Automated mouse homecage two-bottle choice test v2

Version 2: A homecage-fitted apparatus for automated, photobeam-based detection of licks in a two-bottle choice task.

Public Chat
Similar projects worth following

This is an update to the original automated mouse two bottle test.  It performs the same function as the last version but it has been revamped to make it battery powered and include a screen to display data.  It lasts about 2 weeks on the battery, making it a truly mobile drinking monitor!  

This design fits into our colony caging (Allentown NextGen) while on the rack, for different caging you may have to modify the 3D design.

Sipper base.stl

3D design file for the main piece

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 319.22 kB - 07/16/2019 at 12:08


Sipper cover.stl

3D design file for the cover

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 38.56 kB - 07/16/2019 at 12:08


Main sipper Arduino code with outputs activated

Zip Archive - 10.09 kB - 10/06/2018 at 16:29



Arduino code for re-setting the time on the RTC

ino - 5.58 kB - 08/11/2018 at 19:34


Sipper BOM.csv

Bill of materials for the sipper device

Comma-Separated Values - 1022.00 bytes - 08/11/2018 at 21:37


View all 14 components

  • Editable 3D design

    Lex Kravitz03/06/2019 at 16:04 0 comments

    The 3D design was developed in TinkerCAD and an editable design is available here:

    Please don't judge us! This device went though a very iterative design process so the current design build is a bit complicated.  We'll hopefully re-design this more simply and update in the future (or if someone does this please let us know so we can post better design files!).  

  • Troubleshooting

    Lex Kravitz02/04/2019 at 17:03 0 comments

    This log is about troubleshooting.  I'll add to it as we identify troubleshooting issues.  Please leave a comment if you know of any others!  

    1) Sipper position

    While the electronics on the sipper device are pretty much bulletproof, we have noticed the position of the sipper tubes can shift a bit, so these should be checked carefully.  Specifically, it's possible for one tube to move out of the detection beam, which obviously introduces error into the experiment.  Here's an example, with the red line estimating the position of the detection beam.  The sipper on the right is positioned too far from the detection beam.

    We're working on updating the 3D design to reduce this possibility, but either way it's a good idea to check this before putting them in with mice!

  • Quick video

    Lex Kravitz02/01/2019 at 19:37 1 comment

    Quick video of sippers in action, showing water vs. chocolate

  • Rat v2.0 design coming soon!

    jkhokhar11/07/2018 at 19:06 0 comments

    We are getting closer to a finalized design for use with rats v2.0. Hope to upload it all here by the end of the month. This version has a much smaller footprint compared to the previous version. We are just working on finalizing the mounting via suction cups and the code for the volume measurement. Stay tuned!

  • Modification for rats!

    Lex Kravitz10/23/2018 at 23:07 0 comments

    Dr. Jibran Khokhar at the University of Guelph has modified this sipper device to measure liquid intake in rats.  Really cool!  He also added an eTape liquid level monitor to measure actual intake as well as the number of interactions with the sipper.  He plans to put the full design online soon, but in the meantime here are some photos!

  • TTL output when mouse interacts with sippers

    Lex Kravitz10/06/2018 at 17:12 0 comments

    We made a slight update to the code and design to give the sippers 2 TTL output connections that can sync sipper interactions with external equipment such as a fiber photometry or ephys recording system.  There is now an optional step in the instructions for which pins to solder these BNC connectors (to A1 and A3), and an update to the code to enable these pins as outputs.

  • Homecage validation!

    Lex Kravitz09/16/2018 at 14:33 0 comments

    We made some tweaks to the 3D design to allow the sipper device to mount onto rack-mounted vivarium cages.  This will allow for higher-throughput experiments.  

  • First validation!

    Lex Kravitz08/15/2018 at 15:06 0 comments

    Earlier this week we assembled a sipper device and filled one tube with water and the other with diluted (1:2) chocolate ensure. We placed it in a mouse cage overnight.

    Some glamour shots of the device in a mouse cage:

    The next morning, guess what??  One tube was completely empty... the other untouched

    First data!

  • How much does this cost?

    Lex Kravitz08/11/2018 at 21:37 0 comments

    Not including the 3D parts, we calculate this at ~$85 per sipper.  This can be $30 cheaper if you don't need the battery, or just use a cheaper battery.  The $30 battery we chose was probably a bit overkill (6600mAh) but we had a bunch around the lab so we used them.  We're also thinking ahead to putting WIFI on this device for data transfer and that will require more battery power.  BOM in the files area as well.

  • Sipper video!

    Lex Kravitz08/11/2018 at 20:39 0 comments

View all 12 project logs

  • 1
    Print the two 3D parts
  • 2
    Prepare syringes

    Pull plunger out of 2 syringes and discard.  Cut the bottom off the syringes with a razor blade (see photo).  Epoxy a valve into the bottom and let dry fully. Drill a small hole in the plastic top.  Fill with water and check for leaks.  

  • 3
    Put together 2 photo-interrupters

    Solder the PI into the Sparkfun breakout board, solder on a 1K resistor (the board says to use a 220Ohm resistor but we found 1K doesn't impair the function of the PI and consumes less power), and solder on the 3 pin JST connector. Be careful with the orientation of the connector, it's important!  Plug the wire into this 3 pin jack.

View all 11 instructions

Enjoy this project?



mwblab wrote 04/27/2019 at 01:46 point

Very cool project! I didn’t see this in the components list - what is the red part between the falcon tube and the supper valve?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Duncan wrote 03/08/2019 at 10:41 point

This looks great. I am trying to build some but am having trouble getting the Hydropac valves in Europe. I'm wondering if you have tried other valves or know of something I could try as an alternative?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sophi Kravitz wrote 02/15/2019 at 17:35 point

This was a featured project today on, congrats!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates