I've been thinking for a while about how to make a mouse trap that turns ON an LED after it's set off. The reason being for all of us who have a couple traps in the basement or garage that you don't necessarily check everyday. I wanted something that would get my attention that I caught a mouse without having to go right up to it. I also wanted to do that as simple as possible (ie no arduino to post a tweet). Here's what I came up with.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
One of the biggest things I wanted was to make sure I used Items I already had around and were fairly common. The only exception was I did buy some mini-clothes pins instead of using a regular size one because I liked the compactness of it. And I could mount it on top. But you can use a regular one and either attach it to the bottom of the mousetrap, or the side.
- An LED
- Duct tape
- 3V battery & case (I pulled this one off an old motherboard)
- clothes pin (you can get these as most major craft stores)
- mouse trap
- Soldering iron
- glue gun
- wire cutters
- helping hands are a plus
Step 2: Pull Tab
Cut a piece of duct tape and fold it over the action bar. I later trimmed it to about 1cm wide on the left side. That way it doesn't interfere with the trigger bar in the middle.
As a side benefit, it also acts as a pull tab so you don't have to touch the mouse when releasing it from the trap.
Step 3: Prep the Switch
Strip about 2in off the ends of each wire and wrap them around each of the jaws of the clothes pin. I found starting the wrap with my needle-nose pliers really helped.
The closed position with obviously be on. While set we'll be putting that strip of duct tape in between it to stop the current.
Step 4: Solder It All Together
This is basically connecting the battery to the LED through the clothes pin. Again, keeping the the theme of being as simple as possible. Connect one of the wires from the clothes pin to the positive terminal of the battery case and the other wire to the positive leg of the LED. Then connect the negative leg of the LED to the negative of the battery case. If you put your battery in now it should light up.
Step 5: Glue It On
Here I simply used my hot-glue gun and glued it to the top of the mouse trap. I wanted to use my Gorilla glue for a more secure hold, but it was dried out. And this seemed hold better than I thought. After several tests runs it was still holding great.
I faced the LED out the back rather than pointed up because these mousetraps tend to flip when sprung and I wanted to make sure it was visible no matter which side it landed on.
Step 6: You're Done!
Now just put the strip of duct tape in between the jaws of the clothes pin when setting the trap. When the trap springs, the strip will be pulled out, setting the connection and the LED will turn on. That's it. Easy enough right?
Of course the builder in me wants to take it to the next level. One idea I had was to make the LED blink so you're more likely to notice it. The other is to add a joule thief to the circuit so you can run it off 1 AA battery that's close to dead. But there are plenty of great instructables on those you can find.
Let me know of any modifications you can think of and enjoy!