generating electricity with nothing but wire and insulators?

Thread Starter


Joined Jul 25, 2008
HI... one of my friends at school told me of a way he supposedly generated a small current. The method he described seemed quite .... er ... Well frankly I dont think it generates any electricity at all. and thats what I told him. But he said he also got a LED to light up. At that point I began to think that there was some hidden scientific law at work. So in the end I put up a post in these forums looking for some explanation. here is a diagram of the set up my friend used to supposedly generate electricity



Joined Aug 3, 2007
I even saw a radio that worked without any power input. It used the radio waves to power the tiny headphones. So it's no surprize that you can power an LED using radio waves.


Joined May 16, 2005
Yes it can. And when the power company traces their inductive loss to your equipment, the fine for theft of their power will be REAL as well.


Joined Nov 9, 2007
Not without vast amounts of metallic surface area to collect the charge.
Yes it can. And when the power company traces their inductive loss to your equipment, the fine for theft of their power will be REAL as well.
In the UK, two or three farmers a year are prosecuted for ploughing in a pickup cable under a National Grid power distribution line crossing their land.

They can draw considerable amounts of power before being caught.


Joined Apr 18, 2009
yeah i've heard stories of farmers lightening up their garden by simply straining a long wire between two trees. They were drawing wave energy from a nearby radio station. I think the radio station tried to sue them for stealing energy.
Basically you have an antenna. The Hindenburg reference is about right, the output from it would be about the same as a small solar panel. Background 'noise' is still voltage no matter the source, and I believe the finder's keeper's law applies here: If you find it and can use it without hooking up wires it's legal. I know a kid who is using metal roofing to do this and he can charge a couple of AA batteries a day. The Hindenburg would probably do a couple deep cell boat batteries though.


Joined Mar 24, 2008
Uhh, no. If it is a commercial product, such as AC power, deliberately tapping off the grid is considered theft of service, at least in the USA (and from what I read, UK).

Radio stations are a bit more iffy, since they aren't selling their commodity, but the information on it.


Joined Jul 1, 2008
When I first read this my reaction was total skepticism. However, since I've not kept up with the latest LED technology I'm unaware if very low current LEDs are now available. The Crystal Radio analogy is (in my opinion) the most palatable.

We live in a world riddled with transmitters and power grids. This fact alone would dictate that our world is pock marked with HOT SPOTS.

Did this guy do this experiment under a main (HV) power grid? :D


Joined May 16, 2005
If it belongs to the power company then can I charge them rent for letting it exist in MY airspace?
An interesting point! The FCC once ruled satellite broadcast companies could not charge for reception if they could not keep the signal out of back yards selectively. This might be a good legal avenue to investigate. Let us know how it turns out for you!


Joined Sep 20, 2005
I don´t quite understand your concern about being sued for using the sky voltage to power anything. The sky voltage is caused by building electrostatic charge by the blowing wind I think, the same way a helicopter gets charged during the flight and has to be grounded and discharged before you touch it.
No one can sue you for using that energy, the same way no one can sue you for using wind power generator.

Of course it is completely different if you hook up to someone´s wire, either galvanically or through magnetic induction.