Introduction: Fix a LitterMaid Mega for Under $5

Picture of Fix a LitterMaid Mega for Under $5

We bought two of the litter boxs from a garage sale for $25 a year ago. Both came with everything but the power adapeter. One box went to my brother and we kept the other. My brother was able to find the power adapter and bought one for both boxes.

If you are not sure what a LitterMaid is.

LitterMaid website

What we have

After awile our box stopped working but my brother's keep working.

I thouht about gutting the electronics and motor, but I poked around the crcuit board with multimeter and found out that part of the board still worked.

To let you know

If you do this you do it at your own risk. If you break it you get to keep all the pieces. If it melts you get to keep one lumpy piece that smells like cat crap.

Step 1: See What You Have to Work With.

Picture of See What You Have to Work With.

The cover can be removed by taking out four screws. Two on each side of the cover. There are also two screws inside the battery compartment and one on the bottom of the cover. This screw keeps the board in place.

Sadly I clipped every wire off the board. This was before I even thought about just trying to fix it.

After attaching the motor wires back.

I found out that shorting the two pads on the two transistor made the screen move back and forth. I knew I could use them for fixing it, But I could only use a push button to fix the screen. Once the screen reached either end the motor would buzz and once it had stopped.

Step 2: Get Tools Ready

Picture of Get Tools Ready

The pads that make the screen move are the ones you need to solder to.

What is needed

# Soldering Iron
Nothing fancy just need something to melt solder and tin wires. I had used one from an old $15 electrical kit that had strippers, cheap multi and connectors.

# solder

# wire
Came free with the box. A Lot of wire in the litter box for all of the controls. I used a two yellow wires and two white wires. These are the longest wires you will find.

# Two Switches
Small push button momentary ones. I used Radioshack's #275-1556 $2.99 for a two pack. Also they are one of their smallest switches mounting in a 1/4 inch hole.

# Heat Shrink or Electrical Tape
Keeps it clean and prevents shorting. I had a 8 inch peice of heat shrink so I used that.

# Dremel, Dremel like tool or a sharp knife.
Removing plastic.

# Helping hands or third hand.
Helpful but board is big enough that it did not move to much.

If you don't have any of these then it will cost you more than $5.

Step 3: Solder It Up.

Picture of Solder It Up.

With the board unplugged heat up the soldering iron.

Tin the tips of the four wires and solder one wire each of the four pads. Keep the wiring clean with heat shrink or electrical tape so they won't short the board.

Step 4: Testing

Picture of Testing

Plug the board back in so it has power.

There are two wires for each direction both have a yellow and a white. Now you need to find out what direction the screen will move when you touch which two wires together.

Label the wires for the direction. Not need but helpful.

Backward is the single black band.
Forward is the double black band.

Step 5: Putting It All Back Together.

Picture of Putting It All Back Together.

The board was placed back in the cover.

The wires are then feed through one of the many holes in the battery compartment.

The cover then can be placed back on the litter box.

Step 6: The Switches.

Picture of The Switches.

The switches can be placed anywhere, but I put them on the front of the cover.

For the holes that need be drilled for switches, use what size bit is needed for your switch. Make room for the back of the switch with a Dremel or sharp knife if needed.

I used black and red switches. Red for forward, and black for backwards.

Step 7: Finished and Final Thoughts.

Picture of Finished and Final Thoughts.

The box will only work now when you push the buttons.

The buttons get pressed in the morning and at night. The crap tray get dumped on the trash on weekends.

Attached is a video its very simple but very big in size 12mb. download if you really want to see it. I might thow it up on Youtube or somthing.

Final thoughts.

I maybe could have used a microcontroller but do not know how to make my own code to tie back into the motion sensor. I have used Ladyada's MiniPOV and that was simple.

The screen lacks power when it finds a big clump.

Used a DC power supply and just used a switch from there to the screen motor.

This is my first Instructable enjoy. Also I don't know much about electronics.

Comments

user18 (author)2010-02-28

Good job! Check for another repair instructions here:
http://mcs.uwsuper.edu/sb/Electronics/LitterMaid/

tinkerer5 (author)2008-08-13

I'm looking to buy a used, early model littermaid from someone. Has to be more than 4 years old for a demonstration to the advances in technology. I'll pay well for it, including any shipping costs. This is important, so please send me a message if you want to upgrade to a new model and are willing to be paid handsomely for your old one. michael_leach at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

katerlyn (author)tinkerer52008-08-26

I have a couple in my garage, one i shorted out and the other i just stopped using as i bought the dishwasher type ones (that went bankrupt) and now i use litterless with strangers and dump in toilet ( i guess that's illegal; but why do they sell attachments for toilet then?)) just happened along and saw your note.....

Rob K (author)tinkerer52008-08-20
This one is gutted sorry.
Rob K (author)2008-03-15

Update

Everything is still working.

Very Keri (author)2008-01-16

man, those things are expensive and notorious for breaking in 10 seconds! good thing you're handy!

Rob K (author)Very Keri2008-01-16

Why buy a new one. New ones are around $100 or higher. I'm off at college now and the litter box is still working at home.

Very Keri (author)Rob K2008-01-16

oh, i hear you. I looked at them and then checked the consumer reviews and opted to keep the non-scooping one i've got. i've never stumbled across them at yard sales, plus i'm not handy with electronics, and didn't get the soldering iron i had on my christmas list, so i guess i'm out of luck. :)

GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-08

Nice job! Only under $5, that's awesome. Very detailed Instructable.

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