Raspberry PI semi-automatic Brooder rig

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by NCHippy, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. NCHippy

    NCHippy Just Hatched

    Oct 29, 2014

    I've been reading these forums for a couple years but I never signed up for an account before today. It's hard not to read these forums because any searches through google relating to raising chickens and ducks lead you here :) This is a good thing, of course.

    So Anyway. I created an account today to share my brooder rig. It is controlled by a raspberry pi computer which maintains temperature. It is a big improvement over what I did the past few years. I can slowly lower the temperature over time by editing a simple text file. It uses the normal heat lamp most people probably use and has a fan to help cool it if the temperature rises too high. I'm using a giant rubbermaid tub from tractor supply.


    As you can see, it is in the house right now under the watchful eye of Charley the parrot. Based on my experience, I suspect this would work well outside as well even in sub-zero temperatures depending on the box you use.

    The most expensive item is the raspberry pi at $35. less than $10 for the sainsmart switch board which controls the light and fan, about $2 for the driver chip, $5 for the waterproof temperature sensor, $12 for the cooling fan, $6 for the always on LED light (so chicks have constant light)

    I already had the heat lamp, 16gb SD Card, power supplies, and wifi chip. The software is python based and runs at boot under linux on the raspberry pi.

    Wiring details for sainsmart relay was the most difficult part, raspberry pi forums helped Here is the way it's wired, I used a different chip but it's the same wiring. My chip just has more IO pins.


    The raspberry pi and the temperature sensor are available from adafruit.com and they have instructions on how to hook those up. Buy the sainsmart switchboard from amazon.com and pay less and use the tutorials at adafruit on how to hook them up / code for them.

    Software is based on adafruit's tutorials on how to turn things on/off with GPIO pins as well as how to read the temperature sensor. It is fairly easy to write yourself but I have included a link to download the software I wrote. I don't see a way to attach zip files to this post or I would include it here and now. You can download the software from my dropbox and here is a link https://www.dropbox.com/s/inaz7jcgl39rd4c/brooder.zip?dl=0 I would be happy to help anyone who wants to build one of these themselves. Just send me a message.

    I soldered it all up and put it in a cigar box. Here is the finished circuitry. I log into the raspberry pi over wi-fi every day and review the log file and adjust the temperature down a degree or two.


    Anyway... My baby chicks seem very happy in their high-tech brooder box although they are a bit camera shy.

    1 person likes this.
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC, and WOW! I feel practically Victorian with my cardboard box and EcoGlow, LOL!
    1 person likes this.
  3. yellowchicks

    yellowchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2014
    My Coop
    @NCHippy Guess you are a Maker. How about posting your design as an open source project on http://www.instructables.com/? I am sure that the DIY techies there will appreciate your Raspberry Pi controlled brooder as well. We have quiet a few Raspberry Pis at home, been using them to remote control robots. I am still waiting for my son, daughter or hubby to have some time to rig me a egg notification device to send a message to my phone when their is an egg in the nest box. Too bad they are all too busy, I am left to doing my own low-tech chicken raising.
    1 person likes this.
  4. neguyinky

    neguyinky Just Hatched

    May 14, 2014
    This is cool. I was thinking of something similar. I'd like to make an IFTTT compatable heat lamp and thermometer combo.
  5. Guernica

    Guernica Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 23, 2013
    Clock End Farm, Georgia
    That is FEROCIOUS!! I love it!

    I'm geeky enough to be familiar w/ Raspberry PIs but the circuitry is wayyyyyyyyyy beyond me.

    Congrats. Way to go!
  6. nordicacres

    nordicacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2015
    South Central MN
    Very interesting. TFS!
  7. WindyHillFarm

    WindyHillFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    One of the coolest things I've seen! And I thought my storage bin brooder was nice. [​IMG]

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