CoopBoss is certified! Chicken coop door controller for SmartThings

I received an eMail from SmartThings this week saying the CoopBoss is certified and on the official SmartThings compatibility list! You can also find it on your smart phone under Marketplace -> Things -> More -> Pet Care.

Yes this is a self serving post as I would like to sell a lot of these devices (buy at CoopBoss.com or Amazon) but this is kind of a big deal for me. I feel like I owe a special thanks to a lot of people who supported me over the past year.

It was spring last year the great chicken massacre occurred when a mink got into my wife’s coop sparking this project. After that point I devoted most of my spare time last summer to the circuit design and firmware for the CoopBoss. This project simply wouldn’t have been possible without SmartThings on the back-end. See this was not a Kick starter funded campaign no external funding what so ever just me with my nose to the grind stone (or should I say circuit board) focused on making a reliable coop door controller. SmartThings provided all the back-end infrastructure and software (for free) I just had to write some Groovy code to take advantage of it. That is where this forum proved to be invaluable!! I got so much from the developers on this site most of which I never communicated with just read through their post and examples. I want to say thanks to @alex for creating this platform!! I know you have been beat up lately but I want you to know this has been a complete enjoyably and rewarding experience for me. Everyone I have worked with from SmartThings has been helpful and genuinely cares about their job and the SmartThings vision!!

I would like to also say thanks to @Ben for creating this community and developer calls. I never dialed into a single one but I have watched almost all of them and the insight and information has been extreamly valuable! @slagle is doing a great job of hosting them now and appreciate his time as well as @jody.albritton and other SmartThings employees that call in!

I would also like to thank @Tyler and @dckirker for spending the time to certify the CoopBoss. Your feedback and guidance was very professional and made it an enjoyable process.

I would also like to give a special thanks to some forum members who have been extreamly helpful over the past year! @JDRoberts, thanks bud for all the great support and positive feedback!! @tgauchat, thanks for being a sounding board for the “big picture” side of things and the positive feedback! @pstuart, thanks for the code support and your excellent code examples I have refereed to and learned from!

I know I’m forgetting a lot of people and I reserve the right to come back and edit the above list as I think of them.

Note to existing customers: If you have a pre-certificated CoopBoss your CoopBoss is now certified! I didn’t have to make any changes to the hardware or firmware to achieve certification. If you have any questions please contact me through our support forum!

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Awesome news! Congrats. However, I think you have it backwards, I have learned a ton from you… Been a long road to certification, but congrats!

If you have a chicken coop and SmartThings you must get CoopBoss!

Don’t let your chickens down, give them CoopBoss!

Smarter Chickens deserve CoopBoss.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, but keep them around with CoopBoss.

CoopBoss, so good it took SmartThings over a year to certify it.

Even if you don’t have chickens, you need CoopBoss.

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Echoing what @pstuart said… You’ve been super helpful to me, so I’m glad to know I somehow contributed to this success. We may have been the wind beneath your chicken wings, but we all know who’s the (Coop) Boss here! We all pollo’d together.

Congratulations! I’m eggstatic. This is a feather in your cap! You’re the breast! You’ve reached the beak of your career! The pecking order has clearly been established. I’ll be sure to beat the drumsticks to promote this nugget.

Ummm…

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It was absolutely a pleasure to help along! So much so that I still want chickens at the office! I’ll have to settle for plush chickens in our concrete ecosystem for now.

Pretty much my favorite aspect is the pressure sensitivity with the door motor. (Definitely be sure to calibrate that thing FIRST!)

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I’m just waiting for the testimonial from the first guy that builds (and maybe even populates) a chicken coop just because 1) he got an ST hub, 2) he found this thread, and 3) he can. :grin:

It won’t be me, but this is an awesome real-world example of beyond-lights-and-switches application of the technology. Kudos!

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Congrats on the Certification :+1:

Did you have to get Zigbee certification too or can you just bypass this and get certification from Samsung?

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Congrats on the certification! I don’t have chickens, though, and I doubt my HOA would approve :smile: Also, I don’t know how long chickens would last around here with the all the coyotes parading up and down the streets of the neighborhood :expressionless:

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I based the CoopBoss on a ZigBee certified platform but no I didn’t have to submit the CoopBoss to the ZigBee organization for certification. Thanks!

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Yea your Home Owner Association would be the first hurdle to get through in keeping chickens. Too bad more people don’t get how useful they are. You can give them table scraps and they turn it into poop for your garden and eggs for breakfast or in my case lunch!! As for the coyotes we free range our 9 chickens on our small farm and coyotes tend to hunt around dawn. So we have the auto open feature set to open the door well after sunrise. The coyotes are long gone 90% of the time by then. The real danger for having them in the city is dogs. About the only protection against domestic dogs is either keep them caged up or train a guard dog. We had a dog that was very protective of the hens! He didn’t get along with the rooster but he did protect them all from other dogs.

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Yeah, eggs (and bacon, French toast, sausage — you know, all the good stuff) for breakfast!!! :slight_smile:

Well, our coyotes are kinda strange. They’re pretty active in the evenings, and in the mornings they can be seen just standing at the corners admiring the Hondas, Toyotas, Mazdas, BMWs, etc. passing by. They’re mainly after the covey of quails and the qawdzillion cottontails that also roam the neighborhood.

Again, congrats on the certification — you’re the first person that I’ve seen to get certified for ANYTHING on these forums :wink:

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I’ve emailed John via the coop boss website and the etsy website last month as the coop boss site had the coop boss out of sock. I’ve not received any reply and it’s been at least 3 weeks. Anyone know if he’s still in business with this product?

@rod97301 you bet we are still in business. I didn’t get your eMail and I will check what is going on with inventory. If we don’t have any in stock we can get a couple put together pretty quick.

Thanks for your response John. I have a couple of questions before ordering:

  1. First, the Etsy site sells your system minus the linear actuator. I just
    wanted to make sure there isn’t some other site where I can purchase the
    whole system with a 12" linear actuator.

  2. If I must purchase the actuator separately myself, can you point me to a
    proven outdoor actuator with the correct amp rating? On amazon, all of the
    12" actuators I saw that were 12v DC had amp ratings well above 3 amps.

Thanks John

Rod, I don’t sell the actuators but we have tested the CoopBoss with both of these actuators:

Duff-Norton Model #LT25-1-300 for $229: www.grainger.com/product/DUFF-NORTON-Linear-Actuator-5FTD8?s_pp=false&pi

Progressive Automatons Model # PA-14-12-50 for $109: www.progressiveautomations.com/mini-linear-actuator

If you live in an area that gets cold (down in the teens) I suggest you go with the more expensive Duff-Norton as it work better in cold weather.

I use to offer the actuators but they weren’t selling as people can get the same thing at a better price from Amazon. So we stopped selling them.

If the actuator is in the 3 to 5 amp range it should be fine. If you find one your thinking about buying I would be happy to give it a look if you shoot me a link to it.

I’m curious about your Etsy eMail. I just checked the Etsy site and it shows I responded to your message on the 8th the next day on the 9th. I just recently moved to the Etsy site and I may be missing something but can you double check your message and let me know if you still don’t see it. Its a little strange because the message itself doesn’t come in as eMail you have to go to their website to read it. That is why I couldn’t find it in my inbox last night.

Congratulations! This is how you do it! :wink:

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John - Thanks for the quick response! Just so you know, back in December when I first found out about the CoopBoss it was from DoodleDooCoops.com http://doodledoocoops.com/. That site is down now, not sure if you were affiliated with it, but I submitted a request for info via that website’s “contact us” page. I could have also sworn that when I looked at that site’s “Buy” page for the coopboss, that they had an option to buy with a linear actuator. Anyway, just wanted you to be aware… I never did get a response from the inquiry.

Fast forward to a week ago, that brings me to my second attempt via Etsy. I am unfamiliar with Etsy, so I didn’t know to log back into Etsy and check for notifications through their site. I thought I would get an email back to my email address. So I apologize for that - I see your response when I logged onto to Etsy.

I will go ahead and order the CoopBoss from Etsy. The info you provided on the actuators is perfect - while this whole thing is a budget buster, I currently have the SmartThings hub which controls my home lighting. I don’t have any Zigbee devices, but I know that SmartThings and Zigbee should work together. We’ve recently lost a chicken to a predator, and open/close the coop door each day. Long term I need a solution that is reliable and allows us to be away for the weekend every so once in a while. I’ll get the more expensive actuator as I’d prefer the higher IP rating in the Duff.

I don’t have any more questions at this time, but I haven’t fully studied the process documentation you have for setting up the coop boss with SmartThings. It looks more involved than what I would do for my home lighting, but I should be smart enough to figure it out!

Thanks John!

Rod

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Thanks Rod for the order I was notified of it last night.

I will be here for you the whole time. Do you have you a sliding door on your coop? One of the keys to making this work long term is to have a smoothly sliding door. I have some pictures of a good door in the manual.

Sorry to hear you lost a hen. Let’s get them protected. I will send you an eMail when I ship your CoopBoss.

Thanks again for your business!!

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 won’t 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 wouldn’t have to rely on the internet once it was configured and up and running. Since we don’t have to rely on batteries to keep a timing circuit running we don’t 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. :slight_smile:

Also posted on the CoopBoss support forum

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It is this level of detail in the development of the CoopBoss that has drawn me to it. I can’t wait to try it out. Our coop is 170’ from the ST Hub. Our network is Z-wave, so I just ordered some cheap Zigbee light bulbs to act as repeaters that I can put out in the yard (if needed) and do some testing. As soon as I figure out if and where any repeaters need to be placed, I’m ordering!

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@TracySmith not sure a ZigBee light will be a good repeater. There has been several discussions on this forum about how they don’t work as well as advertised when it comes to repeating ZigBee traffic. I have experienced that as well. My wife has her two coops on an island out back of our house each with a CoopBoss. I installed 4 hue bulbs on the edges of the bridge (see the picture) thinking they would help repeat the signal if necessary. Well it turned out even though they are closer to the house they ended up connecting to a CoopBoss and then the CoopBoss connects to the hub in the house. The CoopBoss has an external ZigBee antenna and is designed to be mounted outside (out of direct sunlight) so it usually has better range then your typical ZigBee device.

One cool thing about the hue bulb is there is a SmartApp for the CoopBoss that will set the bulb’s color based on the door status. When the coops close at night the bridge lights change to green. When they open in the morning they change to blue. We don’t even look at the smartphone anymore if we are home we just glance out at the bridge to see if the lights are green.

Rod’s CoopBoss install is worth checking out. I really like the aluminum h channel he used to frame the door and allow it to slide easily. He even shared where he ordered everything!

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