While the original version used a BASIC Stamp 2, this newer version is designed around the Arduino Nano.
The original Build A Better Mousetrap was an over-engineered, overpriced, hastily built project, made from random parts from my parts bins. I designed and built a prototype one day, then built the actual project the next day. The mousetrap was effective and fun to use, but was lost in NY when I moved to CA.
Improving the Design
The original design, while fun and full of extra goodies, was just too bulky and not well thought out. I built it in an evening based on an even more hastily built prototype. This new version is meant to employ the following improvements over the original design:
- Be more streamlined and compact.
- Simpler design.
- Make it easier to “see” the mouse you’ve caught.
- Prevent the mouse from chewing its way out, as happened with the previous design.
- Make it easier to release the mouse.
Being more streamlined means having less exposed circuitry and making the circuitry more compact and enclosed. Simplifying the design starts with removing the LCD, which was just there for fun and because I had so many extra / unused I/O pins.
In order to see the mouse, I am using a clear display enclosure. The original enclosure was black ABS with an aluminum top. Only the trap door was clear. With no light inside, it was impossible to see the mouse. A clear display box seems like a good option here as it is compact, clear, and the door can be designed to cover the end. Also, the IR beam can be used without having to drill holes in the box. This means the mouse has one less thing to chew on.
In order to prevent the mouse from chewing its way out, I need to make sure there are no edges the mouse can get its teeth on. In the original design the IR LED and phototransistor were inserted into a drilled hole into the enclosure, but protruded through enough to give the mouse a rounded “nub” to chew on, negatively affecting the beam.
Worse though was the trap door, which was about a 1/16″ in front of the enclosure with a 1-1/4″ hole. Mice were able to chew the inside edge of the hole and eventually wear it away to make the hole bigger and escape. To solve this problem I am making the trap door flush with the enclosure so there’s no edge available.
In the original build, to release the mouse you had to reset the trap, then hold the reset button down, while trying to convince the critter to leave the dark box with the 1-1/4″ opening. Most often the critter didn’t want to come out. This time around the will be a “release” mode in which the door will open and the trap will ignore the IR sensor until the trap is ready. You should be able to just dump the mouse right out.
Starting the Build[PHOTO OF DISPLAY BOX]
This is the enclosure I will be using for this project. There will be a link in the resources at the end for this plastic case.
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