By Rich Charpentier (Gadget's Airstream Chronicles)
While we never expected to be reviewing the “Mosquito Magnet” for the Airstream Chronicles, recent events have made reviews of such devices necessary. Both our home, in NH, and our favorite vacation spots in Northern New Hampshire, harbor many mosquitoes. Did someone say Black Flies too??
Never Wash the Airstream Again....
New England has had one really wet spring! And that wet-ness has brought mosquitoes by the thousands. Proof of how many mosquitoes exist here can be summed up with one thought I recently had. After spending a few hours washing the Airstream in our driveway I came into the house with more bites than I could count. “Never wash the Airstream again”. That thought was seared into my mind as I spent the rest of the day itching.
Rather than going to such an extreme form of Airstream neglect other solutions were required. The driveway was, and is, intolerable! The mosquitoes must go.
On top of the driveway problem, our recent vacation spot on a little lake in Massachusetts demonstrated that mos-quitoes are currently all over the place. Like home, sitting under our Zip Dee awning was at times a challenge. At dusk on breeze less evenings we were swarmed.
So, with home life being threatened, and with our rec-reational spots under siege my wife & I decided to take action. We'd heard of the Mosquito Magnet, and decided to give it a whirl.
Good First Run
After ﬁghting winged biting bandits for most of a Sat-urday morning in the driveway the decision to purchase a Mosquito Magnet was made. A local shop carries the products, and the cost came in at $295.00. While there are many other gadgets you might “want” more, this product is almost a need when under constant assault.
Assembly of the device was relatively simple. The stand and operating unit went together quickly, and without difﬁ-culty. Part of the operation of the magnet requires a tank of propane, and a scent package for attracting the little bugs. The propane connected easily, and the scent package placement was simple.
The Mosquito Magnet requires electricity as well. A 50 ft. AC power cable is included with the package, giving users some room for placement of the device. Following the well written instructions a location was picked and the Mosquito Magnet was set and turned on.
The Magnet requires a warm up phase. Only moments after it was ﬁrst turned on mosquitoes were already coming to it. When the warm up phase was completed several of the little biting pests were already in the trap.
After less than 24 hours the trap was ﬁlling up nicely. As noted earlier, the mosquitoes are really out in force here in New England. With hope in our hearts, and a little bit of excitement we decided to relocate the Magnet to a better spot that would most likely invite more mosquitoes to their doom.
Moving Nightmares Revealed
After reviewing the instructions for the Mosquito Magnet further it seemed that better placement of the device would yield more results. That would mean the driveway would be freed from the tyranny of the mosquitoes even sooner, and I could think about washing the Airstream once again. Polishing the Airstream is another story entirely.
The Magnet was shut down, unhooked from the propane tank, and relocated to a shadier section of the driveway. There it was reassembled, re-connected, and turned back on. Unfortunately the results were not as positive.
This time the Magnet did not successfully go through it's warm up phase. Instead the small red light on the power switch blinked a rapid red pulse. According to the manual that indicates something bad.
Several hours were spent going through the Mosquito Magnet's maintenance suggestions. The system was cleared out with a CO2 cartridge 3 times, and the propane tank was reset with an included device for that purpose. After each attempt to restart the system we were greeted with failure.
As suggested in the instruction manual, tech support was contacted. You have to wonder though, how much support can you get in answer to a blinking red light? It is after all the only indicator mechanism on the Mosquito Magnet Defender model.
Unfortunately the support person was not very helpful. Each of the steps we'd already taken according to the operations guide was repeated by the support person. Next he suggested that the propane tank might need to be purged. The tank was a brand new tank that was included with the purchase by our local dealer. It was ﬁlled at the dealer, and they were aware of the requirements for the product.
After being told the tank might need to be purged that was the end of the conversation. The support person was asked if there were any other things necessary, and he said no.
Returns Are Hard to Do
After hours of unsuccessfully attempting to restart the Mos-quito Magnet we decided to return the device. Dealing with a system that is so ﬁckle is not an option for the price paid.
While our local dealer was kind and helpful, the system was not returned. The dealer suggested shaking the main unit. Apparently there are bearings / BB's inside of it that may become jammed. It was suggested we try shaking the system, and then go back through the maintenance routine.
Our dealership also suggested we get the name of the sup-port person. Apparently returning the Mosquito Magnet from a dealership is relatively difﬁcult.
So, the Mosquito Magnet returned home. Reassembly took no time, especially after doing it once already. The primary unit was shaken (not stirred), and the rest of the suggested maintenance guide was followed. Once again we hooked the tank and powered up, turned it on, and hoped.
Once again, a rapid ﬂashing red light greeted us, and the system did not start up.
Tech support was called a ﬁnal time. Evan was not able to provide further suggestions . The Mosquito Magnet will be going back to the point of purchase.
Not an On The Go Device
For Airstreamers on the go, having a mosquito control system might seem like a good idea. If you're planning on settling in somewhere for an extended stay and don't want the hassle of mosquitoes a Mosquito Magnet might seem like a great idea. Re-think immediately.
Our biggest failure with this purchase was not consulting any consumer reviews of the product on the internet before buying. After experiencing all of our difﬁculties we went to the web. Opinions are split. Either the system worked great, or it didn't work at all. Many users noted the system worked well for the ﬁrst season. After getting it out of win-ter storage it never worked again.
There are several other systems available for mosquito control. We'll be investigating them thoroughly, and then posting our ﬁnal decision. After all, the Airstream will need to be washed again. Unfortunately the Mosquito Magnet won't be helping me keep the bugs at bay while the trailer gets a much deserved shine.
Overall the Mosquito Magnet rates a1/2 ﬂamingo (for working more than 12 hours). This was by far our worst gadget purchase we've had in years.
Original review can be found at: http://www.hikenbike.net/airstream/gadget/mosmag/
This document can also be downloaded as a PDF for printing.
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