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Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by Koffeebean on Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:54 pm

Hi everyone,

So I trained my cat to go on a human toilet but, alas, can’t train him to flush the toilet. I am interested in building a device that would flush a toilet, let's say, every 6 hours. I am new to working with Raspberry Pi and Arduino, and would really appreciate some pointers.

A few questions:
1. Should I use Pi or Arduino for the project, and which model would do the job?
2. What kinds of parts do you think I should purchase? doesn't have to be specific but general direction for motors, power supplies, etc,
3. Can you please share any design ideas?

I attached pictures of the toilet bowl.

Thank you!
Attachments
Slide1.png
Slide1.png (439.86 KiB) Viewed 52 times

Koffeebean
 
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Re: Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by adafruit_support_bill on Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:52 pm

I'd probably go with the Arduino. A Pi is massive overkill for a project of this scope.

An Arduino or compatible with a standard size hobby servo and a 5v power supply should do the job.

https://www.adafruit.com/product/2590
https://www.adafruit.com/product/155
https://www.adafruit.com/product/1995

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Re: Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by Koffeebean on Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:40 pm

Thank you for your suggestions! Being completely new to this, I have a few questions:
1. Do I need to purchase headers for MetroMini, and if yes, which ones do you recommend?
2. Can the standard servo move freely when not powered? I am curious to see if I can still manually flush the toilet, which will require free motion of the rotor.
3. Mostly out of curiosity, can Trinket be used instead of MetroMini?

Thank you for your help!

Koffeebean
 
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Re: Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:58 pm

1. The Metro Mini ships with headers that can be optionally installed. If you plan to use it on a breadboard, the headers are useful. If not, it would be easier to leave them off so you can solder wires directly to the holes.
Image

2. The Arduino Servo library has a "detach" function which will leave the servo movable. Although there will be substantial resistance from the friction of the geartrain.

But you do not need to couple the servo rigidly to the flush lever. If you mount it so that it pulls the lever with a flexible cable, you will be able to press the lever manually without affecting the servo.

3. Most any Arduino compatible microcontroller will work. The ItsyBitsy 32U4 is another option: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3677

I would lean towards 5v processors, since some servos do not perform reliably with 3.3v control signals.

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Re: Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by Koffeebean on Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:49 pm

Thank you! And, sorry for more questions. I would like to power it using a battery.

1. Will it be possible to power it using AAs?
2. What kind of adapter would I need to power MetroMini from batteries (either Lithium Ion or AAs?

Thank you for your time!

Koffeebean
 
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Re: Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:23 pm

The Metro Mini can take a 6v-16v supply. The servo works best between 4v and 6v.

LiPo cells are 3.7v, so you would need either a 6v boost converter or a multi-cell pack.
Common Alkaline cell are 1.5v, so you could use a 4xAA pack for 6v: https://www.adafruit.com/product/830
NiMH rechargeable cells (e.g. Eneloop) are 1.2v, so a 5xAA pack would also give you 6v: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3456

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Re: Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by Koffeebean on Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:28 pm

Ok, cool! And hopefully last questions, do I solder battery pack wires (https://www.adafruit.com/product/830) directly to Vin pin on the board or should I buy some additional parts? Do you have any instructions available on how it should be done? Like, do I solder both wires to the same pin on the same side of the board? Complete newb here.

I found the pinout of Metro Mini here: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-metro-mini/pinouts

Thank you very much.

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Re: Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:56 am

You would solder the black wire to GND and the red wire to VIN.
If you are new to soldering, you might want to start with a read through our soldering guide:
https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-gui ... -soldering

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Re: Help with building a toilet flusher on a timer

by Koffeebean on Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:14 am

Got it! Thank you for your help!

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