Pictured below is a motor controller we made recently for an automatic animal feeder system.
The feeder itself has two buckets on a belt which is connected to a 12VDC motor. When the motor is run, the buckets scoop up feed from a container and drop it into a trough for the animals. If the motor is left running, more and more feed will be scooped up and added to the trough, so a controller was required to ensure that each time the motor was run, the correct amount of feed was deposited in the trough reliably.
The motor needs to run for less than one minute each time, therefore a 12V programmable digital timer was chosen. The user can programme the timer to turn ON for one minute at the exact times of day that the animals are to be fed.
A switch was added to the mechanical setup which closes each time the buckets have completed one full revolution – i.e. picked up and deposited feed.
The central controller waits for the timer to turn ON. Then it turns on the motor, and keeps it running until it detects the mechanical switch closing indicating that the feed buckets have been through one rotation.
When the timer next turns ON, the switch status is ignored for the first couple of seconds (since it remains closed until the motor has moved the buckets around a bit), and then the controller keeps the motor running until the switch closes again…another feed complete. This automatic feeder will keep the animals fed the right amount at the right times of day for as long as there is feed left to be scooped up.
If you need any kind of timer or motor controller, email email@example.com with details of your requirements.
Pictured below is a controller we recently made for use in a poultry egg incubator, designed to keep eggs within a very narrow specific temperature and humidity range for a few weeks. This is achieved using a heater, a fan, and a humidifier.The eggs need to be turned at least three times per day every day except for the last few days before hatching. Previously we made a Controller for Poultry Incubator which had a motor which was turned on and off at different times of the day to turn the eggs. For this new incubator, the motor used is a very slow turning 12 VAC device makes 6 full rotations every 24 hours. That motor therefore did not need to be controlled with a timer – it is just left running at all times.
The display for this controller shows the current measured temperature from the waterproof DS18B20 digital temperature sensor (read at 12 bit resolution = 0.0625°C resolution), and the humidity from a DHT11 sensor (within 5% accuracy). The DHT11 actually has a built in thermistor, but its temperature measurements are nowhere nearly accurate enough for this type of project.
The bottom line of the display shows the three devices being controlled – heater, fan, and humidifier respectively. In the image above, the heater is marked as being on. If the humidity level gets too low, the humidifier will be switched on. If the temperature gets too hot, the fan will turn on (and of course the heater will already be turned off by then).
The user has full control over the thresholds at which the heater, fan, and humidifier will turn on and turn off. The temperature thresholds for the heater and fan can be set in steps of 0.2°C, and the humidity thresholds in steps of 2%.
For example, the heater could be set to turn on at or below 36.4°C and off again at or above 38.4°C. Then the fan could be set to turn on at or above 38.6°C and off again at or below 37.4°C. Humidity should ideally be around 60% (raising to 65% just before hatching), so the humidifier could be set to turn on at or below 56% and off again at or above 64% relative humidity.
With all the thresholds programmed in by the user according to the requirements of the particular type of eggs to be incubated, a button can be pressed to show in turn the values programmed in – for example, above the humidifier is shown to be set to turn on at or below 43% RH and turn off at or above 70% RH.
If you need any kind of egg incubator controller (or the electronics for a temperature and humidity controlled humidor – functionally pretty much identical to an incubator!) – please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your specific requirements.
Pictured below is another of our hen house door controllers – this time using a light detector to automatically detect dawn and dusk (user light level calibration), but with the addition of three battery voltage indicator LEDs.
This device will open and close a hen house door at dawn and dusk respectively when the measured ambient light level dictates. As this device is to be used with a small 12V battery, there is a chance that the battery will go low on charge preventing reliable operation.
Therefore we have added three LEDs (LED-1, LED-2 and LED-3) connected to flying leads so that they can be located somewhere easily visible while the controller itself is in an enclosure to keep it clean and dry.
When the battery voltage is measured to be greater than 12V, all three LEDs are turned on. When the voltage is between 11.8V and 12V, two are on. When the voltage is between 11.5 and 11.8V, 1 LED is on, and when the voltage is below 11.5V, no LEDs are on.
Each day when the user goes into the hen house to collect eggs, they have a quick visual indication of the state of the battery voltage so that they know when they need to think about recharging it.
If you need a hen house door controller, please email email@example.com with details of any specific requirements you may have.
Pictured below is a new hen house lighting controller we recently made.
This device is designed to controller artificial lighting in hen and other poultry housing to trick the birds into thinking it is summer even during the winter so that their egg yield is kept high throughout the year. It is based around our REUK Poultry Lighting System but with a few modifications.
This particular version makes use of both a light detector and a programmable digital timer. The user sets the timer to turn ON before dawn and turn OFF after dusk. During the hours of darkness between the timer turning ON and dawn, and then between dusk and timer turning OFF, the artificial lights are turned on. The output from this device passes through a low-drop 12V regulator to protect LED bulbs from excessive voltage.
With the timer turned ON for 15 hours per day (e.g. from 4am to 7pm), the level of light in the hen house will be optimised for the birds’ laying; and the light detector prevents the artificial lighting being on when not necessary (due to ambient lighting) which reduces the cost and size of the solar panel and battery used to power the system.
If you need any type of automatic poultry lighting or door opening controller, email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your exact requirements.
Pictured below is another special order hen house door controller we have made on request. Our standard dawn/dusk door controller is detailed here: Automatic Dawn/Dusk Hen House Door Controller. For this customer we have added a couple of new features – a sounder/siren and a door locking solenoid.
30 seconds before the door opens or closes and while the door is in motion, a sounder goes off which will hopefully train the birds to realise that the door is opening or closing so that they know what to do; and a solenoid door lock is used to ensure that the door is kept securely closed at night time (since in this particular case a full size shed door is being used instead of the usual drop down bird-sized door).
If you need any type of poultry house door controller, email email@example.com with details of your requirements.
Pictured below is a hen house door controller we recently made for a customer which is a modified version of our standard Dawn Dusk Hen House Door Controller.
This controller will automatically open a hen house door at dawn and close it again at dusk. Dawn and dusk are detected via a light detector, and the user can calibrate the light level at which they consider it to be the transition between day and dusk and between night and dawn to meet their needs.
The modified version pictured above has the additional benefit of a programmable digital timer. We make hen house door controllers with light detectors which automatically detect dawn and dusk, and we also make them with programmable digital timers so that the user can instead set the exact time that the door is to open and close. This particular controller is our first which has both a light detector AND a programmable digital timer for maximum flexibility.
The purchaser of this controller expressed a wish to be able to have the hen house door close at dusk automatically, but also to be able (sometimes) to open the door later (or even earlier) than dawn. Therefore, in the summer when dawn could be at 4am, the timer can be used to keep the door closed until 6am or later to keep the noise down and avoid disturbing neighbours. The programmable digital timer we used can be set with different timings for weekdays and weekends, so for example, the door can be kept closed until much later in the morning on the weekend to keep the noise down.
If you need any kind of poultry door controller, email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your exact requirements.
One of our most popular products is this Dawn Dusk Automatic Hen House Door Controller. This device automatically detects dawn and dusk using a light detector calibrated by the user and runs a motor one way in the morning to open a hen house door, and the other way in the evening to close the door. Roller limit switches act to ensure that the door fully opens and closes without over or under running.
Pictured below is a alternative but similar device which uses a programmable digital timer to set the times of day that the door is to open and close.
The advantage of using a timer is that the door can be set to open later on weekends for example to reduce noise from the birds, and the exact times the door is to be opened and closed can be set independently of the level of daylight (and therefore of the weather). The disadvantage is that the timings have to be changed every few weeks as the seasons change and the days get longer and shorter.
If you need any type of automatic poultry house door controller, please email email@example.com with details of your exact requirements.
Pictured below is a hen house door controller which will automatically open the hen house door in the morning and close it again at night to protect the birds from foxes and other predators.
This version instead takes an input from a light detector (click here for our article introducing Light Dependent Resistors), and uses this to detect dawn and dusk.
When dusk begins, the motor turns one way to lower the door until it presses against and closes the lower roller switch which acts as a limit switch. Similarly, when dawn begins the following morning, the motor turns the other way to raise the door until it closes the upper roller switch.
(For the explanation of how the polarity of the voltage sent to the motor is reversed see our introductory article: Automatic Hen House Door Controller).
In order for the user to set the light level threshold at which day becomes night and night becomes day, a programming button is provided on the circuit board. When the ambient light level is at the level considered by the user to be the threshold, they press this button while powering on the controller to save that measured light level as the new threshold. The threshold is stored in permanent memory and is therefore not lost even when the controller is subsequently disconnected from the power.
Pictured above is a functionally identical controller, but which is built around an Arduino Pro Mini instead of the PICAXE-18M2 used in the original. The instructions for this controller are available here: Dawn Dusk Henhouse Door Controller Instructions.
If you need any type of door controller contact firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your exact requirements.
We have designed a new simple DIY automatic hen house door controller which instead of using a microcontroller, just uses a programmable 12V digital timer, two SPDT relays, four 1N4001 diodes, a couple of roller microswitches, and a high torque motor.
Click here for full details: New Simple Hen House Door Controller.