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Military Uses 'Bat-Hook' To Tap Power From Lines

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the cutting-corners dept.

The Military 282

Zothecula writes "As soldiers are fitted out with more and more electrical sytems to extend their capabilities, they become increasingly dependent on the power needed to run them. Since soldiers in the field don't always have ready access to an electrical outlet when they need to top up the batteries, the US Air Force has developed a device that taps directly into the electricity flowing through overhead power lines ... a kind of bat-hook for real-life superheroes."

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282 comments

Now.. (-1, Troll)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199122)

Where can I get one for myself...

Re:Now.. (3, Informative)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199330)

Go to South America. Poor people use them in places like Venezuela and Argentina to steal power for their shanty towns. It's quite common and not a new idea at all. Just don't get caught!

Re:Now.. (0)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199618)

They do it in India too. They had a hook at the end of a long pole. With a tiny inverter to power saws and other stuff. They were building a new Hotel.

Why use a wire? (3, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199332)

Just grab through the air from overhead power lines.

http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2004/360 [bris.ac.uk]

DO NOT try this at home folks (3, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199150)

You might think you are a real-life superhero, but you are probably not.

Re:DO NOT try this at home folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199176)

..At least not for long.

Re:DO NOT try this at home folks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199192)

Power of... BURNED TO A CRISP!

                                             

Prior art? (4, Interesting)

thomaswp (841668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199166)

There is prior art in Indian cities I believe. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4802248.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Prior art? (3, Funny)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199440)

India's economy is so strong that half of its electricity is FREE!

Re:Prior art? (-1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199748)

Since I doubt many of India's power systems have things to handle the potential of overload (like street lamps in a majority of the outlying city areas,) I think they'd be happy enough to have the extra draw on the grid to keep the voltage semi-regular.

That's one reason why the USA has so many streetlights, after all. A great deal of our power stations run unthrottled and so to prevent our lines ending up over 130v and frying everything we put extra draw on the grid. This is also a reason why the government will be slow to adpot LED technology for major road and lot lighting, unless we come out with solutions that are drawing that much power (defeating the whole purpose and adding more light scatter.)

New tech but not new idea (1)

jcrb (187104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199182)

The addition of the spike to get through insulated lines is a nice addition, but I don't know that its really needed, some how I imagine the places where this will get used don't bother with such things as insulation. Its a common practice to steal power in 3rd world countries to just toss a cable over the nearest powerline. I've seen pictures of streets in slums where the powerlines just look like spaghetti from all the cables just draped over them.

Re:New tech but not new idea (1)

jcrb (187104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199222)

the post "Prior art?" has exactly the image I was thinking of

Re:New tech but not new idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199412)

Post pics or it didn't happen.

I've seen some pics of spaghetti but that was just the normal over wiring I thought.

PS the spell cheker in FF sucks.

Retrieval? (3, Interesting)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199190)

After you throw the hook over a line and jab it into the insulation, how do you take it back off? I didn't see the video address this and the shape of it doesn't seem like it'd be easy to get back down?...

Re:Retrieval? (5, Funny)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199310)

Why are you worrying about that?!

The *real* issue is that there's going to be a HOLE in the INSULATION. The extremely-high-pressure electricity is going to SPEW OUT. The whole CITY will be FLOODED with electricity, unless someone turns off the MAIN VALVE.

Conserve energy - prevent electricity leaks.

Re:Retrieval? (1)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199400)

there's going to be a HOLE in the INSULATION.

Not to take a joke seriously but since the spike is a razor blade, the damage to the insulation is probably minimal.

Re:Retrieval? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199516)

If the wire is in good condition. If it's old, degraded and rusting on the inside it might just snap :>

Re:Retrieval? (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199758)

I hate it when my copper rusts away like that man.

Re:Retrieval? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199770)

It'll be degrading and rusting once that insulator gets compromised! :3

Re:Retrieval? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199760)

After you throw the hook over a line and jab it into the insulation, how do you take it back off? I didn't see the video address this and the shape of it doesn't seem like it'd be easy to get back down?...

That's a good question. As you said the shape does not look like it'd be easy to remove from the ground. My initial thought was to get some slack in the cable and then snap the lower end as if cracking a whip to pop the head up and off the power line. But given the angle of the slot in the head and the angle of the cable connection to the head I think my idea would actually make it pull up tighter on the power line if it weren't already as tight as it could be. Perhaps the connection to the head is some time of pull release that frees the cable but leaves the head attached? Or maybe removal of the head from the power line isn't something they've worked out just yet.

I did not expect it from *them* (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199198)

Army? Yes.
Marines? Sure.

The Air Force? I wasn't expecting that!

How far do the Air Force guys get from airplanes and hangars and runways? It seems like they don't really have the same type of "field" that the land based grunts do.

Re:I did not expect it from *them* (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199316)

"My plane broke down, I just need some juice to get the engine started again"

Less weird than it sounds (4, Informative)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199452)

Most Air Force critters aren't pilots. Plus, Air Force Para-Rescue as well as Forward Air Controllers are specialized grunts who happen to work for the Air Force. The military is full of weird situations like this. For example, the Army operates 119 vessels [defensenews.com] (we're not talking about inflatable rafts here).

Re:Less weird than it sounds (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199722)

Most Air Force critters aren't pilots. Plus, Air Force Para-Rescue as well as Forward Air Controllers are specialized grunts who happen to work for the Air Force. The military is full of weird situations like this. For example, the Army operates 119 vessels [defensenews.com] (we're not talking about inflatable rafts here).

As I recall, during WWII, the Japanese Army operated its own submarines because they hated the Japanese Navy too much to ask for a loaner when needed.

Re:Less weird than it sounds (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199942)

Yeah if memory serves, their military was very territorial and did not play well together. I seem to remember reading that they refused to share knowledge between their flight schools, so Army and Navy aviators were completely incapable of sharing their experiences. Their Navy also maintained huge numbers of troops because they didn't trust the Army to fight on land.

Of course, that's nothing compared to the complete separation between their military and diplomatic corps. That was literally two organizations with not clue of what the other was up to. Japanese diplomats were as surprised by Pearl Harbor as Americans.

Re:Less weird than it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199972)

The Army has more aircraft than the Air Force.

Yeah right. (0, Troll)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199204)

No military should be considered superheroes. They just glorify violence and legalized murder.

Re:Yeah right. (2, Interesting)

jcrb (187104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199246)

You post this on Veterans day? Pitty I already posted in this thread and can't use my mod points :(

Re:Yeah right. (0, Offtopic)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199280)

It was unintended, but yes. I'll post it every time there is a story on /. that glorifies the military, because that is a surefire way to get us back to Manifest Destiny and the Cold War policies where we invaded countries at the drop of a hat

MOD PARENT UP! (-1, Offtopic)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199352)

MOD PARENT UP!

Re:Yeah right. (1, Insightful)

zhong-guo-1 (1929014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199356)

There's no reasoning with hardcore statists, they are too far gone. The cognitive dissonance between patriotism and objective morality is too much to handle, so they go with patriotism. iraqbodycount.org ~100,000 documented civilian deaths. What is going to come of that? How many people did the US piss off.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199496)

Blaming the military when it's the politicians is not a way to role-model rational behavior.

Re:Yeah right. (0, Offtopic)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199472)

Manifest Destiny was bigotry as a governmental policy. It had nothing to do with glory and everything to do with greed and racism.

The Cold War was political, not military, hence the "cold" part. The Military-Industrial Complex enjoyed it, but that was more about the industrial greed and less about anyone the military was invading.

We don't invade countries at the drop of a hat.

At least, not when Republicans are out of power.

Re:Yeah right. (0, Offtopic)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199554)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

I'm not sure offhand, but weren't the democrats in power for much of the cold war?

And I know it wasn't a specific war, but there were many invasions to keep Communism from spreading. Which is ridiculous - let communism spread if people like it. Other countries have rights too.

And if the public didn't see glory in the military, they wouldn't join or support the military and we would not feel it was our right to invade other countries.

Re:Yeah right. (0, Offtopic)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199660)

Again, who did we invade at the drop of a hat during the Cold War?

Viet Nam?

Ike.

Korea?

Truman, but since there was an invasion going on that wasn't us, it doesn't fit your drop-of-a-hat model.

if the public didn't see glory in the military, they wouldn't join or support the military

Possibly, but not a good thing. We need a military, and you've admitted as much in other posts.

and we would not feel it was our right to invade other countries

That doesn't follow at all. We wouldn't feel we had the capacity to invade other countries, but the belief in the right to do so is independent of the capacity. You're making the assumption that a strong military invokes blood lust. Which is asinine.

If you want to prevent future wars, learn how they really start. Hint: it's nothing to do with having too many soldiers.

Re:Yeah right. (1, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199526)

Blame the one (politicians) wielding the sword, not the sword itself.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199868)

That's kind of a difficult distinction to make when the sword has volunteered itself, knowing exactly how it was to be wielded. As far as I'm aware, there isn't a single member of the military today who hasn't had the chance to get out since the beginning of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, which means that every one of them bears full responsibility for the decision to take part in those occupations. "Oppose the war, support the troops" is a great politically correct sentiment at all, but it's not logical at all when the troops all chose to participate in the war.

Re:Yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199598)

No, it's your fault for being a lazy asshole.

Re:Yeah right. (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199672)

Military is the only profession where part of your job description is to give your life for others if necessary. Not to mention that it's a very hard job and for not that much money. I think they deserve a bit of credit, considering that they protect your interests as determined by the politicians that you elect, who are actually the ones who control what our military does and who they invade or not invade. If you disagree with a particular war, fine, blame the politicians who started it. By calling the soldiers murderers, you are no better than the ignorant hippie pieces of shit who spat on the crippled Vietnam veterans and called them baby killers.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199930)

Ever heard of firefighters? They lay down their lives for others all the time, and their job description doesn't include killing. If you disagree with either of our current wars, then you must logically disagree with the soldiers fighting it, because every single one of them volunteered to serve or continue serving while those conflicts were ongoing. You can't very well claim "Well, I didn't sign up for this", when you did in fact sign up while you knew it was going on.

Re:Yeah right. (0, Troll)

bongey (974911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199322)

You live in a fantasy land, ask Papa Smurf to have Tinkerbell to give some more pixie dust.
Throughout history the use of force was needed to stop worse evil,Hilter and Nazi's come to mind.
Grouping them all together and calling them all murders, shows your just a dick and need to shut up.

Re:Yeah right. (3, Insightful)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199350)

I never said they weren't necessary, but we shouldn't revel in their actions. And yes, like you say, sometimes they are doing what they do for the greater good. Many times it is just needless interventionism though.

Re:Yeah right. (3, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199504)

If you're not going to give them a parade, then you need to pay them more.

Re:Yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199632)

And yes, like you say, sometimes they are doing what they do for the greater good. Many times it is just needless interventionism though.

You realize that the military doesn't get to choose, don't you? You, as a civilian, are supposed to be protecting them from pointless wars.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

bongey (974911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199664)

I never said they weren't necessary, but we shouldn't revel in their actions. And yes, like you say, sometimes they are doing what they do for the greater good. Many times it is just needless interventionism though.

The needless interventionism isn't something propagated by people down the chain of command. They are just doing there job, a rough job at that. Usually they are thousands of miles from home in some foreign land, just following orders. And the way I looked at it when I was there.
If some screwed up Muslim, that misinterprets the Quran, decides he wants to kill Americans. I would rather they come Afghanistan or Iraq and try to kill me or my fellow soldiers, then have those same misfits kill someones husband,wife or child that had no chance to defend themselves, just because they were American. I would rather die, then them , at least I would have a fighting chance.

Your comments are just extreme prejudice, almost as bad as being an racist. Your just lumping all military actions and people together and saying they are like X.

Re:Yeah right. (1, Insightful)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199702)

No I'm not - but by choosing to join the military you are supporting 'preemptive murder'. You are going over there and killing people who (I assume) you strongly suspect are a threat to you. Unfortunately that threat is subjective - the only time I'd say you are justified in killing someone is self defense. Unfortunately, YOU ARE THE INVADER and they are defending themselves from you, not the other way around. By attacking them you are only inciting more hate toward your country and inspiring the populous there to come over and kill us here.

Re:Yeah right. (0, Troll)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199932)

"No I'm not - but by choosing to join the military you are supporting 'preemptive murder'."

This statement is so flawed I don't know where to begin. You obviously have no real idea why folks chose to join the Armed Forces. There are numerous relief missions that take place every year. Believe it or not, the military does help people regardless of your narrow, and incorrect, view.

Secondly, based upon the above statement, if you pay your Federal Income Taxes, then you support it as well.

For the record, it's the policy that dictates mission. Period. Showing off the 'cool toys' that the military has at their disposal to keep themselves and other safe during a mission is not glorifying.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199742)

"I never said they weren't necessary, but we shouldn't revel in their actions."

That depends on the specific action. It is good that violence is effectively and usefully applied to some people.

Effective application of violence is selected for by evolution, both biological and social. Our taboos against specific sorts of violence are useful for the maintenance of social order, but lets not pretend those taboos are more important than the evolutionary imperative of dominance and the survival imperative of killing violent competitors intent on doing the same to us, or that we do not have the natural rights we acknowledge in the rest of the animal kingdom.

Re:Yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199530)

We're still fighting via a military force. Who exactly is the current Hitler that we're using to justify our current weapons commercials?

Re:Yeah right. (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199394)

I don't know anyone in the military who's come back to tell me how awesome it was killing people in afganistan.

Call of Duty games glorify violence and murder. Movies glorify violence and murder. Politicians glorify violence and murder. To my experience, the people in the military themselves are just people doing a job and hoping to stay alive.

Re:Yeah right. (1, Insightful)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199420)

I'll agree with you on your second set of statements, but just because they're doing their job doesn't excuse them. They are invading a country where they aren't wanted and are murdering people.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199830)

Until they're preventing the same happening to you, or others. Then you'd be happy for them.

Not untrue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199414)

What you said is not at all untrue considering history. Moreover -- and the military crowd isn't going to like this -- I would hold that most military men are motivated more by self-interest rather than "love of the country" as every military claims. Obviously the US military fights in offense much more often than defense, and you just don't join an organization like that unless you're ok with their agenda. An agenda of offensive fighting doesn't attract people on the basis of "desire to serve" -- it attracts self-interest, from the top of the pyramid all the way down.

However, you will be modded down to insignificance, given that groupthink and popular opinion outpowers the truth every time -- especially when the truth is hard to swallow.

Re:Yeah right. (2, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199426)

No military should be considered superheroes. They just glorify violence and legalized murder.

I'm sure that's exactly what those prisoners at Auschwitz thought when Allied soldiers showed up. That's certain one particular example, but nearly every war in history has been fought for far more complex reasons than simply because a bunch of guys were bloodthirsty.

Unfortunately you have a simplistic and unrealistic impression of how the world works.

Soldiers don't do any of the things you suggest. The entertainment industry (ironically pacifist) glorifies violence and the government defines policy regarding death and/or murder.

Re:Yeah right. (1, Insightful)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199468)

I don't have a simplistic and unrealistic impression of how the world works. I never stated a cadre of beliefs, you are simply assuming - for the sake of rational debate you, and everyone else, should stop doing that when you encounter an opinion you don't like.

As I stated in another comment - "I never said they weren't necessary, but we shouldn't revel in their actions. And yes, like you say, sometimes they are doing what they do for the greater good. Many times it is just needless interventionism though."

Yes there are complex reasons, but the use of force is supposed to be a last resort rather than the second option.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199514)

You're looking at it wrong. Criminals just glorify violence and illegalized murder.

Consider this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199538)

Heroes don't demand funding for their agenda, with the threat of violence (i.e. locking you in a cage) if you don't comply. That alone rules out any military action (or government action for that matter) from being "heroic".

True heroism is a selfless act of altruism, not a demand for compensation or funding. Let's call a spade a spade: military service is a business, just like any other business.

Superhero's they aren't. (-1, Troll)

zhong-guo-1 (1929014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199226)

"a kind of bat-hook for real-life superheroes" So the people who work for the US military are superheroes? They materially represent the coercive tenticles of the US having outposts in 150+ other countries inposing a grand will under the threat of violence. These superheroes are a clear and present danger to the national security of the united state of america, and are bankrupting our country. Bring the troops home, lets get them integrated back into the private sector.

Don't confuse those who serve (3, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199380)

with those who give the orders. Soldiers do. The vast majority (five nines thank you) are the best we have to offer. Why? Because they are willing to do what has to be done regardless of personal costs. I am a bit bias, I did four years back in the eighties, but honestly, these people are special in many ways. Most would never brag, most have core sets of values they really do live up to. They do far more than message board bitchers will ever do.

Look, they aren't perfect, but I respect the least of them more than you.

Re:Don't confuse those who serve (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199612)

but honestly, these people are special in many ways.

With the decline in recruitment and the subsequent reduction of requirements to where the army lets in high school dropouts and convicted felons, I wouldn't be surprised if they've also got a few of the special ed kids.

Re:Don't confuse those who serve (2, Insightful)

zhong-guo-1 (1929014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199624)

It doesn't matter what you think of me, I don't care. You didn't address my points: The military is bankrupting our country, our presence in other nations engender ill will. What you said is: "As long as your following orders, it's ok. Herp derp, Soldiers are special, therefore I'm special too because I served. You're a cucka face" Wake up bucko, this isn't space command of the 21st century. China is going to beat our ass with a 2x4, and they're going to do it without using military might. We're fucked if people don't come around and accept the inevitable transformations needed to compete with the singular vision of 1.2 billion people. xue zhong wen hai shi ni mei you dong shi

Is this legal? (3, Funny)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199258)

I thought tapping into power lines to steal electricity is illegal. In fact, even using an induction antenna to steal power is illegal. Will the military have a special contract with the power companies to let them do this?

Re:Is this legal? (2, Insightful)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199284)

> Will the military have a special contract with the power companies to let them do this?

Probably not a big issue when you have a lot of guns and are invading the country in question.

Re:Is this legal? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199390)

Probably not a big issue when you have a lot of guns and are invading the country in question.

One of the first things they did in Iraq was to knock out the power. Currently, it's probably only useful in occupied countries with working electricity. I wonder if such a thing would be prohibited by either the Third or Fourth Amendments even overseas (I guess it depends whether you were "in a time of peace" for the Third Amendment and the seizure was considered "unreasonable" for the Fourth Amendment).

Re:Is this legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199364)

I doubt they have a contract allowing them to bomb radar stations either. Somebody call the lawyers.

Re:Is this legal? (4, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199370)

Well the article says this is for special ops forces, which basically means that they are in Country X without an invitation, usually to kill people and break things. So recharging their iPhones seems to pale in comparison.

Re:Is this legal? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199460)

Well the article says this is for special ops forces, which basically means that they are in Country X without an invitation, usually to kill people and break things.

You do realize that the role most often played by Special Forces is training and advising indigenous military forces, right? Special Forces includes everything from Rangers to Delta and Dev Group. Ever read "Inside Delta Force"? At least half their time is spent training the military forces of other states, or protecting high value targets like embassies or diplomats. Most of the time they are present in another state, they are there with at least the tacit knowledge and acceptance of that government. Very rarely are they operating within the territory of a hostile foreign state unbeknown to that government.

Re:Is this legal? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199550)

To be fair, if they were operating in a hostile state... you probably wouldn't get to read about it. Maybe you are only seeing the operations they allow to be published?

Re:Is this legal? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199594)

He documents a mission protecting the US embassy in Lebanon during the 80s. If that isn't considered a hostile state, I don't know what would be.

Re:Is this legal? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199544)

I'd assume they're recharging radios, GPS devices, or even a Predator ground station, not an iPhone ;)

Re:Is this legal? (1)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199424)

Free electricity--Spoils of war.

Re:Is this legal? (2, Insightful)

drdrgivemethenews (1525877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199446)

Presumably it's for use mostly in other countries. Which means they'd better have 220v converters, or switching power supplies.

Re:Is this legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199448)

There was a case in Russia where an Army unit did not pay its electricity bills. After a while, the power company cut off the electricity.

The Army unit responded by sending a tank to point its gun turret at a local power company office. The power was quickly restored.

(news item from several years ago)

Re:Is this legal? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199658)

Last time I checked, killing people was much more illegal than "stealing" power. Priorities, man!

Re:Is this legal? (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199662)

Um, if you are at war with a country, do you really care if you are stealing electricity or now?

Re:Is this legal? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199810)

When you have invaded a nation, stealing a little of their power is not really a legal problem.

If you are protecting your nation that has been invaded, stealing a little power is not really a legal problem.

It's a good thing... (5, Funny)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199346)

It's a good thing that they are just tapping in to get free electricity... rather than tapping into networks to get free music downloads, otherwise the U.S. Military could be liable for trillions of dollars.

Does NOT work. (1)

Ivan Stepaniuk (1569563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199366)

In most places, even low voltage power lines are 3 phase, that's four wires, all insulated. There is a very-very limited use on this device. Also... if a special ops team is doing such a thing, they would rather climb to reach the wires and make a safe connection.

Why not? (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199466)

Each of those three AC wires still has potential relative to ground. They only need to tap into one and use an appropriate transformer.

Re:Why not? (1)

Ivan Stepaniuk (1569563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199708)

You could do that, but If you look in TFA, the gap is just around 20mm wide, there is no way that blade will successfully puncture something like this regular stranded aluminum wire [iaei.org] . As I have said, usage is very limited, not impossible. It would work on some street lighting lines if you are lucky, and that's it.

Re:Does NOT work. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199478)

You get one wire and ground, you're golden. Doesn't work: tug on it some more. And no, special ops personnel who aren't supposed to be somewhere are typically going to avoid climbing up on poles.

Special ops, not Mission Impossible.

Re:Does NOT work. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199562)

Sure, but any one of the phase wires will do. The device has a small spike on it to puncture the insulation.

Re:Does NOT work. (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199712)

Residential electricity (typically) doesn't use all three phases, they just tap one of the phases then lower the voltage via a transformer. The same can be done with this hook. All you need is one connection to one wire, with ground, and you're good.

Re:Does NOT work. (1)

Ivan Stepaniuk (1569563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199818)

Residential electricity (typically) uses a coaxial cable from the pole to your house. This is done to avoid taping, it's not a coincidence. As I have stated in another reply, the problem is that a three-phase wire would not even fit in that small hook.

Odd, Dangerous, unlikely (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199384)

This seems odd if you ask me. Anytime the US military assaults a populated area the first thing to disappear is the power grid.

Once they hold an area, they could just step into any building and get all the power they need. Who's going to say no?

Seems this is designed to be used for clandestine operations, where they need a fairly substantial amount of power from a power system they know is still operational.

But look at the size of the cable notch and you can see this is to tap into building feed lines (entrance lines), its not big enough for high tension lines, (which generally aren't rubber coated any way). Any line small enough to fit in that notch

Does that mean this is planned for suburban/residential areas or locations where there are building feed lines overhead? Some of the images on the linked page seem to show this (the unshielded cable in the images being for suspension only, and the other two conductors for power).

Yet that kind of entrance is not all that common in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, so one wonders if this isn't for domestic use in disaster relief situations where no one will begrudge them the power.

Re:Odd, Dangerous, unlikely (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199574)

"High Tension"

I.e., high-voltage.

You're not going to run your laptop off of 100 kV.

So yes, this is designed for the distal end of the grid.

wrong way, right way, Army way (1)

slashdotard (835129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199670)

Once again, Army genius comes up with a half-assed and dangerous solution.

From the article:
"The power lines that run from the street to a house usually consist of one insulated wire that carries electricity to the house, paired with a bare wire that carries electricity away to complete a circuit."

uh, what? I haven't seen any overhead drops that consist of less than two insulated cables and one bare one to carry the split-220 to the typical home, small business, street lamp, etc.

If this device cuts into both insulated wires, there will be fireworks and they will blow any "covert op" they may be indulging in.

There's the wrong way, the right way and the Army way. This is so not the right way.

Re:Odd, Dangerous, unlikely (2, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199966)

Anytime the US military assaults a populated area the first thing to disappear is the power grid.

From TFA, this was requested by special operations critters. They and other secret squirrels are in, snooping around, way before the power grid is taken out by air strikes. This thingie is meant for them, not regular troops.

Once they hold an area, they could just step into any building and get all the power they need.

. . . if they hadn't destroyed the power grid as mentioned above. Oops. "Unpack the diesel generator, Scotty."

Does this Device Work on High Voltage Lines? (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199402)

The article doesn't detail whether this is for tapping power from single phase household drops only, which I assume is the case ... or can it also be used to tap higher voltage lines?

Ron

Re:Does this Device Work on High Voltage Lines? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199582)

I'm guessing the low voltage based on the mention of overhead street power and the vertical hook-throwing range of a soldier.

nearly useless (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199442)

This would only work on the low voltage line between the pole mounted transformer and the building it is connected to. Trying to use it on a transmission line, even a small one in the woods would result in high voltage being fed to the device and likely whoever is holding it. In this case why not plug into an outdoor outlet, or just go inside and borrow the use of an outlet., shelter, etc.

Big Problem... (1)

huzur79 (1441705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199450)

First thing the military does is take out power and other utilities during the first waves of attack, what power lines will be operational when ground forces move in after the air assaults. This is at best useful for special forces that are sneaking around in a country. Not in a situation like say invading like what was done in Iraq.

Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199462)

A piece of plastic containing a wire with a spike on it is hardly innovative or newsworthy.

I worry about the outcome of a soldier trying to lassoe a high tension wire or compromising the integrity of power lines left exposed to moisture and oxidation as a result of being punctured.

There is also an issue of soldiers breaking local laws by stealing power from wires that don't belong to them or worst of all assuming such energy sources would be available to them to use in the first place.

Real-life superheroes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199606)

Why does being a government employee who kills on demand make someone any sort of hero?

Anyone else... (1)

Kalidor (94097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199718)

Anyone else see this and get a flashback for Thicknet Vampire taps?

Cheaper than solar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199790)

Amazing, this will make power cheaper for consumers to harness than solar or wind!

Why damage the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34199848)

It'd be better and safer to just wrap the line with an induction coil. Most of what they propose powering with it are low power devices and a direct contact induction coil would easily power them just off leakage.

More useless devices (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34199952)

Your tax dollars at work, because in war time there is always electricity flowing in the power lines everywhere. It's not one of the first, if not THE first, thing to go.../sarcasm

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