DIY auto feeder made cheap - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-31-2007, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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Cool DIY auto feeder made cheap

When you are on vacation but don't want to invest an expensive auto feeder. You can make one fairly cheap and easy. All you need is a mechanical timer and a pill dispenser plus some scrap acrylic material. You will need another timer to control it. I bought a pill dispenser from local drug store for $1. I had a few timers laying around but you can find them cheap when on sale anyway.


First, I hot glued the dispenser to the timer.


Then I made a fixture using some scrap acrylic sheet



The fixture was secured by a wall outlet cap (the one for preventing child poking the outlet) to the timer then hot glued to the outer cover of the pill dispenser, this way only the pill compartment part is turning. I bent the sheet at an angle so it shielded the hole from moisture and the food could drop easily. Plug the feeder into an extention cord or power bar, then secure it above the fish tank. Plug the other end of the power cord into another timer. Since my pill dispenser has 8 compartments, it takes 3 hours for the timer to rotate to the next compartment. If I want to feed once a day, I just set the controlling timer on for 3 hours a day. If you have a 7 day timer, you can feed every other day or any combination you like. The only draw back is that it is a little big, but for a dollor I spent, I think it was all worth it.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-31-2007, 09:43 PM
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That's pretty clever and nice and cheap!

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2007, 01:32 AM
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hehe that is very clever looking!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2007, 01:49 AM
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You could use this to dose dry ferts too! I should try this some time. Thanks for the tip, but how does only go on once a day? So there is 2 timers, one that controls the first timer to go on for only 3 hrs a day? And the other time spins along with the time right?
Thanks!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2007, 02:21 AM
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Treasure, while I applaud your great DIY crafting skills,
this does not seem to me to be a practical project.

-you have an electrical device too close to the water.
-electric timers have transformers and motors that radiate heat
and consume a lot of electricity relative to their function.
so the cost in electricity exceeds any likely savings.
-your plastic feed shoot is likely to get full of wet food.

and come on... one of those battery clock motor
drum feeders is under $15 if you google around,
and a single AA battery lasts for a year or two.
it won't get ruined if wet, nor can it harm fish.

http://www.bigalsonline.com/StoreCat...si1382615/cl1/


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2007, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotcheaprice View Post
You could use this to dose dry ferts too! I should try this some time. Thanks for the tip, but how does only go on once a day? So there is 2 timers, one that controls the first timer to go on for only 3 hrs a day? And the other time spins along with the time right?
Thanks!
You are right, the feeder timer only runs for 3 hours a day if you only want to feed once a day. Based on 8 compartments in the pill dispenser and the timer turns one revolution per 24hrs, so each 3 hrs it moves to the next compartment
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2007, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spypet View Post
Treasure, while I applaud your great DIY crafting skills,
this does not seem to me to be a practical project.

-you have an electrical device too close to the water.
-electric timers have transformers and motors that radiate heat
and consume a lot of electricity relative to their function.
so the cost in electricity exceeds any likely savings.
-your plastic feed shoot is likely to get full of wet food.

and come on... one of those battery clock motor
drum feeders is under $15 if you google around,
and a single AA battery lasts for a year or two.
it won't get ruined if wet, nor can it harm fish.

http://www.bigalsonline.com/StoreCat...si1382615/cl1/
Spypet, it is only made for vacation feeding as I indicated in my thread. The timer only runs 3 hours a day or every other day or even every 3 days if the second timer has 7 day control, how much electricity will it consume? I did mention it needed to be secured above the tank and most common location would be at the edge of the tank that only the dispenser is above the water, So how do you suggest that it will likely to get full of wet food? I have an Eheim feeder on my main tank, but it does not have once every other day or once every 3 day feeding option and I would imaging that the Penn Plax Daily Double even has less feeding options. I just try to share some ideas. For people who do not have confidence in the plan or do not have any knowledge in electricity, please do not follow my plan.

Last edited by Treasure Chest; 11-01-2007 at 06:56 AM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-01-2007, 06:01 AM
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hahaha nice. Never even thought of that and I have those timers all over my house. GJ
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 11:50 AM
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Thank you for posting this idea, it gives me other ideas for uses for autodosing dry ferts as mentioned above.

I do also have to agree with the above post about the design having a bit of danger to it by not being water proof with that much power and just hanging that close to the water. That said I don't think it would take much modification to splash shield it, hold it more securly a little further away from the water which would increase the safety factor signifigantly.

I also have to agree with it not being a cost savings unless you happen to have the extra mechanical timers laying around.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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Some update

Here is the working prototype. I did some modification from the original. I drilled some holes and used screws to hold everything together since the hot melt glue did not hold very long. I used a funnel for food delivery and I made sure the electricity is kept distance away from the water. So far so good, everything is working according to the plan.


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 03:22 AM
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my thought would be that the moisture coming from the tank would cause the funnel to have droplets of water in it causeing a clog then the food drops.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 03:28 AM
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eon, you're probably right. Maybe add a pump on a third timer for an auto-flush squirt into the funnel?

That being said - I love how you're thinking out of the box and trying new DIY things - this is what it is all about! Bravo x 10!


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 04:03 AM
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I think that if the funnel was raised up a bit so that it didn't actually stick in below the lip of the tank, there would be enough ventilation that mositure would not be an issue. But then again, there may be a reason that there seems to be such a tight seal around the top of the tank.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input. I am currently dispensing sinking pallets fish food which is pretty heavy so cloging is not a big problem. I just checked the funnel, it is actually pretty dry. I guess may be because the angle it is positioned or simply because of the heat from my mini aqualight keeps it dry. You are right, I may raise the funnel a bit if I want to dispense flake food.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 06:17 AM
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What if you had a chute instead of a funnel?

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