The joy of any Weekend Project is going through the multiple stages of designing and learning to complete any build. Whether you’re sketching out your initial idea or pursuing your fourth iteration of a project with steady improvements each time, experimentation should be both fun and educational.
The Pet Water Warden is all these things and more. An automatic minder that can refill your pet’s water bowl while you are away, this project can be broken up into several distinct phases. There’s the breadboard phase, where you’ll build the basic water-sensing circuit. This will introduce you to the premise of the project: to detect when water level in a pet’s bowl is low, fill it up to the high level.
Then there’s the MakerShield phase, where you’ll transfer the breadboard circuit to the perfboard of the shield for interfacing with the Arduino. This step will require soldering, but is both simple and fun. With your soldering iron at the ready you could have your MakerShield with the water-sensing circuit completed in under an hour.
Lastly there’s the assembly and software phase. You’ll need some basic aquarium equipment, a dis-used water jug (or reservoir container of your choice), and of course a thirsty pet! All of the code is provided on the project page so once you’ve put it all together you only need to upload the sketch and enjoy a care-free evening knowing your furry friend won’t lack for hydration.
For added measure we’ve coupled the circuit with an ethernet shield which can communicate via Twitter when the reservoir is empty. This way you’ll have plenty of notice to get home and replenish the reservoir before your pet becomes thirsty again. There are low-tech solutions to refilling a water bowl, but those have no way of informing you when something goes awry. Marketplaces like Amazon sell plenty of automated solutions as well, but none let you say you built it yourself or designed to specifically suit your style or your pet’s needs.
If you build or modify this or any other Weekend Project be sure to send us pictures and a story of your experience.