Techo-Nerds and Survival

I suppose we’ll always need them although a good engineer is worth half a dozen techno-nerds. Yet the point of this is to try to raise your awareness of just how fragile the whole electronic, high-tech thingy is.

For example.
Anyone out there familiar with batteries?
They come in all flavors, sizes, capacity, and “life”.
To put it in context.
There you are, miles from anywhere, at night, confident that the GPS in your hand will guide you safely through many miles of danger and this pops up on the display:-

lowbatterySo, being the well prepped individual you are, you slip in a brand new set of batteries only to find that one or all of them were duff, dead, defunct, useless.

Oops! What exactly was your back up plan?

Only it doesn’t stop there.
GPS works off satellites doesn’t it? What if the government haven’t paid their bill, switch them off to prevent the bad guys using them, or one of those solar flares or even an EMP pops them all?

There again you could have just dropped it, got it wet, or as per all electronics seem to do, the warranty runs out and 2 days later it dies.

Now I can do this all day with electronics.
Radio’s, laptops, dongles in laptops, electric shavers and toothbrushes. Cars, trucks, and most anything with electronics in it or powered by batteries MAY fail (and usually does) just when you need it the most. Usually at the drop of a hat aka without warning.

So it sort of messes with my mind how and why so many rely on electronics as opposed to good old-fashioned skills.

I was reading an article about electronic surveillance.
Who wrote it isn’t important but what was notable was the reference to using scanners,  radio’s, laptops plus dongles and applications for communications, navigation and surveillance purposes.

So, I offer the same scenario with a few appropriate add ons to ponder about. You name it and electronics can fail because of them.

goeswrongNow let’s get basic.

  • Navigation.
    Magnetic Compass, paper map (very retro), ranger beads if you like and can’t count paces, and an accurate time piece is essential.
  • Weather forecasting.
    Your eyes, ears, clouds, animal and insect behavior, and reaction of vegetation.
  • Surveillance.
    Binoculars, ears, eyes, smell, and a dog.
  • Torches / lights.
    You can get wind up and dynamo types.
    Here I like solid state LED “bulbs”. Only because they consume so little power. There again, do you need to travel or work at night showing lights?
  • Communications.
    OK, I’ll give you this one YET does everything have to be so high-tech? Look inside most modern equipment and all you’ll see is integrated circuits (IC) and microprocessors (uP). Perhaps at the RF power end some transistors or FET’s. Now something fails in the field. Even if you can source a replacement IC could you replace it? Especially a surface mounted device (SMT)?

Only did I mention batteries in the article
I mean at all?

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12 Responses to Techo-Nerds and Survival

  1. Never understood the significance of varying power and uses of batteries until taking photos in NZ. My camera batteries packed up and I bought a four pack for $2. Took one picture, and that was 2 of them dead. Took another picture and that was the other two. Now I look for little pictures on the packaging to denote the batteries I purchase are suitable for digital cameras!

  2. jlm990 says:

    Like you, I advocate learning old school skills, navigation being an excellent example. Sure, I use a GPS, but I also have an excellent compass and maps and know how to use them. I also know how to navigate without a compass if I loose it or it breaks. The over reliance on technology violates the basic survival rule of redundancy.2=1, 1=0

  3. equippedcat says:

    for batteries, solar panel charger and rechargeable batteries

    for lights, another advantage of the LED is that the “bulb” does not break or burn out (often).

  4. I’ve been worrying about this ever since they took away my standard typewriter.

  5. I am a proponent of the art of the Renaissance-Man (or woman, mind you). There is something to be said about near-mastery of the basics. But I think that being able to understand and “do” a little bit of everything is valuable not only to your own life and standard of living, but for others.

    Whatever the situation is – when it’s time to step-up from level 1 to level 2, it’s good to have skills to construct, tinker, repair, fabricate, and as us yanks call it “jerry-rig” things. To me part of that is a basic understanding on electricity and electrics.

    Might not need to rely on it, but if you had the buts and bobs, some spare parts and the tools (and the talent) you just might come up with some pretty useful power conversion systems to get radio, light, a computer powered up – whatever it may be.

    These skills I desperately seek to learn. I wish I had spent more summers of my youth in my grandfathers workshop watching, instead of out gallivanting.

    You’re free to disagree, or however 🙂

    • Through my life I’ve been a repairer.
      Ex-ham, ex-radar man, locksmith, and dumpster diver!
      Battlefield repairs was a specialty course I got sent on in later years. Good fun but the real chuckle was working in the marine repair world on equipment that was too old to find spares let alone have documentation so I had to make / draw them. Basic engineering, redesign of electronics “on the hoof”. Radios, radar, fish finders, and of course their TV’s. Lastly I somehow got roped into repairing computers, cell phones and office equipment.

      There is a lot of diverse experience rattling round in the space between my ears only there is very little call for it now. Now I go for a job and they don’t want engineers, they want box swappers. I can’t be bothered with modern life now. Let them buy new!

      That is until there is nothing or nowhere to buy anymore. Then perhaps this old school engineer will become hot property once again.

    • equippedcat says:

      I did spend a lot of time in my father’s shop, so I can do most anything. I can’t gallivant to save my life though…

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