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Electronics => Repair => Topic started by: cncjerry on October 03, 2016, 10:09:08 pm

Title: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry 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
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Cyberdragon 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: eKretz 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: lowimpedance 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 !
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry 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... 
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: ez24 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.

Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: SeanB 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Gyro 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:
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: ez24 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.


Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: jitter 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: jitter 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: ez24 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.

Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry on October 06, 2016, 03:38:36 am
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/this-video-shows-how-easy-it-is-for-rats-to-climb-up-through-your-toilet (http://motherboard.vice.com/read/this-video-shows-how-easy-it-is-for-rats-to-climb-up-through-your-toilet)
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: timf 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
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: ez24 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: timf 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
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: snarkysparky 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: snarkysparky on November 28, 2016, 01:30:56 pm
US patent

https://www.google.com/patents/US7757430 (https://www.google.com/patents/US7757430)
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: timf 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?
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: snarkysparky 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.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: kasone on November 28, 2016, 06:19:07 pm
I saw a mouse in my garage. I took a plastic pail, filled it half full of water, duct taped the handle up, duct taped a small paint brush to the plastic roller on the handle, duct taped a yardstick up to the edge of the pail, and smeared a gob of peanut butter on the paint brush handle. The next day I found 2 mice in the water. They had run up the yardstick, jumped at the peanut butter, it spun around and they ended up in the water, eventually drowning. Worked great and cheap.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: cncjerry on December 26, 2016, 05:40:00 am
yes, but no electrical buzzing sound nor burnt rodent smell.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: BreaMark on June 13, 2017, 01:58:13 pm
I have two units.  One units keeps getting a red light overnight but it fails to catch anything.  I'm going to try the zap test and I think it will need some cleaning.
The second unit with new batteries does nothing when I turn it on.  I've checked the circuit board for physical damage and it looks fine and everything look connected.  Anything basic I should be looking for?

Thanks.

Mark in Brea
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: ez24 on June 13, 2017, 06:43:09 pm
I have thrown out all my zappers (3) and switched to live traps.  A lot less stress and better results.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: NickRoseSN1985 on September 02, 2017, 08:00:52 pm
We have two Vector Original rat zappers and the newest one just broke. The new one had always taken around 32 seconds to hear the buzz knowing that it is fully charged. Now you hear a very quiet buzz/clicking sound and the LED blinks red. The batteries are new so its not the batteries. The plates have been cleaned. What could be wrong? The buzz/clicking sound seems to be coming from the yellow taped part.

https://youtu.be/VXkJaHSECnM
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Armadillo on September 02, 2017, 08:03:34 pm
Look like a HV step up coil.

Edit: if you can, open it up and apply insulation varnish or shellac to the coil then re-tape it and heat shrink wrap.


Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: NickRoseSN1985 on September 02, 2017, 09:07:46 pm
This might be a dumb question but is it safe to touch? Any precautions I should take?
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Armadillo on September 02, 2017, 09:16:58 pm
This might be a dumb question but is it safe to touch? Any precautions I should take?

Turn off the unit, take all battery out. Don't power it up.
Before you unsolder the coil, discharge the capacitors by jumping the mouse pad contacts with a wire, a screw driver etc..



Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Lebenva on October 12, 2017, 06:16:28 pm
My Zapper red light keeps blinking not allowing the green light to go on. Can anyone help me.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Armadillo on October 13, 2017, 05:17:37 am
My Zapper red light keeps blinking not allowing the green light to go on. Can anyone help me.

You should check if the safety/interlocking switches like the cover safety switch and the tray remove switch are properly contacted/closed. Clean the contacts with cleaner.
Then obviously replace the battery with a new one.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Teledog on October 13, 2017, 11:40:12 pm
I agree that the yellow thing is a HV coil.
Do an eBay search for "high voltage module", they also sell them on Banggood & the usual Chinese online shops
They're only a couple of bucks, they may or may not work for you.
Bought a few units.. the ~1/2" arc scares the hell out of dogs (& people)
They certainly don't put out 400kV..more like ~3-4kV
Just ordered a rat zapper..can't wait for it to arrive!  >:D
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Armadillo on October 13, 2017, 11:52:48 pm
Those zappers that put out AC HV are better then the DC types.
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Armadillo on October 14, 2017, 05:39:50 am
The AC type will, depending on the proper contacts, normally fried their brains dead. Somehow, the DC type cannot and at times created zombie rats that can wake up from dead. The house of zombie rats....... LOL..  :-DD :scared:
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: willsher on January 08, 2018, 04:48:35 pm
We've had success in adding a 6VDC power jack and an ebay $6 power supply (adaptor)
Also outside (for chipmunks) has been fine, either near house outlet or on batteries

www.SherwoodPhoto.com/rat-zapper/ (http://www.SherwoodPhoto.com/rat-zapper/)
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Cyberdragon on January 08, 2018, 05:06:31 pm
We've had success in adding a 6VDC power jack and an ebay $6 power supply (adaptor)
Also outside (for chipmunks) has been fine, either near house outlet or on batteries

www.SherwoodPhoto.com/rat-zapper/ (http://www.SherwoodPhoto.com/rat-zapper/)

YOU ZAP CHIPMUNKS?! WHY?! :scared:
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: ez24 on January 08, 2018, 11:50:50 pm
YOU ZAP CHIPMUNKS?! WHY?! :scared:

I hope not people
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: 651drive on December 19, 2018, 05:45:48 pm
My Zapper has served me well in the past but now the red light blinks (3 second intervals) when I turn it on, even with fresh new batteries. I have tried the recommended cleaning procedure to no avail. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: Armadillo on December 19, 2018, 06:48:04 pm
Firstly, not any batteries but I think it is recommended Energizer Alkaline type Batteries.

I would start by measuring from the LDO. At the LDO, Power In PIN should be battery voltage around > 5.3 volts and Out should be ~ 4.4volts. There is a ops-amp use as voltage comparator for this battery voltage and the LDO output voltage. I would make sure the IN-OUT compare logic from the IC is correct.

That should be a good start for the troubleshooting.

My Zapper has served me well in the past but now the red light blinks (3 second intervals) when I turn it on, even with fresh new batteries. I have tried the recommended cleaning procedure to no avail. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Rat Zapper repair and troubleshooting
Post by: devin28 on January 24, 2019, 01:32:34 pm
Hello,

With the Rat Zapper, there is no blood, guts or gut like there is with snap traps. Additionally, in light of the fact that no toxin is utilized, rodents don't escape just incredibly difficult to achieve places (like inside your dividers). They don't pass on gradually from lack of hydration as they do on paste sheets. Your hand never needs to verge on contacting a dead rat. Truth be told, you never need to see the rat on the off chance that you would prefer not to.

The Rat Zapper is sheltered around pets and youngsters. The measure of vitality produced by the Rat Zapper is purposefully restricted by utilization of batteries and circuit configuration, for all intents and purposes wiping out the likelihood of damage striking kids or pets.

Thanks!