Battery & Power Information

What type of batteries do you recommend for the ChickSafe?

The ChickSafe models take 4 AA batteries. Ideally use alkaline batteries. Zinc Chloride batteries work fine but don’t last as long as alkaline. Avoid lithium or re-chargeable batteries as these don’t provide sufficient voltage and perform badly at low temperatures.

 

Can I use re-chargeable batteries in my ChickSafe?

No. Re-chargeable batteries don’t provide enough voltage to drive the ChickSafe and also don’t work properly at low temperatures.

 

How long does the supplied battery last before needing changing?

The time between battery changes would depend on the weight of the door and also the capacity of the battery you use and the average ambient temperature. In most cases batteries will last between 6 months and 1 year.

 

How do I know if my batteries need changing? 

The indicator light will flash more frequently (every 10 seconds) than usual (every 30 seconds) to indicate that the batteries need changing.

 

Why does the warning light flash rapidly, indicating low battery, even though I have just replaced the batteries?

The LED light works on a voltage basis and indicates insufficient battery voltage. Please check that the replacement batteries are new and unused. if in doubt please try another set of batteries.

 

I’ve just changed the batteries, I’m getting nothing on the screen (Advance model) or the red light (Eco model) – what’s gone wrong? 

Check that all batteries are inserted correctly if so, change all x4 AA batteries to a new set, also check that the connector onto the battery holder is fully secured in position. If the problem continues, despite changing all the batteries, then please contact Brinsea.

 

I want to run my unit from mains electricity, can I do this?

No, the ChickSafe will not run from the mains electricity, sorry!

 

I want to run my ChickSafe from solar power, can I do this?

Whilst the idea of solar panels may appeal, the cost, charging circuits and rechargeable cells would add to the cost.  Such solutions don’t provide enough voltage to operate the ChickSafe.

What temperature range will the ChickSafe work in?

ChickSafe units are been tested in temperatures between -20°C and 50°C and in harsh weather conditions without problems. Note that battery life is likely to be shorter in very cold conditions.

What weight of door will my ChickSafe operate?

The ChickSafe models need the door to weigh between 300 grammes and 4 kg. Lighter than this and the internal mechanism won’t detect that the door has shut and heavier than this will overload the motor.

Can I put my ChickSafe inside the chicken coop?

Yes, if you have a ChickSafe Advance and use the timer function. The Eco uses light level sensing so it won’t work inside your hen house. You will need to configure the string via pulleys to work reliably – click here for more details.

Can I fit my ChickSafe to...

a hinged/ramped door?

No. A hinged door may trap debris and there is a danger it might not shut properly.  We recommend leaving your ramp in place and fitting a vertical door like the ChickSafe 2-piece alloy door operated by your ChickSafe opener.

 

a horizontal sliding door?

No. The ChickSafe can only operate a vertical sliding door. We recommend to our customers that they fit a ChickSafe 2-piece alloy door. Some coops allow you to fit a vertical door as well as (on top of) a horizontal sliding door.

 

a plastic coop?

Yes, provided it has a vertical sliding door.

 

I want to mount ChickSafe at the side of my pop hole, so can I add pulleys and a longer piece of cord?

Yes. Additional lengths of cord are available from your ChickSafe supplier to allow you to site your ChickSafe further from your door. Don’t attempt to fit longer cord directly – just extend the one fitted. Knots will pass reliably around ChickSafe pulleys, if required. Click here for fitting information.

 

There isn’t enough room above my pop hole to mount ChickSafe, what can I do?

There are a number of possibilities depending on your hen house. We have a number of possible solutions using pulleys, click here for more details. Note that only the ChickSafe Advance can be used inside the hen house, the Eco must be mounted outside where is can detect light levels.

ChickSafe - opening and closing times

How do I set my ChickSafe Eco to open at a specific time in the morning?

The ChickSafe Eco will open as light levels rise in the mornings, irrespective of the time. If you want to control the time the door opens and closes then you will need to use a ChickSafe Advance which allows you to select either light level or time to open your hen house door.

 

Can I set the closing time?

The ChickSafe Eco will close as light levels drop in the evening, irrespective of time. If you want to control the time the door closes then you will need to use a ChickSafe Advance which allows you to close your hen house door earlier than dusk, if required, otherwise it will close the door as light levels drop. You can’t extend the close time after dark as this would be very dangerous for your birds.

Can the door be opened/closed by me?

If you have the ChickSafe Advance then simply press the up or down arrow to initiate the door to open or close. If you have a ChickSafe Eco then the simplest method is to disconnect a battery and then manually lift the door or untie the string to close. Reconnecting the battery will cause the ChickSafe Eco to initialise and leave the door open or closed depending on light levels.

What happens to the ChickSafe when the clocks change?

Do the opening/closing times on my ChickSafe Eco change automatically when the clocks change?

You don’t need to do anything, your door will open according to the light levels, not time of day.

 

 

Does the time on my ChickSafe Advance change automatically when the clocks change?

No, the time does not change automatically. This means you will have to change the time when the clocks go forward or back.

Chickens & Ducks and the ChickSafe

My chickens are young and nervous – will the noise of the motor distress them?

New or young chickens should be allowed to get into a routine before the automatic door is set up and switched on. Once they are in a routine – particularly when they reliably get in the hen house as dusk approaches – the device can be switched on and the chickens usually have absolutely no problem with any noise from the motor or mechanism.

 

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

If your chickens are in a routine and are reliably getting in to roost this is not likely to happen. A lightweight door, such as the 2-part ChickSafe door, is very unlikely to cause and harm to a bird. If however it does happen the ChickSafe will wait for around 30 seconds for the hen to move and then try closing again.

 

Can I use ChickSafe if I have ducks?

Yes! We recommend the Advance model for ducks. Ducks generally do not put themselves to bed. If you have the Advance model, you need to set a closing time of, say, 23:00 and pop out any time before then to use the manual button to close your door, having ensured your ducks are safely away. ChickSafe will open next morning with the open settings which you have set.

 

I want to keep my birds in. How can I do this with my ChickSafe fitted?

If you use a ChickSafe Eco then the easiest solution is to remove the batteries with the door shut to keep your birds in. When you re-fit your batteries your ChickSafe will initialise and revert to ‘open’ (assuming that it is in daylight). With the Advance you need to set the ‘Open’ setting to ‘manual’ – please refer to the instructions.

 

ChickSafe Operating Questions

Why isn’t the display on my ChickSafe Advance illuminated?

The ChickSafe Advance is fitted with a display that isn’t back-lit as these are very hard to see in bright sunlight and to conserve battery life. The ChickSafe Advance display is visible in most light condition but you’ll need a torch after dark. The ChickSafe Advance display goes to sleep after two minutes of inactivity, again to conserve battery. Press the OK button to wake the display.

 

Why has my red indicator light started flashing more quickly than before?

The red LED indicator light flashes once every 30 seconds to indicate the door is open and twice every 30 seconds if the door closed. The interval between flashes reduces to 10 seconds to show the batteries need changing. If the light is flashing continuously then the door is jammed and will need freeing.

 

Why isn’t my light sensor working?

Your light sensor is designed to activate your door over a gradual light change, so that it does not open the door in a lightning storm or in car headlights, for example. The sensor takes an average reading every 3 minutes to account for this; therefore, simply covering the light sensor with your hand will not activate the sensor. Also please note that if your ChickSafe is positioned near a floodlight or street light, this will affect your sensor so you may need to orient it in a position with less ambient light. Your ChickSafe does have adjustment for light sensitivity, please see instructions for details.

 

I can see condensation forming inside my ChickSafe, is this OK?

Yes. In some conditions condensation can form inside the ChickSafe. The product is designed to be unaffected and the condensation will evaporate in due course so no action is needed. The electronics inside the ChickSafe are coated and so protected from moisture.

 

The door didn’t close completely.

It is essential that your coop door slides smoothly for the ChickSafe to operate correctly. If you have a wooden door, check that it isn’t warped and that nothing can obstruct its movement. The 2-piece ChickSafe door is made from alloy with high-grade plastic runners which are more reliable than wooden doors and so are recommended.

 

My door keeps sticking in the ice and mud, what can I do?

Try putting a small screw vertically into the bottom of your wooden door, so that when the door closes it comes to rest on the screw head and not on the whole length of the bottom of your door. There is then only one point at which the door can stick if it becomes icy. Always ensure that the door is able to close completely if you do this, with no gap for predators to find.

 

Why does my ChickSafe do a short ‘up and down’ movement when the batteries are connected?

This is part of the normal set-up procedure and is how the ChickSafe establishes the ‘open door’ position.

Is it possible to purchase replacement parts for my ChickSafe?

Yes, we have spare parts available (subject to availability) – please visit the spare parts page by clicking here.

 

How long is the cord supplied? Can I order a longer cord?

The cord that is provided with the unit as standard is approximately 0.8 metres long. Please bear in mind that this includes an amount of cord that has to remain wound around the spindle inside the unit. If you need to extend the cord you can purchase more by clicking here..

My ChickSafe is faulty, can I get it repaired?

If the item is found to be faulty it will be repaired, or replaced, free of charge, within 1 year of purchase, or 3 years if you have registered online for the free 3-year guarantee. See our guarantee page for details.

If the item is out of guarantee it may be repairable. Contact Brinsea or your local stockist, for more information.

General Maintenance

Check that your door and runners are free-running and clear of obstruction.

Check in warmer and wetter times that your wooden door and runners have not warped and are still running freely.

Check that your hen house is level and that one side hasn’t sunk which might cause the runners to twist.

Check that your open and close settings are still appropriate for your location and when the seasons change (ChickSafe Advance only).

My ChickSafe isn't working, HELP!

All of our units are thoroughly tested before they leave the factory. Please ensure that you have inserted x4 AA batteries the right way round. Check that the batteries are new and fully charged and the connection to the battery holder is secure.

Firstly re-familiarise yourself with the instructions. If yours are not to hand, you can find them here: ChickSafe Eco, ChickSafe Advance.

The ChickSafe operates on weight. Your door must be absolutely free-running in its tracks, hanging on the cord and able to drop on its own. If no weight is sensed then your door will not open and close properly. Sometimes this happens when a door gets stuck in its runners on the way down and then it won’t shut completely. If it sticks on the way up then the cord may snap – the cord is the weakest point by design, so that no strain is put on the unit itself if this happens. Check that your door and runners have not warped and that your door has a minimum weight of 300g. You can always add weight to your door by hanging something onto the nail/screw/hook that attaches the cord loop to your door.

Here are some other things to check over:

  • Check ALL your settings via the display screen (Advance only)
  • Check the actual time of day – which will need updating if you have changed the batteries. (Advance only)
  • Check the mode for opening and the mode for closing is what you expect: time, light or light + time. (Advance only)
  • Have you inadvertently changed something while programming? Double check! (Advance only)
  • Check that your door is absolutely free to drop and raise within its runners with no sticking or jarring.
  • If the cord has broken: Is your door stuck in its runners? Is there ice and mud frozen at the bottom of your door? You can purchase new cord from us – please click here).
  • Check the cord routing, ensure it runs freely.

 

If you still have a problem, use the contact us page or call us and we will help you!

 

 

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