Motor choice for Automatic Pet Feeder?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by TinkerGurl, May 27, 2011.

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  1. TinkerGurl

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 27, 2011
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    OVERVIEW OF PROJECT


    I have been planning an automatic feeder system for my pet pigeons, to feed them while I am away. Sure I can leave a giant dish of food, but then I;d have chicken sized pigeons that won't be able to fly :(

    I have the mechanical design worked out: I am going to use a 2 liter soda bottle with a single-flap trap-door to release food out the bottle's kneck (upside-down) I will have the 2-liter set into a holder which is attached to the trap flap. The trap flap will work on a spring system, similar to a screen door. The springs remain tight and keep the flap shut over the mouth of the bottle.

    The idea is to have a motor "pull" the trap flap down to release food out. When the motor is turned "on", it pulls the trap door down and keeps it down. The motor should have an adjustable set amount of time that it keeps the door open, and then closes it (or lets it swing back shut) when time is up.

    I am thinking of having it connected to a timer (the kind used for Christmas decorations) so that each time it receives power, it will open the trap door.

    I'm not sure what type of motor to use for something that requires an up/down movement. I know most motors have a spinning shaft that is used to turn devices, but any suggestions for this project?

    I really just want to make sure my birds get fed twice a day, a rationed amount of food :)

    And if there isn't a simplistic method to attach a motor to do an up/down motion, then I can re-work the design using a spinning motion. Just let me know your thoughts :)
     
  2. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    don't worry about your birds getting fat. Google bird feeders and build one so they can help themselves. Fresh water is the same. Both can be delivered from an upside down soda bottle. Don't know how many you have, but pigeons can be done right nasty to each other, so make sure you have enough 'table' for all to dine/drink, do there is no bullying.
     
  3. TBayBoy

    Member

    May 25, 2011
    148
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    How about:

    Drill a hole in the pop cap a little smaller than a big cork screw. Replace the cork screw handle with a gear, mesh the gear with a small motor and gear on the shaft. Any time the motor has power, it turns the cork screw that screws out seeds.
     
  4. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    You could use a butterfly or ball valve but for bulk materials a screw feed is usually better. There are plenty of commercially available electric feeders to borrow ideas from.
     
  5. TinkerGurl

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 27, 2011
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    That does give me another option, and something else to play around with. Although I'm not sure how practical it will be for my birds. A dog or cat would be ok, since they aren't going to be sitting around waiting to dive into their food dish for food (or if they are, it would be good so they don't choke on eating too much food!).

    My birds are fed by hand in five seconds flat. or less. The second I open the door, they dive into my food cup and cover my arms trying to be the first to get at the food.

    A slow feed corkscrew option would only allow the fastest birds to gobble up the food as it fell, and everyone would be shoving to wait for the next few seeds to fall.

    I suppose if the speed was cranked up to shuttle it down a tube (instead of directly into the dish -- it would spatter everywhere), that could work to send the feed out at a reasonable rate.

    It's worth experimenting with.

    ------->>>> Some of my birds ARE already fat, lol. I know they can pace themselves, but ideally I don't want to have to wait for them to get back into shape when I come home:( And yes, having plenty of "Table" is key to everyone's happiness;)
     
  6. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    The nice things about a screw feed are a) it won't jam and b) the amount dispensed is determined by the running time. And it's simple -- just a direct mechanical connection to a gearmotor. Use an L-shaped chunk of plastic pipe and fill the vertical section as the hopper. The auger is a close fit in the bottom horizontal part. Just like an extruder...

    You could also put another small motor with a disk on it with ridges (think impeller or seed broadcaster) to throw the food out centripetally when dispensing. Then everyone feeds at once.
     
  7. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    A unique problem. What's really needed is a feeding station that only one bird could fit into at a time and have an RFID tag on its ankle band read while being weighed. A fat bird would get the minimum dose of food :p and a thin bird would be fed a sumptuous meal. :D Of course, this requires a μController, RFID reader, digital scale and excluder apparatus.

    Stealing an idea from Someonesdad above. Maybe you could retrofit a broadcast spreader with a motor and timer.

    http://www.scottsprofessional.com/en/hand-held-spreader.html + http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/DCM-702/3-12-VDC-GEAR-MOTOR/1.html + any timer = :cool:.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  8. TBayBoy

    Member

    May 25, 2011
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    great idea, simple and elegant.
     
  9. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,093
    3,030
    Instead of a motor, consider a solenoid to briefly pull the flap open, and then release again to close it. The x-mas tree timer could start the process twice a day, and then your circuit would take over to deliver however many seconds of flap-open time you need. A 555 timer circuit driving a solenoid - should be pretty simple.
     
  10. tamao

    New Member

    Jan 30, 2015
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  11. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,509
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    What is your point, just trying to revive a 4yr old thread?
    Max.
     
  12. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,645
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    old thread, now dead
     
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