Do-it-yourself electronically controlled automatic feeder for pets and large breed dogs
If you already have all the components, the process of assembling a do-it-yourself dog feeder will take no more than a couple of weekends.
Step 1: Materials
Step 2: Connecting to the Switch Breadboard
Switches make it possible to control the feeder. My build has two push button switches. One is connected to the electric motor, the other is needed to reset the timer settings (reset switch).
- First, connect the splitter to the Raspberry Pi board via a cable. The red stripe on the cable should come to the corner of the computer board.
- Put the splitter on the breadboard.
- Connect one pin of the motor switch to pin 6 of the splitter. Connect the second pin to the ground of the splitter.
- Connect one of the reset switch pins to pin 13 of the splitter and the other pin to ground on the splitter.
Step 3: Connecting to the LCD Breadboard
The LCD display is programmed to display the clock, countdown to feeding, status messages during feeding, reset, etc.
- Solder the pin headers to the LCD panel, solder a small circuit board to the back of the pin header. I cut the old PCB to size. This will make it easier to route the wires to the breadboard.
- Install a 10 kΩ potentiometer on the breadboard.
- Connect the left and right legs of the potentiometer to the 5V pin and ground respectively.
- Connect the display leads to the splitter in the following order:
- Pin 1 (VSS) – connect to ground (black wire)
- Pin 2 (VDD) – connect to 5V (red wire)
- Pin 3 (VE) – connect to the middle leg of the potentiometer
- Pin 4(RS) – connect to connector 25 of the splitter
- Pin 5 (RW) – connect to ground (black wire)
- Pin 6 (EN) – connect to connector 24 of the splitter
- Skip pins 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the display
- Pin 11 (D4) – connect to connector 23 of the splitter
- Pin 12 (D5) – connect to connector 17 of the splitter
- Pin 13 (D6) – connect to connector 21 of the splitter
- Pin 14 (D7) – connect to connector 22 of the splitter
- Pin 15 (LED +) – connect to 5V (red wire)
- Pin 16 (LED -) – connect to ground (black wire)
There is an interesting option modmypi. Com
The Adafruit library is used to program the display (more on that later).
Step 4: Connecting to the Motor Breadboard
The high torque motor is a 12V 3. 5rpm motor with a 6mmd-shaft. The connection scheme is simple transistor, with a control signal coming from pin 19 of the Raspberry Pi.
Connect all components as shown in the diagram. Remember that the 12V battery only powers the electric motor. Connect the ground from the 12V battery and the ground from the Raspberry Pi. The transistor acts as a switch, we set the output value to HIGH on the Raspberry pin to turn the motor on and off.
Step 5: Program the Raspberry Pi
Main Features of Automatic Dog Feeder.
- When you press the button, a certain amount of food is poured into the bowl.
- To prevent overfeeding, the button is disabled for eight hours after being pressed.
- When the reset switch is pressed, the feeding button works again.
- If you accidentally press a deactivated feed button, a friendly message appears on the display.
- The display shows the current time as well as the time remaining until the next feeding.
- Sending an email to a Google account initiates feeding.
- You can send an email requesting the time of the last feeding and the time left until the next feeding to a Google account.
- Displays messages with Chuck Norris jokes and interesting facts.
- The system is protected from resetting all settings, the program automatically starts on reboot, saving its status in a separate file.
How to build a low cost automatic feeder for your pet.
Step 6: Connect the dispenser to the electric motor
The dispenser comes complete with a mounting kit and a lamb handle. Remove the lamb and plastic rod from the dog food storage container.
- Take a 6. 4 mm metal rod and cut it so that its length is enough to connect the spinning mechanism of the dispenser to the electric motor. The rod can “walk” a little in the dispenser hole, but this is easily fixed with a tab cut out of an unnecessary plastic card.
- Fasten the electric motor (I used a corner mount).
- Connect the rod and motor shaft with a 6-6. 4 mm adapter.
- Fix the dispenser in a permanent place.
Step 7: Feed Chute – Optional
I didn’t want to constantly bend down to press the dispenser button and I wanted to keep the plastic dispenser away from the dog, so I mounted the dispenser higher. But from such a height, the feed scattered all over the floor, so I decided to make a chute for pouring the feed.
For this I used a 76mm drain pipe and an elbow to it. I partially blocked the pipe hole with electrical tape so that the feed pellets fell exactly into the bowl.
Step 8: Assemble and Paint the Case
Make a small wooden cabinet and paint it.
Make the locker door hinged to have constant access to the system just in case.
- Press the button to start feeding.
- Send an email with the subject “When” to find out the time of the last feeding.
- Send an email with the subject “Feed” to feed your pet.
The video shows the feeder in action.
Step 9: Installing the Camera
For several months the feeder worked flawlessly. The only thing missing was confirmation that the dog had eaten the food when I used the remote feeding feature. So I decided to install a Raspberry Pi camera.
After you connect the camera to the computer board, you will need to add a piece of code to the main code so that the camera is integrated into the system. The camera will take pictures at a specific time and save them in a separate file. If you wish, you can send this file to your email.
In the “sendmail” function in the source code, you just need to replace the parameter “attach=None” with “PICFILE” and you should receive an email with the file.
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