Hacked Gadgets Forum

July 1, 2010

High Voltage Bat Hook Power Tap – Remote Auxiliary Power System

at 12:29 pm. Filed under Crazy Hacks, What Were They Thinking


Dave Coates from the Air Force Research Lab in Dayton Ohio designed this Remote Auxiliary Power System. I don’t know where to begin with this device! I think this device is flawed in so many ways, I hate to think of how much money was pumped into getting this device to this stage… The cable that is being shown in the demonstration is one that would deliver power to a house or business, if you were that close to the house you could just use a ladder or the top of a Humvee to get up high enough to tap into the lines. Of course you could also just knock on the door and ask if you could plug in for a few hours or run an extension cord out the window for the day. I think the hook design is very flawed, what is going to happen when the blade slices into the hot conductor and then also touches the ground wire? If they want to grab power why not tap into the higher voltage bare transmission lines with a similar device minus the blade and just drive a spike into the ground for ground. They will need to step down the higher voltage but if they are wanting to charge some battery operated devices that would be no big deal. If they want to mount something on a Humvee they could make it very simple with a long telescopic fiberglass pole which has a remotely opening and closing claw that could grasp the line.

Via: Popular Science

“RAPS is a connecting device that’s attached to the end of a long cable. When the device is thrown over a power line, a blade at the end pierces the power line and completes the circuit that brings electricity down to the soldier. And that can mean a lot in the desert or jungle.”


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13 Responses to “High Voltage Bat Hook Power Tap – Remote Auxiliary Power System”

  1. DV82XL Says:

    I saw people in the slums all over South-East Asia hooking into powerlines with this technique twenty-five years ago. Mind you they didn’t use fancy boxes and hooks, as in most of the tropics, there was no insulation on overhead lines anyway. They just used a weight.

    There is nothing new under the sun

  2. Andrew Hooper Says:

    Im not sure that it will work down here in NZ as our overhead power lines dont have an earth return running along side them. you could use two of them to connect to two of the phases but this would give you 400 odd volts.

    cool idea however and nice and simple.

  3. Jonathan Says:

    I don’t know if you were aware of this, Alan, but if you don’t have a plug connected to the mains under your ready control, chances are that you’re not in the sort of situation where you have the luxury of politely sauntering door to door and canvassing up a place to plug in, nor of being able to leisurely and in an orderly fashion tear down a long stick and pack it away in your already quite full backpack when the (of course) unarmed locals stroll up to you asking for chewing gum.

  4. Mike Says:

    How often are there power lines running through a desert or jungle?


  5. control1 Says:

    For starters, no one should ever think about coming in contact with any electrical power lines. Voltages vary from 4kV up to 7.6kV per phase on the distribution and even higher from the transmission lines. At this voltage a fault could result in over 600 Amps of fault current. This WILL kill you!

    It isn’t obvious in the video, however what they are actually connecting to is the secondary of the distribution transformer (the line that feeds into your house). Even this is extremely dangerous. This is the line coming from the overhead transformer to the house. Please do not attempt this. Not only is this considered stealing, but it is extremely dangerous. If you know of a lineman that works for the local utility, talk to them. They will tell you of the dangers they face every day, and they are professionals.

  6. Chris Says:

    So it only works in countries/cities where the grid delivers power to houses via two twisted cables with only one insulated, and only after it has been stepped down to house voltages.

    Not only would you need to find power lines in a desert or jungle, you’d need to find a house connected to them.
    I don’t know how the power companies would like it when they find the army has been cutting holes in the insulation on their power lines either.
    When testing under water, did they use dirty water? nice clean water from a lab is a fairly good insulator.

  7. Muris Says:

    Did this 10 years ago, with a wire and small aluminum pot and a little lasso action πŸ™‚

  8. Rob Says:

    I wonder if they specify in the instructions on which cable to throw it over. I could see some poor soldier mistakenly impersonating Ben Franklin on a high tension feeder line and getting zapped. I could also see someone throwing this thing at a power line, but missing the power line and slicing through a few conductors of telephone cable. Imagine they catch a CATV cable and tug hard enough to slice right through the main conductor, thus shutting off TV and internet to a whole street (or town) all just to recharge a cellphone.

  9. johnnykkk Says:

    That has to be the most Gayest thing Ive ever seen …what can you say but FAIL πŸ™‚

  10. Whatnot Says:

    Seems silly for army use, in a war there very often will be no power on the lines(or it’s a country with underground lines of which there are a fair number), and you can just as easy commandeer an normal outlet can’t you?
    Only ones for whom such things seems handy (and legal) are technicians for the powercompany way out in nowhere when they need to get some quick power, and they probably already have been doing it for many decades, probably ever since tesla introduced AC.

  11. living_in_r_o_w Says:

    i think the US airforce is planning to attack the USA, since this device will most likely only work there.
    so take care πŸ™‚
    european electricity is safe for now.
    and i’d like to see that happens when they try to tap into a 20 kV line with that thing.
    at least it could be a seller if the put it on dealextreme for 30$ including a strong led light *g*

  12. Eric Wolf Says:

    Seems like you could do the same thing with induction, without piercing the line.

  13. Zakari Says:

    If this device is applicable to lower voltage only I don’t see anything new on that but if I can hock it on 330kV,132 kV 33kv, 11 kV or even 6.6 kV any voltage that actually need transformation before using, I will say YES ITS A GREAT DISCOVERY.

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