Introduction: Portable Bug Zapper

Picture of Portable Bug Zapper

Caution I'm not liable if your shock yourself and injury or kill your self, working with high voltages can be dangerous!!

I started this instructable about half through building the zapper, sorry for lack of images and details i realize my instructions may be kinda confusing.

How bug zappers work:

This zapper does not have the power of a normal one but it does produce a few hundred volts which should be enough to kill most insects.

I haven't been able to test this outside yet because the bugs have come out yet but when I complete the circuit with a metal wire a loud snap and spark are produced.

Step 1: Overview/ Materials

Picture of Overview/ Materials

- disposable camera w/ flash
- 3x 10mm blue leds (apparently mosquitoes are attracted to blue light)
- large cooking sifter
- small fish trap (available at walmart for about 1.99)
-spray can cap
-1/2" pvc
-electrical tape

Step 2: Creating the Electric Shock

Picture of Creating the Electric Shock

Use the film up before opening the case

Remove the wrapping from the camera and use a screwdriver to pry it open -be careful not the ruin the case

Remove the film and locate the capacitor which should be in the upper right corner.

Take two five inch long pieces of wire and solder one to each of the leads of the capacitor.

Drill two holes large enough to fit the wires through next to the view finder.

String the two wires through and close the case.
**There are a couple loose parts inside the camera make sure you put them back in the same place.**

Step 3: Screen Assembly

Picture of Screen Assembly

Cut the conical part of the fish trap off.

Using wire cutters cut out the wire mesh from the cooking sifter.

Now roll the mesh into cylinder between 3/4 and 1 cm small than the diameter of the fish trap and staple the cylinder together. Cut the cylinder to the length of the fish trap leave a small tab at the end of the mesh for later..

Place the mesh cylinder inside of the fish trap and glue it in place to the perimeter of the plastic end of the trap. Make sure the two screens are not touching at any points.

Drill to holes in the cap of the fish trap and string a wire through them to form a U to hang zapper.

Step 4: Attaching Camera to Base

Picture of Attaching Camera to Base

Drill two holes in the spray can cap the same size as the wire used on the capacitors.

Cut a hole in the bottom of the cap the same size at the protrusion on the camera created by the lens.
** make sure the drilled holes and the lenses hole line up with the corresponding parts on the camera.**

String the wires through the two holes and hot glue the cap to the camera

Drill a screw through the cap and camera for extra support ** be sure not to drill though the flash circuit.**

Take the conical part of the fish trap which was cut off before and glue it to the inside of the cap.

Step 5: Attaching Screens to Camera Base

Picture of Attaching Screens to Camera Base

Solder( or staple if your soldering iron broke like mine) one wire to each of the screens. Attach the wire for the inner screen to the tab created earlier.

Now attach the screens to the camera base. The outer screen should fit snuggly into the conical part of the fish trap which was cut off and glued to the cap earlier. Hot glue the screens in place.

Step 6: Light Assembly

Picture of Light Assembly

I got kinda lazy on this part, I plan on fixing it in the future to make it better. This is basically a flashlight but with the leds around the circumference of the pvc. This part is kinda self explanatory sorry for lack of detail..

Cut a piece of 1/2" pvc 6 1/4 " long.

Cut the tips of the leds off to diffuse the light.

I used 3 aa's to power the lights.

I arranged the leds in parallel. I used electrical tape to hold the wires in place and I glued to switch to the top of the cap.

Glue the light structure to the cap.

Step 7: Finished Zapper

Picture of Finished Zapper

Attach the light to the other half of the zapper and your done. To use the zapper turn on the leds and the flash switch on the camera. Sit back and enjoy watching those pesky bugs being zapped away.


geeklord (author)2009-07-04

I don't know how lethal a flash capacitor is..... I've shocked myself (and others >:) many times and nothing's happened.

ssgtgibby (author)geeklord2012-07-07

Well, could be deadly to a bug.. I've been hit with a fly swatter before and didn't die.. hehe

The danger is that you might create a circuit where the shortest path from one electrode to the other is across your heart. In that unlucky event, it does not take much current to stop the heart.

I know that...., Its just the capacitor leads are less than half an inch from each other, how are you gonna get the path of least resistance through your heart with that?

That is an entirely reasonable statement. I have trouble imagining what would induce anyone to connect leads to a high voltage capacitor and stick them through the skin on different hands.

But I thought I had better point out the danger, because some people are more creative than I.

Truck (author)NobodyInParticular2010-11-26

ive done it =/ and i added 4 400v volt capacitors and had a wire in each hand, it dropped me on the floor at first but these days it doesnt bother me.

guys ages 12-25 or so will do a lot of stupid things just to see what happens. You know that right? I unrolled a model rocket engine and lit it just to see what it did, and that didn't feel to good.

in this event, dc power is not as dangerous as ac. i don't know if this kind of voltage can rip the heart's tissue... i'd be careful just in case. i like my heart <3

TehMessiah (author)2011-01-09

Or instead of a led a peice of meat???? it would smell pretty bad but if outside......

jwardana (author)2009-08-07

does blue LED really work attracting the mosquito? not UV LED? Thx.

mzmaker (author)jwardana2010-12-05

I would personally do a mixture of both, different wavelengths attract different types of insects, here is a more deep study:
to diffuse better the light I would suggest you sand papering them individually, please if anyone has more ifo on this it would be helpful. As we all know that LED lights is far cheaper than anything else.

skipernicus (author)2010-07-21

Most insects are not attracted to light given off by LEDs - if you get the wrong kind, this trap won't work (or will be really inefficient). If you want this to be a high yield trap, conventional lighting is more effective. Most bugs are attracted to blue fluorescent light - although white fluorescent light also works.

firecracker125 (author)2009-08-12

i got those hand held fluorescent lamp holder and i broke the case and found a circuit board that powered thje light and i took a meter to test it and found that it more then 220w i think so i was thinking to make a bug zapper that can be powered by 24 V 12 AND 9 V AND 4.5 THE LAMP holder is powered by 4.5 v dc so im thinking adout doing this

shsh75 (author)2007-05-10

yeah i realize the 300v wont been enough for many bugs but im targeting small bug like misquotes and small flies, th ones which are a nuisance, i hope to upgrade it in the future and increase the voltage somehow (any suggestions??) i havent been able to test it yet cause there havent been many bugs outside

Wargasm (author)shsh752009-07-10

Remove the capacitor and add a cockroft-walton multiplier.... just be sure that the screens are far apart enough so that they don't discharge until a bug enters.... I did this once and added 12 multiplier stages and it produced a 2 cm spark gap.... the thing fried wasp, bumble bees, ......whatever.... For more info, just google cockroft-walton or simply voltage multipliers.

Wargasm (author)Wargasm2009-07-10

you'll also have to bypass the itty bitty little diode too....

twenglish1 (author)shsh752008-07-26

yah just use a 9v instead of the 1.5 volt it will be over 1,000 volts

     That won't work. The capacitor and diode aren't rated for it.

idk i used it and it worked fine

     It does work with some flashes if the capacitor is replaced with a higher voltage one. It's not uncommon to have a 1200V diode. Sometimes the transformer will short out. One time I ran like 12V through one with no capactior at all and it lit up the tube all by itself. It's no good as a light though because it overheats really fast and it's not very bright.

when i used the 9v it worked for a while but something burned when i left it on for like 10mins

xfirexstarzx (author)shsh752007-05-13

While working on an electromagnetic coil gun, I found out that wiring another capacitor in parallel makes the spark hurt A LOT more... Try adding another capacitor to boost the current.

RPisces (author)xfirexstarzx2007-07-22

He's right. Check out my (unsuccessful) coil gun instructable. It'll deliver enough punch to kill a junebug!

ermockler (author)2007-05-14

I have one of those badminton racquet bug zappers, takes 2 AA's, kills bumblebees even, I think it's like 1500 volts. Yellow jackets are my prime enemy. Had the same batteries for like 2 years now. You can actually bounce the bug up and down on the thing until you are satisfried he's dead, like one of those paddle games, then give it one more bounce and whack it across the yard.
I'm all for making stuff myself, but for 10 bucks I would never bother trying to make one. linkage :

you could, however, reverse engineer one of these to increase your power. Or increase even that and make a really nice one in a wooden tennis racket.

question. was the term "satisfried" intentional? them bugs do end up fried, so I feel the need to ask.

i just cant stop laughing after i noticed he said satisfried

i knoww lol i had the same problem

that never gets old,unlike most jokes

laznz1 (author)ermockler2009-01-05

we have those to and I modded a few of mine to run off a 9V battrie and also turned one into a neat lil Tazer the power from my 9V one makes people jump the 9V bug killer makes a few satificing sparks and kills it in seconds

Udon (author)ermockler2008-12-12

Yeah. Those chinese bug rackets are hours of psycotic homicidal fun for the whole family. And so cheap. At China Mart I get them for R30 (that's like $3 or something). I've never been asked to pay for disposables - I think they're supposed to recycle the leftovers, but it's not so efficient here in SA, or otherwise Fujifilm and KodakExpress or whatever are just too lazy. Good for me. Bad for the planet. Has anyone tried opening a racket up? Understanding what's going on inside will give this instructable a "How it works".

girrrrrrr2 (author)ermockler2007-07-14

i got one... i think that that it is funny when you just hold the button and keep the bug on the mesh... and occasionally shake it... the bug starts to smoke... and then there is an instant headache... (for all around due to the smell...)

ermockler (author)girrrrrrr22007-07-17

More important than all the warnings regarding the dangerous capacitors - DO NOT USE THIS TO KILL STINKBUGS!!!!

qdogg (author)2009-01-28

I used the guts from a $3 bug zapper to make an electric fence around my dog kennel. I just hooked it (grid removed, clip leads installed)to $6 worth of electric fence wire & insulators screwed to the chain link around the dog house(my dog has a bad habit of digging out when she gets scared or bored). About 20 seconds after installation, I heard a loud yip-yipe and my dog has never tried to dig out again. I don't even have to leave the power on.

m1sterb0b (author)2008-12-28

So, what I'm wondering, is why not just take the circuit board out of the camera and mount it inside the hole thing? Was it just to save on materials, so you could just use the re-charge switch? Also, if the only disposable cameras that are available to me are the ones where you have to hold down the charge button, is it possible to just solder a SPST switch to it so I can just turn it on or off? or do you actually have to release the switch before your able to flash it again? I'm just wondering if the circuits are any different, or if basically the switch on your camea holds down the button, vs my camera that you have to hold down the button yourself.

Father Christmas (author)2008-12-28

hahaha im not sure this is a bug zapper, as much as a potential squirrel aggravation lol

goeon (author)2008-12-15

i added your instructable to the disposible camera guide

thingygoboom (author)2007-05-10

Very very good job, thought it would be nice to have more voltage...... resoldering perhaps.

ReCreate (author)thingygoboom2008-11-29

take a look at the worlds smallest shocker

The Lightning Stalker (author)2008-10-11

     The resistors are there to limit current. Too much current and stuff burns up.

four_eyes954 (author)2008-03-28

actually youd be amazed on how much these f***ers hurt

tydeus (author)2007-06-10

No no no. NEVER BUY DISPOSABLE CAMERAS FOR THE CAPACITOR! Seriously if that's all you want then just go to Target or Walmart or a store that developes disposable camera film. They usually have about 100 of them in a giant bin and will probably give you a few (actually I got about 100 from Target because they knew me, and Wolf camera gave me 34). The only difficulty you will have is that they send these cameras to the company so the electronics can be reused. They receive payment for this so they might be tempted to give you only 3 or none at all (got 6 from Walmart, 0 from CVS). I told them I was doing a research project for college and usually didn't need to be any more creative.

tyeo098 (author)2007-05-10

Could you add a "how it works" step? As I am very curious on how this works, Ive shocked myself with those caps many times and all it does is give a shock, not really killing power, like the caps in a PSU... oops, it wasn't my fault officer, he was running towards me with...his...hands? RUN!

shsh75 (author)tyeo0982007-05-10

id added this link to the instructable but for some reason it didnt show up here how bug zappers work

CanDo (author)2007-05-10

Nice, May I recommend to anyone trying this, that you must short the cap before using it. The cap may otherwise contain a charge which would give you an unpleasant shock.

mspark400 (author)2007-05-10

very nice, dangerous though, some pictures fuzzy, still very nice, good job

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