DIY : Automatic Chicken Coop Door With Timer & Solar Charger

I put together a little video showing how you can make an automatic chicken door with a power car antenna and a timer in hopes it inspires others...
By jballone · Aug 23, 2017 · Updated Dec 4, 2017 · ·
  1. jballone
    I put together a little video showing how you can make an automatic chicken door with a power car antenna and a timer in hopes it inspires you to add one to your coop!

    If you found the video helpful, please give it a "Thumbs Up" on Youtube.
    Thanks for watching!

    Here's a pictorial describing the process:

    Start with a power car antenna

    cover off.jpg

    2nd position.jpg

    tabs away.jpg

    tape disc.jpg



    Attach the car antenna to the wall of your coop

    Build a door guide


    door weight.jpg


    Mount the timer & battery then attach the wires.

    wire timer.jpg

    Organize the wires

    Now it's time to add the solar panel. Lets go!

    Buy a solar panel and charge controller.

    Attach a longer lead to the solar panel if needed. I used an outdoor extension cord which was easily soldered to the back of the panel.

    Make some mounting brackets out of 1/8" thick aluminum available from your local home center.

    Use some stainless steel nuts and bolts to attach the brackets to the panel

    And to the attach the panel to the mount.

    Attach mount to coop with u-bolts and route wire into coop.


    Attach charger controller and connect wires. Make sure to connect the battery first, followed by the solar panel and then the antenna (load).



    All you have to do is set the time on the timer and then enter the times that you'd like the door to open and close. I have been using this system for a few weeks now and have had no issues. The solar panel charges the battery even on cloudy days.

    Here's a list of the parts I used:
    Solar Panel:
    Solar Charge Controller:
    Power Car Antenna:
    Solar Panel Mount:
    12V Timer:
    12V Battery:
    Wire Connectors:

    Let me know what you think. Pros? Cons?

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    About Author

    sacky85, rcally and KikisGirls like this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Rondack
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jan 2, 2019
    I think I'll try it!
  2. ronott1
    "Nice Job!"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Sep 10, 2018
    Rondack likes this.
  3. rjohns39
    "Very well done"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 5, 2018
    Rondack likes this.


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  1. MT Stringer
    Good job. I just realized I have seen your video on You Tube and subscribed. I like all aspects of your project. My storage shed doesn't have power and I am considering a solar arrangement so I could run some led lights when needed, and maybe power a small security camera. The camera doesn't draw much and if needed, I could use two batteries. Your video was very helpful. Thanks for sharing.
  2. FrankStopher
    That is probably the best, easiest to understand post I've ever read. ON anything. Great job jaballone
      jballone likes this.
  3. CradG
    I made a door similar to this but burned out 2 motors within a year, I don’t think they liked the cold. I now use a linear actuator instead. It was about $60 on Amazon, moves 12 inches and can lift 300 lbs. It seems much, much more reliable. I had to wire it using a relay because you switch the polarity to raise or lower it. I have it hooked up to a solar panel, battery, and photocell and it works flawlessly. Opens up at dawn closes when dark. I would suggest that as a motor instead of the antenna motor for the long haul but other than that this is an excellent tutorial, though different from my doors. Sorry I don't know how to make the photo smaller.
      MT Stringer and cavemanrich like this.
    1. Simply Christal
      I have the same setup as you but not with a photocell. Would you mind sharing how you have that set up and where you got your photocell from?
    2. CradG
      The photocell is from amazon. Something similar to this for $7.

      I did have to do some googling and some tinkering to make it work. Basically I had to wire a DPDT relay I also got on amazon to make the polarity reverse when the photocell was activated. It sounds more complicated than it was but works really well after some tinkering.
  4. llora428j
    I have gotten it up but I only have 2 red lights. When the door is opening or closing the second light dims. It is also losing the second green light at times, then I have to disconnect the battery and start it over. Any ideas?
    1. jballone
      Here's what the lights mean:
      "Charge" LED (Green) : When lit, it means your battery is charging. When out (like at night when no light shining on solar panel it will be unlit. When the battery is peak charged, the "Charge" LED will flicker meaning it is in a state of float charging.

      "Load" LED (Green) : When lit it means there is enough power in the battery to operate a load. When unlit it means it will not send power to the load, ie. door motor.

      "Battery LEDS (Red) : You need a minimum of 2 red LEDS for the load to receive power. Mine is almost always showing 2 red LEDS. On sunny days (I'm very far north) the 3rd LED will light up. If you have only 1 red battery LED showing, it means that the battery is too low on power to actuate the door.

      I hope this helps. It sounds like your battery may be low. Did you use a new battery or old? Have you had sunny days? My battery lasts 7 days with no sun shining before I have to charge it up. These are completely cloudy days with rain. If I get a day of sun, it completely charges the battery.

      Also make sure to connect the battery to the charge controller first, then the solar panel and finally the load (antenna).
  5. jballone

    Just realized I had moved the video. Here it is again.
  6. jballone
    A Quick Update:
    It's been 2 months now and the automatic chicken coop door has been working flawlessly. The longest stretch without sunlight has been 2 days so far and the battery is large enough to still continue to work. I will add that on cloudy days the solar panel is still maintaining the battery.

    If anyone else has tried this, please post your experience.
      Smuvers Farm likes this.

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