Wingblaze
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:22 pm

Seeking a way to verify food was dispensed

Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:25 pm

I'm building an automated cat feeder. Right now there's no feedback to the pi to even know the motor is there, let alone spun or that actual food was dispensed.

I could monitor the rotation of the motor and hope food came out if it spun.
I could try to use some kind of sensor to capture the fact that food went by?
I could try to weigh the food before final dispensing?

I'd be interested in any suggestions on the best way to confirm food got to the monsters.

Thanks!

scotty101
Posts: 3649
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:03 pm

Re: Seeking a way to verify food was dispensed

Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:58 pm

Perhaps the food can fall down a chute which is blocked by a spring loaded flap. The weight of the food will cause the flap to drop down, close the contacts on a microswitch and indicate that food has been dispensed.

You'd just have to read a GPIO pin connected to the switch to monitor that it is closed within a few seconds of the motor running.
Electronic and Computer Engineer
Pi Interests: Home Automation, IOT, Python and Tkinter

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Burngate
Posts: 5930
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:34 pm
Location: Berkshire UK Tralfamadore
Contact: Website

Re: Seeking a way to verify food was dispensed

Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:00 pm

How about a camera - if a cat arrives and stays for more than 10 seconds, food was dispensed.
If anything else arrives - a pigeon for instance - the cat's gone next door.

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tlfong01
Posts: 1312
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:43 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Seeking a way to verify food was dispensed

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:28 am

Wingblaze wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:25 pm
I'm building an automated cat feeder. Right now there's no feedback to the pi to even know the motor is there, let alone spun or that actual food was dispensed.

I could monitor the rotation of the motor and hope food came out if it spun.
I could try to use some kind of sensor to capture the fact that food went by?
I could try to weigh the food before final dispensing?

I'd be interested in any suggestions on the best way to confirm food got to the monsters.

Thanks!

HX711 to monitor cat food

Try HX711!

RE: HOW TO USE SOLENOID LOCK 12V DC Postby tlfong01 » 2019-Jan-08 Tue 5:24 pm
viewtopic.php?f=91&t=230325&start=25#p1413410


RE: READING OLD WEIGHT SCALE Postby tlfong01 » 2018-Nov-22 Thu 7:53 pm
viewtopic.php?f=37&t=227137#p1395288
I am an electronics and smart home hobbyist.

Wingblaze
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:22 pm

Re: Seeking a way to verify food was dispensed

Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:33 pm

Thank you all. I was reading some of the material on load cells as a matter of fact. Scotty101 your idea is both brilliant and simple and might also work.

I'm still working on version 1 (waiting for 3d printed parts) but this is on my mind for version 2.

hippy
Posts: 5588
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Seeking a way to verify food was dispensed

Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:55 pm

Wingblaze wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:25 pm
I could try to weigh the food before final dispensing?
I would have thought weighing it after dispensing would be best, a load sensor on the bowl or whatever the food drops into.

That way you can also tell if your cat is eating the food and have an early warning that something may be wrong in that regard.

PhatFil
Posts: 1308
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:55 pm
Location: Oxford UK

Re: Seeking a way to verify food was dispensed

Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:08 pm

Imho KISS a light source (led) and LDR either side of the expected food passage when dispensed should be a simple indicator or not that something blocked the passage when food was expected ;)

if you need verification, fit a camera and take a snapshot of the food target post dispense and save with a timestamp.

.

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