How to Repair a Bug Zapper

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-60
What You'll Need
Wire strippers
Wire clips
Electronic starter
Solder and soldering gun

If you have come to depend on your bug zapper, you may be tempted to replace it immediately if it stops working. But the problem may be a simple one that is easily addressed. Follow these suggestions to see if you can resurrect your bug zapper.

Step 1 - Prepare

If your bug zapper is plugged into the household electric power source, unplug the cord. If it is part of a hard-wired system, locate the circuit breaker that powers the device and turn it off. Place a piece of masking tape over the switch to alert anyone not to trip it.

Step 2 - Remove and Clean Tray

Take out the bug catcher tray located on the bottom of the device being careful if it is full not to spill the contents. Dead bug carcasses can present a health hazard. Dispose of the dead bugs properly and clean the tray using warm water and a mild detergent. Make sure to rinse it thoroughly and set it in a safe place to dry.

Step 3 - Remove Body Screws

Remove all the body screws holding any outer casings and the top in place. These may be hard to remove so be persistent. You can replace these with easier to remove hardware later. Make sure you match the correct size when replacing with commercially available hardware.

Step 4 - Remove Device Top

Remove the top of the device to reveal the electronic components. Locate the wires and the capacitor terminals. Use your screwdriver to discharge any stored electricity by placing the metal part of the screwdriver across the terminal screws. Be aware that this action might produce a small spark when the electricity discharges.

Step 5 - Vacuum

Use either a handheld vacuum or attach a nozzle-like accessory to a household vacuum hose and carefully vacuum out any debris from within the bug zapper. Be careful not to dislodge any wiring or damage the device’s bulb when removing any scattered debris inside.

Step 6 - Locate Starter

Locate the circuit board which will be either near or on the starter. It will be a small tube coated with silver-colored glass or possibly clear. Remove the starter wires by cutting these off as close to the bulb as possible. Discard the old starter properly. Use your wire strippers to remove about a ¼ inch of insulation from the lead wires.

Step 7 - Connect the New Starter

Attach wire connector clips (barney) to the lead wires and attach these to the new electronic starter wherever you can. These starters are non-polarized so it makes no difference which goes where.

Step 8 - Test

Turn the power on or replace the batter. Turn the device on. If the bulb illuminates, your are good to proceed.

Step 9 - Solder Wires

Remove the power source once again making sure that all batteries are removed or plugs disconnected and power sources turned off. Remove the wire clips and then solder each connection to the new electronic starter.

Step 10 - Reassemble

Reassemble the bug zapper carefully using new, easier-to-use hardware to complete your project.

Look for a starter replacement part at your local home improvement center or hardware store.