Which Auto Door Opener should I buy

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by morsekathan, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. morsekathan

    morsekathan Chirping

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    Well, it is final - we cannot remember to close the coop door every night. I have read many of the threads on automatic door openers and see that most people love theirs. There seems to be two types - guillotine (Foys, VBS and kit one) and swing - Pullet Shut. I'm leaning towards the pullet shut as it would be easiest to install given our space. Does anyone have any suggestions on doors to stay away from, catastrophic failures, never use that type again?
     
  2. jwatts

    jwatts Songster

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  3. Kjf18

    Kjf18 Chirping

    We love our Pullet Shut door. It has been totally reliable.

    KJF
     
  4. N4HHM

    N4HHM In the Brooder

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    I have great success with the door shown. Works just great. The coop is solar powered operates on a timer so is completely operator free. The door opens at 6am and closes at 8pm so I don't have to worry or even be home. You will notice a locking mechanism because my chicks free range which allows predators access to the door. the door is cut from old road sign the tracks from hardwood strips.[​IMG]
     
  5. Tweakster

    Tweakster In the Brooder

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    I luv the simplicity of your locking mechanism! Simple and effective! I also have the D20 Add-A-Motor closer on my coop with a solar charger since I don't have power to my coop. My coop is a movable chicken tractor so running power to it is a bit impracticable. The Add-A-Motor has worked great and I've never had any problems with it.

    Again, great use of ingenuity in creating that locking mechanism.
     
  6. 7 Biddies

    7 Biddies Crowing

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    My Coop
    Pullet Shut - solar powered, photo-sensitive. LOVE it! Have had no problems. Being solar powered means I don't have to worry about power outages and, with the photo sensitive mechanism instead of a timer, I never have to worry about resetting the time as the days lengthen or shorten. It even opens back up, then closes again, for any stragglers. Never have to worry about a chicken being left out over night.
     
  7. morsekathan

    morsekathan Chirping

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    I sorry to be so dense, but where is the locking mechanism? And how handy do you have to be to install this? I have an old sign and lots of lumber and I'm pretty good with building stuff, just not that inventive. I can follow directions would be the extent of my know how! How much room does it need? My coop is a converted play house, and right now we just use the playhouse door, so I'm not sure I have the space for it.
    thanks,
    Sarah
     
  8. Tweakster

    Tweakster In the Brooder

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    If you look at the post from N4HHM, you will see the cable from the lift motor attaches to a simple mechanism. Note that the pop door attachment is not a single point, but a plate that rotates as the tension is added or removed from the lift cable. The rotating plate slides a pin, on the right side of the door, to the left, or open, when the lift motor reels up the door. The weight of the door holds the pin in the open position. When closing, the door reaches the bottom of it's travel but the motor keeps lowering and the plate rotates around the bolt in the upper right corner, pushing the pin into the door frame, I assume into a hole drilled for that purpose.

    If you are good at building and can follow instructions, the D20 should not be a problem. The wiring is simple and there is an instruction sheet that explains how to hook up the different components. It is a little cheaper as you invest "sweat equity" building the door and buying the timer or photo cell (and battery/solar panel if no power in the coop) and rigging up the pop door opener.

    BOTTOM LINE: They all work. Use a timer or use a photo cell, they all work. Use the vertical lift (guillotine) or swing open, they all work. The "open a second time" thingy is a great sales pitch, but it tells me that the door is closing too soon as chooks don't walk around in the dark. Despite the added sales pitch, it also works quite well, especially in applications where the overhead room above the pop door is limited and a swing door is needed. Find one you think you'll be happy with and chances are pretty good you'll be happy with it after you have gone to the expense, time, and effort to install it. Since they all work, each owner is "HAPPY" they don't have to go out twice a day to let the chooks in or out.

    The pre-assembled kits basically install over an opening with a few screws. Easy, quick, and no fuss. The others require that you build the door and install the different components to make it work, saving a little money.

    BTW, if you do build your own vertical sliding door, make sure the door slides behind a bottom piece so that predators cannot get their little fingers under the door to lift it. That's where the locking mechanism shown above comes in, it gives peace of mind that no critters are going to lift the door. I've never heard on a predator opening an automatic pop door, but with the locking mechanism, they are pretty much guaranteed to fail. I use the same setup but with no locking mechanism. Since my run is pretty much secure, I find little reason to worry about a locking mechanism. But if I were to add a locking mechanism, the one shown above is probably the best I've seen to date.

    HTH!
     
  9. morsekathan

    morsekathan Chirping

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    oh I see it now. Very clever. Thanks. I'm going with the pre-made swing door. Not really enough room in the hen house to install a drop door.
    thanks for everyone's input.
     
  10. morsekathan

    morsekathan Chirping

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    I bought the automatic door. Really great so far. I guess we've had it about a month now and it has changed our lives. No more getting up early to let them out and best of all, running home to shut the door. Well, actually best of all - no more leaving the door open by mistake. Although, we did leave the big door open one night - we were mucking out the house and totally forgot to close the door behind us. Fortunately, we have our phone alarms set to remind us to put the chickens to bed and since I don't totally trust the automatic door, I went out to do a head count. So glad I did! Anyway, I highly recommend the Pullet-Shut door. Easy to install and the guys in Texas are real nice and answered all my questions about the solar battery charger (which we also bought). We have the photo sensor too. It works well. The doors open about 6:15 (before the ladies are up) and close around 8:55, plenty of time for everyone to go to bed.
     

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