This week I wanted to dedicate to figuring out another portion of my final project. I am planning to use IR for a way to actuate the cat bowl. The plan currently is that each cat will have a unique IR blink frequency. The receiver will measure this blink frequency and will either beep or open the bowl.

I started off researching IR receivers with arduino boards online to get an idea of what components are necessary. Turns out it's really very simple, the receiver just requires a PWM pin, easy enough.

Although I can debug through software serial I wanted to add 2 LEDs so that I could get some visual feedback on the board to know if it is receiving the correct blink frequency.

Again this week the milling was pretty messy, I'm not sure if there are better settings than the defaults to make the traces cleaner but even when I score with a straight edge it's not coming out very nice. Soldering is getting pretty easy now which is great because that means when it comes to my final board I'll be able to iterate more quickly to debug.

I used some sample code for an IR receiver from an IR library online. I changed a few things so that it would say CAT or DOG (even though it'll really be CAT1 and CAT2, DOG is visually more distinct when it's going quickly on the serial monitor) on the serial software, I also programmed the LEDs to light up with individual signals. The remote worked really well this week, I have a feeling it's more powerful than my fab IR remote that I made last week, the signals were consistent whereas with my board it was inconsistent and would often switch between CAT and DOG or red or green LEDs. I think I'm going to remake my IR LED remote or make the distinct cat collars to see if the receiver might be more consistent if it doesn't require me to push a button. I'm also going to find some more powerful LEDs just due to the distance between the cat and the bowl itself, but the receiver works really well with the remote so I'm almost there. Anyways I measured a remote this week, with a quick blink or a solid IR LED to give different signals. woop!

Tools used this week: Eagle, Roland Mill, Arduino IDE, Fab ISP, IR Receiver, Solder, IR Remote