Can anyone tell me what this is and why this sand-like thing is used in an electrical circuit? I have never seen this kind of thing.

About the components: they are in an "electricity saving spike buster". When I saw it at my parents house I of course ripped it off and took it apart to see what is inside. This is what I found:

enter image description here

  • 18
    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe it is really sand. Or this is what Snake Oil actually looks like? \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 19:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ ”electricity saving spike buster” Scam product? Just an LED driver. I’m surprised they put a fuse in there. \$\endgroup\$
    – winny
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Adding some weight probably too... \$\endgroup\$
    – Eugene Sh.
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Does the "Spike Buster" reduce electricity consumption? \$\endgroup\$
    – gre_gor
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 7:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure, that the electrical current gets cleaned by drifting through the sand, leaving all the dirty spikes behind in the sand filter. The magic black and red device on the sophisticated printed circuit provide the necessary power to flush the sand once it becomes obstructed with electrical spikes. Just like in water filters. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jens
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


Some fuses are filled with sand to help cool and quench the arc but from the look of that casing, that fact that the wires do not appear to be connected anything inside the case, and the high probability/almost certainty that an "electricity saving spike buster" is a gimmick that does nothing, my guess is the sand is there to make the device feel heavier and therefore more legitimate.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Sand is also probably cheaper than epoxy for filling in the fake component. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 20:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wtknow Now that you know your parents bought a scam device, it might be wise to check that your parents aren't falling for other, more expensive and serious scams. In the U.S. alone, scammers cost the elderly billions of dollars every year. aarp.org/money/scams-fraud \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 22:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ One of many links to reviews that expose this as a scam: billswiz.com/electricity-spikes-buster-review \$\endgroup\$
    – PStechPaul
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 23:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's probably a dubious/scam device, but is is possible the sand component is there to absorb a lightning strike-sized arc? \$\endgroup\$
    – kackle123
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kackle123 That's used in high-voltage devices only (several kV). Nothing in this device could create such voltages here. \$\endgroup\$
    – PMF
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 6:38

It has nothing to do with electronics, many products use sand or a steel block to make them heavy enough so they don't slide around or to make them feel weightier. Some do this for deception, some do not, it looks to me like this is more of the deceptive device.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I've even seen lead in an old webcam base. And concrete in a desk fan base. But when sand is used for ergonomic ballast in legit devices it's normally bound with epoxy to keep it under control. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact that's what I mean by ballast in legit devices \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 4:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've had a torch from China that replaced two batteries with what appeared to be a carefully-sawn chunk of basalt. However in this case note that the wires run through the epoxy into the sand, and unless there really was a now-lost fusible link in there that's a scam. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 6:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkMorganLloyd Also note that the wires from the "sand component" don't seem to connect to anywhere. Otherwise, we would need to see soldering points for these wires somewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – PMF
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 6:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PMF That's an interesting point. I presume OP cut the black leads so he could apply BFI to decapsulate the suspect component. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 6:54

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