Author Topic: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting  (Read 26094 times)

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Offline cncjerry

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Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« on: October 03, 2016, 10:09:08 pm »
I'll begin by saying I feel sorry for the little buggers that get caught in these things but it does seem to be more humane (not to be debated) than mechanical traps.

I have two rat Zappers and between them have zapped over 85 mice and 10 rats.  It's hard to believe this thing will retire a large Norwegian roof rat which is as big as my foot, shoe and all, but it does.  We recently had a new infestation in my garage so I dug out the Zappers and found neither to be working.  You can test them (using fresh batteries) by using a long screwdriver inserted in the back of the zapper grounding the back plate to the center insulated island.  Once grounded, lifting the screwdriver off the insulated plate should draw an arc up to 3/8ths of an inch long.  The first I repaired was only drawing about 1/8th of an inch.  After soaking it in soapy water for an hour and scrubbing, I was able to get the proper 3/8ths arc with a healthy buzz to go with it.

The second I worked on would hardly spark and after cleaning it with soapy water, the problem remained.  Opening it up, I found the underside of the circuit board to have some mild corrosion so I cleaned it with IPA and a toothbrush.  I then noticed that the crimp on one of the larger leads running to the metal frame looked bad so I took the time to solder it up.  I also found what looked to be fine wire on the circuit board like from a wire clipping. Soldering, cleaning and removing the fine wires corrected the problem. This one was then able to generate and hold a healthy spark.  It almost looks like you could weld with it.

Anyway, I expect the rodent count to climb.  It's amazing how much damage rodents will do to soft plastic wires, etc.  I don't understand why they like some expensive wires more than others.  By the way, peanut butter on a small square of paper towel works the best for bait.  If I can clean the trap in time, I throw the carcass in with the kids king snake.  Much cheaper than 3.75 for a frozen adult mouse.

Jerry
 

Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 10:59:46 pm »
Did you say you cleaned HV electronics with WATER?! That's why it got corroded. :palm:

At least you use the dead rats for something.
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Offline cncjerry

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 11:07:37 pm »
Dunking the lower part of the Rat Zapper in soapy water is the recommended way to clean it from the manufacturer.  The lower half has just a frame with an insulated plate.  The corrosion I found was on the circuit board which is in the upper half of the unit.
 

Offline eKretz

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2016, 03:54:42 am »
I need to hook up with a couple of those for my detached garage. I've probably nailed 100's of mice and voles out there. If they didn't destroy tools and wires and leave their droppings everywhere I would leave them be, but I won't stand for that crap.
 

Offline lowimpedance

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2016, 04:52:49 am »
but I won't stand for that crap.
...or in it !.

 Every summer time here means rats and the major baiting program that follows, which I dislike. I do like the idea of the electric trap instead , must see if available locally.

 
  If I can clean the trap in time, I throw the carcass in with the kids king snake.  Much cheaper than 3.75 for a frozen adult mouse.
Jerry

Good re use of the fresh meat !
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Offline cncjerry

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2016, 06:59:52 am »
Plus 2 this evening, 1 failed.  I tested that trap again, maybe the mouse got lucky.  I can't believe the arc this thing makes. I've noticed little burn marks on the rodents and I'm sure they are postmortem, or at least would like to think so... 
 

Offline ez24

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2016, 07:27:05 am »
In one year I have gotten one rat with mine.  I also used soapy water to clean the plates.  I just cannot get them to go to the back.  They get to the first separation and stop, no matter how much food or how hungry they are.  I think they can smell the ozone.  I use live traps but the challenge is what to do with them so they do not return.

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Offline cncjerry

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2016, 12:02:00 pm »
I put the peanut butter right up against the back of the zapper.   It's amazing how large the rats are that I catch with it.  They hang outside the Zapper.  I've also used dry dog food.  I've only ever caught one rat per mechanical trap so maybe they are smarter and smell the death of the prior resident. I've had as many as seven on one zapper.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2016, 06:22:35 pm »
To get the smell off just use a wash with bleach followed by a rinse, then a second wash with 5% hydrogen peroxide solution. that will denature all the amines that are on the surfaces. Peanut butter as bait is good, just use the cheapest one on the shelf and put a dollop on the trigger area.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2016, 07:50:15 pm »
After a few generations you'll probably have selectively bred rats that don't like peanut butter! Oops, dare I mention Darwin and natural selection around here?  :scared:
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Offline ez24

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2016, 10:41:19 pm »
To get the smell off just use a wash with bleach followed by a rinse, then a second wash with 5% hydrogen peroxide solution. that will denature all the amines that are on the surfaces. Peanut butter as bait is good, just use the cheapest one on the shelf and put a dollop on the trigger area.

I will try the bleach and peroxide.  Thanks

I have tried many foods including peanut butter, cheese, sweet rolls, veggies, organic bread, bananas, saltine crackers.  Their favorite are saltine crackers, then bananas.   They never touched the cheese and eat the peanut butter only when there is nothing else.

I like the crackers because they have little holes that I hook the trap's trigger on. 

But I am starting to run out of rats.  Tonight I have to take one for a drive.  And I think there is only one left.


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Offline cncjerry

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2016, 11:01:15 pm »
I am now 4 to 1 since the repairs. snake ate three of the carcasses though he sniffed them a lot.  So the snakes happy. I'm happy. hell, everyone is happy except the mice.
 

Offline jitter

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2016, 05:15:38 am »
Did you say you cleaned HV electronics with WATER?! That's why it got corroded. :palm:

At least you use the dead rats for something.

This may sound strange, but washing stuffed pcbs in an industrial "dish"washer with water and detergent is quite normal and we do it for boards that need to be very clean.
Most components stand this process just fine, some (e.g. sealed relays) have been designed with washing in mind. Only stuff with exposed conductors (e.g. trimmer caps) need to be inserted after the washing process (at which time there will only be local handsoldering done).

Corrosion will only happen after prolongued exposure to humidity and condensation.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 05:19:59 am by jitter »
 

Offline cncjerry

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2016, 04:12:32 pm »
That's a great idea.  I wonder if one soap vs another is better?  We generally use Cascade.  I've been scrubbing my boards with IPA and a toothbrush but throwing them in a dishwasher would be easier.

As far as the rat zapper, I don't think my wife wants that thing in the dishwasher...

Still 4 and 1, no hits last night.
 

Offline jitter

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2016, 04:46:19 pm »
That's a great idea.  I wonder if one soap vs another is better?  We generally use Cascade.  I've been scrubbing my boards with IPA and a toothbrush but throwing them in a dishwasher would be easier.

As far as the rat zapper, I don't think my wife wants that thing in the dishwasher...

Still 4 and 1, no hits last night.

Yes, there are different formulas.

We used to have a customer that wanted the boards squeaky clean, but the formula we had used until that moment was rather mild. It washed away the machine flux for the wave soldering process just fine, but it tended to react with the flux residue from the leadfree solder paste and leave a white crystalline residue.

The more aggressive formula cleaned off the solder paste flux perfectly, however, it also had a tendency to bleach the green solder mask where the machine flux had been and that looked pretty ugly. It also often led to seriously faded printing on some electrolytic capacitors and even the black bands (denoting cathode) on glass diodes sometimes looked like they had been washed away!

One of them was Kyzen Aquanox, I forget the other.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 04:48:51 pm by jitter »
 

Offline ez24

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2016, 06:29:41 pm »
Still 4 and 1, no hits last night.

Mine (small one) jumped in the toilet last night and was near death laying on the dry part inside this morning.  I put him in a live trap and sat him in the sun to warm up with a blanket.  He and I will go for a drive tonight.  I think the last one.

I hope my rat zapper will get the next batch after I clean it.

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Offline cncjerry

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2016, 03:34:50 am »
I read once that rats can tread water for up to 48 hours or so. It's some type of animal swimming record.
 


Offline timf

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2016, 02:15:46 pm »
I have a zapper that doesn't zap after cleaning the plate. The green light comes on indicating all is good, but the bait disappears without the machine working. Opening the control unit I see the large yellow component on the board, which i assume to be the thing that generates the zap, has brown marks on it like it has burnt out inside. I need to know what the specification is for this component so that I can try to get a replacement with similar spec. Anyone have that information? I have tried to ratzapper.org website but get no reply
 

Offline ez24

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2016, 06:20:36 pm »
I have a zapper that doesn't zap after cleaning the plate. The green light comes on indicating all is good, but the bait disappears without the machine working. Opening the control unit I see the large yellow component on the board, which i assume to be the thing that generates the zap, has brown marks on it like it has burnt out inside. I need to know what the specification is for this component so that I can try to get a replacement with similar spec. Anyone have that information? I have tried to ratzapper.org website but get no reply
You probably will need to post pics of it and the surrounding circuit, both sides.
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Offline timf

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2016, 01:16:27 pm »
OK thanks for the thought, here are some pics showing the burnt thing in place, then removed with the designation A63961 printed on the board underneath it, and the revers side of the board which has a printed designation Agrizap,  ASSY PCB 300. Hope this helps with identifying it
 

Offline snarkysparky

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2016, 01:24:15 pm »
Board looks like it has a PIR sensor on it to trigger the zap.  Might look to see that it has a clear view of the chamber.  When you turn it on do you hear a buzzing for about 2 seconds.  The one i have does that as it charges up the cap.
 

Offline snarkysparky

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2016, 01:30:56 pm »
 

Offline timf

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2016, 01:33:48 pm »
Yes I did hear a buzzing, but thought it was a fault in the machine, it seemed to continue, and then I found there were burn marks on the yellow thing (are you confirming it is a capacitor? ) If so any idea how to know what the spec is?
 

Offline snarkysparky

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Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2016, 01:37:59 pm »
If the buzzing doesn't stop then the plate needs more cleaning.  I take mine into a dark room and switch it on.  you will likely see some arcing where the contamination is. 
I had to clean the base plate of mine very thoroughly after peanut butter oil got in there.  Eventually used IPA and a toothbrush.
 


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