Particle Photon Dog Cat Pet Treat Food Dispenser

Here is a very simple and crude proof of concept I taped together with my Particle Photon, basically a WiFi and Cloud based Arduino, the replacement to the Spark Core. I posted this because I am looking for some clever ideas from this great community to expand this fun project into something even more interesting :smiley: Many thanks to @juano2310 and @jjhtpc for their projects which has led me to my new one here. This is what I started with:

Shopping List
1x $19 Particle Photon - Wifi Development Chip
1x $3 Micro Servo Motor - Analog Hobby/RC Motor (Originally from Arduino Kit)
1x Microusb phone charger
1x Spare breadboard wire or old computer case port wire
1x Scotch Tape, because thats how I roll
1x Tall Plastic Container

Using the latest similar project Spark Core Blinds, this is what I did

  1. Re-Flash your Particle Photon with Spark Code, but change variable A7 to A5.
  2. Connect 1 wire from micro servo motor to A5 on the photon and
  3. Connect the positive and negative wires to the VIN and GND on the photon
  4. Create a SmartThings Device Type using Device Type Code
  5. Create a SmartThings Device by selecting newly created Device Type from bottom of list.
  6. From your phone, control motorized devices wired to the wifi chip.
  7. Attach micro servo motor to cup or container for treat or food.
  8. Power device using Micro USB wall charger.

(Alternatively, you can make it wireless as I did here with a $5 3.7 volt lithium battery and $5 lithium charger as the Photon is known to pull what it needs, comfortably from up to 6v)

Here are two videos showing it in action

So now I am looking to move this proof of concept into a larger and more stable enclosure. Rather build it out of wood and metal in the garage, or hack something else for the purpose. At the moment, the most cost effective solution I can think of would be a dry food dispenser with a rotary handle. Rather a wall mount or a free standing dispenser from ebay for less than $30.

I may want to switch to a continuous rotation servo motor, instead of a positional servo mo tor (180 degree turn) but I have not gotten to that point yet. I currently have a Foscam IP camera that has has two way audio, placed next to this. Currently there are no good camera integrations for the Particle Photon, and frankly, I would rather have an overview of the entire area.

How would you proceed based on your experience? Appreciate your thoughts and input!

*EDIT: I have seen some internet enabled electric candy machines, which would provide 1. Nice and clean housing 2. Comes with a electric motor 3. Has option for simple battery or wallplug, all for ~$25 on eBay. Hours saved would be worth the money, I dont need anything too custom. But would still need the Particle Photon, as shown in one of the below examples.

Example 1
Example 2



This looks awesome… I can imagine myself using this for pasta or dry food.

Congrats! I can’t wait to get my hardware built out for my blinds automation… I just wish I were a woodworker or had a 3D printer…

Yeah Keith alot of us wish we had a 3d printer for such projects, but then again with the power of the internet, you can upload a 3D model to someone who can print it for you lol. and i have read some reviews on them but havent used yet.

Yea I’ve looked up a couple I just feel like I’d have so many wasted prototypes and the purpose is to be cheaper than a commercial solution. I need to buy my friend with one more beer…

This is great. Now you need to hook up sensors to tasks that you want the dog to complete. Completed task equals treat. Positive reinforcement at it’s best.

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Could this possibly be adapted to an ESP8266 like the NodeMCU as these use the same programming language and are just $4 per chip?

Everything is possible.

I forgot to reply to this last year. I did go with the black candy dispenser, and ended up just modifying a bit and hooking to a z-wave lamp module for automatic cat food dispensing timed with SmartThings. I also can make my cat extra fat by telling Alexa to feed her from Amazon Echo or SharpTools on FireTV. FYI I bought two ESP8266 but they are collecting dust like my two Particle Photons lol…too many toys, not enough time. Here is a video of it now:

Not sure if this thread is dead or not but, have you tried just hacking a servo if all you need is something to turn In a single direction. Not sure about the servos your using but I know I use to take apart the older servos remove the potentiometer and leave it in the 180 position, then use a meter between lead one and two and two then two and three. You can then get two resisters the same. After that remove the table that blocks it from spinning in a 360 motion. Now every time you tell it to go 180 it will just do a contusions spin. Set you app on a timer in seconds and your off to the races. Way cheaper