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Static Grass Applicator - which ion generator to use? - Grass & Ground Cover - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2018 05:10 pm
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Dave C
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I'm interested in making a static grass applicator and have found a number of suggestions ranging from the cheepo fly-zappers to using a negative ion generator from Oatley Electronics down in Australia, aka Luke Towan's excellent video.

From what I've read, the fly-zappers are "ok" but don't have a lot of "ZAP" to them; one of these things I bought - for zapping flies funnily enough - appears to be rated at 1.5kV output from 3v input - but I'm a but dubious about that! And at the other end of the scale (cost-wise) is the Oatley Electronics IONB2 which, with postage added, makes it rather expensive at around £19 when taken in comparison to those available from the Far East that say they give up to 20kV from 12v for just under £5 delivered.

Now, these devices come with four wires with the written description of which wire is which deviating from the photo on the advert. The device from a number of sellers is:
DC 12V to 20000V High-voltage Electrostatic Generator Negative Ion Generator

So I'm guessing that the thick red lead is the +HV while the thick black lead is the -HV and it's this -HV lead that would go to the applicator mesh and the +HV to the glue mixture. But the thinner wires.....I might guess that the red is +12v while the white is 0v - but some while ago while working with US-made ATMs they used the white lead as the positive wire. And that confuses me as to which input lead is which given the possible differing colour standards in use around the world and also one video that showed a dead ion generator taking something like 700mA at 12v and nothing at the output - and this was connected as I described - red = +12v, white = 0v. But maybe he was unluckly and got a duff one sent.

Another question arises as to how much better would this 4-wire 20kV device be over a 3-wire device that (according to the label) gives only 6kV?

And what's the difference between an 'anion generator' and an 'electrostatic ion generator'? I've tried doing a Google search and have come up with nothing of much use in this area.

Any thoughts would be appreciated before I go and jump into making an error of judgement and get the wrong ion generator.

Thanks for reading and any input you might care to give on this relatively simple DIY job that is beginning to become complex in its choice of main component.
Dave

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 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2018 09:40 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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There isn't much point building your own.  There are so many good cheap ones on Google.

Somerset Models here in Adelaide sell one for around A$35.00 from memory.



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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2018 07:12 am
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gastwo
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MaxSouthOz wrote: There isn't much point building your own.  There are so many good cheap ones on Google.

One point is the satisfaction in building something yourself Max.
I built a more than adequate applicator using a fly-zapper - cost? - £2
The pleasure in achievement - priceless.

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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2018 10:56 am
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Dave C
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Thanks to MaxSouthOz for your comments re "why make one".

I would re-iterate the comments of Gastwo that the satisfaction of making and then using a home-built item is absolutely priceless.

Yes, if I wanted to, I can look on-line and find dozens of static grass applicators all ready built and ready to use ranging from a few pounds to over a hundred pounds. But where is the learning (and satisfaction) in that?

Life, in my mind, is all about learning as we trundle through from year to year. Even at my age, I never stop learning something new almost every day.

So..... sorry if I appear to be shooting you down in flames Max, but I am looking for specific information to enable me to put the final chunk of knowledge to this project of mine. I've seen the videos (from Luke Towan) - I like the principles used, but the price of the unit he used is a bit pricey when taking into account the postage from Oz-land.

I've seen a unit from the Far East, at a decent price, with a decent output but it uses four wires instead of Luke's three and I just need a bit of information regarding connecting this 4-wire unit into the project. Also, do the battery negative and one of HV the outputs from the unit get connected together? And whether it compares favourably given it's supposed output.

Hopefully simple questions that there may well be a difference of opinion over. Any advice would be most welcome so that I can get this unit built up and out into use.

Cheers
Dave

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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2018 11:46 am
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MaxSouthOz
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You're not shooting me down in flames, Dave.

Just disagreeing.  I'm still flying.  :lol:



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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2018 05:07 pm
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gastwo
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Hi Dave.
I guess that's a natural reaction from Max - lots of people want to spend more time with the layout than messing about with other stuff :lol: For what it's worth, as well as a fly-swat I also made one with an ion generator that I bought on Ebay. It works OK, but I'm quite happy with the swatter version.
My generator came with red and black leads on one side, and two white ones on the other - I wired the red and black to a 12volt wall wart (via a push button and LED) and the white leads, one to the mesh and the other to the grass area. Works fine.
Hope this helps,

Shaun.

(Make my own controllers, too. £3.50 instead of £50 ;-))


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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2018 09:02 pm
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Dave C
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Thanks Shaun - nice piece of kit you've built. I think in many ways, the main question I've had about connectivity of the -HV lead has been answered by yourself - so thank you for that.

I saw those ion generators on ebay but decided to go for a higher powered unit (at a bit higher cost, of course). Now I sit back and wait a week or so for it to arrive. Quite how I'm going to mount it is another matter as I don't think it will fit inside a 40mm dia length of pipe - but I'll try it, even if the pipe has to be a bit distorted - although I think I'm flogging a dead horse with that size. And 50mm pipe is quite rare at decent prices, especially where the end stops and couplers are concerned; I'll keep looking just in case I'm not putting the correct wording in the search bar.

In the meantime... back to other stuff on the layout - one day I'll run a train or two!

Cheers
Dave



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