I think I’ll try to pick up a utilitech water sensor at lowes tomorrow and see how it works.
and hopefully it doesn’t electrocute my dogs
@mweston Let me know if that works and what Smart App you use. I’m planning to use the same type of thing to check when the water level on my pool level goes down.
Not that we have a supported pressure sensor yet but I wonder if you could accomplish the same thing by detecting how light the bowl is.
That would be cool, in theory if the mat was able to detect precise changes in pressure it could be used to detect almost exactly how full it is.
Now only if one existed and worked with ST…
Would you not just put a water sensor and punch two holes in the bottom of the dog bowl and when the dog bowl goes empty the sensor would go away and then you can alert off of that???
For example the Everspring Water Sensor…
That’s what I’m trying. A pressure mat would be nicer so that I don’t have wires all over the bowl when trying to wash/refill it though.
I just picked up a utilitech sensor today which is the same as the ever spring. The problem I’m seeing so far is that the sensor itself beeps and flashes a light when water is detected. I’m not sure if this can be turned off since I’m trying to detect the absence of water. If not, the Aeon water sensor would of been a better option probably.
If I recall correctly the Aeon Water Sensor is designed with this kind of use in mind, i.e. it won’t run out its batteries if it is left in water.
Plus it would work for food in addition to water. My dogs have food and water available all the time so all I really want to know is when they run out of either. If I only had the time to start a Kickstarter project. I guess this is where the Quirky business model comes in handy.
I just thought of another way to solve the problem, though it takes a bit more engineering. If the dogs bowls are on a surface with springs at the correct tension then you could use an open/close sensor to do this. Attach one side of the sensor to the bowl and as the bowl empties it will rise up and away from the sensor which will trigger it from closed to open. You could then take action on the open status.
Not the easiest solution but probably the quickest unless someone can find a pressure sensor. This one would be perfect if we could hook it up somehow: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/flexiforce-25lb-resistive-force-sensor.aspx
Edit: Another related solution: http://blog.aceshigh.net/2014/01/fibaro-universal-door-window-sensor-plus-pressure-mat-equals-stairway-to-heaven/
Yeah not a bad idea… I’m not sure how you would go about finding springs with the exact right tension and rigging up some kind of platform though.
This post in another thread looks like a perfect device to use: Devices we don't have
It seems to be able to determine the level of pressure applied so one could, in theory, determine the amount of food or water left in the bowls.
Unfortunately it looks like the Kickstarter campaign was not funded though: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1340651422/smartmat-wi-fi-floor-mat-that-can-alert-mobile-dev?ref=discovery
Hmm. On second look it looks like they are selling that mat through their own site now and it hooks up to an arduino: http://www.sensorfilmkit.com/
I’ll have to read through the site to see how it works.
Christmas tree folks are trying to solve roughly the same problem. Wish there was a way to link threads, though I don’t think the weight-based approach would work for trees.
Indeed I’m trying to figure something for the Christmas tree. I think the probes through the plastic stand would work nicely. So long as it doesn’t leak. In fact I could likely use two sensors - one to detect empty and one full - then rig a pump to auto water. Or maybe just one to detect full then auto top the tree off. Hmm.
I’m also interested in the dog application. I’ve got four that drink from a single water bowl fed from a flipped 5 gallon jug.
I think the utilitech sensor from lowes would work well for a xmas tree, you could in theory just run the wire and probe over the top and mount it with the included mount an inch or so off the bottom of the base. Theres a smart app I found in the IDE to alert on the absence of water and it works well.
I’m going to attempt to pick up one of the pressure sensitive mats that I linked to above and hook it up to an arduino/st sheild for dog bowls. I wasn’t a fan of having a probe and wires rigged up to the dog bowls and it looks like a pressure mat should be able to do it in a much cleaner way.
Just a thought. Test the conductivity of a pair of wires externally connected to a Z-Wave switch like this one.
The absence of water may be enough to trigger the switch into an open state. I will do a test tomorrow.
I did this to monitor my tree stand water. I bet you could modify a bowl to make this idea work.
There are many aquarium water level sensors which are water safe and can be wired to any of many devices to send an alert. Some cost less than $20 for the sensor itself, although you’d still need the zwave components.
That said, I wouldn’t use them directly in a dog bowl, since the dog might try to play with the sensor.
Instead, you could set up a closed tank reservoir that fills the bowl and put the sensor in the reservoir. The dog couldn’t get to it, and you’d have more time to do the refill.
Interesting alert system idea. Another option, teach dog to bark when water empty