When you need to set firm curfew limits on your pets, sometimes a little bit of electronic help can make life easier.
It isn't only sulking teenagers that are forced to adhere to curfews. Sometimes you have to enforce a little bit of a curfew with your canine companions. Not only so they don't annoy neighbors with their late-night festivities, but also for their own safety. It could also act as a way to keep the dogs safe from raccoons, coyotes, and other bad influences, as Kenbob the creator of the project points out.
The final result.
Here is what the final product looks like. You might be thinking to yourself, "That looks like a scanner attached to a door." You would be absolutely right! To build the automated doggy door, they started with a scanner. The mechanical systems in an old scanner are perfect for this use; all that was needed was to add a control system and a door to raise and lower with the scanner head.
The curfew-enforcing door itself turned out to be a little bit of an issue. The built in motor that moved the scanner head was not very powerful. Instead of replacing it with something that carried a bit more umph, it was decided that the curfew-enforcing door would just be lighter. Surmising that the dogs really only needed a visual cue that their access was blocked, and that they probably wouldn't test the physical construction of said block, a foam panel was used. The foam panel was light enough to be raised and lowered by the scanner head, but to the dogs, it appeared as solid as a brick wall.
Arduino Nano and Real-Time Clock module.
The control system consisted of an Arduino Nano and a real-time clock module. This allowed a set schedule to be held, but ultimately left Kenbob wanting a bit more control. Since he has X10 wired into his house already, he decided to add an X10 universal control that he could access through his existing system. This addition allowed him access to a user-friendly, web-based control, completing this amusing project.