by Stacey Thompson
In dire emergency situations, one still has to contend with electricity, or the lack of it in some cases. Basic bug-out bag essentials not considered, there is a need for a separate portable bag or case that will contain electronic gadgets and tools that are utilized in the operation, repair, maintenance, and if you’re skilled enough, assembly of electric-powered devices that will aid you in your quest for survival amidst adversity.
The basic bug-out bag would already have some essential electronic devices like a flashlight, radio, and small wire cutters; a full-on electronics kit would have many more implements that can be very valuable when the proverbial poopy hits the fan. I’ll indicate the item and include a short description, along with what it’s useful for. All of these items are over the counter, and are available in most electronics supplies stores.
A Book on Basic Electronics
This is a must, especially if you’re no certified electrician or electrical engineer. It is highly suggested that you read and learn about electronics now, while there isn’t an emergency. As you know, electricity can be both a useful and a dangerous thing, and knowing a little more about it can’t hurt.
Digital Multimeter & Watt Meter
These devices are useful only if you have a working understanding of electricity (learn about it from the book above). It can measure things like current, voltage, resistance, wattage, and other stuff that won’t make much sense to you unless you read the book. READ THE BOOK ALREADY.
You know the drill… oh wait, not a drill. A manual ratcheting screwdriver with a bunch of different heads, a small adjustable wrench, pliers, wire cutters, and possibly a wire stripper would comprise this subset of your kit. Don’t scrimp on quality, and opt for smaller, lighter types so as not to increase the weight of the entire kit.
Soldering Iron, Soldering lead, Wire, Electric Tape
It’s always good to have these in the kit so you can do repairs, tap electricity from available sources, and all sorts of other nifty stuff with electricity (don’t electrocute yourself, now). You don’t need to have an awful lot of wire (it can get heavy) but do get 4 or 6 gauge stranded wire so you won’t have to worry about the wire melting from too much juice flowing through it.
Electrical power may just be one of the first things to go when there’s an area-wide emergency, so be prepared to have your own power source. Pack fresh/fully charged batteries for all of your electrical devices, and a solar-powered charger is absolutely essential if you won’t have access to wall outlet electricity for a long time.
You can’t really work in the dark, can you? Try to get yourself a flashlight that you can strap onto your head, so as to leave your hands free to do whatever electrical tweaking or repairs you have to do.
I hope these tips will help you create a functional and effective electronics kit that you can couple with your basic bug-out bag, ensuring that you will still be able to utilize electrical and electronic devices even if everything’s going to heck. To quote a character in a videogame that I played, “May these be of no use to you.”
About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is still making sense out of electricity and tinkering with her dad’s old radios using a multimeter she got at Powerwerx.
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3 thoughts on “Bug-Out Electronics Kit: What’s In It?”
I read this, then went and checked my soldering kit for what odds/ends ended up in it over the years. Solder sucker braid, misc. fuses, alligator clips, wire nuts, sandpaper, tinfoil, and crimp connectors – in addition to the multimeter, wire, elec. tape, and soldering iron already mentioned. One thing I’ve noticed for 12v/battery powered items used outdoors or left in vehicles is continuity problems caused by oxidation on the power connections. A little sanding of the terminals fixes them right up. Spare multimeters are a must IMO. I do need to get a cordless soldering iron… Thanks Stacey.
I’m definitely still learning about basic electronics, mostly involving very basic repairs and jury rigging (it mostly involves wires :D). I hope my odds and ends gain as much volume as yours in the long run. Thanks Grant!
Grant is on the right track regarding sanding the terminals on batteries. Wire brush the crud off and sand until it shines like silver. Then wipe with a clean, dry rag. Clean the battery case around terminals also. Then put a heavy coat of gear grease all over the terminals and around them on the case. I’m sure he would have mentioned this.
When I was an oiler in the Operating Engineers we had to deal with this problem fairly often; usually in the worst weather, of course. It’s also wise to give the same treatment to any battery cables you have. Motor oil is ok for short periods, but a heavy grease that stays put is the best solution. Then all you to do is wipe it clean, make your connection, and put more of that grease all over the whole post and clamp and bolt. Then there will be no corrosion, and with a little luck she’ll fire right up.