trying to built a simpler time controlled Cat feeder, looking for advices

Hi. I’m new and looking for advice. I have 2 cats and they are hungry every morning and we try to control their weight by giving the same quantity of food each time they can share, A.K 3 meals of day at precise time with different quantity each time ( a lot at 6am, snack at 1pm and a lot again at 9pm)
We bought an automatic programable cat feeder from Amazon last year and it works fine until a week ago when it does not deliver the food…I figured out the small rotary step motor is getting “old” and can force the cat kibbles if they block, and by searching online it looks like all cat feeder end up with the same fate…so I decided it’s time to do a real Arduino usefull project, built a cat feeder. I found couple of example online:

very good but way more complicated than what I want to built, no need for LCD or extra button
Auger Drive (Screw Conveyor) by Tunell - Thingiverse
very good too, but no need for laser detection system

I want to use a Auge screw connected to a step motor, and I do not need the laser dectector, neither the LCD control
I want to load the sketch and let it run on his own after
I ordered an extra Uno R3 board, a motor shield board, a NEMA 17 stepper motor and a friend of mine is 3D printing the Auge screw and the needed piece, building the case will be a piece of cake ( just finished 5 years of home remodeling…)
I downloaded the AFMotor.h library and also the SimpleTimer.h but I’m not sure they are the best library to do my job:
1 meal at 6am with quantity 1
1 meal at 1pm with quantity 2
1 meal at 9pm with quantity 3

the quantity are different and I will calibrate it when I got the stepper motor connected to the Auge screw ( how many turn=how many kibbles)
However, I’m not sure the SimpleTimer is the best for controlling the time between each delivery. Should I connect DS1307 Real Time Clock Module and use a different library?
I like the code of the second project, Read time> deliver food but it has a lot of LCD stuff I’m not how to get ride off, and also the button option ( too complicated, I can just manually take some kibble and drop them in the bowl)…I need some help to “clear” up the code from the push button and LCD…I attached the sketch…thanks for any help!

cat_feeder1.ino (14.1 KB)

For any real time projects I would use a real time clock module and associated library to decipher its output to human form like 10:00 am. Next I would use a stepper driver shield or board and write a simple code to turn the motor (no library needed). Then a simple code if real time= 9 am turn stepper 10 times..if real time is lunch make it 5 and so on. A laser hmm to what zap the cat? The LCD allows user to adjust times and amount can be preset in sketch. The laser could be used to detect the feeder is empty or the screw is clogged and not turning which could reverse its direction. Or a 500mW laser to cut the bottom off a new bag of food and the list goes on. A robot mouse on a treadmill to exercise the cats weight off.

Don’t use a DS1307, use a DS3231.
The DS3231 is far far far better!

BTW
Get a cage full of mice.
Have the Arduino open the mouse door letting out 2 mice per day.
The cats chasing the mice, will be svelte.
:slight_smile:

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