Feedback for automated water and food pet dispensers

pet-food-and-water-automation

[Enrico] figured out a way to fully automate his pet food and water. The system is in two parts, the water trough as seen on the left, and the food dispenser whose control hardware is shown on the right. The system is even hooked up to the network so that he can make sure it didn’t break down while he was away.

The water dispenser uses parts from a sprinkler system. Since it’s mounted outdoors it doesn’t matter if the water overflows a little bit. So [Enrico] set up the timer to run the water for three minutes every day. This acts as a backup system since the trough already has the ability to refill itself.

The food dispenser started as a commercial unit. To get feedback from the system he added a couple of magnets to the agitation motor and reads them with a hall effect sensor. In addition to an IP camera that monitors the area around the feeder (so [Enrico] can actually see his dog eating) there is a webcam which monitors the STM32 Discovery board which monitors the feeder. It tracks the number of times the dispenser has run.

Comments

  1. Richard Sisco says:

    I don’t know what a “food pet” is, but I want one.

  2. Sparky (aka Sparks) says:

    damed fine.. but, until my cat can use the ‘touchpad/keyboard/mic’.. he;ll have to deal with the wild (of my ^3000′ home)… a 17 yro how feeds him once a day.
    “.. I’m being held captave… ” sparky.LeKitty”

  3. robotic says:

    I’ve always wanted a pet dispenser.

  4. Interesting from a hack point of view, but terrible from a humanity point of view. Caring for a pet should not be “automated.” Taking care of animals in a automated fashion is something pork, chicken and veal factories do (yes factory, not farm).

    My two cents, if you can’t spend the time to care for your pet, you’re not responsible enough to have that pet. Sure there are 100 different excuses about getting stuck at the office, or running late getting the kids to soccer practice, etc; but they are all BS.

    • andar_b says:

      At least this dog seems to have at least some outdoor space. I’ve seen people try to keep a pair of huge dalmatians in a small apartment with a 2 sq yd concrete patio and no yard. I’m not fond of dogs and I feel bad for those dogs.

      If you don’t have a job for the dog and the ability to train it, don’t get one. Dogs aren’t toys. Cats, now, they are pretty self-sufficient, but a dog needs a purpose. Dogs without a purpose end up being yappy and annoying or fat and lazy, or just so-called ‘bad dogs’.

    • Willrandship says:

      He’s responisble enough to build something that feeds his pet, at least. The way I see it, that shows more dedication than simply putting out a bowl of food each day. It’s also safer, because if he ever forgets, the job is still done.

    • Frank Johnson says:

      If you have ever watched the Dog Whisperer, or learned about animal behavior for pets, you might find that it is better to feed the animals directly each time. It should come from you, so you have their dependence on you. This dependence establishes your pack leadership, and is one way to keep their respect, and avoid behavior problems later. Other ways are, avoiding letting them behave in ways that confront your leadership (such as letting them on furniture, especially the bed, and letting them command your attention, such as jumping up on you when you first come in the door or when you are sitting). Most of the dog problems are from lazy owners that don’t provide the exercise and structure that dogs need to be content and well balanced as animals.
      Dogs can establish food aggression issues when fed this way, because from their perspective, they just found the food in the same place every time, so they get not only territorial, but unsure about when they will get their next meal, so they tend to eat as much as possible (not knowing where their next meal comes from).
      As for the hardware, nice job – like the work, but this is just not one of those things you want to substitute automation for. That bond between you and your pet is something you want to protect to help keep a good balance in the pack.

  5. The real wtf there is the webcam used to monitor what is displayed on the lcd of a device connected through usb to the computer… :)

  6. cutandpaste says:

    At this point in the game of “pet ownership,” one should realize that they do not have pets, but livestock.

    Meh.

  7. fartface says:

    A $6.00 float valve from the feed store works better for the water, it just keeps it full no matter what.

    As for the whiners about feeding the dog automatically, I bought an automatic dog feeder because I would get home from work at 6:00pm and I wanted the dog fed at 5:00pm so that she would be ready to poop when I got home. Dogs always poop about an hour or so after they eat… gotta make room for the new kibble.

    I am really glad the whiners here make millions of dollars so they can stay home all day with their dog, the rest of us have to go to work.

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