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Topics - John Rucker (Solar-Current.com)

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CoopBoss support / Coop door doesn't auto close while testing
« on: February 09, 2017, 02:29:37 pm »
Recently one of our new CoopBoss owners emailed me asking why his CoopBoss wasn't closing the door when he turned off the light to the room he was testing it in.  He was following the product manual and going through the setup procedure.  He had his actuator attached and everything was working as expected.  He could close and open the door with the SmartApp, see that the light sensor was reading a light value and everything looked fine.  So as an extra step he decided to test the auto close feature.  He made sure auto close was enabled in the SmartApp (door closing icon was green) and turned the light off in the room.  After a few moments the light value jumped to a low enough value to trigger a close but the door did not close nothing happened.  Before he took the time to install it in his coop he wanted to make sure it was working so he sent me an eMail to see what the heck was going on. 

Well everything was fine and the door did auto closed for him later in the evening.   You have to wait two hours after tuning off the light for the CoopBoss to auto close the door after a reboot.  Keep reading if you want to know why.   

Explanation:  The CoopBoss has a fairly complex algorithm that uses the light level over a period of time to help it figure out what mode it should be in.  When the CoopBoss is powered up it has to figure out if it should be in day mode or night mode.  To give it time to make that decision it wonít do an auto close or open for two hours after a reboot.  This gives the CoopBoss enough time to observe the sun and set the proper mode.  Why is this so complex you ask? Heck if it is light out it is day mode if it is dark it is night mode right.  Well I wish it was that simple.  Without this delay the CoopBoss may incorrectly open the door in the evening if the power cycles just at the right time during sunset.  Yea I know that sounds like an unlikely situation but in the Midwest it happens more than you think.  Since we are this deep in the theory of operation I might as well explain the other set of times in the algorithm.  The CoopBoss has another set of timers that kick in to prevent the doors from closing or opening prematurely.  Say its afternoon a couple of hours before your chickens go in for the night and a bad storm blows in with thick black clouds making the light level go below the close light threshed.  To prevent a premature close in this situation another timer is used to make sure roughly 24 hours has passed since the last time the door was closed.  A similar timer is used to keep the door from opening at night.  After all you don't want the door to open just because of a passing car's headlights or you turn on a light in your backyard to check on things.

This algorithm allowed us to design the CoopBoss without an internal clock.  That was one of the original design requirements.  If we based the auto open and close on time, then we would have to make sure the clock is always set correctly and have to keep track of when the sunsets at your location.  We wanted to make sure the CoopBoss was as independent as possible, so it wouldnít have to rely on the internet once it was configured and up and running.  Since we donít have to rely on batteries to keep a timing circuit running we donít have any batteries inside the CoopBoss.  That is a big deal as the CoopBoss is used in extreme temperatures that batteries would not be able to survive. 
 
There you have it, probably way more than you every wanted to know about how the CoopBoss figures out what to do next.   :)

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CoopBoss Information / CoopBoss YouTube Video
« on: February 09, 2017, 11:39:19 am »
The video in this post is from the CoopBoss YouTub channel




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CoopBoss Information / CoopBoss Installation Resources
« on: February 09, 2017, 10:16:15 am »

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Furl-Kit Documentation / Furl-Kit manual
« on: February 09, 2017, 10:02:03 am »
Over its lifetime the Furl-Kit was available in two configurations one with a solar-array supervisor and the other without. 

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https://youtu.be/JmPE0K3Vc20
This video updates the CoopBoss product manual for version 2.2.3 of the SmartThings mobile app.   SmartThings has changed the add new devices process since the manual was published, I will illustrate the new process in this video.


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CoopBoss support / CoopBoss cold weather temperature reporting issue
« on: January 18, 2016, 08:05:56 am »
1/18/2016
The CoopBoss inside temperature probe (probe 1) has been observed to report invalid temperature values when the temperature is below 0 degrees Celsius.  A new custom device type is available that will not record the invalid values and is available for download on the CoopBoss git hub site. http://johnrucker.github.io/CoopBoss-H3Vx/

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CoopBoss support / SmartThings Hub 2.0 and new smartphone interface
« on: September 03, 2015, 11:30:18 am »
The new SmartThings interface has been released today and the new hubs are shipping.  I should have ours in the next week or two and I'm going to hold back on taking pre orders until I have thoroughly tested with it. Don't expect any changes will be necessary but just in case I want to test before I start taking orders.   

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CoopBoss support / CoopBoss H3Vx testing update
« on: August 27, 2015, 08:09:15 am »
All standard operating testing of the new hardware H3Vx has been going very well for the past couple of weeks.  This week I started testing "bad installation" scenarios.  Things like: What would happen if the user forgot to connect a wire to the actuator?  What would happen if a user connected the wires together causing a short.  What happens if the user doesn't connect the thermistor or the photoresistor.  I want to detect these situations and flag an error letting the user know they have it setup incorrectly or something has pulled loose.

Yesterday during the short test (simulating the power wires to the motor being shorted together) I blew the shunt resistor in the object detection circuit.  The fuse blew as designed but the shunt resistor got to hot and opened up before the fuse blew.   I should be able to make it more resilient by using a lower R value for the shunt resistor.  This change shouldn't require a lot of time but I will have to update the firmware to use the new shunt resistor.  This will push my first shipment of test units back two or three weeks.  The short test is the only test we didn't pass I'm very happy with everything else.  I will get the new shunts on order this week and should have another update in a week or so.

This week I also talked with SmartThings in regards to certification of the CoopBoss' custom device type.  As expected there is going to be a delay on their end of getting to this.  This is not a show stopper as I planned on it taking some time to go through the certification process (up to a year) and in the mean time the users can install the SmartApps and custom device type manually.  I will include steps on how to do this in a white paper. 

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CoopBoss support / First draft of CoopBoss product manual
« on: August 25, 2015, 12:19:16 pm »
Here is the first draft of the CoopBoss Product manual. 

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CoopBoss support / New CoopBoss H3Vx boards are in
« on: August 04, 2015, 08:04:46 am »
New boards from PCB manufacture are In.


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CoopBoss support / New 12v Liner Actuator In and ready for testing.
« on: July 21, 2015, 02:16:26 pm »
Good news I think our new actuator from progressive automatons is going to bring the CoopBoss cost down even more.  It's 1/3 the price of our first actuator and the bench test shows that it preforms just as well.  I will install it out and the field and start collecting data. 

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CoopBoss support / CoopBoss Beta test program requirements
« on: July 20, 2015, 03:46:53 pm »
To participate in the CoopBoss beta test program you must have a working installed SmartThings hub and a chicken coop.  If your selected to participate in the program you will get a complete CoopBoss system that includes the controller, door actuator, coop button and two temperature probes.  The system will be sent to you at no cost and when the beta is complete you can return the system or purchase it. 


If your interested in being a CoopBoss Beta Tester please click on the CoopBoss Beta Test Program.PDF for instructions on how to sign up.

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