This automated device will allow a simpler, and easier way to feed your chickens with a timed dispense, or by the simple touch of a button. With the use of a small motor, the food will get pushed out into a bowl by an auger drive. Also, a temperature sensor has been included, in order to display a warning message on an LCD screen if the temperature is too cold (optional).
Step 1: Parts List
In order to create this device, most of the circuit components used were
taken from the Genuino Uno starter kit. The rest (3D printed auger, small motor, and wood) was created or bought separately.
· Genuino Uno with breadboard
· Multiple Jumper wires
· 1x 10kΩ and 1x 220Ω resistor
· 1x Push Button Switch
· Wood and screws (to build the feeder)
· 1x Small motor
· 1x 12V Battery plus adapter or a power wall adapter
· 1x T shaped PVC pipe
· 1x 3D Auger Screw
· 1x LCD screen
· 1x Potentiometer
· 1x Mosfet Transistor
· 1x Temperature sensor (optional)
*** Please note that the motor is not connected in the above picture
Step 2: Build the Circuit
Using a 12V power adapter, both the motor and the Genuino board will beconnected across this source. A diode has been placed, in order to prevent any back voltage going from the motor back to the Genuino board. Next, a push button switch has been placed, in order to bypass the timed dispense, and allow a manual dispense. Finally, a transistor has been placed as an electronic switch. The transistor has three pins: one being connected to ground, the other to the voltage source, and the last connected to the Genuino. This circuit component will be used to turn the motor on and off, electronically.
The LCD screen is not only connected to the Genuino board using six small connectors, but also to the voltage source as well as the ground. A potentiometer is also present to be able to adjust the contrast of the LCD screen. Finally, a temperature sensor is connected to the Genuino, in order to measure the temperature in the location of the circuit board.
Step 3: Write the Code
The software used to control this device is in the C++ language. Moreover, the LCD library was included in the code to display the timed dispense for the chicken feed. Another function written in this code will be the millis() function; It will be used to keep track of how much time has passed and when the device should dispense more food. Also, the “long” type variable will also be used in this code to assure a longer life span for the code. This code will be used to dispense food every 12h. In the following example, the device was set to dispense for 9 seconds every 10 seconds for demonstration.
*** See attachment for Code Sample
Step 4: TinkerCad Drawings
In order to push out the chicken feed into the bowl, and auger drive was designed with the proper measurements to fit both the motor and the T-shaped PVC pipe. For a more solid result, support was added in the middle of the auger. Moreover, the printer settings were set for a full-filling print. Also, a small hole was designed in the base of the auger, in order to insert the motor’s turning pin.
*** See link above for example of 3D Auger
Step 5: Build the Feeder
The design for this step can vary from one project to another. Keep it simple, and have fun!