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VSB Chicken Coop Door Opener Repair / Upgrade

VSB Chicken Coop Door Opener Repair / Upgrade © CC BY-SA

My broken chicken coop door opener now has manual control and LED indicators so I can see from the house if the chickens are safe at night.

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Components and supplies

About this project

Update:

After 12 months of use, the system is working flawlessly! On one or two occasions, something was blocking the door when closing but the system detected it and I saw the red LED blink fast so I could solve the problem (an obstruction under the door) easily.

I'm very glad with this Arduino solution!

Revisions:

  • 2018-01 - minor addition: I added an external Arduino board reset button on the VSB housing so reset after 'tilt' condition is a bit easier.
  • 2017-04-26 - code enhancement and schematic update to Rev.1.2 due to error in wiring
  • 2017-03-30 initial upload

Side note:

With a minor change to the code, you can also use this project for a 'generic' Coop Door Opener system.

From the original VSB Coop Door Opener I only use the motor and switches.

Why this project?

One of my two (excellent) VSB chicken coop door openers was broken. This was caused by wood expanding due to moisture, preventing the door from opening.

If the door get jammed at closing, the motor simply stops but not so when opening! In that case the motor keeps on running for ever, destroying the Mosfet H-bridge chips I suspect.

So I sent an Email to AXT Electronics in Germany and they advised me to sent the unit for repair. But I decided not to spent the 60-80 euro's and first look if I could repair it myself.

So at first I stripped the plastic from the backside of the PCB to see if I could exchange some components

The Arduino controller

But later I decided to forget about the repair and to add an Arduino controller which is much more fun :)

This way I could add manual control and some LED's with Fresnel lens holders to see from our home if the door was closed at night and open at daytime.

I used a 30 x 30 hole piece of stripboard to mount my home-brew Arduino clone, an Adafruit motor driver and some other components.

Be sure to use the right motor driver chip/board! Some do not work at certain motor voltages. This board did so I could use one 9V 100mA power supply, regulated to 5V for the Arduino and motor.

The motor driver PCB is removable by using some high quality female headers so if it burns up due to a jamming door (like the orginal VSB PCB), I can easily exchange it. But maybe this motor driver is protected so probably this was not necessary.

To connect the wires for the reed switches, the push buttons for the manual control and LED's I used male and (high quality) female headers. For the remote switch and light sensor I used some el cheapo chinese removable screw terminals...

Some other pictures of the build...

Video...

Dutch spoken but English subtitles available...

Tie the wires together...

I use fishing line to lift the chicken coop door but because fishing line is so smooth, a normal flat knot can possibly slip so I use the Albright Knot...

Code

VSB Chicken Coop Door Opener REPAIR / UPGRADE

Schematics

vsb_chicken_coop_door_opener_rev_1_2_date_20170426_Xpo2NMZZgx.JPG
Vsb chicken coop door opener rev 1 2 date 20170426 xpo2nmzzgx

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