Replaced the motor in my LR.

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Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby olympic » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:05 am

My LR is atleast 5 years old and I actually just replaced the motor in it the second time so I thought I'd share a little how I did it. Unfortunately I don't have pics so I hope brief descriptions will help.

For anyone who has had the motor die on your LR, you probably know that the motor isn't sold seperately and there's nothing available online anywhere that is a direct replacement. So you're stuck buying a new LR, or atleast a new base. But if your LR is off warranty and you're a little adventurous and mechanically inclined, you can probably bring it back to life with almost no money. I went down to a store we have here in Canada called Princess Auto and bought a 12v "Johnson motor" as it is called on their website and it costs $9. It looks like this:

Image

It's WAY, WAY bigger that the factory LR motor but I did get it to work. Here's what I had to do:

-cut the shaft off the Johnson motor about 3/8" from the housing.
-remove the brass gear from the original motor. Not easy to do, I used wire cutters to get under the gear and pry it off. You will damage the teeth a bit but that's OK.
-enlarge the shaft hole in the brass gear with a drill bit. Be careful here as you only have one shot. Don't go too big.
-press fit the brass gear to the new motor. I used a bench vise to do this. One jaw on the brass gear, the other on the rear of the motor where the end of the shaft sticks out.
-the mounting holes on the motor and the LR gearbox lined up but I had to source 2 new screws to put them together. I also had to drill the recess holes for the screws in the gearbox a little larger.
-IIRC I also had to shim the motor a bit so the little "neck" around the driveshaft didn't protrude into the gearbox as far.
-after the motor is mounted to the gearbox, the final step is to solder the electrical wires to the new motor. The white wire goes to the positive terminal on the motor. Mine was marked with a red dot.

This new motor has way more power than the original motor but only rotates the globe slightly faster. It doesn't stress and strain like the old motor did no matter how much litter is in the globe! The first one I put in has lasted about 2.5 years and yesterday I replaced it again. Everything else on my LR is in mint shape so I should get a decade plus out of it easy! :D

One last modification I highly recommend is to upgrade the 12v power adapter. The original one is pretty weak so I replaced mine with a "universal laptop adapter" available cheap on ebay. It provides up to 70 watts and is adjustable from 15 to 24 volts. I found the 15v setting to be more than adequate and it doesn't harm onboard electronics at all.

I hope this information can be of use to other LR owners who come here looking for help. Any questions, just ask! Good luck!
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby BearWayne » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:09 am

Olympic, thanks for posting this. How did you take your base apart? Did you drill out all the rivets and replace them afterward?

Here's a link to the motor you used, I believe: http://www.princessauto.com/pal/product/8296162/Ac-Motors/12V-DC-Johnson-Motor It doesn't list any specs... do you know what the RPM is? (Thinking I might look for a similar motor from a US source, in case I need one).

Also, in regard to the power supply, when my LR stopped working, I replaced the power supply with a 12V, 1A security camera power supply from ebay for $4.99US, and it seems to work better than the LR supplied one.

Thanks,
BearWayne
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby olympic » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:18 am

BearWayne,

Yes, to take apart the base I drilled out the rivets and then replaced them with some small self tapping screws. The screws won't tighten much at all since they are just screwed into plastic but they hold the base together well enough.

I don't have any specs on this motor. It didn't come with any packaging or any markings that I could google up some specs with. I guess I just got lucky because it seems to rotate the globe at the same speed as the original motor, only slightly faster since I'm now feeding it 15 volts. I guess anyone looking to do the same for their LR would be best off just visiting their local surplus store and see what they can find. A motor that spins faster would be OK. I can't imagine any problems with a motor that would spin even 50% faster. A slower motor wouldn't work as the LR has a cycle timer that would kick in if the motor was too slow.

I was actually just looking at the new Princess Auto flyer and look what we have here! http://www.princessauto.com/pal/product/8291700/ This look ALOT like the motor/gear box assembly in the LR, minus the big plastic wheel of course. Next time I'm in one of their stores I'll check this thing out.

Image

A 1 amp power supply is plenty for the LR. I went with a laptop power supply because I had to order online and it came with all the various connecters so I could be reasonably sure one of them would work. I guess you could always cut the end off the original LR power supply and splice it onto a more powerful one.
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby TurdBot » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:48 am

Hi olympic,
Thank you soooo much for your post on this topic. Our original motor died after ~3 yrs & your post made it easy to replace. For other users, I thought I'd add some additional detail we found useful. Pictures weren't needed...
1. We got our replacement motor off ebay for ~$12 shipped. Just search for "12v Johnson motor."
2. Our replacement motor was ~2 x as big (3") as the original & fit just fine.
3. We had a small, plastic gear where you mentioned a brass gear. We found a Dremel tool very helpful for enlarging the shaft hole.
4. For the mounting screws, we used #4-40 x 1/2" machine screws (round head) but didn't need to drill any recess holes in the gearbox.
5. For shimming the motor, we used 4-5 #6 size flathead washers/screw.
6. We used butt splices (& electrical tape) to connect the wires instead of soldering.
7. There was a red dot on our replacement & we connected the red wire to the
red dot terminal.

Thanks again,
TurdBot
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby RPF26.2 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:37 pm

After some searching online I found the manufacturer of the litter robot DC motor and gear assembly at http://www.molon.com/custom_dc_motors.html
Unfortunately the gear box is highly customizable and I haven't yet called Molon motors to see if I can spec one out and purchase factor direct. McMaster Carr is an authorized seller of these motors but they only offer around 6 off the shelf http://www.mcmaster.com/#dc-gearmotors/=k06lab (scroll down to compact DC gearmotor). A replacement will set you back around $45. In my case, the gearbox is worn out which prevents the litter robot from rotating in the reverse direction without skipping. The motor is still going strong.
The rpm of the old motor is 6.0 and I cannot find that speed at McMaster which means you will have to open up the gear box and mix and match gears to get the right speed. The circuit board is programmed to turn the motor forward for 120 sec. then reverse for 125 sec. then forward for 5 sec. If you have the wrong rpm, it will not cycle properly. I called back litterrobot and they said they would replace for \ $45 which is the price of the new motor/ gearbox on McMaster. I do have to pay for shipping however but I'm not going to hassle to figure out how to change the gearing to save shipping costs so I'm throwing in the towel and sending the base back. I hope others find this info useful if they want to fix themselves. It's a simply replacement for anyone who is a bit handy.
Cheers,
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby RaySuave » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:22 am

TurdBot wrote:Hi olympic,
Thank you soooo much for your post on this topic. Our original motor died after ~3 yrs & your post made it easy to replace. For other users, I thought I'd add some additional detail we found useful. Pictures weren't needed...
1. We got our replacement motor off ebay for ~$12 shipped. Just search for "12v Johnson motor."


Which Johnson motor model did you buy?
Im trying to decide between two Johnson motors to get, the 9167AH(pictured in the first post) or the 9167AK(faster than 9167AH). The 9167AK looks like the only one I can buy as a single off ebay. To get the 9167AH, I would have to buy at least four of them. I dont mind getting a faster motor, I just dont want to screw up the programmed cycle queues.

Here are the specs for each:

9167AH:
4575RPM @ 12VDC 170MA (NO LOAD)
VOLTAGE RANGE 8-20VDC
BODY: 37.5MM DIAMETER x 57MM LONG.
SHAFT: 3.2MM DIAMETER x 17MM LONG.

9167AK:
6600RPM @ 12VDC 330MA (NO LOAD)
VOLTAGE RANGE: 8-20VDC
BODY: 37.5MM DIAMETER x 57MM LONG.
SHAFT: 3MM DIAMETER x 19MM LONG.

Here are some pics of the gearbox and motor to help others decide on how to make their repairs....
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby 4Cowboys4Life » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:35 pm

This is great information, but according to the LR website none of this should be necessary.

And I quote, "Comparable in construction, engineering and detail to other quality home appliances, the Litter-Robot is a durable, automatic, self cleaning litter box designed to last the nine lives of your cat."

Now I'm not sure how long nine lives of a cat is, but I'm quite certain it's longer than the 2 years the motor lasted on my LR.

Signed,

One Disappointed Customer
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby Shirley Kaminski » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:18 am

Hi:

You are correct in your quote and we take great pride in the construction of our Litter-Robot along with the quality of the components we use.

Sometimes, an issue can occur and we always do our very best to help our customers.

Please contact us at support@litter-robot.com with your name, etc. so that we can locate an order in our system.

We do look forward to hearing from you.

Regards, Shirley Customer Service Team
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby TurdBot » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:19 pm

Hi RaySuave,

The motor I used was the 9167AK. It worked well at first, but has since developed some issues (won't turn in the forward direction w/o assistance, all 3 lights flash). Very frustrating. I thought at first it had to do with the shims (not long enough to keep the shaft from interfering), then I thought it could be the magnetic sensor (seems fine), then I checked the pressure sensor (seems fine but who knows), so I've kind of lost hope... Sorry, wish I had better news. Kind of a waste of hundreds of dollars & plastic at this point. I know it can't be that hard, so anyone with more insight, please chip in.

Thanks.
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Re: Replaced the motor in my LR.

Postby MissYIH » Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:55 am

Hi:

1. To TurdBot:
Have you solved the problem of motor? When I read your post I was thinking that was it the problem that the 9167Ak motor did not receive enough current to operate? Because the "No load" current of 9167AK is 330mA (while 9167AH is only 170mA) and the original power supply of litter robot is 12V 500mA. The current for operation (with load) is higher and the current offered by original power supply may not be enough for 9167AK to work.

2. I would like to know how do you know the problem of litter robot is the motor?
The motor on my litter robot worked well when there was no globe on it, but when I put the globe on the base it got stucked!!
Does this mean that I need a replacement of the motor?
(I've checked that there was no problem of the pressure sensor and the cat sensor inside the base)

Thanks,
Missyih
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