My cat, Brother, has a habit that drives my wife crazy. He scoops the food out of his feeder, onto the floor and eats it off the floor. Well, some of it.
Well, I am waiting on parts for my fish feeder. I am having trouble with the rabbitcore using both the servos and the webserver at the same time. The last one brought up is the one that works.
So, I orderd a Digilent SERVOCON AVR® based controller board to control the servo for the fish feeder.
According to UPS:
Your package is in the UPS system and is on time with a scheduled delivery date of 04/26/2006.
This controller board will also allow me to not rely on the programming board or having to recreate parts of it when I deploy my Fish Feeder.
I will work on the scheduling software untill it comes, and then I just need to re-write the scheduling side to accomidate the web interface, and the control side to talk to the servos. Great fun! Always easier the 2nd time around, right?
Then next come the controls for the lights…
Here is the front view of the feeder hooked up to my Rabbitcore Embedded Microcontroller. The Rabbitcore will eventually completely operate the fish feeder. It will also run the lights, and take the ambient temperature as well.
I am going to have the fish feeder to feed 3 times a day on a tight schedule, 30 minutes after lights on, 30 minutes before lights off, and half way in between. I am also going to “mix it up” a little bit and have it feed 2 times at a random interval. I am also going to have a manual “feed the fish” button. If this is used, it will count as the random feeding for that time period. I think this will make the fish much happier.
The fish feeder has the ability to adjust how much food is fed per feeding. I am going to have this turned all the way down, and increase the frequency to increase the the total amount they are fed. I don’t want to over feed the fish.
Well, here it is… a video of the automatic fish feeder in action. Sorry it is dark, blurry, grainy, and jerks around a bit, but it is the best I could do considering how excited I am. The Rabbitcore is currently running the servo-stop locater program that I wrote to find out how far each of my servos will run stop to stop, and what numerics I need to use for programming each individual servo. The two buttons I am pushing just moves the servo from one setting to the other. This program works well to check the functionality of the embedded microcontroller controlled automatic fish feeder.
Well… After 15 months of saving up my pennies and dimes, I could finally afford to buy the $12 fish feeder and the $12 servo to make the first part of my Internet Aquarium that will be ran off my Rabbitcore 3700.
I notched out the back for the Servo. I needed to cut out that tab so there was room for the mounting bracket for my Futaba S3003 servo. Lucky for me, there are 2 little marks that lined up exactly where I needed to cut.
This is how the servo will set into the housing. I still need to figure out the stand-offs. I have 2 options, shim it up with plastic or wood, or create nut and bolt stand-offs. The servo isn’t going to face much resistance, so I think that the bolts would be the best bet.
Here is the automatic fish feeder that I like. They are fairly in-expensive if you buy them at Wal-Mart, usually between $10 and $12. Don’t get them at a petstore as they are usually $25 to $30! All they are is a Quartz Clock movement that rotates a feeder drum. The will feed the fish 2 times a day, 12 hours apart.
Here is an exploded view of the feeder. You can see the clock movement in this photo. You can also see the blue clutch mechanism that allows you to set the “time” that you want the fish to be feed.
A close up of the clutch. You can adjust the time of the drum to within 5 minutes.
My plans are to tear this thing apart and replace the clock movement with a RC hobby servo. By using a servo and a controller, I will be able to feed the fish when I want. My personal belief is that fish would be happier if feed less more frequently. I am a big critter, and I like to eat more often then 12 hours apart. How do you think the little critters take to it?