Why are automatic coop doors so expensive? Why????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mountaintopchicken, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    I just don't understand how a little thingie with a timer and a motor that lifts a light piece of aluminum or wood cost so much money. Cheapest option is the add a motor at $90.

    But after that the prices seem to run in the 180 - 324.99 (!!!!) range.

    Seriously. I can buy a remote control helicopter that actually flies for $20 on amazon (I did and it's cool). You can buy a thingie on amazon that is a remote control vehicle that kids can drive around the house and spy on people with for $70. You can get a toy crocodile that sings and wags its tail when you walk by it for $14.

    So why, why, is a little gizmo that lifts something on a timer a gazillion dollars [​IMG]:? It makes no sense to me.

    I've been looking into making my own for less money, but I have no knowledge of mechanical and electric things. Instructions I've seen involve the word "solenoid" which makes me shudder, I'd have to find out what one is and what to do with it.

    I've seen nifty's posts about making one, and I'm looking at this guy's alarm clock opener here:


    I have to say that if a company came out with a very simple option for $40 or under they would make a killing. Why doesn't somebody do it [​IMG]?
  2. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I am the automatic pop door opener here, No way I would spend that kind of money on an automatic door. Besides it gives me a chance to check on them and hang out for a few before they head outdoors for the day. I am disgusted with most of the prices for chicken necessities, the hanging feeders are $30 or more?!?!?! Heck I went to menards, got me a few buckets, drilled some holes and attatched a stainless steel feed pan to the bottom and voila a homemade hanging feeder for less then $10 [​IMG] Took me a few years but I am pretty good about riggin stuff up for the birds for little to no expense and just as good if not better then whats on the market. However when it comes to electric/mechanical I am completely lost as well.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  3. cjwaldon

    cjwaldon Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 11, 2011
    Missouri, USA
    My Coop
    If I knew how to make one I would. I often work past dark and it would be nice to not have to worry about the chickens every night.
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    They sell tens of thousands of those $20 helicopters.
    It is the economy of volume.
    By the time 500,000 people buy automatic doors they'll be much cheaper.
    The parts for most are probably a little better than half the cost.
    For someone to put the time and energy into designing, assembling and marketing a product that they might only sell a few of, they need to build in enough profit to make it worth their while or just get a job at McDonalds and make more money.

    If they build a crappy product, they won't have any word of mouth publicity.
  5. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Quote:Oh I agree, of course it is. And the fact that the cheap things are made in China by people making super low wages etc.

    But I just can't believe such a simple mechanism costs so much to build. Unless I'm missing something? I'm not mechanical at all, but it seems as though such a simple machine shouldn't cost quite as much as that, even if made by a small company with higher overhead.

    I am the automatic pop door opener here, No way I would spend that kind of money on an automatic door.

    I never thought I'd want one either. BUT a weasel was spotted here recently and I don't trust having the coop doors open to the runs after dark. And it's hard sometimes to get out there - when the weather's bad and blowing snow in -20 weather I don't want to drag my 2yo out to the coop with me to close it, but of course I can't leave her alone so....​
  6. Aria

    Aria Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 15, 2010
    My husband paid around $100 from a Vet in Maryland. And it works FINE. In fact we have two. One for the regular Barn and one for the Run.

    We had Call Ducks...and we had to drive them in every night. Even in WINTER. Now the Silkie Chickens go in at dusk and the auto door closes. In the AM the door opens and they are out.

    It is worth $100 to us. Aria
  7. ericz

    ericz Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 16, 2011
    media pa
    where do you get one for $100? the ones i have seen start at $180.
  8. Arcnadius

    Arcnadius Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2010
    Western WI
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Quote:I'm an automation engineer, prior to that I was an industrial electrician, pipefitter and welder. I can make one but virtually all the parts, which are readily available, have to be retrofit whether you use a drill motor, drapery motor or whatever. Things made in volume can be engineered for the purpose mass produced and bolt or snap together by $2 per hour assemblers.

    I am in serious need of auto doors but haven't made one yet because I need 7 of them - 5 of which could be operated by a single motor. My time would be better spent designing something I can use for all the buildings yet controlled from a single location rather than custom make each door.
  10. Green_Eggs_and_Ham

    Green_Eggs_and_Ham Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2010
    Yes, I have the same Add-A-Motor. Love it! I got it cheaper though at Discount Automation .

    Funny, I read a post the other day from someone who rigged up a rope with eye hooks that went all the way over the top of his yard, up the side of his house, through his bedroom window, and hooked up beside his bed. NOW THAT IS TRULY CHEAPER than a motor! Ha Ha! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011

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