MAKE Asks: Roadside Hacks

MAKE Asks: is a weekly column where we ask you, our readers, for responses to maker-related questions. We hope the column sparks interesting conversation and is a way for us to get to know more about each other.

MAKE reader James Brauer recently sent me this email:

Your blog/column got me thinking about all the roadside repairs I have done. MAKE asking about the contents of reader’s roadside repair kit would be interesting.

This week’s question: Almost everyone at one point or another has had something fail on their car, or been stuck on the side of the road. What have been your most ingenious methods of getting things up and running again?

One of mine actually happened just a few weeks ago, though I wasn’t directly involved. MAKE contributor Jonathan Foote organized a bus trip to some geeky Bay Area attractions: an electronics swap meet, a big surplus store, and Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. We were ferried around in an early ’70s era bus, which broke down about halfway through our journey. A small posse of makers and hackers was dispatched to diagnose the problem. They narrowed it down to something electrical and tore the dash apart, then traced it to a blown ten amp fuse that was nearly the size of a banana. Someone snagged a ride to find a replacement, which was found, ironically, at the very same surplus store we were planning on going to. They put it back in and we were back on the road!

Post your responses in the comments section.


In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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