FirstSpear TV

PTX Widget Wednesday – Alligator Clip Cable

One of the most salient features of the Global War On Terror has been the proliferation of electronic devices at the individual and small unit level. These developments give our troops unprecedented levels of situational awareness (regardless of the time of day), the ability to communicate over vast distances (in any terrain), and the power to dominate the battlespace in even the most austere environments.

However, it also usually means having to hump a lot of extra batteries. For example, on a long patrol in Afghanistan, an Airborne Infantryman could carry as many as seven different types of batteries for 12 electronic devices – totaling up to 16 pounds in battery weight. That’s more than the weight of a dozen fully loaded 30-round 5.56 mags! (The need to continuously stop and replace batteries also causes disruption to operational capability and impairs mission effectiveness.)

With the SPM-622 troops are able to reduce their battery burden, recharge their batteries in the field, and repurpose those batteries to power other devices (the SPM automatically adjusts, balances, and/or converts power from any source to match a device’s power requirements). Initially, SPM kits included adapter cables for solar panels, solar blankets, vehicle ‘cigarette lighter” plugs, and generator power outlets. Feedback from special operations unit end-users working in a very austere environment led us to develop another rather simple-looking solution – jumper cable type alligator clips.

Their feedback was that it would be very useful to have the ability to scavenge power from the civilian truck, car, and motorcycle batteries prevalent in operational areas. And so the Alligator Clip cable was born. Although it might look kind of “low-tech”, our Alligator Clip cable is smart – the firmware embedded in the cable informs the SPM of the voltage of the battery it’s connected to, it also monitors the battery’s state-of-charge and tells the SPM to stop drawing power from it before it gets too low to start a vehicle.

This particular type of cable proved very useful for at least one team that used a locally-sourced motorcycle battery as a power source, and enabled them to complete a high-value mission despite a shortage of specific batteries.

For more information about PTX power management systems from Protonex, visit or contact us at


2 Responses to “PTX Widget Wednesday – Alligator Clip Cable”

  1. Airborne_fister says:

    Can a civilian buy this to manage ones own power supply for the field sinces his/her unit won’t buy it?