Device to locate my cat

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by kaiosama, May 5, 2011.

  1. kaiosama

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2010
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    Hello, please excuse my bad english

    When my cat leaves our house, my mother is worried about her and she gives us a hard time for letting her out. This winter I have studied my first term of electrical engineering and I was thinking about trying to do something that could locate the cat around our house as a personal project to keep myself interested and to improve my knowedge about electronics. Also, my knowledge about electronics is very low, so this project would be an occasion to learn more. I am also currently reading the ebooks on this website.

    The range of such a device should be a radius of 100 meters around my house. It should also be small enough to be attached to a cat's collar. I was thinking about a gps receiver that would send the data wirelessly. I am not sure via which protocol the data could be sent, or if it is even possible.

    Can something like this be done? Can anyone give me some recommandations or advices?

    Thank you very much
     
  2. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    3,033
    Are you sure 100m is enough? When my cats are hard to get in by calling for them, it's because they've wandered out of ear shot. If they're within 100m, I think they hear me and come running.

    Unfortunately any radio signal to cover 100-200 meters is a challenge. But instead of GPS you might consider an occasional burst to send a critter-cam video shot. Maybe not precise location information, but maybe it would help.
     
  3. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    There is a limit to how much electronics you can hang around a cat's neck. A big dog would offer more possibilities.

    There are commercially available "dog callers" which are collars with an RF range of 400 meters. The owner simply transmits a signal to cause the collar to vibrate. The trained dog then knows to come home.

    I doubt you can train a cat to do this, but you could create a similar design that triggers a loud tone. Within 100 meters you will be able to hear it and figure out where the cat is.

    Although, the loud tone may just scare the cat and make him run away, in which case you will only know where the cat was. :p
     
  4. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
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    Cats and Dogs are critters that respond to repetitive conditioning. If you train them by calling their name followed by treat they become very responsive. I think a similar approach to beep tone will eventually produce the same results. That said, Cats are ingrate, independent buggers and want you to know it! Whenever they get the chance they let you know that you exist for their pleasure, not the other way around. ;)
     
  5. DumboFixer

    Active Member

    Feb 10, 2009
    219
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    We've used one of these for our dog (it's hard to see a black dog in the undergrowth at night)

    http://www.loc8tor.com/
     
  6. kaiosama

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    29
    0
    Thank you every one for your answers,

    I would like to add that I don't want to buy something already made because it's not fun. I would really like to build it myself so I can learn during the process. Even if it is not perfect or accurate, I would like to build something myself. I like steveb's idea to trigger a loud tone. However, cats have very sensitive ears, wouldn't it scare the cat ?
     
  7. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    2,223
    99
    Let's put it this way. If it irritates him he will eventually get the idea that to make it stop irritating him he should get his butt home. On the other hand you can still make and train him with a pleasant tone.
     
  8. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,536
    I can see batteries are going to be an issue here. Even with rechargeables they will wear out.

    Ever hear of "Fox and Hound"? It is a game Amateur Radio (Hams) play, where someone has a transmitter and people try to hunt him down. Try googling "Fox and Hound Amateur Radio".
     
  9. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
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    Would that be Heisenberg's cat?
     
  10. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    985
    136
    A sudden loud noise or vibration round a cat's neck is likely to cause it to void itself and disappear for good. I guess that would solve the problem.
     
  11. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,094
    3,033
    Sound is a good approach for <100m. We have bells on our cat's collars and I can hear them coming in the dark long before I can see them. And I can hear them even if they're too busy to come home when called. But, I cannot hear them if they're just sitting under a bush watching me yell my fool head off. I think an occasional chime and maybe an LED flash would be very helpful.

    My cats totally ignore the bells since they're very used to them. I don't think you need anything much louder.
     
  12. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    hey, nobody mentioned how fast it was moving...
    :rolleyes:
     
  13. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    2,223
    99
    Sounds like someone who does not have affection for cats. I accept them for what they are but I like to occasionally deny them affection just to keep the scales balanced. :D
     
  14. russpatterson

    Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    351
    16
    Check sparkfun.com for breakouts for GPS receivers and RF transmitter/receivers. I don't think your cat will like wearing them. Maybe you can just log where your cat went via a GPS datalogger, then you'll know where to look for him/her.

    I don't think this project will work but you'll learn a lot about cats and electronics. I just keep my cat in an electronics box and don't have these kinds problems.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    Device to find a cat:

    A can opener and a can of tuna fish! ;)
     
  16. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    1,585
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    Boy, amen to that! When I was a kid, we had two cats and did they ever get to know the sound of that can opener. All we did to call them inside was open the door and run the can opener, then got outta the way... :p
     
  17. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
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    AINT THAT THE Truth!

    You WILL get mowed down by a pet in the "mad dash" for food.
     
  18. Audioguru

    New Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    9,411
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    Please don't allow your animals to run loose and pollute the entire neighbourhood.
    Neighbourhood cats frequently wake us at night because they are fighting or mating.
    I hate cleaning up their poop in my yard.

    I walk my dogs on leashes and clean up after them. They are never loose (except when they are running like mad chasing me in a park) and are never out loose at night.
     
  19. kaiosama

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    29
    0
    Hello everyone, I think I will try to do a remote controlled buzzer that would be attached to my cat's collar. I have realized it is not important for me to know where is the cat since I wouldnt be able to catch him anyway. However, maybe the tone will make my cat comeback to the house if I train him correctly. What are the different technologies available for controlling something remotely that I could apply? What distance range can I hope for? I have read about RF waves but from what I have read they only work on a very short distance. What is used in remote controlled drones ??
     
  20. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
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    Unless your cat is getting a job, or three, this is going to be a VERY EXPENSIVE project.

    The bell is the way to go.

    If you are going to do training, get a clicker. They are standard animal training tools, are about $2, and if you put the time in, clicking and regarding with the cats favorite treat, after a short time the cat will come when the clicker is pressed.

    So for the cost of a few bags of treats, a clicker, and some dedication on your part, you will have a superior way of locating your cat.
     
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