Hen House Door Controller for Dawn/Dusk or Timer Operation

Pictured below is a controller we recently made to open and close the door of a hen house automatically.

hen house door controller with light detector for dawn/dusk operation and a programmable digital timerWe make a lot of door controllers for a range of different needs, and in general they either open and close the door depending on times programmed into a timer, or automatically detect dawn and dusk with a light detector and open or close the door accordingly.

With this particular controller, the user can select between two modes – dawn/dusk mode or timer mode. If timer mode is selected, the door will open when the timer turns ON and close when the timer turns OFF. In this way the door can be made to open and close at times convenient to the owner – for example opening the door later on weekend mornings so that the poultry do not disturb neighbours.

If instead the dawn/dusk mode is selected, the door will open at dawn and close at dusk, with the ambient light level for the day-dusk and night-dawn thresholds calibrated by the user when setting up the controller and light detector in its location.

If you need any kind of automatic door controller, email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your specific requirements.

Turning Shooting Target Controller

Pictured below is a controller we recently made to control a shooting target for competitive shooting.target-turning-timer-crowleBased around an Arduino Pro Mini, this device is used to edge or face a shooting target according to preset and user-set timings.

Display for a shooting target controller

By default, the target is edge on to the shooter. When the start button is pressed, a relay closes which turns the target face on to the shooter. An accurate timer then starts and counts down the number of seconds the shooter has until the target is turned edge on again.

There are five preset modes – 165 seconds, 35s, 8s, 4s, and 2s. There is also a sixth mode which the user can programme to be any duration from 1 to 999 seconds.

Buttons are fitted to the circuit board, but there are also connectors to which external buttons can be connected so that the device can be fitted in a box with just the two external buttons and display visible.

If you need any kind of shooting target controller, please email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your requirements.

Apple Store Fan Thermostat

Pictured below is a device we recently made to act as a fan controller for an apple storage room.apple store fan controlling thermostatThis device has two waterproof DS18B20 temperature sensors connected to it and a relay to switch the power to a fan which drives air from outside the apple store to the inside.

Whenever the outside temperature is measured to be a couple of degrees cooler than the inside temperature, the fan is turned on to drive the cooler air into the store. When the temperature differential falls to zero – i.e. the inside and outside temperatures are equal or the inside is cooler, the fan is turned off again.

This device also has built in frost protection to prevent freezing air from being blown into the apple store. If the outside temperature falls below 2 degrees C, the fan is turned off if it is on, and remains off until the outside temperature has increased by a couple of degrees.

If you need any kind of thermostat, email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your requirements.

Programmable Automatic Plant Propagator Thermostat

In our March 2015 blog post Automatic Plant Propagator Thermostat, we showed a device we had made to automatically turn on/off 12V heat pads under young plants to prevent them from getting too cold (or hot).

This device connected the power to the heat pads when the measured temperature was below 17 degrees and off again when it had got back up to 23 degrees.

Different plants require different temperature ranges, so in order to meet those demands, we created the device pictured below.

programmable automatic plant propagator thermostatThis device has been enhanced with a user programming button enabling the user to set the low temperature threshold at or below which heating pads should be turned on, and also the number of degrees of temperature increase which must occur before the heating pads are turned off again. This gives a far more flexible thermostat for a wide range of plant propagation.

If you need a thermostat like this or similar for plant propagation thermostat, email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your specific requirements.

Automatic Dawn Dusk Gate Opener

24v dawn dusk gate controller openerPictured above is a controller we made recently for a gate which is to be opened at dawn and closed at dusk automatically.

The controller is based around our standard REUK Dawn Dusk Relay Controller which uses a light detector and user calibration to detect the arrivals of dawn and dusk depending on measured ambient lighting levels.

This particular unit is designed to control a large gate motor which requires two contacts on its electronics to be shorted out (connected together) for one second to toggle the state of the gate – i.e. open the gate if it is closed, or close it if it is open.

When dawn is detected, the on board relay closes for one second which opens the gate. Then, when dusk is detected, the relay closes again for one second which closes the gate. The controller has a selection of timers and automation logic built in which prevent false dawns and false dusks being detected when there are clouds moving across the sun early and late in the day.

If you need any kind of dawn/dusk detecting controller, email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your requirements.

Battery mAh Capactity Tester

low voltage disconnect with stopwatch for battery testingPictured above is a device we made recently to help estimate the capacity of 12V and 24V batteries. It is based loosely around our 12V Low Voltage Disconnect with Display, but with some major changes and functionality additions.

The customer for this device has a Farnell Electronic load which is capable of discharging batteries at up to 1.5kW (e.g. 12V @ 125A). He wanted to be able to use this to discharge batteries under test, to time accurately the discharge duration, and to automatically turn off the electronic load when the battery voltage falls below a user set level (for example 9.5V for a 12V battery).

This electronic load can be controlled externally by terminals on the back of the unit (Load Enable/Disable). If 5 VDC is connected across those terminals, the electronic load is enabled (turned on), otherwise it is disabled (turned off).

We therefore designed a device which the user can set with their choice of low voltage threshold. Then, when they press the Start Button, a regulated 5V is put across the terminals on the back of the electronic load which starts discharging the battery under test. At the same time, a stopwatch (created in software on the Arduino Pro Mini around which this controller is built) starts to display the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds that have elapsed since the battery discharge began.

When the battery voltage is measured to have fallen below the low voltage threshold, the stopwatch stops, and the 5V signal to the electronic load is disconnected preventing the battery being discharged any further and potentially being permanently damaged.

The time on the stopwatch is saved in memory on our device and is displayed on the LCD until the user presses the reset button. It is saved in this way just in case after a multi-hour/day test has been completed, someone accidentally disconnects the battery from the timing device before noting the displayed timing results.

If you need any kind of voltage measuring device, low voltage disconnect, and/or timer, please email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your exact requirements.

Automatic Irrigation System Timer Controller

Pictured below is a timer controller we recently made for a commercial irrigation system. This set up currently has four solenoid valves which when opened, water different regions in a large greenhouse. The number of solenoid valves will soon be increased to eight, so we had to make this controller work now with four valves, but be ready to control eight in the future. The controller is based around an Arduino Pro Mini.

automatic irrigation timer controller

The main controller board above drives four or eight of the 10 Amp rated relays on the relay board pictured below.relay board for irrigation timer controller

The small button at the top left of the main controller board can be used to toggle between four valve or eight valve operation as per the user’s requirements.

The valves are to be opened on a four hour cycle. With four valves, each valve is opened for 15 minutes in turn with a 15 minute delay between. Then after a two hour delay, the cycle repeats. With eight valves, each valve is opened in turn for 15 minutes with a 15 minute delay between each. The cycle then immediately repeats.

If you need an automatic timer controller for an irrigation system, please email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your exact requirements.

Window Blind Motor Timer Controller

Pictured below is a device we made recently to control window blinds so that they automatically close in the evening and open in the morning to give the impression that someone is at home when they are away on holiday.Window blind motor timer controllerThe motor set up with these particular blinds is a small 3 Volt DC unit, but the controller is powered by 12 Volt DC. The motor needs to be turned forwards to open the blinds and turn in reverse to close the blinds. Therefore a pair of relays are used (as explained here: Reversing the Polarity of a Motor with Two Relays) to give the reversing polarity output for the motor.

A programming button is fitted to the device which is used to set the number of seconds that the motor is to run to fully open or fully close the blinds. In addition, there are a pair of microswitches which act as limit switches ensuring that if blinds reach the end of their motion before the expected time, the motor will be turned off so that it does not burn out under the heavy load of fighting resistance. Therefore, the motor runs until either the user programmed run time has elapsed or the limit switch is hit. If there was not a time limit, then if the blinds became jammed, the limit switch would never be reached, and again there would be the risk of the motor burning out.

If you need any type of motor controller or timer, please email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your exact requirements.

Motion Sensing MP3 Player for Bird Hide

Pictured below is a device we recently made for use within a bird hide. When motion is detected inside the hide (via a small KC7783R PIR sensor module), a small MP3 player is turned on to play an educational soundtrack.

automatic motion detecting MP3 player for educational bird hideBecause the length of the track may be changed, the device is fitted with a button which enables the number of minutes that the MP3 player is powered after motion detection to be adjusted so that the whole track is played, but no power is wasted by not leaving the MP3 powered when the track has played (since this is a solar PV powered set up).

If you need any type of motion sensing device or timer, please email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your requirements.

Archery Timing Circuit

timing circuit for competitive archery trainingPictured above is a timing circuit for archery competitions. Outdoor archers shoot six arrows in one go and are allowed 4 minutes. Indoor archers shoot three arrows in one go and are allowed 2 minutes.

The user can select one of two options – option 1 (outdoor) and option 2 (indoor) for either a two minute or four minute competition. The controller board itself has a red, yellow, and green LED on it and a small buzzer. There are also four relays which can control larger lights – e.g. when the red LED is illuminates, a relay will be closed which can control multiple large red lights. The same is repeated for each LED and also for the buzzer relay which can control multiple buzzers or sirens.

The Mode button is used to select the desired timing option. The red LED will be on while the controller is sleeping. When the Start/Stop button is pressed, the timer starts and the green LED turns on. With the outdoor timing option, the green LED stays on for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. With the indoor timing option, the green LED stays on for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Then the yellow LED turns on to give the archer notice that their time is running out. After 30 seconds the red LED turns back on again and the buzzer sounds briefly to indicate that time is up, and the device is reset ready for the next archer.

While the timer is running, you can press the Start/Stop button to cancel the timer and reset the controller. Alternatively, you can press the Pause button to pause the competition. The buzzer sounds 3 times quickly to indicate that the competition has been paused and then when the Pause button is pressed again, the buzzer sounds 3 times. The timer continues from where it left off exactly after the buzzer sounds for the third time.

If you need any kind of bespoke timer device, email neil@reuk.co.uk with details of your exact requirements.