Giant bug zapper

Reply

  #1  
Old 06-21-12, 11:57 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Giant bug zapper

I want to build a huge bug zapper. I have a power supply. It is a Webster Ignition Transformer actually. The label says Type 612-6A8 Code B952
Pri V = 120 Sec V = 6000 HZ = 60 PRI A 15 SEC A .020
Secondary Endpoint Grounded
Now it seems to me that 6000 volts ought to do the trick.
My thinking was to make this thing so it fits over a 2x4 fluorescent light which I would stand on end. I was going to sandwich 2" strips of 1/2" thick plywood around the edges of 1/4" or 1/2" mesh hardware cloth. One wire to one side and the other wire to the other side. Bug connects the two and ...well, ZAP.
Suggestions? Will it work?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 06-22-12, 01:24 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,659
I would certainly question the safety of the device.
 
  #3  
Old 06-22-12, 05:05 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
I'm not sure how those things function, but I don't think what you are proposing will work. The bugs need to complete the circuit. If you hook a wire to one side and another to the other, the circuit will always be completed. It will probably just trip your breaker.
 
  #4  
Old 06-22-12, 06:54 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Sorry, I guess I didn't describe that correctly. Imagine a flat picture frame. Next imagine a piece of hardware cloth attached to each side. The picture frame acts as in insulator between the two pieces of screen(or I can add an insulated mount of some kind or a material with good insulating properties.)
Black wire gets attached to the top piece, white wire goes to the bottom piece and green goes to ground. Bug lands on screen, Bug touches other screen at the same time. Bug evaporates.
I can install it on a GFI and I could come up with a controller to dial the power back some.
I can cover the whole thing with a protective grid to prevent stupid people from trying to save the poor bugs.
All that aside, does it sound like it should work?
 
  #5  
Old 06-22-12, 08:00 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,659
does it sound like it should work?
Not if you are trying to kill mosquitoes. Mosquitoes aren't attracted to light. What are you trying to kill?

Next imagine a piece of hardware cloth attached to each side. The picture frame acts as in insulator between the two pieces of scree
But they need to be close enough that the bug's body touches both screens. At the most likely distance given the body size of most small insects 6000 volts could easily arc between the two screens. Basically an ionized air short of the equipment.
 
  #6  
Old 06-22-12, 08:43 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
Wouldn't you want the screens just far enough apart so the current doesn't arc on its own? Then when the bug flies between, it shortens the path with its body.
 
  #7  
Old 06-22-12, 10:25 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,659
Wouldn't you want the screens just far enough apart so the current doesn't arc on its own? Then when the bug flies between, it shortens the path with its body.
Yes he would but at 6000 volts that would be close enough for spontaneous arcing as I said in my post.
 
  #8  
Old 06-22-12, 11:15 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Primarily, stinkbugs. My back door has a small landing with a bit of roof over it. The siding is white. I don't know why but I have stood out there in the afternoons and watched squadrons of stinkbugs as they were flying by suddenly make a right turn and head directly to the landing and settle all around me. It is the warm side of the house and in the late afternoon the stink bugs are looking for a warm place to spend the night.
I figured as long as that areas attracted them, why not have a little surprise waiting for them.
I gather that the theory is correct. Current will want to travel between the two screens given the right incentive and a path. I am pretty certain I am going to have to play around with the spacing and power.
I'll start off with 1/2" wood strips and If I get spontaneous arcing, I'll add another one. That are get some sort of controller to reduce power. I get too far apart I don't know how effective it will be.
The bug's body effectively shortening the distance makes sense to me. If the charge is just itching to discharge to the other side, all it is looking for is a path and the path could be a bug. The bug doesn't even have to be touching both screens, right? It would be like lightening,? I'm asking, not saying.
 
  #9  
Old 06-22-12, 12:30 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
You can use mathematics to figure your spacing.

Why don't you just buy a bug zapper?
 
  #10  
Old 06-22-12, 01:29 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
I did have one last Fall that I picked up at a yard sale. It was quickly overwhelmed and died after maybe a week. Maybe it was already about to die, I don't know but when I say I have a stink bug problem, people don't understand the extent of the problem. That or they just don't believe me.
In the spring of 2011, I went to Walmart and bought 2 cases of carburetor cleaner. Me and a friend stood on the sunny side of my house one warm Spring day and shot stinkbugs with Carburetor cleaner as they emerged from their hiding places. I had to go to Walmart and buy another case of cleaner. We had an almost half filled five gallon bucket of dead and dying stinkbugs.
Since then I have used at least two cases of caulk sealing up access to my attic plus another case sealing up access to the living quarters from the attic. I haven't figured out how to stop them from climbing under the vinyl siding.
When I hear people tell me they have a "terrible" stink bug problem, it is all I can do to stop from laughing in their face.
My problem was that the guy who built this place either did not own a tape measure, framing square and level or did not know how to use them. It was impossible to heat the place because of all the gaping holes that riddled the structure.
Short of detonating a small thermonuclear device, the only thing that comes to mind is to attract and kill as many as I can.
I am wide open to suggestions, though.
 
  #11  
Old 06-22-12, 01:56 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 18,522
We had a fly problem in my neighborhood like this several years ago - yep, no way of explaining it without someone thinking you're exaggerating.

The only solution was to find and eliminate the reason the flies were there in the first place, no amount of extermination made a dent.
 
  #12  
Old 06-22-12, 02:01 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
I know this thing is small, but maybe one of these and a brand new zapper. http://www.amazon.com/Rescue-SBTRSF4...tink+bug+traps

Perhaps this as well: Amazon.com: P. F. Harris Mfg. STINK-128 Ready-To-Use Stink Bug Killer: Patio, Lawn & Garden
 
  #13  
Old 06-22-12, 04:12 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
If I could buy those traps wholesale, say in lots of 100 or so, they would do the trick. I know they work because I bought one and set it out. Lasted 3 days before you couldn't even see it for the bugs.
Malathion, in a much higher dose than recommended, will kill stink bugs. What they do is get into your attic and climb under the insulation and "hibernate". It gets warm enough, they try to find their way out. They have a limited amount of time to get out and feed or they starve to death.
You can't really stop them from getting into the attic so the best you can do is plug every nook and cranny they might use to get into your living quarters: receptacles, wall switches, ceiling lights, plumbing, etc.
Killing them while they hibernate with an insecticide was very appealing to me but the extension agent says I might cause another problem. Thousands and thousands of dead stink bugs attract bugs that will eat anything dead. Carpet beetles or something like that. He said that I do not want them invading my house.
There is no real solution so I will search out and destroy as many as I can and hope that the idiot senator who wants to import some kind of Japanese wasp to prey on stink bugs doesn't get her way.
 
  #14  
Old 06-22-12, 07:22 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,896
Originally Posted by mitch17 View Post
We had a fly problem in my neighborhood like this several years ago - yep, no way of explaining it without someone thinking you're exaggerating.

The only solution was to find and eliminate the reason the flies were there in the first place, no amount of extermination made a dent.
I believe you 100%. We had the same problem with flies here last year. They would find any crack or opening into the house and send up a flare to the rest of them, or they'd light all around the doors and make a mass entrance any time you went in or out - the whole house would be full of them. They'd also swarm anywhere you were sitting outside - and land on everything.

The fact that you couldn't find a can of fly spray within 50 miles for the entire summer spoke volumes. I had to resort to fog bombs to keep them out of my house and garage. It was seriously disgusting.
 
  #15  
Old 06-22-12, 07:51 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,659
2muchgrass, you might want to also post in Indoor and Outdoor Pest Control - DoItYourself.com Community Forums. If you do I will move the non electrical related posts to there for you.
 
  #16  
Old 06-23-12, 09:13 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Yeah, I could see I was getting off the subject a little. I'm done ranting.
One more question and it is electrical. The ignition transformer I'm using has only one output wire. It's a ceramic threaded post with a tension nut. A wire goes from that to one of the screens but how about the ground for the other screen. Do I just run a lead back to the case of the transformer?
There are only two input leads so I guess I have to provide some type of ground for this thing, correct?
 
  #17  
Old 07-14-12, 12:37 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
It works

It works. Holy smokes does it work. The first test subject was me... inadvertently. Took me two days to get my hair to lay down.
Anything that narrows the gap between the two screens is toast... literally. I ended up mounting the outer grid on all thread with one end closer than the other so I could see which gap worked the best. Once I determined the gap, I adjusted the ends to that distance.
6000 volts is way overkill. A friend built some sort of doohicky that I spliced into the hot wire to knock the voltage down a tad.
The bugs never know what hit them. It zaps them so hard some of them actually turn to dust and fall to the bottom.
The real big ones kind of hang there until the zap reduces the moisture content enough so that they will no longer be a conductor.
 
  #18  
Old 07-14-12, 01:18 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,659
Wow!

extra characters
 
  #19  
Old 07-14-12, 05:47 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
WOW! And I thought you were a lunatic that wasn't ever going to get it right! Well done! Now show us some pictures. If this thing zaps those sting bugs as they fly into your house by the hundreds, I want to see that on video!
 
  #20  
Old 07-15-12, 04:00 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,230
My thinking was like drooplug's but I've followed this post just to see what would happen
I don't have much of bug problem here in tenn but when I lived in fla.... The only satisfaction I had there, while running a couple of the store bought bug zappers was while one bug was getting me, several of his cousins were getting fried.
It's always great to hear when a wild hair brain idea works out
 
  #21  
Old 07-15-12, 06:13 AM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
Nice job, do you have any pictures?


See y'all in a week.
 
  #22  
Old 08-28-12, 07:29 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Finally got back to work on it

OK, here's where it stands now. It was working great...for about 30 minutes and then the controller a buddy made for me went up in a puff of smoke.
I really didn't have to dial the contraption down very much it seemed so I figured I could take it out of the loop with no problem.

I had made two 2' x 4' x 3/4" plywood frames and stapled the ratwire onto it keeping as many sags and bellys out of it as I could. Then I fastened the two frames together with the ratwire on the outside. A wire went from one screen to the connecting post on the 6000 volt transformer and a wire from the other screen went to a ground on the transformer case.
I hung it from the ceiling in my garage in front of a shoplight, plugged it in and waited.
I knew I was pretty close to having the gap right because a slight nudge on the screen generated an arc that had me going in the house to change. I had to pull the screen away in several places because of spontaneous arcing.
10 minutes later my first victim arrived and sacrificed himself in a glorious puff of smoke.

It worked repeatedly but the arc kept getting weaker until there was no arc at all. The transformer was working so I (here is where I learned a valuable lesson) took hold of one of the wires to see if it had come loose. Let me tell you, 6000 volts, even at a mere .020 amps hurts like hell.

Then I noticed small fires in several places between the frames. The damn staples I used were too close to the staples in the opposing frame and they were arcing through the plywood making small fires.

The next frame will be 2x3 and 1/4" staples holding the screen on. We'll see how that goes but by jove, I believe this is going to work. It does, I'm making 5 more of them with as bright a light as I can find.

It just occurred to me. If this transformer is way, way too powerful, maybe I could share it between two or three zappers.
 

Last edited by 2muchgrass; 08-28-12 at 07:32 PM. Reason: Spelling
  #23  
Old 08-29-12, 11:04 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,645
You might want to consider upgrading your frames from wood to a better insulator.
It is likely at some point the wood would absorb enough moisture to create a short cct.

I discovered an untapped resource inside a derelict computer monitor.
There was a 19" monitor sized piece of plastic 3/8" thick that cuts and glues well and is excellent for diy projects.
Maybe this would make a suitable insulated frame.

What spacing do you have between the screens with the transformer you are using now.........was it the 1 1/2" of the two frames?
 
  #24  
Old 08-29-12, 03:41 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
I would get 3/8" plywood and make two frames. Put a layer of insulator between the two to prevent electricity from migrating. I wonder if hot glue would be good enough to hold the mesh down.
 
  #25  
Old 08-30-12, 10:47 AM
braether3's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 415
Use plastic 2x4s .....message too short .....
 
  #26  
Old 09-01-12, 01:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Yes, I have been trying to come up with a better frame material. What I have on hand is ¼” sheets of fiberglass. More resin than fiberglass I think. They were the side panels for fume hoods in a hospital that I salvaged for the work tops for my shop benches.
I was thinking about the first test and I believe that there must have been several points that were close enough to cause mild arcing that I didn’t even see. They were draining just enough power so that the grids didn’t constantly arc. I took one grid and slowly lowered down on the other grid and it arced at 5” and I could maintain it out to 6 or 7”.
I think I need a controller so that I can just set the two grids at an optimal killing distance and dial the power down so it doesn’t constantly arc.
When it was working it was funny as all get out to watch. Anything that shortened the distance between the two grids was instant toast. This thing won’t even need cleaning because there isn’t enough material left to clean up.
Anybody have any idea what kind of light will attract the most stink bugs? I have a metal halide light outside my shop that they seem partial to. I took my oxy/acetylene torch out there the other night and roasted about 300 of them. It was kind of cool out and the heat of the torch drew them in but they got a lot warmer than they were expecting.
 
  #27  
Old 09-01-12, 01:25 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Plastic 2x4s? Never heard of them. Where would I look for those?
 
  #28  
Old 09-01-12, 01:42 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,230
I've never seen any plastic 2x4s but we have a fiberglass plant in town and they sell seconds or leftover material. Most looks like the fiberglass rails on a ladder but they have different sizes. Not sure where you would buy them elsewhere.
 
  #29  
Old 09-01-12, 01:49 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,659
They sell 1" thick PVC for trim work in various widths. Try a real lumber yard if BigBox gives you a blank stare.
 
  #30  
Old 09-01-12, 01:50 PM
braether3's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 415
I am not exactly sure we have them at work there're literally a plastic 2x4 solid plastic plastic decking found at a big box store may provide the same effect


Also with your transformer instead of trying to control the secondary voltage try controlling the primary voltage with a potentiometer or a solid-state controller/dimmer I question whether a lighting dimmer would work.

Can we see some pics?
 
  #31  
Old 09-01-12, 04:08 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,213
Anybody have any idea what kind of light will attract the most stink bugs?
I think I'd try a black light, that's what commercial bug zappers used to use.
 
  #32  
Old 09-01-12, 04:23 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,374
For input voltage control you need a variable transformer such as this.

500VA 0-130VAC Variable Autotransformer-MPJA, Inc.

Different sizes, different prices, available from many sources. Sometimes called a Variac although that is a registered trademark of General Radio.
 
  #33  
Old 09-01-12, 06:00 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
I will post pictures as soon as it is presentable. It is butt ugly right now and I won't have anyone thinking that's the quality of my workmanship. I will try to take a video of it in action with sound. That's the cool part, the sound.
Square plastic or PVC tubing should work, I hadn't thought of that. Someone gave me another idea on how to fasten the grid. Instead of hot glue, how about epoxy?
So I control the primary and that will lower the secondary? I don't know what I was thinking but it makes sense.
I have a black light around here somewhere. I'm going to dig it out and set it near one of the metal halide lights out back and see who wins.
 
  #34  
Old 09-01-12, 06:04 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Well,, it's not done yet but I'm close. And I am a lunatic.
 
  #35  
Old 09-01-12, 09:09 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,374
That transformer you are using is normally used for igniting the gas pilot on a large burner (either gas or oil) that would be used in a commercial or industrial boiler. It has a 50:1 turns ratio so yes, lowering the input voltage will give a lowered output voltage in the same ratio. That is, if you input 60 volts the output will be 3,000 volts.

You CANNOT use a lamp dimmer for this because lamp dimmers do not just lower the voltage but instead pulse the output so that the effective voltage output is lower. This works well for incandescent lamps but does not work at all for transformers.

One mistake you made in the original post, you stated the transformer had a nameplate input rating of 15 amperes. That should be 1.5 amperes. If you can find a variable autotransformer (Variac) rated at 2 amperes output that should be sufficient. Check surplus places on line.
 
  #36  
Old 09-03-12, 12:54 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
I will start the search today, thanks. Ran into problems working on my truck but hopefully will have the 2x4 frame together by the time it gets dark. Then I'll know for sure if I am going to need to dial the voltage down or not. Haven't had a chance to look for another material yet. I came up with another design that might eliminate the spontaneous arcing problem and would guarantee incineration. It would be safer, too. I've already taken one too many jolts.
 
  #37  
Old 09-08-12, 09:34 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cecil County, MD
Posts: 209
Got pictures?

It's working again...sort of. I am having a power drain through the 2x4s. It worked great until I decided the grids weren't close enough. I rabbited a 1/2" deep ledge for one of the grids to fit into. I'm using 1/4" staples instead of 1/2" staples. I couldn't figure out where the power drain was until this morning when I went down to see how it had worked. A couple of the mitered corners have burn marks right at the joint.
It doesn't always fry them on the way in. It always gets them on the way out when they try to push off on the inner grid and touch the outer grid.
If I get the power drain solved I'll leave it alone for a while. The zapper has a lot of competition for guests from the 12 Metal Halide lights in close vicinity. Tonight I'll move it up to the house where there are no lights.
Anyway, here's some pictures.
 
Attached Images    
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'