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The Chicken Vault

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by matt2138, Jul 25, 2013.

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  1. matt2138


    Jul 25, 2013
    Hi all,

    I'm new to electronics and even newer to this forum so any friendly advice would be very grateful.

    I have been tasked with finding a way to open a door to a chicken coup in the morning at first light and then drop it down at dusk.

    So I was thinking all I need is a PIC controller, a motor and an LDR. I also know that I need a way to program the PIC to recognise a certain light level or preset time then activate motor for given time.

    Problem is in my engineering lectures- block diagrams, the maths and theory is easy... what seems more difficult is know what works in the real world.

    many thanks
    from a very confused matthew
  2. GonzoEngineer


    Dec 2, 2011
    I don't see why you would need a PIC.

    There are plenty of available modules used to turn lights on at dusk, and off at dawn.

    Why reinvent the wheel.
  3. eKretz


    Apr 8, 2013
    For some people it's about the challenge, but I agree; I'd just use a couple of plug-in timer switches with limit switches at ends of travel. One for open, one for close. Use a geared motor so the door holds position when it trips the limit switch. You could do a little circuit experimentation to eliminate one of the timers and get DC if you want to go that route.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  4. Externet


    Aug 24, 2009

    The way I would do it:
    A vertical sliding door may need very little power from a toy motor if helped with some counterweight.
    A string turning on the motor shaft a few turns and continuing to the counterweight will lift the door.
    A top (open) limit microswitch N.C. contact will deenergize the motor and its N.O. contact apply a brake pinching the string by an electromagnet.
    A solar panel should power the motor by dawn until raised, then powers the brake.
    At sunset, the brake releases as there is no voltage from the panel and door comes down on its weight.
    No microcontrollers, timers, photocells nor complexities needed.
    Electrically, one microswitch, one motor, one electromagnet, one solar panel.
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