With this project, I basically wanted to create a high voltage power supply with which I could do fun stuff like blow up electrical components, kill insects, and generate ozone.
The first attempt i made involved using a voltage multiplication circuit that utilized 4 electrolytic capacitors rated at 470uF. The end result was a circuit that could supply very high amperage, but only at 260VDC, which is not near enough to penetrate the dry skin of most animals, let alone the non-conductive exoskeleton of insects. As insult to injury, the circuit required approximately 2 minutes to charge to the full voltage. The design did not meet the requirements for the project since I wanted at least several thousand volts to be provided, without pulses and long charge times.
I had considered simply using a transformer to bump up the voltage to around 1200V, but i figured that the very high amounts of current available was simply too dangerous to be used practically. For this reason i decided to modify a circuit commonly used in bug zappers to complete the task.
I removed a circuit from a portable bug zapper, but the power rectification circuit i set up to power it was faulty and an over-voltage fried the circuit. The circuit was not what i had hoped for anyways, since the power output was simply unacceptable.
I salvaged a flyback transformer from a commercial bug zapper and used it. The zapper is now operational and very effective. It puts out somewhere around 15,000VAC and can get very good electrical arcs. I tested it out on several live insects and its effectiveness was deadly. It made short work of a wasp nest, arcing through all of the eggs and lighting the thing on fire. The insects were burnt completely and I'm sure it could kill small mammals and birds as well.
I can see why the manufacturers decided to go with flyback transformers instead of voltage multiplication circuits. It is so much simpler and cost effective. The final product is basically a flyback transformer rigged to a switch that is connected to 120VAC. However, I plan to go even further and make the system capable of going portable and being used as a deadly stun gun. The system I plan to make involves a 12VDC battery, 120VAC inverter, and a telescoping rod with a trigger system that only allows the electrodes to be exposed when the trigger is pulled and retracts them after the trigger is released. I have drawn up some concepts I have of the device and hope to start implementation soon. As far as the device's effectiveness, I will have pictures up very soon of its deadly power and effectiveness as a weapon and pest controller, as well as a versatile high voltage power supply.
The spark gap has decreased by about 75% as a result of carbon build up on the leads because of the electrocution of numerous insects. I found that the system produces a lot of ozone from the arcing, leaving a very acrid odor. I tried using this ozone to get rid of my shoe odor, but it didn't have a noticeable effect after fifteen minutes. Perhaps a longer time would do the trick. I have yet to be shocked by this device, but I fear my finger won't survive contact with the leads. I need to find some way to hold down the transformer in the box (super glue?) so that it isn't moving around when the box is picked up.
I have never tested this device on anything larger than a bumblebee and I doubt that I will ever kill anything bigger. However, if I ever have a rodent infestation, it will serve as an excellent opportunity to test this device.