Battery and Power Information

What type of batteries work with the ChickSafe openers?

We recommend that you use 4 AA alkaline batteries, but Zinc Chloride batteries will work fine but have a shorter life. Lithium or rechargeable batteries are not recommended. Rechargeable batteries are a lower voltage and have different discharge characteristics than alkaline batteries. The battery warning and lockout system will not function correctly if rechargeable batteries are used, and you may encounter other issues as well.

How long do the batteries last?

The batteries that come with the ChickSafe opener will last between 6-12 months. This depends on the weight of the door you are using as well as the average ambient temperature.

How will I know to change the batteries?

The indicator light on the opener will start to flash faster (every 10 seconds) to indicate that the batteries are low.

I just replaced the batteries, why is the light still flashing every 10 seconds?

The indicator light flashes based on voltage, so check to make sure all the batteries you placed into the opener are new.

I changed the batteries but now the screen is blank (Advance) or there is a red light (Eco), what do I do?

First check that all of the batteries have been inserted correctly. If so, check that the connector to the battery holder is fully secured. If the problem continues, try changing all of the batteries to a new set. 

Can I run the opener off of grid or solar power?

No, the opener is only designed to run off of 4 AA batteries. 

What temperature range will the ChickSafe work in?

The openers have been tested at temperature ranges between -4°F and 122°F. It should be noted that extremely cold conditions will shorten the battery life.

Mounting the Opener

How much should the door weigh?

The door needs to weigh between 11 oz and 8.8 lbs. Anything lighter will not be detected by the internal mechanism, and anything heavier will overload the motor.

Can I put the opener inside the coop?

Yes, but this can only be accomplished with the Advance model by using the timer. The Eco model uses a light sensor to open and close so it would not work inside of a coop.

Where can I mount the ChickSafe?

The ChickSafe opener can be mounted on a variety of materials, including plastic coops. The opener will not work if fixed to a horizontal sliding door, a hinged door or a ramp.

Can I extend the string from the opener to the door?

If necessary, yes, you can extend the string. Do not tamper with the cord already attached to the opener; simply tie the extra string onto the end. You can always purchase additional string from our website.

I can’t mount the opener directly above the door, what do I do?

If you have an Advance model you could mount it inside the coop. Otherwise there are a few possible solutions using pulleys that allow you to mount the opener in a few creative ways.  Important installation notes:

  • The door must be attached to the opener BEFORE installing the batteries.
  • The door must be lifted and held in the open position before attaching the cord. The ChickSafe is supplied with the cord wound in ready to be attached to the open door. It will return to this position each time it opens.
  • When attaching the cord to the open door, make sure the cord is taut.

  • The door must have some free travel left above it (25mm/1 inch) when it is installed in its open position. The ChickSafe has its own internal end-stop detection for when it is fully open. It is supplied in the fully open position from the factory.
  • The door must stop against a solid surface at its closed position. The ChickSafe detects when the weight of the door is no longer being supported on the cord and that lets the control know the door is closed.
  • The distance the door moves between its closed position and open position must be no greater than 400mm (15 inches). If the door moves down through a greater distance the cord will wind back in again and the door will be open even when the ChickSafe shows it is closed (double flashes of the LED light).
  • If the ChickSafe has been operated without the door fitted, or the cord has come free from the door at any time it must be reset to the factory open position again before the open door is attached to the cord.
  • Do not remove the knot in the cord that was tied there at the factory. This knot operates the sensing device to stop the ChickSafe in the open position.
  • The door must be free to slide up and down with no obstructions. It must slide all the way down under its own weight. The ChickSafe uses gravity to close the door.

Opening and Closing the ChickSafe

Can I set the ChickSafe Eco to open and close at certain times?

It is not possible to set the time that the Eco model opens or closes, that option is only available with the Advance model.

Can I manually open or close the door?

With the Advance model you can simply press on the up or down arrows. If you have an Eco model you will need to disconnect the battery and either manually lift the door (to open) or untie the string (to close). 

What happens during Daylight Savings?

For the Eco model you will not need to worry about this, as the opener is based on light and not the time. For the Advance model you will need to manually change the time for Daylight Savings Times starting or ending.

Your Flock and ChickSafe

Does the ChickSafe work with young chickens?

We recommend allowing young chickens to get into a routine before switching them over to an automatic door. Once you are sure that they can reliably get into the coop before dark it should be safe to add the ChickSafe. The noise from the motor does not cause any issue.

What happens if a bird sits in the doorway as it closes?

Our openers have a safety feature that will not allow the door to close completely on a bird. If the door senses that something is obstructing its path it will stop and wait 30 seconds before trying to close again.

I want to keep my birds in. How do I stop the door from opening?

With the Advance model you will need to change the opening settings to “manual,” which is covered in the user instructions. With the Eco model you can simply remove the batteries while the door is shut, or remove the batteries and untie the string from the door to close it. 

ChickSafe Operating Questions

Why can’t I see the display on my Advance?

The display is not back-lit, so it should be visible in most conditions but you may need a flashlight in the dark. The display automatically goes to sleep after two minutes of inactivity, which is to conserve the battery life. Pressing the OK button will turn the display on.

Why is the red light flashing?

The red LED will flash every 30 seconds to let you now that the door is open. It increases to once every 15 seconds when the door is closed. Flashes every ten seconds mean that the batteries need changing. Flashing more frequently than every ten seconds means that the door is jammed or obstructed in some way.

Why did my light sensor stop working?

The sensor reacts to gradual changes in light, so check to make sure that any light change lasts longer than 3 minutes. Placing the coop opener in an area with street lights or flood lights may interfere with the function, so this should be taken into consideration. Also, simply covering the opener with your hand may not trigger the mechanism to close. Check the user manual for light sensitivity adjustments. If you recently adjusted the light sensor and are now experiencing problems, reset the unit back to factory settings by turning the adjustment screw a full 20 turns clockwise and then a full 5 turns counterclockwise.

Why is condensation forming inside of the ChickSafe?

This is normal in certain conditions and the ChickSafe was designed to handle this. The electronics are sealed and coated so they will remain unaffected by the moisture.

Why did my door not close all the way?

This could be due to the door itself not sliding smoothing. This is common with wooden doors that can swell or become warped. We recommend using the 2-piece door kit that is made from alloy with high-grade plastic runners to ensure smooth operation. 

My door keeps getting stuck in ice or mud. How do I prevent this?

Wooden doors are susceptible to this problem, so you may want to put a small screw in the bottom of the door. That way the door will come to rest on the screw head so there is a much smaller chance that it will get stuck.

Why did the opener do a short movement up and down when I connected the batteries?

This is part of the self-calibrating procedure that the door goes through.

Spare Parts and Maintenance

Can I buy replacement parts for my opener?

Yes, we do have spare parts available. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our website, please contact us via phone at (888) 667-7009. 

Can I purchase a longer cord for my opener?

Yes! You can purchase additional string on our website.

I’ve followed the instructions and my ChickSafe isn’t working. Can I get it repaired?

Yes! All of our products are covered under a 1-year warranty from the date of purchase (or date of receipt if purchased via pre-order). If registered online each product has a 3-year warranty. Please contact us to get more information on repairs.

Is there general maintenance that I should be aware of?

Yes. Here is what we recommend:

  • Check that your door and runners are free-running and unobstructed.

  • Check that your door and runners have not become warped, especially under certain weather conditions.

  • Check that the coop itself hasn’t sunk to one side, because this can cause the runners to become twisted.

  • For the Advance model, check that the open and close settings are still appropriate for your location and season.

ChickSafe Eco - Troubleshooting

To reset the ChickSafe in the open position ready for installation:

  1. The ChickSafe must be upright, in its installed position.

  2. Disconnect the battery holder connector.

  3. Wait 1 minute.

  4. Gently pull the end of the cord down and keep gently pulling during the next few steps. It is important to maintain some tension on the cord.

  5. While pulling, refit the battery holder connector and still keep pulling gently.

  6. Maintain tension on the cord. After 10 seconds the cord will be wound out for a second and then start to wind in. Keep maintaining tension on the cord all the time until the motor stops moving.

  7. Release the cord.

  8. Disconnect the battery holder.

  9. Reattach the cord to the door in its open position.

  10. Reconnect the battery holder.

Light is flashing every 10 seconds (low battery warning):

  • Are the batteries old ones? Replace if there is any doubt.

  • Check each battery is fitted the correct way around. Take each one out and refit it to make sure it is properly seated.

  • Unclip and refit the battery box connector to make sure it is properly connected.

Door has only part-opened:

  • Is the light flashing once every 30 seconds (to show it is open) but the door is not lifted as far as it should be? If yes it might have been set up incorrectly or the knot may have slipped. Disconnect the batteries. Release the cord from the door. Lift the door to the desired open position and support it there. Tie the cord on again making sure it is taut once tied. Release the door. Fit the batteries again.

  • Is the light flashing once a second? If yes, the door is likely sticking in the channels. The door must be very free moving both up and down (gravity only!). The door channels can be adjusted by loosening the screws a quarter turn or by adding small packing pieces in one or more places behind the channels to ensure they are flat and the door runs smoothly.

No light flashing at all / no motor movement:

  • Are the batteries old ones? Replace if there is any doubt.

  • Check each battery is fitted the correct way around. Take each one out and refit it to make sure it is properly seated.

  • Unclip and refit the battery box connector to make sure it is properly connected.

Light is flashing every second (error warning):

  • Is the door fully closed and it can be moved upwards by hand with no obstruction? The flat battery function may be keeping the door closed as the batteries need replacing. Are the batteries old ones? Replace if there is any doubt. Check each battery is fitted the correct way around. Take each one out and refit it to make sure it is properly seated. Unclip and refit the battery box connector to make sure it is properly connected.

  • Is the cord still attached to the door and firmly fixed in the right place? If not, reset the ChickSafe and tie the cord back on (with the door in its open position).

  • Is the door hitting a fixed stop at the top of its travel? If the door hits its fixed stop before the ChickSafe unit reaches its own end stop it will lock the motor and may cause damage. Untie the cord, reset the ChickSafe and then tie the door again in the open position ensuring the door has some free travel left above it (25mm/1 inch).

  • Is the door stopped at a random place? It may be stuck in its runners. The door(s) must be very free moving both up and down (gravity only!).

  • Make sure the door does not move down more than 400mm (40cm / 15 inches) before reaching its closed position. Also check the door does actually have a fixed end stop at the bottom of its travel (doesn’t continue down past the closed position if allowed to drop further) as that is what makes the ChickSafe stop running downwards when it closes.

  • Check the factory knot is still on the cord. It is precisely located 9 inches from the end of the cord to lift the bead and the arm at the upper limit position (fully open). Removal of that knot will cause the unit to keep winding inwards until the door hits it.

  • Were the batteries connected before the door was installed? Perform a reset per the operating instructions and then follow the installation instructions again to correctly position the door.

The door hasn't opened in the morning but the light is flashing once every 30 seconds (Door Open indicator):

  • It might have been set up incorrectly or the knot may have slipped on the door. Disconnect the batteries. Release the cord from the door. Lift the door to the desired open position and support it there. Tie the cord on again making sure it is taut once tied. Release the door. Fit the batteries again.

The door hasn't opened in the morning and the light is flashing twice every 30 seconds (Door Close indicator):

  • The daylight may not be bright enough yet to make the ChickSafe open. The system waits to be sure it is daylight and may open shortly. If it doesn’t, we would suggest removing any branches or leaves that could be causing a shadow over the unit. For safety, if the ChickSafe isn’t sure it is daytime it will remain closed.

The door hasn’t closed in the evening but the light is flashing twice every 30 seconds (Door Closed indicator):

  • Is there something obstructing the door or making the door stick in its channels?

The door hasn’t closed in the evening and the light is flashing once every 30 seconds (Door Open Indicator):

  • It may not be dark enough yet for the ChickSafe to close. See below for more information on adjusting the closing light level.

ChickSafe closes too late / early:

  • The falling ambient light level that triggers closing of the door may be adjusted.

  • Turning the adjusting screw anti-clockwise makes the door close while it is still lighter. This means it will tend to close a little earlier in the evening.

  • Turning the adjusting screw clockwise makes the door close when it has got darker. This means it will tend to close a little later in the evening.

  • The system has a 5 to 6 minute delay so that it doesn’t close the door just because someone has leant over it, for instance. This makes it very difficult to adjust while it is getting dark. It is better to make an adjustment of one or two turns during day light and see how it performs at dusk, then repeat on following days as necessary.

  • The light level in the evening falls very rapidly from bright daylight to darkness so adjusting the light level may not make a very big difference to the time it closes. The most important thing is for all the chickens to have gone in before the door closes.

  • To return the light adjustment to factory settings give 20 turns clockwise and 5 turns counterclockwise.