Arduino controlled coop door help requested

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TCchickies13, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. TCchickies13

    TCchickies13 Out Of The Brooder

    30
    6
    26
    Mar 2, 2014
    Hi, chicken folks. Is there anyone out there BYC that could help with an Arduino project. Of course, it would be shared to all.
    I have an idea that would limit the ability of predators to open the door. My design incorporates a screw drive door. I'm have no knowledge of
    electronics or programming. This project could help a lot of us chicken people and save us a lot of money. If there is a kind soul out there that is willing to help, please contact me.
    I have the door design ready to build (aluminum door with guide rail and worm drive mechanism). I now need a motor & controller to make it go up & down.
    This project seemed pretty easy when I began. I was certainly wrong. Thank-You- I have really enjoyed BYC!
     
  2. yellowchicks

    yellowchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    339
    66
    98
    Jun 27, 2014
    NJ
    My Coop
  3. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

    416
    44
    94
    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    The examples at instructables.com are insane. Some pretty bright folks in there.

    I'm working on my own low-power version. Hopefully should run at least a year on standard rechargeable cells. I've managed to build the basic controller unit and integrate a real-time clock. The motor and door are among the remaining tasks, and I unfortunately know little about that. But then again I didn't know anything about this a month ago. I've written the source code to have independent open and close times for each day of the year, instead of depending on a photo resistor which has various issues. Although the photo resistor would allow me to get away without using a real-time clock assembly at all. I'm still wrestling with the trade-offs of different approaches. The previous vasko example in this forum seems to be designed for one single open and close time.
    I do have literally decades of experience using the C/C++ programming language that is used in the Arduino IDE and the Atmega328P-PU microcontroller. I'm sure I could offer some expertise there. I'm mostly doing all this for learning and entertainment as I am retired with plenty of time on my hands.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. TCchickies13

    TCchickies13 Out Of The Brooder

    30
    6
    26
    Mar 2, 2014
    Good Morning, TC-
    I could surely use some help. I hate to admit this- we're just a bunch of "dumb farmers" out here in West Virginia. I haven't been able to find one person in my area with any
    programming knowledge/experience or electronics. I am an Independent Pest Control Operator, carpenter and stone mason. I have zero experience in electronics or programming. I have only had the internet since spring and I'm still learning how to use it...
    Here's what I have come up with-

    Many of us deal with nocturnal predators eyeballing our flocks. I routinely deal with racoons, possums, skunks, bobcats, coyotes and foxes. Wolves and mountain lions have also been seen here on the farm. Wild & Wonderful West Virginia for certain! So, I have come up with an Arduino controlled automatic coop door design that meets all of my identified needs.
    1]- Cold- Temperature sensor that only allows the door to open if the temperature is above 20 deg F.
    2]- Daybreak (open) - A photo sensor (controlled by the temperature sensor) will open at dawn (if temperature is >20 deg F).
    3]- Sunset (close)- The photo sensor triggers the circuit to close the door. Some of my birds (SL Wyandottes in particular) enjoy "hanging out" during the cool summer evenings. So, I believe a delay should be incorporated. This delay of the door closing can be changed for different seasons. An "alarm" should be added to make the chickens aware that the door will be closing soon. I would also like to add a blinking LED on a mast above the coop to indicate that the door has closed.
    Nothing in my design is set in stone as I do understand that components can be added as the project progresses.

    I don't know what type of motor to use. The motor needs to be strong enough to turn a worm gear (1/4"- 1/2" all thread approximately 16" long) and lift an aluminum door.The worm gear, I believe, will not allow a smart raccoon to lift the door. My sister has an auto door that is raised by a string and the racoons just lift it up a wreak havoc... The motor must also be geared to slowly close so as not to injure a dawdling bird. It appears that a geared stepper motor might be a good fit as the revolutions of the motor can be set in the programming eliminating a need for limit switches.

    I believe that this design, once completed, documented and diagrammed, would help a lot of folks and would be shared freely. I hope this sounds like something that may interest you.
    I'm not a slacker, TC. I'll pull my weight and do everything I can to assist and I can send you a detailed plan of I have in mind.
    Thank-You for responding. It's folks like you that make me love BYC! Everyone seems willing to at least try to help others.
    TC SImons
     
  5. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

    416
    44
    94
    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    Let's put the motor assembly aside for the moment.
    Your other requirements sound quite reasonable. Readily available components can be easily found for all of them and plenty of internet videos are available demonstrating how to do them. They must however be organized and logically controlled through some intelligent software. And that is much simpler than it sounds, it's all just toggle-toys as far as I'm concerned. But it can get messed up pretty bad so it requires careful thought.
    Back to the motor part. That should also present no problem but it's the area that I am least familiar with. It's actual physical movement which I have never programmed anything to do. But again, there's millions of examples floating around the internet to learn from and in the end it's just a matter of controlling current through wires and that's what the Arduino was born to do. I'm a bit concerned about possible jamming or overrun situations but worry about that later.
    The other thing that concerns me is if all these electrical components will function in the West Virginia winter cold.

    So let's take this to e-mail. I have set up an email account for this discussion. Send me an e-mail at [email protected] so I can make a proper introduction and we can either get the ball rolling or surrender or something in between.

    Tim Stoehr
    (Retired dumb programmer)
     
  6. TCchickies13

    TCchickies13 Out Of The Brooder

    30
    6
    26
    Mar 2, 2014
    Fantastic! I look forward to sharing the finished "product" with everyone!
     
  7. jeremyd1981

    jeremyd1981 Out Of The Brooder

    16
    0
    22
    Jun 11, 2014
    Hey Guys,
    I have experience with micro controllers , Electronics and programming. I'm in! Let me know where I can help.
     
  8. TCchickies13

    TCchickies13 Out Of The Brooder

    30
    6
    26
    Mar 2, 2014
    My friend, I appreciate your offer! This is a project that has proven "difficult"...
    Glad to have you aboard! I'll put my thoughts together for you- the more "heads" we have in this, the better.
    I have a lot of friends that do metal fabricating, so the door part should be a simple task that I can work on here.
    I believe that the motor needed will be a key component.
    My friends call me "Bugman" (ex-pest control professional).
    I'll be in touch very soon. Fantastic.
     
  9. DrRocco

    DrRocco Out Of The Brooder

    30
    0
    32
    Jun 17, 2014
    Springfield, IL
    I'm actually doing the same. I have a screw drive system I made from an old cordless screwdriver. I have it running on pushbuttons right now. I have an Arduino Yun set aside to run the coop too. I just need to find the time to write the code.


    My door is actually really simple. Here's a peek at it before I put it in. https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=qlKhAGvXkBc

    I just made a 2x4 frame and ran a kerf inside it with a circular saw. The door itself is a side of a computer case I had laying around. I modified a PC power supply to give me a range of voltages I can use to power sensors, lights, motors, etc...
     
  10. DrRocco

    DrRocco Out Of The Brooder

    30
    0
    32
    Jun 17, 2014
    Springfield, IL
    Oh, and sciplus.com is a great place to get motors and such on the cheap.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by