Automatic cat litter box.

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  • Hello again, just wanted to share an idea, this is based of the dsd6 I got sometime back from @fanoush, using espruino of course. The ball is a flower pot from Italian maker bama, it is a bit small, 40cm diameter, but otherwise very nice for a cat bed or litter box, and well priced, so it gave me the motivation to make it automatic. Everything else is paper, resin and some polyester coating. The servo is one from AliExpress, 30 euro, 12volt 150kg, I am running it at 5volts, only using a max of 5watts for moving 3.6 litters of sand.

    I will upload the code later, but it is not the strong point, I believe it is very cleaning friendly, very simple on using and maintaining.

    I uploaded my endeavours in this Greek version of channel4 forum, in Greek but there are some photos, If anyone cares on the how to, I will be happy to share my problems and solutions.
    https://www.phorum.com.gr/viewtopic.php?­f=43&t=50568

    this a simple demo run, is is designed to allow for as simple ball placement/removal as I could think of.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9RIlObn­vNE

    this shows how the scoop is removed and the sand emptied, for deep cleaning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z5zREma­qtM

    and this is an not so happy to be on yt cat, but she did go while I was filming the demo, so here she is.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4g8fekn­sxU

  • This looks awesome! It's so ingenious! Does anyone make anything you can buy like this, or was it all your own idea?

    I'm really impressed how nice you got this looking - so you just made it out of cardboard, added resin, some filler and sanded it down?

    How did you connect the servo to the dsd6? Just using the vibration motor output?

    Do you have a way to detect if the cats are in it before it does its cleaning cycle? I guess the DSD6 has an accelerometer so you could maybe detect any movement from the cats inside it and use that to delay the cycle?

    On the 'non-strong' software - I wouldn't worry! This is just the kind of thing Espruino was originally made for - if the code works, it'll almost certainly just keep working forever - it doesn't have to be pretty!

  • Hello Gordon,

    there are some ready made products, but they all use a quite bigger ball and the whole cat enters inside, there is not a ball based one that half the cat is outside. I think most if not all are not really cleaning/maintaining friendly machines for a toilet use, some are ok, some are really bad designs, I am proud on how simple/clean this implementation turned out to be. It is battery/mains powered, 6 months of 10 emptying cycles per day is my estimate on 8 18650 batteries, but I will know for real after I run some test during this weekend, and is basically water proof.

    the dsd6 has the serial on the usb, it turned out that I can controll 2 servos, 2 relays and the powerbank using just those two pins, so I did not opened it up, it is a standard dsd6. I went for the dsd6 because there were many problems to solve, I wanted the controller to be really simple in the first go, the dsd6 and espruino made the controlling part a breeze. I made a custom lock that also transfers vibrations from the ball to the dsd6, so the accel is working fine for cat presence, I am using the tap feature of the accelerometer at 2g force sensing, every trigger resets the 2 minutes counter. I also monitor voltage drop during the emptying cycle, I found out that I can relate drop to sand weight quite well, so it knows how much sand is in the ball, and this also serves as a "something went wrong" alert. I also run the dsd6 power in through a reed switch that is disabled when the drawer is missing, so it has drawer presence sensor , 5 volts is power on, 0.6 volts is power off( powerbank in sleep mode, 30μA drain), 0 volts is drawer out.

    Yes, it is just cardboard, two component thin liquid construction resin, it soaks in the cardboard well, filling and sanding. The resulting material feels a bit like poly-carbonate sheets, very nice for prototyping I think, it was my first try using this technique, I recommend it. My comment on the "not the strong point" was about my coding skills, other that this espuino is rock solid, as it has always been for me, a true tool.

    I have some photos of the "making of" in this greek forum, I will be happy if you care to have a look.

    Thank you again for espruino, happy new year.

    https://www.phorum.com.gr/viewtopic.php?­t=50568&start=75

    ps, this is maybe the best product on the market, but it really served as a reason to make something more cleaning friendly, I do not like it, it is not bad but it is not good either, the scoop part is not even removable, there is no way to really wipe clean the sand pocket, I am not sure the people in the cat litter robots business really have cats.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy1eG_oy­eGU

  • BTW nice to see you back, you went silent for quite some time so I was a bit worried what hapened :-)

  • death happened, but life goes on I guess, sorry if I caused worry, nice to see you too fanoush, I missed reading you. :)

  • @enaon sorry to hear that, but I'm glad you're back!

    That's really cool about using a totally unmodified DSD6 - that makes them a really neat little tool!

    I was considering making something for Bangle.js that would give it IO (using SWD) but I think realistically it's a bit too pricey to be used in the same way.

    I did already look through the forum pictures - thanks! I'll have to give the cardboard + resin approach a try next time I need to make something biggish. I've always quite liked working with fibreglass, but I never considered building cardboard into it! I've got a laser cutter here so building nice cardboard parts should be pretty easy.

  • I've got a laser cutter here so building nice cardboard parts should be pretty easy.

    You make me feel like a caveman, I didn't even use a ruler, If you make something please tag me, I am curious.

    I am leaving this here too, the electronics, dead simple. The nice thing is that the powerbank module I used has a very nice feature, it turns off if the output is shorted or overloaded, but turns on again on a button press. The button is sensitive to pulses greater than 100ms, so it does not interfere with the servo.

    this demonstrates a power loss and an overload, the logic only has to recover power, cutting off power to release the servo in a case of overload is done by the power-source, fail proof.

    https://youtu.be/NsHfjCTPNMw


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  • added bonus, I liked being able to remote control the powerbank output, so I made my self two powerbanks, one has 6 batteries and the dsd6 fits inside, the other has 5 batteries, two powerbank modules, and the dsd6 is removable.


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  • Thanks! That's great - it's really cool how simple that was to wire up.

    And yes, I'll have to have a try doing something with cardboard forms made with the laser cutter. I do a few things (like Bangle.js stands) with it, but I only really ever cut cardboard stuff out when doing craft things for the kids at the moment.

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Automatic cat litter box.

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