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The ADE 651 is a device widely used by Iraqi police, produced by ATSC (UK) , that claims to be effective at detecting the presence and location of explosives. Many skeptics doubt its effectiveness, including James Randi, who is offering US $1 million to anyone who can prove its effectiveness, and retired USAF Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack.

It is claimed that the ADE 651 failed to prevent many of the bombings in Iraq.

Dowsing rod type explosive detectors

ADE 651 is one of a few devices that are derided as being high tech dowsing rods because of their appearance and lack of proven efficacy, despite claims of nearly miraculous technical abilities at long range due to some new application of physics or chemistry. Other alleged detection rods include devices named Sniffex and the renamed Sniffex Plus, Quadro Tracker, MOLE, Alpha 6, PSD-22, DKL Lifeguard, H3 Tec , and GT-200 Molecular Detector.

In 1999 the US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice addressed this category of devices in its Guide for the Selection of Commercial Explosives Detection Systems for Law Enforcement Applications.

There is a rather large community of people around the world that believes in dowsing: the ancient practice of using forked sticks, swinging rods, and pendulums to look for underground water and other materials. These people believe that many types of materials can be located using a variety of dowsing methods. Dowsers claim that the dowsing device will respond to any buried anomalies, and years of practice are needed to use the device with discrimination (the ability to cause the device to respond to only those materials being sought). Modern dowsers have been developing various new methods to add discrimination to their devices. These new methods include molecular frequency discrimination (MFD) and harmonic induction discrimination (HID). MFD has taken the form of everything from placing a xerox copy of a Poloroid photograph of the desired material into the handle of the device, to using dowsing rods in conjunction with frequency generation electronics (function generators). None of these attempts to create devices that can detect specific materials such as explosives (or any materials for that matter) have been proven successful in controlled double-blind scientific tests. In fact, all testing of these inventions has shown these devices to perform no better than random chance.


Mostly these devices are used to locate water and now are used extensively by treasure hunters looking for gold and silver. In recent years some makers of these dowsing devices have attempted to cross over from treasure hunting to the areas of contraband detection, search and rescue, and law enforcement. The Quadro Tracker is one notable example of this cross-over attempt. This device was advertised as being a serious technology with a realistic sounding description of how it worked (close examination showed serious errors in the scientific sounding description).


The MOLE was exactly the same in appearance as the previously debunked Quadro Tracker device, with Sandia personnel noting it appeared to have been produced using the exact same plastic injection molding equipment. Of note, the ADE product line appears to be an alternate descendant from the original Quadro Tracker device. corresponds with the fact the Quadro Tracker founders moved the company to the UK after a trial in US federal court. Global Technical Ltd. also still manufactures a descendant of the MOLE, the GT-200 Molecular Detector.

Testing by Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratoriesmarker tested similar devices and found them ineffective: the MOLE Programmable System manufactured by Global Technical Ltd. of Kent, UK, and the DKL LifeGuard Model 2.

Other product names and numbers believed to be similar dowsing type devices to the ADE 651

ADE 100, ADE 101, ADE650, ADE 651, ADE 750, ADE 751

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