Automated Faucet Keeps Your Cat Watered

Like many of us [Chris Dillon]’s cat prefers to drink cold fresh water directly from the tap. However, unlike us, [Chris]’s feline buddy is too preoccupied with cat stuff to bother flipping off the faucet after its use. As it turns out, this was an excellent opportunity not only for [Chris] to flex his project muscles, but also to lay the groundwork for future home automation projects.  While most of us may go for a simple solenoid [Chris] had to make the rig completely reversible. The result is an automated  faucet control which involves an infrared sensor, Arduino,  and tight fitting rail system with a servo to operate the sink handle.

After getting all of the hardware and the sensor sorted [Chris] went on to add a data logging PC to the mix. The faucet setup communicates with a Linux server via Xbee modules, and populates a MongoDB database. The setup even allows [Chris] to flag false positives (human sink use for example) and produce charts of his feline friend’s water usage. We suspect the cat will be none too pleased when it gets its water bill.

Don’t forget to check out [Chris Dillon]’s site for details on the project including code and a list of lessons learned. Also, since this is the internet after all, we have several other cat related projects for your viewing pleasure.

[Thanks Chris Burrows (and nephew)]

Check out a video of the setup in action after the jump.


21 thoughts on “Automated Faucet Keeps Your Cat Watered

  1. Overkill much? I think an IR sensor and a motor would of sufficed…even a solenoid is a bit too much..Logging was definitely overkill and then more overkill on top with a sprinkling of overkill.

  2. Overkill is often confused with exploring new technology and concepts. Is the logging required? Absolutely not! But Chris had something new to learn or something to gain from throwing this into the project. Love it.

  3. So… I just got tired of watching lol cats on the “internets” and I say to myself “gee… I should skip past hackaday and see if there’s anything new posted” and WHAM! cat picture.

  4. As I always say, “If you can’t over-engineer in your house, where can you over-engineer?”

    Booker probably would have bought an automatic faucet on eBay for $64.99/free shipping.

  5. Is there really a need to criticise everyones creation?
    Cant you see the creativity he put in this?
    If he wants to put logging, why not?
    Let him experiment.
    Nice project :)

  6. lol thats a overkill on tec for water for the cat
    i no a simple way whit no tec

    take a coke botel put water in the coke botel
    than hang it upside down in a bowl off water you have now 2 liter water for you cat so it can take a weak or more to drink it empty

  7. juz goes to show you: Thinking is the most important aspect of any make/hack project.

    WTF! This thing has me scratching my head, but we’ll keep it constructive ;)

    All that microrax and servo: T/Y junction, mains pressure solenoid and maybe some couplers? all mounted under the sink – tidy.
    ruby+rails, just to monitor the serial port and store data? why not perl or bash?
    mongoDB? “to the cloud” *roll eyes*. c’mon, this is what SQLite is for! Hell even a CSV would be more appropriate.
    A breadboard as a patch pannel? personally I don’t use them for prototyping – too flakey!

    /dig to complete the “designed by an MBA” meme: where’s the iPad interface and why doesn’t it tweet?

  8. I’m the guy who built this, appreciate the comments. The dripping is gone and the box is under the sink now. The video was my ‘alpha’ run. A solenoid would have been destructive on my pipes, I’m not a plumber. I did talk with a guy who had done the solenoid way, it’s a cleaner solutions but not without problems.

    The logging was really to answer the question “does she drink when we’re away?” and she doesn’t. She just sleeps. Plus, it was a chance to hack on javascript. :P

  9. I am extremely disappointed with this thread. This guy made something cool. He spent time designing it, building it, and tweaking it. He played around and added fun features. It solves a problem for him and gave him experience & a fun time building it. Yet all the commenters have to say is “overkill” “buy an automatic faucet off the shelf” “*roll eyes*” etc. Hackaday is a place for people’s creations. Chris created this. Why shouldn’t he be able to do it however he wants? If you would have done it better, DO IT BETTER, don’t yell at him and complain about it. He did it his way, enjoyed doing it, and it works! And it’s in the spirit of hacking, rather than just buying stuff! It’s good to encourage people to enjoy making things. With the attitude of the commenters on this site, I’m surprised anyone submits anything anymore. I know I don’t want to submit my projects just to see people say “should have done this” or “why the hell did you do this”… This community should be more welcoming to people doing stuff, rather than being so incredibly jealous and hostile.

    Aside from that rant, I think that this project is pretty cool! I’ve often thought about ways to control my faucet, and this definitely gives me some cool ideas regarding making a reversible water control system. Thanks for submitting, squarism!

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