1. WHY DOES THE LOW BATTERY WARNING LIGHT FLASH, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE JUST REPLACED THE BATTERIES? The LED light works on a voltage basis and cannot give a false reading. If you get a low battery warning light after you have installed new batteries, please check that the new batteries are fully charged. –
2. WHY DOES THE LCD DISPLAY ON MY CHICKENGUARD NOT REMAIN ILLUMINATED? This is normal. The LCD display ‘goes to sleep’ after a period of inactivity to increase battery life. You can reawaken your unit by pressing MENU. –
3. I HAVE SET UP THE CHICKENGUARD, BUT THE UNIT IS COMPLETELY LIFELESS. WHAT’S GONE WRONG? All of our units are thoroughly tested before they leave the factory. Please ensure that you have not pinched the battery cable wire between the lid and the box and you have correctly inserted 4XAA batteries with a good connection and that they are oriented correctly. Lastly, check that you haven’t pulled on any connector cables. Duracell batteries are not recommended. –
4. WHY DOES MY CHICKENGUARD REPEATEDLY DISPLAY THE ‘DOOR JAM’ MESSAGE? If the ‘door jam’ message appears repeatedly, this means that your motor is having difficulty in lifting your door. This could be for one of two reasons; either your door is not sliding easily on the runners, or you have a tangled cord. Please check your runners, the weight of the door (waterlogged wooden doors weigh almost twice as much) and also have a look inside your unit to make sure your cord is spun correctly on the spindle. Please note that you will not be able to re-calibrate the door with the lid removed. Simply removing the batteries will not clear this message – you will need to clear the obstruction. How To:
Quick Setup Video
Related Items and Accessories:
Not necessarily items within the community, just any other recommendations.
Pros - Closes slow so it does not guillotine the chickens. Battery powered, long battery life, easy to install, easy to program, red flashing LED light indicates door closed and can be seen from far away at night to verify it closed the door.
Cons - Wires connecting the battery case to the circuit board are thin, feel easy to break when changing batts
Nothing tells you string length. Unwind it too far and it comes all the way out. requires disassembly entire unit to get it back on.
Convenient. Easy to set up and program. Since my door slides up tracks that are inside a raised coop, I mounted my opener to the outside wall so I don't have to climb in the coop to change batteries. I have the string routed over a couple pulleys to keep the direction change smooth. Red LED light flashes when door is closed. It can easily be seen hundreds of feet away. Down side, nothing I saw on Amazon listed the length of the string. I let string unwind too far and it came out all the way. Its not tied to the motor inside the unit. To get it on, you have to completely disassemble the whole thing which may void warranty. I later read the string is 3 feet long and the manufacturer sells a 5 foot replacement.
The wires that plug the battery case into the circuit board are thin as hairs and held on by small amount of solder. It seems very delicate and easy to break wires. Be careful when changing batteries. Overall, great alternative to having electrical power in coop.
Cons - Difficult to calibrate open and close door, expensive
I purchased the Premium Chickenguard controller box only about 4 months ago. The motor can handle 2.2lbs and my aluminum door only weight .8lb, which heavy enough to close the door. I purchased this because the coop about 60 feet away from the house and it runs on the AA Nimh battery. It was expensive, but useful not to deal with open and close the coop every night. I did have trouble calibrate the door to open and close. The procedure is easy, but it tend to stop part way during the calibration process for some reason. The automatic door has been working fine after successful calibrated in the last 4 months. I also added a dual LED flasher light with battery operated 10 days ago for easy to see at night from distant when the door closed and deter predator away. It's also helpful when on vacation because I can put a wireless camera point at the coop and check through the phone. For those who on vacation or come home late, my recommendation 1) the automatic open/close door 2) automatic feeder 3) roll egg nest box 4) horizontal water system
Pros - Lets the girls out in the morning at sunrise, and closes them in securely at dusk.
Cons - Haven't come up with any yet, except maybe the cost
I was a little squeamish about ordering the ChickenGuard door opener initially because of the price ($230 on Amazon). We ordered the ASTx Extreme model early in our coop build because it advertised the ability to lift heavier doors than the standard model, giving me options when it came to design. I have to say, the peace of mind it gives us has taken any doubt out of our minds about it being worth every penny. When we first moved our hens to the new coop, we wanted them to stay indoors for about a week to get used to where home was and know that's where they were supposed to go to sleep, So, for that week I put the opener in the manual mode so it would stay closed. Once we were comfortable letting the girls out in the run, I set it to work on the light sensor, so it opens and closes based on daylight instead of the clock, thus automatically adjusting times as we get closer to fall and winter. Now, when I have to go to work well ahead of daylight, I know the girls will be let out at the proper time, and when I get home late, know they will be snug and secured indoors. It will work just fine on the timer mode if you desire to set a specific time for opening and closing, or full manual if you still want to be there to let them in and out.
I was going to use a thin metal door, but decided against it because of cold conduction in our sub zero temps in the winter. Instead I used 1/2" plywood, and the ASTx Extreme has no trouble lifting it as needed. Overall we highly recommend this item to anyone interested in the convenience of an automatic door for their coop.