söndag 28 januari 2018

First impressions: SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect + Hub

So, bought a new pet door as a gift for my wife on her birthday so that she can monitor and set a curfew even when she's not at home.
So, we have 3 cats and a microchip door today. The only thing that worries us is the extra traffic on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings + that we do not let them spend the night outdoors because of bad stuff happening (lots of other cats fighting in the neighborhood and we are tired of vet-bills.

So, time for an upgrade.
Turns out I bought the XL door this time. A good thing as our male cat Tiger is a little too big for the current door and kind of dislikes the feeling of it. He still uses it but prefers the actual door. So lets hope that this one will work better.


What I used
  • Screwdriver
  • Jigsaw
  • Bradawl
  • Drill
  • Knife
  • Spirit-level

At first I had to remove the old SureFlap cat door by removing the plastic details covering the screws and unscrewing and pushing the door in. 

Next step was to fit the new door by taking the tunnel and pushing it towards the point on the door where I wanted it. I think the recommended distance from the floor is 15 cm (check the manual if you are unsure) so that the cats don't have to duck too much. Put a spirit-level on the tunnel and let a friend draw the line all the way around.

If you do not have a hole in the door already, take a large drill and drill a hole in all the edges.
I already had an old hole so I just started with the jigsaw.  It should be quite a tight fit as otherwise you will get extra wind that can pass around the tunnel.

Test the fit as you go by pushing the tunnel out from inside your house.

When you are happy put on the outer part and use the bradawl to mark the screw holes. Remove the tunnel and outer part again.
Use a small drill to drill through the door at those 4 places. The holes can be a bit larger then the screw diameter as you will need some leeway to put all 4 screws through the outer plastic and into the screw holes on the inner part.

For connecting the door to the hub, just follow the instructions in the app. I don't feel the need to duplicate them here as the app is good enough. One thing to note is that the hub does not have wifi, that is a downer in 2018... Like, why not? Luckily I had an extender with cable socket lying around that I was able to plug it into as the router is not even close to the door.

The App

The app was quite easy to setup even though I managed to mix up our cats and had to show them to the door an extra time and rename the already entered cats.

I the main page you can see a summary of all of your pets and devices and their status. I.e. who is in the house and who is out and if the door is locked in some way. Also nice to see the battery level here.

. In the app you can upload photos of your pets to show as profile pictures. 

Each pet get their own timeline that you can follow their activity through the door. There is also notification each time the door is activated. I.e. 'real-time' tracking of your pets.

The first night we got the 'An animal looked through the door'. I.e. someone was trying to enter, not one of ours as everyone was inside at the time.

With the old door I used to show the cats that it is unlocked in the morning, but I guess I will no as it gets recorded as 'An animal has left the house'. 

Each pet get their own statistics as well, so you can see what time of the day they are active etc.

Also showing number of entries through the door. I guess our Prime will win this as she runs in and out all the time.

Even more statistics, showing activity per weekday.

The door control page allows you to lock the door to keep pets in or out ...

... or both

The curfew mode has some limits in my opinion. I would like to set a different curfew depending of day of week. I.e. Tuesdays should lock the door at 1600 and Saturdays should open it at 1200 instead of the normal 0700-1800 open hours. We have a lot of traffic during Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings as the local recycling center is at the end of our road and we want to keep our cats indoor mitigate risk. But that does not work.
So we will lock and unlock the door manually until this feature is added.


Overall feeling is that this was a good buy. We won't have to stress home on Tuesdays or lock the cats inside when we leave for work in the morning, they can be outside and we just lock the door with the app in the afternoon. 
Would buy again

Update 20180718

I bought this product myself and this is my opinion on them. I am in no way affiliated with the manufacturer of this product.

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