Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Solar powered Coop - Update 1

the first prototype of our solar powered coop is in the field for testing now.  So far there is good news and bad news.


All good! Turns out we only need one timer board, and don't need the relay board. The winch comes with a built in relay that operates well within the power capability of the timer circuit.  This simplifies the design much! Also, the timer board we chose allows a one second run time ever X minutes. Turns out this might be perfect for a even 24 hour movement.  One second run time gives about 3 to 4 inches of movement. Setting this to run every 30 to 45 minutes means the coop will make one full coop length every 24 hours.  Later we might play with daytime only movements which will require more circuitry. But this is simple, easy, and effective!


Might be too small. It does charge up daily but i don't know if it will last during consecutive dark days.  We might need a larger battery. Once I add the lights to the setup the battery is definitely undersized.

Solar panels:

Right now we have 45 watts of panels. This charges up very quickly on the current battery if there is any sun at all. Makes me think we might be ok decreasing the panels to 2 OR running 2 coops off one set of 3.


Now that we have the line guard installed it works perfectly! No more jamming up.


This is a work in progress. The whole design depends on creating an easy to use  brace to pull the coop to. It has to be removable,  movable,  insertable in the hard summer ground, and hold steady as the winch pulls the coop to it.  The first design with wood was much too weak to work. We tried a couple of variations but for now are switching to one built from galvanized pipes.

So.. onward we go! almost there!

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