MakeShift last chance!

woods.jpgIf you have your copy of MAKE, be sure to enter the MakeShift challenge (page 170). After a relaxing night of camping in the deep woods, you return to your car to find that it will not start. The battery is dead. “Someone” left the parking lights on overnight. You are 50 miles from the nearest road and have limited food and water. You try to call for help, but your cellphone is out of power and out of range. Snowy weather is scheduled to set in by late evening. The situation is serious. Makeshift winners will get a SWISSMEMORY
USB Victorinox 512MB device, as well as a Make T-shirt and 1-year subscription, if you win. This is your last chance to get in some last-minute entries before the deadline 3/31!

0 thoughts on “MakeShift last chance!

  1. Assuming your car has a manual transmission, put it in neutral, turn the key to the on position, and get the car rolling by pushing it. Next, hop into the driver

  2. is the car manual or auto, if manual, push start it, if not…
    review your supplies, take what’s needed and get out of there fast, before the snow, a 50 mile walk should take about 4 hours

  3. A fast walker can average three 3 mph — carrying supplies over rough terrain, maybe 2 mph. Short of being professional athletes, a fit, average couple would be lucky to make it half way before nightfall (and that’s assuming they don’t get lost or injured along the way). With bad weather setting in, the decision to hike it out could be their last. A far better plan would be to build a fire and wait for help … or, figure out a way to restart the car.

  4. My chemisty knowlege is weak but I suspect one could refresh the battery with some new acid or perhap something with the peroxide may help to speed up some of the reactions. The battery is chemically depleted so a fresh supply of acid may reinvigorate it enough to start.

  5. I was leaning toward a sodium-sulphur Battery. Using the sulpher from the road flares and leeching the sodium out of the chips. The heat requirements are pretty high to get a liquid version of the sulphur and sodium. Plus I just found the site today, so not enough time to come up with a sloid plan..
    Link
    http://www.iccept.ic.ac.uk/pdfs/gandy.pdf
    Go to Page 40 in the PDF above and see if it fits the scenario

  6. I would:

    i) Quickly gather easily available wood for fire and a shelter, just in case,

    ii) Light the spare tire on fire to create a plume of messy signal smoke,

    iii) Work on the battery recharge angle. Those limes must be good for something.

  7. Assume:
    (1) Battery is totally dead so the electrolyte is approaching water.
    (2) Alternator rotor has near zero residual magnetism.
    (3) Vehicle is on a hill so considerable gravitational potential energy is available.
    (4) Vehicle drive train is of a type to allow spinning the engine by putting it in gear when rolling.
    (5) Mechanic’s hand tools available.

    Musing:
    (a) If any magnets are available they can be attached to the rotor in a fashion that will complement the designed operational magnetic field.
    (b) Bypass the voltage regulator and wire the alternator field directly to the battery to maximize output. Note: Reconnect regulator after the car starts.
    (c) Battery is heated as hot as possible to provide the last available chemical OOMPH!
    (d) Jump Start …..
    (e) Backup plan: gasoline as a heat source and the vehicle as a shelter. You have been camping so you have some survival gear. Start looking for nuts and berries. Snow can be melted for water with the gasoline fueled heat source.
    (f) Good thing you filed a camping plan with friends and family before heading for the wilderness.

  8. Yes using the Limes and the hydrogen Peroxide you could possibly get enough juice out of the battery to start the car. Lime juice is acidic while hydrogen peroxide is a base. An acid is an electron pair acceptor while a base is an electron pair donor. Using this knowledge you would open the battery and squeeze lime juice into the negative terminal and pour hydrogen peroxide into the positive terminal. This would possibly allow you to get some more electrons flowing and allow you to start the car.

  9. Correction to my last post. I reversed polarities the correct form is below.

    Yes using the Limes and the hydrogen Peroxide you could possibly get enough juice out of the battery to start the car. Lime juice is acidic while hydrogen peroxide is a base. An acid is an electron pair acceptor while a base is an electron pair donor. Using this knowledge you would open the battery and squeeze lime juice into the positive terminal and pour hydrogen peroxide into the negative terminal. This would possibly allow you to get some more electrons flowing and allow you to start the car.

  10. I wouldn’t mess with the car’s battery or drive train.

    I’d MAKE a battery:

    – Empty the soda cans. I suggest drinking as much soda as you can.
    – Cut a few feet from the jumper cables, which typically have braided copper cables. Unbraid the cables; twist component wires to make six “spikes,” about 8″ long, with an eye on top.
    – Pair each copper spike with a tent spike. Wrap with fabric strips (or duct tape? Do we have duct tape?) so that the tent spike and copper spike are insulated from each other.
    – Strip insulation from another 18″ from each jumper cable lead. Thread one naked lead through tent stakes, one through copper spike “eyes.”
    – Squeeze juice out of limes. Put equal amounts in each soda can.
    – Put electrode pairs in cans.
    – Attach jumper cable to battery terminals.
    – Try to start engine.

    My only puzzlement: Which lead (copper or steel tent spike) goes to positive and which to negative?

  11. While it is easy to get voltage from a lemon/lime/other acid battery the current is very limited. You might have a chance (depending on the charge state of the battery) to take the 10 hours allowed to recharge the battery with a trickle charge. However that is boring and the obvious solution ;). Here is my idea (forgive the lack of extensive car drivetrain knowledge):

    Push the car to within approximately 5 feet of a reasonably large tree, make sure it is less than 2 feet in diameter ;).

    Send “someone” to fetch as much dry firewood as possible.

    Light the sterno and heat up 1 inch sharpend pieces of tent stakes made with the tools, melt them partially into the instep of your shoes. While you are waiting for them to cool:

    Make as long a rope as you can with the guidelines of the tent, braided adhesive bandage/tent strips/clothing, and the jumper cables. Rope should be approximately 40 feet long.

    Put your shoes back on and climb the nearby tree with one end of your rope. Tie it securely about 5′ + length of rope up the tree. Use the jumper cable end of the rope.

    Whittle two holes greater than or equal to the depth of the road flares into the base of the tree insert road flares. Build a fire next to the flares. Go ahead and start the fire it will take a while.

    Pop the hood of the car and wind the rope around the engine driveshaft until almost taut.

    Go back and help your fire eat into the base of the tree. Add sterno cans. While you are at it make sure the tree will fall teh right way by bracing some logs up against the car side of it.

    Go sit in the car and eat your food while you wait for the tree to fall.

    After the tree starts falling wait until it is at an approximately 45degree angle and try to start the car.

    If it doesnt work at least take refuge in the fact you made a big mess.

    Build a fire at the base of the opposite side of the tree. Use the sterno to

  12. A few BOTE calculations: Assume we have a 40AH battery. We probably need to put at least half a full charge into the battery to get it into a state where it

  13. A few BOTE calculations: Assume we have a 40AH battery. We probably need to put at least half a full charge into the battery to get it into a state where it’s capable of cranking the engine. Therefore to recharge it, we need to produce around 14V @ 2 amps for 10 hours – actually somewhat more as the charging process is not 100% efficient.


    Can you do that with some aluminium, copper and weak acid? I doubt it.

    You can probably produce enough energy to recharge the cellphone, but that’s not much help as it’s out of range.

    A big difficulty with any battery recharging scheme is that without a meter, you can’t tell if your jury rigged charger is actually generating enough voltage & current to do anything useful.

    Sorry about the previous messed up post. This site REALLY sucks with Firefox.

  14. I’m surprise that someone hasn’t yet mentioned “bootstrapping”. This is an old technique used in cold weather. Simply its the shorting of the positive and negative terminals for one second to heat up the insides of the battery. This normally allows the battery to heat up internally to an efficient temperature that allows for one or two final attempts to start the vehicle. Yes its dangerous and yes it works.

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