automatic pop door opener

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 4biddies, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. 4biddies

    4biddies In the Brooder

    Feb 22, 2009
    Hi all! Been lurking off and on for over a year, when I first got into chickens and this site! Awesome info and people. Only now have I gotten the urge to post as I'm a bit proud of my automatic opener, and thought some would be interested. I'm no mechanical genuis, so this is a bit jerry rigged, but as of day two works well!
    I had read somewhere an idea of using an auto power antenna, and I went for that. I thought it would work well as it is made to go in both directions (i definitely wanted a closer and opener) and it is torqued to go relatively slow, and I thought I might be able to physically attatch a line to the antenna. The antenna runs on 12 vdc/5 amp.

    So in a nutshell, first I changed my pop door to a lighter version of what it was, as the light weight is essential. (door was already designed to slide up/down) Ran a rope line through door and through coop (installed nylon flange bushings so rope goes smooth thru coop).
    Drilled a small hole in tip of antenna for wire loop which the rope attaches to. Had to get two ac/dc converters so that it would run on regular ac outlet, (antenna wiring comes with two leads, one always on and one that is switched which is controlled by radio knob. In my case, the switched one is controlled by the digital timer, and the hot is always plugged in.) I mounted in a way that I thought would be out of the way of birds but not bend the antenna with the weight of the door when opening. Also, it was just the easiest spot to mount it. But you could do this in alot of different ways. (vertical mount, etc) Might be easier if pop door was on inside of coop, but I just worked w/ how it was already built. So here is a pic (my coop roof opens open in a hinged manner for access) in the door open position, which is antenna retracted.

    Here is the door closed position, which is antenna extended. Not much weight on antenna because of slack in rope after the door hits bottom.
    So right now I have it timed to open at sunrise, and close 1/2 hour after sunset...birds are well inside by then. Time might dictate some modifications...little worried about the birds pecking the rope or trying to perch on antenna, but we'll see. But this is great for peace of mind on late nights, sleep in mornings, or weekend getaways even. With their homemade water heater and timed lights as well, they are more 'wired' than some humans! Total cost about $100. $50 antenna, $35 for the adapters, $10 for timer. (includes all shipping charges)
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009

  2. BrackenFarms

    BrackenFarms Songster

    Dec 18, 2008
    Easley, SC
  3. Renee

    Renee Songster

    May 7, 2008
    Pure genius.
  4. birdbrain2

    birdbrain2 Songster

    Dec 25, 2008
    belleville, IL.
    thats nice, its got me thinking.
    can you get a video of it working?
  5. countryboy

    countryboy Songster

    Oct 31, 2007
    good job, and welcome to the forum.

  6. 4biddies

    4biddies In the Brooder

    Feb 22, 2009
    Not sure how one would post a video. Photobucket maybe?
  7. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Songster

    Jan 31, 2009
    Could you list the parts and where you got them? I'm not an electrician and if the truth be known, I don't like fooling with it.
    But if you had an easy diagram of timer, list/picture of individual parts (a closer look perhaps) and how you changed it from 12 volt to 110 I might be able to do it....I too like to sleep in and might be somewhere else in the evening.....please, pretty please.
  8. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    Great job
  9. 4biddies

    4biddies In the Brooder

    Feb 22, 2009

    The antenna is a Metra Universal Power Antenna 44 Pw22
    I got mine new through ebay, you can also get it from Amazon I think those two places were cheapest

    Timer I got from Target, you can get them just about anywhere, I prefer the digital for ease of use

    Adpater is an ac/dc adapter, it converts standard ac power that most homes operate on to dc which is what autos and lots of electronic stuff operates on. The antenna is higher amperage than many of the cheaper universal adapters you can get at some dept stores which are often 1 amp max as opposed to the 5 amps. It might work with the lower amperage, but to err on the side of caution, I used a 5 amp adapter for the main hot wire, and a 3 amp for the lead that goes to the timer which is the signal to go up or down. I got mine online from place called Wholesale Laptop Battery, theres also a place called which had 'em.

    The only thing a little tricky if you don't do this sort of thing is you have to splice the wires from the adapters to the antenna. I used wire nuts but might solder in the future. I might add a more detailed how to w/ wiring diagram on my personal page when I get a chance. Not a technically difficult thing to do, but you certainly want to get it right.

  10. agirly4chicks

    agirly4chicks Songster

    Feb 16, 2009
    Hamilton, Georgia USA
    I am so addicted to this site it is craxzy. With that said thank you so much for posting this. I leave for work at 6am and that seems to be too early to let the girls out. I will look tonight for a antena motor.

    Thanks Again,


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