Internet Enabled Cat Feeder


When travelling, it can always be a pain to have your cats cared for. There are some commercial automated solutions out there, but they tend to be pricey, especially when there are two required. These two cats don’t need to worry though. They have an internet enabled monster of a system.

The system used is pretty unique. They wanted internet connected relays, but didn’t want to put an entire computer in line just for the cat feeder. Instead, a Cisco router was hacked to run relays hooked to the status lights on the ports. Not only can it be controlled over the internet, there is also a live feed so you can see the cats as the binge. These are some pretty lucky cats. They also have an automatic cat door.

[via Hackedgadgets]

35 thoughts on “Internet Enabled Cat Feeder

  1. Unless the switch was laying around and was free, i think this is overkill. Same could be accomplished with an arduino and ethernet shield, no need the “Custom relay board that gets the signal from leds” either.

  2. Use what you have. Not everyone has an arduino lying around. Plus, if you are more comfortable with networking code than microcontrollers, then you are good to go.

    Arduino + ethernet shield = $60+.
    Switch that you aren’t using = Free!

  3. This is a great hack. The web interface is also awesome makes me think I really need to work on a web UI for my computerized grow box.

    I agree with the comments that arduino and ethernet shield would have been easier, but many times doing something the easy way is much less fun. With my grow box hooking up a timer to a cardboard box to light timer with a couple of CFLs would have been easier (and a bigger fire hazard) though way less fun…

  4. I feed my cat by leaving an open bag of food. Works okay for a few weeks til she gets down to the bottom which gets microbial from kitty slobber. Then she occasionally gets an upset stomach and throws up on the carpet.

    Haven’t tried it with my new kittens yet, but there’s two mostly-full bowls of food out right now so I think that they’ll be fine for the same system eventually.

  5. @Peter:

    I did this once before…

    I was reprogramming WGT-634u routers with OpenWRT to be wireless clients en-masse, so I built a custom one to auto program the others. Since the programming process took several minutes and four phases, I wanted some sort of indicator to show the progress in case one of the units to be programmed failed during the process. Since I needed four indicators, and didn’t need the four switch ports on the programmer, I used the switch port status LEDs. To do this, I jumpered each port on the bottom of the circuit board into a loopback type arrangement, so each port would show a link, and then I used my programming script to toggle the duplex of each port to turn the duplex LEDs off and on. Worked great…

  6. Also @ Peter:

    If you were asking how you would toggle the LEDs specifically on this switch, my IOS is a little rusty, but I think the commands would be something like:

    ip int conf [Interface/Port Name] duplex full &
    ip int conf [Interface/Port Name] duplex half

  7. @Peter:

    After reading his script, I see he is turning the ports off and on instead of toggling the duplex, using the shutdown/no shutdown commands instead of the duplex full/duplex half commands. I used duplex in my project because the unit used bi-color leds, and I wanted to switch from green to yellow instead of just turning the green color off and on…

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