A while ago a fox ate ten of my chickens, leaving only “Lucky” behind since she decided it was wiser to roost on top of a shed. It gave me an idea. All I needed was a winch, a raspberry pi controller and the cunning use of a few bits of rope.
Mk1 was a test to see if everything worked out. It was a success. The winch was able to lift the chicken coop into the tree but I had to defeat the safety mechanism on the winch as the coop was being lifted off-centre and was causing the winch wire to drag on the safety cut-out and activating it.
The raspberry pi controller will be used to grab the sunrise/sunset times from the internet and at sunset will activate the winch and drag the coop [ hopefully with the chickens in it ] up into the tree. Then at sunrise it will gently lower the chucks back down to the ground. An added bonus of using the raspberry pi is I can introduce a Pavlovian response into the chickens by playing a tune a few minutes before the coop goes up. This will hopefully herd them all into the safety of the coop. I realise I may be attributing too much intelligence to the chickens!
Engineering issues left to solve:
The winch has to be perfectly level or the cable all bunches up at one end and this is not groovy. So I must find a way to suspend about 300kg of weight with millimetre accuracy.
I have to interface the GPIO pins of the Raspberry Pi to a 240v winch. I’ve yet to take the winch controller apart and work out what voltage we have going through the controls.