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Photos: From VCR to cat feeder

An English inventor turns his old VCR into an automatic cat feeder.
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1 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

VCR

English inventor James Larsson began his "programmabowl VCR" project with this machine.

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2 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

VCR motor

Upon opening his VCR, Larsson identified the motor that runs the rotating video head drum. It can be disconnected without affecting the machine's control systems, he says, so it's the best timer-control motor to use.

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3 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Video head drum

Larsson removed the video head drum assembly by pulling the screws holding the drum assembly in place. He warns against disconnecting the wires to the drum, which are necessary for powering the auger via the gearbox.

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4 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Video head drum

Next, Larsson instructs how to disconnect the drum from the motor. He says to take off the actual video head drum as a way to cut down on load on the motor. It is possible to sever all wires save for those that run the motor and which are usually the wires closest to the top of the head assembly.

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5 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Pet feeder

Once constructed, the pet feeder is ready for users.

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6 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Pet feeder

Larsson's article in Make magazine suggests using the feeder specifically for cats, but he says it's fine for almost any pet.

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