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RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:37 am
by Darwusch
Hi,

Since a year I am the happy owner of a RFID Cat Flap. This flap responds to the micro chip in the neck of our cat and only unlocks the flap when our cat is in front of it, and stays locked for other cats trying to get in.
Some details about the cat flap:
Petporte Smart Flap - Model PP0203
Responds to RFID microchip: FDX-B
ISO 11784/5
Frequency 134.2kHz

The manufacturer was developing a computer control device which made it possible to connect the cat flap to the computer, so you can see when your cat enters the flap. I don't see the important use for this, but it would sure be nice to play with it ;-)
But now the company has been promising this computer control accessory since more than a year and I don't think it will come out soon.
I'm hoping that it is possible to connect it through a USB interface on the board inside the flap. I'm going to try to make a connection myself, maybe some of you know this flap already and have some tips?
I uploaded some photos of the device.
The chips on the board have the following text written on it (in case you can't read it from the photo's):

PIC16F886 (CMOS FLASH-based 8-bit microcontroller)
-I/SS
09013M3


8AA0R6M E4 (DC Motor controller)
L293DNE


324
9LF821


I'll let you know when I have more information about the connection I'm trying to make. Tips are more than welcome!

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:59 am
by Bwired
Looks nice!
If I watch closely I see that it needs a 12 volt and I guess there is a small reader on the outside.
Question:
do you want to connect it just to see how many times its being open and closed?

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:06 am
by Darwusch
There is a reader on the outside which scans above the neck, it's like a small roof.
With a computer connection it would also be possible to lock the flap at certain times, during night for example. Or for instance see what other cats (RFID tag numbers) have been trying to enter. Mostly I would like to connect it just because it is possible ;-)

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:18 pm
by Bastiaan
Where did you buy the door and for how much?

I am interested in it too, we are getting more and more alien cats coming in. Adding a few barks over the stereo would help when un 'unknown' cat enters :lol:

is your cat 'chipped' by a vet or wearing a collarRFID?

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:04 pm
by Darwusch
I bought it at:
Dierenwinkel Rene van der Westen
Frederik Hendriklaan 204
2582 BL DEN HAAG
tel: 070-3555737
web: www.discus.nl

I think it was around € 150,- but I have to look that up.

Our cat is chipped by a vet so there's no collar involved which is better for the cat I think.

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:33 pm
by Bwired
OK
I see some extra connectors on the print, perhaps there is a setting (connectors) which can disable the device.
Also nice to put a sensor on there the log the times the Flap goes open.

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:55 pm
by Bastiaan
Did you contact the manufacturer requesting information?
If they said they would develop the interface and don't do it, I would also remember them and ask them for a timeframe.
In this case you can also tell them there are a few other people interested.

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:07 pm
by Darwusch
The connector at the right (JP5) seems to be the one connected to the PIC, the PIC16F886.
Looking at the connectors from the PIC, it uses Enhanced Universal Synchronous Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (EUSART).
The module has a serial I/O communication connection.
From those 5 pins, the functions seem to be:
Pin 1: +5 volt
Pin 2: GND
Pin 3: RX/DT
Pin 4: TX/CK
Pin 5: SDO (Serial Data Out)

I think there are some In-System Programmer kits for programming the PIC by a software tool. I'll look for one of those to read out the data and find out what's possible.

For the left connector (JP3) it is harder to trace the connections. I can't see where they're going yet, I'll have to open the flap again.
<EDIT: In a later post on the next page, the further pinout is given>

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:10 pm
by Darwusch
Bastiaan wrote:Did you contact the manufacturer requesting information?
If they said they would develop the interface and don't do it, I would also remember them and ask them for a timeframe.
In this case you can also tell them there are a few other people interested.


Yes, I sent them an email a couple of times asking for a date but they keep shifting it, and in their last email they didn't have any idea anymore cause their company is taken over by another company, Petsafe, www.petsafe.net
I sent Petsafe a request for the technical datasheets of the Smart Flap.

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:23 pm
by wwolkers
I've been looking into these catdoors also, and found 2 so far, the PetPorte, which is around 145 euros, and the SureFlap, which is around 90 euros.
Both work with the chip which every cat should have by now. I've read somewhere that these cat doors take a sec to open, which would probably be a problem for my cats, since they tend to come flying through the door every now and then, if they are being chased by another cat :) One of them actually already managed to wreck the entire cat door doing so :(

What is your experience with this cat door so far? does it open instantly, or does it take a sec? does it work 100% of the time?
I'm assuming the chip part is only required for entering, and that the cats can always go outside, no matter what chip they have?

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:14 pm
by Bastiaan
That sounds familiar, my cats also 'ram' the door as if they are not existing at all. My girlfriend was also worried: 'what happens when the systems stops working?" (we are sometimes away from home for a month)

Difficult decision.....

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:03 pm
by Darwusch
It's true that if they're running, the door doesn't open quickly enough. Our cat has hit the door in the beginning a couple of times but after a day or two he learned the way he should stop in front of the flap. It works 100%.
It has happened one time in the beginning that he forced the flap by running really fast, and the lock broke open. The good thing was that it was very easily repaired, no damage.

Even when the power is down, there is a battery which takes over the opening until the power is back. The last year we had no problem and our cat loves to go in and out the house many times a day...

If your cat is being chased by other cats a lot I'm not sure if this is the right solution, not only because of the response time but also because it's a bit too expensive to be destroyed like that ;-)
It's a very solid flap but I prefer that the door brakes before my cat's head does!

The cat is only scanned when it's entering. All cats can go out.

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:30 am
by Esteban
Half related: Automated home has a review up of the petporte:
http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/Reviews/ ... eview.html

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:10 am
by Bastiaan
I have been writing them too to see if a bit more pressure will generate some feedback from them....
Until the interface is there I probably hold off buying it.

I am just thinking of a way to find out if they are in or out. Guess that needs a second recording somewhere.
A small IR beam in front of the flap could do the trick. I still got these small robotic sensors here waiting for a good opportunity.

How difficult is it to read the tag? Would it be an option to make a tag reader and connect it straight into homeseer?
I guess reliability would be an issue....

Another option would be to use the current PetPorte housing and 'remake' the control board. Since we can do the programming from a computer, it would only need to steer the solenoid, and store the chip code independently.

Just some thoughts,
Bastiaan

Re: RFID Cat Flap computer connection

PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:24 pm
by Bastiaan
Answer back from customer service:

Thank you for your email and your interest in the Pet Porte Smart Flap.

Unfortunately at this present time I am unable to say when the release date for the pc control accessory kit will be. Due to Radio Systems Corporation recent acquisition of us their development programme has now taken over the responsibility for bring these to fruition.
We are maintaining a waiting list of people to advise when we do have an announcement date, if you wish to be added to this list please let me know and I will be happy to include you.
In regard to the circuit board, unfortunately I am unable to forward you that information due to it's commercially sensitive nature.
I am sorry that I am unable to give you a more positive response.

Kind regards

Sarah

========

Seems time for an email to Radio Systems Corporation :-)