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Author Topic: automatic door opener for chicken coop  (Read 6924 times)
BjornBee
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« on: November 25, 2010, 09:11:06 PM »

I know there are several on Ebay from Europe that seem salty with the exchange rate.

Anybody know of a door opener/closer that can be set by time, and used for a small door on the chicken coop?

I can custom make any door I need too. I just need whatever else would be needed.

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2010, 09:22:21 PM »

I made my own out of an old garage door opener with some pulleys and rope.  Used X-10 home automation to control it.  Only thing is, I had to install two magnetic sensors (door open/door closed) so the door position was known.  With a standard garage door, whenever you press the button, it just switches whatever position the door was in.   With X-10 traveling over AC lines,  it is no wheres near 100%,  so I would send the signal 3 times just to be safe.  So if the door needs to be closed, I only want the signal to get to the opener if the door is open (hence the magnetic sensors).

At one time I had the coop all automated out.   It would sound a beeper 10 minutes before shutting the door and also dispense white millet in the coop (guinea hens go crazy for it).  The program used calculated sunrise twilight & sunset twilight so the open/close times changed automatically with the seasons.

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Eric-WD
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 09:52:35 PM »

I googled and found some interesting links with a search of electronic chicken door. unfortunately being a new poster the site wont let me post links,  one of the projects suggested a servo motor used in HVAC and a photo electric cell, this sounds like it should work. there was also one here in the US for around $100   do a google search it was with in the first page.

Eric
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010, 03:13:59 PM »

OK,  Here are some pictures of my set-up.  Difficult to get good pictures in a cramped space.   Basically started with an old garage door opener that I took a section out of and made it shorter.   Mounted in the same manner as for a garage door and tied a piece of rope to the tram.




Mounted a clothes line pulley at the end and extended the rope down to th door that just slides in a track.



Wired the push button through two X10 universal modules (one for open and one for close) that are plugged into outlets near the opener.





Universal modules are run through a magnetic proximity sensor so that a "close" only get to the opener if it is open and and "open" only gets to the opener when it is closed.  Allows for controller to send a command multiple times without having to worry about flip flopping the door.  This is important because the X10 protocol travels through the normal AC power lines and depending on noise (or collisions) a command does not always make it.  Nothing worse than sending a command to close the door at night and find out the next morning you actually opened it.



Only issue I have had with it is when debris gets piled up high enough under the door and prevents it from going down far enough to trip the proximity sensor.  A once every couple of weeks scrape with the shovel prevents that.

One nice thing about a drop down door is there are not a lot of edges for bears (and/or other critters) to get a hold of.  With any luck, the extra challenge frustrates them enough to leave.
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AllenF
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 08:06:12 PM »

Sweet.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2010, 06:57:09 PM »

Thank you guys.

Thank you for the photos Robo.

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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2010, 07:04:18 PM »

Sweet setup Robo!

Scott
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2010, 08:48:38 PM »

How far away is the coop from the sender Rob ?
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2010, 07:42:55 AM »

How far away is the coop from the sender Rob ?
Mine is only about 200ft from the coop,  but X-10 signals travel across the power lines, so farther distances are quite possible.   As long as it isn't isolated by a transformer, it will go quite far. I have heard stories of families set to the same house code getting each others signals.
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2010, 11:54:24 AM »

Not to be outdone I made my own using a screw driver 3.5 volt (about $20 new) and a threaded rod with a blind nut.  I started off using a photo cell but that makes it close too soon so I needed to offset it with a fixed timer relay.  With the varying cloud cover that we have in this area closing based on light is not consistent so I gave up the photo cell and just now use a simple timer.  You can get fancy an get one that will change the setting automatically based on the time of year but the programming is a pain in the b___.  The simple timer does the trick and I just chase the settings in the spring and fall.

BTW I threw out the rope idea because predators can easily just pick up the door just like you can.  They can’t open it up against a lead screw.  Not to worry a 3.5 volt motor doesn’t have the power to hurt the chicken and it moves so slow that they get out of the way just from the noise it makes.

I can’t find the photos and wiring diagrams just yet but if your interested I will keep digging.


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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2010, 07:21:25 PM »

How far away is the coop from the sender Rob ?
Mine is only about 200ft from the coop,  but X-10 signals travel across the power lines, so farther distances are quite possible.   As long as it isn't isolated by a transformer, it will go quite far. I have heard stories of families set to the same house code getting each others signals.
My outside shed lights had some problems with the inconsistent signals from the house and it is around 180ft. away. I bought the x10 repeater and installed it at the electrical panel in the house and now my modules respond much better inside and out.
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2010, 07:44:47 PM »

I got some pics.  





« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 10:23:45 AM by Acebird » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2010, 08:36:06 PM »

My outside shed lights had some problems with the inconsistent signals from the house and it is around 180ft. away. I bought the x10 repeater and installed it at the electrical panel in the house and now my modules respond much better inside and out.

Ya, I had inconsistencies with my whole house until I installed a phase coupler and then things where much better.
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 07:35:29 PM »

Thanks for sharing all the info!
Wondering if anybody has plans for a automatic chicken plucker that also cleans and bags the birds via remote control??
So I can sit in my lawn chair sipping cool lemonade and watch my bees work.  grin  grin
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iddee
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2011, 08:09:39 PM »

Yes, but they are the most expensive thing you will ever have. The down payment is a diamond ring and the payments go all your life.
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2011, 08:39:13 PM »

Yes, but they are the most expensive thing you will ever have. The down payment is a diamond ring and the payments go all your life.


 grin grin

I'd put one of those laughing on the floor things but I don't know how.
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2011, 09:10:09 AM »

Thanks for sharing all the info!
Wondering if anybody has plans for a automatic chicken plucker

Does not clean or bag birds, but you could try looking up "Jack Creek Coyles Home Made Chicken Plucker" (sorry, I can't post links yet). You can use replacement rubber fingers from McMurray's for the plucking rubber bits instead of bungee cords, that works better I think. Less than $20 of materials, and really speeds things up, but does make an incredible mess.

Re: Automatic door opener, you can also use an automatic cold frame opener, but they are about $50. My chickens (even the feather-footed ones) refuse to go out in the snow, so I don't worry about them getting cooped up in the cold. I guess they are smarter than me  tongue You can also get cold frame openers that run on timers rather than temperature.
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2011, 09:42:26 AM »

Chickens do not like fresh powder but once it is packed down they have no problem with it.  It is now 12 F degrees outside.




What I don't like about the door openers that are available is that they don't lock the door closed unless you get up into the $300 range.  Anything that I have seen around $50 is a joke.
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