It is very inconvenient to deal with bugs, considering they are dangerous, transmit diseases and contaminate surfaces. Scientists have recently developed many innovative measures to prevent bug infestation: from bug repellents to nets and anti lava methods. This article considers bug zappers as a trusted device for dealing with bugs, and it explains the bug zapper circuit and how to build a DIY bug zapper.
What Is A Bug Zapper?
A bug zapper attracts insects by emitting ultraviolet light and electrocutes them between two metal grids. It contains a light bulb surrounded by an electric grid.
Alternatively, a bug zapper is an electrical discharge insect control system or an electrocution insect trap. It attracts insects with its ultraviolet light and electrocutes them when they contact its high voltage wire grids. The name "bug zapper" comes from the "zap" sound when the device electrocutes bugs.
How Does A Bug Zapper Circuit Work?
A bug zapper uses a high voltage alternating current to kill bugs. Most bugs and mosquitoes have a resistance of 0.70 – 0.75, whereas the voltage for the Zapper is between 500 to 1800 volts ac.
The bug zapper circuit comprises a fluorescent bulb surrounded by wire grids, and Flyback transformers electrically power these wire grids or mesh.
There are three stages to a bug zapper circuit:
- Charging circuit stage
- Transistor stage
- Voltage booster stage
Charging Circuit Stage
The charging circuit stage comprises a capacitive power supply that rectifies the voltage by adjusting the current from the source. The fixed voltage is adjusted to match the required battery voltage level using a Zener Diode and a capacitor. It allows battery charging and filters out noise on the DC voltage produced.
In the transistor stage, the transistor allows the current to flow through the primary coil to the secondary coil, which induces a voltage in the feedback coil.
When the transistor's conduction breaks, a counter voltage is created in the feedback coil, causing a collapse of its core.
The collapse of the ferrite core creates a pulsed DC, which results from electrical energy from the secondary coil.
Voltage Booster Stage
Diodes and capacitors boost the DC generated by the voltage multiplier. A secondary transformer multiplies the voltage and passes it onto the three-layered wire mesh.
Gaps separate the high voltage wire mesh such that it fits a bug. With the UV bulb serving as a bait to attract the bugs, the wire mesh electrocutes the bug as it attempts to fly through.
Electrocution of the bug does not happen when it comes in contact with the mesh. The voltage-induced mesh forms an arc of electricity in the gaps between the three-wire mesh, which electrocutes the insect on contact.
Voltage booster stage circuit diagram.
This circuit ignites the UV fluorescent lamp through a voltage multiplier. After the light is on, it ionizes its gas at approximately 700V, and capacitor C7 functions as a balance, lowering the light's resistance to maintain AC flow.
The voltage multiplier, built around C1 through C6 and diodes D1 and D6, also charges the grid. The high grid voltage causes a discharge when a bug passes through the grid.
How To Build A Bug Zapper
Building a DIY bug zapper is not a complicated process; you can get a bug zapper built in no time with a few simple steps. Here are a few things you need:
A Light Bulb
First off, you need an ultraviolet light bulb. Insects get drawn to ultraviolet light bulbs than visible light because they can see ultraviolet light better and are more attracted to it.
Ultraviolet light bulb
The Mesh Grid
Build the mesh grid design around the UV light bulb. The goal is to connect the wire mesh to both ends of the electrical circuit. You should separate each from the next by at least 0.2 inches to form an electric arc that electrocutes the bugs.
A DIY bug zapper produces at least 120 volts, but you need a transformer to boost the voltage to around 1800 to 2000 volts, which will kill bugs.
An Outer Casing
The DIY bug zapper requires an outer casing to hold all the components. External cases are usually wooden, plastic, or metal that is a poor conductor of electricity. The outer casing can have any shape you prefer, from a lantern to a bad swatter or any other form, provided you have the required skill.
To build a bug zapper, you will need the following tools and materials:
- An old rechargeable lantern circuit
- 6V rechargeable sealed lead acid battery
- Garden plant vase cover - 2 pieces
- Long wooden rods - 6 pieces
- Soldering gun
- Stapler wire
- UV LED light
- 1 yard squared 1/4" mesh wire
- Glue gun
Step 1 - Making The Bug Zapper's' Framework
- For each plant vase cover, make a round wooden base plate with the same diameter as the inside of the plant vase cover. Drill the sides of the vase covers to tighten them with the wooden base plates.
- To reinforce the frame and provide insulation between the mesh, you must drill six holes on the wood base plate, equally spaced around the circumference.
- Roll the mesh into cylinders, overlapping each other without touching. Drill a hole in the center of the wooden base plate to accommodate the light bulb fitting.
Step 2 - Fitting The Zapper Light Bulb
Following the construction of the pillars, mesh, and wooden base plates, the electrical fittings for the light are fitted and held in place.
Step 3 - Electrifying The Mesh Grids
At the top of the mesh are black and red wires soldered together. After which, a soldering gun welds the overlapping and wired mesh.
Step 4 - Adding The Bug Zapper's' Component
Glue or wire the lantern components, battery, and circuit boards into the designated compartments on the bug zapper.
Step 5 - Adding A Handle To The Bug Zapper
Reuse the lantern's carrying handle for the bug zapper. Drill a hole through the endcap and mount the handle, switch, LEDs, and power cord.
The Final Product
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
How To Troubleshoot A Bug Zapper
- If the bug zapper does not have an indicator light, make sure to plug the power cord into a power source. If it does not turn on, unplug the Zapper and plug it into a different power supply to ensure the problem is not with the previous power supply.
- The Zapper can kill bugs while the light is off. To fix this, unplug it, open the bulb compartment, and check the bulb. Sometimes the bulb may need a few minutes before it comes on.
- If the light bulb is on, but there is no sparking on the grid, you must clean the bug zapper. Turn off the device, clean the grid with a soft-bristle or blower, and do not clean the mesh with water.
- If the bulb is on, but you do not notice any sparking on the grid, it may also mean a problem with the connected, perhaps a crossed wire. Turn off the device, check the connections, uncross all cables, and disconnect no cables.
Old bug zapper
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Bug zappers have proven to help eliminate bugs. It is also cheap and easy to produce and poses almost no threat to its users save for when it comes in contact with the user while working. Despite its slight disadvantage, it is consistent in protecting homes, restaurants, and other public areas from insect infestations.
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