Croccolino Pet Feeder!




Introduction: Croccolino Pet Feeder!

About: IT manager with a long list of hobbies and interests as travels, diy, electronic stuff, Arduino, domotic, guitar stompboxes, tube amps, guitar player, reader, and paragliding pilot.


Have you ever been outside your home for a couple of days? Don't you have someone that can feed your pet during your absence? Or have you ever wanted to automatize the feeding of your pet?

CROCCOLINO FEEDER is the answer.

I built this project as a little challenge and as funny hobby. Obviously my cat Spritz is always with me.

I won't let him stay more than few hours without me (unfortunatelly I cannot take him with me at work).

So I made this little automatic feeder to let him feel more comfortable and at full stomach also if I'm not at home.

Main features:

- Up to 8 daily scheduled feeds
- Choose food quantity for every feed
- Keep water at level
- Internal clock (DS1307)
- Functional (nokia 5110) Display (it shows the digital scales about water and dry food level in the bowl).
- Buttons panel to adjust time and feed scheduling, and display scale
- Record your voice and call your pet when it's time to eat
- Amplified speaker
- WIFI and controlled over internet (it has an integrated web server)
- Surely I missed some other feature :D


- Webcam
- Soft balls shooter

Step 1: Materials

  • An arduino YUN
  • a microsd to store the administration webpage (the smalest you have is good)
  • two recycled scales or two weight cells
  • SD1820 audio play/recording module
  • 5v Relay module
  • 9v stepper motor with driver
  • 9v mini water pump
  • LM386 amplifier module (optional) and little 1/2W 8ohm speaker
  • 7 microbuttons and 6 resistences of different values (5k, 20k, 50k, 74k, 100k, 120k)
  • Lots of spare cables M-M and M-F
  • a 220V-12v power supply (for stepper and audio amplifier)
  • a 220V-5v power supply (arduino yun and hx711 scale driver)
  • a piece of prototipe copper board
  • plywood and some spare fillets.
  • A bit of fantasy

I found almost everything on ebay, for few $$. I was lucky to find an used YUN for only 20$.

You should contain the total cost within 100$ or less.

Step 2: Connect Everything

There are many ways to connect everything together.

Maybe it could be a bit messy at the start, but, just solve one problem at time. Basically think at the whole structure as blocks.

  • First you have to build up the structure with plywood. All the drawings are in attachment.
  • Then place the power supply into the structure. Keep in mind that 220v could kill you, so, instead of partial disassembly the power supply as in my project, consider to use a multi plug adapter, and place it inside the structure. then connect the power supplies. This keep safe your project.
  • Place the electronic pieces into the structure, you will connnect all the wires later (wiring instructions in the next steps).
  • Place the two load cells on the base and connect them to the two hx711 drivers. (pinout declared in the beginning section of the source code. see next steps). I carved the lower side of the base to wire up the cells and connect them to the Yun. Use some pieces of Velcro to appoint the bowl to the load cells, so your pet won't be able to mess everything.
  • then build the hopper. I used an old coffee can and a funnel, and some pvc pipes. the most difficult part is to build the elycoidal screw. I used a piece of alluminium and plastic piece glued, forming the helyx. use a pipe 1.25" (3cm) or more, to let the dry food flow without problems. If the section is not enough the food will stuck into the pipe. If you have a 3d printer you are the boss. you can build up a wonderful elycoidal screw.
  • Place the water pump somewhere into the structure. Place also a cutted bottle into the box, as water reserve. You will use the water pump to suck the water from the bottle.

Step 3: A Saucerful of Messy Wires

All the wiring scheme are included into the source code header.

Substantially, you will work with 2 voltages:

9v for the water pump, LM386 and ds1820

5v to power up the Yun, the relay shield, the display, and keep warning that any voltage more of 5v will fry your YUN.

I made a small stripboard to group all the 5v power and star ground (see pic). It makes the connections simple.

Step 4: Arduino Code

Now it's time to compile the arduino code.

This is the heart of the project. If everything works is thanks to this code. I tried to keep it simple and readeable. All the connections pinout are on the top of the code. II tried also to insert readeable comments in the code, if you want to modify something.

So take the timer_gatto.ino attached file and compile it with arduino.

You have also to take the other file, and unzip it into the sdcard. Keep in mind that you have to create the following path in the SD x:\arduino\www\ (where x is the sdcard letter) Once you have configured your arduino YUN you will access the Croccolino by the following path: (where xxxx is the YUN ip address).

Step 5: Fantasy Is the Key

Maybe it could be a long project, and you maybe have to be a little experienced in diy, arduino and electronics,

but believe me, this is my second "big messy project", and I was not so experienced when I started.

You increase your experience in big challenges, you will study, you will learn, you will solve problems, you will project, you will improve yourself.

Just try!

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Runner Up in the
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    6 years ago

    Nice project.

    A good upgrade would be to bring it into the "internet of things" paradigm, meaning to add to the design a feature that messages the owner when feeding is successfully done, or if there is a failure to message that. This is important if someone is on an extended stay, as we don't want a tech glitch to cause the kitty to go hungry.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    sei un genio! c avevo pensato anchio ...per Gustavo... provero a rifarlo come il tuo. ti faccio sapere.


    Reply 7 years ago

    thank youu! yesss! croccolino is a composite word, that cames from crocchette (dry food) + an affectionate term.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome! If I ever made one of these, I would need to make it out of something much stronger than wood. My dog manages to get into anything that's holding food. He's a tricky beagle!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    jajajaja No solution for an hungry smart dog.. especially if he could crunch the plywood. :D


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Progetto fantastico! :D I love this idea! Could you maybe add a video where you show it working?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Siii!! Appena rientro a casa faccio un breve video e lo pubblico, avevo già intenzione di farlo :D

    Yessss, as soon as I'll be back home I'll take a short clip to publish! :D