Controller

Arduino Chicken Coop Controller Components

The Arduino controller is probably what interests the hobbyists readers the most.  I apologize that I don't have a full schematic or PCB file.  However, I'm not in the business of manufacturing chicken coop automation boards.. yet!  Though there really is no need to have a complete schematic. Arduino projects are typically comprised of simple individual circuits going to different I/O pins on the board, all tied together with software.  I'll cover the components I used below and link off to where you can find more information.  I've provided the source code I used in the Source Code section.

I do all my work on breadboards, vs perfboard, PCB, or anything more permanent.  This is not the most professional, but it certainly is the least frustrating method of working on projects.  This lets me change things up on the fly, make mistakes, correct them, and move on without much hassle.  Since my projects so far have been stationary, I haven't had any problems with wires shaking out. Knock on wood!

First an overview video...


Where to Get Arduino Components

I've found over the years that I could either spend time wiring lower level components, like a high voltage relay to ensure I have no back current, nice connectors, etc, or I could just order up a component ready to go from eBay for a few bucks and have it shipped over from China.  Sometimes you'll also get some interesting stamps with your order.  


You must be patient when ordering from China.  I typically think of some stuff I might need in a few weeks for a project and put in the order.  Then I get busy with work and life, and before I know it the package has arrived.  I've seen items take anywhere from 1-4 weeks.  If you want stuff sooner, you'll have to pay USA reseller prices.

Project Components



1 Arduino Nano v3.0 ATMEGA328

- If you think you'll go beyond what you've seen on my blog, it's probably best to get a regular Arduino Uno or a much bigger Arduino Mega, since I almost maxed out the Nano (i.e. used all the pins) on this project.
- Searching eBay for "arduino ATMEGA328" should return some good results.


3 High Voltage Relay Boards

- These are needed to have your Arduino control high power devices (i.e. stuff you would normally plug into a wall, and should use EXTREME CARE when wiring as you could KILL yourself if you don't - when I was 6 or so I wasn't grounded and couldn't release high voltage wires I held in my hands until someone luckily unplugged the wires because my muscles seized up because of the current running through my body - NOT FUN - USE CARE/SUPERVISION)
- Relay Voltage: 5V (almost always super low amp e.g. 15-20mA when searching with "arduino")
- No tutorial needed for these.  Read the pin description on the board, and note normally open or closed for the circuit you're controlling.  Run a wire from a digital out with pin mode OUTPUT and start switching through code.
- Switching Voltage: DC30V 10A AC250V 10A (should work fine for most applications, though if you're switching on/off frequently you may want to look at a Solid State Relay)
Searching eBay for "arduino relay" should return some good results.  


1 Real Time Clock Board

- This little device will keep time even when the Arduino is unplugged and usually comes with a watch battery.
- My preference is the DS1307.
Searching eBay for "arduino RTC" or more specifically "arduino ds1307" should return some good results.


1 Dual H Bridge DC Motor Drive Controller Board

- This board is designed to control two DC motors, and will allow you to start / stop and change directions of the motor. I use this in a somewhat unique way in that I use one half of this board to control the door motor and the other half the sprinkler system solenoid for my water bowl.
- No tutorial needed for these.  Read the pin description on the board, or better yet the eBay item description, and start controlling through digital output pins.  
- My preference is the L298N.
- Searching eBay for "arduino L298N" should return some good results.


1 Waterproof One Wire (DS1820) Digital Thermometer

- These thermometers are the easiest way to get a digital temperature reading for your Arduino.  
- Adafruit carries the nice waterproof thermometers, or searching eBay for "ds1820" should return some good results for just the chip and you can waterproof yourself or keep somewhere dry.


1 Radioshack 38kHz Infrared (IR) Receiver Module

- These little components are the easiest way to add the ability to control your Arduino project with a remote.  More on this in the Remote section. 
- Available at RadioShack.com.



More on the door motor and buttons in the Door section.

More on the water bowl float and solenoid in the Water Bowl section.

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