Anyone try a diy frozen feeder?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by tygunn, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    I'm currently away from home and was thinking that in the future it might be nice to be able to feed frozen food automatically.

    I've found one reference involving a modified fridge/freezer but I think that is probably overkill.

    I figure it should be possible to make something much smaller cooled by a thermoelectric coupler....

    I'm thinking the portions could be stored in plastic cups along the periphery of a plastic carousel. The carousel would rotate into a position above an outlet pipe, and a small pump would thaw the food with tank water.

    Lots of details to figure out for this concept I think, but a start perhaps.

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  2. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Thermoelectric coupler! Not sure what that is but it sounds like it would work :)

    I mean the idea could be as simple as releasing frozen mysis/brineshrimp cubes into the tank. Just need a way to keep the cubes frozen/cooled until release.
  3. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    I saw a post somewhere that tried using a wine bottle chiller....if you would like I could see if I can locate it if any one was interested....not sure if it worked out in the end for the guy but was an interesting idea...
  4. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    I've thought about this before, but in my experience a peltier cooler has a hard time maintaining cold enough temperatures. It would definitely need to be very well insulated if you're going that route. Would love to see what you come up with if you try it though!
  5. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Easier solution would maybe be a mini fridge with a dosing pump and mysis feast
    wpeterson likes this.
  6. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    A thermoelectric coupler is what is commonly used for electric coolers.

    I think the hardest part is figuring out a reliable way to dispense the food portions..

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  7. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    I will do some googling for that. Any existing concepts are good to learn from.

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  8. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    I haven't got a lot of experience with peltier coolers myself. My main experience comes from using an electric cooler. The one I have is more than capable of freezing the contents of the cooler if the ambient temperature is below 50f.

    My thought would be to keep the enclosure as small as possible and insulate with Styrofoam.

    Peltiers are pretty inexpensive so its something I'd have to experiment with.

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  9. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    I've considered this but I'd like to keep the food frozen so that I can use it for a couple weeks at a time without worrying about spoilage.

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  10. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

  11. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Mysis feast is a refridgerated mix of PE mysis sold by reef nutrition, not frozen.
  12. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Hmm some thing like that could be dosed with a dosing pump for sure. The wine bottle cooler would likely be enough.

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  13. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Two other issues:

    1) Food spoiling in the tubing.
    While the food in the cooler stays refrigerated, the bit close to your tank is a nice 80 degrees.
    I have seen some sort of flush-tee thing to fix that though.

    2) Food settling out on the bottom.
    You need something to stir it up before dosing.
    Not impossible, but more hassle.
    tygunn and jonmos75 like this.
  14. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Both are very valid points.

    One of my other motivations for building a frozen feeder is just because I can. Lol. Why not over engineer??

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    pixelpixi likes this.
  15. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I wonder if an auger like device might work. A bit like they do for ice makers.
    Lets say you have a 1" diameter auger. (wood-working bit might work)
    Perhaps 1' long.
    Place a cube in each row in the freezer. Easily handles a week or so.
    Connect that auger to a stepper gear motor.
    Rotate it once to dispense a frozen cube.
    Cube drops out through a flap pushed open by auger, into a pipe, and into tank.
  16. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    That's a good idea as well, thanks.

    I guess the only way to know for sure is to prototype these concepts. :)
  17. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    Next step is shark tank (the show not an actual shark tank).
  18. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Another much simpler idea.

    Supposed you put the cubes in a copper tube, separated by pieces of styrofoam.
    The copper tube is kept at freezing by a thermocouple.
    And tube is well insulated around the outside.

    Then use a linear actuator connected to a plunger to push the cubes out, one a day.
    The foam plugs pop out also, but simply float around or are caught by a large screen.
    The foam plus act as insulation on the end, key to keeping it frozen.

    plunger / cube / foam / cube / foam
  19. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Man that group scares me. Lol. They'd shred me apart.

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  20. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Hhmmmm I really life that idea as well. Though I'm thinking a stainless tube would be a better idea to avoid potential contamination.

    All this is really getting my creative side running. I'm definitely going to try to pull this off.

    I'll have to see if I can make a cad model of this.

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