Hacking dog collars to save money on batteries.

[Lou] sent in this amazingly simple hack that has been saving him money on special batteries for his dog collar. He uses an invisible fence system which gives the dog a shock if it passes beyond certain markers in his yard. The collars use special batteries so you’re not strapping multiple full sized cells to your dogs neck. This is especially necessary when you have a smaller dog that doesn’t weigh much to begin with.

What [Lou] found was that the $8 replacement batteries were simply a plastic shell on a battery he could buy for considerably less. All that was required were a few small cuts to the plastic casing to release the old battery, then he presses the new one into place. This tiny modification will be saving him a considerable amount since the unit burns through a battery in a few weeks.

72 thoughts on “Hacking dog collars to save money on batteries.

  1. Oh if I only had a nickle for every time a proprietary part was just a needlessly complicated conveyance for an off the shelf component that was a fraction of the price.

  2. Panasonic did the same on some devices. they had a pair of contacts that detected panasonic special batteries to allow recharging. simply cutting the plastic label allowed me to use Sanyo batteries in the cordless phone and gained 2X battery life.

      1. It’s so the device can detect its a rechargeable battery instead of an alkaline. Cheapest method of detection I guess. There’s a third contact that when connected to the negative terminal (the entire body of a cell) indicates it can be charged.

  3. What next on the animal-cruelty-a-day round up?

    Returning the vigour to your battery hens with an actual lead-acid you had kicking around in the shed?

    How to harvest a tiger penis with a dremel while simultaneously throttling it with the cord?

    An arduino sketch for declawing your cat?

    1. I’d rather harvest TROLL penis…

      On another note, tried to use these tools before, but it only worked on one of my dogs, the other one would just bolt when the collar got him (mine uses compressed air not shock treatment).

      Now if only there was a way to keep OUT the local animals… Bears/Cougars/Wolves/Raccoons other Dogs, fences don’t last long here.

      1. For controling other animal form getting in your yard, I suggest a 12 ga. shot gun with a 2 oz. lead slug. Works great every time. ;p

    2. It’s actually not cruel. I am a hardcore animal lover and tested the collar on myself first. It doesn’t hurt, it just startles and once they learn where the boundary is, which is the human’s responsibility to teach them, they won’t ever get shocked again unless they break the rules. It also has a setting that is a tone only so once they’ve been shocked a few times the warning tone will be all they need to keep them in line. Also, it’s a lot less cruel than getting hit by a car…don’t you think?

  4. I have a light up dog collar so I can find my black dog at night. The batteries died, and I plan on figuring out a standard battery pack. The thing uses 2 cr2025s in series, for 6V total. Why the hell they didn’t use cr2032s, I don’t know, but that was a pretty stupid design decision.

    I think it’s probably gonna work best to use 4 of the 6 AAAAs from a 9v battery.

    1. As an old Xerox tech used to say about screws in newer models, “Someone’s uncle runs the plant.” :p Meaning they probably got a good deal on the 2025s which let them lower the price by $0.01 and damn the consumer.

    2. I just use one of the cheap keychains packs that that Dealextreme sells that uses 2xCR2016s.

      First I use each of the original CR2016s flipping one battery to avoid making contact. Then swap them with a CR2032 that bought there also as a pack.

      With 3V is more than enough at night and reduces the power drawn and for the total price they last long enough also.

      1. I noticed one of my Timex watches allowed a thicker lithium than mentioned on the back shell. The watch runs much with the thicker lithium.

    1. I’ll take a pet owner that shocks their mutt into submission over the pet owner that chains’n’forgets.

      Ever tried a shock collar on yourself? I have, doesn’t hurt that much. Hurts just enough to make it an effective deterrent against unwanted behavior.

    2. Not to train, its being used with an invisible fence.

      From the youtube video it appears that they live in a fairly wooded area. Also from the video the fact that they switched the collar from stock to a much smaller collar for the dog suggests to me that the dogs ranking on the local foodchain is somewhere between appetizer and light snack.

      1. As I said- “…to make it an effective deterrent against unwanted behavior.” where in this case the ‘unwanted behavior’ is going outside what has been deemed the ‘safe zone’.

    3. Not everyone can afford to install a fence and not everyone can install a fence, especially if you’re renting, and these are a decent substitute considering some dogs might just get killed without such a thing and they’re not like being tazed in the least(I’ve tried it..it hurts but it’s not thousands of volts as you’re implying)

      The alternative would be to chain the dog up. I’m sure that’s not what you want either.

      1. There’s also the fact that many neighborhoods won’t allow homeowners to put up fences. I won’t get onto my soapbox about property owner’s rights…

    4. Here in Argentina at least, every cow field has a nylon wire with a conductive wire strapped and a HV source, so the cows get shocked if they try to get out. How is this any different? And at least with cows and other farm animals, they only try once to step out and they learn that it hurts, so even if the fence is off they will not touch it again.

      I think it’s a good way for the dog to learn that he can’t go there.

      1. And it doesn’t hurt that bad, i’ve touched them many times. If just a little shock it’s needed for a adult cow, I think a dog won’t need too much.

      2. @Tomasito, I’m assuming you haven’t touched a “weed burner” fence. After hearing the snap of the arc to ground, I don’t want to ever experience that!

    5. For some dogs, having a fence isn’t enough. I’ve seen dogs jump over tall fences before (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjWlRPDZRAk) not to mention that a dog that is a digger can easily get under a fence while you are at work. So for some, its either an invisible fence or ripping out your fence, digging a 3ft trench around your property, filling it with concrete, and then putting up an even taller fence.

  5. in a few weeks the dog will became used to the inviseble frontiers so he won`t cross them and batteries won`t be necessary

    1. Only if your dog isn’t a dumb as my previous one. We never used a shock collar on him, but he used to walk into CUPBOARDS (no he was not blind). If he couldn’t see a cupboard coming, he wasn’t going to remember some “invisible ouchy barrier”.

    2. my dad had a beagle that would lick the electric fence wire every morning to see it it was working… well one day it was off and he got out..

      my beagles on the other hand get zapped one or twice and learn not to go over there, my youngest beagle will follow me out to the car and stop before the collar would beep even if he was not wearing it,

  6. Typically, you only need the collar for a short time to train the dog to stay on the property. Once they’re trained there is no longer a need for batteries because you don’t need the shock the animal anymore.

    What would be a better hack is a counter that determines if the dog goes in range of the invisible fence. This would tell you when/if its necessary to retrain.

  7. Dogs learn pretty fast what the boundaries are and rarely attempt to go beyond them. The pain is less than what one of those handheld bug zappers gives out. It is much more humane than having a dog tied up in your yard with a choke chain that’s for sure!

  8. I agree a little bit of pain to teach a pet about boundaries is better that a lot of pain by being hit by a car or becoming prey to a larger predator.
    The dogs learn quickly where to and not to go also some collars have a beeper that alerts the dog before receiving a shock. I have watched several of his videos and get the sense that he lives in Carmel,Ca and they have very restrictive property regulations in place.
    Thanks for listening
    Dan

    1. false security is worse than no security, dog will cross invisible line get spooked and run even faster. My dog follow me around because I love her and respect her as another person

      1. But. Dogs aren’t people; they’re dogs.

        If I wanted a little person who followed me around wherever I went, I’d make one (the old-fashioned way). But I didn’t want that, so I got a dog.

  9. I have one of these for my dog – but it uses a different battery (also proprietary). I replace it once about every 4-5 months and the batteries are 2 for $10. Since we installed the fence the dog has perhaps gotten zapped a total of 5-6 times (over a year – and two of those were on the first day of training).

    Before I put the collar on the dog I strapped it on my leg and tested it on myself….it’s an annoyance more than a tazer zap. Enough to let them know they shouldn’t do that. Now I don’t know about the collar he has but mine omits one tone when they are close…a second tone when closer before the zap. My dog knows where the fence is and if we are playing and the ball bounces over she stops and barks…even without the collar. If the dog is constantly testing the boundary the owner needs to spend more time training it.

  10. The next Saw sequel might just be based on this. Guns strapped behind their heads with proximity sensors attached. And the only way to get the key is to cut their bones to use as a stick to reach the key. Otherwise they get shot if they move in too close.

  11. People, NOT giving the dog the collar would be inhumane, because the animal doesn’t know better than to stay out of the street. A trivial shock is nothing compared to being hit by a car, and eventually the dog learns not to trigger the shock in the first place. In some cases the behavior can even be maintained without the collar once the dog is trained.

    Animals don’t know stuff, they just do stuff.

    1. you so ignorant I cant even start explaining. This thing is cruet irresponsible and kill dogs since they only run faster after being shocked.
      Also animals are self sufficient adults and do know what they do

      1. Again, only stupid dogs run when they hit the fence. You may have had or seen a bad experience with a stupid dog. I once had a dog that would lock up and howl when she hit the fence and we had to get rid of it and stick with the small area of the chain-link fence. A vast majority of dogs (All other dogs I’ve worked with) will feel the light shock and back away. It’s more humane than locking them up inside all day or chaining them up to a post in the yard.

      2. No, sorry that is just wrong. Thousands of people with dogs use these fences, and the dogs do not “just run faster”. They work quite well.

        Dogs are not “self sufficient adults”, if you are a responsible dog owner, YOU are responsible for your dog and it’s health and safety. Is it more cruel than a chain or pen? Perhaps. But they do work and they don’t kill dogs.

  12. Stating the obvious manufactures are counting on the majority of customers not figuring this out & others fearful of doing it because they don’t have a basics understanding of things electrical or mechanical, I’m not criticizing them as a person just stating an apparent reality. I’d take an extra step to drill a small hole in the backside of the battery carrier so a nail could be use to push the battery out. I wonder how many dogs while in the heat of repeated chases figure out they can defeat the fence?

  13. Battery here is an RFA-188 (before you pull it out of the plastic). There’s also an RFA-67 which is used in the larger collars and a bit more popular that seems to be a stack of a couple coin cells (2025s or something) in a flatter package. This doesn’t surprise me. Keep in mind that precisely nobody makes their own batteries unless they are one of a few battery makers. All custom batteries are made from semi-standard cells and modified.

    As for animal cruelty: A: Dogs don’t fondle things with their skin so they’re not quite as sensitive there as we are. B: Almost everything made this way is self adjusting and shouldn’t need to deliver more than a tingle if it’s working. C: If you actually follow the instructions on a radio fence your dog might never even get shocked as you will have spent a couple weeks training them to go away from the flags when the collar beeps at them. The big problems with things like this and the remote trainers are that people expect magic and in the process misuse the tool.

  14. If you need to shock your dog then you shouldn’t have one. BTW, there are sound/vibration collars to train dogs without giving them shocks.

  15. There are always douchebags who try to come off as more ‘humanitarian’ than everyone else.

    I have a 1 year old Sheltie, and an 5 month old Dogtra ecollar.
    Thats also known as a ‘shock’ collar.

    Most people are truely ignorant of how ecollars ‘should’ be used, as is well detailed on LouCastle.com. He’s a pro-trainer of SAR, Police, and other real-life work dogs.

    Basically, you get a real ecollar that has 20-100 different settings. Then you start from the lowest setting and work your way up until your dog can just feel the stimulation.
    At that point, they will either look around as if a flea just bit them or similar. You do not go around cranking up the power trying to zap them every time they do something you think is wrong.
    Once you’ve found their ‘working level’, you start by training them to recall.
    I had clicker training for 8 weeks with my dog, and while most commands worked about great, and I was able to even get him to learn to roll-over on a verbal command in 10 minutes, recall was minimally successful. He was just like me, stubborn.

    No lie, with the ecollar set to about a 15 on a scale of 100, which measure about 19 volts, several ma, and 100 htz, he just barely registers it, acts like he got bit by a bug, not jumping, howling.
    Took about 10 minutes to train him at that level to recall on command.

    The deal is, you do not use ecollar to primarily shock him into not doing something, you use it as FEEDBACK to him on what you desire.

    I’ve actually been slack and not following his training like I should, mainly because even after 5 months I can be in the middle of the dog park, and simply call “Hier”, and he will stop playing, running, play-fighting with another dog and come back to me without fail.
    Lately he’s been getting a semi-agressive attitude when we walk out of the house and another dog is on the sidewalk out front.
    Even when he barks and starts to run toward the other dog to confront him for being on ”his’ territory, all I’ve needed to do is give a sharp ‘Hier’, and he stops and comes back to me, though he still will bark a few times.

    The $130 for this top of the line set has already payed for itself,
    and will only increase in value as I continue to train.
    Being able to call him back from getting involved in other dogs really fighting, from traffic, etc has been completed.
    As an added bonus, its helped out significantly in overall attentiveness to what I want him to do.

    There are a number of good ecollar training videos on youtube, worth looking for.
    And my training is following the German Schutzhund style.

    1. note the power output of the collars compared to the devices that are obviously “humane” as they are used Voluntarily by humans (ie the abdominal exerciser and the muscle stimulator TENS unit) for exercise or to TREAT CHRONIC PAIN.

  16. Wow, so many uninformed comments here, and onyl a few about the hack.
    On topic: cool hack, too bad gran ma’s will waste $8 on batteries because they don’t have this knowledge or the skill to cheapskate/mod

    offtopic:
    It’s not about the pain, its about bonding and reward vs punishment. Dogs attitudes are different than humans, they learn better by incentive than by punishment. If you don’t have time to teach your dog, you don’t have time to own a dog. Also, a lot of people use tools like this incorrectly, further making these devices useless and damaging to the dog MENTALLY. Wouldn’t you be confused if you felt pain everytime you visitied a certain website. Would it not feel better if evertime you didnt visit that website that you got a cookie? Yes it would, c’mon, now good boy!

    1. I’m not visiting http://www.dontlookatme.com at the moment, can I have a cookie? How about when I’m driving to work; I’m not looking at it then either, cookie? How long a period counts as more than one instance of not looking?

      I am fully in favor of emphasizing positive reinforcement but the complete absence of negative is silly and confusing. How is a dog, or anyone for that matter, to know not to do something if they’re never informed? How can one inform the subject that the behavior is unwanted without reinforcing a negative?

      1. however, now that I’m looking at the comment as it awaits moderation I’m feeling an annoying urge to click the link.
        Piss, I wanted a cookie.

  17. Electric shock dog collars are banned in Sweden because the are considered cruel. Better to train your dog not to leave your yard or keep it on a leech. My german shepherd would never go off on her own, and I would certainly NEVER put something like this on her…

    1. Love the Hack, Love the Collars, Love saving money.

      In England and Australia you can be fined or jailed for speaking or writing things that offend someone (insults to persons, not threats of violence), we should adopt those rules, too. You would be jailed for offending my sensibilities that call for ignorance to be kept hidden and not posted willy-nilly on the internet. .

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-14894576

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-21/man-jailed-for-facebook-sex-ratings-comments/4212574

  18. I too get annoyed by the back-end sales techniques like this, sell a collar cheap and make people pay outrageous prices for batteries. Free printer but the ink will cost an arm and leg. Buy expensive iPhone AND you can only use approved expensive iChargers, iApps, etc. A cordless drill might cost $100, but a replacement battery is $99. (You can do this same hack on many cordless battery packs, you can buy the cells and put them in the carrier.)

    I get a kick out of defeating their purpose, e.g. buying someone else’s ink or refilling. HA! Take that you money grubbers!

  19. C’mon crowd – never thought bout hacking dog behavior?
    I only have a device that don’t need no electrical energy. This device is called “Clicker”.
    So you may think “With a clicker i can’t teach my dog not to leave my property” but first your dog should learn that it’s important to be close to you and your dog should never be unattended. Second if your dog tends to be a strayer or tends to hunt than again you should never leave your dog unattended.
    By the way take a look at this videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msCmMaYtjpI&feature=BFa&list=SP756D0A827EF9134C – how to teach your dog not to cross invisible borders. Then throw away the ecollars and begin to work with your dog – your dog will thank you

  20. Ultrasonic methods also work, and this is PETA-friendly.
    Make the sound annoying enough (white noise at 16 to 45 kHz) and the dog will soon learn to do what it is told.

    Shame you can’t get a similar device linked to a credit card and Itunes to stop “a certain person” spending crazy money on pop videos etc.

    1. PETA-friendly is on the Tippy Top of MY priorites. WTFE, only PETA members give a crap what PETA members think. The rest of us realize that their endorsements and rants rarely are based on logical analysis or clear-thinking.

      For the record, sound levels generated by ultrasonic collars are 15 decibels higher than the level at which hearing damage occurs. ALso, the sound effects all dogs in the vicinity simultaneously, shock collars target only the misbehaving animal. Shock collars give a shock that is less than you get from static discharge when you grab a doorknob.

      I realize these posts are 4-6 months old, but this is what comes up for people investigating pet containment and training solutions and misinformation and uninformed opinions are detrimental to those people.

  21. Can you please tell me more about the battery. Duracell 2014 xxx. Where can I by that? I´m from Sweden.

  22. Ever watched a mother dog discipline her pups? That little nip or scruff of the neck shake elicits much more yelping than any dog collar. Dogs do learn from both positive AND negative reinforcement. I just haven’t been able to get my teeth around my dogs’ necks yet.

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