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Automatic Fish Feeder

by pefozzy Sep 18, 2017
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This is great! Nice, simple, efficient design. I'm going to have to make one for my daughter's Beta, so it can be fed while we're away on Vacation. I think I might remix it a little to fit the components I have on hand. Thanks!

that is really cool!!!
I am looking for a tropical fish flakes, feeder.

One way you can improve it would be to adapt the hopper to connect to the whole bottle of fish food.
that way you can simply reload the bottle every time it's empty.

I wish there was a way to make the electronics not depend from a micro controller.
anyone that knows electronics???

It would be tough to do a non-micro controller circuit to control the servo. Arduinos are so cheap and easy to program it doesn't seem worth it not to use a micro. You could always design something that is purely a mechanical timed feeder- gear drive using a motor of known RPM to feed the fish via a once a day activated cam. What would be really cool would be a grandfather clock type mechanism that could be driven via weights- no electronics or motors at all.

The grandfather clock idea would be amazing!

what is the total cost of electronics and hardware if you know?

< $10 if you are careful about where you buy the arduino (clone) and the servo. If you go with name brand stuff you should still be able to do it for < $20.

Thanks for the quick reply! Is there a way to increase the size of the hopper? I would be gone for a week and I would want to make sure that my buddy dosent run out of food.

How about ATTiny? Do you think the servo drivers will work on that?

there is no servo driver.... 5v, ground and a PWM pin connected to the micro. pwm controls the angle only, not the current.

Possibly, I think your limitation will be how much current the ATTiny can drive. If you use the ATTiny to control the servo via a transistor / FET / other driver you might be OK.

No, that has nothing to do with it. servo is controlled via PWM.... you can use ANY micro... it isn't powered by the micro controller like a standard direct to DC motor which you would need a driver for. you can wire the power right off the regulator or use a different one if the on board one isn't rated high enough. clearly in this design it is....

Good point, I taking the easy way out and had the Arduino supply the regulated 5V to power the servo. It'd be easy to power the servo off an outside supply if necessary. I was trying to keep this as simple and compact as possible so I wanted to drive everything off the pro micro.

the design is good, but serves for a single meal and you can not control the amount, which can be a big problem.
If you add above the bowl a wheel with many divisions (each one, loaded with food) so that when the actuator returns to its repose position turn the wheel and fill the bowl again.

Thanks for the feedback. However, this system doesn't actually dump the entire bowl in one shot. The arm has a hole in it with a controlled volume- it only dispenses this controlled volume each cycle. If you need more than this small volume you could repeat the dispense cycle as many times as needed. The single cycle dispense volume is approximately 22 granules of the Betta Bits food shown in the picture. The bowl has enough volume to dispense at least 10 days's worth of food, using one cycle per day.

I did look at designing a system like you mentioned, however I thought it had some disadvantages:
-they were mechanically more complex to implement using a simple & cheap RC servo (not continuous rotation)
-they usually required a more precise fit between components
-the number of days they can dispense are fixed and limited to the number of divisions in the dispenser

Just out of curiosity, referring to printenac's suggestion, isn't it possible to easily modify a servo to allow continuous rotation (by removing the end-stop)? If so I might try to do a remix of this great design with a wheel mod.

You can find a bunch of tutorials online on how to convert a servo to 360 rotation.

I thought another cool way to run a rotating wheel would be to use a standard servo and some sort of ratchet / clockwork mechanism to turn a feed wheel a defined rotation.

That looks pretty cool.

Thanks- feel free to provide feedback if you build one.