Automatic Door Closer--adjust sensitivity??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jimbob, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. jimbob

    jimbob New Egg

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Hi, I'm new to the forum but not to chickens. I recently bought one of the UK automatic door closers and love it,
    "except".
    The darn thing doesn't close the door until it is fairly dark outside, and worse it opens it at the first crack of dawn.
    According to their kind of scanty instructions, it is set to close when there is a fair amount of daylight and it can be adjusted to be less sensitive, but is there any way to have it close a bit earlier and open a bit later? (Around here the predators come out when there's still some light left, and are active til the sun is almost up.
    I thought about putting black magic marker on the electric "eye" or whatever you call it.
    I know, I can buy their timer and open and close according to time, but that requires constant adjustment as the seasons change.
    Thanks for any ideas. OTHER than that, this is a neat, neat gizmo!
    Jim
     
  2. karanleaf

    karanleaf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2008
    Glenwood, Missouri
    jimbob [​IMG] You will find alot of good folks here and I am sure some one who may have worked with something similar, I don't know but DH has dealt with alot of that stuff. I will ask him when he gets his coffee and comes this way.
    Again [​IMG]
     
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
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    My husband is almost a foot taller than I am, so once it was installed, adjusting it was his job! [​IMG]

    It's been awhile, but I thought you just had to turn a screw to adjust the sensitivity. If you make it less sensitive to the light, then it will need to be brighter outside to open it and it will close before it gets as dark. I totally don't remember which way you have to turn the screw, though.

    Did you buy it from Wells in the UK or Foy's in the US? You could also try e-mailing them and asking. I'll ask my husband tonight, if you don't get any other response. I'll also ask him how much of a turn he gave it. I seem to remember he only moved it a small amount.
     
  4. jimbob

    jimbob New Egg

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    Jul 29, 2008
    There is, indeed, a sensitivity screw. However, it comes turned all the way counterclockwise, which makes it most sensitive to light (i.e., it closes relatively early. The company says it is set to close when it is still fairly light out, which is NOT true)
    So, the only way you can adjust it is by making it close when it is DARKER, and I can't imagine why you would want to do that.
    I wrote AXT directly and they say this problem can "only be solved with a timer". This is the last thing I want, then I have to be adjusting the timer every few weeks as the seasons change.
    The sensitivity screw might as well been left off, since it seems to be worthless.
    I'm going to try black electrical tape on the outside (clear) housing, can't hurt!
    Thanks,

    Jim
     
  5. jimbob

    jimbob New Egg

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    Jul 29, 2008
    By the way, since I have installed this I have lost 2 birds including our favorite rooster! Beware if you buy this, the thing is going to close WAY after dark, and open WAY before safe light. The coyotes are going to have a field day.
    Why they can't make this more adjustable is beyond me.
    Jim
     
  6. Anny

    Anny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    wow this is the first negative thing I've heard about the door opener.

    I was thinking about buying one but they are way to pricey, and now that I know they don't always work right. I don't know.
     
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm very sorry for your losses. I can understand why you are so frustrated. We kept our attached run door closed during the adjustment period and checked the door to make sure it was opening and closing at an appropriate time. This only took a couple of days for us. Until you get this sorted out, it's very simple to just unhook the door and manually open and close it. There's no need for more of your birds to die.

    Let me try this one more time. If it is set to be the most sensitive to light, then it will open and close when there is barely any light visible. If it is set to be less sensitive to light, then it will need more light visible to open and close.

    You need to adjust it to be LESS sensitive to light.
     
  8. jimbob

    jimbob New Egg

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    Thanks for your fast replies! This board must be well attended!
    I admit I have been a little confused by "more sensitive" and "less sensitive" to light.

    Here is what the company says in their instructions:
    "The adjusting device above pins 5 and 6 (slot marked with an arrow) has been set in such a way that the sliding gate door is closed relatively early. If it is still too bright at this closing time, turn the controller dial clockwise and check the changed adjustment from a certain distance."

    My dial is turned all the way COUNTER-clockwise.

    It would seem that turning it the only way it will go, CLOCWISE, will just make it close when it is darker?

    This company has a funny idea of "relatively early". When this baby closes, it is DARK! All the photocells around the yard have been on for a while by then. (No, the lights from these do not shine on the unit)

    Guess it can't hurt to turn the adjustment screw clockwise but doesn't sound like this will get me where I want to be.

    I just wish the company could provide help beyond, "Well, buy a timer then"! The photocell function has the potential of being perfect for our needs.

    Jim
     
  9. steven11788

    steven11788 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they got those, automatic, closers, why back in the day....[​IMG] nope i got some springs that slam the door back real quick, at first scared the birds, now there use to it.. man i bet that contraption was expinesive.. Sorry for your loss too. [​IMG]
     
  10. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    jimbob,
    Sorry to hear about your chicken loss with the auto door. We installed one on our coop door earlier this year. It is true, it is set to maximum sensitivity; which is equivalent to what you are going to find on a dusk-dawn light, therefore it does open at first light and close quite late. We considered the timer, but have found that our set up is just fine with those hours. Our chickens free range on 1 fenced acre around the house and are guarded by our 'free range' dogs that come and go in/out of the house as they please...which means they keep the yard clear of critters day & night.
    d
     

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