Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Auto crawling solar hoop coop ... version 3

We just finished the wiring for version 3 of our own design for a solar powered automatic crawling auto lighted hoop coop. As you may recall... version 2 sort of "exploded" when the winch broke loose from the mount and ripped the wires apart. That was back in december. With the holidays and then new baby arrival the coop project took a back seat. But now it is rebuilt and ready to install!

Version 3 has the winch mounted on the coop like version 1 did. It just isn't practical to pull more than coop, so mounting it on the coop itself is more secure. The winch cable will pull against a series of stakes as those used in off roading.  Overall a more secure and easily movable system.

Another change is I swapped the dual stage countdown timers for a 24hr timer and single countdown. This provides a burst of power to the winch for 1 to 60 seconds, and repeats with minute accuracy for up to 6 periods per day.  Version 2 had a nonadjustable runtime of 1 second. The longer run time will save battery power, since it is startup that drains most power. A longer runtime let's the coop cover just as much ground per day but use maybe half the battery power.

Another change for version 3 is wiring. Now power for everything except the main winch circuit comes from the charging unit. This allow the charger power switch to. Kill everything instantly if necessary.

The lights are powered from another 24 hr timer just like the winch. the wiring is brought out and back in through the charger cig lighter plug hole (which served no purpose here). This powers two 5 watt 12v flourescent bulbs. Hopefully this is enough for the birds. If not, its easy enough to add more, or switch to led lights.

So there it is... version 3 ready to go. We just need to mount this to the coop, cover the electronics, connect the solar panels, hang the lights, and set the timers. Hopefully this will happen tomorrow!

Here are some shots of the electronics and winch assembly.

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