An MSP430-based Automatic Fish Feeder

[Dmitri] wanted to buy an automatic feeding setup for his aquarium, but he found that most off-the-shelf feeders are really inaccurate with portion control. [Dmitri]’s fish is sensitive to overfeeding, so an off-the-shelf feeder wouldn’t get the job done. Since [Dmitri] knows a thing or two about electronics, he set out to build his own microcontroller-based automatic feeding machine.

[Dmitri]’s machine is based around a MSP430 that starts feeding at scheduled times and controls how much food is dispensed. The MSP lives on a custom PCB that [Dmitri] designed, which includes a stepper motor driver and input for an endstop sensor. The board is wired to a stepper motor that advances a small wooden board with a series of holes in it. Each hole is filled with a single serving of food. The board slides along a piece of U-channel, and food drops out of each hole into the aquarium when the hole reaches the end of the channel.

The whole build is very well documented, and [Dmitri] explains each block of his schematic in detail. His firmware is also open-source, so you can build your own fish feeder based off of his design. Check out the video after the break to see the feeder in action.

9 thoughts on “An MSP430-based Automatic Fish Feeder

  1. Awesome! Just have to remember to keep the food storage topped up. :)

    I still want to 3D print myself a corkscrew cat-feeder, but I love feeding them myself so much that I would feel bad for automating it.

    1. Ivan Pavlov is standing in line a the deli counter behind a few other customers. After waiting a few minutes and not seeing the butcher, the woman at the front of the line rings the bell for service.

      Ivan suddenly says “Oh, I just remembered, I need to feed the dogs!”

    1. We talked about this on reddit. It was one of those projects that starts, “This is the only motor I have and I want to use it.”

      I agree that a simple DC gear motor and a sensor or a solenoid and a ratcheting gear system would have made for a much simpler build.

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