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Picture of Automatic Chicken Coop Door - No programming needed!

I started the process of automating my chicken coop door many years ago. After many failed attempts, I found the following video that didn't require any computer controls and seemed within my reach.

However, there was no wiring diagram and I found out that the daylight sensor would activate the door too early in the evening, so I had to modify the photo resistor so it would close slightly after dark. The last reason for this build is that there was an antenna motor used in the original build and after 4-5 months, the gears stripped out and the door quit working. This build is based on a vertical sliding door. You will need approximately 12-16” clearance past the actual coop door for the mechanism. It can be adapted for a horizontal sliding door. This build will focus on the door controller, but will briefly address other items necessary for a completed project. You will need 120v AC power at your chicken coop to complete this build.

Step 1: Tools and Parts lists

Picture of Tools and Parts lists
Tools needed:

Soldering iron and solder

Wire cutters/strippers


Electrical test leads (helpful, not absolutely necessary)

Hot glue gun

Drill, drill bits

Tap and die set

woodworking tools if you’re building the actual coop door

Materials needed (with links when possible):

12v power supply (I’m using an old Wii power supply that’s rated for 3.7 amps)

12vdc motor

12v relay

12V Car LED Light Control Photo resistor Plus Relay Module –

3 micro switches -

Extra photo resistors

These items can be purchase at your local big box store:

20 ga. door bell wire

Wire connectors [pictures E, F] (make sure you get the 1/4" male and female quick connect - I had to go back to the store to get the correct female connectors...)

Electrical tape

1/2” Threaded rod

pipe nipple 1/2x3” galvanized [picture G]

set screws

Plastic case to house the controller

Brad nails

misc. screws

pierrePiper4 months ago
another way to do it is to use a solar activated water timer to drop water from a source into a bucket to hoist a door up. if short on water, change buckets.
connect to a solar powered water pump to keep a counterweight down, then when the sun goes down, the door closes again. you could use the same idea instead of the timer.
Nice. My chickens would get so mad when I wouldn't be there at the crack of dawn to let them out. This would solve that problem.
lukee19865 months ago
how about leds while its power is on so lights warn this while its moving aswell as the pressure bar
TJP Tinker (author)  lukee19865 months ago
I never really considered that as part of this build since there's only the daylight sensor and the relay that control the action of the door. I may look into that if I ever need to rework mine in the future.
lukee19865 months ago
is there a link to building the door frame
TJP Tinker (author)  lukee19865 months ago
I don't have any build info for the actual door. It would be pretty easy to do if you have access to a table saw. I used a 2x4 and some 1/4" plywood when I first built the door. You'll need to base the height on what space you have available in your coop and cut one piece of 2x4 a couple of inches shorter than the available height. Rip the 2x4 into 2 equal pieces (about 1-3/4x1-1/2"). Then set the blade to make a 1/2" deep cut and starting in the center of the 2x4, cut a groove in both pieces and gradually adjust the fence to get a groove that the 1/4" plywood will slide in freely, but without too much extra space. You'll need to figure out how wide the door will be and cut another piece of 2x4 for that. Rip 2 - 1" pieces of of this chunk of 2x4 and screw them into top and bottom of each of the side pieces (be sure to slide in the plywood). The rest should be covered in this Instructable