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...
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  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:
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    Start with a power car antenna
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    cover off.jpg

    2nd position.jpg

    tabs away.jpg


    tape disc.jpg

    disc3.jpg

    mount.jpg

    Attach the car antenna to the wall of your coop
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    Build a door guide
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    door1.jpg

    door weight.jpg

    door2.jpg

    Mount the timer & battery then attach the wires.
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    wire timer.jpg

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

    Buy a solar panel and charge controller.
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    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.
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    Make some mounting brackets out of 1/8" thick aluminum available from your local home center.
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    Use some stainless steel nuts and bolts to attach the brackets to the panel
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    And to the attach the panel to the mount.
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    Attach mount to coop with u-bolts and route wire into coop.
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    Attach charger controller and connect wires. Make sure to connect the battery first, followed by the solar panel and then the antenna (load).
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    controller.jpg

    layout1.jpg

    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: http://amzn.to/2wybora
    Solar Charge Controller: http://amzn.to/2xbPrBM
    Power Car Antenna: http://amzn.to/2ioEJmb
    Solar Panel Mount: http://amzn.to/2fbTLeg
    12V Timer: http://amzn.to/2g4yinl
    12V Battery: http://amzn.to/2wlWkRm
    Wire Connectors: http://amzn.to/2ipEp6M

    Let me know what you think. Pros? Cons?

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    jballone
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Comments

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  1. 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).
  2. jballone

    Just realized I had moved the video. Here it is again.
  3. 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.

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