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Author Topic: Internet/SMS controlled Chicken Coop Opener/Closer  (Read 613 times)
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Gooday

We have some chickens when need putting to bed every night and letting out during the day.

Currently a neighbor comes round twice a day to perform the task and collect eggs.

Unfortunately, the neighbor comes late in the morning and too early/late in the evening, resulting in a messed up schedule for our hens (it affects egg production)

I've hit on this idea of having a remotely controlled chicken coop opener/closer! Coupled with a ip webcam I can see when the hens have gone to bed and close the hen house door. In the morning I can open it remotely

The opening and closing device is easy to sort/source but I am wondering whether I should go Arduino + Ethernet shield or Arduino + GPRS module. The GPRS module would be better, that way I can SMS the hen house OPEN or CLOSE and also get the hen house to check how many hens are in the coop (using some sort of IR counter or trip counter to be worked out)

I have power to the hen house and ethernet cable

Can you use the GPRS module to activate motors/relays and so on via SMS?

Any advice?

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I've never used a GPRS module directly, but to the arduino it'll just be seen as a device that provides data on the serial port. Given that, you can parse out instructions sent by SMS and have the arduino do its usual magic of sensing and controlling.
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On the other hand, the Ethernet class is far easier to use. Make the Arduino with Ethernet shield a server, and any browser can access it. Serve up a form that has open and close buttons. The page could even include a frame where the camera data appears. (The Arduino wouldn't have anything to do with making that data appear.)
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What you're describing is perfectly feasible and there are plenty of examples around, but I would have thought you'd want to avoid having to control everything manually.

I suppose for opening you could use a light sensor or a real time clock and some algorithm to decide what time to open - that seems easy enough.

If you don't want to have any chickens locked out then that might be harder. Is it acceptable just to leave the door open until it is past the chickens' bed time and assume they're all in, or do you really need to count beaks before you close the door? You could probably count them using a lowlight/IR camera and doing some video processing to count the hot spots, but the video processing would need to be done on a PC and not just an Arduino.
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wildbill, PaulH, PeterS - thanks for the input. Do any of you know if;

(1)...the Ethernet shield supports a fixed IP address
(2)...is the PoE version worth considering? I do have wall adapter capability at the Coop

Nigel
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Quote
(1)...the Ethernet shield supports a fixed IP address
Yes, it does, but...

Typically, the ethernet shield is connected to the internet via a router that has a forward-facing IP address (assigned by your ISP) and manages the local IP addresses. You need to configure the router to reserve an address for the Arduino, and to forward requests for port n to the Arduino's address. Then, of course, you use that address on the Arduino, and connect to port n (whatever value you choose for n).

By default, n would be 80, but many ISPs block port 80, because they do not want you running a server on their line. You can use a different value.

Of course, there is still the need to make the ever-changing IP address of the router known to the world, so that you can connect to the Arduino, through the router, by name, rather than IP address.
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(2)...is the PoE version worth considering? I do have wall adapter capability at the Coop
Forgot this one. Is your router capable of supplying power over ethernet? If not, than having a receiver capable of PoE isn't value-added.
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PaulS

Thanks for that. I'm ok with port forwarding and I have a block of 5 fixed IP (one for our server) so I'm good to go

PoE advice heeded

Thanks

one last Q Good source of Ethernet Shield in UK? I was going to Coolcomponents
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