Automated cat feeder with a view

[Robovergne] wrote in to share his fantastic automated cat feeder with us. After researching the common commercial products he could find, he decided to build one that utilized a home made linear actuator to pull a certain amount out of a reservoir. Initially, he attempted to use microwave motors but ultimately found them to be too weak to force the bits of cat food should they get stuck. He was afraid this extra strain would cause motor failure before too long. Ultimately, he replaced the microwave motor with a fairly strong servo that seems to do the job just fine. He’s currently using an Arduino to time it all, but he does mention that he feels it is a waste of the arduino for such a simple task.

As you can see in the videos after the break, his mechanism seems quite solid. There isn’t a lot of play in the movement and the amount of food coming out seems to be fairly controllable.

Comments

  1. Zee says:

    What he should be afraid of is the cat attacking the feeder because it can see the food.

  2. hospadar says:

    I like it!

    I’ve always thought that the cereal dispensers they have at motels and cafeterias (the dispenser nozzle usually has a rubbery rotating-door like mechanism that you twist) would make a good base for a pet-food dispenser.

  3. Peter says:

    Windshield wiper motor?

  4. sheff says:

    I like the build , BUT wouldn’t the feeder opening and the lid opening be very susceptible to other critters ? such as mice (not the PC kind )and bugs?
    A simple seal on the lid and a re-work of the bottom board or the actuator arm would close up the gaps.

  5. hey says:

    no feedback on how much food is on the platter?

  6. whateverfits says:

    I like the design. My dad always has problems with raccoons stealing the food and this one is almost a solution for that. There is still a small hole accessible from the below and racoons will surly get their little hands in there and empty the entire feeder in one night. If the feeder completely closes then there will be no problems whatsoever.

    I have a suggestion for a simplified control circuit: just a timer. Use a timer to supply power to the circuit at the same time every day for just long enough to supply enough food for the cats.

  7. T4b says:

    Quite nice, but what does someone with two or more cats do?

  8. draeath says:

    Make sure there’s no way for the cat to shove it’s paw up in the orifice while it’s shutting…

  9. Sven says:

    I would think that a cat would rip all the exposed wiring out of that thing, either by accident or exploring for an opening to the food.

  10. Mike M says:

    I have that same electronic feeder. The cat in the video is ‘hacking’ the feeder. When they are bumped they will drop a little bit of food from the paddle wheel delivery system. Notice the cat looks in the bowl after ‘attacking’ the feeder?
    Our cats hack the feeders as well but by sticking their paws into the feeder chute and flicking the paddle wheel. Its pretty funny.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,650 other followers