Jack in the Box style Timed Lid Latch Release

I'm trying to build a simple latch that can be set to release a springed lid (like a jack in the box) at a specific time everyday to feed our cat. I'm a complete newbie to Arduino and basic electronics so I'm trying to keep simple. I've got a spare smartplug that i'd like to connect to a 12v Solenoid latch. I'd schedule the smart plug to let power through for 1 minute to release the latch which I would then manually reset nightly. Will it work to wire the Solenoid directly to a 12 AC Adapter and then into the Smartplug (see photo)? Is there anything else I need to be thinking about.

If this forum isn't the best place for this question, I'd appreciate any suggestions as to where I could get some advice.


I can give you a few suggestions as to how I might go about it. Cat food has a VMD (Volume Metered Density) or simply put a quantity of cat food will occupy a given volume. On a smaller scale I load smokeless powder to load my own handloaded ammunition. Powder drops from a supply tube into a cylinder adjusted to hold a preset amount of powder. A cylinder of known volume fills. Then that volume is dropped.

You could place an upper and lower butterfly valve in a 3" column of PVC pipe. The upper valve opens and fills pipe and closes, The lower butterfly valve opens and the pipe discharges and the tube is now empty again. Repeat the process at pre determined times.

Option two is an auger in a tube. Like an auger in a meat grinder but open ended. Food supply reservoir feeds the auger, The auger runs long enough to dispense a portion of food,

Several ways to do it electro mechanically. Just depends on how the end used wants it to work. :slight_smile:


Is the solenoid 12V AC? How is the "smartplug" triggered?

Solenoid wires are red/blk suggesting it is a dc triggered solenoid. (as are most)

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