Picture of FM Bug Detector Kit

This is for all the spies/paranoid people out there. An essential piece of equipment for any spy is an Electronic Bug Detector. You never know what government agency may be trying to listen in on your conversations or trying to secretly video tape you.

The Electronic Bug Detector is basically a broad-band receiver. It picks up frequencies on the FM band between 80Mhz and 150MHz. If a bug with a sensitive microphone is transmitting nearby, the result will be a feedback whistle on the detector. The frequency range of this device is limited and well under what any real surveillance equipment uses. But it is great for detecting small DIY FM transmitters such as my FM Listening Bug.

In this Instructable we will cover:

  • The Schematic and some basics of how it works
  • Parts needed
  • Getting the PCB layout onto a prototyping board (pegboard)
  • Laying out the components on the board
  • Tools needed to assemble the kit
  • Soldering everything together.
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Step 1: Schematic

Picture of Schematic
Bug Detector.jpg
The circuit is basically a broad-band receiver and will pick up all types of transmissions within the aforementioned range. The quiescent current for the circuit is less than 2mA and the output is a Piezo Buzzer.

Note: The circuit will not drive a speaker.

Each stage provides high gain and the signal is picked up by an untuned front end. You can see the front end is untuned as the inductor does not have a capacitor across it. You would think the 20 turn inductor would create a short-circuit to ground. But signals at 100MHz will oscillate in the inductor and can be picked off via the 470p capacitor. Signals of a low frequency will be taken to ground. The 100MHz signal is amplified by the first two stages and the audio component is detected by the diodes on the base of the third transistor. The fourth transistor is an audio amplifier to drive the piezo diaphragm. The inductor across the piezo provides a load for the transistor and creates a high voltage during part of each cycle to increase the volume. The .022uF capacitor removes the high frequency component of the signal. The 47uF across the power supply improves performance of the circuit by preventing signals from the output stage passing to the front end. All of this will run of a small CR2032 3V button battery.

Here is the Schematic from Upverter:


by any chance would it work with a galvanometer

evilsined made it!5 months ago

Hey there, made the project. Was a fun one to do. But in my variation it doesn't work well. If I solder the L2 the LED will not be on and it won't work. If I don't solder L2 then it will continuously whistle. I double checked for everything. The only major modification is Q4 as you can see in the image. Maybe you could help me out.

b1tbang3r6 months ago

Very clean looking circuit. Great work!

Could the bug and this receiver function as a remote control circuit? Seems like you could make a DIY remote control device this way.

mpilchfamily (author)  organicelectrics9 months ago

No not really. Quite a bit more copmplicatd than this. But there are plenty of hobby RF transmitter and reciver kits out there for that sort of thing.

mrworf2 years ago
Did you actually put antenna inside metal box? I don't think you will get anything with that cage around antenna
mpilchfamily (author)  mrworf2 years ago
The antenna is only stored in the box. You pull it out when doing a sweep.
grenadier3 years ago
Good. God.

No ground plane??
mpilchfamily (author)  grenadier3 years ago
Not for the Pegboard version. Leaving the ground fill out of the Pegboard layout and reference images makes it easier for beginners to keep track of what component goes where. If you download the PCB files for etching your own board the ground plane is there.
Dashadower3 years ago
Try using a RF probe instead