CatGenie: Repairing (And Preventing) an Arm Rotation Pin Failure




Introduction: CatGenie: Repairing (And Preventing) an Arm Rotation Pin Failure

The pooper scooper or "GenieHand" on a CatGenie is attached to a bent metal arm. On the other end of this arm is a large gear that rotates to extend and retract the hand. Through a hole in the arm is a pin that is locked into the gear and transfers the rotation of the gear to the arm.

A common failure of the CatGenie is this pin. I first learned about this failure in the forums and sure enough - two days later it failed. If your CatGenie is in warranty, by all means call 'em up and get a new one. Their customer service is fantastic and they'll have you up and running right away.

If, however, you're out of warranty or happen to be on a long holiday weekend, you can repair a broken pin yourself with minimal effort.

If your pin isn't broken (skip ahead to step 6), there are preventative steps herein (adapted from the forums) that will (hopefully) prevent the failure in the first place.

Step 1: Disclaimer, Safety and Required Equipment


This modification MAY void your CatGenie warranty, I do not know. You'd have to ask the nice folks at CatGenie. I am not responsible for your actions, you are. You assume all responsibility for what you do because of this Instructable, got it? Be good humans.


Please wear eye protection and gloves - there is a hammer and epoxy involved, and I don't want you blaming me if you lose an eye or can't get epoxy off your hands or whatever. Be careful and use your head - you should be okay.


You will need the broken arm assembly, a hammer, vise (or vise grips), epoxy, stir sticks, and above all a replacement pin. I used a "roll pin" (a "C" shaped rod that you can force into a hole for a tight fit) but I am not sure where to send you for one, as I got mine at work. A hardware store or auto shop might have roll pins, so ask around.

I didn't have a roll pin handy that was the right diameter so I took one that was too small and enlarged it - you could do the same if needed.

Step 2: Remove the Broken Arm From the CatGenie

Very easy.

1. Remove the hood over the hand and set aside.
2. Remove the motor and set aside, being careful not to kink the hose.
3. Remove the hand from the arm and set aside.
4. Remove the upper housing (and you guessed it) set aside by pressing down on the impeller drive with your thumb while lifting from the back with your other hand.

Now comes the interesting part.

5. It is not necessary to remove the impeller housing completely. Just lift it up about two inches and let it settle back down. It will hang up and not go completely in the hole - a good thing, in this case.

6. The arm is held in place with two black tabs. Grab the gear with your left hand and the bend of the arm with your right, then push down with both thumbs on the lower assembly. It'll pop right up.

Step 3: Remove the Gear

This was easier than I thought it would be. Stand the arm up on the ground with the gear in the air. Put your foot on the bent portion to hold it down, grab the gear with both hands and pull it off.

The gear is held on with a tiny flange around the arm - the pin has nothing to do with keeping the gear on the arm, it only rotates the arm as the gear rotates.

Step 4: Insert the Pin

Take your roll pin and bang it into the hole with the hammer.

Step 5: Re-Attach the Gear to the Arm

Put the arm in the hole of the gear, then rotate the arm to line up with it's little groove. Once properly aligned, press hard and seat it fully. If it won't go all the way you can tap it vertically on the ground to force the arm into the hole. I had no difficulty.

Sorry about the glare in the picture.

Step 6: Get Messy: Adding Epoxy

I am using two-part "Fast-Weld 10" epoxy - so called because it sets (hardens) in 10 minutes. This explains why there aren't a lot of pictures of me applying the epoxy - I'm working against the clock here.

JB Weld or any other epoxy should be fine for this application, so long as its not too runny. Mix your epoxy per the directions (if needed) and apply it over the pin, encasing it completely on both sides of the arm. Let it set completely (according to the directions) before reinstalling.

This should keep out any moisture and prevent any future corrosion from causing a repeat failure.

Step 7: Cleanup & Reinstall!

Congrats, you're done! Put the arm back in the CatGenie and put it back together by reversing the steps used to disassemble it. Remember to put the hand on the arm before you put the motor on!

Clean up the mess you made, throw away your trash and you're done! Nap time! Relax and enjoy your now once again functional CatGenie.

ScottSEA (and Ashe, my little gray buddy)



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    27 Discussions

    Roll pins are available in various sizes from Lowe's or most local auto repair shops.

    I fixed mine (temporarily) with a metal screw roughly the same size as the hole in the metal rod. Not quite as elegant, but it works and I was getting really sick of the mess that was being made with it arm-less. (basically a thin mud-like disc under the rotating bowl)

    If your gear doesn't come off using Scott's step-on method, you can try tapping the rod from the outside, in the middle of the gear, with a nail and a hammer. This is what I had to do to get the gear separated from the rod.

    ScottSea, it's a couple years since I last looked at your instructable. I dutifully put glue all over the pin back then, hoping to avoid this problem. Unfortunately, tonight I checked in my CG and noticed the litter was clean but the hand was down. I went through the arm diagnostic and could definitely tell it was was slipping. Fortunately, I'd picked up a used CG for backup and scavenged the arm. Your great instructable at least buys me some time so I can repair the broken pin. Thanks for putting it together!

    I've just started researching an automatic self cleaning litterbox. I was directed here. I also found a really cool one called the litter robot  (I think). it seems like it is way simpler mechanism and as such should be more reliable. Actually, I was thinking of trying to build one from scratch.

    Glad you liked it - and while it hasn't exactly been trouble free, I'm not sure I'd say I have had a LOT of problems. I'd say I have a clog or something on average of about once every couple of months. Keep in mind that these instructables are for problems I've had over the last nine months. I would NEVER go back to a litterbox, if only for the reduction in dust alone.

    Scott I love you! I am disabled and your ideas are awesome and my girls "cats" love their cat genie. there are days when i am unable to clean their cat box like I wanted to and the Cat Genie has made it worth it. Even if you had to mess with it to clean a clog once a month it is worth the 15 mins to clean a clog. Your ideas makes it so easy to take care of. xoxo

    Stop using CatGenie! It's a resource eating machine: You feed it with water, electricity and chemicals, it produces litter in form of products refills and it's refills packages. It won't hurt you to keep a cat box clean!

    5 replies

    No, I didn't know it... good to now. Well, anyway, I moved to a house with lots of sand areas... so I don't control my cats poops anymore. It may not be the best option, but I don't have time either. And anyway, when I started commenting here I had 13 cats, now most of them died and there's only 5 of them... So it's less poop to worry anyway... Peace.

    I don't know which is more terrifying ... that you can't manage to subtract 5 from 13 but want to tell us how to run our lives OR that 8 (yes 13 - 5 = 8) cats have died in your care in the last year AND you want to tell us how to care for our cats.

    First of all, thank you for remembering me how many cats I had left after three of them died from poison left by my own neighbours, one died by a car accident (his head was crushed, I got there in time to see him bleeding), and the other one died from a infectous blood diseace. Thank you very much for making count all of those deaths again. Frankly, I'm not the best cat owner in the world. I'm just one person that can't see a cat dying in the street and take him home to care about. Doing this I accumulated close to 14 cats in a tigh home some time back, but them I had to move to a house, and the deaths started. My cats had enought space, grass, trees, but also had a not so friendly neighbourhood, a streets with cars whose drivers don't care a lot for what is crossing it... so that's the long history short. Frankly (again), after thinking again about cat genie after all that time that passed, it really seems like a good idea, but as I live in Brasil I would had to import it, and I would need enought for 6 cats (which by the way are the last ones from even more cats that I got in the streets...). So, long life for cat genie, and thank you for making me redo my body count. No hard feeling, just hey guys, stop bashing me for talking bad about cat genie.

    I take it you haven't reviewed his other instructible wherein he refills the cartriges with environmentall friendly and cheap solutions and hacks them so will continue to work?

    If you use JB Weld let it set for a few minutes first and thicken up... its thin. My dad used that on a vertical surface and ended up spending an hour re-spreading it before it cured and got thick enough to stay. He later tried to play with the mix so it would be less runny ... but that didn't work.

    Where are your gloves .... twitch ... where are you gloves? LOL

    Thank you so much! Our Genie Hand stopped coming all the way down which left waste in the bowl which was then baked until golden brown. After viewing this tutorial, I checked it out, and it was that little roll pen. It was gone! Luckily, I had an extra arm from a genie we haven't connected yet, so I put it in. But, now I know how to fix the broken one, so I won't be one short. Off subject, but any advice on how to keep my cats from urinating on the litter box mats?

    2 replies

    Ahh! you too have a trouble maker! Wash the mat with chlorine, once it's dry the smell of the chlorine should be neough to stop him from doing it again. One of my cats decided to pee in the sink!!! He is terrible, but the worst thing is he's adorable too, so in the two times he's done it I had to completely wash the sink and left some chlorine in the sink in hopes the strong smell wil deter him from doing it again. I wish he did on the toilet, but then I also believe in the gold pot at the end of the rainbow . . .

    put the CG next to the toilet (with the seat down but not the lid) and unplug it? Perhaps he will find that the toilet is more conveniently located next to the CG and try it?