Teardown: Bug Zapper Bulb

Up here in the Northern Hemisphere, mosquitoes and other flying pests are the last thing on anyone’s mind right now. The only bug that’s hindering gatherings at the moment goes by the name of COVID-19, but even if we weren’t social distancing, insects simply aren’t a concern at this time of year. So it’s little surprise that these months are often the best time to find a great deal on gadgets designed to deter or outright obliterate airborne insects.

Whatever PIC stands for…it’s not that.

Case in point, I was able to pick up this “Bug Zapper LED Bulb” at the big-box hardware store for just a few bucks. This one is sold by PIC Corporation, though some press release surfing shows the company merely took over distribution of the device in 2017. Before then it was known as the Zapplight, and was the sort of thing you might see advertised on TV if you were still awake at 3 AM. It appears there are several exceptionally similar products on the market as well, which are likely to be the same internally.

In all fairness, it’s a pretty clever idea. Traditional zappers are fairly large, and need to be hoisted up somewhere next to an electrical outlet. But if you could shrink one down to the size of a light bulb, you could easily dot them around the porch using the existing sockets and wiring. Extra points if you can also figure out a way to make it work as a real bulb when the bugs aren’t out. Obviously the resulting chimera won’t excel at either task, but there’s certainly something to be said for the convenience of it.

Let’s take a look inside one of these electrifying illuminators and see how they’ve managed to squeeze two very different devices into one socket-friendly package.

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A Huge Microwave-powered Bug Zapper

This is the biggest bug zapper we’ve ever seen. It’s called the Megazap as its zapping area is 1 square meter. [Eighdot] and [Sa007] combined their talents for the build in order to help reduce the insect population around theĀ Eth0 2012 Summer festival.

You may recall from our bug zapping light saber build that these devices work by providing two energized grids. When an insect flies between the grids it allows the potential energy to overcome the air resistance by travelling through the insect’s body. The Megazap uses a transformer from a microwave oven to source that potential. The transformer produces 2.4 kV and the current is limited by a floodlight fitted inside the microwave. The side effect of using the lamp as a limiter is that it lights up with each bug zapped, providing a bit of a light show. Don’t miss the video after the break to see some flying foes get the life shocked out of them.

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Second Run At Taser Gloves Uses Bug Zapper Parts

[Jair2k4] ditched the Altoids tins and found a new voltage source for this latest rendition of his taser gloves. Regular readers will remember his first iteration which used wrist-mounted enclosures containing the flash circuitry from disposable cameras to shock the wits out of someone with the laying on of hands. This one is a complete rework but it follows the same concepts.

The new shock circuitry is from a bug zapper in the shape of a fly swatter. We’ve seen these handheld devices before and dismissed them as a gimmick, but [Jair2k4] got his hands on a couple of them and found out they can put out a spark of up to 2300 volts. He set to work by getting rid of the tennis-racket-style grid at the top of the handle. He soldered on some contacts which reach to the tip of his middle-finger and thumb on some rubberized work gloves. The original handle was kept as it’s a nice battery holder and works well strapped to his forearm.

Does it work? You bet – even singing his arm hair and leaving welts on his skin. See for yourself after the break. And yes, this goes on the list of hacks you should recreate!

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