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Cabinet Incubators

I have experience with several makes and models of cabinet incubators.


Dickey Incubators

Cheapest to buy new. Sturdy, all wood construction. Excellent basic incubator, this is certainly the best value for the money.

GQF Manufacturing

These are the most commonly used in the US. Parts are readily available from multiple vendors. Often available used and used ones can be a great value if you are handy and can take them apart to clean and replace any parts that have failed. Middle of the road, this is a good choice for a first cabinet, as lots of people can help you with use, care and maintenance.


Imported from the UK, these are expensive to buy and parts are expensive, if you can even find them in the US. New, they come more complete than the others, including egg trays and spacers that are extra for the others. All that said, this is where I put my most valuable eggs, the ones that can be tricky to hatch (geese, peafowl, etc).

General Comments

  • Why do all the manufacturers insist on using cheap hardware? These are major investments that people intend to use for decades, so why not use stainless hardware to avoid the inevitable rust? It could not cost that much extra when building them and you would gain a reputation for quality just from that alone! It just makes sense.
  • Brinsea and R-COM are the top of the line in non-commercial incubators. If you have the money to invest, buy them instead of the cheaper domestic incubators, you will have better hatches. It is interesting to me that on the Strombergs page the Brinsea 580 is exactly twice the price of a GQF 1502, and the 580 holds exactly twice as many eggs. I see many cases where people get 2 or more 1502’s. If you planned to buy 2 1502’s, why not get the Brinsea 580 instead? If I were starting over buyng incubators, that is what I would do.


Follow these instructions to re-calibrate your Command Center 3258

  1. Set your LCD to (SET TEMP 100) degrees and give the incubator time to stabilize.
  2. Turn off the incubator 
  3. Press the Cooler and the Auto buttons at the same time and hold them down
  4. While holding these buttons down, turn power back on to incubator… hold buttons for (6) seconds
  5. After holding the two buttons for at least (6) seconds, release them.
  6. You will see “SET TEMP” and either a (+ or – number) (example: -1.0)  The factory default is -1.2
  7. Use the temperature up or down button to adjust the command center.  (Ex.  If you are 1 degree high (101), then you’ll need to use the cooler button to lower temp. – 1 degree) You can add or take away temperature until it matches the desired instrument (thermometer/hygrometer) you are using.
  8. Run the incubator until your thermometer and LCD are reading as close together as possible. —- Humidity—-
  9. While the incubator is still on, press and hold the cooler and warmer buttons for 5 seconds. When released, the humidity calibration screen will appear. Here you can adjust the humidity to your trusted hygrometer. TO EXIT THIS MODE: Either press and hold the cooler and warmer buttons for (5) seconds and release. Or you can turn off the incubator and then turn it back on again.

Dickey Incubator Instructions

GQF Incubator – replacing rusty screws

I am cleaning and refurbishing my 1502 cabinet incubators. I bought stainless steel hardware to replace the rusty ones that GQF uses. Why can’t they put stainless hardware on a $700 incubator? The environment inside an incubator is warm and humid, perfect for rust formation.

For future reference, or to help others doing the same, these are the specs for the hardware: #8-32 x 3/4 inch flat head machine screws #8-32 x 1 inch machine screws (only a few of these, but you could use them in place of the 3/4 inch ones) matching hex nuts #8 x 1/2 phillips hex head sheet metal screws

I will update this if I replace other fasteners.

Some of the screws were too rusted to extract. I used Duro Extend to treat the screws to delay further rusting. It would have been better to replace these with stainless before they got this bad, but sometimes you have to make do.