It would be great if we could have an automated door that could open just after sun rise and close half an hour after sunset where hopefully they are all cosying up to each other in the coop. Sadly there have been times we have forgotten to lock them safely away and discover the horrible consequences when a fox has attacked and killed some of them.
This instructable brings together a number of ideas I have seen on the web to create an Arduino Chicken Coop Controller (ACCC) to automate a chicken coop door and where possible I will give direct credit to those people designs/code I have adapted to create this personal sleep saving device. Many thanks to those who have shared their great ideas which has spawned this device.
The main features of the ACCC:
- Based on the Arduino architecture for easy prototyping and adaptation to your coop requirements
- Uses common parts easily found at you local DIY/hardware store/shop such as cheap electric screw drivers
- Uses a real time clock to maintain time even when the device is temporary disconnected from power
- Adjusts the opening and closing times of the door according to the current month - you can set it to your own timezones
- Provides a manual override just in case one of your lovely darlings misses sunset!
- Provides a min and max temperature reading inside the coop from midnight so you can keep an eye on your brood's welll-being
- A display which can be switched on and off to read out the current ACCC status and will not disturb your feathered friends sleep at night
Step 1: Building the door
Clint didn't actually provide the plans on his YouTube link so I set about to recreate them and I have attached a PDF file which you can scale to your needs. I hope from the series of pictures and my video file you can see how the door assembles and works.
- I would advise using the acrylic sheet facing plate rather than plywood as it provides a frictionless face for the pieces to move freely
- You really need to see it moving to make sure it works freely and you know where to make any tweaks
- It really looks cool and you should show off your handy work
Use brass screws/stainless steel bolts where possible and treat the ply with a suitable wood preserve - I wouldn't use a vanish as this might over time cause the workings to foul. When fixing the perspex cover use brass screw cups to spread the load and will hopefully stop the cover from shattering.
I found loosely fitting the door lock levers ensured they worked even if they were damp from the outside weather. I made two doors to test. One has been in manual use to see how it would stand the damp and cold english weather - which it did! So hats off to you Clint it is a very practical design.
I have taken loads of pictures so you can see from all angles the design and how it is constructed and assembled. I haven't commented on every picture as I think it is reasonably self explanatory - well I hope!