Put Your CatGenie in "Tech Mode"





Introduction: Put Your CatGenie in "Tech Mode"

So let's say you've got a problem with your CatGenie: the arm won't come out, the bowl isn't turning or is full of yuck, you're not sure it's pumping solution, the granules are always wet - the list of possibilities is a million billion miles long, but you get the idea.

Your CG, as a complex electronic device, has a built-in diagnostic mode that you, as a CG owner, can use to help you get it working again. Now those nice folks at CatGenie don't want this to be common knowledge for the very legitimate reason that you can damage your CG and quite possibly your whole house if you screw this up. Leave the motor running or the fan blowing and you could burn the dumb thing up - or burn your house down. Leave the water running and you'll have one helluva mess. So be careful with this information.

That said, let me say this: I am giving you the codes and the knowledge to use them - but you do so at your own risk. I have had my CG's long enough that they are out of warranty, and it appears that CatGenie is really not that enthused about supporting them - they'd rather upgrade ya to the fancy new 120. Fine - a company's gotta make money; on the other hand, if they're not going to support us, I figger we need all the information we can get to support ourselves. Damn the man!!! :-)

Step 1: Sorry, But I'm Out of the CatGenie Business.

I am leaving these tutorials up for people that might still benefit from them, but I've been without a CatGenie for several years now. Odds are I won't have any helpful information for you if you have questions. Ask away, but don't get your hopes up. Sorry.

Step 2: Doing Your Diagnostic Thang

How To Enter Diagnostic Mode:

  • Unplug the CG.
  • Push and hold both buttons on the control panel.
  • Plug the unit back in, holding both buttons.
  • Hold both buttons about six seconds - until you see the lights on the control panel finish the normal power up sequence that you always get when you plug it in AND it starts a new sequence of flashing and beeping. NOW you can let go of the buttons.
  • If you did it right, the "4" will light up, go out and then the "1" will light up. All other lights will be off.
  • Congratulations, you're ready to get your diagnostic on!
To Select a Test:

Press and release the Auto Setup ("AS" from now on) button. This will advance to the next test. Test numbers are designated by the 1 - 4 lights across the top. More than one light might be on at a time.

To Start/Stop a Test:

Press and release the Start Cycle/Pause ("SCP" henceforth) button. Pressing once will start a test. You have to press it again to stop the test or it'll run until it burns out the motor or floods the room and shorts out or until some sort of disaster occurs, so PAY ATTENTION!

To Exit Diagnostic Mode:

Simply unplug the unit and plug it back in without holding the buttons - or pick up the processor and reseat it on the unit.

About The Tests:

Tests are referred to by the lights that illuminate (1 thru 4) for each test. Press the AS button until the right lights are lit up.

Step 3: Test 1: Extending and Retracting the Arm

Pressing the SCP button the first time retracts the arm. Press it again to stop. Press again to extend the arm into the bowl. Press again to stop. Press again to retract. Press again to stop... you get the idea.

Step 4: Test 2: Turning the Bowl

Pressing the SCP button rotates the bowl clockwise, press again to stop, again to go anti-/counterclockwise (depending on where you're from) and again to stop.

By the way, according the folks at CatGenie, 'un-clockwise' is the best direction to rotate for manual drying - more on that later.

Step 5: Test 3: Running the Water

This is an easy one: press SCP to start water flow, press again to stop.

A helpful hint - dumb as it sounds, if you haven't got any water flow, did you remember to turn on the shutoff valve? Hey - I've left the water off too. Don't feel badly. :-)

Step 6: Test 4: Dispensing Solution

Is the cartridge putting out juice? Press SCP to start, again to stop.

Step 7: Test 1 + 4: Draining the Bowl

Let's say you've got a CG that's full of nastiness and there weren't any beeps or anything to let you know. It has happened to me. You clear the drain line of any possible clogs - but then what? If all you want is to drain the muck so you can get on with fixin' el problemo, this is your test. Press SCP to start the impeller, press it again when she's empty.

If you want the unit to clean up it's own mess - drain, rinse, drain and dry - don't use this test, use test "3 + 4: Clean-Up Mode" in step 8 of this 'ible. From a CatGenie perspective, its your very best friend.

Step 8: Test 2 + 4: Blow Drying

Press SCP to start the blower and heater, again to stop. Put your hand in the airflow to see if it's getting warm or not.

Step 9: Test 3 + 4: Clean-Up Mode

This mode might possibly be your bestest friend - BFF Forever! (Yeah, I know - redundant. "Best Friends Forever" Forever? It irritates me too).

Anyway... this mode is the one and only exception (there is always one) to the "pay attention" guidance I gave you earlier. If you had a problem of some sort but fixed it and now you need to fix the mess left behind in your CG - you will love this test. It will drain, fill, drain again and then dry. All by itself. Like magic. Wonderful, automatic CatGenie magic. Press SCP and walk away.

Step 10: Test 1 + 3 + 4: Sensor Test

Press the SCP button ... and nothing happens! That's okay. This test is for the "occupied" sensor eyes on the front of the processor.

Ever been using one of those fancy public toilets with the electric eye, and had it flush on you out of the blue? This sensor prevents that from happening to your cat when he/she is doing what cats do in litterboxes.

Pass your hand slowly across in front of the sensors, and the 3 and 4 lights should come on/flicker and then go out. Light 2 will stay on for one minute, then extinguish itself too: sensor checks ok!

Step 11: Multiple Mode

Now this is all well and good, but wait! There's more! Buy now and get ... wait, sorry - wrong website. :-)

The CG also has multiple modes which can come in very handy. Let's say you had a cycle run just fine, but for some reason your granules aren't dry. You fix whatever the problem was, but you want to dry your granules.

Easy Peasy: just select the dry cycle, and hit SCP to start the blower. without stopping the blower you can advance to the bowl test, hit SCP a few times to get the bowl turning ccw, then advance to the arm test and extend it out into the granules. You have three tests running at once, and in ten minutes or so your granules are dry! You can then go through the steps to stop all three tests - or just do what I do and pick up the processor, move the arm back into the stowed position and put the processor back down.

Step 12: Do or Do Not - There Is No Try.

Enjoy what you have learned here, young padawan. Use the knowledge wisely, and benefit from it. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility.



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    Since this is an old post, I'll use it to share my experience with the Cat Genie. I have 2 Cat Genie 120's and BOTH now have the same issue where the hose feeding the solution to the bowl has deteriorated and split open. This has also caused solution to drip into the scoop arm motor and clogged it up. I bought my 1st unit Sept 2014 from a liquidation shop in Canada, but it was brand new, unused. The scoop arm quit working Oct 2016, JUST after the 2yr warranty expired (of course). Luckily I had found a used CG that came with 11 cartridges for $150 (bought it for the cartridges) so I just used it. The seller bought it new and only used it a couple months, but his cats wouldn't use it. I used it about 6 months, and it developed the same issue. I'm going to try replace the hoses with either fuel line for model airplanes/cars, or surgical silicon tubing. (Anyone had any experience with this?? ). Even the plastic on one of the pumps has deteriorated. I'm going to try rebuild it, or make a new one from a block of Nylon material. I tool the arm motor apart and cleaned it and it seems to work OK now. I live in Canada and shipping and repair would cost about $150 each. Pet Novations WILL NOT sell individual parts inside the control unit. ( That's like not being able to buy a new alternator or battery for your car's engine.!!! ) .. Not a very good product in this regard.


    reply to the person with the cartridge drain--- the machine should still work- because it didn't since it had run its aloted times---just take the cartridge out and fill it with simply green solution--I've tired cheating the machine by using a good cartridge and letting it start running till the arm comes down-- then I switch the good cartridge with one I've filled with simply green and it keeps running so far --- been doing it for about 2 months--got to do what you can they cost too much !!!!!!

    1 reply

    Is your swapping trick still working or did the good cartridge expire as well? I'm thinking that if your trick works, you might be able to remove the RFID reader from the unit, and put a good tag beside it, and then disconnect the reader from the unit after the cycle starts and while it's running or at the time it would change the count on the tag, by using sensor and relay. Thanks.

    Error 4 Fix. I have a 3 yr old CG, no longer under warranty. It stopped running with an error 4--air vent blocked or other malfunction. After following the instructions in the manual, it still wouldn't run. I left it unplugged overnight to cool off, but that did not fix it. I called customer service and after describing the issue I was told that I would need to ship the unit to them for repair, $90 + shipping. Maybe $120 total. Since I am a handyman, I decided to try to fix it myself and was successful. The problem was a thick layer of dust on the fan motor. Here is how I fixed it: 1) Disconnect power. 2) Turn off water and disconnect hose from back of unit. 3) Lift processing unit out and lay on work surface. 4) Remove the four Phillips screws holding the back cover. (One is covered by a seal that voids your warranty if broken.) A long shaft screwdriver is needed for three of the screws. 5) Lift the back cover off. 6) Clean dust. I used a vacuum cleaner with brush attachment. 7) Re-assemble.

    Do you make these or are you just a distributor? L

    7 replies

    Neither - did you see my post on hacking the cartridges? Not exactly a corporate instructable, is it? I am no way affiliated with CatGenie or PetNovations, other than I own two CatGenies and have six cats; my CGs run four times a day - each. Due to my higher than average usage, I deal with CatGenie problems more often than your average user, and am simply sharing my knowledge. Actually, in the past PetNovations has asked users to take this information down from forums on the assumption that it could cause damage to the units. Since they've stopped making (and basically stopped repairing) these units, I've posted the information to make it easier for people to keep them running.

    I have had my CatGenie since 2006. Never had an issue. No I put a cartridge in and it drains it! WHY? I called the tech support at catgenie. They told me because of the age of my unit, they couldn't extend the $90 repair guarantee to me, hoever, they would offer mr a $30 discount toward a new one.

    Can I fix this problem myself? I see online tgat people refill these cartridges....thoughts? Advise? I love mt CatGenie...I have 11 cats..I simply cant live without it! However, I am now retired and on a fixed income. I wish I could afford 2 more units I foster for a "no kill" shelter. So my littlr fosters are forced to used the old fashioned smelly litter boxes.

    any advise, or help with this matter would greatly be appreciated!

    j9collins@hotmail .com

    thank you, J9

    Hi, I was surprised at how much knowledge you have of the devices (or rather how many instructables), are these things in widespread use? I've not heard of 'em myself, but I guess they didn't sell worldwide. L

    I couldn't say about the sales - but I get a lot of people asking me for help. Not sure how many sold - but I've had to send mine back several times - so they're not anywhere near infallible.

    Apparently not. They do look sophisticated, but I suppose they have advantages of non-electronic devices. L

    I checked out your profile, and you seem to be a well-respected member of the 'ible community. What brings you to my neck of the woods? Do you have a CatGenie? If you have any issues, I have a crapload more stuff on my blog - maddeningscientist.blogspot.com.

    i tried to check out your blog, but it says it's been removed.  What I would like ot know is....have you, or anyone you know of, figured out a way to reset the count on the CatGenie 120 Sani cartridges yet?

    Great pointers.... especially the best friend mode (4 plus 1). However, I waited 5 minutes to try for the "4" light to materialize with no joy. Try holding the two green buttons (with the CG unplugged) and then plug in the CG. After the lights cycle, release the buttons and you will get the "4" followed by the "1" light. You're good to go! These pointers were invaluable. Keep up the good work.

     My unit has a serious problem, I think. For the first year, I didn't have a single problem. Now, However, it won't recognize that there is a full cartridge installed. It beeps incessantly and the cartridge light blinks. I can manually walk it through all of the steps - except the 3+4 (my would-be BFF). When I run the #4 test, it doesn't beep but I can't see that anything is being dispensed either. I read on your blog about a granule "hang it up", so I checked... all clean. I tried 3 brand NEW cartridges... unsuccessful.

    At this point, I am manually running all of the cycles and adding solution from a cartridge that I withdraw with a syringe. Takes FOREVER but gets the job done.

    Any ideas?

    1 reply

    I had a similar problem: it would run through the cycle but not dispense any solution. However, it kept 'counting down' and I ended with a full cartridge it thought was empty (not to mention a clogged unit). Turned out there is supposed to be a needle at the bottom of the slot you put the cartridge in: it had broken off at some point. I called Cat Genie and they sent a new processor. Check the slot you put the cartridge in to make sure there is still a needle sticking up from the bottom.

    Please help. Have had Cat Genie for probably two years now and its on the fritz! It goes half way through its cycle and then stops and errors out with the 3 beeps. It is also draining cartridges! I just put a new one in last night and now its empty!!!! This really pisses me off since those things are worth their weight in gold. Any suggestions?

    3 replies

     Did you figure out why it was draining cartridges and how to fix it?  Mine is doing this, too.  When mine does the 3 beeps, I clean the sensor and it runs fine.  I have to do this every few weeks or so.

    Luckily I was within 3 days out of my warranty running out when I called Catgenie. I told them about the drainage issue and they sent me a new processing unit and a new cartridge. Its like a brand new Genie now! Now if it does it again Ill be really screwed since its officially out of warranty. But I will try cleaning the sensors if it does it. By the way, where is the sensor?

     I called Catgenie, too and they are sending me a new processing unit.  Thanks for your comment, as since I hacked my cartridges, I thought I had done something wrong.  Let's hope the new processor lasts longer...my warranty is up in May.

    Check your manual on instructions on how to clean the sensor.  It's fairly easy, especially if you have the updated hopper.  If you don't, you can order it from Catgenie.

    Help!!! I have a clog and the "run water", "drain" and "clean up" modes don't work! Every other test works, and now I have a nasty mess. Suggestions? Please?