***SOLUTION: Automatic drop-down RAMP-STYLE DOOR opener ***

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nickvasallo, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. nickvasallo

    nickvasallo New Egg

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    Jul 13, 2014
    Eastvale, CA
    Hello fellow chicken lovers,

    I have been searching for a way to let my chickens out in the morning automatically for a while. My coop has a drop-down ramp door and I've seen people asking how to do it but with no solutions. First, here is my coop:

    [​IMG]
    (Notice the no-spill PVC bucket feeder, and the hanging nipple waterer.)

    The problem is that most automatic door openers use a pulley type system but that won't work with these type of doors because of the weight and the general clunkiness. The wires also get messy when inside the coop.

    Here is a video of the ramp, notice the weight of the door (approx 12 lbs.):
    [​IMG]

    Here is my solution:
    [​IMG]

    Underneath the coop I placed a gate latch, drilled a hole on the side of the ramp door where the shaft goes through, and used something called EASYOUT (http://easyoutpetrelease.com/) to pull the shaft out of the hole and drop down the ramp. Typically, the EasyOut is used to open pet cage latches but for this type of coop door it is perfect! (And the best solution I could come up with). And for anyone with regular horizontally swinging doors the Easy Out is even easier and a piece of cake to install and use, both the original remote control version and the brand new "Easy Out DELUXE" model that I used which has more power and can be triggered by a timer, or even your smart phone.

    [​IMG]
    (Encased in heavy-duty plastic to protect it from the elements.)

    Here it is in action:
    [​IMG]

    And here it is working this morning at 5:25am. The last time I have to wake up this early =)
    [​IMG]

    See how the ramp doesn't just plop down? I also added springs on the inside so the door isn't as heavy. This was crucial is getting the EasyOut to pull the shaft out of the hole. There was too much pressure on the shaft before, and it wouldn't pull out at all. Some WD40 helped as well. Thank you to the inventor of the EasyOut: Les Kelly for communicating with me throughout the process of making this work!

    The ramp is run on a timer. I also had no power source so I also had my first stint as an electrician. Here is my DIY box holding UF electrical cable coming from an outside outlet 100 ft. away, connected to the timer, hooked to the 12v adapter going to the EasyOut, all encased in a fliptop storage container to protect against the elements. It is pinned against the chicken wire with a bungee cable underneath the nesting box to protect it against direct exposure (sun, rain, etc.)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  2. nickvasallo

    nickvasallo New Egg

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    Jul 13, 2014
    Eastvale, CA
    Made a poop tray today using scrap wood:
    [​IMG]

    And then put Sweet PDZ - walah! Chicken litter tray =)
    [​IMG]
     
  3. foothillsco

    foothillsco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 6, 2014
    I bought one of those $200 automatic open/close doors and my ducks don't get it. They rarely go inside at the right time, even with the 2nd chance opening option.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Had to go to youtube to view, errors on page here......

    That ramp flies open!!!!

    Then does the bungee bounce....and doesn't go all the way to the ground??

    You have to close it manually?
     
  5. nickvasallo

    nickvasallo New Egg

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    Jul 13, 2014
    Eastvale, CA
    Yeah, I saw those and they wouldn't work for my drop-down ramp door.
     
  6. nickvasallo

    nickvasallo New Egg

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    Jul 13, 2014
    Eastvale, CA
    Yes, it does fly open! That is part of the reason I put springs inside -- so it doesn't fall with full force and impact the resting board.

    It doesn't go to the ground all the way but I can easily pin it to the wire, the chickens don't mind though they walk up the ramp even if it wobbles a bit like a branch.

    I close it manually every night at 8pm, which is fine by me.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Well, if there was ever a coon under the ramp trying to get in....you could hit the button and probably break its neck with that ramp release LOL!!
     
  8. ktn65

    ktn65 Out Of The Brooder

    Nick, I like it! [​IMG]


    Aart, with my luck, it would just make the coon mad! The coons we have around here are pretty tuff! [​IMG]
     

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