Author Topic: CoopBoss Horizontal 2-Door Installation  (Read 5765 times)


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CoopBoss Horizontal 2-Door Installation
« on: May 15, 2017, 06:47:27 pm »
We did a two-door installation based partly on rod97301's pictures in this same forum.  In our case, we have 2 doors opening to two different "yards" where we alternate planting grass for the girls. Also, due to our doors being underneath the nest boxes, we could not install them in a vertical fashion, so we improvised a little and mounted them horizontally using the same "h" extrusion rod97301 mentioned on the top, and a cheaper "c" extrusion from Lowes on the bottom.  My 16 y/o teen did a lot of the electrical installation while I was working on the doors, making it a fun Saturday project together.   The video has a little more detail.  Enjoy!

« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 10:48:42 am by tcsmith »

John Rucker (

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Re: CoopBoss Horizontal 2-Door Installation
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 06:39:19 am »
Fantastic job!  Very clean and professional looking install! 
One thing to keep in mind is the CoopBoss stores the "normal" door close current for only one of your doors.  When you switch to the other actuator it may have a different "normal" door close current but the CoopBoss will be using the previous door's "normal" current setting.  If the two current profiles vary by too much the object detection may not work correctly.  I think you will be okay here since it looks like both of your doors are identical and you have identical actuators.  However, I would like to see you test both door's with the CoopBoss' object detection circuit to make sure they are both operating with similar current profiles.  Once you get one of the doors dialed in and the normal current set (by pushing the button on the circuit board: see step 4 on page 14 of CoopBoss product manual), test the object detection circuit with a plastic bottle.  Then flip your switch over to the other door and test it with a plastic bottle.  If they both work as expected I think you will be good.  Another thing to keep an eye on is the door close current.  It is reported to SmartThings every time the door closes.  You can see the door close voltage and door close current in the SmartApp under the "Recently" tab.  If you do see a big jump in current between the two doors then let me know.  There are couple things we can kick around.  One would be to load a new "normal" current when you switch the door over and I should be able to write a smart-app to do that for you. 

I really like your setup!  I think that is a great way to manage your chickens and let your new grass grow!  If you are interested, you could fully automate this with the use of the Aux 2 output of your CoopBoss and a custom smart-app.  In the latest version of the CoopBoss product manual I published a wiring diagram showing you how to hook up a relay to the Aux 1 and Aux 2 ports (see page 21).  If you wired up a relay to replace your manual switch you could click on the Aux 2 button at the bottom of your SmartApp to control it.  I would be happy to write a smart app for you that would allow you to switch between doors and load a new "normal" current profile for each door.  I think others would like to do this!!

Thanks for sharing!!


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Re: CoopBoss Horizontal 2-Door Installation
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2017, 07:32:18 am »
Thanks John!  Yes - I did catch up with the Object Detection Circuit and how it works so we ordered identical hardware for each side, hoping the actuators would be close enough to be able to keep the same settings when switched over.  Since we only send the chickens to the "alternate" side about 3-4 times per year, I figured it wouldn't be too much to just re-run the ODC setup when we flip the switch, if needed.  The current for each actuator in ST right is at 0.69 on one side and 0.89 on the other side (both at 12.2v) - not an unexpected variance, considering we went with "cheapo" actuators to keep things under budget.  I'll post a parts list in a few minutes for those who might be interested.

I'm really tickled with the setup - especially since we have the mounting challenge and had to go horizontal.  The outside of the coop has a drop-down nest box access door which made mounting vertically outside a non-option.  Inside, the nest boxes are right above the doors, so again, vertical was not an option.  The horizontal inside made the most sense - keeping the actuators out of the weather - although dust will eventually be a factor for those.  I took the gamble that over time inside would be better and it tucked away so neatly (1-2" to spare) under the nest boxes that I couldn't resist.  The final deciding factor was the ability to leave the ramps in place and alternately use them still as doors (they fold up and lock closed) if we ever needed or wanted to.   

One question for you:  does the C.B. retain object detection settings with the power off?   We still (cough, cough) run a drop cord to the coop and unplug it to mow.  Eventually I'll run water/power out there, but the way our county is, I might never be able to get a permit for that because the coop is not on a foundation and they are really picky.    I can't blame it all on the county though - we have 5 teenagers and trying to keep up with them makes for a very long to-do and honey-do list! 

I am planning to spend a little time learning to code in ST.  Programming is not my favorite thing to do, but I can (painful memories of Cobol,RPG and Fortran suddenly appeared! LOL).  Maybe this winter when I need a little relaxation away from work - I can work on that :)

Thanks again - this has been a really neat project for us and we could not have even dreamed of the depth of thought and integration that has gone into the final result without the CoopBoss.   We're lovin it! 

PS: I forgot to even say - we did put in a couple hue bulbs in the house and love the color-app to let us know when things are happening.  My wife has jokingly said that all the guys in her house have been reduced to staring at light bulbs!  <chuckle>


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Re: CoopBoss Horizontal 2-Door Installation
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 08:31:00 am »
This is our CoopBoss Parts List for anyone interested, with special thanks to @rod97301 for the 'h' track and cutting-board door ideas!

The CoopBoss itself:

Linear Actuators:  We went with less expensive models due to the budget ($75) but should work just fine:
WINDYNATION 12 Inch 12" Stroke Linear Actuator 12 Volt 12V 225 Pounds lbs Maximum Lift (Includes Mounting Brackets)

Cutting Board for the doors: (look for the "Tan" color)
Commercial Plastic Cutting Board, NSF - 18 x 12 x 0.5 inches
Junction Box for the 2 linear actuators and 2 power lines coming to them.  This project box has a terminal block inside for nice neat and easy connections:
SamIdea Junction Project Box: 83x81x56mm 1In 2Out Waterproof Electric Junction Project Box with 6 Position 15A Barrier Terminals, PG9 Cable Glands, White Gray

Project Box for our "open/close" button and the Switch:
Hammond 1591ESBK ABS Project Box, Black

2-Way Switch to switch power from one door to the other:
Morris 70130 Heavy Duty Toggle Switch, DPDT, On-On, Screw Terminals, 2 Poles

Wiring Clips:
RG6 Single Coax Cable, Cat6, Electrical Wire Cable Clip, 1/4 in (6 mm) Screw Clip and Fastener, Black (100 pieces per bag)

Actuator Power Wire:
We bought a couple lengths of wire on eBay.  By looking for scraps there we got 20 feet of 14ga for $2 and a 40' partial roll for $6.  You only really need 16 or 18 ga depending on the length of the run)   Look for:  Plenum Rated Fire Security Alarm Access Control Cable Wire 16/2 or 18/2 FPLP  or Carol 16/2C or 18/2C Solid Shield Plenum Fire Alarm Cable Wire FPLP/CL3P.

I'm sure you can just use regular old 16 or 18 AWG wire but I noticed fire-rated/plenum rated fire/security/control cable is what John ships with the CoopBoss so I went with that for our long cable run too.

Track for Doors:
2 lengths for top:
"h" Track (Aluminum lower case 'h' extruded section with 5/8" opening by Brunner Enterprises)
Special thanks to @rod97301 for the idea of this "h" track that worked PERFECTLY.  It's not cheap (I have 2 pieces left - PM me to buy them!!) but it is EXACTLY right for the job.
Stock number H500

And 2 Lengths of cheaper channel for the bottom: from Lowes:
2: "c" Channel Track 4' long; 1/2" w x 5/8" H:
NOTE:  You cannot put any screws in this track where the door will slide or it will jam, but if you're careful, you can measure and put screws on either side of the door path.  The channel is rigid enough to stay in place even under load if you put a couple screws to the left and right of the door travel area.

Solar Radiation Shield for the outdoor temperature sensor (we can only mount ours on the Southeast side, so this keeps the reading more accurate and shields the sensor from the sun):
AcuRite 06054M Temperature & Humidity Solar Radiation Shield

Mounting Hardware:
4: Stainless Flathead Screws 1/4-20 x 1 1/2" and 4: 1/4-20 Nylon Insert Lock Nuts for mounting the actuator bracket (which ships with the actuator) to the Cutting Board doors:

I did use a "countersink" drill bit that I already had to countersink into the plastic, making the flathead screw flat along with the board.

4: Stainless #10 x 1.25 Screws for mounting Actuator Brackets to 2x4:  (find a 1/2" washer as needed - should have used a #12, #14 or #16 screw but the #10 with a washer works ok).

About 16  Stainless 3/4" long Screws for mounting the "h" track to the coop:

« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 08:37:37 am by John Rucker ( »

John Rucker (

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Re: CoopBoss Horizontal 2-Door Installation
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 08:40:34 am »
One question for you:  does the C.B. retain object detection settings with the power off? 

Yes it sure does.  The normal door close current is stored on the EEPROM as well as several other setting including the Aux 1 and Aux 2 last state.  So if you loose power the settings will still be there on reboot!