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Electronic Cat Flaps



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 30th 05, 09:39 AM
Clive Backham
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Default Electronic Cat Flaps

I know this has been discussed many times before, and I've done a
Google Groups search looking for an answer, but I'm hoping that some
very specific questions might elicit some useful extra info.

First, some background (sorry for the length). We have a Staywell 31
cat flap. This is the kind with the passive RFID type device on the
collar. There are three problems with this arrangement:

1. Sometimes the latch works fine, and Pixie (our cat) has no problem
coming in. She seems to understand that she needs to put her face
close to the flap, wait for the click, then come in. Other times it
doesn't unlock, and then she starts getting frantic, slapping at the
flap with her paw. Basically, the operating range seems to be too
short. We'd like to find a cat flap which is much more reliable in
terms of opening at the right time.

2. Pixie has a habit of sometimes slinking in quite slowly. By the
time she's got through, the latch has reset, and then the flap itself
gently glides down her tail and remains on the wrong side of the
latch. At this point, a neighbouring tabby takes advantage, comes in
and scoffs Pixie's food and sprays in the house. I've tried adding a
small weight to the flap to try and make it force its way past the
reset latch, but it seems that no amount of extra weight does the
trick. (If you think about the vector forces in operation, since the
flap is almost vertical, even a huge weight added will have virtually
no sideways component, so it's no surprise that this doesn't work).

3. Pixie is quite a small cat, and she doesn't really like the rather
large key device on her collar. She does seem to have got used to it,
but we'd prefer something smaller. A cat flap that works from an
embedded chip under the skin would be ideal, but my understanding is
that these ID chips are low-frequency devices that cannot work at long
range (ie. more than a couple of cm), so I suspect this is a
non-starter.

I see that the Staywell 31 is no longer made, and seems to have been
replaced with another model that uses an active infra-red collar key.
Does anyone have experinece with this? Is it more reliable than the
model 31? Is its collar key any smaller than the 31's big RFID type
thing? Are there any other makes which are more reliable? Cost is not
really an issue (within reason).

Thanks.
  #2  
Old May 30th 05, 06:53 PM
Martin Jay
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Default

In message , Clive Backham
writes
I know this has been discussed many times before, and I've done a
Google Groups search looking for an answer, but I'm hoping that some
very specific questions might elicit some useful extra info.


First, some background (sorry for the length). We have a Staywell 31
cat flap. This is the kind with the passive RFID type device on the
collar.


That seems very high tech. We use the basic Staywell magnetically
operated model, which seems to work fine. However it cannot be set to
only allow only one cat in. Fortunately there are no other cats around
here that use the same system.

Magic and Ebony have a habit of losing their collars quite regularly and
replacements are quite expensive for what they are.
--
Martin Jay
  #3  
Old June 1st 05, 05:16 PM
R & K
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Default



Martin Jay wrote:



Magic and Ebony have a habit of losing their collars quite regularly and
replacements are quite expensive for what they are.


My father had a magnetically operated flap for his cat, sorry, don't
know what brand. After Boots lost both collars with their fancy magnetic
tags, he just went down to the old computer & geek junk store and bought
a bunch of magnets that were shaped like Lifesaver candies. They were
small enough, and with the doughnut shape, were easy to sew onto a new
collar. Best of all, they were CHEAP. You might sniff around and see
if you can find some similar. Try one, see if it will trip your cat
flap, then buy them by the dozen.

Rocchelle,
who is the personal doorman for her cats.

P.S. For the computer geeks out there, try setting something up like:
http://www.quantumpicture.com/Flo_Co...lo_control.htm
My dad was very tempted, since Boots had a habit of dragging in anything
he could fit through the cat flap: birds, mice, lizards, etc. Only
reason he didn't bring in a deer was it wouldn't fit!
  #4  
Old June 3rd 05, 01:48 AM
someone
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Default


Clive Backham wrote in message
...
I know this has been discussed many times before, and I've done a
Google Groups search looking for an answer, but I'm hoping that some
very specific questions might elicit some useful extra info.

First, some background (sorry for the length). We have a Staywell 31
cat flap. This is the kind with the passive RFID type device on the
collar. There are three problems with this arrangement:

1. Sometimes the latch works fine, and Pixie (our cat) has no problem
coming in. She seems to understand that she needs to put her face
close to the flap, wait for the click, then come in. Other times it
doesn't unlock, and then she starts getting frantic, slapping at the
flap with her paw. Basically, the operating range seems to be too
short. We'd like to find a cat flap which is much more reliable in
terms of opening at the right time.


By the time she's slapping the door, her collar's probably too far away. We
had the same problem with Henry, who was being chased by another cat and was
heading for the cat door at about 30 mph. The cat door window still has a
giant craze mark in the middle where he hit the 'windscreen'. He had to
turn and face his attacker, but fortunately he survived. He often didn't
understand that he had to put his head by the door.

2. Pixie has a habit of sometimes slinking in quite slowly. By the
time she's got through, the latch has reset, and then the flap itself
gently glides down her tail and remains on the wrong side of the
latch. At this point, a neighbouring tabby takes advantage, comes in
and scoffs Pixie's food and sprays in the house. I've tried adding a
small weight to the flap to try and make it force its way past the
reset latch, but it seems that no amount of extra weight does the
trick. (If you think about the vector forces in operation, since the
flap is almost vertical, even a huge weight added will have virtually
no sideways component, so it's no surprise that this doesn't work).

I'm surprised about this, in fact I just went downstairs and tried it,
opening the flap from the outside and then lowering it ever so slowly. No
problem. Your latch is not working as smoothly as it should, maybe a bit of
oil? It should glide down instantly once the cat door's closing, no matter
how gently.

The other thing is to lock the door from the inside so nobody can go out, so
when you catch the nasty intruder in your house (especially if it's a small
contained room), you throw hot cayenne all over his head, smear it in, and
then let him out. He'll never come back.

3. Pixie is quite a small cat, and she doesn't really like the rather
large key device on her collar. She does seem to have got used to it,
but we'd prefer something smaller. A cat flap that works from an
embedded chip under the skin would be ideal, but my understanding is
that these ID chips are low-frequency devices that cannot work at long
range (ie. more than a couple of cm), so I suspect this is a
non-starter.


Hope this isn't like microwave radiation on your cat.


I see that the Staywell 31 is no longer made, and seems to have been
replaced with another model that uses an active infra-red collar key.
Does anyone have experinece with this? Is it more reliable than the
model 31? Is its collar key any smaller than the 31's big RFID type
thing? Are there any other makes which are more reliable? Cost is not
really an issue (within reason).


I'm about to go through what you're going through, since we now have only
one cat but intend to get a couple more. I don't think these electronic
doors can cope with three cats, only two.

I found the electronic door packed up after about 8 years, and the door was
clicking all the time as it talked to the computer (in the next room), and
the washing machine (about 3 feet away). Eventually it stayed open all the
time, and only closed when the cats tried to come in :-(. I had to keep
reprogramming it, which was a PITA.

But then I found that, if I switched the system off the mains and ran on
batteries only, everything was OK. So that's what I'm doing now, changing
the batteries twice a year (whether they need it or not) and reprogramming
with the collar.

Having said all this, I did phone the Staywell people a few years ago about
reprogramming the door, and they were incredibly nice and helpful, so you
could probably do worse than telephone them and ask for their advice
regarding your problem. Post back if you want their telephone no.

s.



 




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