Introduction: Remote Control Door Opener for Dogs

Picture of Remote Control Door Opener for Dogs
With a puppy and a full grown dog, both of whom prefer the garden to the house, it is a never ending job letting them in and out. As the weather is cold at the moment leaving the door open is not an option and I need to be able to be elsewhere in the house.

A tech solution was required, the remit is:-
  • A door opening and closing device that will also hold the door ajar if required.
  • The door must be capable of normal use.
  • I must be able to operate it from another room (using a web cam to monitor).
  • Once dogs are shown how, they need to be able to open door themselves.

Step 1: Design Time - Parts

Picture of Design Time - Parts
The obvious operating device would be a 12volt jack, similar to the ones used to move a satellite dish.
  • The one I found was from a mobility bath lift.
  • A power supply to run it
Some extra odd and ends
  • Some microswitches to limit the movement..
  • High strength magnet for the catch.
  • Some diodes For restarting in the oposite direction.
  •  Door latch catch.
  • and something to control it with.

Step 2: Design Time - Drawings

Picture of Design Time - Drawings

Once I knew what the parts looked like it was time to design the hardware and electronics.

The drawing of the hardware may not mean much to people looking at this but  took a number of hours to get right.   :)
A GA shows what it would look like.....

The electrics drawing shows 2 microswitches at the top, each has a diode wired between the normaly open and normaly closed contacts, the diodes allow the motor to restart when the direction of the ram is reversed.

The second wiring diagram shows the addition of a manual..or dog operated... switch to the existing wireless remote setup.

Step 3: Build It! 01

Picture of Build It! 01

Lots of metal cutting and welding then ensued, starting with the pivot and magnetic catch.

Once the small catch plate was built the parts were test fitted on the door, it is very inportant that the centre line of the door closing pivot is on the centre line of the door hinges or none of this will work correctly.

Step 4: Build It! 02

Picture of Build It! 02

The limit switches were mounted on a piece of scrap bath panel. The other parts, brackets and rod to make it work come from the scrap box....
All held in place with jubilee clips which makes it nice and easy to adjust once in situ..

Step 5: Instal It!

Picture of Instal It!

Once it was assembled onto the door a rain cover was made from twinwall plastic sheet and a piece of electrical ducting, this too was installed.

A quick bit of wiring up to a 12v battery had the ram going in and out and the limit swiches were adjusted.

Step 6: Latch Catch :)

Picture of Latch Catch :)

For the door opener/closer to work the existing door catch needs to be held back so that it will not latch the door closed.
The UPVC door frame has a couple of handy grooves down the side that are ideal for a sliding catch catch, a little bit of work with a craft knife at the top of the door allows the catch catch to slide into place.

I popped in a catch catch catch (little piece of bent plastic :) to prevent the catch catch from sliding too far down the door.
At night the catch can be locked in the normal way.

Step 7: Dog Door the Movie

Picture of Dog Door the Movie

Due to my inability to embed video's, here is a link to a vimeo upload.

George says thanks for looking!


rog8811 (author)2014-12-13

The circuit would be the same as the
drawing in the instructable, the brackets would be simpler, a hinge at
the back fitted to the frame, a plastic block that the actuater rod
passes through to keep the rod in line.

Another bracket fixed to
the door with a strong magnet mounted to it and a piece of flat steel
mounted on the end of the actuater that touches the magnet and pulls the
door open.

It only needs to open enough for the dog to pass
through then pull it closed using the magnet. Mounted as suggested the
door can be used as normal by pulling it off the magnet. You would need
to ensure that the door latch is disabled while using the opener.

Hope that helps :)

thenewdays (author)2014-12-13

I like the way you designed your dog door. I am not good with electronics and would like to make something similar for a sliding door. Would you be willing to help me with this project?

leskelly61 (author)2012-04-16

You might be interested in checking out the website and looking for the product I invented called "EasyOut" remote control pet door opener. It will be available for sale next month for wire crate doors, and later for hinged door flaps (like are commonly used in exterior doors), chain link kennels, and also plain wooden doors with sliding latches. There are links to videos for all 4 of these applications that you can watch in action on the above web site.

heathbar64 (author)2012-02-28

Very Cool! I need something like this, but haven't got around to do it yet. I think I would just have the door automatically close after a few seconds. I was wondering about the latch though. anybody could open the door and walk in with the magnet being all that's holding it shut. What about a solenoid operated latch? I was thinking too, though I don't know anything about electronics, what if your dogs had a coded transmitter on their collar so that only they could open it?

rog8811 (author)heathbar642012-02-28

Hi Heath, some good questions! :) When the dogs have learnt to open the door I will include a timer to auto close. George has already learnt that he can bat the door off the magnet, fortuneately I had forseen this...I have had BMD's before :) all I need to do is drive the door fully open and it will pick up the magnet again for closing.

I do have a 12v catch (see picture below) I have yet to work out how to route out the plastic door to fit it..... a bit scared to do it TBH :)

The coded transmitter idea would indeed work but I was trying to keep the cost down as much as possible.

Regards rog8811

heathbar64 (author)rog88112012-02-29

That latch looks like a serious piece of hardware. What about a surface mount latch? Less invasive to the door you know.

rog8811 (author)heathbar642012-02-29

There is not enough room for anything other than an inset catch, this one isn't that large, it is designed to be back mounted or inserted in the door by swapping to the plate on the left side of the photo, see below.

crossfire (author)2012-02-26

Your puppy is adorable! I have a Bernese mountain dog too!!!

bajablue (author)crossfire2012-02-27

lol... I thought that was a baby Berner! ;-)

OMGosh... he's certifiably adorable!!! 

rog8811 (author)2012-02-27

He is a total cutie and getting bigger every day, a dog flap was never going to last the distance!

About This Instructable




Bio: Woodsman and field tutor on a week day. Life long inventor, designer, engineer for the rest of the time. From items that make life easier ... More »
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