The K9 Curfew Door


[Kenbob] is an awesome pet owner. He has two small dogs that have free access to the backyard through a doggy door. It’s great during the day, but they have to close it at night to stop the dogs from bothering the neighbors. So he decided to make an automatic curfew based doggy door!

Before setting out on his project, he determined some design goals that had to be met. Namely, he couldn’t have it lock the dogs outside by accident! The hack makes use of an old large format flat-bed scanner that had stopped working a while ago. As it so happened, this scanner had just enough carriage travel to be able to actuate a cover for the doggy door. After reinforcing the sliding cover, he hooked it up to an Arduino Nano, a RTC and a H-Bridge motor driver in order to control it.

In order to add scheduling ability and to program the door remotely, he has also hooked it into his existing x10 control infrastructure in his house — not too shabby! It also features a manual 3-position switch to lock it open, closed, or to leave it on automatic. The question is, can a raccoon get in?

He’s been testing it for a few weeks and it works quite well, although he admits it is not the most rugged solution — lucky for him, his dogs aren’t the type to run headfirst into things. Stick around after the break to see it in action.


  1. ameyring says:

    A very interesting hack with a large device! One suggestion is to put weak magnets at the bottom of the opening so when the door is down, it sticks to the magnets and doesn’t give wildlife the impression there is an open door. The dogs will learn the door is open. The magnets need to be weak so the scanner doesn’t jam when pulling the door up. Good job!

    • Thinkerer says:

      I agree, but a better solution would be to fasten a pair of small open-top brackets (or a piece of U-channel aluminum/plastic) at the bottom of the door’s travel that the door slides into at the end of its travel. The door would be free to move up and down without resistance,but any push would simply transfer force to the closed door.

  2. cbob says:

    And to really add to the feature creep, if the dogs are chipped, use that as an RFID access key.

  3. Drake says:

    Our dogs would just whine at the door if it were closed

  4. vonskippy says:

    ” but they have to close it at night to stop the dogs from bothering the neighbors.”

    In other words, the dogs are untrained useless little yappers that bother the neighbors all day long,

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