My Littermaid won’t stop running

Interesting, I know. I just wanted to drop this tidbit of info in case anyone else had the same problem. All of the sudden, our Littermaid just kept on going sort of like the energizer bunny. It kept going and going and going. Nothing was in it but it continued to go back and forth again and a again. I tried turning it off and back on but no luck. It kept doing the same thing. Finally I shut it off until I had a chance to take a look at it.

This afternoon, I got out my trusty toolbox and unlatched the motorized part of the Littermaid from the litter tray itself. Upon close examination, I found that the part that comes along and sweeps the litter into the collection tray was crooked. Apparently the gear on one side or the other jumped a notch or two. So all I had to do was carefully line the sweeper up so that it was perpendicular to the sides of the Littermaid. I plugged it in, turned it on, and watched as it slowly crept forward and then back to the home position. Success! It stopped after one sweep.

Here’s a couple of more tips if your Littermaid is not working correctly.

1. Make sure there isn’t a kitty surprise buried in the litter that is stopping the sweeper from completing a complete cycle from the home position, to the waste receptacle and back to the home position.

2. Clean the track that the sweeper uses making sure litter isn’t built up in it.

3. Some problems can be fixed by turning the Littermaid off and back on. Once you do this it should sweep the litterbox to make sure there is nothing in it.

4. Don’t get angry and throw the thing out. The Littermaid is a touch tool. It has saved us a lot of time and stinkiness.

5. Contact me if you have a question. I might be able to help!

6. Visit our pet supply store, Bratcher Pet Supply. Sorry, that is a shameless plug. But if you are a cat owner, we have some cool stuff for you, so take a look.


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35 Responses to “My Littermaid won’t stop running”

  1. Mark Says:

    Thanks for this tip! We bought our first littermaid box like 5 years ago, and still have it – never a problem.

    Last year, my wife bought a 2nd one for another part of the house – it was the suped-up Cadillac model. It had everything. It broke after 6 months.

    I bought a regular littermaid about 2 months ago. It worked fine for a month and then wouldn’t stop running. So, I just manually turn it on to clean it out, then turn it off.

    I saw your note here, so I thought, “why not try it?” I had the same thing you did – I noticed that one side of the part the comb attaches to was just a bit off. I set them to the same part of each gear, reattached everything, and presto! Works like a charm!

    Thanks again for your help!


  2. Gary Says:

    I tried this too on my new littermaid (LM700) I had for only 3 days. It didn’t work for me however. It continues to run all of the time even after alignment although I don’t believe it was crooked to begin with.

  3. bratcherpetsupply Says:

    If you bought it new, I would send it back. There is something wrong with the sensors that indicate when the comb is back in the starting position. It should definitely last longer than 3 days.

  4. doug Says:

    I had the same problem with the LM700. There is a switch in the upper back area that the rake hits. This switch has a little metal piece that, in essence, is a cheap delay timer. The metal piece was out of whack on mine and being practially impossible to repair, I’m returning the unit. Sadly, the replacement unit I ordered is also having it’s own rake stopping issues.

  5. Tara Says:

    I found your site looking to solve the same problem. However, I found a different solution – I did try yours, but it didn’t fix the problem. It did however lead me to find the reason for the problem. When the roller goes back up into the housing, it presses on a metal flap that is supposed to depress a switch, and the switch is what stops the rake from going out for another pass. It wasn’t making good contact, but a piece of paper folded up into the gap and taped there, so that it is easier for the switch to be depressed, has solved the problem. Hope this can help some others!

  6. Dan Says:

    Just had to throw in my two cents.

    We had the same issue on our end with the rake running non-stop, only to find that one of the wires that was soldered to one of the triggers on the track was broken off. I tried to see if I could re-solder it without taking half of the thing apart, but there just wasn’t enough wire to go around.

  7. Lisa Says:

    I have the same problem with mine! I noticed one of the gears is off track by one groove. Our power went out for a day (Hurricane Ike) and I should have mannually scooped but that was the last thing on my mind. It must have jumped a groove because too much “stuff” to rake. I have the Elite model. Not sure how to take it apart to get to the track and gear. Can you give me an idea where to start?

  8. Lisa Says:

    Just an update…one of the gears is a little off but in the same track as the other…so I did what Tara did and works beautifully!! I did it a little different though, I ended up rolling up a small piece of carboard and putting electrical tape around it to make a little sleeve. Then I slipped it over the little metal tab to take up the slack. Works great and won’t fall off!

  9. Aly Says:

    I can’t live without a littermaid. That said, I’ve gone through about 6 of them in the past 10 years or so. I’ve had more problems with the Elite than I had with the original model. The old one would work and then the motor would break and it was over. I probably have two of those in my garage. I bought a used one at a yard sale and it worked at the people’s house without litter but, once I brought it home, it couldn’t move through the mere weight of litter. I thought I got off easy with $20; instead I threw it in the litterbox.

    I bought the Elite a few months ago. It continuously goes off the track. and stops moving. When I was out of town, my “sitter” overfilled the box and when I got home, the box was filled with waste and the rake was stuck. I was able to take the box apart and put the part back in, on track and it worked. But a week later, it will not stop. I tried turning it off and on many times, I took the rake out and put it back in, straight. Every day I have to manually scoop litter and check to see if the thing’s working. I didn’t need to spend over $100 for a manual litterbox.

  10. Joe Says:

    I just bought a brand new LitterMaid LM5500. Right out of the box I am having issues. When I turn it on, the rake moves less than an inch, and goes back. It does this non-stop. I can’t for the life of me figure it out. After about 16 attempts at fixing it (taking it apart and looking at the tracks and making sure everything is in line) it randomly worked. I turned it on, it cycled, and sat there.
    It was turned off, and now it’s doing the same damn thing..over and over…
    Has anybody else had this problem?

  11. Jim Says:

    Thank you Bratcher Pet Supply! I have owned an original Littermaid for several years and have used it with much success. But recently the retractable cord got a little loose and got caught in the rake and apparently burned out the motor. I bought a new Littermaid (the “original” style LM500) online but it would not shut off. After reading your note just now I unsnapped the top half of the unit, turned it over, and discovered that indeed the rake was one notch different in the track on one side. I plugged it in (still upside down) ran the comb to the midpoint of the box, unplugged, pulled the sides apart slightly and eased the rake back a notch on one side so both tracks were now equal. Plugged it back in (still upside down) and it ran and shut off perfectly. I’m guessing that during ground shipment to me the rake got bumped a notch on one side. Thanks for the easy fix. (By the way, I learned over the years that anytime the old unit kept running it was because I overfilled it. I learned to keep it well below the “full” line. Also, the new unit has a scooper with a fill line marker that is very helpful.)

  12. David Says:

    Thank you all for the help. Our unit started the “I want to clean it again and again” thing and it has been driving my wife and I crazy. I went and followed the directions and found that indeed it was off by one tooth from left to right. The major difference with mine was that I noticed that the last tooth opposite of the switch (other side) was missing!

    I let the unit run till it got to the end and just gave a yank on the side that was behind (missing tooth side) and that did it. We have had the unit for a year, no idea if it has always been missing the tooth, if this is a design thing (seemed fairly smoothly cut) or if it broke off from use?

    Anyway, now the cats have more than 10 seconds to use the box 🙂

  13. Rick Says:

    How very good of you to post this solution!!
    I had one of the old models for about 8 years and absolutely loved it.
    Once it finally died, I immediately purchased the new Elite model.
    After about 6 months, I noticed one evening that it was still running and wouldn’t stop.
    I turned it off and back on again, and the problem seemed to go away.
    The next time it ran, however, the problem returned.
    After doing some quick searching on the web, I found your post about how to fix the problem (as well as a couple of other possible solutions).
    I took the top portion off and turned it upside-down.
    I noticed that one of the sprockets was off by a single groove. I removed 3 screws from one of the rails, which was enough to allow me to pull the rail back just a bit and move the sprocket forward one groove so that it was aligned with the other side.
    After putting everything back together and running it a few times, it works just fine now.

    Thank you for posting your solution…obviously it has saved several people from throwing away $150+ they spend on their Litter Maid boxes!!
    I know you save me some money!!!

  14. mindy Says:

    Thanks, your fix worked perfectly an d it took only minutes to do.

  15. dannyK Says:

    had a similar problem but solved that, though I now have an issue with the cord retracting. took the unit apart and found that two of the three guide rollers are not connected to anything and it looks like one of the coil springs is broken. Does anyone have any pictures of the way the retract mechanism is set up so that I can try to repair it?

    thanks in advance.

  16. Judy Says:

    Now all I have to do besides take my Littermaid apart and find about how to get in back in sinc, will be able to put it back together again and have it work.

    It’s a shame Littermaid doesn’t leave instructions for that. I mean clear understandable directions that someone with the mind of a six year old could understand.

    I do appreciate this information, however because there is hope.

  17. Judy Says:

    I unplugged mine and later I plugged it in and it was fine.

  18. Debra Says:

    OK, my problem is a bit different. I had the original LitterMaid for a LONG time, and loved it. Oh yeah, it got messy and you’d have to disassemble and clean it, but it worked GREAT. After well over 10 years, it finally quit working. I’ve gone through 4 LitterMaids in the past YEAR. Either the wimpy motor problem, or just didn’t ‘see’ the cat and then clean after, or this, the latest problem: I can’t get the recepticles to stay in! They keep getting shoved out the bottom front of the unit! I’m using the ones that came with the LME5000, just bought it less than a month ago, and I have crap (literally) everywhere! I’ve even tried to ‘support’ the recepticle on the underside – no help. Any suggestions?

  19. DaniR Says:

    Ours began raking the litter over and over right out of the box. I tried the solution of putting the rake back in the grooves and it works perfectly. Unfortunately, now our cats are deathly afraid of the thing so who knows if it will ever get used. It is, apparently, as scary as the vacuum cleaner.

  20. Tracy Says:

    My littermaid (LM900) rake will not move at all. The red light comes on when the machine is plugged in, however. I tried doing a reset but this did not work. Is there anything else I could try?

    • Robert Says:

      I have the problem with the red light on but the rake will not cycle. Have a three year old grandchild and he may have bumped the unit with a chair or even gotten a chair leg down into the litter tray, that we keep next to the litter box. The unit has been working fine for the last two years until now.

  21. Shiryl Says:

    You were spot on with your suggestion. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

  22. alisha f Says:

    We literally just brought ours home. put litter in it and it has never stopped running. i am not too sure about which part you are saying to remove and realign, can you help?

  23. Mike Says:

    Thanks for this great tip. I was about to throw the thing out the window, but I really didn’t want to spend another $200.00 for the Elite Mega – and I don’t think we could like without it. I took out all of the screws holding the rail on one side – made the adjustment with the gear on that side (one notch) and screwed the reail back down. Plugged it back in and it works like a charm. What did we ever do before the internet and Google? I know I would have been out another $200.00.

  24. Tom Says:

    I really appreciate your post and fix. It was exactly what was wrong. What did we do before the internet….THROW THINGS AWAY, I guess.

    After reading your post, I counted how many groves from one end…it was off by one. Pulled it out on one side, put it in the right track…plugged it in and it only cleaned the box one time….Oh, THANK U, THANK U, THANK U!!!

  25. Priscilla Says:

    I am having an issue still. cleaned out the littermaid and everything that could possibly cause it to go back and forth. Any Ideas of how to fix it? I am going out of town this weekend and need some help bc this thing is a big help when im gone. thank you so much

  26. Sharon Says:

    The gift that keeps on giving! Very Helpful, 4 years after your original post. How cool is that.

    My problem was different. The gears were aligned. When checking the gears, though, I realized that the rake unit was a little off center. The left side, end of the rod, was binding against the plastic side wall. So, while running it upside down, I pulled the sides apart at the place where it was binding. It finally went home!

    I am not sure that I will trust it to NOT bind up again while I am at work. So, I will have to watch it for a while. It may still be a problem but I can see that it was my fault. I was pretty rough with it, banging it around, as I cleaned it just before the problem. Oops! I have had this one for years with no problem. You get so dependent upon this little household tool. i will definitely get another, if I broke it. THANK YOU for steering me in the right direction.

    • Mike A Says:

      I have had the misaligned gears problem a few times now. As soon as I removed one side of the track and realigned everything worked fine.

    • Judy Says:

      I will never buy another Littermaid after the trouble I’ve had with this one.

      I’ll save up for the Cat Genie.

  27. denise Says:

    thank you for this. my littermaid started running all the time about 2 months ago. never even thought about makeing sure it was straight. went today and looked at it and it was off. fixed it and now it runs great. thank you very much.

  28. Kristy Polan Says:

    so true! i just got the gift as well! i bought mine off ebay yesterday comes in mail and would not stop running. i thought it looked little uneven—- it was!! i hope i didn’t mess it up though as it runs in the center it has a vibration now? anyone know what this might be? for now it is running and i am happy. waiting on the cat to feel the need then ill know sensors are ok. thanks everyone!!

  29. Shelley Says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH ! This worked like a charm. I was going to be leaving for vaca for a few days and didn’t want to drop another $200 on a liter box. I will say they are a life savor though !

    Mine had the same problem. When you open up the unit, there are arrows you will see (atleast my model had it) near the rack that just need to be lined up in those spots. Make sure both sides are in the same spot and try it then. I placed them 4 notches down where the arrow pointed and it was fixed. It appears this can happened after a while, otherwise they probably wouldn’t have put those arrows on the unit because you can’t see them unless you take the top off.

    Thanks again. Thank god for the Internet.

  30. Chris Says:

    Thank you, thank you, my littermaid had started to cycle continually. I had tried everything I could find to fix it to no avail until I found this site, I checked the cogs to find it had jumped one, just corrected this and it is now fine.

  31. Kelcie Says:

    Hiya, just wanted to add another tip!
    If your littermaid still isnt working after all this you probably have to much litter in the box!

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