During electrocution there are two
(2) factors that must be considered: the conscious and the autonomic nervous
systems. Voltages in excess of 1500 volts ac are generally sufficient to
destroy the conscious nervous system, that which controls pain and
understanding. Generally, unconsciousness occurs in 4.16 milliseconds, which
is 1/240 part of a second. This is twenty-four (24) times as fast as the
subjects conscious nervous system can record pain. The autonomic nervous
system is a little more difficult, however, and generally requires in excess
of 2000 volts ac to seize the pacemaker in the subjects heart. Generally, we
compute the voltage at 2000 volts ac plus 20%. After the voltage is applied
and the subjects body saturates, the voltage has dropped about 10% (depending
upon the resistance of the electrode contacts and that of the subject body)
and this should be taken into consideration, as well. Current should be kept
under six (6) amperes to minimize body damage (cooking).
Ideally, the voltage is calculated
The average man weighing 70 kilos
(154 lbs.) requires 2000 volts ac to seize the heart.
Increase the voltage by 20% to
accommodate subjects with greater resistance.
2000 volts ac plus 20% equals 2400
Increase voltage by 10% for drop at saturation.
2400 volts ac plus 10% equals 2640 volts ac.
Thus, the voltage should be 2640
This 2640 volts ac should be applied
in two (2) jolts of one (1) minute each, spaced at a ten (10) second interval.
On occasion, the subjects heart will spasm, instead of seizing, during the
first application of current and the application of the second jolt will
generally eliminate this problem. This spasm is due to excessive chemical
build-up (acetylcholine and sympathin) at the nerve junctions and the ten (10)
second wait generally allows for dissipation of the chemicals.
Fred A. Leuchter Associates, Inc.
manufactures a low-cost, state-of-the-art modular system for electrocution.
The system utilizes solid state circuitry for control and timing, current
regulation to five (50) milliamperes (1%) and single and two (2) station
control for operation. It is designed with plug-in components for ease in
repair and maintenance, and because of its modular design can be installed in
very little time by untrained personnel.
The control system is designed for a
timing sequence which will deliver two (2) one (1) minute jolts at minimum of
2400 volts ac spaced ten (10) seconds apart. To guarantee fail-safe operation,
a redundant system's timer activates and shuts down the system if any of the
sequential timers fail. Additionally, there are two (2) modes of operation:
single station and two (2) station. In single station, one (1) push button
switch controls the operation. In two (2) station, two (2) switches are
utilized and logic (computer) circuitry determines which switch causes
operation. The two (2) station mode precludes the use of an executioner, since
no one knows which of the two (2) switches activated the system. The system
does not retain the operating switch in memory. Further, since the controls
are operated electronically, the operator handles only low voltage equipment,
being completely isolated from the high voltage, guaranteeing operator
The high voltage circuitry is
designed to deliver 2640 volts ac upon activation and, as the load saturates
and the current increases, the voltage stabilizes at (or above) 2400 volts ac.
The current is limited to five (5) amperes, maximum, by a current regulator.
The voltage, in accordance with the standard formula for admittance, will drop
approximately 10% or 240 volts, but the current will never exceed five (5)
amperes with 1% (five  milliampere) regulation. A current limiting breaker
protects the load in the event of a regulator failure and will open the
circuit at six (6) amperes. The equipment is protected by a ninety (90) ampere
The Power Supply
The power supply consists of a 208
volt ac primary, 2640 volt as secondary transformer coupled to a saturable
reactor with current monitoring circuitry, two (2) overcurrent limits and a
high voltage contactor.
It is designed to deliver five (5)
amperes at 1% (fifty  milliampere) regulation at 2400 volts ac, plus 10%
(240 volts ac). This means that when the circuit is closed, 2640 volts ac is
fed into the load. As the load saturates, the current increases and the
voltage drops. At approximately ten (10) seconds into operation, the load is
fully saturated and will appear to be approaching a direct short circuit. The
current regulator, however, limits the current to five (5) amperes at the
saturation voltage point of 2400 (minimum) volts ac. If the current regulator
fails, an overcurrent breaker is set to trip at six (6) amperes.
The system operates by monitoring
output current, processing it in a direct current amplifier, and applying it
to a direct current coil which controls the flux density in the core of the
reactor. It is, essentially, a highly accurate magnetic amplifier.
Additionally, the power supply
contains overcurrent protection for both the equipment and the load and an
output contactor for closing the high voltage circuit to the Electric Chair.
All connections to the power supply, except those for the 208 volts ac in,
which are terminal block, are via two (2) military-type circular connectors.
The Control Console
The control console is a sloped metal
panel cabinet containing the timing circuitry, computer controlled switching
circuitry and controls for the system operation. It contains two (2) key
switches for circuit control and a key-controlled fail-safe switch for high
The timing sequence is accomplished
with two (2) solid-state one (1) minute timers and one (1) ten (10) second
timer cascaded from a system's timer of 130 seconds, guaranteeing system
shutdown after 130 seconds even in the event of a sequential timer failure.
Timer activation is all by precision relay.
One (1) and two (2) station control
is standard and is facilitated by solid-state circuitry. In single station
control, one (1) switch operates an electronic relay and activates the system.
In two (2) station control, two (2) switches are utilized and the logic
(computer) circuitry chooses the switch which will activate the relay. This
insures that no one will know which operator controlled the circuit, as with a
firing squad. The system does not retain the operating switch in memory.
The Electric Chair
The electric chair consists of an
oaken chair with an adjustable backrest, inherent leg electrodes, a leather
and sponge helmet with electrode, a drip pan, a plexiglass seat and a
non-incremental restraint system. It is covered with a high gloss epoxy paint
similar to that which is used in the space program. It is connected to the
power supply via one military type connector. This chair was fabricated in
part with wood from Tennessee's original electric chair.
The ankle electrodes, which are
fabricated onto the leg stock, are turned of solid brass. They accommodate a
#6 conductor and are paralleled to ground.
The helmet consists of an outer
helmet of leather and an inner helmet of copper mesh and sponge. It will
disassemble for repair and the electrode will accommodate a #6 conductor.
The chair design includes a removable
drip pan. The straps are of nylon aircraft construction and consist of two (2)
ankle straps, two (2) wrist straps and one (1) cross-the- chest harness, all
with quick release fasteners. All fasteners comprising the restraints are
non-incremental, enabling a tighter fit.
The entire system, because of its
modular design, may be installed by non-technical people in several hours and
is fully field repairable.
Voltage: 208 volts ac in, 2400 volts
ac plus 10% or 2640 volts ac out.
Current: five (5) amperes at 1%
(fifty  milliampere) regulation.
Overcurrent protection: six (6)
amperes; ninety (90) amperes; load and equipment respectively.
Input: 208 volts ac, 75 Amp, 60 Hz,
Disconnect rated 208 volts ac, 100
Main Transformer: Primary-195 volts
ac, 68 amps, 13.2 KVA. Secondary-2640 volts ac, 5 amp.
Saturable reactor: 75 amp, 15 KVA.
Control Transformer: Primary-208
Secondary-110 volts ac, 50-60 Hz, 750 KVA.
Meters: 1 volt, 1 amp.
Terminations: two (2) MS
(military-type) circular connectors, console and high voltage output. Terminal
block, 208 volts ac input.
Enclosure: NEMA 12.
Voltage: 110 volts ac.
Overcurrent protection: one (1)
ampere; three (3) ampere.
Timing: sequential--one (1) minute;
ten (10) seconds; one (1) minute. All solid-state with a 130 second system's
Switches: three (3) lock type--two
(2) for circuit control operation, one (1) for system fail-safe; two (2)
Terminations: one (1) MS
(military-type) circular connector.
Electrodes: all turned of solid
brass, two (2) leg, one (1) helmet.
Helmet: leather, copper mesh and
Straps: nylon, aircraft-type; quick
Fred A. Leuchter Associates, Inc.
assumes no liability for the intended or actual use of this device.
1. Determine that the main disconnect
is off. If not, turn off.
2. Determine that the Power Supply
input circuit breaker is off. If not, turn off.
3. Determine that all switches on the Control Console are off: POWER ON switch
and COMPUTER ON switch in left off position. Note specifically that ELECTRIC
CHAIR FAILSAFE switch is in center off position.
4. Connect control cable between the
Power Supply and the Control Console by inserting the polarized connectors and
tightening the connector nuts. Connect the Control Console end first. The
power is now supplied to the Control Console.
5. Verify power at the Control
Console by turning Power On switch to right and verify SYSTEM ON light. Turn
COMPUTER ON switch to right and verify COMPUTER ON light.
6. Verify ELECTRIC CHAIR FAILSAFE
SWITCH by turning switch to left (OPERATION POSITION). Note that the ELECTRIC
CHAIR ENERGIZED light is not on. If light is on, there is a system malfunction
or someone activated the timing sequence. VERIFY. Turn the ELECTRIC CHAIR
FAILSAFE SWITCH off (center) and then to the left (TEST POSITION). Verify
ELECTRIC CHAIR ENERGIZED light on. Output contactor on Power Supply is closed.
Turn all switches off in reverse sequence. Turn off the power supply input
circuit breaker and the main disconnect, in that order.
Note Well: do not proceed unless the
ELECTRIC CHAIR ENERGIZED light is OFF.
7. Complete test of Control Console
as per instructions.
8. Complete test of Power Supply as
9. Complete test of Electric Chair as
10. Connect power cable between the
Power Supply and the Electric Chair by inserting polarized connectors and
tightening the connector nuts. Connect Electric Chair end first.
11. Turn on main disconnect.
12. Turn on Power Supply input
circuit breaker. The Electrocution System is now ENERGIZED and ready for use.
NOTE WELL: Turn off both main
disconnect and input circuit breaker when not using chair.
DANGER THE SYSTEM IS LIVE. Follow to
1. Steps 1. through 12. of SET UP
should have been completed earlier.
2. Determine that the main disconnect
is off and that the input circuit breaker to the Power Supply is off. Remove
all keys to the Control Console and determine that all switches are off. If
not, turn off. Determine that the Electric Chair Energized light is off. If
not, shut electric chair failsafe switch to off (center position). DO NOT
PROCEED UNLESS ELECTRIC CHAIR ENERGIZED LIGHT IS OFF. Only one key is to be
used for operation.
3. Prepare subject for electrocution:
Shave approximately a three Inch (3") diameter spot on the top of executee's
head. Cut pants off to knees, slit pants to knees or supply subject with short
4. Mix a saturated saline (salt
water) solution (add salt until it will no longer mix to lukewarm water).
5. Wet sponge in helmet (saturate).
6. Wet ankle sponges if a
determination is made that they are to be utilized. Use of sponges is
recommended in most cases.
7. Loosen all adjustments in
restraint system and move backrest all the way back.
8. Refer to special Protocol for
9. Sedate subject either orally or
with injection if permissible. A 5cc Injection of Versed (Midazolam HCL) 1
mg/ml has been used in the past for sedating executees. Orally, two (2) 50mg
capsules of Nembutal Sodium (Pentobarbital sodium USP) Abbott Pharmaceuticals
NDC 0074-3150-11. Another alternative would be 1.5 oz. of an 80 proof whiskey.
This should be done one half (1/2) hour prior to the execution.
10. Curtain on witness window should
11. Subject must walk into execution
chamber and speak to shown he is alive.
12. Curtain on witness window should
13. Executee should be strapped into
chair in the following manner:
A. Connect and tighten waist harness.
B. Tighten shoulder adjustments.
NOTE WELL: All connectors should be
kept centered by adjusting both sides of adjustors.
C. Connect and tighten arm
restraints, centering connectors.
D. Insert subject's legs into
electrodes on leg stock and connect and adjust the restraints keeping the
connectors in the center. The saturated saline sponges are recommended and may
be placed behind the subject's leg between the leg and the electrode.
NOTE WELL: All adjustment should be
as tight as possible at this time.
E. Install saline saturated helmet on
the executee's head and tighten chin strap as tight as possible. The face
curtain is optional and may be installed at this time.
F. Insert helmet conductor into
electrode on helmet and tighten handscrew. Tighten further with allen wrench.
G. Loosen backrest adjuster, pull
backrest as far forward as possible (tightening the subject) and tighten
backrest adjuster locking the backrest in place.
NOTE WELL: Subject is now ready for
14. Open the witness window curtain.
15. The Doctor should now examine the
subject and certify that he is alive.
16. Turn on main disconnect.
17. Turn on input circuit breaker to
the Power Supply.
18. On order from the Warden, the key
will be inserted and the Power On switch will be turned on. The System On
Light will be verified. The key will be removed.
19. On order from the Warden, the key
will be inserted and the Computer On switch will be turned on only if a two
operator procedure is to be utilized. The Computer On (Double) light will be
verified. The key will be removed.
20. When the Warden determines that
the execution will proceed, he will order that the key will be inserted and
the Electric Chair Failsafe switch will be turned from center position to the
Operation position to the left.
WARNING: THE SYSTEM IS NOW ARMED. DO
NOT TOUCH THE ACTIVATION BUTTONS (SINGLE OR DOUBLE).
21. On order from the Warden, the
execution will commence. One (1) or two (2) executioners will push either the
SINGLE or DOUBLE buttons, simultaneously, if two. Verify the Electric Chair
NOTE: The system will now deliver Two
(2) Jolts of current, each for one (1) minute with a ten (10) second off time
separating the two (2) Jolts. If a failure occurs on Double operation, simply
activate the Single button and the timing sequence will proceed. If a further
failure occurs, operate the system in manual by turning the Electric Chair
Failsafe switch to TEST position (right) and time with a watch or clock: Sixty
(60) seconds on; Ten (10) seconds off; Sixty (60) seconds on. Upon completion,
turn Electric Chair Failsafe switch to off (center) position. Proceed with
step twenty-two (22).
22. Upon completion of the timing
sequence the subject should be dead. Turn off the Electric Chair Failsafe
switch (center position) and VERIFY that the Electric Chair Energized light is
off. Do NOT proceed unless the Electric Chair Energized light is off.
23. Use key to shut off Computer On
switch and Power On switch, both to the left in this order.
24. Shut off input circuit breaker to
the Power Supply and the main disconnect, in this order.
NOTE: If Electric Chair Energized
light is not off, turn off main disconnect.
25. The Doctor should now verify
heart death of the executee.
NOTE: If death has not occurred,
Proceed with steps sixteen (16) through Twenty-five (25) again.
26. The execution is now over.
27. Close witness window curtain and
28. Verify that all switches are off
and the key removed. Verify that the input circuit breaker to the Power Supply
is off. Verify that the main disconnect is off. Do NOT proceed until this step
is complete and the Electric Chair Energized light is off.
28. The Executee should be removed
from the chair in the following manner:
A. Disconnect helmet in reverse
procedure of thirteen (13) F. Loosen and remove Helmet.
B. Pull release on ankle fasteners
and pull legs forward.
C. Pull release on arm fasteners and
D. Pull release on chest harness
fastener and subject's body will slump forward and hang in harness.
E. Remove subjects body to storage or
29. Clean chair seat with lysol or
similar disinfectant and mild soap. Clean electrodes and with mild soap and
water. Thoroughly dry chair. Wash and dry leg sponges.
30. Remove and dump drip pan; wash,
dry and replace.
31. Clean helmet with clear water and
dry. Store on styrofoam head.
32. Re-connect restraint system
fasteners and partially tighten.
33. Verify all switches and power
34. Disconnect both the control cable
and the power cable and coil for storage.
35. Remove all Keys.
RIVERBEND MAXIMUM SECURITY
Follow special instructions in
separate document in conjunction with the afore defined SET-UP and OPERATIONAL
FRED A. LEUCHTER ASSOCIATES, INC.
MODULAR ELECTROCUTION SYSTEM
MAINTENANCE AND TEST PROCEDURE
1. Inspect both cables for wear or
damage. Repair if necessary.
2. Inspect helmet for wear or damage.
Tighten screw. Repair if necessary. Check for continuity.
3. Inspect sponges for
serviceability. Replace if necessary.
CONTROL CONSOLE TEST
4. Inspect chair for wear or damage.
Clean electrodes with metal cleaner or steel wool. Tighten electrode
connections with allen wrench. Check all wiring on chair for continuity.
5. Determine that the main disconnect
is off and that the input circuit breaker to the power supply is off.
6. Connect control cable between the
Control Console and the Power Supply, Control Console end first.
7. Turn on main disconnect.
8. Turn on input circuit breaker to
9. Turn on Power on switch. Verify
System On light.
10. Turn on Computer On Switch.
Verify Double light on and power to the computer. If either lamp fails, push
the appropriate circuit breaker or replace lamp.
11. Turn Electric Chair Failsafe
switch to Operation position (left). Verify Electric Chair Energized lamp is
not on. Turn switch to Off (center) position.
12. Turn Electric Chair failsafe
switch to Test (Right) position. Electric Chair Energized lamp should be on.
If lamp fails, replace lamp.
13. Turn all switches off in reverse
14. Turn on Power on Switch. Turn
Electric Chair Failsafe switch to operation (left) position.
The following is a test for the
timing sequence and should be performed with a stopwatch.
15. Push Single operation button.
Timing sequence should begin. Verify by timing duration of the Electric Chair
Energized Light. Sequence should be sixty (60) seconds on; ten (10) seconds
off; sixty (60) seconds on. If timing sequence is incorrect, re-set timers.
Turn Power On switch off each time a sequence is initiated to reset system.
Timer 1 is Systems Timer and must be set last. To begin reset, turn Timer 1
all the way up to maximum time. Set Timer 2 for sixty (60) seconds. Set Timer
3 for ten (10) seconds. Set timer 4 for sixty (60) seconds. Then set Timer 1
for one hundred-thirty (130) seconds. Precision on timer setting for timers 2,
3 and 4 may vary by several seconds but timer 1 must be set at a time which
exceeds the total of the other three timers. Remember, for each timing
sequence the system must be reset by turning Power On switch off between
sequences. Turn Electric Chair Failsafe switch off; turn Computer On switch
off; turn Power On switch off.
The following test is for
the computer portion of the system.
16. Turn Power On switch on. Turn
Computer On switch on.
Verify System On and Double lights as operational.
Turn Electric Chair Failsafe switch to Operation (left) position.
Push left button for double operation, alone.
Allow system to sequence.
To re-set, turn all switches off in reverse order.
Push right button, alone.
Allow system to sequence.
Re-set. Push both left and right buttons, simultaneously. Allow system to
Verify Electric Chair Energized light as operational for each sequence.
Turn all switches off in the reverse order.
Verify all lamps as off.
The system is now reset.
This concludes the low voltage
portion of the test. The following test for the Power Supply should be
conducted with great care in that it utilizes the full 2640 Volts.
POWER SUPPLY TEST
This test is to be conducted with the
Fred A. Leuchter Associates, Inc. Electric Chair Modular Power Supply Test
Unit. It may be conducted without the Test Unit as long as the test
requirements are met. Test should be conducted with an equivalent of 528 ohms
resistance at 13.2Kw. Some provision should be made to cool the resistor.
17. Verify that the main disconnect
and the Power Supply input circuit breaker are both in the off position.
Verify that all switches on the Control Console are off. Verify that the
ELECTRIC CHAIR ENERGIZED LAMP IS OFF. Do NOT proceed unless all of the above
conditions are met.
18. Connect the power cable between
the Power Supply and the Electric Chair Modular Power Supply Test Unit, Test
unit end first. This is connected in the same manner as is the Electric Chair.
19. Plug in Electric Chair Modular
Power Supply Test Unit to 110 vac. Turn on fan switch and verify fan is
20. Turn on main disconnect. Turn on
Power Supply input circuit breaker.
21. Turn on Power On Switch on
Control Console. Verify System On light.
22. Turn Electric Chair Failsafe
switch to operation position. The Test is now ready. Keep clear of Electric
Chair Modular Power Supply Test Unit.
23. Push Single operator button to
initiate test. Verify Electric Chair Energized light is on. System will
sequence through timed execution. Monitor both voltmeter and ammeter on Power
Supply to determine if both voltage and current are proper. Voltage should
never drop below two-thousand (2000) vac and current should never exceed five
(5) amperes. If any failure occurs, disconnect main and service system. At the
end of the timing sequence the system will shut down and the test will be
complete. Verify Electric Chair Energized light is off.
24. At sequence completion, turn
Electric Chair failsafe switch to off. Verify Electric Chair Energized light
is off. Turn Computer On switch to off, if used. Turn System On switch to off.
Verify all lamps are out.
This test may be repeated as often as
desired but not to exceed twice (2 times) in a ten minute interval.
This test may be accomplished
alternatively without the use of the timing sequence utilizing the Electric
Chair Failsafe switch in TEST position. Care must be taken not to exceed a
time greater than four minutes on within a ten minute time period. You must
turn the Electric Chair Failsafe switch to off position in order to terminate
the test. This procedure should be done with a clock or stopwatch and only by
a trained technician, electrician or plant engineer. A too-long duty cycle
will damage the Test Unit and the Power Supply.
25. Shut off Power Supply input
circuit breaker. SHUT OFF MAIN DISCONNECT.
26. Turn off fan and disconnect the
Electric Chair Modular Power Supply Test Unit from the 110 vac. Put Test Unit
27. If System is to be used, connect
the Electric Chair and repeat the test utilizing the timing sequence: Steps 20
through 25. If no use is to occur, disconnect the power cable from the Power
Supply and store.
28. Verify All switches on the
Control Console are off especially the Electric Chair Failsafe switch. Verify
that the Power Supply input circuit breaker is off. Verify that the main
disconnect is off.
1. Control Console. Service and
repair should be performed by a Certified Electrocution Technician,
electrician or technician. A schematic is enclosed. In most cases, a complete
replacement of all plug in components can be accomplished by an untrained
person. This will generally repair the system unless there is a defective
switch or a broken wire.
2. Power Supply. Service and repair
should be performed by a Certified Electrocution Technician with an
electrician or technician. A manual and schematic are enclosed.
3. Testing of all components should
be done by a Certified Electrocution Technician.
1. Fasten Electric Chair to floor.
2. Fasten Control Console to the
3. Fasten Power Supply to floor.
4. Verify main disconnect is off.
Wire from main disconnect and connect conductors to terminals of Power Supply.
5. Proceed with test as described in
MAINTENANCE AND TEST PROCEDURE.
THE ELECTRIC CHAIR MODULAR
POWER SUPPLY TEST UNIT
The Fred A. Leuchter Associates, Inc.
Modular Power Supply Test Unit is especially designed for use with the Fred A.
Leuchter Associates, Inc. Modular Electrocution System. It replaces the
electric chair in the system during testing and simulates the load of the
chair occupied by an executee.
It contains an especially fabricated,
harmonically balanced, twenty (20) component, high wattage resistor package
which is cooled by a quadrafan assembly having an area of some 255 square
inches and an aggregate airflow of some 2320 cfm. It mates with the connector
to the electric chair.
Resistor Bank: Twenty (20) 26.4 ohm
375 watt resistors; total impedence 528 ohms, total wattage (KVA) 7500 at 200
% rating. Total 15 KVA.
Rating: 115 volts ac, 1.4 amps, 144
This test unit operates at 15 KVA, DO
NOT touch unit while test is in progress.
FRED A. LEUCHTER ASSOCIATES, INC.