For a while (before I got into SmartThings) I’ve been working on automating my wife’s chicken coop. The main thing is controlling a linear actuator (something like http://www.amazon.com/Stroke-Linear-Actuator-Pounds-Maximum/dp/B00OGQW3KO/). For now it’s just controlled by an old 12v laptop power supply and a DPDT switch mounted out in the coop.
I have a Raspberry Pi with a relay controller & handful of other sensors (temp, humidity, ultrasonic distance sensors we may use for food/water measurement). I’ve got some rough Python code that will run the actuators (and measure the other stuff), but nothing polished at all, or implemented in a easy to use or secure manner.
Now that I’ve gone the SmartThings route & have it doing other things in the house (and running the lights out in the coop) I’m thinking about ditching the Pi & going with something that integrates with SmartThings. Any recommendations on relays or something else easily deployed to run the linear actuator? Not sure if I’d actually need any open/closed door sensors, but those are easy.
Basically I need to feed in +12v & ground and on command output +12v & ground or reverse that polarity, or leave an open circuit. The actuators have internal limit switches, so just sending them power for 30 seconds or a minute & letting the limit switches pop will work fine.
Will sticking a flood sensor in their drinking trough cause any problems with it being wet most of the time? Any good ideas for cheaply trying to measure the weight of a feeder or the height of the food inside (think roughly a 1 gallon jar size possibly hanging from a chain)?
I have seen http://coopboss.com/ but that is a bit expensive for my needs.