Picture of Vacuum bug zapper! (Updated)
Hello there,

This is a little bug-zapper that works with a computer FAN and a CCFL inverter.
The insects will get sucked-in and then get zapped by a 2kV arc :D
It's powered by a 9V battery and is easy to use. The compact design also makes it mobile.

A video of the zapper in action:
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Step 1: Requirements

Picture of Requirements
• a sheet of cardboard (or PVC pipe, better)
• cutter knife
• hot glue
• computer FAN
• CCFL inverter (paper scanner or screen back-light)
• a 9V battery
• a 9V battery holder (clip)
• some wires
• a push-button
• some bare wire
• electrical tape
• high voltage diode (3kV+) or three times 1N4006 or 1N4007
• high voltage capacitor (500v +) (somewhere between 60nF and 10nF, NOT HIGHER!)
(using a bigger capacitor won't harm the circuit, but it would become lethal).

Step 2: The first cardboard piece

Picture of The first cardboard piece
The piece of cardboard should be long enough to make circle out of it that fits the computer FAN.

Cut the piece to the length of the CCFL inverter + 4cm (leave some room)

Now put the piece of cardboard around the computer FAN and cut it to length. Again, leave a few cm's over.

Edit: I actually advise to use PVC pipe here now because it's more fire resistant.
If you use PVC pipe, make sure the diameter is just large enough to fit on the FAN.

Step 3: Adding the CCFL inverter

Picture of Adding the CCFL inverter
Follow the steps in the pictures.

Also add a bridge connection over the blue capacitor on the CCFL inverter circuit board.
You can do this by soldering a wire from one to the other pin.
Without this bridge, the HV capacitor won't charge.

Step 4: Adding the zapper-wire

Picture of Adding the zapper-wire
Follow the steps in the pictures.

Step 5: Soldering and gluing everything

Picture of Soldering and gluing everything
Follow the steps in the pictures.

Step 6: Adding the second cardboard piece

Picture of Adding the second cardboard piece
Add the second cardboard piece around the top. This doesn't need to be secured, because it's easy to clean the wires if you can take this off.
aazzaki10 months ago
are CCFL inverter is mus used ?

That is the coolest idea! That is the problem with normal bug zappers, they leave the bugs around. I would love to make the vacuum part. No more bugs! http://www.catalystfamilylawyers.com.au/

Saw this just in time for camping season! Question: How long should I expect a 9v to last in this application?
Electorials (author)  huck alexander3 years ago
I really have no idea :o
The inverter circuit doesn't really draw a lot of current, so the battery doesn't die that fast at all, but I never emptied a battery with this so I don't know how long they last :/
For saying a random number, I think you can zap 100 bugs with it :P
BrunoG3 years ago
If the capacitor is rated for 500v and it produces 2kv arcs... You know whats the question...
Good project.
It is very cooooooooooooo,e+560,oooooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!
Electorials (author)  BrunoG3 years ago

I wouldn't try electrolytic capacitors because they will definately blow.

Those ceramic capacitors will make snapping noises inside, which means the layers are arcing to each other trough the insulation. After that, the capacitor will just no longer work but those won't explode.
Where can a conventional CCFL inverter like the one used here be bought on its own? I'm having a very hard time finding one and would prefer not to hunt around for a scanner.
Electorials (author)  garrickhimself3 years ago
Where do you live?

I don't really know where to get them in other countries, and even not in my own country :/
In the US. After I posted this comment I dug a little more and found that on ebay, you can find a "CCFL inverter tester" that is basically a standalone CCFL inverter that is used to troubleshoot display issues. It's shipping from Hong Kong so I won't get it until mid-next week, but if it looks like yours when I take it apart, I'll post another comment.

I'm a newbie when it comes to electronics and will be following your instructions almost verbatim, so I'll probably post a picture of it if I can't figure it out.
Electorials (author)  garrickhimself3 years ago
ok; no problem :) However, if it's a laptop inverter, I don't know on what voltage it may run.
Would it be possible to give me the ebay link? Maybe I can make up some stuff from it. Something like this is perfect:

I also see a lot of these black boxes on ebay:
I don't know if these are good because I can't see what's inside, but looking at the incoming and outgoing wires, and the box size, I think it's content is exactly the same as the one from the first link :)
The first link you posted is the one I bought. I saw it ran on a minimum of 9V so I figured that would be OK. Thanks for still actively supporting this instructable!
Electorials (author)  garrickhimself3 years ago
No problem :)
The inverter should be just fine.

If it arrives, and there are any problems or questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment ;)
DANGER DANGER: use pvc rather than cardboard
anaveed13 years ago
okay can i use the ballast off a fluroscene lamp rather than the ccfl inverter or a transformer ?
Electorials (author)  anaveed13 years ago
From a regular fluorescent lamp? No, not possible.

From a compact flourescent lamp like those with E3 fittings? It might be possible but I'm not really sure.
I 'think' they also convert the input voltage to high voltage, but the disadvantage is rhat they operate on 120v (or 230v in europe)
and if i use a 230v transformer would it be enough ?
Electorials (author)  anaveed13 years ago
I don't understand why you would use a transformer?
There is no use for that here.
Kokor3 years ago
True Mad Science!
Electorials (author)  Kokor3 years ago
Thanks ;)
Electorials (author)  the gadget dude3 years ago
Thanks =)

Electorials (author)  building_boy3 years ago
Thank you ;)
dude try making a suck cannon that shoots whatever you suck with it and if you produce it i'll buy it of you
Electorials (author)  the gadget dude3 years ago
haha, that would be awesome!
Super cool! Got my vote =)
Electorials (author)  EngineeringShock3 years ago
Thank you! :D
You also have some nice instructables ;)
Alex1M63 years ago
That's awesome ( :
ahowell33 years ago
Is there a reason you went for cardboard as opposed to something less flammable, such as a PVC pipe?
Electorials (author)  ahowell33 years ago
Not really, I now also think it was a really bad idea.
I just didn't really think about it because I thought I wouldn't make an instructable for this.
Electorials (author)  Electorials3 years ago
I added some notes about PVC pipe in the instructable.
Neat. You might improve your "bug attraction" with a bug light or pheromones under the grid. I don't think the fan alone will catch much. Are you going to post some action video?

Your "Safety to the user" sounds like a little bit of experience. 8-D
I need actual death video...
Electorials (author)  mr.incredible3 years ago
I won't be uploading videos of me killing bugs on youtube, sorry.
You can build it your own and have as much fun as you want to :D
Electorials (author)  mr.incredible3 years ago
I accidentally removed my post :(
I hope you got a mail of it?
could you send me back the text please? I typed so much :(

anyway, here is the new video: (I deleted my previous video)
Grissini3 years ago
I love that this warning is at the end of this ible. Let us know if anything catches fire! Great idea and cool project.
Electorials (author)  Grissini3 years ago
haha ok :D