Hamster elevator

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by elektrowlad, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. elektrowlad

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Hy guys,

    I decided to buy a hamster and I want to make him a really nice home, with a suspended house that he can only reach with an elevator.

    The idea is a cabin with a pressure pad, when he gets on, it takes him up. I want it to either :

    1. Stay there for about 10 seconds after which the cabin descends back ( because i want him to have a slide to come down)

    2 Stay up and after being depressed and then pressed (hamster gets off and back on) the cabin takes him down and the process starts over again.

    I am using a servo to move the cabin up and down, i have everything i need but i'm not really good with electronics, just mechanics. A system of switches and cables to reverse the motor would be far too complicated to assemble and definitely not chewproof.
    What i need is a simple (i guess it's simple) circuit hooked up to the pressure pad that when activated, alternately moves it up and down (reversing polarity or something like that).

    The cabin will stay in place when it's up using a spring latch or something like that, i have the idea in mind

    Any ideas ?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. elektrowlad

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Oooh i forgot to mention, the other similar threads didn't help me too much, what i need is much simpler
  3. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    Well, not to throw water but if you want SIMPLE have you considered using a rung LADDER instead, to let the little fellow elevate himself? Hamsters LIKE to climb, probably more than they like riding an elevator.

    I'm sure there's some way to detect the presence or absence of a hamster in the car. But you'll need to elaborate on the logic of your plan - by that I mean the complete list of possible states of the system (eg. car up, car down, car moving, hamster jumps out halfway up) and then how the system should respond (go up, go down, stop, etc.) to each state. I don't think anyone here can help you until you define your needs.

    The hamster is not inert and may exhibit negative feedback, ie. jump off as soon as it starts moving up, or even jump onto it as it's descending. You don't want to mash him underneath it, either. Or electrocute him when he pees on it.
  4. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    I'd go the ladder route, too.

    It would be somewhat difficult to design and build an elevator that would be both reliable and safe for your hamster.
  5. elektrowlad

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Hmm, from experience, this breed of hamsters is quite lazy, and if you knew the design of the enclosure, you would see that a ladder is not a viable option.

    The same button would alternatley move it up to the top and down to the bottom. I'm guessing something like a timer to keep the motor running for x seconds. If he jumps, the elevator will simply continue it's path. I'll reset it if he's stranded anyway.

    Regarding the pee issue, it's fine. 2 reasons, hamsters pick a spot (i'm sure they won't pick the elevator as it will move every time they get on it)and go to the bathroom only there and 2, silicone and shrink tubing should do the trick.

    It will be safe, and regarding the climbing issue, plenty of that as well don't worry.

    So, hamter goes in elevator up. hamster gets off elevator stays there. hamster gets in elevator comes down etc.

    Any ideas on how to make the actual circuit ?
  6. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
    I was all set to say that you can do it with a couple of 555 timers to drive the servo, and a 7474 flipflop to do the divide-by-two function and control the pulse width of one of the 555s. But then there are real world problems:

    Will the pressure sensor be completely free of anything like contact bounce, where the circuit might count 2 or 3 or some random number? And could it be triggered by motion of the hamster while it's riding the elevator?

    Is the servo going to run at a reasonable speed, which won't frighten the hamster? The ones I've seen were pretty speedy, and the speed wasn't easily controllable.

    Now I'm thinking "This would be better with a microcontroller." You could have a lockout in it which would trigger only once per (let's say) 10 second period, so the lift would go up or down and not get re-triggered immediately. And you could set the speed to fast or slow.

    Another issue--suppose the beastie taps the sensor and hops off? Then the elevator is up and the hamster is down, and the hamster has no access to the sensor anymore. Better provide an "emergency stairway"!
  7. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
  8. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
  9. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
  10. hspalm

    Senior Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    If you can make a simple pseudocode, either in text or graphics (with boxes and arrows). I sure could help you programming a microcontroller to do the job, sounds like a fun project.

    edit: of course, the electronics assembly of the rest of the circuit you would do yourself. You can surely get some help here designing the circuit around the uC. I recommend either a stepper motor alone or a dc motor with micro switches at both ends of the elevator. If it is a hobby/rc servo you are planning to use (the 180 degree type), how will you be able to elevate the hamster all the way to the top with just 180 degrees of a revolution?