Has anyone here bought this automatic door and if so, what are your thoughts about it? It's a bit expensive but we're leaving for work before it's light outside and I hate opening up the coop in the dark.
It runs off any 12 volt DC power supply (not included). A good choice for power is a small deer feeder 12 volt 5 amp-hour battery along with a 1 watt solar panel. Even without a solar panel, this little battery will power the unit for one to two months. With both the battery and solar panel, it will run for years troublefree. These parts are locally available at anywhere that sells deer feeders. You can also use a mains power (120 volt AC) adapter that produces 12 volts DC with at least 300 mA current.
So you could use it without electricity run to your coop.
I called them today and they also offer a unit that runs off electricity that will continously charge the battery, for another $45. A bit expensive but a good piece of mind. I hate opening the coop before the sun comes up but it's either that or be late for work everyday. Would love a recommendation from someone who's used it.
From what I understand it can be hooked up to a battery. Solar too. The manual is on there site too. Mines on electricity now, We bought a cheap timer at Lowes... but as we get "off the grid" we'll be switching it over to solar.
You know, I could swear I paid like $90 for mine. I see it there now for $79.33. Wow.
I know this is an old thread, but I bought this door this Summer and have to say it is some of the best money I've spent on my chickens. I put up a pen in June, with treated plywood 18" in the ground (and 6" above), followed by 2' of hardware cloth, and then 6' of woven wire fence. Posts were dug 48" and on the top I ran wire across the pen every 2' to keep out flying critters. I wanted to be able to leave my chickens when I went away. All was good for a while, but I had to have my neighbor come down and shut the coop door every night and open it up every morning. I really didn't want him to have to do that as I lean on him a lot in caring for my dogs when I am away. Thus, the automatic chicken door. It is totally sweet. It opens up every morning at the same time and closes at night. Really is a great piece of equipment. Hopefully it will keep working as planned. I bought a trickle charger from Battery Mart so that the battery is constantly charged. I chose to use a battery even though I have power to the coop just in case my power goes out.
Just wanted to post my comments as I see there hasn't been very many in regards to this door.
I bought one in July after returning from an out of town trip and not being pleased with how the chicken sitter handled things.
First, let me say that in general I am very happy with it. We can now go out for dinner without hiring a sitter and I don't feel guilty for not getting up with the chickens.
At the time, they did not offer any electrical backup, but they would supply a solar panel and 12V battery for $45 additional. I opted for this. After about a month of trouble free operation, the door becam erratic - not opening all the way, etc. We checked the battery and it was only registering around 7V, obviously, it wasn't charging. Turns out the solar panel provided was only 2 watts so it needed to be in full sun for a lot of hours to keep it charged. I ended up buying another solar panel (more watts) and battery and they work perfectly. Our hen house is not in full sun for the entire day so now that winter is upon us, I had to do a battery swap this week. So I just keep a spare battery charged up and if we are going to be out late or out of town for a night, I check the voltage on the battery to make sure it is adequate.
The door is very easy to program, but you do have to do it in sequence - morning, then night - there is no way to tell it "this is the morning setting" and "this is the evening setting". So, if you come out in the morning, notice the door didn't open fully and do a battery swap you just have to open and close manually that day and do the reprogramming the next day at the right times. That is assuming when you discovered the door not opening fully, it is probably past the time you would normally let your chickens out.
So, in retrospect, I am happy I bought the door but wish I had not purchased the solar panel and battery from them. Of course, I am using the battery as a backup but the solar panel seems to be pretty worthless. The trickle charger that the other poster mentioned also sounds like a great idea.