Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Rest In Peace Grey Chicken

I’ve been wanting to design an automatic chicken coop door closer for years.   There are plenty of other systems out there that automatically open and close the coop door, but they are expensive and, well, not designed by me!  😉

Basically my idea is to create a simple system that is a “safety net” in case we don’t remember to lock our girls in at night.  I have no problems letting the girls out in the morning, but I want to ensure they are closed up safe in the evening.   I learned my lesson the hard way one night when I got home late from a party and a coon had killed my favorite hen. 

Some have commented “What if all the girls don’t get in the coop in time, or get caught in the guillotine door as it closes?”   My response: I don’t think I’ve ever found my girls outside of the coop when it is dark.   For my auto coop door I’d set the timer to go off an hour after dark to ensure they are all in.  Remember, my design is more of a fail-safe than a system to 100% rely on, I don’t know if any auto system is.

I’m always worried that I’ll forget to lock up the girls, this auto close system at least give me some insurance just in case we forget.   If it works really well then you only need to check in occasionally to verify the girls are always getting in and that the door is closing properly and at the right time.

In my opinion, I’d rather risk loosing one hen that didn’t get into the coop in time instead of loosing all my girls because I forgot to lock them up.

The Design:

My first auto coop door design called for an electromagnet holding the door open.  At night I’d cut the power and the door would fall.  I found problems very quickly with this design, mostly heat, energy loss, etc.   I then moved to a different electromagnet, a type of “pull solenoid” to pull a pin to release the door.   There were problems with that design too, it required too much power to move a solenoid strong enough to pull a pin.

So far, the best thing I’ve played with is a car lock actuator I bought on ebay ($11 shipped for two).   My basic design is simple,  I’m thinking about using only three parts:

  1. A $5 wall adapter
  2. A $5 lamp timer
  3. A $5 car lock actuator

Below is a sketch of the design.   Here is how it works:

At night the timer hits the pre-set “on” time and sends power through the adapter and turns on the actuator
The actuator pulls a pin which releases the coop door
The door falls and covers up the coop access
The “door latch” (in red) is an “L” shaped piece of metal with a pin in the top which allows it to swing.  Once the door passes the bottom of the latch it swings to the right (gravity wants to center the metal) and the latch locks the door into place.

In the morning I simply move the latch to the left, raise the door, and hook the pin.

Automatic Chicken Coop Door

My biggest problem with this design is this:

The shortest amount of time I can set on this type of timer is 30 minutes.  This would mean the actuator would be trying to “run” for the whole 30 minutes and would probably burn out the tiny geared motor.  The resolutions to this could be:

  • A digital lamp timer that allows you to set much smaller increments of time.  I think as low as 1 minute of “on”.
  • Create a switch activated by the door, so either it powers the actuator when the door is up, or cuts power to the actuator when it falls.

I should also mention that my situation is a bit different than most because my girls have a small run they can access during the day.  The coop door I’ll be opening is actually the door that goes from this small chicken run out to the open backyard.  Opening the door to “the great outside” is the one I want to automatically close.

So, what do you think of this design?  What would you add or change?   I’d love some feedback, especially from the engineering / tinkering types that read this website!!!

Update, 5/7/06:   Alison sent me some great pics of her simple but effective technique (click for larger)
Automatic chicken coop door

Update 10/27/08: I Finally have a prototype!!!  Automatic Chicken Coop Door Closer

86 thoughts on “Automatic Chicken Coop Door

  1. Hey Nifty! Okay, how about a flange on the side of the actuator rod that would turn off the main power? Maybe some tape wrapped around the actuator rod and a fork on the on/off switch. Then, when it got to the furthest point of it’s travel, it would turn off the main power and no burnout problem. Just an idea. Again, you’ve done a great job. Matt

  2. Thanks Matt! I’ll probably add a “limit switch” to the bottom of the door or along the pin so that once the door has closed or the pin has retracted the power to the actuator is cut automatically.

  3. How about the wall adapter? How much voltage does the actuator take? I think that’s the last part of the puzzle for me, finding a something to power the actuator. Thanks, Matt

  4. Hey Matt, great question about the adapter. At first I was concerned that it would need the full voltage and amperage of a car battery since the 12 volt pull and rotary solenoids I used wouldn’t move without car battery power.

    I was pleasantly surprised that my variable voltage 300 mA wall adapter activated the actuator at a range of voltages from 3 to 12 volts! Obviously the higher the voltage the stronger the pull on the arm. I’m not sure what the operating voltage / amperage is for this little guy, but I’ll probably only run it at the minimum needed to pull enough on the pin to let the door go… around 6 volts I think.

  5. That is sweet! I save all of our extra cell phone/ac adapters. They usually show the voltage somewhere on them.

    I just found actuators on ebay for $5 including shipping. Seems like they are the cheapest actuators out there.

    I wonder what a Sprinkler timer puts out? Maybe I could use my last “zone” for the door switch. I’ll go touch it to my tongue and see how strong it is….

  6. Matt, PM me on BYC with a link to that actuator and report back here once you’ve played with it a bit.

    Oh, and BTW, you can get multimeters at harborfreighttools for $3.00 on sale… not as much fun as the tongue approach but a bit more specific. 🙂

  7. I just saw a wall adapter at Big Lots for $4.99 and it had settings all the way up to 12 volts.

    Yep, if Harbor Freight sells it and it’s under $20, I have it. J/k about the tongue test…so far.

    How much throw is there on the actuators? 1/2 inch?

    I like the idea of the power shut off being tripped by the door opening, or closing. Looks like a done deal once I get the actuator.

  8. Matt, the adapter you saw for $5, was it a variable one? I’d be interested in your findings once you play with the actuator. Oh, and yes, throw is about 1/2 inch.

    You may end up building this thing before I do. If so, send me some pics!

  9. I doubt it would be variable. Probably just a half inch bang type. That’s cool, can’t expect much for a buck. I will absolutely let you know what I find out.

    Type this number 350036308560 into the search field on ebay and you’ll see which actuator I bought.

    Matt

  10. A couple of things I’ve been thinking about. (I have a flop down door that acts as a ramp.) For an open and close door I could use both methods. A water bucket/sprinkler/timer to close the door and the actuator to release it in the morning.

    Or, I think I could get a motor to wind a string, etc. and you could use the actuator to pull a toggle switch to turn it on and then the door would somehow flip the same toggle off when it was up. I was thinking about a “gate latch” as the locking mechanism. The actuator that releases the door would just have to pull the little nub/flange/goodie at the top of the latch to release the door. The door would need a little weight on the outside top to help it start to fall open. But, it would work…..

  11. Hi! I just discovered your discussion while trying to figure out how to do the task you’re working on. I don’t have my flock yet – but I’m obsessing about how to build everything etc. I’m absolutely NOT mechanically minded so this is all hard for me to grasp – but I did go read info on “how stuff works” web site about actuators and now I see what you’re doing. I’m especially interested in trying to figure out how to make this work for a trap door. The coop I want to build is like some of those English built arks where the birds live at the top of an a-frame. I was thinking about how it would be nice to somehow use one of those … what do you call them … they are shock type hinge / arms on storm doors that keep the door from slamming? What if you put that on the trap door so that when gravity started its decent the thing wouldn’t go crashing open. (That would be especially important if an unwitting chicken was standing on it!) Could that be worked in? Or am I dreaming something crazy since I’m not technically oriented.

    The biggest thing for me would be how to open the trap door at a set time, or to have it activate with sunlght etc. I’m not a morning person but I’d like the birds to be able to get down to their safe mini-pen while waiting for me to let them have more freedom. It would be very cool to work out the details for closing it, but that seems more tricky. My b/f was saying a one-way motor could be employed, but I’m not quite sure how.

    So please, keep talking this over. I’d love to be kept in the loop about how this all works. The ready-made models are so far out of my budget that I can’t consider them. (Besides they aren’t made for trap doors – so they wouldn’t work anyway for me)

    So glad you started this!

  12. Hey Lynn,
    Ya know, necessity is the mother of invention and just because you want to build one, means that you’re half way there, “techie” or not.

    I stopped posting ’cause I thought I was kind of talking to myself. So, it’s good to see you here.

    Your ideas are great. It kind of comes down to which way do you want to mount your door. From there, you can decide what you need to open and close it. One thing I did in the beginning, and has worked out well, was that I built the whole door mechanism separate from the coop. So to say, that I have a square hole in the coop and the door and frame screw to the outside of the coop. This way, I can work on it and modify it without really having to mess with the coop.

    There are always weights, strings and wind up alarm clocks. The key you wind on an alarm clock can wind up a string and the side of the key can hold a loop in a string until it turns and lets it go. You can think of a million open/close methods with that.

    I am really concerned with opening in the morning vs. closing at night. My chickens are too cramped in their small coop and I like to let them out asap.

    What I am pretty happy with right now is a flop-down door with a gate latch on it. I have some fishing line tied to the top of the gate latch and it continues through a little drilled hole to the inside of the coop, down the wall and tied to a button. I took a wooden paint stir stick from HD and I cut a 1 inch crack down one side and slid the line down the crack and taped the button underneath. It makes kind of a treadle or foot pressure switch.

    My chickens get up at dawn, jump down to the floor, step on the paint stick and the door flops open. I just close it when they are in and asleep.

    Keep us posted!
    Matt

  13. Oh yeah, I’ve got the actuator coming any day so I’ll let you both know what it’s like when I get it.
    Matt

  14. Matt, you’ve got to post (or email me to post) detailed pics of your door that opens with the push of a chicken foot!

    I think the design with an actuator pulling a pin would work great for opening a door that in hinged in a way that it wants to always be open. You just have the system pull a pin to unlatch the door so it swings open in the morning.

  15. Thanks for the further ideas. If you do have the chance to post any pictures of any of the things you have described, please do. No rush at all – but when time allows. I’ll definitely keep reading. It’s great to have this as a resource. I’m sure once the details are worked out you’ll have people clamoring for more info. As a side note – consider too you could probably easily set a little “kit” to all sorts of people who don’t want to, or can’t, get it all together for themselves. 🙂

  16. I’ve been reading this thread with interest. Anyone get one working yet? I think I’m going to try using the sprinkler timer/water/bucket to open a guillotine door for some ducks in the AM. What is the shortest amount of time do you think I could program the water on for? Is there a particular brand that has very short increments of time? I don’t want to flood the place.

    I’m in charge of the ducks at work this week, but they’re out from about 6am-8pm and I’m not too crazy about working 14 hour days waiting for them to go in (there’s no herding them in earlier – they’re on a giant pond during the day). I live an hour away, so going back and forth really isn’t an option.

  17. Hey there. Well, I’ve rigged up something that opens the door of my coop when the chickens get up to eat and I close mine every night. I think it’s fairly easy to get something to either open or close, but it’s harder to find something to do both, automatically. As long as you are there at some point during the day, you could reset the mechs/timers. (empty the bucket of water)

    Regarding the sprinkler timer, you would just have to use a sprinkler head that didn’t put out too much water. I use drip feeder heads attached to 1/4 inch drip feeder tube in the garden and you can buy the heads in half-gallon to three gallon per hour sizes.

    Keep us posted!

  18. Hey, thanks. I have it rigged up and it works perfectly. The timer I found has a 2 minute increment, which just fills a 5 gallon bucket, also I realized I could put a control valve on the hose to slow the water (like you said) afterwards.

    After I put it together and smugly stood there testing it over and over, I realized that I could rig another sprinkler timer near the bottom of the bucket and have it empty it, and close the door at night for me, but I think I would have to weight the door to make sure it closed, plus, I would have to have a really good seal where I connected it to the bucket – so that the water didn’t leak out and close the door too early. I am much more nervous about the automatic closer though – ducks are not as reliable as chickens about going in at night on time – but it sure would be nice not to have to hang around at work until 8-9pm waiting for them to come in.

  19. Any pictures – no matter how dull you might think they would be – would be absolutely wonderful to see. 🙂

  20. I love it! I think that is a wonderful idea, emptying the bucket to return the door to closed. You just have to tweek the weights to make everything work right.

    My flop open door sometimes closes on a wet poop and by morning it is glue and that kept if from opening once.

    Maybe you could use a spring to reclose the door. You know, the bucket opens it and holds it against the tension of the spring and then the water flows out of the bucket and the spring closes it again. 5 gals is heavy. (8lbs/gal)

    I think I like two buckets. Both with pin holes in the bottom. One fills up and opens the door and then slowly lets the water out, then the next one fills up at night and closes the door.

    Also, you could have one bucket close the door which would have a gate latch that clicks shut. Then you could have another bucket (or probably a cup) that would pull the latch and let the door flop open.

    We probably need to start a new topic on BYC for pics.
    Matt

  21. I love the discussion we’re having here. The water in a bucket idea sounds fun, but I’m not sure how I feel about “wasting” that much water on a daily basis. That said, if you have pictures or descriptions of your setup, email them to me and I’ll post them here and maybe on http://www.BackYardChickens.com

    Another idea I’m toying with (at least in my head) is to use an old garage door opener… I see them on craigslist all the time for around $30. These usually have great fine tuning controls for how much to open and close. You could use a really heavy door (keeping predators from opening) and then use the opener to open and close the door just right. Only problem would be changing it from remote based to timer based.

  22. Rob,
    That is exactly what you want. If you can find a garage door opener with a bad motor, even better. You can hook up a much smaller motor to the garage door opener works and you are set. You can even use the electric eyes to keep the door from shutting on a late arrival.

    I think the tension of the garage door opener would keep predators from opening the door. But, you could always just rig the door so that they couldn’t get a claw under it.

    Btw, I got my first two eggs from this flock today!!!!

  23. congratulations on the eggs – that is always so exciting.

    Don’t worry, I’m not wasting the water – it will replace the 5 gallon bucket of water that the ducks have in their stall at night (20 ducks go through a lot of water).

    I like the idea of 2 buckets – I could attach the 2nd (closing) bucket to the actual door and have either a very slow drip line, or another sprinkler timer and hose from the first bucket into the 2nd bucket that would close the door (no wasted water). It would take a ton of tweaking to get the timing and placement right – but I’m not going to close the door automatically anyway – the ducks are just not reliable enough – but it sure would be fun to try.

    I took a couple pics that I’ll send- it’s not a very glamorous or elaborate set up, but it works just fine.

    You might have some luck finding the broken garage door opener on freecycle.

  24. Thanks Alison for sending over those pics! I added the open / shut images into an animation and put it as an update above. If anybody else has pics please send them to me: admin at nifty-stuff.com

  25. I’m planning on getting some chickens and am working out the details. I have about 2 acres of cleared land surrounded by woods. How safe are the chickens free range during the day. I haven’t had chickens before and don’t know how vulnerable they are. I’m not sure if I should build a “chicken tractor” for them while I’m at work during the day or if they are safe until twilight. I love the automatic door idea and plan to incorporate it into my coop design.

  26. Hi, I found this thread whilst looking for ideas for my own door opener and there are some really ingenious ideas. My problem was opening up the ramp from the coop above without having to get up too early. As the ramp/door on my hen house is released by a rope I used a wind-up alarm clock with a modified key to do the job for me. An alarm clock is mounted on the outside of the house – when closed the rope to pull up the door is hooked onto the outside of the house and the middle of the rope is positioned so that it loops around the wind-up key. When the alarm goes off the modified key pushes off the rope and the door drops open. I am adding special hinges to slow the fall of the door. Oh yes, I have removed the bells from the alarm. This is enclosed in a waterproof enclosure and cost around £5 to build. The off the shelf devices look good but as I only really need an opener they were a bit overkill. I hope this might be useful for anyone else building their own opener.

  27. Great job Ant! Wind-up alarm clocks are nice and low tech. No electricity and not much can go wrong.

    Now, you just need to teach a chicken to reset it…

  28. Hi Matt, yep, sometimes a low tech approach can be the way to go. Biggest problem was finding a decent housing that was as unobtrusive as possible while still being functional – the coop is in the garden – two small plastic seed trays fixed together and some careful cutting have done the job reasonably well. Just need the “braked” hinges to finish it off now. I’ll let you know if the hens get the hang of the winder!

  29. I have been thinking about one of these for a while. I am trying to link mine up to a light sensor switch. You wouldn’t have to fiddle with timers, which may fail to protect enough if it got dark way earlier due to inclement weather. This way my door uses the same “dark” trigger that the chickens go by, and locks them soon thereafter year round.

    Let me know if anyone builds one of these before I do!

  30. Hey David! The issue I kept running into with a light sensor was making sure that if there was a really dark / cloudy day that the door would close and lock all my girls out… or a full moon would keep it open? I don’t have a lot of experience with the photovoltaic switches, so maybe there is a way to set it so it works just fine?

  31. All that work and it only closes automatically? Why not make one that opens and closes automatically.
    I have one that uses a cordless drill as the prime mover. The door (guillotine-type) runs in a pair of cabinet drawer slides.

  32. I’m too busy right now building the remainder of the chicken house! (Also, salmon season is just starting here!)

    I’ll try and take some pictures sometime within the next couple of weeks. The door is basically a wooden drawer with heavy duty (file cabinet-type)slides, mounted in a vertical rather than a horizontal position.

    The cordless drill has a brass shaft (about 1/4in dia) chucked. A sleeve bearing (homemade) is in a pillow block on the other end of the shaft.

    The door is raised by winding a cord around the shaft. The cord attaches where the drawer handle would be on a conventional horizontal drawer. There are limit switchs at the top and bottom of the travel distance.

    The cordless drill’s charger is also mounted in the unit. This is the only place where it gets a little tricky: The charger cannot remain connected to the battery when the drill is running. (It’s not designed to handle the transients that occur in the motor circuit. ) The battery charger also senses battery temperature to optimize charging time. When the motor runs, the battery temperature goes up enough that the charger thinks the battery is defective and shuts down. The fix for these problems is relays that disconnect the input and output of the charger while the drill is running.

    There are additional relays that reverse power polarity to the drill when a limit switch is hit. (A conventional motor reversing circuit.)

    As you can see, a certain amount of electrical expertise is necessary to build one of these, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist.

    That’s chapter 1.

    Gnash

  33. I’ve been having trouble with a skunk eating the eggs of my free-ranging ladies. They lay in the coop or in my tool shed amongst spilled hay. I looked up skunks on the USDA Wildlife management website and it said they generally won’t climb, they use ground level or digging. So I reversed the door arrangement and put opening at the top, with a perch they can fly up to. This took a little getting used to on their part (I came home the first night from my 3-11 job and found 3 hens on the outer perch blocking the door and the rest scattered around the yard on chairs, ladders, picnic table, etc.!) Now the problem is, they are looking for more convenient places to lay they don’t have to fly up to reach. So I need to open the lower opening and install an automatic shutting door that closes BEFORE dusk (I’ve seen the skunk active well before the hens went to bed) and they can still get to bed by flying up as they have been, but when they are feeling egg-heavy in the afternoon, the lower door will be open. I can open it by hand in the morning, they can easily get out the top whenever they feel like it. I think the guillotine type door will work best but I’m trying to work out the same challenges as the other less technically inclined posters here. Keep writing in!
    Nancy

  34. Also, if worried about wasting water from the bucket idea, run it in a pipe or trough to the nearest veggie or flower bed, or to a waterer for the flock, or a barrel.

  35. ATTN MATT
    *****WITH THE FLOP-DOWN DOOR IDEA*******(post May 23, 2008)

    I have the same problem with a small coop and need to let my chickens out right away can you send me some pictures or how you have rigged your door. Thanks Dalanna

  36. Hey Dalanna,

    I have some pics on photobucket, but it’s pretty simple.

    http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc314/xtradust/Chickenfootcoopdoor.jpg

    I just made a door with hinges on the bottom so that it flops down and makes a ramp when opened. Then I attached a regular gate latch to the top of the door and side of the frame. The gate latch is the type with a finger length goodie on the door side and a thingy that catches it with the little nub at the top where you connect a string that you pull to release the door. Every tract house has one on their side gate.

    Then, I tied a piece of fishing line to the nub on the top of the latch and drilled a hole directly into the coop. I ran the fishing line through the hole and down onto the floor of the coop. From there you need to attach the fishing line to something the chickens will step on. I used a paint stir stick, as my coop is pretty small. You can use anything that’s not heavy enough to open the door by itself. I poked a hole in one end, ran the fishing line through and tied a button on the end of the line. I tied it so that the stir stick is about an inch or two from the floor on one end.

    When the chickens get up in the morning, they always jump down onto floor and walk around. Sooner or later, one of the chickens steps on the stick, the stick pulls the string and the string pulls the latch, opening the door.

    My door needed a little help, because it is naturally contrary, so I took a piece of metal that resembles a flat tent spike and I drilled a hole in both ends. I bent one down and used the hole to attach it to the outside of the door with a screw. It points straight-out when the door is shut. On the other end, I used a zip-tie to hang a couple pieces of something heavy to the other end. I used a couple of pieces of scrap metal, but anything about the weight of a baseball would work fine.

    I can’t reach inside the run to shut the door, so I hooked some twine/string to the side of the door, then through an “eye screw” on the front of the coop and out of the run. When I want to close it, I pull the string.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  37. I had a timer a couple of years ago that was made for turning your inside lights on and off while you were away. All you did was plug your lamp into it. You could set them to come on at anytime in the am hours and turn off anytime in the pm hours. I think this would be exactly what is needed. It was just a brown box about 4 inches by 4 inches in size with a plug on the back so you could plug it in to any wall socket! The front of it had 2 dials for setting the times.

  38. I have been racking my brain for 10 years on this problem, especially after the raccoons started laughing at my motion sensing light. Finally, I’ve solved it, and esthetically, too! My chickens are housed in a barn-shaped garden shed, and have been using the entire barndoor to get in and out. I bought an 8 ft garden windmill, used it as a framework to hang 2 light weight galvanized buckets down the middle, one attached by lampwire and pulleys to the front side of the barndoor (lampwire looks the best) and the other attached by lampwire and pulleys through a vent hole to the back of the barndoor. Each bucket has its own nail hole through its bottom and is suspended below its own faucet, one bucket permanently above the other so they don’t have to pass each other. My water hose timers are set to one minute each, and voila! the chicken door is pulled open and shut at the appropriate times by the appropriate bucket filling. The secret is the less apparatus weight the better, inertia is all it takes once the door is in place – the water simply drips out the bottom hole of the bucket into the chickens’ watering pan, all fresh for morning.
    I’m better at mechanics than digital stuff, but I’ll try to make a video and post it on youtube – it really looks cool and works great!

  39. This is going to probably be the stupidest question anyone has asked….but here goes. … Do I need to have electricity to the coop to operate this door opener? My late husband is laughing in his grave at this question because he could have made one lickety split. I’m asking because if I can get the parts to assemble the opener it would be easier to find someone to make it for me. Thanks for your time and what a GREAT idea! I think you should market this item. I know several people who would be instant customers. Have a GREAT day!!!! Thanks for listening, Markie

  40. ihave tried and built most of these systems,12volt dc car batery,l.d.r. sensor to detect light built out of old pir sensor from security light,batterys need charging ect,back to basics for me ,,the most reliable system i built was made about 2 years ago ,its still working 2day,,startoff with a mechanicle wind up alarm clock,the key2 wind up the alarm,will unwind wen the clock goes off, so i soldered onto the key a small stainless steel sowing machine spool, with a piece ofstrong fine string on toit, so wen the clock goes off the spool will windup the string untill the clock runs out of steam.. the string that is pulled is tied on to a mouse trap that is screwed to the wall , tied too the spike were your supposed to put a piece of cheese, and i bent the spike over so the string doesnt come off,, The clock is used for a reliable timer and also to set off the mouse trap, [little nipper] wooden type, the mouse trap is used as my trigger mech,, wen the trap is triggered it releases a speedy burst of energy as the sprung lever bar flies over ,,, this bar you fix another string to lift up a gate latch that drops my weight[old sash window weight, ] this weight lifts my door at presisely 7am weekdays and 7.15 on sunday, well got to let my neighbours have a lie in ? ,,,i have 2 lift the weight every night and set the trap also wind up the clock but no big deal… its cheap no electric no battries no problem yeahh//need out giv us a shout stanstan chickman.

  41. Well, about 2 weeks ago a gang of 4 coons came and killed our only duck and one of our hens. I got outside just in time to stop them from getting the other 7 hens. These shorter days of earlier dark are really catching me by surprise. Time to dust off the plans and get this auto coop door built!!!

  42. I’ve been searching for the same thing as you all, and came across this solution. It’s very simple, and appears to be very effective (I havent built one yet). The only downside as I see it is the price is a little more than I was hoping to spend. I typically want to spend about $5 🙂 Still, not a bad price when I consider all those trips out to the coop.

    http://www.buildeazy.com/photo-chicken-coop-beatarticle.html

    Here is a link I found for the opener:
    http://www.discounthomeautomation.com/cgi-bin/main/co_disp/displ/category_id/549/product_id/4897/Add-A-Motor-Drapery-Control-Motor

  43. Hello all,

    I have an idea that I will be trying very soon. It is similar to the picture at the top of this page. Sorry for this long email but this idea may work.

    I will use a sliding door as well but instead of an actuator pulling a pin, I will use an automatic car antenna mounted above the door in the correct height so that it will pull the door up and down depending if the antenna is “on or off”. Now you will have a door that opens and closes per timer setting. Also, the good thing about the car antenna is that it is supposed to have constant voltage for it to be extracted. It also has an auto limit so it only moves so far. A small 12v power supply or “wall wart” will be needed to plug into the timer. That is the simple way to power it.

    I personally will not use the timer method for this. I have designed a 12v photocell circuit that I can adjust so that it is activated by daylight and nightfall. This is already built and working well, switching a relay for larger loads. I will use a small 12v lawn tractor battery to power everything so that an AC power failure will not cause the door to always stay open, or closed at the wrong times. I will have a $10.00 battery maintenance supply always connected to the battery to keep it full.

    I would think that the door should be stiff but made out of some type of light weight material. I think any design with a slidding door should be designed so that the door falls into a channel of some kind. That way a preditor can not lift the buttom of the door up.

    This project could cost a bit if you add everything up. The auto antenna is much less expensive on line than at a local auto parts store.

    I will keep you all posted!

    Bob,
    Corona ca.

  44. Back in July I promised to post more information on the design and construction of an automatic chicken door. I finally got to it, although I still haven’t taken the promised pictures.

    I wasn’t able to determine how to post pictures on this site, so I put the information on a blog. The subject blog is at http://chautomation.blogspot.com/. Or you can find it by Googling chautomation blogspot.

    If anyone has any questions on the design I will try and answer them.

  45. This problem with opening and closing the door could be solved using 12 volt adapter and timer rigged to a car automatic arial, have tried one and it has the pulling power and turns off at the end of it travel, set up right you can use the existing nylon cable which is ready to attach to the door, will post some pics of mine when complete, might even fit a radio to give them them entertainment lol

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