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Newbie Project: Operation Calm Dog


Jul 23, 2013
Jul 23, 2013
Our dog has a tendency to jump kick the front window when people walk past the house. She has literally pushed the window out of the wall. We pushed it back in and used some special caulk to keep it in but I want to train her not to jump kick the window in the first place. We've tried every conventional method so I'm reduced to creating my own unconventional method of training my dog by creating a device to create an unpleasant noise when triggered near the window. It's also a good excuse to pick up electronics as a new hobby.

Project Overview
The dog triggers the device; preferably when charging and not walking calmly to the window. (Vibration or tilt sensor on the carpet? Electric eye?). The device emits a 5 second burst of annoying sound to condition the dog to be careful around the window.

Project Components
1) Power - 9 volt battery

2) Alarm - 555 timer attached to a 1 inch speaker with a potentiometer thrown in to adjust the frequency. I dialed in a noise that my dog seems to hate. This component seems to work great.

3) Alarm Activator - 555 timer designed to provide a few seconds of power to the alarm so that a momentary connection of the switch will provide a few seconds of deterrent to the dog.
Newbie question. Does the 555 timer in the alarm activator (and ICs in general) waste any significatnt amount power while not triggered? I would expect the device to need to sound the alarm maybe a combined total of 5 minutes per day (far less if it's actually effective) in 5 second bursts. Am I going to find the battery dead in a week from sitting out all day even when not triggered by the dog? My assumption of yes leads us to component 4. Is component 4 necessary or needless complication?

4) Relay - When the relay is not powered the the alarm and alarm activator receive no power through the normally open contacts. The switch in component 5 momentarily powers the alarm activator. The alarm activator keeps the relay powered for 5 seconds which continues to power the activator and alarm. When the activator switches off the relay relaxes back to normally open and the entire device uses no power. This took quite a bit of experimentation to get to work and I'm pretty sure I fried one 555 timer (it is now always triggered regardless of the voltage on pin 2) before getting diodes everywhere I needed them.

5) Switch - I was originally intending to use a sort of laser tripwire but ultimately decided on a vibration sensor. The laser would be difficult to position so that it only triggered when the dog was approaching at a charge and would also use continuous power. I grabbed some vibration sensors to play around with and got very weak results. They turned out to be reed sensors. With light vibration they transmit so little power that I can't seem to do anything with it. I find myself running it through a series of 3 transistors to amplify the signal to be useful and I still need to flick the sensor more than I'd like in order to get my device triggered. I've considered tilt sensors but am concerned that it will be difficult to calibrate to trigger on very slight vibrations of my dog's feet on the carpet.
Newbie question. What is the best way to convert a very very slight momentarily closed circuit into a meaningful signal?

Is there a different way of triggering the device I should consider? Should I abandon the idea of being hyper efficient on electricity? Should I use the switch to trigger an already powered alarm activator 555 or keep trying to use it to turn on power to the device?