Hijinks At 50,000 Amps


So you happen to have a really beefy transformer sitting around in your living room. What are you going to do with it? Short stuff across it to watch it glow of course!

This video is exactly that. While we flip flopped between “what is this guy doing?” and “ooooh, look at it glow!”, we thought you would surely enjoy this video. If you’re in a hurry, jump to around 5:30 to see a crowbar lit up completely.

[Alan] from HackedGadgets pointed out an interesting thought. Often the government pinpoints marijuana grow houses by their electricity usage. Though he’s not using this on a regular enough schedule to realistically get raided, the thought of that misunderstanding is quite humorous.

[via HackedGadgets]

65 thoughts on “Hijinks At 50,000 Amps

    1. Well it’s simple, the turns ratio proportionally boosts the input current.

      It’s hard to tell how he has organised those secondary turns – they look like they are in parallel but he says they give .5 V times three (1.5V) so they must be in series. Therefore the turns ratio, assuming 415V input is 415/1.5 ~= 275. So to get 50,000 Amps out you need 50,000/275 ~= 180 amps in = he says 200 Amps in (how he gets THAT in a domestic situation I have no idea), so given losses etc. It is not out of the realms of possibility.

      1. There are only two real ways to get that much current. One is to run things strait from the main fuse of the house and bypass the breaker as that is usually a 200A fuse. A very large switch and either total stupidity or bravery to actually make the connections (not very legal though). Unless, like I have here, your lucky enough to have poly-phase, well you get the idea (:
        It is dangerous and a pain but not impossible (:

      2. “Most standard size houses in the US have 200A 240V feeds.”
        Hmm we have 25Amps @230V here in Holland and the newer (domestic) buildings have 3x25A.

        And I thought they had only 110V in the US.

      3. We use 120v for most things. The transformer on the pole delivers 240 with a center tap. So you have two 120v poles in reference to the center tap called the neutral. So for things like ovens and water heaters the power is taken from the two lines, on low powered stuff it goes from one line to a neutral.

      4. > Most standard size houses in the US have 200A 240V feeds.

        Yes but you’ll have twice the current because you have half the voltage (i.e. same VA). What he is saying is he has the equivalent of what would be 400 amps in the US. Not likely in my experience.

    1. I must of been under that rock. I hadn’t seen it before. I don’t necessarily go looking for youtube videos of people hacking. I let others, like sites like HAD, filter those out for me and post the worthy ones.

    1. One does not simply explodes the power meter. I have done some serious shorts along time and the power meter never exploded or melted like that. The breaker always worked, if he does not have a breaker he is just plain stupid. This video is probably fake.

      1. If he WERE using a breaker when trying to pop a leccy meter then that would be stupid. It is a ‘fake’ in that he’s intercut it with clips of him playing around, when he just overcurrented the meter directly.

      2. If you look at the end, he has the meter dead shorted across the secondary winding. He’s running 640A @ like 2vlts. That is not his house meter. It’s just edited together to give that impression.

  1. 50,000 Amps? Did someone say wire resistance? Ohm’s law? Considering that the secondary winding voltage is 2V, he’s magically getting 100,000W out of nowhere. That poor little VARIAC, that I suppose he’s using to control the power, would be smoking at 100kW. At these high currents wire resistance cannot be simply ignored. The very low resistance of the wires and the stuff he’s melting (say 1mohm) is enough to push down the current by thousands of Ampères. Also, by looking at the core of it, I seriously doubt that it can put out more than 10kW of power, and I’m being generous here, because I have seen welding machines with bigger transformers and much less power than 10kW.

    1. The open circuit voltage is 2V, it would be much lower shorted out. A quick calculation tells me that 50kA would require about 72A from the outlet at 240V 3 phase. If the neighborhood fuse is 80A in the UK as stated in the comments of the youtube video where he blacks out the neighborhood, 50kA out would be very possible.

    2. I see three parallelled single turns of probably .5″ copper cable. I’d guess at closer to 100mV between those bus bars open circuit which would make the transformer and the big variac 5kW. They both look about the right size to me.

      On a side note, this guy used to have a video on his channel of a police helicopter hovering over his house with the thermal cam clearly pointing his way. He’s recording it from his window with a running commentary. Quite funny really.

      1. They properly thought he was running a cannabis farm because of the large amount of power he was using. They use the thermal camera to pic up the heat from the growing lamps.

  2. Where do the amps come from?

    The output current of a transformer is the input current times the number of primary windings divided by the number of secondary windings. His transformer is a current multiplier. Or, maybe a current divider since the current really depends on the load.

    And there’s not even an arduino involved!

    Use that to solder your 8 pin microcontrolers?

  3. A few tips if you’re going to do a grow house.

    1) Don’t use commercial power. Spend the money and go solar.

    2) Line all the walls, windows, etc. with highly reflective material. Then they can’t peep via infrared anymore.

    But then if you implement step 1 there’s high doubt that they’d even bother trying to take an infrared read on your place.

  4. “This video is soooooo old!”

    Come on, folks, it’s from April, it’s only 7 months old. I could understand the complaint if it were from 2002 or something, but 7 months?

      1. He committed infocide, leaving up only some barely coherent rant, which was up for a day or two before the entire account was closed. Someone else rehosted all of his videos shortly after. This content was old when I first discovered his channel through a HaD article over a year ago. Be sure to check through the rest of his videos it’s full of fun stuff.

  5. Thopter: No, PhotonicInduction commited infocide earlier this year, then came back when people just reuploaded his videos. The actual video is years old.

    mur1010: Photon is based in the UK, so he’s on 230V (±10%), which would mean somewhere in the region of 420A. He’s mentioned in previous videos that he has three-phase coming into his house (that video isn’t online anymore, see above), as well as a chunky UPS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcfd2Ncoeis) that it appears can chuck out somewhere in the region of 300A at 12V (the video isn’t clear there). So, if he effectively has three residential supplies on 230V/200A breakers, as well as a battery for running his actual house when doing experiments, I see no reason he can’t pull 100kW. Whether this particular build is doing that is a different matter that I can’t speak to.

  6. sounds like it is using a switching power supply so the amps from the 110 outlet may be lower.

    also seeing the length of the output windings it looks like less than a volt.

    if you look at a soldering gun you see the thick part where the tip connects to is only a half turn so it is a fraction of a volt at sever hundred amps.

    if that was a conventional 60 hz transformer it would draw 5000 amp from the ac 1 to 10 ratio.

    being that it sounds like a switching power supply (like modern power supplies it may be less.

    still i doubt that electric bills are the only thing drug enforcement uses i think it only raises the suspicion so they then use thermal camera to get the warrant to bring a dog in only to find no grow.

  7. At the end he says that he draws about 50amps from the fusebox and that he has two windings with 120V in series. If the secondary goes down to half a volt as he said, then he gets 2*120*50/.5=24kA. Now that would be IF he shorted the output. Pushing 24kA through a piece of iron requires much more than half a volt.

  8. Compulsive Math Obsession can be a virtue. Or it can be a petty quibble detracting from a Hack article’s basic AWESOME. Decades ago folks would slag SF&F authors for a petty math/physics Handwaving that neither broke or made a story by itself. Same with this case. 10Ka- 1Ka or 100 thousand amps is only a game of numbers. It’s what you DO with those amps.

    Making a crowbar freaking glow is worthy of respect.

  9. On the Grow-op side of things, out my way there’s a kind of criminal that specializes in robbing grow houses; they’re known as grow rippers.

    If you’re doing any sort of thing that might get you mistaken for a marijuana grower then you better hope that the police find you first.

  10. The cops tend to fly around in the heli with the IR camera running. Most growers I suspect tend to convert their loft space to growing areas, these are easily seen from a heli with an IR cam.

  11. If you watch the video, he doesn’t say 50,000 amps a re flowing through the transformer. He simply notes the amount he is pushing through it, remarks how it isn’t warm, and then suggests it might be capable of 50,000 amps.

    Cool your jets kids.

  12. 1) this guys videos are awesome and epic.

    2) this guy in several videos remarks how he has tapped into the power WITH the express approuval of his electricity provider. without meter and with extra large cables. you know this guy’s profession/job ??? hint, the power company RELIES on this guy to do things they’r electricians/tech’s can NOT do. photonic induction splices and re routes 5kV lines while live and powering a building/minisubstation.

    the powercompany would happily supply whatever electricity he wanted… for a few seconds at a time… provided he doesnt damage any equipment or piss off the neighbours too much.

    3) this guy owns, and plays with, several fire extinguishers. he ALWAYS has one handy, and another. and two more in the closet. he demonstrates doing various DIY/dangerous things with them and its all VERY fun/funny to watch!
    a few times he uses them to put out small fires started by “popping” electrical equipment.

    so no real fire danger with the flying sparks

    4) its obvious you could get killed when playing with 100kV flying accross the room. or projectiles. this guy is magic. you are NOT. therefore use of safety is ALWAYS reccomended.

  13. There’s a concept to consider- KWH means Kilowatt HOURS.

    Yes- it’s “potentially” 100Kw but- for single moments of glow bar stuff.

    So, the math of how many euro’s a month is not that hard to suss out, if you have the rates and accurate times.

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