Where do you start! The ACCC has been operating for over 3 month now and seems to work fine - such a relief not having to get up or worry about whether our babies have been let out or locked in.
Reflecting over the build there are some improvements I will do over the next few months and no doubt publish ACCC v2.0:
- Look at putting the arduino to sleep thus conserving power. I tried running it on a rechargeable battery but the code was eating power at a rate of 40mA which meant it drained rechargeables overnight. I believe I can get it down to 10mAh or less when asleep and then normal rate for the duration of opening and closing the door
- If power can be conserved I will put a small solar panel up on the roof to trickle charge the motor and arduino batteries so it can be completely off the grid
- I would like to add an LDR (Light Detection Resistor) to one of the spare analogue lines and combine the reading to fine tune the opening and closing times. I wouldn't trigger the door opening or closing on light detection alone as it could be volatile to poor weather or the garden flood light as the fox enters our garden!
- Alternatively instead of one fixed opening and closing time each month create an algorithm that takes current and next month and works out the daily increments to the times for opening and closing
- Integrate the microswitches into the pine side rails for extra protect from nosey hens
- Create a pair of flashing LEDs to show when the door is down. At the moment we are still checking by going out to the garden. It also acts as a deterrent to vermin as they don't like anything with flashing eyes
I really hope folks have enjoyed reading through this instructable and has inspired you to create something similar and no doubt better - please post your comments and suggestions so I can create a ACCC Version 2.0 soon!