Chicken coop door using threaded rod

There’s no rooster to wake them up, and [Steve] and his wife are fine with that. What they’re not fine with is having to get up early anyway in order to let the chickens out of the coop. Like many small-scale egg farmers they sought out an automatic solution for opening the coup in the morning.

[Steve] had seen a bunch of different automatic coup door hacks kicking around the Internet. But all of the ones he could find used a vertical door and pulleys. His setup has a door that opens horizontally and he realized that he needed to build some kind of linear actuator. What he came up with is a system built with hardware store parts. He’s using a plain old piece of threaded rod along with a coupling nut (they’re usually 3/4″ long or so). The nut is held firmly on the door using a conduit mounting bracket, while the threaded rod is turned by an electric screwdriver mounted to the jamb. Two limiting switches are made up of magnetic sensors often used to ring the door entry bell when you enter a store. An Arduino takes care of scheduling and controlling the motor for opening and closing the door. See for yourself in the high-production-value video after the break.

For what it’s worth, we have seen at least one rope and pulley door that slides horizontally.

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Apartment entry morse-code lock

[Bozar88] lives in an apartment building that has a buzzer at the front security door. Guests find your name on the panel next to that door, and press a button to ring the phone just inside the entry of each apartment unit. He decided to extend the built-in capabilities by adding a morse-code entry password which unlocks the security entrance automatically (translated).

He designed a circuit and etched his own board which fits nicely inside of the wall-mounted phone. It uses an ATtiny2313 to implement the coding functions. The device attaches to the intercom line in order to detect incoming button presses from the entry panel. There’s some protection here to keep the signal at or below 5V. The output is two-fold. The microcontroller can drive the microphone line using a transistor, which gives the user audio feedback when the code is entered. To unlock the door an opt-isolated triac (all in one package) makes the connection to actuate the electronic strike on the entry door.

The video after the break is not in English, but it’s still quite easy to understand what is being demonstrated.

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Your theme song greets you at the front door

One thing you can look forward to when arriving at home after a long, arduous day at the office is some peppy theme music when you walk in the door. [Sebastian Sommer] built the system, and shows it off in the video after the break by dancing to James Brown’s I feel good.

The setup uses an Arduino as a microcontroller. It monitors a hall effect sensor on the jamb which detects a passing magnet on the door. We guess this means the system doesn’t know if you’re coming or going but perhaps a future upgrade would add an infrared beam to detect your legs as head out the door. The music itself is played by an SparkFun MP3 shield which has a decoder chip, microSD slot, and audio jack for the powered speakers. [Sebastian] grabbed a copy of [Bill Porter’s] mp3 shield library to get the project up and running quickly.

This is a pretty cool addition if you’re already using an Arduino for a door lock or vice versa. Or maybe you’re not home enough to make this hack worth it, in which case you simply must take this music playing Tesla coil hat along on your commute.

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Geared system adds RFID to regular door locks

[Flowolf] added an auto-locking RFID entry system to his front door. He used our favorite fabrication system, acrylic and threaded rod (we also like to throw in aluminum angle bracket from time to time). The support structure mounts underneath the escutcheon plate for the lockset, keeping the main acrylic sheet flat against the door.

An RFID reader and Arduino run the system, with a button inside to unlock the door. But if power were to fail, you will still be able to get in or out manually. When you are using the electronic system, a stepper motor connected to the geared lock knob by a chain is what grants access, then revokes it again five seconds later. The wire going up out of the this image is for a switch that lets the unit sense when the door is closed.

As shown in the video after the break, you can turn the auto-lock feature off. But we’d like to see an emergency entry feature, like a knock-based lock, because eventually you will leave without your keys!

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Star Trek style pneumatic doors that don’t require a stagehand

In 1966, [Gene Roddenberry] introduced fully manual doors powered by a stagehand on Star Trek. The fwoosh sound of the door was later dubbed into each show, but progress marches on, and now [Alex] created his own Star Trek-style automatic doors for his house.

The build includes a ‘control panel’, and [Alex]’s door operates in three modes: Open, and stay open; Close, and stay closed; and Automatic. The control panel itself is fairly remarkable. A small puck interacts with a magnetometer underneath [Alex]’s counter. If the puck is pointed towards ‘Open’, the door stays open. If the door is pointed towards ‘Closed’, the door stays closed. If the puck isn’t near the magnetometer, the door operates in automatic mode with the help of a few IR sensors to detect someone trying to get in or out of [Alex]’s kitchen.

For the mechanical portion of the build, [Alex] used a One meter long piston with the quietest air compressor he could find. We can’t tell from the video after the break if the compressor ever kicks in, but [Alex] says it’s about the same volume as his fridge. As a small added bonus, the new automatic door does have a fwoosh sound, just like [Gene] would have wanted.

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Giving Siri the keys to your house

We haven’t really covered many hacks having to do with Apple’s newest iPhone feature Siri. We’d bet you’ve already heard a bunch about the voice-activated AI assistant and here’s your chance to give it the keys to your house. This project uses Siri to actuate the deadbolt on an entry door in a roundabout sort of way.

This is really just a Siri frontend for an SMS entry system seen in several other hacks. The inside of the door (pictured above) has a servo motor mounted next to, and attached via connecting rod with, the lever-style deadbolt. An Arduino equipped with a WiFly shield controls that servo and is waiting for instructions from the Google app engine. But wait, they’re not done yet. The app engine connects to a Twilio account which gives it the ability to receive SMS messages. Long story short; Siri is sending a text message that opens the door… eventually. You can seen in the demo after the break that the whole process takes over twenty seconds from the time you first access Siri to the point the bolt is unlocked. Still, it’s a fine first prototype.

There’s a fair amount of expensive hardware on that door which we’d like to see converted to extra feaures. [CC Laan] has already added one other entry method, using a piezo element to listen for a secret knock. But we think there’s room for improvement. Since it’s Internet connected we’d love to see a sensor to monitor how often the door is opened, and perhaps a PIR sensor that would act as a motion-sensing burglar alert system.

Don’t need something this complicated? How about implementing just the secret knock portion of the hack?

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Simple circuit reminds you to lock the door as you rush out of the house


It seems that [pppd] is always rushing out of his apartment to catch the bus, and he finds himself frequently questioning whether or not he remembered to lock the door. He often doubles back to check, and while he has never actually forgotten to lock the door, he would rather not deal with the worry.

Since he finally had some free time on his hands, he decided to put together a simple device that would help end his worry once and for all. Using an ATtiny13, [pppd] designed a circuit that would detect when his door has been unlocked and opened, beeping every few seconds until the lock is reengaged. The circuit relies on a reed switch installed inside the door frame, which is tripped by the magnet he glued to his door’s deadbolt.

He says that the system works well so far, though he does have a few improvements in mind already.