Automatic Chicken Coop door for only $5 bucks with a radio antenna from a junkyard

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jimmywalt, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Songster

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    We started out with some cute baby chicks (5 to be exact) in late March. Well that lead to building a 4'x4'x4' chicken coop, which lead to me opening and closing the door every day to let them in and out............. It got old quick so I figured there had to be a better way.

    I searched this website for options. I'm frugal (i.e. CHEAP) so I wanted a very inexpensive way to make the door open and close automatically. I saw all the $200+ options and thought NO WAY! I finally found some people and some videos on Youtube that show how to make an automatic door with an electronic car antenna.

    I got an antenna (actually two of them - one for a spare) at a junk yard for $10 bucks. I figured it was worth a try. I also had a couple power supplies that were no longer in use that happen to be 12VDC (one is 1.2 amps, the other 1.3 amps). I rigged it all up as this person shows in great detail https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/automatic-pop-hole-opener

    The nice thing about this is that the antenna must be able to feel when the door stops, so the motor that drives the antenna stops as well. The antenna DOESN'T have to extend the full distance. It will stop and turn off when it feels the pressure of the door stopping. You can see that in my video.

    I modified his plans a bit - My door goes horizontally and my power supplies are different from his. I couldn't find any power supplies like is ANYWHERE! Fortunately I had a couple of my own from stuff that must have been thrown out or died. I cut the tip off the end of the antenna and crimped on a terminal ring connector. All the wires are hidden inside protective wire wrap (just incase the chickens decide to peck at the wires!

    I made this video just a couple hours ago and then decided to make one more modification to my plan - I now have a night light plugged into the timer that will turn on when the door closes and off when it opens. Now I will be able to see from the house to verify that the door actually closes.

    So at about 10PM the door should close and in the morning at about 6AM it should open.

    We will see what happens............ Seems like a good investment of $5 bucks and about 3 hours putting it all together. On top of that I'm not an engineer or builder. I just looked at the other guys plans (link above) and figured out how to make this work in my coop. It's so easy ANYONE can do it!

    Here's a link to my video from inside the coop:


    And here's a link to the video of the door closing at it's "close time" and the night light turning on from outside of the coop:


    The door worked great tonight. It closed a couple minutes after 10PM and the night light inside the coop turned on!

    Looks like a winner and will make my life easier!
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  2. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Songster

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    The door worked great last night!

    Here's a picture I took from inside of my house of the chicken coop this morning. You can see the night light inside the front window. The door should open in just a couple minutes to let the girls out.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of the schematic of my electrical hook up. I might have wrote this up wrong. I believe the GREEN is the common ground, not the black like my schematic has written on it. Unfortunately all my wires are covered so it's too late for me to look to say for sure.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture of the Terminal Ring Connector I used at the end of the antenna after I took a hacksaw and got the factory end off. You can just crimp these on and they stay fine. I suppose you could solder it too if you wanted.

    [​IMG]

    For your two adapters make sure you get the ones that have OUTPUT of 12VDC and 1.2 amp (or more amps). You can pick these up at Goodwill and other thrift stores for a buck if you don't have some laying around the house.

    [​IMG]

    To connect your wires during the "trial period" (when you are figuring the wiring out) you can get these 18" Low Voltage Multi-Colored Test Leads (10 in a package - You will need 3 of them) at Harbor Freight for $3 bucks.

    [​IMG]

    To connect the wires you can use the 4-flat connectors for trailers like the guy posted in the link above or just skip that (and the expense) and use these Butt Connectors that you just crimp on.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
    TCCL, AshleyMarie17, latex and 3 others like this.
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

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    Guess who is making a trip to the junk yard??? Thanks for posting Jimmy Walt. I have a guillotine style door but that should pose not problem what so ever and if anything inhibit predators for lifting up my door.

    Thanks again buddy.
     
  4. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Songster

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    Glad to help you out. If you have any questions shoot me a note. I watch this website multiple times per day.

    Doing a vertical (up/down) door shouldn't have ANY problem since the antenna will have gravity helping when the antenna extends and the door goes down. I believe the antenna has the most power when it retracts and the coil inside is pulling it down. Mine works fine horizontally so a vertical door shouldn't have any problems!

    Oh yes the easiest antenna's to get are the ones that come out of the right side of the trunk (I forgot the make/model of the vehicles). The antenna is just held in the trunk by a 10mm bolt. You will also want a small pry bar so that you can remove the rubber grommet that's on the outside of the car around the antenna (prevents water from getting in I guess). Purchase 2 in case you find out one doesn't work when you get home.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  5. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Songster

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    I just wanted to bump this thread. With winter coming and people trying to make their lives easier and better for their chickens this automatic door opener/closer is PRICELESS. I just LOVE this thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Saves me from opening and closing the coop door every day. All I need to do in the afternoons is collect my eggs and check the food/water.

    For $5 bucks (even $20 would be a deal) this is soooo worth it!!!!!!
     
  6. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Songster

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    Here are a couple Youtube videos of MY automatic door in action!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I added a night light after making the 2nd video so that I could see from the house if the "light is on" that means the door has shut. When the light goes out the door opens too (both are hooked to the timer).



     
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  7. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Songster

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    Thought I would bump this thread again. Hopefully it will help a lot of you out with winter coming........ the less we have to do outside the better!
     
  8. Bullitt

    Bullitt Songster

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    This is a neat idea. A coop door with an electric car antenna, a timer, and two 120-volt to 12-volt power supplies. It's simple, but works great.

    It will cost most people more that $5, but it is a great idea.

    I did notice that the light comes on right when the coop door starts closing. If the coop door got hung up or something, the coop door would be open but the night light would be on telling you that the coop door closed. I don't think there is an easy way to correct that, because I know that the light comes on when the timer turns on the power supply for the electric antenna to close the coop door.

    Thank you for sharing your automatic coop door plan.
     
  9. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Songster

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    Thank you for your comment! I was taking into account the price of the antenna at the junk yard. I don't believe there are cars out there that use these anymore so they probably run $5 or less at all the junkyards.

    You can find the power supplies and timers at Goodwill and other stores like that for just a couple bucks.

    Maybe $10 in materials if you don't have some of this stuff laying around your house/garage.
     
  10. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

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    Bump
     
    1 person likes this.

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