I decided our chickens needed an automated door to let them out of their coop and into a run through the day (and secure them at night).
After a bit of research the Arduino Chicken Coop Controller by Robot-Chicken on instructables looks like a good guideline.
I purchased a $10 cordless screwdriver with charger from Canadian Tire as the motor unit. The motor controller and arduino were purchased from ebay. I decided to connect a raspberry pi to schedule the door opening/closing the door. I am using the simple app Sunwait to calculate the sunrise/set based on my latitude and longitude. At the scheduled time the raspberry pi will send a ‘D’ over its serial port to put the door up or a ‘d’ to put the door down.
Code is available on github.
At present, I didn’t bother to build the auto-latching mechanism out fully on the door. As they have the additional fence around their run it didn’t seem necessary to start with.
I am placing the various power supplies and electronics in a cheap toolbox I screwed to the top of the coop. This should provide them a modicum of weather/dust protection (the whole thing is tucked in under the house so it isn’t expected to get rained on).
A video of the maiden run on the door: