Chicken door-automatic

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Scott S, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Scott S

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 25, 2010
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    Hello,
    I recently got inspired to make an automatic chicken coop door, which opens at dawn and closes at dusk. I have searched the forum and could not find a direct answer to my questions. I got some of my inspiration from this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwyfGqe3AsI&feature=relmfu
    In essence i want to use a 12v battery (car or tractor) to power this door, probably being recharged via a small solar panel. I want to use a 12v timer to activate the door, not a photosensor as in the video. I'm gonna use a car's window motor with a chain/ cable to raise the door, to prevent the possibility of stuck poultry.
    I also think it would be a viable option to use a car door pressure switch to sense the poultry door to stop the motor.

    I had an idea to make the design more secure against predators. I want to use a car door's power lock motor to act as an electric deadbolt, powered by the same circuit as the window motor. ( when the bottom pressure switch is activated, the "deadbolt" lock the door, so it could not be forced open by some raccoons.

    I have a few concerns.
    Are there any decent 12v DC timers, that would work for this application. I was not able to find one.
    Would this circuit be a viable starting point ? http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=45515&d=1345360890 except with the timer in place of the photosensor ?
    I am decent at soldering so that is a viable option if the need arises for a custom board.

    Thanks in advance
    Scott
     
  2. Metalmann

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
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  3. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    If you want the door to open at dawn and close at dusk, are you planning on changing the timer as the day length changes?
     
  4. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
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    It could be set by the first rooster crowing. :)
     
  5. Scott S

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 25, 2010
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    I would think that this would be the way to go, unless i can find a day/night sensor that will not falsely activate in the snow or with a full moon.

    would you think that a day/night sensor such as this: http://www.elightbulbs.com/General-04021-K4021C-PHOTOCONTROL-INTERMATIC-Light-Fixture-Wiring-Device&source=GoogleBaseCSE?gclid=CLiB-I-tgrYCFc5AMgodJ3MAcg would false trigger in a full moon situation ? maybe if I placed a hood over it similar to a stop light, to cut down on reflections.
     
  6. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    Maybe a combination of the two: a simple on/off timer set to come on before dawn and go off after dusk, plus a light sensor. A hood over the light sensor should shield it from moonlight, but I don't know about snow. Maybe a tube shield that pointed to the open sky?
     
  7. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    This is what I call, "borrowing trouble". You have imagined a problem that doesn't exist and let it stop you from the obvious answer that thousands of people have used successfully.
     
  8. Scott S

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 25, 2010
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    I have never used a photosensor before and I assumed ( I know, bad.) that it would be affected by snow/moon reflection. After some research today, I saw that for some sensors used in a dusk/dawn light socket, they include different lengths of tubes, or hoods to put over it to make it unlikely for a reflection to activate the sensor. I think a length of pvc around a sensor may have a similar result.
     
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    And I think a hundred million street lights that stay on after a beautiful snowfall demonstrate that common photo sensors can tell the difference between .1 lux presented by the full moon and 10,000 lux presented by broad daylight. A ratio of 100,000 to 1 is not all that difficult to tell apart.

    http://www.ehow.com/facts_6821190_do-lumens-compare-candlepower_.html
     
  10. Scott S

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 25, 2010
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    Do all photosensors function basically the same, or does price affect the performance ? Is it possible for a middle of the road sensor to function practically the same as an expensive one ?
     
  11. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    I don't really know the answer, but I suspect that you don't have to spend top dollar to get what you want. For a chicken coop, I would certainly try to economize, but that's just my frugality showing. :)
     
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