Harvest Power like Batman with RAPS

by July 3, 2010 07/3/10

Air Force engineers have recently developed a device dubbed RAPS (Remote Auxiliary Power System) for Special Operations troops to harvest power directly from overhead power lines.

RAPS is actually based on a Spec Ops request to create a Batman device for throwing over outdoor power lines to power/recharge batteries in communications equipment.

Much like a grappling hook, the device is thrown over a power line where it makes two connections as it’s pulled into position. One to the exposed wire and one through a razor blade that pierces the insulated wire. Once the device is correctly connected, the custom power supply converts the AC to DC for use.

The video below even mentions that RAPS can be used safely in the rain. Please don’t try to build one of these at home, we don’t need any crispy critters because of this article.

Original Article via LabTV


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Datajockeys
Datajockeys

Better off with one of those roll-up solar cells. At least until they get the fabric-based panels worked out.

Nathan Reim
Nathan Reim

This seems cool but last time I was in a jungle there wasn't any power lines to throw this over.....the plug they made for using ASIP batteries to charge you're cell phone or run a laptop was a way more usable tool.

wirehand
wirehand

At the risk of becoming a finikin, the tool as describedin the video is designed for low voltage (120volts) because it needs to have both a neutral and a hot leg in it's little maw to provide a difference of potential.

This is something you will never see with primary voltage.

When secondary voltages are present there usually is a building within 400 ft. because of the voltage drop .

Throwing this thing onto a distribution line of much higher voltage ( anywhere from 2400 to 19000 volts) would not provide the difference in potential until the unit was tied into the neutral of the system .

The fella doing this would have to have upmost trust that the insulation of the wire that is provided with the unit is undamaged.

Ask any Lineman about this device and primary voltage and there will be some widening of eyes and something mentioned about a deathwish.

There is also a ratio that is needed to provide 120v from some primary voltage ? how does it know ?

These are some of the reasons that I believe the device is only for 120v.

A stinger in linespeak is the connecting wire between an overhead transformer and the distribution line.

For removal of the unit maybe a flick of the wire and the unit would come off (like cracking a whip) or just throw the spool over to the other side thereby uncamming the device.

wirehand
wirehand

At the risk of becoming a finikin, the tool as describedin the video is designed for low voltage (120volts) because it needs to have both a neutral and a hot leg in it's little maw to provide a difference of potential. This is something you will never see with primary voltage. When secondary voltages are present there usually is a building within 400 ft. because of the voltage drop . Throwing this thing onto a distribution line of much higher voltage ( anywhere from 2400 to 19000 volts) would not provide the difference in potential until the unit was tied into the neutral of the system . The fella doing this would have to have upmost trust that the insulation of the wire that is provided with the unit is undamaged. Ask any Lineman about this device and primary voltage and there will be some widening of eyes and something mentioned about a deathwish. There is also a ratio that is needed to provide 120v from some primary voltage ? how does it know ? These are some of the reasons that I believe the device is only for 120v. A stinger in linespeak is the connecting wire between an overhead transformer and the distribution line. For removal of the unit maybe a flick of the wire and the unit would come off (like cracking a whip) or just throw the spool over to the other side thereby uncamming the device.

Jesse Krembs
Jesse Krembs

This tool or the idea for this tool has been around for a while. It's called a stinger in the utility world and it does pretty much the same thing. Though once installed it's not designed to be removed.

Adam
Adam

@ wirehand

I think the idea is to be able to use lines that are running through remote areas where there might be no buildings to do what you're talking about. Also going that close to a building involves risks of its own. This allows you to tap in where ever this is a line power line you can reach with the cord.

Adam
Adam

@ wirehand I think the idea is to be able to use lines that are running through remote areas where there might be no buildings to do what you're talking about. Also going that close to a building involves risks of its own. This allows you to tap in where ever this is a line power line you can reach with the cord.

Matthijs
Matthijs

I wonder how useful this would be outside the US. Overhere in Europe for example, most powerlines are underground, except for the 10kV ones. Also, would every country that *does* have powerlines on poles have the insulated/uninsulated combo?

wirehand
wirehand

I guess I am a bit skeptical.

If you have access to the secondary service to the building then you also have access to the panel or meterbase outside the house. when dealing with service voltage some dry gloves are all one needs. A set of jumper wires and the battery charging transformer seems it would do just as easy . The video states there is no need for an outlet .If an operator were screwing around outside the building shouldn't it be secured as well ,where there are outlets.

wirehand
wirehand

I guess I am a bit skeptical. If you have access to the secondary service to the building then you also have access to the panel or meterbase outside the house. when dealing with service voltage some dry gloves are all one needs. A set of jumper wires and the battery charging transformer seems it would do just as easy . The video states there is no need for an outlet .If an operator were screwing around outside the building shouldn't it be secured as well ,where there are outlets.

Benjamin Fasseel
Benjamin Fasseel

I am wondering what everyone else is how do you get it down. This thing is pretty cool. I could definitely use one .

Bergman
Bergman

I wonder, what the reaction would be when the US Army, Navy, or whoever, gets billed for the power usage?

Alex
Alex

Very nice. I could use one of these.

ltcomp
ltcomp

Thank you!! I can feel my ruck getting lighter already. At least now I won't have to get through so many batteries to get to my smoking jacket at the bottom of my ruck. Now if they could only make ammo, radios, optics, and water lighter that would be great!

Yakman
Yakman

I saw this on another site and I am still wondering. How do you retrieve the hook?

John Garrett
John Garrett

How do you get it down once it's up there? Do you think it will just flip off if you snap the cord good? You wouldn't want to leave it in place if the AO is hot.

Rob Robideau
Rob Robideau

Title should read:

"Save $ on power bills"

Rob Robideau
Rob Robideau

Title should read: "Save $ on power bills"

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