- Power off your cat faucet and lay your cat sensor on a flat surface, with the sensor facing the ceiling.
- Apply power. Depending on the version of your cat faucet, the water may turn on for 1 second during the power-up sequence. After that the water should remain off. Let the Cat Faucet sit for some time. The water should remain off.
- Hold your open palm or a flat piece of white paper about 2-3″ away from the face of the cat sensor. Hold it there for 10-15 seconds. The water should not turn on
- Slowly move your palm / paper closer to the cat sensor. Move about an 1″ at a time and wait around 5 seconds at each new position
- When your palm / paper is around 11″ away from the face of the cat sensor, the water should turn on.
- Remove your palm / paper from in front of the cat sensor. in 10-15 seconds, the water should turn off
- Again wait some time without anything in front of the cat sensor, the water should remain off
It’s important to note that in this scenario the water never shuts off. If the water shuts off after several minutes that’s a sensor problem. If it never shuts off, even when the power is removed, that’s likely a stuck solenoid valve.
To clear a stuck solenoid valve, you have two options:
#1 – turn saddle valve all the way on. This will force a strong stream of water through the valve and perhaps flush out any debris that could be causing the valve to stick. If that fails to resolve the stuck valve issue, proceed to step #2
#2 – disassemble and clean the solenoid valve. You can do this without removing the tubing from the solenoid valve, just make sure the water is turned off at or before the saddle valve. Then follow the instruction here to disassemble and reassemble the solenoid valve.
It’s important to note here that removal of the power, shuts off the water flow which indicates an electrical problem rather than a mechanical problem like a stuck valve.
Several electrical reasons for the water to always stay on are:
- A bad power supply. Low voltages can cause the controller to constantly crash and reboot, which may cause the solenoid to always be energized.
- A bad sensor or broken sensor wire. This will cause the controller to think a cat is always present. However, the difference between this and the bad power supply is that eventually (~5 minutes) the water will turn off due to the controllers internal maximum water on time setting
- Incorrectly wired sensor. If the sensor wires were removed and re-attached during installation, make sure they were put back in the correct configuration. Green/Red/Black (that’s board center to board edge). Incorrectly wired sensor will act like a bad sensor / broken wire.
One test for a bad sensor / broken wire is to short the outer two pins on the controller board (pin for Green and pin for black). That forces a “no cat present” reading. If this turns the water off, then it’s likely a sensor or cable problem.
Likely what you are experiencing is the sensor picking up some random reflection. Depending on the reflectivity of the object in front of the sensor the detection distance can be much as much as 2x the normal 10-11″. Also the sensor can be affected by large ambient light changes. Several things to try:
1 – point the sensor straight up at the ceiling. Does this stop the random behavior? If yes, then it’s something the sensor is pointing at that is causing the issue. If not, then potentially a broken sensor wire or dirt on the sensor lens. Try cleaning the lens with a soft cotton swab and water.
2 – if pointing at the ceiling fixes the problem, then look for something the sensor is pointed at. Note that the sensor ‘beam’ spreads out more the farther you are from the sensor. think about a 30 degree angle cone… Watch for reflections from the opposite surface of the sink (maybe raise the sensor up an inch or so). Watch for bottles on the opposite side of the sink (move’em). Also note that the water stream itself can trigger the sensor (point the sensor to the side of the water stream). Sunlight reflected directly into the sensor from a window can trigger the sensor (point away from windows)