Author Topic: Can you kill someone with simple cap?  (Read 8185 times)

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Offline TNb

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Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« on: August 30, 2016, 11:23:52 pm »
I just caught myself on a thought:
You can arrange couple capacitors in parallel, charge them up to 300 V (or even higher, depending on capacitor) and go around poking people, maybe even lethally. Why this did not happen before? Seems like super easy plan for criminals to kill someone or severely damage. Some caps have very small internal resistance, so I think it is a piece of cake to get some substantial current to the body. Am I missing something?
 

Offline TNb

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2016, 11:30:39 pm »
Found this question on EE.SE - http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/187405/can-a-charged-120v-high-voltage-capacitor-really-kill-you

interesting read
But yeah, one capacitor may be not enough to kill, but what if you take 4? 6? 8?
Other feature is that if you poke it to the arm it may not go to heart, you need to touch two terminals with two hands, but if it is summer and everyone goes topless - here you go, just poke it to someone chest, why do you need to buy a gun?

That is quite fascinating and creepy at the same time.
 

Offline TNb

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2016, 11:45:43 pm »
Tazers use DC inverted to AC as far as I know, maybe that makes it little bit safer, I don't know. What shocked me that any bum can dig up 10 caps on a dumpster, charge them up and that's it. You don't need to be EE expert to make such tazer. Hope no one will do it, because we will have worldwide ban on capacitors and then we are screwed :D
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2016, 11:54:32 pm »
Interesting thoughts you have.
Thats how tazers work and its why it shoots out two lines the voltage is with respect to the terminals. Its also how those electric mouse traps work, capacitive multiplier to charge up a cap then poor mickey completes the circuit and zap.

I'm no expert on tasers but i expect they have some form of current limiting because they generate in the kV, mouse traps are also up there if I remember correctly.

It's a common misconception that Taser and other 'Conducted Electrical Weapons' deliver several tens of thousands of volts to a person. This is just not true (the crappy Chinese ones might be a different story).

The Taser model X26 is quite a popular choice for law enforcement worldwide. The peak open circuit voltage can be up to 50kV DC however the loaded voltage (once the probes strike a person) starts off at 1200vdc average and ramps down to about 350vdc by the time the cycle completes.

Actual energy delivered from a Taser X26 into the body is 0.07 joules (about 1.2 watts).

There is an interesting article here if you're interested in the technical details and test results.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 11:59:35 pm by Halcyon »
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2016, 12:13:37 am »
But do it enough times and the consequences can be tragic.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-29/brazil-rebuke-australia-after-taser-death/6055708

True. However in this (and almost all other cases of Taser-related deaths) the person's heart/body was already stressed due to drugs or some other underlying medical issue. Tasers were never marketed as being "safe", it's just if you're in a position that you need to be Taser'ed, the only next step up from that is a firearm and you're far more likely to die from a gunshot wound than from a Taser. Law Enforcement refer to it is a "less than lethal" option rather than "non-lethal".

If I was a crook, I think I'd know which one I'd rather have.
 

Offline Maxlor

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2016, 12:34:31 am »
But yeah, one capacitor may be not enough to kill, but what if you take 4? 6? 8?
Other feature is that if you poke it to the arm it may not go to heart, you need to touch two terminals with two hands, but if it is summer and everyone goes topless - here you go, just poke it to someone chest, why do you need to buy a gun?

That is quite fascinating and creepy at the same time.
With a healthy victim, you need to deliver continuous current for quite a bit of time (over a minute) to get the heart to stop for good. It's a robust organ, and the contraction triggering system has two backup systems. This means that even if you stop the heart with electricity in a healthy person, it'll restart on its own after a few seconds. So, caps as a method for reliably killing people? Nope, I don't think so, better use a knife :)

Of course, shocking people with caps charged to high voltages can still be dangerous, because not all people are healthy, and there's a good amount of people who have some sort of heart defect but are unaware of it. With those, you might trigger a fibrillation episode that doesn't sort itself out and might well be fatal. So don't play around with this stuff. Besides, you can still cause damage such as burns or local nerve damage.
 

Offline timb

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2016, 01:49:35 am »
But do it enough times and the consequences can be tragic.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-29/brazil-rebuke-australia-after-taser-death/6055708

True. However in this (and almost all other cases of Taser-related deaths) the person's heart/body was already stressed due to drugs or some other underlying medical issue. Tasers were never marketed as being "safe", it's just if you're in a position that you need to be Taser'ed, the only next step up from that is a firearm and you're far more likely to die from a gunshot wound than from a Taser. Law Enforcement refer to it is a "less than lethal" option rather than "non-lethal".

If I was a crook, I think I'd know which one I'd rather have.

They were only supposed to be used where the only other alternative would be lethal force. The problem is they are being used just for compliance by a lot of lazy or power tripping cops.

This is true, however, in fairness, the alternative to a taser for compliance is either a baton or OC spray.

Personally, I'd rather not have some cop, with adrenaline pumping, tune me up with his night stick. Didn't work out well for Rodney King either.

OC spray is nasty, nasty shit. You have just as much chance of hitting your partner than the mutt you're trying to put down, you can't reliably use it indoors (without it affecting you and the other cops in the area), it gets absolutely *everywhere* (all over you when you handle the suspect, all over your car, all over the intake people in the jail, etc.) and isn't even guaranteed to work to begin with! (I've personally seen people take direct face hits with the stuff and only get madder.)

To me, the bottom line is this: If the police tell you to comply and you don't, you have absolutely no excuse if you get tased. I agree, there have been a few cases of power tripping officers tasing people where it wasn't warranted, but I don't think that happens every day. The majority of people who get it were warned *multiple* times to put their hands on their head and get on the ground. They don't, so they get shocked. That seems straight forward to me.

What are the alternatives? Beanbag rounds? Rubber bullets? Those have a lower stopping rate and can also be lethal in certain conditions.)

(One thing that *always* forces a suspect into compliance is a 75lb German Shepherd. They're rarely lethal, too. Maybe they should just be standard issue for all cops? :D)
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Offline ez24

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2016, 02:10:02 am »
How about a small SMD in a syringe that is at the end of an umbrella?
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Online vk6zgo

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2016, 03:34:42 am »
I just caught myself on a thought:
You can arrange couple capacitors in parallel, charge them up to 300 V (or even higher, depending on capacitor) and go around poking people, maybe even lethally. Why this did not happen before? Seems like super easy plan for criminals to kill someone or severely damage. Some caps have very small internal resistance, so I think it is a piece of cake to get some substantial current to the body. Am I missing something?

There are reasons why Psychopaths prefer guns & knives.
Georg Simon Ohm will not be denied!
Yes,the caps may have very low internal resistance,but the person does not.

The current through the person  will be :-
I=V/R, initially,but this is the best you will get.
The current will then decay exponentially,according to the values of  C & R,being effectively zero at t=5CR.

On that basis  the practice may well be dangerous,but to the perpetrator,rather than the victim.
The latter will jerk away on contact,& may "by reflex" deliver you a punch in the mouth.

To add insult to injury,a Police Officer will then arrest you for assault.

Yes,people have received dangerous shocks from capacitors,but they have usually been large transmitting type oil-filled
units,charged to 5 or more kV.
I have visions of the OP, cackling maniacally,pushing a wheelbarrow with one of those things in it,whilst he stalks his next victim! ;D
 

Offline CJay

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2016, 05:13:22 am »
Tazers use DC inverted to AC as far as I know, maybe that makes it little bit safer, I don't know. What shocked me that any bum can dig up 10 caps on a dumpster, charge them up and that's it. You don't need to be EE expert to make such tazer. Hope no one will do it, because we will have worldwide ban on capacitors and then we are screwed :D

Far easier to just beat someone to death with whatever the caps came out of.
 

Offline daqq

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2016, 06:50:08 am »
Quote
You can arrange couple capacitors in parallel, charge them up to 300 V (or even higher, depending on capacitor) and go around poking people, maybe even lethally. Why this did not happen before? Seems like super easy plan for criminals to kill someone or severely damage. Some caps have very small internal resistance, so I think it is a piece of cake to get some substantial current to the body. Am I missing something?
Capacitors and capacitor banks can be extremely dangerous, even lethal. There is a reason for the existence of bleeder resistors. You could do a lot of harm.

However, weaponizing capacitors is just impractical (aside from it being simply morally wrong) - to kill someone you need a fair amount of energy (large size), or energy applied in a very specific manner (also known as tazers). Also, caps do not hold their charge indefinitely, so some kind of power supply is needed for any kind of such "weapon".
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2016, 07:42:57 am »
I just caught myself on a thought:
You can arrange couple capacitors in parallel, charge them up to 300 V (or even higher, depending on capacitor) and go around poking people, maybe even lethally. Why this did not happen before? Seems like super easy plan for criminals to kill someone or severely damage. Some caps have very small internal resistance, so I think it is a piece of cake to get some substantial current to the body. Am I missing something?
Because a capacitor is not an effective weapon. It can only store one shot before needing to be recharged and it's highly unlikely to be lethal, no matter how big the capacitor is.

In order to cause death, the current needs to flow through the heart or brain and just poking someone with a capacitor is unlikely to do this. To kill someone with a capacitor, you'd need to poke them in the chest and the electrodes need to be far enough apart, that enough current will flow through the heart, rather than in the tissue immediately under the skin near the capacitor's terminals.

A knife is a much more effective weapon than a capacitor and is much easier to get hold of.
 

Offline JoeN

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2016, 07:55:30 am »
Tazers use DC inverted to AC as far as I know, maybe that makes it little bit safer, I don't know. What shocked me that any bum can dig up 10 caps on a dumpster, charge them up and that's it. You don't need to be EE expert to make such tazer. Hope no one will do it, because we will have worldwide ban on capacitors and then we are screwed :D

Dude, anyone can buy a gun with no waiting period and minimal paperwork, at least around here.  Why would you hack up a capacitor pseudo-weapon?  Maybe in your country, but it would result in no ban here at least because no one would ever consider making that poor of a weapon.  Honestly, a can of gasoline is a better weapon than what you are suggesting.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 07:57:50 am by JoeN »
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2016, 07:58:03 am »
"Can you kill someone with simple cap?"

Probably:


Or, you could just club them to death with it:
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Offline wasyoungonce

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2016, 09:00:36 am »
Caps on the tripler network of microwave Magnetron HV supplies....ouch a couple of joules of energy and you can meet your maker!  Luckily they have discharge resistors.....but I always use a discharge resistor probe when working near them.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2016, 09:38:19 am »
"Can you kill someone with simple cap?"

Probably:

Or, you could just club them to death with it:


Drat. You beat me to it.

But my answer would be inspiired by the old exam question of "how can you use a barometer to measure the height of a building?".
  • catapault it at them
  • get them to step on it, slip, and hit their head when falling
  • get them to swallow it
  • apply overvoltage, get them to inhale the magic smoke
  • don't forget a CRT will retain charge at 17kV after it is turned off; something to remember when repairing scopes
  • charge up an HV capacitor for a long time, quickly short its terminals to get a spark and they think it is safe. Wait a few minutes until dielectric absorbtion causes the terminal voltage to rise, and then give them a jolt
  • approach from behind with a large HV capacitor. Hold it near their ears, and spark discharge it so that they are startled and do something fatal
  • etc
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online ebclr

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2016, 11:32:52 am »
With a gun will be much more easier
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2016, 11:59:12 am »
With a gun will be much more easier

Boooorrrring!
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2016, 12:11:39 pm »
Drat. You beat me to it.

Nature beat us all to it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_phalloides


Boom tish.

With a gun will be much more easier

Boooorrrring!

Oh I don't know. I've always wanted to try firing a suitable sized electro cap from a shotgun, or something like a small bore potato gun.  Charged up or not.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 12:22:23 pm by TerraHertz »
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Offline CJay

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2016, 12:35:48 pm »


Oh I don't know. I've always wanted to try firing a suitable sized electro cap from a shotgun, or something like a small bore potato gun.  Charged up or not.

It works nicely, they don't seem to tumble much either but it was from a rifled barrel, not sure how well they'd work from a smooth bore
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2016, 12:43:11 pm »


Do you think this could kill? Hell yes!
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2016, 02:07:43 pm »
Drat. You beat me to it.

Nature beat us all to it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_phalloides
Boom tish.

I've picked them many times over the decades, and the close relatives such as "destroying angel". I've never plucked up the courage to eat a "caesar's mushroom".

If you do ingest "death caps", the progress of your demise has some suprises.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline System Error Message

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2016, 02:34:29 pm »
How lethal electricity is depends on the relationship V=IR where V is the voltage of the tazer or capacitor and R is the resistance of blood/human skin. Human skin has a high resistance and the voltage of a capacitor drops significantly on load.

Tazers should not use AC because it can cause the human heart to beat out of sync and it doesnt cause the muscles to freeze up. With DC the victim is frozen and the heart can stop but only while being shocked. A Proper tazer would use high volts so that it can pass through skin and clothing but have limit on the amps/watts that flow.

If you take a 9V battery with the terminals and pierce your skin on both terminals, blood has a very low resistance so it can kill you.

If you take a bunch of capacitors in parallel and connect them to yourself in a localised manner you are likely to burn a portion of yourself rather than kill as long as the electricity doesnt pass through any important organ. The amps delivered by capacitors (say you used a bunch of high capacitance super capacitors in the range of 100s of farads), it is sufficient to melt cables so if you connected that to your finger you are likely to lose it and if the voltage was very high it would turn to ash.
 

Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2016, 12:01:28 am »
My computer teacher was an ambulance driver and he found the body of a dead repairman against the wall opposite an open copy machine with a burnt screwdriver in his hand. The machine was unplugged. :scared:
*BZZZZZZAAAAAP*
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Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Can you kill someone with simple cap?
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2016, 12:12:14 am »
I imagine a big enough capacitor can definitely pack a punch.  Maybe even delimb someone.  :o 



Oh just realized OP is from Photonicinduction too.   Crazy guy lol! 
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 12:14:01 am by Red Squirrel »
 


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