Here is my thought:
1 Raspberry Pi (a small computer the size of a credit card that runs on linux) computer unit (40.00 on eBay), a motor (6.00) and a photo cell (4.00). I think I can code the computer to use the photo cell open and close the coop door by day light. Or can be coded to open and closed base on the time of day. Most of the code needed is on the web, just need to cut and paste. You dont have to be a computer programmer to do this. Just follow diretions, and cut and paste.
The above photo is the basic wiring of the Pi unit and electronics. This unit would need to be modified to add the photo cell as a trigger event. ALSO, the battery pack can be removed and replaced with a solar batter that is attached to a solar cell to recharge. More details on the above unit and some basic Python code can be found HERE Keep in mind, if you want to hook your coop door to your phone, or access the computer through your home network you will need to add a small Wifi card to one of the USB ports. They are cheap on eBay well. This can be taken a step further even, by using Bluetooth.
2nd project: Use same Raspberry Pi (in my case im going to buy a 2nd) and hook up a water proof thermometer. Drill hole in to auto water system and insert. ALSO a 2nd probe down low to detect moisture. Code in this box will send warnings to my phone when water temp gets to 32 degrees or less, it will also alert men when the moisture sensor is "dry" letting me know water is low.
3rd project: This will be environmental controls, Keep tabs on temp and humidity in my coop. ALSO may code this unit to kick on a fan or swamp cooler if it gets too hot.... may code it to kick on some sort of heat unit as well.... this 3rd project I am still thinking about as I DO NOT want my power bill to increase. I may look to a solar solution.
I have seen many auto door type projects, but none of the "smart home" type where a PC is used to send data to the web or your smart phone.
4th project: Another Pi for me..... Using Bluetooth, the coop it's sellf will "see me comming" (I will be in blue tooth range). It will then turn on lights, open doors and send all current enviormental, water and feed stats to my phone in my hand. When I walk out of blue tooth range, the coop will then turn off lights etc.
5th project:A Pi Sentry! Using the Raspberry Pi, you can hook up a small web cam, and motion sensor. The sensor can be set so that it watches over a small trigger area… I.E just infront of the feeder. Chickens are in bed at night and should not be outside feeding. If I am getting any visitors eating my grain they will trigger the motion sensor and the web cam. A photo of who my robbers are will be taken and sent to my cell phone so they can be dealt with accordingly.
Any thoughts on these?