PetPorte light sensitivity

When I first got a cat and had it microchipped I thought at the time, isn’t it silly no-one has made an RFID catflap that can be programmed to your cat. I got as far as buying a ISO FDX-B reader with RS232 out to begin experiments, but as ever life got in the way and someone else kindly (?) got there first a few years later with the PetPorte (there is now at least one other on the market).

Anyhow enough of the history and missed chances lesson! I was going to tell you how to adjust the dusk till dawn sensitivity. I find the default settings don’t really work for our shady back door and the poor mogs are trapped inside in the early morning and early evening if I’ve left the cat flap in the dusk till dawn mode. So to adjust it: Wait until the light levels are at those where you want the flap to either open at (in the morning) or close at (in the evening) then do the following:

  • Put the cat flap in dusk till dawn mode (short press of the red (moon) button)
  • Press and hold down the red (moon) button for about twenty seconds. The cat flap will beep and each light will flash in turn.
  • Now press the green (paw) button once. The cat flap will beep twice.

All done! If the flap was already locked it should unlock after about 15 seconds after it’s had time to note the light levels.

Incidentally the light sensor is probably the easiest part of the catflap to insert your own timer in should you want that (I did). There is a empty header on the circuit board where you can essentially wire another trigger across the light dependent resistor (LDR). I put a small optical isolator across it and the other side of the isolator is hooked up to a timing circuit. All you need do is trigger the isolator and that will cause the resistance across the LDR to drop tricking the flap into thinking it’s daylight and opening the flap, equally switching off the isolator sends the resistance high (assuming the LDR is covered or it’s dark) making the flap think it’s night time and locking the flap. Works very nicely.

Written on 11 Sep 2009 and categorised in Miscellaneous, tagged as cat, petporte, catflap, and RFID

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