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Research Project: Japanese Encephalitis Virus Prevention and Mitigation Strategies

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Title: Are you still using 6-volt batteries for your insect traps?

item Ewing, Robert
item BROKESH, BEN - Kansas State University
item Shults, Phillip
item Cohnstaedt, Lee

Submitted to: American Mosquito Control Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2022
Publication Date: 1/19/2023
Citation: Ewing, R.D., Brokesh, B., Shults, P.T., Cohnstaedt, L.W. 2023. Are you still using 6-volt batteries for your insect traps? American Mosquito Control Association. 39(1):61-64.

Interpretive Summary: Most insect traps use six-volt batteries for power in the field because the motor and the lights use very low voltage to conserve power. However, six-volt batteries are expensive, low in power storage, and not always available around the world. Twelve-volt batteries are available in all location that have cars or motorcycles making them cheaper options to power traps, but the additional voltage will damage six-volt traps if directly attached to them. This article describes a device that efficiently drops the voltage from twelve volts to six volts, therefore any battery can power the traps. In addition to being cheaper in price, twelve-volt power also lasts longer and maintains the suction speed for longer periods of time, which equates to lower labor costs visiting the traps to change batteries. Twelve-volt compatible devices such as battery chargers, solar chargers, and other devices (switches and regulators) are not available for six volt power supplies. This new device will make mosquito and insect vector field work much easier while reducing the costs.

Technical Abstract: The most common problem with field sampling and insect surveillance is powering insect traps in the field. Most modern light traps use 6-volt power supplies such as the Centers for Disease Control suction trap. Buck converter modules efficiently reduce 12-volt direct current power to 6-volt, which permits the use of higher voltage batteries with lower voltage traps resulting in longer operational times and reduced the labor requirements associated with replacing batteries in the field. We evaluated several battery configurations of 6- and 12- volt lead-acid batteries in various sizes (10-20 amp-hours) and addressed, in the circuit design, common problems that occur when using the buck converter (such as crossing polarity and excessive battery depletion). The efficacy of each configuration was assessed by measuring the voltage and suction while powering a 6-volt Centers for Disease Control (CDC) light trap. The buck converter permitted the use of cheaper and more commonly available 12-volt batteries to run the CDC light traps and resulted in longer run times and more consistent trap operation measured by air speed.