A few weeks back I came across the Fling-ama-String Upgrade 2.0 a Cat Toy Improved on instructable which is fantastic and has steps to improve the cat toy Fling-AMA-String to have a timer and bigger D size batteries.

Ever since I've had my Fling-AMA-String I've wanted to not only make it last longer but also give the cat the power to turn it on and off via a motion sensor. This method is different to Upgrade 2.0 and can use 12V batteries (rather than 1.5V), and perhaps solar panels but it also allows for the Fling-AMA-String to be powered from the AC supply/wall socket.

The end result is with absolutely no effort from humans the cat can trigger the Fling-AMA-String and play with it for the desired time. Then when the cat has had enough the Fling-AMA-String will turn itself off. And with an AC inverter I don't even need batteries.

Here is the end result.

Apart from the components I list in each step you will also need the following:
- Small Red and Black Cable (0.5 or 0.8mm),
- Small screwdrivers,
- Pliers/wire strippers,
- Screws,
- 2 small wire connectors

Remember that positive or Load (L) terminals should be Red Cable while negative or neutral (N) terminals should be black.

The components you need (mentioned in detail within the steps) are as follows:
- A 12V DC Switch/Motion detector with timer functions,
- A 12V DC adapter that plugs into a socket outlet (Could use a 12V DC Battery instead),
- A DC Step Down Convertor,
- A LED display Volt meter (may come with the DC Converter),
- A Fling-AMA-String.

Step 1: The 12V DC Switch/Timer Controlled by a Motion Sensor

You firstly need to buy a 12V DC Switch with a motion detector that also has a timer function built in (see below). Many of the 12V motion detectors don't have a timer or only have a short set time limit. The timer will dictate how long the Fling-AMA-String stays on. For most cats we would want from 30 seconds to a few minutes.

See picture 3 for how I mounted it to the Fling-AMA-String just make sure you DON'T SCREW INTO THE MOTOR.

Also most home and security motion detectors are 240V AC. You do not want this as it won't work especially if you're not an electrician. Just remember to search or ask for 12V DC.

eBay has a few 12V DC Motion detectors with adjustable timers. This one is the best as not only can the timer be adjusted (10seconds to 5 minutes) but also the light sensitivity and distance of objects. This would be helpful to keep the distance short so only the cat close by could trigger the detector/Fling-AMA-String.  You could also set it up so that the motion detector didn't work at night when the lights are off to stop the cat from being annoying while your trying to sleep.  Here it is on eBay or search for 'Microwave Movement Sensor Active Motion Detector' The picture above shows the detector with a 12V DC adapter socket outlet plugged in and a 12V light bulb which will be the Fling-AMA-String instead.

Another one is the 12V switch controller with PIR sensor/motion detector (see picture). With this device when the motion sensor is triggered it sends 12V DC out for 30 seconds. With this you can't adjust the timer so after 30 seconds the cat will hopefully re-trigger the motion sensor (Fingers crossed). Here it is on eBay

Now we need to get power to our motion detector which will also power the Fling-AMA-String.

Step 2: Getting 12V DC Power to Your Motion Detector and Fling-AMA-String

We need to get a 12V DC power source to the motion detector which will in turn power the rest of the circuit and Fling-AMA-String.

The easiest way is to buy an 12V DC adapter which plugs into the wall socket outlet. For Australia something like this should do it:

You need to get the correct plug so that it will fit into the motion detector and the wall socket. Many adapters will come with a variety of plugs. For the motion detector in the picture above it seems like you need to cut the plug and stick the wires into the terminals.

Other 12V DC Power supplies could come as a battery. I would recommend NiCad over the Dry Lead Acid (Big Black Blocks) battery packs. I work with batteries everyday and they just do not last more than a couple of years.

Also you could use a 12V DC Solar Panel, however this would ideally connect to a battery to charge up first.

The motion detector/timer now has 12V DC power. Now we need to convert that to 4.5V for the Fling-AMA-String.

Step 3: DC Step Down Converter (12V DC to 4.5V DC)

The important thing is that the Fling-AMA-String needs to be powered by 4.5V DC (+ approx 2.8A I think) not 12V DC so on eBay there are several Adjustable DC Step Down Converters to choose from that are cheap and easy to use. See this quick vid for how to use one.

The two input wires would come from the positive and negative (Load and Neutral) of your motion detector. The two output wires would then go the Fling-AMA-String positive and negative terminals which is part of another step. As in the video you would use a small blade screwdriver to adjust the output voltage to 4.5V.

Check out my pics to see how I mounted mine to the Fling-AMA-String.  The only problem is that it will get in the way when trying to close the door (depending on which side you install it on) but I can still close the door.  Ensure you know where the motor is located so that you DON'T SCREW INTO THE MOTOR.

Some DC Converters (like the vid) have a handy LED screen to check the output voltage but this one I linked below (also see the pictures) seems to have a better range, safeguards, heat sinks and higher current output. Some of the other converters will also not handle over 2 amps which the Fling-AMA-String might pull.

If you do buy a DC Converter with no LED Screen then you can wire in your own LED volt meter displays as an extra step so you can tell what voltages there are without needing a multimeter. Here is a video of LED screens wired in with the input positive and negative terminals then another in the output positive and negative terminals. The screens then show the voltage.  We know that 12V DC is the input so I would just have the one LED display at the output.

Here is a link to one of many places that sell the volt meter LED Screens. Some LED Screens have 3 wires rather than 2. You want only two wires (Red and Black)

Of course the converter and LED display will only be live and lighten up while the motion detector and timer is activated. 

Now your motion detector is getting the 12V DC which it needs while the Fling-AMA-String will now get the 4.5V it needs to run thanks to the converter. We need to get the wires from the output of the DC Converter to the Fling-AMA-String.

Step 4: Wiring the Fling-AMA-String

You need to now have a positive and negative wire coming out of the output terminals of the DC convertor. Open the lid to the Fling-AMA-String battery case then unscrew the four screws around the back of the Fling-AMA-String.  Disconnect or cut the white wire and black wire from the battery connections (I used a soldering iron) and strip back some of the insulation.  Strip back the insulation on the red and black wires (coming from the voltage convertor) then twist together the red and white wire, as well as the black and black wire.  Screw on connectors to cover the exposed wiring (see picture 2) or cover with electrical tape. 

Use side cutters or similar to make a hole in the plastic for the red and black wires (see picture 3).  Now replace the four screws and battery lid.

Time to fire it up. 

Step 5: Let's Fire It Up.


First make sure the Fling-AMA-String is in the OFF position.

Make sure all the red and black wires are connected and in the correct terminals and that all equipment is connected.

Turn on/plug in the 12V DC power supply (adapter or battery). Adjust the timer and other settings if you can on your motion detector so that it will turn on.

Now the DC Step Down Converter should be live. Use a small screwdriver to adjust the Voltage regulator until the voltage on the LED Volt meter screen reads 4.5V DC. If you do not have a LED Volt meter screen you WILL NEED to use a multimeter to get a reading until you have 4.5V. Now that the converter is at the correct voltage you should leave the voltage regulator alone. NOT CONVERTING THE VOLTAGE TO 4.5V DC CORRECTLY CAN STUFF THE FLING-AMA-STRING.

Finally, turn the Fling-AMA-String to the ON position. You may need to keep moving in front of the motion detector so everything stays on. The toy should operate and the band should be going in the proper direction. If not, you may have reversed the wires at some point in the installation.

Hopefully everything works. Now get the cat to test out the motion detector and timer and adjust accordingly. You should be able to leave the Fling-AMA-String on now along with everything else. The cat will now turn on the toy when he or she wants to and it will turn off once the timer runs out.

You can still turn off the Fling-AMA-String if you want to stop the cat playing. Also the speed settings should still work.

If you have any concerns or questions then contact us and feel free to leave a message.