Archive for category Housekeeping

Cat Watering System

cdishSo. Watering cats is always an issue. They go to the dish with food still in their mouths which inevitably falls in, they clean themselves with their tongues, then drink with them, cat hair gets in there, and when you have several, as we do… well, it just gets worse. Then they can — and do — get sick. Mouth infections, general degradation of immune systems, passing bacteria and viruses from one to another… it’s not good at all.

This is my final solution. I cut an adequate hole in the floor to install a drain plus some extra room, then built a drain into a watering dish and “plumbed” it with some adapters and a garden hose that drains into a utility sink in the basement almost directly below.

Then I drilled the side of the dish, dropped the assembly into/over the hole in the floor, routed the hose to the sink, and inserted a small diameter pipe/hose into the bowl that connects back to our reverse osmosis system. The water flow from that pipe to the dish is gated by a 12 volt DC valve.

To control the valve, I bought a commercial infrared proximity sensor that has an AC outlet on it, plugged the 12 VDC power supply — just a run of the mill linear wall-wart — I use to activate the valve into it, and set the IR sensor for a one minute recycle.

So the way it works is, cat walks up, IR sensor sees them, AC turns on, 12 VDC power supply comes up, valve triggers, fresh water comes out of the pipe, they drink from the arc of water — almost never from the dish — which runs for one minute, and the dish drains immediately.

This way, the water doesn’t stand. Doubly important with an R/O system, as there is almost no chlorine left in the R/O water, so the water is less able to sit around in the first place without “things” growing in it.

The IR sensor, and therefore the valve power supply, is powered from a UPS in the basement. This was done so power outages, quite common in the summer here, won’t deny them the opportunity to drink. As the UPS only has this one load on it, and the power demand is extremely low as well as intermittent, the up time, that is, the amount of time the UPS can power the system without the AC returning is many, many hours, almost the same amount of time the UPS can run without any load at all other than its own internal workings. Due to the massive explosion of UPS designs for computers, the UPS itself was surprisingly inexpensive. It cost about what the dish, drain, valve, hoses and IR sensor driven AC outlet did all taken together, which let the entire project cost come in under $150.00 USD. I consider that a bargain.

This system works extremely well. The cats figured it out within just a few minutes, there was no significant adaptation period. This, or something like it, is something that can really benefit your cats health and well-being, which in turn will extend their lives, while saving you a ton of effort, time and attention that you can put into working so you can buy better quality cat food and more cat toys. That’s why we all work, after all!

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New WordPress version, new MySql version, hoop jumping, aggravation

So, my legions of loyal visitors (notice how I don’t assume you read any of my drivel, just that you visit), my hosting provider informed me that things were changing, and I’d have to update what database I was using and what version of the underlying language, and that also meant new blogging software, and so… the site was down for half a day or so while I located the hoops, jumped back and forth through them, and towards the end, contemplated setting them on fire.

But it’s done now. I think. Perhaps.

However, should you encounter weirdness, by all means let me know and I’ll see if I can work out what I did wrong, or whatever. Sorry for being down, wasn’t my intention.

Cheers!

–Ben

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Starting Out – priorities and pratfalls

It occurred to me in a moment of introspection that I, probably like many others, had my priorities set entirely wrong when I populated my very first apartment with… well, with stuff. And later on, my first home. If I knew then, what I know now. Sigh. Well, can’t fix that, but I can sure issue some good advice that others can benefit from if they so choose.
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Mmmmmf.

Well, time for a blog. I kept telling myself I was going to write blog software, because I kept hearing about how this blog engine or that blog engine had been hacked, but I never got around to it. Of course, if I keep that cycle going, there will be no blog.

So, if I ever do get around to it, I’ll just move these posts. I probably won’t, though. :-)

Anyway, hello to everyone. We’ll see what develops.

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