Tag Archives: rat chaser

Ultrasonic Pest Chaser: final design

Following up on an earlier post, , design is now complete and a test unit has been completed.

First, a nesting box was made using 9 mm birch plywood. This can be varnished, to any color you like, and is in itself very much weather resistant. All edges and gaps were sealed with hot glue. For added stability, the bottom plate is inserted into a grove of the side and front panels.

rat chaser box1

rat chaser box2

rat chaser box3

rat chaser nesting box drawing

The driver was upgraded a bit, from the earlier version, by using a IRFP460 MOSFET. This is a very sturdy part, and will most likely not fail even under some severe operation conditions. It it can also be mounted to the heatsink in an insulated fashion, without any special washers, etc. – this is the main reason for selecting it.

rat chaser piezo driver schematic

The speakers are 2x KEMO L010,

rat chaser l010 speaker1

rat chaser l010 speaker2

and 2x PTI-1010; one of the PTI-1010 has its horn cut-off; both were fit with two layers of wrap foil to protect the membrane (PTI-1010 has a paper membrane, whereas the L010 has a plastic membrane).

rat chaser pti-1010 speaker

rat chaser pti-1010 speaker cut off

rat chaser pti-1010 speaker response

One key component of the setup, an inductor, in parallel with the speakers. This converts the capacitive load of the piezos to a much more well-behaved load, resonance frequency of the setup is a few kHz. The coil needs to be capable to handle currents of 1 Amp easily, otherwise, it will heat up and may even fail. The one used here may be a bit oversized but it was on hand and still has acceptable size and dimensions.

rat chaser coil

Three of the 4 speakers are mounted in Schedule 40 1.5″ PVC pipe (this pipe is common in the US and dimensions match well the dimensions of the speakers; you can use other types of plastic pipe as well).

rat chaser speaker piupes

The holes in the wood panels are precision machined, for a snug fit with the pipes. Hot glue is used to seal it all together and to firmly lock everything in place.

rat chaser speakers mounted

rat chaser speakers mounted2

Typical waveform during a test run, driving at somewhat above 12 VDC to test system durability… gate drive (yellow) and source-drain voltage (blue).

rat chaser waveform

Final testing…

rat chaser final tests

rat chaser final rear view

rat chaser final front view

Operated from a 12 Volts DC supply, the final tests show that the output voltage is pretty much in line with the allowable voltages for a series connection of two L010 speakers, and flat over the frequency band of interest.

rat chaser rms results

Ultrasonic Pest Chaser: scare way all the rats, squirrels and other furry creatures….

Winter approaching, all the pests of the world would like to hibernate in my attic. And around the house, an increasing number of squirrels is feeding off the birds’ food. But hold, for every problem, there is an electronic apparatus that can solve it, it this case: an ultrasonic pest chaser.

First of all, we need a random ultrasound signal generator. Tests have shown that frequencies in the 18 to 30 kHz range are best, and that not all animals respond to the same frequencies. So we need a cover-all solution. Furthermore, animals will get used to certain noises, even 105 dB ultrasonic noise. So we need to build-in some surprises. Sometimes, the machine will be quiet, then it will come up with all kinds of nasty sounds. Sure enough, at high level.
This is achieved by a little microprocessor, an AVR ATmega8, but you can use any micro of your choice. Please check out the source code – the sounds are generated by using certain pre-set sequences of breaks, durations and sound frequencies, and these are rotated in a repeated (but very long) pattern. The pattern won’t repeat to soon, because prime numbers have been chosen for the lengths of the sequences, thus, they appear almost random for the listener (only those with ears able to receive high frequency noises like this).
There is also a LED indicator signaling the ON state of the ultrasound. Even if you can’t hear it, please stay away from the speakers – these >100 dB may damage your hearing without any prior notice. Keep children away. As always, this post is for your education only, don’t try it at your home!!

marder sig gen schematic

The signal generator schematic is as simple as it gets – frequency is derived from a 4 MHz crystal, via TIMER1 of an ATmega8. Some auxiliary circuitry is used to derive a 5 VDC rail from the supply voltage (anywhere from 10 to 30 V, depending on the speaker).

marder power driver schematic

The power driver uses two NPN transistor and a MOSFET to provide sufficient current for the speaker. The speaker, some are under test, more about them later. Piezo high frequency speakers are the speaker of choice for this application.

marder signal gen board

Some pictures of the boards – all build on plated-through FR4 perf board, this will last a long time even when use outside.

marder driver board

A test, using a 10 Ohm load resistor, and a 40 kHz drive signal. The MOSFET is switching nice and fast, no issues. For the speaker, it might help to couple the (capacitive) piezo with a suitable inductance, and to add a DC decoupling capacitor (about 1 µF, pulse resistant type). You can see that the resistance of the MOSFET in ON state is about 1 Ohm, current is about 1 Amp, for a 12 VDC supply voltage – and 0 V is one graticule up from the bottom of the scope.

marder 40 khz test 2 v ydiv

Finally, a test of the circuit, frequency (Hz) vs. time (seconds). This nicely shows the “random” nature of the noise, with breaks of various lengths in between noise bursts. Poor squirrel, poor rat – but they have a choice: keep out of harm’s way, and out of the attic!

marder signal test

This is the microprocessor code, avrgcc.

marder1_151130