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A few years ago I helped crowdfund a Petzi Treat Camera to feed my pet. Due to a broadcast pushed firmware update that I missed, it was rendered unusable. Thankfully, they did however send me a replacement unit but I am now left with a second bricked one. The device by design communicates via Wi-Fi, has a camera and has a motorized trap door to dispense treats. I haven't opened it yet but I was thinking I might try gaining access to it or seeing if its components can be used elsewhere.

I'm wondering whether there's a potential to reclaim/salvage parts of my old one and up/downcycle it or, if that's not possible, what would be the most environmental considerate way to dispose of this device?

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Electronics are generally recyclable, that is not something specific to IoT devices. More specifically, your IoT device will typically provide a general purpose MCU.

Recycling an MCU is generally feasible. Even if the bootloader is locked down, you may be able to wipe the entire device using JTAG. It is debatable how much value there is in re-using a several year old device, but the hardware should be viable for 5-10 years.

Performance, security protocols, wireless protocols etc. would be the factors which would lag behind. You would also be working with a much more physically constrained platform than a small dev-board would provide.

Generally, it will not be feasible to re-purpose the original firmware, even if this was open-source derived - there may be missing configuration details or drivers. You should plan on finding or writing the whole stack (but this may be a valuable learning exercise). There may be server-side code which would also not be re-usable.

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    In this particular case, the device is only a year or so old. It has a camera, motor and movable parts. The platform they use is very bloated, so I'd love to strip it down to a bare bones device. – Trevor J. Smith Dec 6 '16 at 19:05

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