Automatic Coop Door

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Bearchell, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. Bearchell

    Bearchell Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 19, 2011
    Vancouver Ive been pondering for a while now. I have a rotiserie motor a light timer and a coop door i want to open... Seems simple. The only problem is my light timer only goes for a minimum of 15 minutes so I have to have some kind of MASSIVELY long string that just leads to problems ( Ive tried it ) and even though the motor is supposed to reverse every time you start it ( at least I think its meant to ) it only does sometimes. Anyways, Ive done my looking around and havent found a solution, other then just buying stuff and making it expensively. So Im now looking to you brilliant BYC forumers to give me some input, ANYTHING im desperate, I cant keep waking up at 5 o clock to let all the girls out and then not being home at dusk and taking each chicken off my deck one by one and putting them to bed.
  2. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2011
    Well, one design I saw here somewhere used an electric automatic car aerial -
    you know, the sort that extends the aerial up when the car is on and aerial down
    when the car is off. Seems simple enough to me - and also the 'stick/string' length
    is near perfect. You could even get cheap parts at the local car salvagers...

    While I thought about doing this, I have my pop-door open 24/7 because I'm lazy
    and because my run is really, super, secure. My girls love having full choice! As it
    is, had I been in charge of the pop-door, they would have punished me with low

    Good luck with this project - it's a good 'un - I'm also interested in ideas other
    peeps here have!
  3. Bearchell

    Bearchell Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 19, 2011
    an automatic antenna is a good idea but I cant find one anywhere but in china on ebay:|....the only wrecker in my area is closed... any similar suggestions?
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  4. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2011
    Well, short of going into your local 'Bronx/Queens' type area
    and nicking one off the local druggie's car, I can only suggest
    any shop that sells car spares. ;-)

    I must admit I thought they were more popular than you suggest.
    Ask your friends, they may have more idea, as I'm not familiar
    with the Vancouver area - sorry!
  5. rpchris

    rpchris Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 27, 2011
    Saint Louis, MO
    There are digital timers that would allow you to turn on and off the motor in smaller increments of time than the 15 minutes that the dial-type timers impose. You can find them online for under $20.

    I've also seen examples of coop door motors made from old power drills, electric screwdrivers, VCR motors, etc. YouTube has many videos regarding these.

    The major issue with building these yourself is reversing the motor direction for each cycle and ensuring the motor cuts off when the door is fully opened or closed so you don't have a door half open or burn out the motor or snap the cord. I'm not sure about power antenna motors, but you might need to reverse the polarity of the current to operate it up or down. The same with power window motors. You couldn't do that with just a simple timer. The examples I saw that use these motors all involved limit switches and some type of computer board.

    There are also pre-built motors designed to open and close coop doors, but they are expensive (Add-A-Motor D20 is $90). I know because I just bought one after researching other options. People also use the Add-A-Motor drapery motor which you can sometimes find on Craigslist or EBay for much cheaper.

    There are pictures and links for my automatic, self-locking door on my profile page.

    Good luck! If you get this to work, please post your solution.
  6. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2010
    Slidell, Louisiana
    Hi, Here is my two cents worth, for what it's worth. Ha Ha After trying to jury rig some type of antenna motor or rotissere motor or any other kind of motor, plus all of the necessary items that would be needed to make it open and close(reverse) on a time and the aggrevation that would go along with it.....I buy a Add-A-Motor. Problem solved...installed my with a 20.00 timer, in 10 minutes. Done....and hasn't given me a lick of trouble. Love it.
  7. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    I bought an add-a-motor, digital timer and solar power/battery set up (we aren't running power to the coop or we'll get taxed for an outbuilding) - used my own 1/2" thick plywood piece and drawer rails for the door guide... so far it's working great. I am happy with it - I don't have to get up early or stay up late. I still check on the chicks - but it's great to not have to rush outside to open/close the door. On the other hand, when I want them to stay inside I have to manually "test" the door so it will close and then unplug it if I want to keep it closed for extended periods of time (like when Hurricane Irene rushed through).

    I think it was well worth the cost for those things. According to my DH the set up was easy and everything works together smoothly. It ran me around $180 for all of it. I didn't want to worry about my connections not working or wiring something up myself as I'm not that handy with electrical stuff. Got it all from - but you could probably find it at other sources by doing a search.
  8. seattlehens83

    seattlehens83 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 11, 2011
    I bought the add-a-motor and just used a cutting board and slotted two 2x3's with a router. I was really wanting to make my own but it seems like a lot of time to put into it.

    Here is a link from another member that I saved as a reference in case I wanna try this later on.
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I used a drapery motor w/a digital timer. I don't care for the light sensor controls because I always worry about early darkening skies if a storm blows through or something.. Both my pop doors are lexan.
  10. fenceman48

    fenceman48 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 13, 2011
    Senoia, Ga
    I just finished building a new coop & installed an automatic door. So far, it's working great. I got a new automatic car antenna off ebay for $30. I wired it up, simple, & it uses ac & a 12 volt battery. No need for limit switches, only a common relay. email me & I'll give you details. [email protected]

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