Arduino Mouse Trap


[scott] had a need to capture a mouse and wanted to learn about how to program an arduino, so he built an Arduino controlled mousetrap. It is made from things he had laying around the house, like some Tupperware containers and wooden rods. The program is pretty simple, when a trip wire is touched, the servo jerks the wooden rod out of the way, closing the container. You can see it working after the break. The trip wire seems like a big failure point. he states that it is just a wire, slightly above a tin foil strip. That seems like it would only be a tiny area that the mouse would need to touch to trigger it. What better switch could he design as cheap and quick as possible?


51 thoughts on “Arduino Mouse Trap

  1. With lasers! Everything works better with lasers ;) But seriously, you could mount two mirrors on the sides of the device and then bounce a laserbeam a few times between them before letting it fall into an LDR or so. That’d mean the mouse has quite a lot of areas to avoid if he doesn’t want to be locked up.

  2. Two sheets of foil.

    Fold the edges of the topmost sheet so that it straddles the lower, and make them the full width of the trap. Mouse steps on the top sheet, crushing it down onto the bottom sheet.

    / ________ \

  3. I’d go with infrared sensing… Paint the whole thing black, or use black construction paper to line the inside. Use a few cheap IR LEDs at the top pointing down to fill the trap with IR light, and use a few IR sensors to detect when there’s something to reflect back IR light.

    Anyone know if mouse eyes are sensitive to IR light?

    I like the idea above with the two big sheets of foil.

  4. Bend a piece of card or thick paper almost in half, attach aluminium foil to the inside surfaces, connect foil to wires = pressure plate. The only slightly hard part is getting a small gap that can be closed with a small pressure but that will only take a few minutes bodging.

  5. I like the tinfoil but would add a little scotch tape to keep it in place and a piece of notebook paper over top to keep any reflected light/movement from scaring off the mouse.

  6. I do know of a switch that would work better. I recall on this site seening a doormat pressure switch. I tried to search for it but could’nt find it. if anyone can remember what i’m talking about please post the link here.

  7. A single sheet of tin foil, connected directly to a pin and to V+ through a resistor( someplace between 1K and 10M. 500k works for humans with a sq foot of tin foil). Pull the pin low. Set it to high-z. Time how long it takes for the pin to go high. average 8 times. When the average jumps, some thing is touching or close to touching the tinfoil.

  8. A webcam running motion detection software on a nearby PC would be a little more complex but also give him an opportunity to play with that technology and practice developing a very simple real time PC control system. It could communicate via UART or by simple parallel port command to run a line high…

    If you were looking for random ways to trigger it, you could also play with a microphone to detect the sound of mouse in box…

    But obviously the active IR and tinfoils solutions that have already been thrown out are probably the best if actually catching mice is more important to you than playing with more peripheral gizmos. :) Other ideas are just fun.

    And I’m ashamed of any of you that want to add a laser to this project… WITHOUT upgrading that to a rodent-vaporizing cutting laser! Or at LEAST a bright laser directed at the rodent’s face to disorient and nauseate the rodent while the trap mechanism is closed. :P

  9. flip what you have dude. have the tinfoil on top where when stepped on it gets smooshed on the wire or other tinfoil or whatever. you just need to complete a circuit, KISS.

  10. I call arduino abuse here. I’m seeing so many projects where the draw is that they use a microcontroller, and when you get into the build, they’re basically using the micro to simulate a switch. This is a good example. Are people so needy for hacking goodness that they have to hack an elaborate and relatively expensive piece of hardware to dumb it down to the level of a momentary contact switch? This project already incorporated a switch, though one of questionable utility.

  11. as for sensor I would suggest using fet static charge detector or high frequency generator and receiver connected by foil pad, if something came close or touch capacitance will change this will result in frequency drift and receiver will stop receive and trigger something

    but there is more simple and better solution, charge a capacitor with high voltage and connect it to pad,something like instant death to anything stepping on it

    or low tech humane solution a bottle trap

  12. Make the floor conductive (foil) and slightly concave (using a plastic can lid, upside-down). A contact just slightly touches the foil on the floor when there is no weight on the plastic. It can be as soft a floor as you like, so the weight of a mouse will easily trip it. The “nominal” position for this circuit is closed, so when the switch opens, the serve yanks out the dowel.

  13. I suppose while we’re talking about all the foil contact plates… you could also consider just hooking a neon sign transformer to the foil… and then the tupperware is just there to contain the singed mouse carcass. ;)

    Though I do like the irony of using a ps2 mouse to sense an actual mouse.

    And yes, it IS doing something with a micro that doesn’t require a micro… but if he goes with more advanced sensors in the future, or finds an advantage to adding a delay after the detection before the mechanism activates… I could see the project outgrowing the simple “when this line goes high, set this line high” stage. Now… doing capacative sensing or adding a delay without using a micro would be a much cooler (though still not too difficult display of hackery.

    And for the person who remarked about not understanding capacative sensing… I’m sure there are tutorials out there… basicly you build an RC oscillator, where the mouse( or your finger) could come into contact with the capacitor part, and you time the circuit’s oscillations. When someone touches the capacitor, it takes longer to charge as now there’s more capacitance in the system. The delay indicates a sensor event.

  14. I love all the responses to this. It reminds me of the “How does * replace a light bulb?” joke. I’d have to go with foil contact as the easiest solution, capacitive sensing as the second easiest (as far as having non-specialized components go).

  15. I see others have mentioned this, but the switch could just close the contact on the motor itself.

    (although as I typed that I realized that the “switch” could just release the “door” on its own.)

    I guess he didn’t want to kill the mouse, but I like mousetraps.

    I keep meaning to hack a mousetrap so that I get an LED or some kind of warning that it has sprung. They are usually placed in an out-of-the-way location and you can forget to check them after a couple months.

  16. this country gramma thinks this is a real good idea. now… can u add a way to track the mice pathways and with this info, plan multiple traps along their trails? oh ya, what are u using for bait?
    good idea, wish u were my grandson.

  17. Hang the bait down a single copper wire strand, which passes through a spring. While still, no contact between the wire and sprint, but as soon as the trap is nudged (or the bait is touched) it swings in any direction… and closes the circuit.

    Bad diagram:

    | | |
    / | /
    \ | \
    / | /
    \ | \
    / | /
    \ | \
    / | /
    | | |

  18. Dear Sir/Madam
    My Name is richard from witley and Sons Co.I want to order some mousetrap from your company.and i will really appreciate if you email me with the types you do carry Instock and are available for prompt sale.also let me know your terms of payment.
    Thank you and reply at your earliest convenient

  19. nifty idea. good suggestions for the trip’wire’… but where is the laser to zap the mouse?
    Actually the design is functionally the same as the paiute deadfall, construct that one, with a stone on top of the container and no need for an arduino… but then again, doing it with an arduino is more fun.
    Could add an alert to signal the mouse is caught

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.