Strange Device

Thread Starter

mThED17

Joined May 18, 2021
4
Hello… I recently found an odd device on my home. I discovered it while setting up a security camera in my attic to check on a possible trapped animal. Spotted it on the wall; can NOT identify. I’ve included some photos and a link to some video of the device in operation(?). Thank you in advance for easing my mind.
Video: https://share.icloud.com/photos/0DT8QqMPIjoR0CQy_uTSpT_Ig
 

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Thread Starter

mThED17

Joined May 18, 2021
4
It is above my master bedroom. This is the second one I’ve found. If you watched the video, they seem to be emitting light. Upon examination of the board, I noticed a few trace lines to be soldered over by hand, additional small Tesla coils, and a microwave relay logic chip. This board was powered by a coax cable with no active cable plan; just using the 5-7V off the line. The load was the large Tesla coil. A WPT, maybe..? To emit light you need like 640 THz.!?
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,188
I don't see any "Tesla" coils but there are several copper coiled inductors on the board which tell me RF receiver. Could well be active TV antenna if not amplified RF receiver for garage door opener.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
11,875
Were the devices powered when you found them? Or were they disconnected and abandoned? Was there a wire connecting them to anything?? There is a lot more information needed unless somebody recognizes them.
AND certainly there was nothing similar to a Tesla coil in any of the pcyures. Coils, yes, but not Tesla coils.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
11,875
Looks like an active antenna amplifier to me as others have also pointed out.
If it is any sort of antenna it seems that there should be a feed-line to whatever it was the antenna for. At least that has been my experience. And any sneaky listening device needs to have a power source of some kind, at least most of them do.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
11,875
I see a coax. Commonly the operating power is piggy-backed on the RF cable.
I also saw the coaxial cable, but the TS made no mention of it and so I was indeed left wondering. It should be possible to follow those cables and get a good clue as to what the devices were intended to do.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,704
I also saw the coaxial cable, but the TS made no mention of it and so I was indeed left wondering. It should be possible to follow those cables and get a good clue as to what the devices were intended to do.
(Some text removed for clarity) This board was powered by a coax cable with no active cable plan; just using the 5-7V off the line. The load was the large Tesla coil. A WPT, maybe..? To emit light you need like 640 THz.!?
 

Thread Starter

mThED17

Joined May 18, 2021
4
I don't see any "Tesla" coils but there are several copper coiled inductors on the board which tell me RF receiver. Could well be active TV antenna if not amplified RF receiver for garage door opener.
That is my mistake on the Tesla coil circuits; been a long time since my days at ITT Tech.
Yes, I believe the device in the photos was powered when I found it. This one was on my roof. I noticed it while reviewing some footage on a new security camera (Wyze Cam) I had just set up. I saw a small line of multicolored light seemingly floating in the air above the chimney. The same line turned bright white after initiating the IR feature on the cam. Also, upon bringing the Wyze cam closer to the device, I noticed that the rooftop turbine ventilator with a polished (mirror) finish was reflecting the colors of light being emitted from the device above even though the device was in a weatherproof housing. Connected to one end of the housing was the coax cable running into the cable box. Cable service was inactive.
It was a discontinued Terk 55 HDTV amplified antenna (see photo), but the housing was breached and repaired on the end with the coax cable connector.
After closer inspection today I now believe the circuit to be altered. I found a picture of one side of the board (see photo) straight from the factory. When I first took it apart, the coax cable was attached to the resistor with the flat capacitor. I disconnected the coax from the resistor by accident.
The metal cable coiled within the PVC is not coaxial (see photo).
Finally, upon taking a closer look today, I noticed that the board is in upside down as the obviously re-glued support niches are backwards, skewing the fit of the board (see photo). Thank you all for your help, prompt attention, and insightful comments. I look forward to further discussion on this matter and will always recommend AllAboutCircuits.com to any and all in need. =)
 

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Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,642
That is my mistake on the Tesla coil circuits; been a long time since my days at ITT Tech.
Yes, I believe the device in the photos was powered when I found it. This one was on my roof. I noticed it while reviewing some footage on a new security camera (Wyze Cam) I had just set up. I saw a small line of multicolored light seemingly floating in the air above the chimney. The same line turned bright white after initiating the IR feature on the cam. Also, upon bringing the Wyze cam closer to the device, I noticed that the rooftop turbine ventilator with a polished (mirror) finish was reflecting the colors of light being emitted from the device above even though the device was in a weatherproof housing. Connected to one end of the housing was the coax cable running into the cable box. Cable service was inactive.
It was a discontinued Terk 55 HDTV amplified antenna (see photo), but the housing was breached and repaired on the end with the coax cable connector.
After closer inspection today I now believe the circuit to be altered. I found a picture of one side of the board (see photo) straight from the factory. When I first took it apart, the coax cable was attached to the resistor with the flat capacitor. I disconnected the coax from the resistor by accident.
The metal cable coiled within the PVC is not coaxial (see photo).
Finally, upon taking a closer look today, I noticed that the board is in upside down as the obviously re-glued support niches are backwards, skewing the fit of the board (see photo). Thank you all for your help, prompt attention, and insightful comments. I look forward to further discussion on this matter and will always recommend AllAboutCircuits.com to any and all in need. =)
It is my opinion that what you have is an ordinary HDTV active antenna. I don't mean to be dismissive, but nothing about the circuit board appears to do anything but act as an amplifier in the frequency range expected. I have no idea what you observed vis-à-vis colored or infrared light (two different things) but I am betting on artifacts from the camera.

As far as power, that antenna came with a power injector and so if there was power present, somewhere on that coax is the injector, plugged into the wall. This is an OTA receiving antenna and not part of cable service. It would be wired to an antenna input, and while it might be there to enhance cable with OTA stations, the cable service (which I am sure, if you trace it, is disconnected at the pole or pedestal) would never provide power over their service delivery cable for it.

I think you need to chalk it up to being an old, dead antenna and the anomalies you have observed require explanations other than strange modified antennas which couldn't produce the results you describe.

This is my considered opinion, and while it may not be very satisfying, I think it is correct based on the facts presented and my long experience.
 
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