Old Programmable VCR Converted Into Automatic Pet Feeder

Old Programmable VCR Converted Into Automatic Pet Feeder

Taryn Williford
Mar 26, 2013

Out with the old and in with the new. Now that you've got a DVR at home that can be set to record and save your favorite TV shows, you've got no use for that old programmable VCR. That old tech relic actually uses a physical timer and a motor to record shows, for goodness sake. But wait... can't you program a timer and motor to do nearly anything?

The answer, of course, is "yes". And that's just what James Larsson of Make did with a discarded VCR, turning it into a programmable pet food dispenser.

You set the VCR’s timer, and when feeding time comes, the motor that would ordinarily spin the video head operates a food delivery mechanism instead. You can even program different size portions for different days, for times when you plan on returning midday.
Tackling this task, however, is easier said than done. The instructions on Make involve taking apart and identifying VCR hardware, splicing wires and, in some cases, soldering. But if you're up to the challenge, you'll come out with a fully customizable pet feeder with a geek chic edge.

Check out the full how-to (with lots of pictures) at Make.

If DIY isn't your thing and you're sans an old VCR to hack, you might want to keep an eye out on Pintofeed, an automatic pet feeder controllable via wireless app from your smart device (preorders being taken at $129.00):

(Images: Make; Pintofeed)
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