Picture of How To End Bike Theft: The Honeybike Project
Bike thieves suck, so I decided to get even. Why not track and, if you'd like, shock these most egregious of folk?

With a $40 pay-as-you-go cell phone, stun gun, and some basic electronic components, you can teach bike thieves a lesson and, hopefully, foster a small social change through individual action:)

Shameless self-promotion: I've got this and my other stuff for sale here

Updated: here's me demoing this at Dorkbot Austin last month. And yes, I shock myself:)

Here's the original video of me explaining details on building this:

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
Part of what will make this secure is variance in the approaches we take. Feel free to start with a system similar to mine, but be sure to vary it up!

For a basic system that shocks and tracks, here's what you'll need:
-stun gun; I used the basic, ~50,000 volt one I found at a local sporting goods store. ~$20. You could also mod an instant camera or build one from scratch...
-Phone capable of talking to some tracking system. I went with mologogo, but feel free to play around with others. For the boost mobile motorola i425t, I paid ~$40. Unlimited internet service is like 35 cents a day. I haven't tried, but I've heard reports of being able to use mologogo without buying the net service...
-a diode to connect in paralel with the stun gun, because we're obviously concerned about safety...
-assorted thin-gauge interconnecting wires and non conductive electrical tapes
-circuit protobyping board
-a basic npn transistor, with datasheet. i used the 2n5088.
-a resistor sized based on your transistor. i used a 1.5-ohm one
To choose the right transistor and resistor, read this guide and look at these circuits. If you're using this same design as I did, the load you're trying to control is the 9v battery connection to the stun gun at 9volts 2.8 amps. If you go off the vibrating motor, you're controlling this via something like ~5volts .5 amps...

Useful tools were:
-screwdriver for the weird screws in the back of the cell phone. it was like ultra-tiny torx or something; your best bet is to get the phone, try your existing collection of weird screwdrivers, and get a specific new one if you need to
-utility blade
-multimeter (with ammeter)
-wire stripper
-soldering iron, solder
-'helping hands' alligator clip + magnifying glass thing
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While voltage matters, what shocks is the current. Your figure of 30V is incorrect, as is your assumption that the resistance is lower below the skin. The minimum voltage needed to produce noticeable shock is 9.7 V @300uA (a total of 2.91 W.) Skin resistance is typically 1MOhm/cm, and it's affected by a whole host of variables, like moisture of the skin (or lack of) being the most critical. Stun guns typically operate at 3mA, and voltages vary from 50KV to 160Kv (powers from 15W to 480W). The current is dependent on the conductivity of the skin, the higher the resistance, the lower the current. Note that there are physiological reactions below the voltage threshold, and while they can be measured, they are not noticeable to the subject.
Voltage does not... but amps do.
thats what he said. current = amps.
perhaps if you had drop bars w/ road bike type brakes you could rig the stun to go through the lever and the hoods, granted you don't have hood covers. also the thief would have to be riding on the hoods for it to work....alot of factors required......
Grey_Wolfe7 years ago
Not sure if this was your plan, but you'd be best suited by having contact points in both handles of the handlebar. Also, you'd wants both positive and negative on EACH handle. You want it to charge across the contacts like normal. If you've got positive on one handle and negative on the other (assuming enough charge) you run the risk of causing serious injury or death due to charge being forced through the heart. This would definitely get you sued, or worse. Just thought I'd throw that out there. By having both contacts on each handlebar, you illiminate the chance of missing because someone's riding w/ one hand. Though you'll get less uses per charge of the stun gun batteries.
It is STILL a bad idea if you put both electrodes on each handle. The problem arises when the current path to the skin is broken, the internal resistance of your body is very low. There WILL be a current loop between the handle bars from one side's positive going to the others' negative and the current only goes up if the resistance skin resistance is higher on one lead than another which is almost defiantly a given. again, DO NOT use any more than 2 electrodes spaced closely together if you attempt this. If you want to do both handle bars, you would need two guns so they don't go across your heart, and then you have to have some optical or physical electrical isolation so they don't act act as a series circuit of two capacitors..... On a last point, I strongly recommend not hacking a taser to your bicycle or anything else for that matter. They are dangerous and if your doing a cell phone you don't have FULL control over, you are asking for problems, such as when the prepaid cell company sends advertisements to your phone every couple of weeks and it vibrates to indicate a text message from your provider about their latest pre-paid deals, you will get a random shock yourself and be a very unhappy hacker.
@tronic - note the off switch in the concept.
@most everyone else - note the why would I care if someone got injured after stealing something of mine? If just one person did actually die from stealing a bike, word would spread quickly on the street and in the media, and there would be an instant reduction in bike thefts. I fail to see any problems with this. There are or were places where caught theives would lose fingers or a whole hand as punishment. If this was the case in these USA now, we would have next to no theft.
@liseman - Good idea on self-protection!
Here's a thought:

Because it's illegal, and *you* will likely go to jail when (not if. This is a highly dangerous booby trap) someone dies. For a *lot* longer than anyone else will for stealing your bike, I might add.

Just as importantly, "once word gets out on the street" word will also get around to remove anything from a bike that could be used to hide a cell phone and a tazer, when one is stealing bikes. So what you'll find very quickly is that where once your bike stood, you now find a cell phone and/or a tazer. Or just an empty water bottle. It's such a simple work-around it's not even funny.

Yes, bike theft sucks. Going vigilante sucks even more. Trust me on this one.
Why would you care? Because you'd be both criminally, i.e. jail time, and civilly, i.e. lose everything you own, liable.

As for those "places" where caught thieves lose finger, the US isn't one of those places. So, if you live in one of those places then you're good. If you live in the US - criminally and civilly liable.

Also, if someone who isn't even remotely connected with the theft is injured by you zapping the thief, as in the thief goes down in traffic precipitating a car crash that kills/injures someone, they you're on the hook for that as well.

you may be on point there, but it shouldn't be so- like the case of the stoned drunk who stumbled out into the street and got hit by the delivery service truck...that guy loses a job because an idiot was inebriated and unable to control herself
Tally ho
u are so r8ght and cnt the thif just figure it out?
Maybe the thief's buddy. lol After the first guy fell on the ground twitching. Don't think many people are expecting an electric bicycle to bite them. But at the current design, it's not overly covert, so, your right, it would be fairly easy to spot, even if you weren't sure what it was.
wonder if it would be possible to insert the assembly inside, say the handle bars? Then you can just put the end covers back on and nobody would know. It shouldn't affect the cell reception too much, either.
No one has funny videos?? like, this thing in real action???
skidrum3 years ago
Wisconsin Statutes say

"939.49  Defense of property and protection against retail theft. (1) A person is privileged to threaten or intentionally use force against another for the purpose of preventing or terminating what the person reasonably believes to be an unlawful interference with the person's property. Only such degree of force or threat thereof may intentionally be used as the actor reasonably believes is necessary to prevent or terminate the interference. It is not reasonable to intentionally use force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm for the sole purpose of defense of one's property."

So, assuming the thief touches your bike, gets shocked, then walks away, you're fine. But what if, in the process of riding your bike, said thief takes off his gloves, gets shocked, and falls into traffic. Do you want to be a killer?
And what about a curious child? What if your bike falls and some good-doer wants to put it back up? 

Jrown skidrum3 years ago
The law changes as per district, but in areas to do allow defenses that can be considered traps (in an extreme example, the Mantrap home security systems) loss of life on behalf of a perpetrator is a liability on behalf of the criminal IF a warning of potential loss of life is posted.

In shorthand, if your bike does NOT have any warning about the existence of a potentially fatal security system, it might face the scrutiny of law.


If one has been warned of a security system then chooses to disregard it, gets shocked and run over by a car, it's their own fault. It's the same scenario as if you were to touch an electric fence, get knocked back, and drown in a puddle: it is YOUR FAULT for touching the fence; the rest is a consequence of a really bad choice.
anex skidrum3 years ago
this would not be an issue more than likely since he will be manually activating it. Im assuming he would confirm that it was being stolen by either first hand knowledge or by tracking his bike.
Good point Skidrum.
for the next version i would suggest a model T ignition coil this will numb the mussels of the rider and it can be sustained rather than just a single shock

it works by flipping the polarity of the battery and built in ingintion coil will work wonderfully off of drill batteries or anney other source greater than 6 volts up to 16
Freyberger4 years ago
I had my bike stolen and I so agree. Great instructable !!
one small question. Why arent you wearing a shirt?
Why should he? Did I miss that rule in the forum rules? How about shoes, are they mandatory?
woah, calm down. It was just an out of the ordinary video for me, I apologize
Lokisgodhi5 years ago
Or you could wire the cellphone to create enough heat to set off a rifle cartridge in the tube that the seat is attached to.  But the cops and the DA would probably frown on that.
They very much would. Mantrapping is heavily frowned upon. Also, any cartridge would have to be surrounded by a chamber in order to send the projectile flying with any sort of decent speed.
An unsupported cartridge is basically an expensive firecracker. Not sayin' it wouldn't work at all, just that I wouldn't count on it.
I do like the electric shocks, though, and would be even more keen on being able to track the whereabouts of my bike. I may wanna try something like this when I get the time, and pre-paid phones are getting even cheaper.

robots1997 years ago
Please explain this calmly, WHY ARE YOU NOT WEARING A SHIRT IN THE VIDEO!!!!!
liseman (author)  jimtran937 years ago
it's my video, i just screwed up trying to compress it before uploading...

and i feel no more impetus to explain why i'm not wearing a shirt than you do to explain why you are wearing one:)
How about because you were making a video that you expected people to see? You may have felt comfortable because you were in a private place, but as it was meant to be a public video, it's like going to the grocery store with no shirt. Something I'm assuming you wouldn't do.
I don't understand everyone's "wear a shirt" demands. Why does it matter? Though I would like to see you do the video in a guayabera (if you are, in fact, taking requests).
So you're not gonna wear our shirt?
This refers to you two..
caps_lock turn off.jpg
actually, i used shift lol
He didn't. The video is just out of sync.
o, lol wow, really out of sync
Why should he?
petercertik7 years ago
Put a shirt on in the video.
I second that request!
Third it.
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