Gadget Freak

Gadget Freak Case #193: The Gadget Let the Dog Out

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Re: Pretty slick
Ratsky   9/2/2011 2:31:23 PM
I can't believe nobody yet has mentioned that the VAST majority (>95%??) of common remote controls don't use RF at all!  They're infrared, people!  THAT's what prevents them from going through walls!

User Rank
Re: Pretty slick
oldguywithtoys   9/2/2011 12:45:56 PM
Bandwidth and cost.  There are a limited number of frequencies made available for wireless remotes and a much larger number of remote controller consumer devices.  It's a lot easier to share frequencies if the range is limited.  If my remote's power (and thus range) is so limited that I can't possibly change channels on my neighbor's identical set, our remotes can be interchangeable and extremely cheap.  If they had longer range, they'd need a bluetooth-like pairing scheme and spread-spectrum channel allocation, making them more costly and less "user friendly."  The cheap, range limited remotes just work.

User Rank
Re: Pretty slick
me_guy   9/2/2011 12:17:44 PM
I built something with a similar function, but set to a timer to let our dog out at a specific time.  I created a vessel using PVC pipe and end caps, plus a tire valve.  I charged it with compressed air as my energy source.  I wired a sprinkler solenoid to release the air, which acted on an air cylinder that was the deadbolt for the kennel.  A bungee cord swung the door open so he could get out. 

It wasn't about being lazy as someone else mentioned. We kept the dog in a kennel in the garage after we left for work, so he wouldn't disturb the neighbors at an early hour.  After getting out of the kennel, he had access to the yard.

It worked flawlessly.


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Not impressed
Noswad   9/2/2011 9:51:39 AM
The main reason I am not inpressed is the over use of China products. I would like to see a better use of American made products. We as a country need to support our American manufacturers and workers.

Also, the gadget is a little too simple with no real consumer value. I still have to get up and go outside to put the animal back in the cage. People are becoming too lazy and over dependant on technology.

Az kid
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Pretty neat, could do more
Az kid   9/2/2011 1:37:50 AM
That's pretty neat, could do more with it.  Get the control boards for an RC

car of truck and rig it up to remotely unlock and lock the gate,   Have it

put a scoop of food in fido's dish,  give him water, use the steering servo

to drive a motor and pulley with cable to swing the gate open and shut, etc. 

What he did is still pretty clever.

   Speaking of range, FCC part 15 rules limit the range for transmitters. 

Captain Ron
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Re: Pretty slick
Captain Ron   9/1/2011 6:50:36 PM
This one is called: Let the Lawn Guy In

Actually I had the same problem with the privacy fence gate at the side of my house.  After seeing what some companies offered and charged, I about passed out.  The solution was simple and required no batteries!  I took a few i/4' Dia eye bolts and a long length of 1/8 Dia polyester cord.  One of the eye bols I used for the locking bolt and the others were used as stand-offs/guides for the cord.  I dressed the end of the cord off with a 1 1/2' Dia wooden ball with a 3/16 Dia. hole drilled through it and tied a stopper knot at the end.  Pulling the ball pulls the eye bolt out of the gate padlocking plates.  The great thing about this design is, all components were made right here in the USA. 

If I had to go through a wall I would of inserted a tube through a wall opening, flanged and caulked both ends, and used a fancy wine bottle cork that fitted the inside opening and fitted this to end the cord!

Now I could add one of those flashing red lights they sell for bicycles if some of you electro guys need to have something that glows to look at!

Captain Ron




Beth Stackpole
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Re: Pretty slick
Beth Stackpole   9/1/2011 2:53:37 PM
I know lots of people in the semi-rural area where I live who'd love a device like this for their chicken coops and horse pens, especially in the winter. I have to agree with Doug, though, it seems a bit hard to believe something doesn't exist out there to do this. The other option for the pooches is the good old electric fence and doggie door. That's our set up and my dogs go in and out at their leisure.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Pretty slick
Rob Spiegel   9/1/2011 9:33:32 AM
Again, we have a gadget that goes through walls. And again, it makes me wonder why our common remotes are so weak. If our gadget freaks can make remotes that go through walls, why isn't that feature more common with consumer electronics?

Douglas Smock
User Rank
Pretty slick
Douglas Smock   9/1/2011 8:11:16 AM
Seems pretty hard to believe something like this isn't already available. The video demonstration would have been more effective if done at a distance showing the ability to go through walls and other obstacles.

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