid.

Run the bead on the underside thickly and use your finger to seal it to the glass shaft of the heater.
Let the whole thing sit for an hour or two.

Fill the jar with water to the very top so that the water line is all the way to the top of the jar. Slowly submerge the heater and screw the lid on tightly. This will displace a small amount of water. Wipe it off with a paper towel.

Use your Nexcare tape and seal the top of the heater to the jar lid top by tearing small pieces of tape and pressing strips overlapping around the top of the jar. After you seal the top of the lid to the heater using the tape, run the heater for an hour or so. (let the water expand from the heat and leak out the sides. Then take and wrap two long strips of the nexcare tape around neck of the jar where the jar lid screws on to the base. This stops water from beading out of the side.

This is the finished Jar:

This is the Jar on its side in an incubator (an empty rubbermaid container) Be sure to test your jar for a few hours for any case of the leakybadness. [tm]

Have Fun and Be Safe!

Attached Thumbnails

  • jar-pot-with-nexcare-tape.jpg
  • nexcare-box.jpg
  • before-heater.jpg
  • bottom-of-the-lid.jpg
  • before-bottom-seal.jpg
  • Top-of-the-lid-seal-with-RT.jpg
  • tetra-heater-box.jpg
  • remove-heater-grommet.jpg
  • second-drill-hole.jpg
  • first-drill-hole.jpg

Edited by Sidestreet, 25 February 2018 - 06:55 AM.

#2 Hippie3



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Posted 11 August 2007 - 05:54 AM

you got a good price on that heater,
at my Petco a 200 w. submersible heater
is well over $30 by itself

#3 CoyoteMesc


    howling mad

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 06:27 AM

Nice heater, looks like the "bomb" :thumbup:

#4 reverend trips

reverend trips

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 07:07 AM

Thanks for the pictorial!

How were the pickles?

#5 Hippie3



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Posted 11 August 2007 - 07:08 AM

also see

#6 spunforfun



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Posted 11 August 2007 - 08:05 PM

I bought the same heater at wallyworld for $21 bucks and I saw the exact one at petco for $23. well anyway nice write up. write ups like this really helped me when I started my mycology adventure. they still help alot. :eusa_clap

#7 psychonaut


    Mad as a Hatter

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 10:50 PM

The pickles were superb. They went into the garbage can without a fight. :pirate:

#8 Hippie3



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Posted 17 September 2007 - 06:50 PM

i've found a very easy cheap way to build a heatbomb
using plastic bottles,
i use tin snips to cut a channel in the bottle of neck
place heater cord in channel
silicon around it.
empty you can mail it, as i do at mycrotopia ,
then just fill, screw on lid and voila!

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