Bug Zapper repair?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Vid-Flyer, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Vid-Flyer

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 22, 2008
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    0
    I have a old Flowtron bug zapper I'd like to fix. At the output of the high voltage transformer there are ... 'er WERE ... two disc shaped components about the size of a nickel as thick as a CampFire Girl's mint. After the unit quit zapping I opened it up. When I touched the disc that looked blackened it disintegrated. Return email from Flowtron said they cannot supply the parts.

    I'm a retired old fart that lives on a REAL buggy lake and don't want to have to buy a sorely needed replacement so I'm hoping someone here could HELP!

    Oh, the two discs were wired parallel across the high voltage leads going to the grid. The material inside the one that fell apart is yellowish and kind of glass like. I would have guessed that they are capacitors, but I have now knowledge of high voltage circuits. The one still in place is red like it's got a dipped plastic coating. There is no info printed on it.

    Here's a couple photos.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  2. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    I suspect that they are MOVs (Metal Oxide Varistors) that are used to control the transformer's output voltage. The one might've fried because the other went open - or it could be that your transformer finally went kaput (shorted windings) and it was too much of a load for the MOV.

    I have no clue as to what value they were originally, or what to suggest for a replacement.

    The unit you have looks like there's a lot of corrosion going on. You would probably be much better off to buy a newer unit.

    On this site:
    http://www.mosquito-zapper.com/bug_zappers_from_flowtron.htm

    they have new Flowtron zappers, and they also have replacement parts. They also have a help line:
    1-877-266-3532

    If you know what model yours is, perhaps you could plunk down $5 for a new starter. However, if the ballast design has changed a lot, or yours is toast, you may be just tossing $5+shipping in the toilet.
     
  3. Vid-Flyer

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 22, 2008
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    0
    Thanks Sgt for the quick response. A visit to the linked site showed only modern parts in their online catalog. In their photo illustration no external parts connect to the transformer output. I emailed to see if they could offer help anyway.

    The Flowtron model number is P-1115 s/n 44A 520261 The fluorescent black light tube starter is located external for easy access. Under the cover along with the high voltage transformer there is a separate small transformer used for the light ... which still shines fine. There is a little rust powder on the unprotected metal transformer parts, but not bad. I thought to put an ohm meter across the output winding, but I wouldn't know how to evaluate result unless there was a short to the core.

    I'll do some Googling to explore the MOV idea. I have a hunch you are right, but having no experience or understanding of high voltage I can only learn! (The Flowtron label says 5,000 volts.)
     
  4. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    OK, well...

    Like I say, yours is a very old model, and they don't make it anymore.

    If you're determined to keep it, you might consider getting a replacement transformer/ballast and a starter for one of the newer units that's a similar size as yours, and wiring them in.

    But that's nearly the cost of the complete new units - and if you tried to re-wire your unit, you'd still have an old unit that may break down on you again in a couple of years.

    I'd say you really got your money's worth out of that one. My best suggestion is to retire it, and put a new one into service. You'll likely find that the newer units are more economical to run than your early version, so it will pay you back in a lower electric bill.
     
  5. HarveyH42

    Active Member

    Jul 22, 2007
    425
    5
    Not to mention that messing around with high voltages, is usually only fun for those watching... 5000 volts? ouch...
     
  6. Aerbal

    New Member

    Dec 19, 2012
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    0
    The part that disintegrated in your zapper is one of two CAPACITORS that are connected across the 5KV winding of the transformer. It appears to be a ceramic capacitor...it has a Flowtron number on their parts diagram but the capacity in mfd and working voltage are not listed. It appears likely that its rating is 1 mfd with a voltage rating of 7 to 10KV.

    I have the same problem. The unit works with only one capacitor, but arc suppression could possibly be dimished.

    If you have uncovered any more information relative to this subject, I would appreciate it if you would share it with me.
     
  7. Aerbal

    New Member

    Dec 19, 2012
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    0
    I Have the same issue with a Flowtron BK-2000. I see that one of the responses to your problem was that you have received your money's worth....that doesn't apply to me as I never give up until all avenues have been exhausted, quite often, Old Stuff is worthy of repair. Being an Old Fart as well, I like to keep the old stuff running. Contact with Flowtron has only revealed the capacitor part number (which, of course is no longer available). Pressing Flowtron further, I asked if their reference material might reveal the capacitance and voltage rating of the ceramic capacitor soldered across the high voltage secondary winding of the transformer. No such luck, Flowtron apparent discards all past references once a new device has been developed.
    I would like to know if you ever discovered the capacitor's ratings ? Voltage is not an issue as the secondary voltage is known, but the capacitance is the issue. One of the blogs suggested a value of one microfarad...I'm not quite sure that could be valid. Another issue is the purpose of the capacitor. Surely 5 KV AC across a grid system would cause arcing when any conductive material spans the gap, but the purpose of the capacitor remains elusive. Someone suggested it is an arc suppressor but I have no data to support that theory. I would appreciate any information that would help me understand and clarify this issue. Thanks.
     
  8. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,087
    3,026
    You do realize we haven't heard from the original poster (OP) for almost 5 years?

    I have a hunch he no longer checks into this thread.
     
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