Harvesting Electricity From High-Voltage Transmission Lines Using Fences | Hackaday

When you have a bunch of 230 kV transmission lines running over your property, why not use them for some scientific experiments? This is where the [Double M Innovations] YouTube channel comes into play, including a recent video where the idea of harvesting electricity from HV transmission lines using regular fences is put to an initial test.

The nearly final voltage measurement by [Double M Innovations].A rather hefty 88 µF, 1200 V capacitor, a full bridge rectifier, and 73 meters (240 feet) of coax cable to a spot underneath the aforementioned HV transmission lines. The cable was then put up at a height consistent with that of fencing at about 1.2 m (4 ft), making sure that no contact with the ground occurred anywhere. One end of the copper shield of the coax was connected to the full bridge rectifier, with the opposite AC side connected to a metal stake driven into the ground. From this the capacitor was being charged. Induction Power

Harvesting Electricity From High-Voltage Transmission Lines Using Fences | Hackaday

As for the results, they were rather concerning and flashy, with the 1000 VAC-rated multimeter going out of range on the AC side of the bridge rectifier, and the capacitor slowly charging up to 1000 V before the experiment was stopped.

Based on the capacity of the capacitor and the final measured voltage of 907 VDC, roughly 36.2 Joule would have been collected, giving some idea of the power one could collect from a few kilometers of fencing wire underneath such HV lines, and why you probably want to ground them if energy collecting is not your focus.

As for whether storing the power inductively coupled on fence wire can be legally used is probably something best discussed with your local energy company.

Thanks to [Keith Olson] for the tip.

“As for whether storing the power inductively coupled on fence wire can be legally used is probably something best discussed with your local energy company.”

Seriously? Stealing is stealing. Like that will not set off a few red-flags!

It’s more how the law IS supposed to be black and white and the verbiage regarding theft of utilities presents mostly preventing physical attachment to “steal” it not the theft of energy itself.

There is no physical connection through an isolation transformer but you get billed for the power used on the other side just the same.

Magnetic coupliing through the air is legally the same as it is through an iron core. Theft is theft.

If a fire hydrant breaks in my neighborhood, and they choose to never fix it & let the water bleed into the neighborhood. Is it still stealing if i occasionally take a bucket of runoff?

Not remotely the same situation. Electrical powerlines produce magnetic fields, there is nothing to fix like in your fire hydrant analogy. I’m an electrician and this isn’t a new idea. Mary of farmers have been prosecuted over the years from ceiling power from electrical companies.

Not when FCC rule 15 comes into play electrical lines produce resonance which causes interference every electronic device manufactured must adhere to this rule it must operate without causing any interference and also must accept all interference even if it causes undesired operation so if somebody is taking this interference using the residents and then converting it into a radiant lot in that respect it’s not stealing as long as you’re not directly connected to the power lines you’re not pulling from the load you are merely reboxing the resonance . By induction your manifesting radiant wattage and voltage they had blueprints online to build radiant energy collector Nikola Tesla came up with this about 100 years ago. What rock have you been hiding under? It’s easy you can make a radiant energy collector and using a spark gap some tin foil some wire and a capacitor suspended just off the ground you can directly collect energy from the freaking air . Nikola Tesla did it in if applied properly you can do it too just like two tuning forks resonating in sympathy with one another from across a room when only one is struck. Electrons resonating sympathy with one another this does not take away from the load of the wire. Reference Gerard Morin

That’s not how electricity works. It’s potential. No energy is being wasted until it is tapped. It’s like you purposely turned on the fire hydrant to use the water. I.E. tapped it’s potential.

Don’t know about that but if you collect rainwater that falls on your roof in Colorado it is considered theft. Mostly by Arizona.

No, and it’s not theft to recieve radio waves from the air so it’s not theft to recieve electricity from thin air!

Theft is theft? They are irradiating you. If your cow wanders onto someone else’s land they they didn’t steal it. Same property should apply.

If they don’t want you to use the electomagnetic radiation they are sending through your property they should install proper sheilding and keep in on their property.

You can get your cow back.

In this experiment it would appear they are deliberately putting a wire under the transmission line. This makes it stealing since this is the utilities property. Not yours, not theirs. You are not be radiated unless u choose to hang out under the line. Which would make u a trespasser since it is not your property under those line, it is the property of the utility.

“If they don’t want you to use the electomagnetic radiation”

This is *not* what’s happening. At all. It’s inductive coupling, not radiative. The act of you putting the conductive material there actually *generates* more radiation than existed in the first place.

Don’t be ridiculous electricity takes the shortest route to ground if there is no wire connected directly to the power company’s wire you’re not adding to or taking away from the load. But if you’re collecting the radiant energy and then converting it into electricity that is totally different all electronic devices by rule FCC number 15 state that devices must operate without producing interference and also a must operate and accept all interference even if it causes undesired operation. This man is collecting energy by induction resonance radiant energy collection he is in no way shape or form stealing electricity just like two tuning forks will resonate in sympathy with each other (that means vibrate because the other one is vibrating ) from across the room when only one is struck. Electrons resonate in very much the same way via the Earth’s electromagnetic field. Y’all should really look this stuff up before you go talking out of your rear.

Amen to that you’re exactly right they’re no laws in the US finding any citizens from collecting radiant energy

I agree to the point that basically you never own your own property at least not in the United States the government owns your property whether you paid for it and it’s in your name or not and you pay taxes on it yearly the government still owns your Land and therefore they can allow utility companies to put whatever they want wherever they want if they absolutely want them to. Unless it doesn’t benefit them then they might try to say otherwise lol.. but I do agree with the rest EM waves in the air is just like solar or thermal energy it’s freely in the air collecting it would be like taking a breath, as long as you’re not causing more power transmission to be pulled through the lines by collecting it and as long as you’re not redistributing or selling it.

I think the issue here is if it is permissible to build your “ collection” device on the “ right of way”. Away from that right of way this is likely legal unless it is still banned. Kind of like reading a book using your neighbor’s light on a pole. Going on to his property wouldn’t be right but using the light spilling over to your yard would be.

“if there is no wire connected directly to the power company’s wire you’re not adding to or taking away from the load.”

You must be really, really confused about how isolation transformers work, then.

Most of those high tension lines are not in the right of way, they are on utility easements. You still own and pay taxes on the land those towers are on you just give them permission to come on your property to maintain them. The utilities are added to your deed and usually filed separately also. Usually they pay you something for the easement but it is a one time thing.

Bruce.B energy is never created from nowhere. If you collect it using induction, it IS taken away from what is transmitted over the lines.

Someone said you can get your cow back. Let’s say you’re using the Cow to harvest methane and it farts, and that fart blows across the fence. Could you then have your neighbors charged with theft of methane since you can’t recover that fart?

What happens is that a flux field surrounds the power lines. If you stand under it with an old florescent bulb at night, you can see it react. Tapping off of that field to any large degree will reduce that field and will reduce the efficiency of the power line to a measurable degree. When they research why they have lost efficiency, they will find your setup. To heck with the electricity you converted (aguably stole), they will hit you for sabotaging/vandalizing the grid. Obviously a federal offense which will make your tiny savings insignificant. I have lines running across the back of my property and researched the same thing 20 years ago. While Yes, it can be done, the cost rewards are not worth the potential fines /jail time.

It’s more like, a tiny portion of your hay blew onto my land and got caught against my fence, so I started collecting it to give to my cow.

Michelle Woodard is wrong. Giving the utility a right of way across your property does NOT convey the title of the land to them. It is still your land; they just have the right of “way” (like in “make way”) or right of access. You can’t trespass on your own land. You still have access since it is your land, but so do they.

A couple things come to mind. As so many have stared theft is theft especially if you are using THEIR magnetic flux to produce your electricity even though it Dosent affect the load on the lines especially if you are within their right of way even if its own your property. Next thought you can harvest electricity from radio waves and from Eddie current in the earth. If you can still harvest electricity outside their right of way and on your property I think you would have a good case of you could demonstrate the other two methods.

Yeh, but if you butcher the cow and have a nice steak dinner I’m betting someone will say something.

Hoo boy, you have no idea about cattle law.

ThIS! their losses coupled however, are their own from sheer process waste. Not any collectors fault for immediately using whatever is available to airwaves. No nation can refine another yo airspace but t hey must abide by common agreeable. Sense =you lost your efforts via natural waste, you should reform your tech to claim special rights

When the electromagnetic waves left your wire you gave up ownership. Is it still stealing when you gather this energy with a radio eight miles away? Of course not. Does the law mention a distance where the boundary between theft and not theft occurs? What law is being broken? I’m gonna guess none, because there isn’t one. If there is, perhaps someone will cite it for us.

Its my understanding that this is a way of collecting magnetic or static energy. Therefore, Is this any different than collecting solar energy?

In my country there is nothing like HV lines over anybody’s property ever. I believe this is world wide. If you find yourself under those transmission lines, we’ll you are just a squatter.

Not true. At least in the US reception of radio waves is *not* illegal (even if they are meant for someone/something else) because they are broadcast, so I can’t see how this would be any different. The power company could properly shield their lines. They don’t so they are “broadcasting energy” you are simply receiving it.

This is inductive coupling, not electromagnetic – you’re *way* too close to be in the far-field at 60 Hz. You’re actually affecting the transmission lines, not harvesting radiated emissions that are already lost.

“The power company could properly shield their lines.”

It’s magnetic, not electromagnetic. Not *impossible* to shield, but pretty darn close.

Exactly collecting radiant energy reference Nikolai Tesla reference Gerard Morin if you’re not connecting to the wire you’re not contributing to the load or taking from it but you’re merely using the electrical residence to make the electrons in your wires resonate in sympathy in much the same way that two tuning forks resonate in sympathy across the room when only one is struck electromagnetic fields will resonate in sympathy with each other because of the electrons in the wires.

That is the word on this issue. Broadcast and receive they throw it out. It’s free to anyone with an antenna and a use for it. Period.

“Broadcast and receive they throw it out.”

It’s. Not. Being. Broadcast.

You’re in the reactive near field. You’re nowhere near far enough for anything to actually propagate as an electromagnetic wave.

>It’s magnetic, not electromagnetic.

It’s actually electric or “static” electric coupling. The magnetic field is much weaker at carrying power than the voltage gradient between the line and the ground.

Still, same difference, just by the other side of Maxwell’s equations. It’s tapping into the voltage difference that exists between the ground and the elevated fence post, and providing a shorter (lower impedance) path to ground to direct the current through their equipment instead, which in turn causes more current to leak out of the power line.

Remember what happened to Tesla for taking energy out of the air …

Not true electricity only travels shortest route to ground there must be a direct connection. Otherwise you’re just collecting radiant energy through magnetic resonance. Might want to stick to lumberjack work.

Uh you might want to check how a transformer works, two coils are wrapped around a ferrous material and are electically isolated but the magnetic field causes a current to flow.

Transformers do draw energy from the grid.

In the case of the power lines any usable electricity from this can also induce a drag as it will in turn provide its own field.

Course I would imagine the load relative to the current through those high voltage lines probably wouldn’t be overly large.

BruceB works as a janitor. He’s also complel wrong.

I like your comments. I think if the utilities didn’t want a known phenomenon from occuring, they should shield the lines from ” leaking “. There is some validity to the comment about collecting it close enough to be on utility easement property, but other than that, I’m with a lot of the comments that liken it to radio waves, or other omnidirectional radiations that can be picked up by unintentional consumers. It doesn’t increase the load , therefore costs the utility nothing extra in it’s collection. The final thought might be to look into what happened to Tesla for discovering how to take energy from thin air. It is kind of nice that big power hasn’t prosecuted anyone for it…yet. Since the grid is failing the greenies on EVs…maybe thin air power transfer should be somthing to look into. Im sure big power could figure a way to charge for it.

Magnetic coupling through the air is not physically altering touching etc any of the company or governments property whatever you want to say.. although it could come to be construed that way, I firmly believe that if you were collecting the EM waves in the air on your own property that there’s not any issue with it otherwise those EM waves would be penetrating your body and your brain, which we all know messes you up messes your sleep cycles up etc. so therefore if you’re blocking part of the incoming EM waves by collecting it you’re just basically looking out for your health lmao.. in all honesty though as long as you’re not redistributing or selling the energy that you’re collecting if you are collecting it, then there should be no issue.. that’s kind of like saying well the government owns the Sun and you can’t use solar energy, or thermal energy that is freely in the air.. I don’t know a whole lot about the processes of this nor major electrical field energy field electricity knowledge etc, so it leaves me to wonder if you are collecting EM waves from the air is it drawing more electricity from the lines? Does it cause a pull on the electric current? That’s the only way I know how to really word it is – if you’re causing more electricity to be pulled through those lines because you’re collecting the em waves then that I would understand to be stealing in a sense.. otherwise it’s just energy in the air..

This is false. You are creating an inductive load on the line. This is how people get caught. The power company monitors the load on the lines at various spots and can fairly accurately locate sources of increased draw. I could go through the physics of it all, but just think about it. If there was no added draw, how would the power company know to bust somebody for stealing power?

Yes, in increases the load on the lines, but an extremely small amount. HOWEVER, the power company can send a signal down the powerline and find your apparatus. It’s how they find out when trees are burning on the lines.

Illegal broadcasting is illegal broadcasting, too. They are flooding other people’s property with radio frequency signals without being licensed to do so.

Power lines aren’t designed to radiate energy into free space. They’re intentionally designed to radiate as little as possible.

Radiation means that the energy is decoupled from the source and is traveling free in space. This is not the case here – this is tapping into the energy that is stored in the near field potential of the power line.

Jason’s reply on inductive loading is correct.

Although it’s not directly a demonstration try this simple test to see how induction can create resistance that is measurable.

Get a piece of copper pipe about 3 feet long…the longer the pipe the more obvious the result…

Fix the pipe to something in a vertical position so the bottom is off the ground and easily seen

Drop a marble, screw, rock, etc in the pipe and time it falling through.

Now drop a strong magnet and guess what will happen to how long it will take.

The magnet will induce voltage in the pipe. This will significantly slow the magnet down as it passes through the pipe demonstrating how induction creates a form of measurable resistance.

The power distribution organizations absolutely consider this to theft.

It’s not broadcasting. As explained. The charge is the result of induction. The best way of describing this is if your neighbour has a pile of grain against your adjoining fence and you get a vacuum and suck some of it into your yard. You are inducing it onto your property. Without the use of the apparatus, in this case the vacuum, the grain would not be on your property

If the EMF radiation around high voltage lines is not collected by a parallel wire – whether intentional or accidental – is it absorbed by the earth (ground) underneath? I presume one reason to build tall high voltage transmission lines is to limit losses into the ground. E=1/distance. Squared? Would this be stealing if the same amount of energy would be absorbed by dirt?

It is not radiation. It’s near field coupling. Power lines are intentionally de-tuned so they wouldn’t radiate out into free space, or at least as little as possible. The electromagnetic field around a wire carrying current contains energy, and if nothing catches that energy then it simply returns to the source.

The ground catches some of that energy, and if you place a wire above the ground to siphon current out of the near field, you increase the load on the line.

No: the field decreases squared for a point source, because the radiation disperses over an area with length and width proportional to distance. On a line source the field may be thought as a sum of point sources, which cancels out the length part of the square law, leaving a linear decrease with distance.

With that reasoning, you should run out and sue them for assault since they are assaulting your body constantly with their EMF. Might as well sue every radio station too.

He’s pulling it straight out of the air if there’s no physical attachment there is no theft it’s radiant energy collection same thing Nikolai Tesla did and perfected and if Westinghouse and Edison hadn’t bankrupted him and made everybody think he was crazy we’d all have free electricity now

It’s not radiant energy. It’s near field reactive coupling, which is a “physical attachment” just like how compass needles turn in a magnetic field, or electrons and ions move along voltage gradients in free space.

Umm… Tesla never perfected that. Infact the losses of transmitting power through the air were very high.

The air isn’t where BruceB is pulling this blab out of…

It’s not stealing, this energy is being radiated off whether somone collects it or not, it’s just natural line loss.

Its not radiated off if theres no receiver or pickup near by.

That’s like saying a radio station is not broadcasting if no radio is turned on. Does not make any sense.

This is near field coupling, not radiation. Radiation means the waves of energy are decoupled from source and travel free in space.

The electromagnetic field that forms around a wire carrying current stores energy, but it does not radiate energy. When the current changes, the amount of energy stored changes, but it doesn’t go flying off into the air. You need specific conditions for that to happen – and it does happen, but the amount of energy lost to actual radiation from power lines is comparatively tiny.

If there is nothing around the wire to catch that near field energy and siphon it off, it will simply return back to the wire. Since there is ground, some of the energy leaks out through the ground. If you add a wire to collect the energy above the ground, you’re causing more power to leak out.

I.e. why transmitting antennas need to be tuned to the frequency to transmit efficiently: a random piece of wire with AC on it won’t radiate much energy.

Your logic is same as the tree falling in the forest, does it make a sound if no one heard it. Yes it does . The energy is radiated off even if it’s not collected in wires

This is kind of been disproven cosmos doesn’t waste energy if it’s not going to be observed the two slit experiment where light behaves differently depending on whether it is viewed or not if light knows if it’s being viewed sound knows if it’s being heard therefore if there’s no one around to hear the sound the cosmos isn’t going to waste time or energy making that sound Schrodinger’s cat quantum physics two slit experiment new findings state that if a tree falls and there’s no one around to hear it it actually does not make a sound I’m just going by recent studies

Actually the fallen tree sends out shock waves that don’t become sound unless something is there to hear it.

This is utterly wrong. You’re not harvesting radiation you’re inducing it from the line with a magnetic field. Literally a parasitic draw.

You’re right it’s not just radiated in fact it’s radiated resonance one can collect this radiant energy straight out of the air all you have to do is look up the blueprints for Tesla’s resonant energy collector it’s very simple device and one can manifest electricity through this method. In much the same way two tuning forks and will resonate in sympathy with each other from across the room when you only strike one of them the electrons in electrical wires resonate in sympathy with each other in a very similar fashion without the wires touching electricity takes the shortest route to ground so if you’re not directly connected to their wires you’re not adding to the load.

That’s ridiculous. If what you are saying was true, transformers, capacitors, inductors, brushless motors, etc, would either not work at all or would be perpetual energy devices. Your Ryobi power drill with its brushless motor would never consume energy and you would never need to recharge your batteries. Neither is true. The rapidly shifting electromagnetic (yes, ELECTROmagnetic) fields generated by the AC current moving through the power lines cause electron flow in your coil, causing an opposing electromagnetic field which, in turn, causes a reverse flow or opposition to flow in the high tension power line. This is all the most basic principles in electrical engineering and physics of the interaction between magnetism and electron flow.

On the contrary it most certainly is radiated through electromagnetic resonance IE radiant electricity I eat the Earth magnetic field without it none of these principles would work. Collecting radiant energy is not illegal in the US.

Radiation means energy that leaves the near field and is free to travel in space. This is near-field coupling that would return the energy to the source if it wasn’t tapped into.

>would return the energy to the source

That is, if the ground was superconducting and didn’t consume any real power to push current through it.

I agree! Thats line loss and if you can figure out a way to collect it then its yours. That isnt stealing! Thats basically like oil thats underground , if you can get to it and pump it up to collect it, then its yours.

No. The US has laws on mineral rights. You own the surface but they own the subsurface and can sell or lease the rights to what’s underneath to whoever they want, and you’re not allowed to dig for it yourself.

Not when the electrons in your wires are merely resonating in sympathy with the electrons in those wires we live in a sea of energy much like a fish in the ocean. It’s called induction for a reason flowing electrons induced resonance in sympathy with other flowing electrons. In much the same way as a tuning for resonates in sympathy with another tuning fork from across the room is one stealing the other ones energy? no

Can’t blanket statement that for the whole USA each states treat them differently. Mineral rights, water rights, air rights, different in each state if they can be separated from the real estate. in some states it is decided on a county / town basis.

No it isn’t. An extra load causes extra power generation upstream. Induction losses here are different to regular capacitive losses. This abstracted energy needs replacing.

You’re essentially saying an L-shaped piece of metal (coax+groundrod) in the neighborhood creates a) a load and b) a crime?

It does create a load. Whether it is a crime depends on if it was a) intentional, b) illegal to do so. Usually b is true, so it depends on whether you did it on purpose.

It is absolutely load. It’s called inductive load. Just like adding a transformer to the distribution system adds load.

Of greater concern to me, however, is the safety aspect. You run a length of ungrounded wire under the line to intentionally “siphon” power. You indices voltage on that line. Who is responsible when the neighbors cow touches it? Neighbors kid? And don’t presume to know the available fault current at that location, it could be very high.

It’s not a radio wave. It’s not radiation. It is an electromagnetic field that is being parasitically siphoned intentionally by adding load to the system without metering.

If you think it’s free call your power company to inspect it once you’ve built it.

There is no extra load if the wires aren’t touching it’s induction resonance in sympathy.

If there is energy built up on the other side, I guarantee there is an extra load. Electric motors operate by induction, there is no touching of wires and there’s definitely a load added by the induction.

It is the same concept that drives the brushless motor in your cordless drill. It very much creates a load on the circuit.

So you saying if you connect a load on the secondary of a transformer the current through the primairy winding won’t be affected?

The utility company’s overhead wire would be serving the same function as the primary winding of a transformer with the wire on the ground acting as the secondary winding. The kVA is the same on both sides of a transormer any power used on the secondary is most definitely reflected on the primary….even something as small as using a meter to measure the potential. It would completely violate the laws of physics if it didn’t.

I think what happens if you siphon off electricity in this manner is that down the line less electricity reaches its destination. The power company will detect this and can eventually located the location of the power drain. A similar incident occurred perhaps 50 yrs ago someplace , I think in Northern California A farmer noticed he was getting shocked everything he drove his tractor under the power lines on his property. Being rather clever, he coiled some wires on the ground (so in this way the wires cut through the magnetic lines of force created by the power lines) and was thus able to generate electricity. The power company did detect this and eventually made the farmer take down/disassemble his makeshift generator.

It shows up as a parallel load, so more power is drawn from the generators rather than less power reaching the loads.

That’s right, a transformer magically creates energy. /s

This is just a very long, drawn-out transformer. A transformer is an impedance-reflection device; the power it consumes depends on the impedance of the load it is connected to. If there is no secondary winding, or if the secondary winding has infinite (or effectively infinity) impedance across it, then there is no power draw.

Every residential power connection uses a downstep transformer using the same type of magnetic inductive coupling. If it was line loss, then powering homes would be free and not use any of the power either.

The landowners did not authorize the power company to use the dielectric constant of the space above their land. They were not stealing but trying to return the electromagnetic environment above their land to a neutral state.

If the easement is for an electric line, the permission to affect the surrounding environment’s electromagnetic state is probably implied.

That said, a neighboring property owner who did not grant an easement may be able to make this argument.

Also if you go by FCC rule number 15 you just make a device that will accept the interference and turn it in to electricity by exciting the electrons IE Tesla’s radiant energy collector

Yet if you don’t do tuned inductive coupling or anything like that, the energy collected probably just comes from the capacitive coupling which would leak current to ground or nearby fence in any case.

Is it theft if you walk on your yard by the light that the neighbour’s lamp casts to your property?

No. Even in that case, by bringing the wire up closer to the line and drawing power from it, you change the electric field around the power line and make it leak more.

It cannot leak if there is no route to ground that’s preposterous. The key thing here is induction and resonance in sympathy. Tesla’s radiant wattage. Think about it in much the same way that two tuning forks will resonate in sympathy from across the room when only one is struck electrons will resonate in sympathy with each other via the Earth’s magnetic field we live in a sea of energy look it up ☺️

“It cannot leak if there is no route to ground that’s preposterous”

Hence why the ISS has a giant grounding rod connected to Earth. /s

There are some great physics courses on YouTube around electromagnetism and based on your comments, I think you’d take a lot from them.

There is a route to ground.

Air is a dielectric, and the wire and the ground form two plates of a capacitor. This system has reactive impedance, which lets AC current through.

Whenever you tap into this current, to direct any of that current to yourself, you have to offer a lower impedance path to ground, which reduces the total impedance of the system and therefore causes more current to leak out of the power line.

This is the circuit model of a transmission line – a power line.

In this model, Rdx and Ldx model the properties of the wire, while Gdx models the direct ohmic leakage through the air, which is very small. Cdx is the capacitive reactance which is responsible for most of the AC power loss. When you raise a wire up off the ground and start drawing current out of it, you’re bringing the earth closer to the power line and increasing the value of Cdx which causes it to leak more power.

Electricity takes the shortest route to ground if there is no direct connection you are not drawing from the load or adding to it that’s preposterous.

We live in a sea of resonant energy IE the Earth’s magnetic field. Think about how two tuning forts resonate in sympathy with each other from across the room when only one is struck.

If you have a radiant energy collector in line it’s pulling the energy straight from the air in the form of radiant wattage. That’s how Tesla did it.

This thing doesn’t work that way.

Never tried a fence, but that out dated and retired from radio massive ham radio antenna worked like a charm and you’d be surprised how much energy came through, well after some added gadgets and a few caps and couple diodes then those said gadgets putting said energy into battery storage, but just harvested it right into my backup power grid bank. Like a savings account.. helps out a lot.. lol that massively priced antenna has paid for its self and the new one, he’ll the next one after this is paid for by the old one.. it’s been a lucrative Venture. I mean it was already there. Nobody else was using it, so why not. Not my fault they leak power like a cheap diaper does piss.. same with those satellite tv signals,, it was there and already floating through me and all my properties so why not use it. Don’t pump it through my home and I won’t snatch it up and harvest it.. good stuff tho.. needed that power to watch my free satellite programs 🤭

How close do u have to be to harvest the electricity with a radio tower

You can be as far as away as the signal reaches. It can be easily harnessed with a radiant energy collector Tesla’s invention it’s a simple device and you can even Google his original blueprint it actually works I’ve tried it check out YouTube videos on radiant energy collection

A crystal radio also harvests energy.

If the utility was stressed to the point that it is substantial, the should replace the AC to DC. This is being done in many places were a lot of power is being transfered

I would be happy if someone who knows, how much energy will be lost with buried cabling?

Thomas Alva Edison already tried this it was not a good system. If it were we would be on that system now. If Edison and Mr Westinghouse hadn’t bankrupted Tesla and then make him look crazy we would all have free energy now.

The Tesla fan fic all over this thread is tiresome. HVDC transmission is real and typically used in scenarios where it is superior to that envisaged by your man-god Tesla.

But the energy company will have to show what part of the captures energy is from them: this long wire will pick up energy from many sources (radiosignals) all contributing to the result.

What if it was just a short circuit and instead of charging the capacitor it would just generate heat? Is owning any metal stuff, at least large enough, also a theft?

Are you also “stealing” light from public light poles?

No, but you surely are here. The energy here isn’t radiative. Rather, having a fence with capacitors and devices on the circuit would place load on the network of the line above it. This is an inductive load. The presence of the fence is causing additional load.

It’d be like the light having to get brighter because you got close to it and only you could see it.

OH dear, the case of the missing 32J is up there with the misusing of BSD licenses in the other thread. You people are lunatics.

That’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s the scale of the “theft” that’s important. This is so trivial the power company is unlikely to detect it at all, it is buried in the natural variation in line losses due to weather conditions, etc. The inherent losses in the power line are so large anyway, by orders and orders of magnitude.

Copper lines loose 5 percent of their energy for every 100 miles of transmission. Good friend of mine gave the power companies a cheap way to fix it because all electricity is actually resonance. They bought his patent and shelved it. The losses allow them to write off millions amd they didnt want to lose that. As far as theft. The law considers the power abandoned property and that has been established. If you own or have permission to the property under the lines which are only crossing by right of way agreements you can in fact do this. Power companies could care less as long as it isn’t commercialized.

What’s the patent number?

Sounds like a Nikola Tesla idea. Big on resonance.

Many years ago in the state of Nevada some people who lived out in remote areas found they could.light thea area just hanging florescent lights in the trees due to high magnetic fields. Power company took them to court and it was deemed that the power company wrote off losses for the creation of these magnetic field and that if someone found a way to use what to what was lost that the power company had no right to what they

Fluorescent tubes don’t operate off of the magnetic fields of power lines, but from capacitive coupling which reduces the impedance to ground, causing higher leakage off the power line.

If such a ruling was ever actually made, it was made in error and ignorance of the physics involved.

The radio transmission from high power lines cannot be “stopen”. This is a side affect of transmission, much like breathing nitrogen is a side affect of breathing oxygen. While harvesting these loose radio waves is not theft, it is dangerous because of the high amperage and voltages collected. Radio waves may be “ harvested” legally. Theft of power needs to incur a loss to the owning party. Salvage is the collection of abandon property. Yes there is a lot of legal precedent for salvage. Nothing here is being stolen. Yes, it helps to have an attorney well versed in law before you attempt to sell power to anyone, but harvest lost power for personal ise is a benefit of property ownership. IF you own the property. A right if way for transmissible does not constitute ownership.

This is not extracting radio waves. For that you’d need a wire hundreds of miles long.

Harnessing waves from the air can hardly be considered stealing. You must be one of the anti rain collection crowd.

It is when you’re putting a load on their system, which this does.

Now imagine if instead of routing electricity the company was routing water through your property via an aqueduct. You rig up a system on your property that is able to collect water without physically touching their equipment (let’s say a heat gun to evaporate the water, and a fan/vacuum system to redirect the water to a collection system).

Do consider this to be theft? You may not be in physical contact with their equipment, but you are certainly applying forces to the system to extract what they’re transporting. This is the same thing. If the gathered electricity was truly just radiating into the universe like Bruce B. keeps incorrectly stating then perhaps an argument could be made that you’re just collecting waste/runoff, but that is not the case here. As numerous people have pointed out, the act of placing the wiring like they did sets up an induction system, which imparts a force back onto the transmission lines. As others have pointed out, think brushless motors, or dropping a magnet through a copper tube. Try to counteract these forces and you will see they are very real, albeit invisible and massless. And as others have pointed out, this set-up is just a very crude version of how electric companies themselves harvest the electricity along the lines.

Because electromagnetic fields are invisible and massless I think this is causes much of the confusion in many of these replies. Many people assume that this means you can interact with it for free (both in the monetary and in the physical conservation of energy senses), but that simply is not the case. Let’s say you could win the argument that you just passively collected the electricity (or water). If I’m the utility company I just turn around and sue for tampering with my system by intentionally introducing artificial drag, which incurs a greater cost (both physically and monetarily) for me to operate my system. I assume this is also something likely covered in easement contracts, which would make the harvesting even more malicious.

Would the energy company be able to detect or locate the drain? Sounds like they have in the past.

If this isn’t on power company property and being captured through the air, I don’t agree. You must be one of the anti rainwater collection types.

Creating an induction Transformer to harvest energy is theft. Doing this reduces the amount of power that’s in the line, taking it in using it for your own purposes. That’s theft. It’s simple theft. The sort of thing has been tried and settled in courts well over 50 years ago. I suppose you could argue that if you walk out of a Walmart with a Coca-Cola that you didn’t pay for and no one catches you that it’s okay. And I suppose you could argue that if you take electricity that you didn’t pay for it’s okay. But it’s not. And if they catch you there will be hell to pay.

It is on the electrical utility to shield well enough not to loose that power…plus…what harm are they doing if they admit their lines have that effect?

I know the video said sucking electricity from the fences this is not true but you’re actually doing is manifesting electrical resonance or a radiant watt and volt .In very much the same way that a tuning fork can makes another tuning fork resonate in sympathy with it from across the room when struck.This is what is happening the resonance of the electrons inside of the live wire induces the electrons in The non-live wire to resonate in sympathy thereby manifesting into radiant wattage and voltage. So as long as there is no direct connection to any of the power companies equipment they have no business knowing about it. They’re already charging you double used to had one wire going in and then everything grounded to that now you’ve got one wire in and one wire out and they’re charging you for both .

Why is the utility company radiating stray electricity onto the unsuspecting public?

Its not “stray electricity” its a magnetic field – that comes from sending power down a conductive metal.

And the reason why the power line is raised so high up on those towers is because they want it to be as far away as economically feasible from anything conductive that could pick up the magnetic field or the electric field.

It does not radiate, much.

Radiation means electromagnetic waves that leave the near field and travel free and uncoupled from the source. For AC power lines shorter than many hundreds of miles, electromagnetic radiation is a small part of the power that leaks out. The main part of the leakage is direct reactive coupling, which decreases in the third or fourth power of distance from the wire – and increases whenever you stick something conductive in the near field to draw power out of it.

Just to clarify for a non electrical engineer: Does setting up this fence increase the transmission losses in the main wire? Or is it just harvesting energy that would be lost due to inductance anyway? I think it is the former? As (insulated) AC wires underwater lose more energy than in air, I assume because the dielectric constant has been raised? So the generation of electricity in the fence causes losses to the transmitter?

It absolutely increases the load on the line. This is essentially a really long transformer, there are minimal losses if you have no load connected, but if you connect something to consume the electricity, it puts an equivalent and opposing field on the line above

>Does setting up this fence increase the transmission losses in the main wire?

>I assume because the dielectric constant has been raised?

Yes. Whenever you do something to reduce the impedance between the line and the ground, you cause more power to leak out.

Stray voltage? Power companies deny this exists.

This isn’t stealing. I used to own property that had a hv line on it. I owned the property they had a easement. You are only getting what bleds off the wires. If the wires were supercoductive ypu couldn’t get any power. This is just normal electrical lose. That is the reason we keep trying to get room temperature superconductors We could produce a lot less electricity. You can actually produce a very same amount from all the radio waves in ths air. That is exactly what this ia if you own the land you are gathering power from the energy that is in the air. It does nothing to the power flow it is the natural lose to the environment. The lose of this power is also part of your power bill. There is a 5% lose so the cial nuclear etc have to do 5% more and your bill is 5% higher.

Taking what “bleeds off the wires” requires you to reduce the impedance between the earth and the wire in order to direct it your way, and that causes an increase in the current leaking off the wire. That’s just how the physics of it works.

You’re not getting any spill-off, you’re causing more to spill off, which makes it theft.

This is wrong unfortunately. There are losses, you are right, but this doesn’t capture those, it adds an additional load on the line in addition to the preexisting losses. Think of it as a really long transformer. A transformer without a load doesn’t just chirp out electricity anyway, it only does when you plug something into it

> If the wires were supercoductive ypu couldn’t get any power.

The real difference is that superconducting wires work with DC instead of AC so there’s no reactive coupling. Superconductors really don’t like AC power because it messes up with the whole effect.

You get the same effect with regular HVDC lines, except there would still be static dielectric leakage through the air. It’s less, but it’s still there.

“If the wires were supercoductive ypu couldn’t get any power.” but superconductor AC transformers exist. Superconductors still produce a magnetic field when current is passed through. So you totally could steal AC power from a superconducting cable, if they existed, via induction just like a transformer.

I really appreciate the heart behind your words. I can certainly identify with them. Another perspective might be to consider living next to a greenhouse that is constantly watering all of their plants products and produce. In this scenario they’re unconcerned with containing unused water and this water finds itself flowing naturally your direction. Overtime this water has formed a little creek and now you’re being served a creek of water on your neighbor’s dime. The creek is on your property the flow is consistent and so now you have an option. Utilize the creek water for your benefit or offer to pay money to the greenhouse. In my opinion if a person has power lines on or adjacent to their property that is unable to contain the energy so much so that someone is able to utilize the Overflow without interfering in the egress of the electric company, there’s no problem at all picking up the crumbs that are knowingly being swept onto floor. In my opinion, not taking advantage of an overflow of energy is an absurd waste of energy. Don’t feel bad about this. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If the power company can’t find a way to use the totality of the energy their systems create, all those able are the benefactors.

There was a case in the UK about 30 years ago where a property owner was successfully prosecuted for theft of power using basically this approach.

If harvesting radiant energy is theft, then we are all thieves because we all use sunlight.

I think it really SHOULD depend if this contributes to losses in the transmission line or if those losses would happen anyways. Of course, because our public infrastructure has been stolen by private interest, if it isn’t technically theft now, you can bet dollars to donuts it be codified into law if it hasn’t yet…just as giving excess food to the homeless is now in some areas.

This is like saying you’re stealing the photons emitted by your neighbor’s floodlight shining in your lawn with a solar panel lol. Assuming does not impede transmission, which is possible

I recall some years ago, a family being charged with theft of services for doing this.

In general high voltage power lines lose around 10% of their power during transmission called “line loss”. ? Some of this power loss apparently can be captured as described above.

Would you feel it was theft if we were able to collect all the electromagnetic radiation generated from radio stations and converted it to something useful like powering lights? It’s the same thing.

The power was traveling down the line and you took some. Like you take something off a truck. You can always use the old, it fell off the truck, I chased after the guy, but he wouldn’t stop excuse.

I call that waste/leakage. Might as well collect it for something positive. If you’ve got something proprietary, then patent it as such. Till then you’ve got leekage current

What travels is a disturbance in the field. You could put many collectors along the line and milked . This guy is an hero

Ok. Got one for you. If everyone thinks this is stealing. You have 800 head of cattle in Texas and you have a barb wire fence running along the right of way to keep your cattle off the Transmission ( because I know that Transmission lines like Microwave dishes produce high amounts of EM radiation), so I don’t want my cattle coming onto the recommended area. But I notice after a month or so after the Transmission lines are placed on my property that my cows are dying next to the fence. Will the power company pay for my dead cows( f#$% no they won’t). So I bleed off the power and store it in solar batteries which I use for my water pump for the cattle. Now I sit back and wait for them to show so they can either shield their F!@#$%^% lines better and pay for my dead cows at $5000+per head or they Shut the F up and walk away as I will rout them in court. As a former Microwave Transmission specialist, they don’t have a leg to stand on. Bruce B is correct. As long as you are doing the collecting outside of the right of way boundaries they can’t say anything( they could be collecting their own power and using it forvdistribution lines going into a set of multifaceted Cap Banks, but they are not ). One foot inside that boundary and you’re screwed.

Simpleton. If it was a water pipe that sprayed on your propertt….are you stealing the water? or only if you collect the spray? hahaha Get real.

Stealing??? Not. It’s totally wasted electricity that the electric company can’t control! There is nothing wrong with collecting their waste… on your property!

So, it’s like taking someone’s trash at the curb? The stray power is not going to be used by the utility, or any customer. If it’s out there, maybe the utility company ought to build better transmission lines that don’t ” leak”?

It was popular a decade or two ago to do things like this until power companies came out and decided this was theft and threatened to prosecute people. Every locality however might be different. Some entities may just consider this too much of a liability to allow consumers to do this.

It’s effectively wasted energy since it’s bleeding into the environment and there is no direct connection to the line so I don’t see how it could legally be considered theft.

Of course I wouldn’t live next to lines like this because it can’t be good for you but if I did I’d be powering something with my air energy.

You can’t extract power out by induction or capacitive coupling without increasing the line loss.

What goes into the earth is wasted in your perspective, but you have to place yourself or your energy harvesting antenna in between the earth and the power line to tap into that leakage, and in doing so you’re bringing the “earth” closer to the power line.

If you put your wire on the ground, the voltage difference between it and the ground would be very much zero, so you couldn’t get anything out. By lifting it above ground you get higher and higher voltage and therefore more power out of whatever current is leaking through. However, since you are connecting in parallel to the path of current that is already leaking through the air, you have to offer a lower impedance path to ground in order to draw any of the power for yourself.

When you do that, you reduce the amount of impedance between the ground and the power line, which causes the power line to leak more.

How do you think you get this power into your house? An inductive transformer. Your copper doesn’t physically connect to the high voltage lines.

yeah the “no direct connection to the line” defense is bunk. AC doesn’t need a direct connection, AC transformers don’t have direct connections.

There is no magnetic induction happening here. This is electrostatic in nature. The high voltage line has great potential to induce an opposite charge on the antenna, and very poor magnetic induction coupling from the HV low amperage line.

You have to throw a few Maxwell equations around to quantify that claim. If you do the math right you will find you are mistaken.

… and while you are at it, calculate the voltages and currents involved in parallel lengths of wire when a single phase short happens on the line. (Such a fault is medium rare, but if you touch the wire at that time, so are you.)

The onus is on you. Claim “the math says” and you must supply it.

I’d love to see this settled in a court of law (if it hasn’t been already). My defense would be if they don’t want you harvesting their power, they should keep their EM field off your property.

Utilities buy right of ways for transmission lines. It is stealing when you use a product made for sale and do not pay for it.

AND the induction could be considered troublesome-effecting human body electrical fields as well.

Unless your body is made of metal then electromagnetic induction isn’t really an issue to us fleshy beings.

> Unless your body is made of metal then electromagnetic induction isn’t really an issue to us fleshy beings.

Calcium is a metal, and is essential for communication through our synapses.

I and many people have significant metal in me.

[this space reserved for every piracy argument ever]

^^ space to small, bigger internet needed.

Is using a crystal radio stealing from the radio station?

No. A radiostation puts energy in the air with the purpose of you and me ‘harvesting’ this energy.

Radio stations explicitly broadcast for you to receive what they are transmitting. So no.

However if you build a large antenna next to their transmitter to harvest energy from it they have the right to go after you.

A crystal radio doesn’t affect the transmitter. It’s in the far field.

This is not receiving far-field emissions.

I used to own a home with a high tension line just outside my property line, and I never saw a Nickle. I did see their trucks drive over, and completely mess up a tiny part of my land once in a blue moon

The payment probably went to whoever owned the property when the line went up, as it’ll have reduced the sale value. You bought it with the line there, at a price that reflected that it had a power line over it.

My folks have a electric pole in the middle of their back garden, they get something like £5 per year in ‘rent’.

hahaha no. Its not stealing. Its just another sales policy.

A right of way is the physical land. It is not the emissions. Please tell me how this is any different than receiving radio signals as it is not illegal to rx radio signals that are broadcast to the public. The energy here is broadcast to the public, because the power company is cheap. OP was simply receiving.

IANAL, but “common sense” would say the right of way if for the use specified in the easement. If that use is for a power line, then there’s the implicit right to send out electromagnetic power into the air, subject of course to government regulations pertaining to power transmission (the power companies can’t do things for the purpose of, say, deliberately messing up your AM radio transmission, but if carrying power causes incidental interference that doesn’t violate FCC rules or other laws, you are out of luck).

As I said in a post a bit higher up, neighboring property owners MAY have claims that the property owner where the easement/right-of-way lies does not.

The whole discussion may be moot though. I’ll need to check with a lawyer, but I suspect that power companies long ago got the rules written in their favor for situations like this.

Not illegal to receive radio signals on your porperty, but it’s usually illegal to sell the content and make a profit.

Because it’s not receiving an emission. It’s in the near field – it’s inductively coupling, and causes a drain on the transmitted power (as opposed to receiving emissions, which would *not* cause a drain). It’s the same as climbing up and clipping on a wire.

I agree. Assuming the fence is off the right of way, if the utility objects to your harvesting their spillage, they need to find a way to prevent it from leaving their paid for ROW.

It’s not a one-way flow. It isn’t being transmitted. You’re in the reactive near field. The current that’s being produced that *you’re storing* creates a magnetic field which affects the transmission.

If your argument is “hey man, they need to stop affecting stuff outside their right of way” the exact same argument applies to *you*.

If you are pulling power that the lines are losing into the air and there is no direct connection then it’s not theft. That energy was lost as soon as it left the line.

Wrong. You are causing a current to be induced into the wire. Your theft reduces power in the transmission line. Just like a brushless motor rotor pulls power off the stator wires around it and draining the battery that powers it… Your inductive coupling device is taking power off the line.and reducing power in the transmission line and it’s indeed more than than the resistive line losses. It is theft a d you will get prosecuted when caught.

In the USA east of the Mississippi river (West of river IDK have no experience) Right of way is for the public use and any utility can get a permit to use it, Easements are for single user agreements to cross private property. If high tension lines were in the right of way then there would be all kinds of other utilities buried under them, but there isn’t.

No. That’ll be hydro-electric power from that! 🙂

Yes they are poluting your property. What are the side effects to you.

The effects are; when they put up a new line across your property, you get paid. (If the line existed before you bought/rented the property, you won’t get paid, but then it’s your choice to buy/rent that land with it’s existing electricity lines.)

In the USA it was settled 90 years ago in the 1930’s during Rural Electrification when word got around that a farmer could run a light bulb with a wire on a fence along the new power lines. Settled in the courts as theft despite the many logical and electrical fallacies being put forward through ignorance.

No matter anyone’s thoughts and physical explanations, even logically sound, the legislative and judicial result has the last word. If you think and do otherwise, it would be best to be discrete.

If you are not discrete, you should have a very good surgeon. If you are not discreet, you should have a very good lawyer.

“they should keep their EM field off your property.”

Why should they have to keep their magnetic field off your property when you’re not keeping *yours* off of theirs?

That’s how inductive coupling works. It’s in the reactive near field, which means *you’re* putting a back EMF on *them*.

You think a US court will side with you over the utility? Ha

Yea, that’s a crime…

Nevermind the crime, seems deathly dangerous

Did not fully understand that setup with the coax cable. He said he is connecting “one end” to the rectifier and “one end” to ground – i suspect he is using core and shield on his end of the wire? I tried myself a single wire against ground with good success. Can’t understand the benefit of using coax at this point.

Just keeping a somewhat of a ground closer to that power feed.. there’s enough there to hurt you, maybe not 24/7 but my luck, well let’s just say I ain’t won the lottery yet.. so yeah 👍

Electricity strikes in open air at 1cm/1KV. In this case it will 2.3m away.

10 kV/cm (or 1 kV/mm)

I think he just had the coax and is using the shield as a single wire…

Going by morality, more important than legislation, It is stealing WHEN it draws more power out of the grid than would naturally be lost to a normal environmental feature. I would guess it would be a bit like the way a DC motor is harder to turn from its shaft when you put a smaller ohmic resistance across its terminals, the higher an amount of power you try to get, the more power losses will be suffered by the line. So if the power you are drawing off is milliwatts, or whatever is broadly equivalent to what a fence not designed to steal electricity might cause acidental loss of, then it isn’t stealing morally. It is harvesting an environmental resource, even if technically the power company is paying someone to pay someone else to pay a power station to buy fuel to burn (or fission) (or maintain a wind turbine) to provide the electricity. If merely having a fence in place already takes a tiny bit of power from the lines, then finding a way to use that amount of power otherwise lost to heating the fence (and no more) is ok. But adding a fence optimised to take more of the power becomes theft. As soon as you start harvesting so “much” (and it won’t be much) that the power station needs to burn the single smallest detectable currency unit more fuel to account for it, then it becomes stealing. So if you want to charge a tiny sensor or something then morally you’re fine, but this is an awfully big piece of bothersome wiring needed for what is a tiny amount of power than can be extracted before you cross the moral line in to being a filthy thief. The only amount of power which can be morally drawn from this is an amount of power probably not worth bothering to draw.

First, going by legislation is a form of morality.

Second, there are lots of morals, and they all depend on where you happen to be. The root of the word is “custom”, as in “when in Rome do as the romans do.”

If someone throws a rock into my living room, do I have to give it back? An electric company may have purchased an easement over my property, but I doubt they contracted for the right to irradiate me with EMF, I’d charge them by the MW-meter transported through at any rate.

This was settled in the 1930’s in the US with rural electrification. It is theft because with a delicate enough meter, the use can be seen from the power station. You are suggesting that an infinite number of setups that take the equivalent of “an environmental feature” will be morally right. Or would you place a limit on the number Feature-Equivalent Power units a person can use before they cross the FEP ethical limit?

“If merely having a fence in place already takes a tiny bit of power from the lines, then finding a way to use that amount of power otherwise lost to heating the fence (and no more) is ok. But adding a fence optimised to take more of the power becomes theft. As soon as you start harvesting so “much” (and it won’t be much) that the power station needs to burn the single smallest detectable currency unit more fuel to account for it, then it becomes stealing.”

So doing something badly, legal. Doing the same thing well, illegal. Hmm. Seems to me there must be all kinds of natural grounds out there, jus’ drainin’ them pahr lines. Piezoelectric microphones steal my speech, but I got back at them I stole the Grand Canyon on a family vacation last summer.

If it can’t be detected by someone sitting in a power station control room, and I suspect it can’t, m’kay? it’s not theft.

Me hooking my whole house up to anywhere on the grid (assuming I do it correctly without causing a fault) is not detectable in a power station control room – a few KW is just noise. I assure you it’s still very illegal and will definitely get prosecuted though

That isn’t how law works. The only question is “does the party with the most money stand to make more from this?”

Why not just tie a rock to a wire and throw it up and over the overhead line? (Kidding!)

A safe and legal thrill

There was one case in Finland in The 90s, where someone did this to power their summer cottage. When Power company found, where the extra parasitic load came from, they sued the guy to hell and back again. This kind of load is actually actively measured by Power companies, since it is also used to find other failure modes on powerlines, and is easy to detect. Just don’t do it….

Source needed. It’s incredibly difficult to pull kilowatts out of a power line by induction without pulling kilometers of cable next to it.

Reason being that in three phase power lines, the far field external magnetic field largely cancels itself out. Stories about people burying drums of iron junk in the ground and wrapping cables around them are basically bunk.

Until I see his setup myself that is and urban legend. I would love to see how you’d do this (how many watts was he pulling?) but it’s almost always a tall tale

I mean… what’s to say that any given hunk of conductive anything under the power lines isn’t getting hot and corroding, and causing problems. Anyways, yeah of course it’s stealing but more like showing up at 5:00 AM at everybody’s house on trash day and pulling all the beer cans out of the blue bin kind of stealing.

Funny my grandpa told me about guys doing this 80 years ago.

My in-laws had a condo with aluminum siding near a high voltage tower. Kept having issues with their electronics failing. My father-in-law measured 70 VAC on the siding with enough current to be concerning.

70VAC is suspiciously similar to readings on a 120VAC line (US) with a bad neutral. As to it being on the al siding, I once did an hvac ducting job for a new large addition after the contractors doing initial renovation removed the al siding from the original addition to be razed and the addition caught fire that night (it was contained to a small area). The siding guys reported getting shocks wile removing siding and gutters and sure enough the insurance/fire inspectors found the cause to be one of the 3″ siding nails puncturing a wire (yes 3″ siding nails were common though crazy imo) So may or may not be related?

If the garbage is on a public sidewalk, it’s legal to take the trash.

If the powergrid in your house has a live and neutral (not l1 and l2!) There will be a small voltage between the neutral and (protective) earth line. I used to connect a small lightbulb (like a bicycle tail-light) to make use of this ‘free’ energy. It depends on the metering device if it will be measured, plus, in modern systems with differential detectors (residual current breaker – not sure of the right term?) any current above 30mA or so it will trigger the breaker.

“Not sure of the right term” – do you mean a ground fault interrupter?

So what if you do the same not being near to a high voltage transmission line? You will also be able to harvest energy from the air. Sources range from radiosignals, cosmic radiation (including the big bang), the neighbours wifi and many more. Probably enough for a few LEDs, and to charge a phone in about a half year or so. It will be challenging for anyone to claim their part…

and with what you just said im wondering how well a metal flag pole would do in a more suburban area than whats shown in the top picture

He could have just held up a florescent light bulb and he would have seen the light bulb light up with nothing attached to light bulb. Very effective demo at night.

He’s not physically touching their property other than being on the easement side. Other than that , this is the utilities problem not his !

Ignorance is bliss and often costly. Your viewpoint is like saying taking a picture of famous artwork and sharing it in a book you sell is not stealing. Just because you don’t “touch” the artwork does not mean it’s yours to use as you see fit. The same as protecting printed text with copyright. Taking power from the utility company is stealing, plain and simple no matter how you try to justify it.

Inductively coupling to the power companies’ line is assuredly considered “touching” their property.

So, what about the electricity affecting something like a cochlear implant, would this be considered an environmental impact for deaf ppl via pollution?

I work for a power company. This could easily get buried in the “system losses.” I think you could easily get away with it unless you posted it on the Internet or somehow made it a problem for the transmission operator. It’s true that power is metered on each end of the line, but it’s metered in megawatts. You’d have to be pulling a good 5MW before anyone would notice. Counting kilowatts on transmission lines is not a worthwhile use of an employee’s time. As for whether it’s legal or not is clearly debatable. I’d consider it from the perspective of a judge who probably knows nothing about transmission losses and capacitive charging. Personally, I wouldn’t do this!

It would be difficult to distinguish it from things like trees and bushes growing in the power corridor, but as the overall losses increase they typically inspect the length of the line and cut them down. That’s when this thing would be discovered.

Ok, you will not be allowed to have fences near HV transmission lines because they will drain power from those lines.

People have been doing this for decades, and by this I mean get “free” power from nearby power lines. They always get caught and the reason helps explain why it isn’t free.

The pickup of the power charges the complex impedance of the transmission line with respect to ground. The power drawn as “free” is often much smaller than the additional power lost in transmission along the remaining line. Even a small change at those power levels can generate a large amount of heat along the transmission line that is bad.

Each change in impedance will reflect a wave back to the sending side. The power company will use time domain reflectometry (TDR) to figure out how far this changed impedance is and drive a truck out to check it. This is important to them as it could mean something is wrong and needs to be fixed. The TDR gear is often good to a few centimeters and the operators can look at the pulse and often get a good clue what to look for.

In Argentina there are places where high voltage lines pass literally meters from precarious homes. It is possible to light a lamp by simply holding it in your hand as is done with the Tesla tower experiment.

So how long did it take to put 36 Joules into that capacitor? Apparently it took a few minutes to go from 500V to 900V, so that is likely less then 200mW.

Power loss from the transmission lines is a real concern for the electricity companies. When electricity has to be transported over long distances, HVDC is used because loss between the AC wiring and GND is significant. But that is for lines of 2000km long or thereabouts.

The electricity company really is not going to care whether they have capacitive loss to the GND or into some fence set up by a farmer. I can imagine them being worried that people kill themselves while doing stupid things like this. People are being dumbed down so much that even the press is likely to blame the electricity company when people manage to get a darwin award in this way. Such things also are bread and butter for the tin hat people who are afraid of any electromagnetic field and loudly proclaiming their ignorance.

I did that math too. It’s a miniscule amount of energy. I think the legal concerns in running such a setup should be more about safety and sparking a fire with a high voltage setup rather than theft.

They care because they don’t want to start a trend where people start setting up “power catchers” along high voltage power lines.

200 mW is enough to run your radio. It’s even enough to light up a LED torch with 20 Lumens of output, or keep your cell phone permanently charged. If it works, soon you’ll have wire nets on poles strung up to catch more.

I think you are misinformed about using HVDC for long distance transmission of power . HVAC is used specifically for that purpose. HVDC is only used locally to bridge disparate systems which are not phase synchronized with each other.

No, not mistaken. Have a look at for example at this 2375 km long system:

Wikipedia also has a list with about 150 installations:

And in general, HVDC is also used for relatively short under sea cables. With under sea cables, the capacitive coupling and losses would be far too big for using AC.

In fact, HVDC only becomes economical beyond a certain distance, because the conversion and step up/down losses are significant – but crucially they don’t depend on the distance – so while HVDC is not efficient, it is less bad than AC at very long distances.

There’s a common misconception that low to medium voltage DC transmission would be more efficient for short distances in a “microgrid” as well, but the voltage conversion makes it horribly inefficient compared to AC.

> When electricity has to be transported over long distances, HVDC > is used because loss between the AC wiring and GND is significant.

And because HVAC can only be used for local climate changes :o)

Yeah, 36 Joules is 10 milliwatt hours…

I have heard of cases of childhood leukemia from families living near high tension lines. There’s a lot of energy going through these lines.. The effect on the human body and brain is largely unknown. I would recommend not living near these towers

The Denver study which showed higher cancer rates along high tension lines was disproven, but just like the “aluminum causes alzheimers” study was disproved people still think it’s true.

All of this reminds me of an old Chinese story about a poor man who lived above a restaurant. The man would eat his rice every day while the restaurant was cooking fish. The smell of the fish made his plain rice taste much better.

When the restaurant owner found out, he was furious and had the man arrested for stealing.

In court, the judge agreed that the man was stealing and would have to pay. He made the poor man present his savings; a few coins. He asked the man to pour his coins from one hand to the other several times. He then said his debt was paid and the man could go.

The restaurant owner was furious and demanded to know how the debt was paid. The judge replied that the payment for stealing a smell would be the sound of money…

You can’t thumbs up or thumb down what constitutes theft in the eyes of the law. Maybe do some case law research as I’ve read no argument here that hasn’t seen a judge already. “I can take it because I can take it” is the basis all theft.

People who placed this in the theft category didn’t really think it through.

You cannot steal that which is discarded and never offered for sale, nor so restricted that it should be held away by reason of safety.

That being said, a valid point was brought up – how one determines the proportion of energy assigned to its proper source. Transmission line proximity will account for the bulk, but other sources are valid.

And, simply because this experiment shows the magnitude of HV line leakage, don’t think it’s a new or different idea. It’s been an electrical industry problem ever since high voltage transmission has existed. You are not stealing it, either. You’ve already paid for it by means of your monthly bill. It’s itemized now, thanks to the busybodies in Congress who can’t seem to keep their fingers out of where they don’t belong, under Transmission.

Every fence close to any HV line dissipates hundreds, thousands of watts every month. Read “wastes, converts to heat” for the word “dissipates”. Fences close to high power radio stations will melt ice in mild winter, so it’s not just power lines.

“You cannot steal that which is discarded”

This isn’t discarded. You’re not capturing the far-field emissions, you’re *very* in the near-field (because the reactive near-field at these frequencies is absurd). You’re actually causing an additional power drain.

This is capacitive coupling based on the setup. Inductive would need a loop.

This is adding extra burden to the utility though it’s miniscule. If who ever wants to do this to power a light, wifi router, camera… Or anything tiny. I doubt the power company would even care. The only thing is this can get super dangerous pretty quickly, as your voltage level is dictated by the dielectric and charging speed based off distance from overhead and length of fence. The capacitor in the video is a bit scary if you don’t have a load dissipating the charge.

Also, this fence would be super suspectable to lighting And voltage spikes as it is the weakest dielectric point between the power line and ground around. (How the whole thing is working) So, be prepared to replace at least one capacitor ever rain storm.

upvote +1 for the use of suspectable instead of susceptible

What makes you think there isn’t a loop? Any real physical conductor can support a loop current inside it, even if it’s only a single wire.

In any case it’s probably better to just say the coupling’s reactive. Doesn’t actually matter whether it’s magnetic or electric, the point of whether it’s “stealing” or not is whether *you’re* affecting *them*, and in this case, of course you are.

This falls under theft. No different then putting a magnet on the meter box with a analog meter. People tried to do this stuff back in the days of POTs lines. Building amplifiers to steal power from the phone lines. Bet the people here that says its not theft are the same people that think if there is in open electrical outlet they can plug in their charger.

It’s not theft at all if it’s radiated off. The energy company should have insulated the lines better. And the lines are not on their property anyway.

“It’s no car theft if the car is never used. The owner should have locked up his car better. And the car was on a public road anyway.” Not the take you want, really.

“It’s not theft at all if it’s radiated off.”

It’s not radiated off. Electromagnetic radiation doesn’t set up until you’re out of *at least* the reactive near field which is like *800 kilometers* for power lines at ~60 Hz. It’s reactive near-field coupling, which means anything *you* do affects the transmitter, too.

“And the lines are not on their property anyway.”

Yes, but the *lines* are their property, and you’re affecting *them*, too.

The power company micro-steals from me all the time. I have a pole in my yard that feeds me and 2 neighbors. Neighbors were complaining it goes out a lot, so they replaced the pole & transformer on it. Left the old pole there, chopped my POTS line, so I can’t get a land line now without some work that VZ may charge me for. Plus they cut some bushes and left all the debris all over the place, for me to pick up. The power still goes out just like it used to, I get brown-out blips where I lose half power for a second or so. So things with a wall wart keep on chugging through that, but it plays havoc with other devices and I’m pretty sure it has blown a thing or 2. Then if I design some device for water handling or whatever, I need to consider how a “brown” condition will effect things, since some of the components survive the brown out and some reboot. (the device checking water level got reset to zero, but the solenoid valve needs power from a remote controlled outlet that resets to OFF when power is interrupted. So even though the arduino tries to open the solenoid it should not have until I remotely power the outlet again, which was intended to allow me to fix the water level first. Remote outlets do not reset on brown conditions, hence flood) Good luck getting bill credit for this.

Power companies use their money to lobby(bribe) the gov to enact laws that benefit them and not you as well as a whole mess of tricks they use to steal from ppl but collect a little of the power they are constantly radiating into the environment and you call them dirty thieves 👌 priorities I guess …look at the ebner effect power can effect life in unusual ways we dont all ways know what we dont knows

Can someone check my math, based on what was shared in the video: ~900V ~8 minutes (480 seconds) ~80 yards (~73 meters)

If so, that’s concerning given the studies highlighted in this paragraph:

I’m not sure how high that power line is … maybe 80-100 feet? Given that radiation is inversely proportional to the square of the distance, would that then infer you have to live over a quarter of a mile away from that high voltage power line to be at levels that don’t double your risk of cancer?

Power lines do not emit ionising radiation, so there is no risk of cancer. And there is no cancer risk associated with magnetic fields.

That’s not entirely true; although the EMR is not ionizing, it can still impact biology, See:

Sadly, some responses in this thread are inaccurate. Without commenting on the legality of “intentional thief”, the electrical inaccuracies can be rectified (no pun) by reading:

… and, for more advance analysis: PDF

try to use a high voltage transformer from lcd tv or monitor ccfl back light to lower the voltage then use a bridge rectifier with a capacitor and 5 v regulator to charge your phone , dont use old crt tv high volatge transformer as they usually contain an internal diode .

A friend had a shed at the end of his garden,. The other side of the fence was a railway line with a 25Kv overhead supply. He stretched a wire between the roof finials, then brought it inside connected to one end of a 5foot fluorescent tube. If you touched the other end of the tube it lit, not very bright but enough to find to find things at night. He tried to put a switch between the tube and earth, but open or closed the lamp still lit, so he put some shutters on the window. As a light source it had one downside, the light dimmed out every time a train went past. J W

He brought the earth too close to the tube. An old-timey knife switch would probably have worked, since the conductors would open further apart.

or he used a lighted switch maybe?

This could have applications for ioT/in the field sensors no ? Did anyone do something with this ?

I realise that the majority of hackaday readers are not engineers, but the lack of knowledge of basic physics in this comment section is worrying.

It seems like there are a few engineers arguing against a large number of libertarians who – deliberately, or otherwise – misunderstand the physics surrounding this. The analogy of “well, its just like generating power from the light that shines on your property!” is clearly wrong – if power lines “emitted” enough radiation along its length for people to pickup power, there the losses would make the current power grid useless. You’re not just “pickup up” energy that would otherwise be wasted. I’m sure we’re all geeks here, so why not use it as an opportunity to brush up on electrical engineering theory.

+1. I have no knowledge in the field, but all the people claiming there’s something like free energy, and it’s just there to collect, is staggering.

If you string a wire on wooden fence post for a long distance and it isn’t touching anything. Even if it’s nowhere near a power line. If you are standing on the ground and touch it. You could be killed. I know, it happened to me.

As someone who works in the industry and has performed or formally reviewed and certified some of the relevant studies…yes, this comment section is (mostly) a disaster. Anyone who is harvesting enough energy from a transmission line to power a device is operating a de facto air-core transformer and that puts a new load on the line’s magnetic field, which requires proportionate use of electric energy from that line. Most of these experiments fail to produce much derived energy but that doesn’t stop people from trying, and getting prosecuted sometimes. I was recently working at a 345 kV station where a substation manager commented they had caught a local farmer trying to operate something like a Tesla coil under one of their lines. In the US, if anyone has a fence that is building enough charge to cause trouble, they should call the utility and complain, and notify their state public utility regulator. The utility will usually be compelled to test the site conditions and, where necessary, install grounding hardware on the affected sections. But if anyone decides to try and harvest significant energy, prepare for possible legal trouble. If it comes out that you were deliberately intending to interfere with critical infrastructure, you might ever find yourself plea-bargaining against a federal terrorism charge of some kind.

As a long-haul pipeline engineer, a well-known & similar situation may sometimes ocurr with pipelines buried longitudinally alongside or in the power line easement. Potential safety hazard for pipeline service technicians and interferes with pipeline cathodic protection systems.

There are a number of mitigation measures; we don’t want to “harvest” power but eliminate build-up of any appreciable voltage or energy in affected pipeline systems.

In doing this, changing the electrical loading, you are basically changing the impedance and/or conductance of the transmission lines, resulting in losses to the power generation company, transmission company, and the downstream users … which only lowers efficiency and increases costs for everyone involved …

It is highly ILLEGAL everywhere … and can be dangerous due to ground currents …

So many comments on here acting like the energy created is just extra or free. The electric company doesn’t exist to make magnetic fields. The intentional captureing of the energy will affect the production. You are most certainly making a siphon directly affecting their production. It’s been a while but its called electro-magnetism because they are one and the same force. Theft.

Just multiply what they got, 36 joules 100 times and they will have stolen a whole watt hour. I am sure the utility is just shaking in their boots over this.

Right. This was an experiment to see how it worked and how much power can be transferred. It didn’t capture enough energy to bother the electric companies in the least. It is “illegal” in that there are laws against capturing energy from power lines, but as a practical thing nobody is going to be pressing charges (ha!) against the experimenter.

If a similar setup were built to siphon off power all day, every day to power a home or a business, then that would drain enough energy over time that it would be worthwhile to press charges against the person using the setup.

The problem isn’t that one person does it. The problem is that if everyone did it, the losses would be enormous. The power companies have to pursue small abuses to prevent people from building more and larger systems to siphon off power.

When I was kid, farmers would use the energy coming of the lines to power their electric fences to keep livestock in and that was 50 years ago. Nothing new.

Honestly after reading maybe 10 comments I stopped. I’m an electrician it’s stealing , no it’s not it’s in the air. Who cares. If they were that worried about it they would put it in isophase to keep you from stealing it. In fact have at it, I had my apprentice wrap #12 around a screw driver under some 400k transmission lines, (since we were getting shocked by the truck anyways ) until we got to 120v. Guess what you aren’t affecting the transmission lines… if you think so you’re an idiot

If you think you can draw power and energy out of anything without affecting it, you’ve just invented the perpetual motion engine. Welcome to the ranks of frauds.

It’s really amazing how many people thinking that that energy is “seeping away” anyway.

On the question of whether this is stealing – isn’t this similar to transformer? The power line acts as a primary and your wire as a secondary. In a transformer , there is very little current when nothing is connected to the secondary, but when you connect something you start consuming power. Therefore, if you start using power off of your fencing wire, you are causing more current to flow and therefore, stealing.

Yes, the majority of the energy in the non-radiative magnetic/electric field is not lost. Coupling into the field creates an actual extra load on the network.

If my neighbour has a bonfire on the boundary of our properties, is it stealing heat if I warm my hands?

I work for a electric utility company in Ohio. We had a customer do this on a farm. He buried wires in a coil shape and used the “free” electricity to power the lighting in all his barns and budings. We discovered in one winter when the company was doing thermal imaging of the transmission line insulators and noticed a weird pattern under the lines where there was no snow.

Story ends with the guy being forced to dig up the buried lines after a court mandate. Company didn’t pursue usage fees in lieu of his compliance. Stealing is stealing and it is illegal to harvest the EMF off HV lines.

Two things I must say You may be teaching someone away to be killed And whether they do it intentionally or It becomes an accident It’s possible you will be responsible Of course you are teaching people to you can’t create it, and it’s someone else and you take it then that is definitely stealing. Of course I’ve seen this before, But I never would imagine a write-up about it Hmmm In a way it may be considered freedom of press or freedom of speech But you may consider the repercussions I have seen this before about 20 years ago And yes I do work for a powerline company as a surveyor and have enough sense two spot something like that even though I wasn’t taught because I know how things work but it is very dangerous

It’s going to come down to how the courts rule on using resonance as your implement to divert the electricity. If they accept that the use of physical laws to use a potential that did not exist in the form it is being prosecuted for, and would not have existed if the the use had not occurred, then you are indeed stealing in this quantum state. Should you find resonance of unknown provenance energizing your property, while on your property due to the unwelcome magnetic storm being unleashed by the power company on these horribly intrusive power lines, and it came to power your home, that’s just an expedient to use a tool your neighbor left on your land. You don’t owe a penny for it.

More electricity has been use on building and hosting this video and thread then he actually harvested in this experiment.

A reference article:

Also, I’d like to point out the empty line above this sentence. It’s called a paragraph break, and is used to organize your thoughts into smaller chunks. It goes along with those little dots at the end of each sentence called periods.

When used properly, periods and paragraph breaks prevent what’s called run-on. You can think of them as indications to the reader that it’s a good point to pause and process your stream of words.

We experienced this effect on our dairy farm that had a pair of high power transmission lines passing through the property.

The local power authority that supplied the metered power investigated our “too low” electrical usage. They grounded nearly every metal object in the dairy barn to no avail.

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