Omlet became famous when they completely re-thought the chicken coop and introduced the revolutionary Eglu. Practical, durable and stylish the Eglu quickly made an impact on home poultry keepers. They’ve done it again with their new automatic door opener. I’ve been testing a pre-release Omlet Autodoor since April.
Omlet Autodoor Review
First of all I should say how impressed I am with the Omlet auto door. It’s just awesome!
The Omlet Autodoor is designed to be easily fitted to any wooden coop as well as the Eglu Cubes – both the Mk 1 and Mk 2 models. It’s actually easier to fit onto a wooden coop than any other automatic pop-hole door I’ve come across.
It’s also more secure than other automatic pop-hole doors. These generally work with a vertical door held in rails, opened and closed by a motor operating a pulley and string system. Obviously they’re vulnerable to Mr Fox nosing the door open to gain access to the hens inside. Rare, I admit, but never under-estimate a vixen with cubs to feed.
The big problems with the vertical door and string system are the rails jamming with dirt or leaves and failing to close or the string breaking meaning they fail to open or close early locking the hens out.
The Omlet Autodoor opens from side to side and is directly linked to the integral motor with metal gearing. I’ve not had the unit fail to open or close but Omlet provide emergency instructions anyway if it should become stuck.
Incidentally, the door senses if the pop-hole is blocked and opens before re-trying to close. It won’t squash a daft hen standing in the doorway at dusk, she’ll just grumble and go inside. Once shut, it’s very secure, well beyond the abilities of the cleverest fox.
Omlet Autodoor Control Unit
The door is controlled by a small weatherproof box with a light sensor. It’s very clever. You can set it up to open and close at a set time if you wish but better than that you can set it open and close according to the light level. This means the hens can be outside when they’ve naturally woken up rather than you re-setting the timer as the day length changes from winter to summer and back.
Light levels will also vary according to where the sensor box is located. For example, if it is facing east it will pick up light in the morning more than the evening when the sun is in the west. You can set the unit to open at one light level and close at another.
The instructions are clear but the control unit is pretty intuitive to use anyway. It also gives you information on light settings and levels, battery power remaining and a manual override to open or close the door.
The system is powered by 4 AA batteries. I use Duracell re-chargeable batteries and after nearly 6 months they’re down to 80%. Although Omlet claim a 6 month life for the batteries, I wouldn’t be surprised to get 9 months or even a year.
I know some systems have solar powered battery chargers as part of the pop-hole door system but these are standard batteries you can recharge twice a year either off the mains or with a solar charger. So no messing about setting up solar panels by the coop.
How I got on with the Omlet Autodoor
I’ve got an Eglu Cube Mk 2 which seems to have had the Autodoor in mind when it was designed. Knowing how the door is installed, it would be a doddle to fit to a wooden coop, wherever it was from. To fix to the Mk 1 Eglu Cube you’ll need some additional parts which Omlet supply.
Installed in an hour
I’m not a natural when it comes to engineering and assembly but it only took me an hour to install the auto door on my own. Well, to be honest, with a little assistance from the chickens who all decided to see what I was up to. Maybe using the treats bowl to hold the screws and bits wasn’t the cleverest idea I’ve had!
Setting up the controller
The control system is easy to set up but I’d suggest owners check the mechanism has functioned as expected the first few times. On the first evening one of our hens was locked out and looking very sorry for herself. I changed the light level at which the closing system activates from 5% to 3%, which is perfect for our situation. These settings vary depending on where the sensor is situated, shade etc.
I do check the battery levels each week as part of the cleaning routine. I also double check the door has closed occasionally and all the girls are settled in. It’s my age, I don’t fully trust technology to work!
Life changing – sleep in as you wish!
The door opener makes life a lot easier. No more getting up super early to let the girls out in summer (I am not a morning person) for a start. If we’re out and don’t get back for bedtime, it’s not a panic. The girls will be safe and sound behind the locked door.
Omlet Autodoor Price & Value
Like Omlet coops, it’s not cheap but it is good value. Currently it’s £149.99 which is more than the cheap systems you generally find. It scores against those cheaper systems in every way.
- Easy to install.
- Totally secure and vermin-proof.
- Easy to control.
- Robust and reliable, whatever the weather.
As with the rest of the Omlet range, a well thought out product that just does the job without any fuss.
Coming next to the Omlet Autodoor
Inside the control unit there are connections ready for a light and water heater which I understand will be available soon. Quite how they will be powered I don’t know. I assume they’ll need an external power source rather than the batteries.