Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Jenny
The Litter-Robot 3 is a wonderful device for all cat owners that want to forever say goodbye to scooping litter. This device is especially designed to offer you the possibility of living in an odorless home, despite having cats, while also using less litter than you would normally use. Its beauty is that it takes care of the entire litter scooping process by following precise pre-programmed instructions that allow proper functioning at all times.
However, as most devices out there, the Litter-Robot 3 will also encounter some issues along the way that may impede it from fulfilling its purpose. To this end, it’s important to know what the most common ones can be ahead of time, so you can quickly resume your life living in a pleasant home environment with completely satisfied cats.
These issues are easily fixable and it’s important to become familiar with the steps you need to take to fix them, in order to be prepared at all times. Let’s look at some of the most common Litter-Robot 3 issues:
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1. Cat Sensor Troubleshooting
The Cat Sensor is a feature that senses when the cat has entered or exited the Globe. If the cat sensor breaks down, no other normal function can occur anymore. Having said this, you will need to follow a few simple steps to troubleshoot this issue.
- First of all, you will need to press the Cycle button, which makes the unit cycle and the return to its Home position – indicated by the solid blue light.
- Then press the Reset button which will enable you to adjust the cat sensor.
- After this, you can press on the globe, just above the entrance. You can do so in a backward and forward motion to see if the red light engages.
- If it doesn’t, check how your unit was placed. To this end, make sure nothing is resting on your unit and that it’s not placed against a wall. It also needs to be placed on a solid, level surface.
2. What Happens If the Globe Jams?
The Globe can also get jammed at one point or another in time, making the motor stop and the control panel to display a yellow-to-red blinking sequence. Here’s how to troubleshoot your jammed globe:
- In order to reset the unit and have everything functioning alright again, you will first need to remove the bonnet and put it aside.
- You will also need to remove the globe, paying attention not to let it roll. What you need to do next is to inspect if there’s any liquid accumulation or residue right where the globe usually rests, with specific attention to its top portion from the exterior.
- Be sure to also check if there’s any excessive litter and remove it if the case calls for it. You will need to ensure there’s a maximum of 10 pounds of litter or for it to be filled to the line.
- Once you’re done, put the globe and bonnet back in place, ensuring all four tabs are in place as well. Lock the black key on the back of the globe into the pocket.
- Plug in the power supply and turn the unit back on. Your Litter-Robot will perform a cycle and return to its Home position with the blue light on.
3. Fixing a Loose Gear on Your Litter-Robot
It may also happen that your unit has a loose or free spinning gear and no globe movement. In this case, it appears that the set screw has come loose and you will need a 3mm hex wrench to fix it.
- First you will need to unplug the unit, remove the globe and press on the black gear located on the side. If it moves, you can continue the steps.
- You will need to locate the shaft that’s attached to the gear – that’s where you can also find the screw and if you can see it straight away you can skip directly to using the wrench.
- If you don’t see it, you can turn on the power and watch for the flat side to rotate into the position that allows you to actually see the set screw. The flat side of the shaft should be facing you.
- Once aligned, turn off the power and unplug your Litter-Robot.
- Using your 3mm hex wrench, tighten the screw by turning it to the right.
- When it’s tight enough and doesn’t move anymore, you can place the globe back on the base, turn on the power and press Cycle. You’ll know everything is back to normal when you see the blue light again.
4. Bonnet Connections
If the bonnet is not securely placed on, the globe won’t rotate and you’ll find the yellow light blinking. An alternative cause to a faulty bonnet connection may be that the black key on the back of the globe is not in the slot and it’s lifting the bonnet.
If however the key is in place, the bonnet correctly assembled, yet the yellow light flashing still, you may need to:
- Disconnect the bonnet.
- Flex the two bonnet tabs outwardly.
- Reattach the bonnet – you will know it’s securely in place when you feel a snap and hear a ‘click’.
- While the bonnet is removed, you can also use a damp cloth to clean the two metal sensors that are on the left side of the bonnet.
- If you’re still encountering the issue, you may also want to check the nightlight connection. There are wires on the underside of the bonnet and in a micro connector. This in turn plugs into the circuit board inside the night light housing. All you need to do is to push this micro connector into the circuit board in order to ensure proper connection.
- The fin of the globe may also catch some of the bonnet wires, leading to the pause of the rotation.
- It’s recommended to also check if there are any loose or pulled wires and securing them by taping them flat against the bonnet.
5. Blue Light Blinking
In terms of issues that may occur with your Litter-Robot 3, you may also see the blue light blinking. Before troubleshooting, it’s advisable to:
- Unplug your power supply and then wait for 10 seconds.
- Plug the unit back in and allow it to complete its cleaning cycle.
- If the light is solid blue, everything has reverted to normal.
If the light is still blinking, you will need to troubleshoot. Before you continue, you need to make sure the waste drawer is empty and that it has a clean waste drawer liner.
Blue blinking light: The bag isn’t fully inserted in the drawer
Blue blinking light but the bag is properly inserted: Usually, the DFI lens is dirty, wipe them with a cloth.
First of all, you will need to check your DFI lenses for any obstructions:
- Turn off your Litter-Robot and unplug from the power base, after which you can remove the bonnet and globe.
- Look for excess litter and clean accordingly where the globe usually rests.
- Look for the green circuit board within the waste port of the base.
- Use a Q-tip to gently clean the sensor eye.
- Replace the globe and bonnet, while also ensuring the black key from the back of the globe is secure in its slot.
- Plug your unit back in, power it on and press Cycle. After the cleaning cycle is complete, the unit should be back in its Home position with a solid blue light on.
If the issue still persists, you will need to further troubleshoot:
- Remove the waste drawer and press the Cycle button.
- You can then press Reset twice to abort the cycle and return to Home position.
- While removing the waste drawer, make sure there isn’t anything in the drawer that may be blocking the sensor – in which case you would see a solid blue light.
- If however the drawer is clear, it’s time to call Customer Service, since the base needs repairing.
6. All Three Lights Blinking
You will find that with your Litter-Robot you may also encounter another technical issue that manifests itself through all of the three lights blinking. (Read our whole post dedicated to this.) Now there can be three different reasons why this may be happening, so let’s take a look at each one of them:
- There’s excess weight in the unit. Make sure you check the litter level and ensure it’s not above the Fill line. If you do take some litter out from the globe, make sure you hit the Restart button afterwards. Another way to remove excess weight is to empty the waste drawer, especially if it’s getting close to being full.
- Check your power supply. First of all, make sure there is no damage to the power cord and check that your adapter meets the needed specifications: 15VDC regulated adapter 400mA to 1000mA. If you’ve plugged your unit into an extension cord, try switching to a wall socket and see if there’s any difference.
- Check the internal shield or black key at the back of the globe. As a note, all Litter-Robots purchased after February 21st, 2018 will not have an internal shield, but the black key instead. When not set correctly, either one of them can cause disruptions to the cycling process. When the unit is in Home position, the shield should be in the top left corner and the key should be placed properly in the groove situated in the base.
- Check the bonnet, it may not be placed correctly. Make sure that each of the four tabs, two curved in the back and two on the sides, are secured properly. You should hear a ‘click’ when that happens.
- If you notice the globe lifting during the cycle process, it may be because it’s encountering resistance. This means there will be friction between the plastic of the globe and the base, causing the magnets in the globe to skip the position sensor, further leading to the 3 blinking lights. A simple solution is to apply furniture polish to the tracks on which the globe sits. Each time you make changes to the unit, remember to press Reset.
7. The Fresh Restart
If no other troubleshooting method works, then it’s best to try the Fresh Restart technique, as suggested by the team at Litter-Robot. This should enable you to identify the issue and further communicate it to the Customer Service team. Here’s what you need to do:
- First press the Power button and turn the Litter-Robot off, then unplug the power supply from the back of the base.
- Disassemble the bonnet and globe by depressing the side tabs, tilting the bonnet backward, then lifting it up and setting it aside.
- While in Home position, also carefully remove the globe.
- Ensure the base is sitting on firm, level ground and that it’s not pushed against the wall. The Litter-Robot must not be leaning on anything.
- Empty the waste drawer even though it may not be full.
- Reassemble the Globe back in Home position. If you sense that its weight may be imbalanced, just gaze through the screen into the litter pocket. Check for any stuck litter, as it may throw off the unit during cycling. Clean the Globe accordingly.
- Once you align it on track, make sure the litter level inside the Globe is at or below the raised Fill line.
- Reassemble the bonnet by aligning the rear tabs in the base. Tilt the bonnet forward, snap the tabs into place, ensuring they are secured.
- You will also need to ensure the black key at the back of the base is properly secured in its pocket.
- Plug the power supply back into the base and turn the unit on.
- Your Litter-Robot should now perform a cleaning cycle. It will first rotate to the dump position, then past the Home position in order to level the litter inside and then back to Home position again, with a solid blue light. It’s important to also note that the Cat Sensor is automatically reset at the end of each cycle performed.
- In order to manually activate the Cat Sensor, you can press the globe just above the entrance by using a forward-backward motion and then release. This should activate the Cat Sensor and you will see the blue light going off and the read one going on instead – as a simulation of a cat entering and then exiting the unit. Allow the unit the wait time you’ve set it to, regardless if it’s 3, 7 or 15 minutes, and the clean cycle to finish. If the globe then returns to Home position with a solid blue light, then your Litter-Robot is functioning properly.
8. Litter-Robot Turning the Wrong Way
Another issue that may arise with your Litter-Robot 3 is that it can turn the wrong way from what it’s supposed to turn. If you’re confronted with your Litter-Robot turning the wrong way, it’s usually due to one of the following two reasons:
- The issue may be caused by a malfunctioning of the circuit board which may ultimately need replacing. It’s recommended that you talk to the Litter-Robot support team about this.
- The issue may be caused by the harness/magnetic sensor. It may be slowly giving out, so once again you will need to talk to the Litter-Robot support team and see if you need to replace it.
9. Litter-Robot Hall Effect Sensor
The Hall Effect Sensor is an integral part of the Litter-Robot and it’s the very core technology that makes it such an intelligent machine.
- The Hall Effect Sensor is part of the Wiring Harness and is only sold together with it.
- We’ve talked before about the three lights blinking. If you’ve checked the voltage of the power supply and the set screw on the motor and the issue still persists, then it most likely comes down to the Hall Effect Sensor, which may need replacing.
If you find yourself in need of replacing the Wiring Harness system, rest assured it’s an easy process as long as you follow these steps:
1. Opening the Control Panel
- Make sure that first off all you cut off all power from your Litter-Robot by unplugging the machine.
- Remove the Bonnet, Globe and Waste Drawer.
- On the top of the base, which is called the bezel, you will find five screws – unscrew them to remove the top.
2. Look For the Circuit Board and Sensors
- Lift the bezel by using needle-nose pliers.
- You will now be able to see the Hall Effect Sensors, the circuit board and the motor.
- You’ll find 3 connectors on the motherboard – gently unplug them.
- The motor will also have 2 connectors – unplug them and then remove the motor.
- You may find tape holding the Circuit Board and Keypad in place – remove it without second thoughts.
- Find and remove the wire locker.
3. Opening the Base
- The next step is to turn the base upside down, while also making sure the control panel has no loose parts left in it.
- You’ll find 9 screws here – simply remove them.
4. Removing the Entire Harness
Before you go through this process, make sure you take a mental note of how the wiring on the Litter-Robot was made. Better yet, take a photo of the entire electrical arrangement, so you’ll have something to turn to when you assemble back the machine.
- Use the pliers from before and carefully remove the Power Jack.
- The blue and black wires represent the Cat Sensor’s connector – unplug them.
- The purple and black wires represent the Bonnet’s wires – unplug them as well.
- The red and black wires represent the Battery wires – gently remove them.
5. Installing the New Wiring Harness
- Plug back in the blue and black wires which represent the Cat Sensors.
- Pass the red and black wires which represent the Battery wires in the small hole.
- Plug back in the white and black wires which represent the Power Jack Connector.
- Plug back in the purple and black wires, which represent the Bonnet’s connectors.
- Pass the Hall Effect Sensor through the Control Panel hole.
6. Installing Back the Control Panel
- Ensure that all wires go under the Motor.
- Clip back the Wire Locker.
- Install the motor and pay attention to the wiring: red with green and white with brown.
- Install the plastic piece with the Hall Effect Sensor in place.
- Secure the Hall Effect Sensor by adding a piece of tape.
- Plug back those 3 initial connectors on the Circuit Board.
7. Closing the Unit Back
- Clip back the main board on the plastic panel.
- Screw back all the initial 5 screws, while also making sure all the wires are plugged in securely.
- Screw back the 9 screws on the back of the base from earlier on.
8. Plug It Back It and Give It a Run
- Once you’ve reassembled the unit, make sure you also install the Globe.
- Clip the Bonnet back.
- Plug the power supply back in.
- If it doesn’t power up automatically, you simply press on the Power Button.
- Let the unit cycle and follow its program.
- Enjoy your Litter-Robot.
10. Litter-Robot Won’t Cycle Automatically
If you notice your Litter-Robot won’t cycle automatically and the yellow light won’t turn off, it’s most likely because it entered Sleep Mode. This mode has been created in order for you to have some peace and quiet for eight hours, especially if the Litter-Robot is placed somewhere where, at times, you require no disturbance.
Once you set the Sleep Mode on, it will not cycle automatically for 8 hours straight. Once these 8 hours are done, it will begin a Clean Cycle. In order to exit the Sleep Mode, press and hold the Cycle button until the yellow light turns off.
11. Litter-Robot Won’t Cycle Automatically, Doesn’t Detect the Cat
The Litter-Robot Cat Sensor is created in order for the Litter-Robot to know when the cat enters and exits the unit. Every time the unit is turned on, the Cat Sensor measures the weight of the unit and detects if there are any changes to it.
Pressing the Reset Button every time you change the weight of the Litter-Robot will enable it to understand that something has changed. It’s recommended that you press the Reset Button in any of these cases:
- You’ve emptied the Waste Drawer;
- You’ve added litter;
- You’ve cleaned the unit;
- You’ve moved the Litter-Robot.
Once you press the Reset Button, the blue light will flash and the Cat Sensor will be reset and reactivated.
The Cat Sensor’s normal functioning may be affected whenever you:
- Place the Litter-Robot on an uneven surface, against the wall or on the carpet;
- You haven’t filled the Litter-Robot with enough litter to meet the raised Fill Line;
- Your cat weighs less than 5 lbs;
When the Litter-Robot simply doesn’t detect your cat, perform these quick checks:
- Look at the display on your unit. If both the blue and yellow lights are on, it means the unit is in Sleep Mode.
- If you notice a dirty litter box and that the light doesn’t change from blue to red when the cat is inside, then the Cat Sensor didn’t properly detect your cat. Test this by pressing the Cycle button, so the unit can perform a Clean Cycle. Afterwards, it should simply return to Home position with a solid blue light on, indicating that everything is running normally. You can then press the Reset button, which will make the blue light blink and which confirms the Cat Sensor has been reset.
- You can then test the Cat Sensor by pressing back and away on top of the entry unit towards the back of the unit. The blue light should now turn red, as if the unit registered your cat is inside. If it does, it’s a great sign. Simply press the Reset button and the unit will return to its blue standby light. In case the light did not turn red, it means your Cat Sensor did not feel the pressure you applied, in which case you’ll need to perform a Hard Reset.
- In order to perform a Hard Reset, make sure the Globe is in Home position and there’s a solid blue light on. Remove the power supply from the back and wait 10 seconds, after which you can plug it back in. You can now allow the unit to complete a Clean Cycle, then press and hold the Cycle button for 5 seconds. Both the blue and yellow lights will turn on – now press and hold the Cycle button for 5 seconds. This will make the yellow light turn off, while the blue light remains on. You can now activate the Cat Sensor by pressing down and away on the unit entryway towards the back. The red light should come on now – if it does then it’s a great sign. Simply allow the unit to finish its Clean Cycle. Once in the Home position again, the unit will be reset. If the red light did not turn on, it’s recommended that you contact Customer Service.
12. Litter-Robot Gets ‘Stuck’
It can also happen from time to time that your Litter-Robot simply gets ‘stuck’. In case this happens, one of the following scenarios may apply:
- There may be too much litter in the Globe;
- The type/brand of litter is heavier than the average litter. In this case, you can put a little less than you would normally do with regular litter – fill in just below the Fill Line. In case your litter is regular, make sure you put in just enough so that it’s below the raised Fill Line or reaching this level.
13. Litter-Robot Is Dumping Clean Litter
In case this happens, you should know that most likely there’s too much litter in the Globe. Simply scoop some out and when you fill in the unit the next time, do so ensuring the litter level is at or below the raised Fill Line.
14. The Waste Inside the Litter-Robot Sticks
In case you observe the waste to be sticking, you can simply adjust the Litter-Robot Wait Time setting to accommodate your litter – you can do so by decreasing or increasing it.
The Wait Time is the elapsed time between the moment your cat exits the Globe and the unit starts a Clean Cycle. It can usually be set for 3, 7 or 15 minutes, although the default Wait Time is 7 minutes.
When you reduce the Wait Time:
- You’ll have the chance to reduce unpleasant odors;
- Or reduce the time that litter is available to other pets as well;
- You may also reduce cleaning effectiveness if the litter has not had enough time to clump up.
On the other hand, you can also extend the Wait Time when you’re using lower-quality litter that needs more time to clump up;
In order to set up the Wait Time:
- Press and hold the Empty button for about 5 seconds. One of the lights will start flashing, indicating the current setting for the Wait Time.
- Use the Reset Button to switch to the next setting: blue for 3 minutes, yellow for 7 minutes and red for 15 minutes.
- Press and hold the Empty button to save the setting you selected. The blue light will blink to confirm your choice and then it will return to its standby solid position.
All in all, these are the most common issues you can encounter when owning the Litter-Robot 3. Of course, they may or may not occur, but by knowing these steps mentioned above, you’ll be able to successfully get out of any unpleasant situation that may arise.