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My Family just got back from our vacation, and waiting for me was a pile of free samples ordered from promotional products companies.  Among this was a backpack with a Volkswagen logo on it.  

Presumably the company that sent it made them for Volkswagen at one time.  Anyway, I decided to put my growing collection of survival supplies in it.

First, the junk that doesn’t go in it but is part of the plan:

The swiss army type knife was found in a dollar store in New York, and works pretty well.  The 3″ folding 1/2 serrated knife next to it was bought at a small fireworks store in Indiana for $4.  The leatherman type tool next to it has the same story.  The zippo-type lighter cost three pounds in a shop in England, the headlamp that runs on AAAs cost $10, and the thing in the upper right is a 50-year calendar.  The broken pocketwatch cost ten pounds at a flea market in england.

The front pocket of the bag is first aid and repair.  There are several large bandages, and a bag of sterile gloves.  The main kit is in a tin which, like the reversible screwdriver, was a free sample.  Last, there is a hotel sewing kit and a stainless steel mirror.

The next kit hold most other things.  At the bottom is a duct tape wallet holding batteries.  Above that is a bag of condiments, only there until I can replace them with good food.  To the right is a bag containing matches, lighters, and a candle.  At the top are a small flashlight that runs on AAAs, and another charged by dynamo.

The main compartment contains several packages of cookies from England, two cans of tuna, and two bags of beef jerky. There is also a deck of cards, a die, and some hot chocolate mix.

This is the whole bag expanded.


My family is on a trip to London. We went to Hamley’s, the 7 story toy store. On our way out, we saw Ben Stiller.
My dad noticed him because he said ‘Ella’, the name of his daughter. That is also the name of my sister, so dad looked where it had come from and saw Ben Stiller. My dad pointed him out to us.

this is an update to my earlier post,

Weapons: As a minor, I do not have access to firearms, or any experience.  I have 1 2″ swiss army knife, a 2″ multitool, a 2.5″ multitool, and a wrench with a 2″ blade and screwdrivers in the handle.

Food and water: at any time my family will have 30 bottles of water in the house.  For food, we have much canned food, but not more than a few days’ worth.

Other: I have two rolls of duct tape.  I have half a dozen flashlights, 2 of which can be recharged by hand.  I have several decks of playing cards and several dozen dice, so morale wouldn’t be too low.

first of all, i got this idea from

today, I got the last of the parts to build an arduino clone and the serial cable that is used to program it.

The cable includes ground, TX, and RX, which are the minimum needed to control it.  I added another wire so it can use usb power.  It then looked like:

the other end was also simple.  I just soldered the wires to a female header socket and covered it in electrical tape:

the boarduino was also simple, I built the power section and then did the rest: it lights up!

then i built the rest, the blink program was pre-loaded:before i put in the chip

I have blinking lights!

next: my evil coilgun.

This kit is currently just a theory.  I was at some volunteer thing all day, and talked to some other kid who has strange ideas.  We settled on  the following for a zombie(plague, not curse) survival kit:

-Weapons: ideally a shotgun, a hunting knife, and a pocket knife.  Also have ammo for the shotgun and a pistol.  Magazines for assault rifles would be hard to find unless you already have them, and they would need more ammo, taking up more weight and space.

-Food and Water: enough for 3 days.  If you aren’t within three days of more food anyway, you will die.  For food, choose stuff that doesn’t need to be frozen or cooked, like beans, granola bars, and beef jerky.  For water, try a canteen, not water bottles.  Also, a water purifier or tablets would be good.

-other: obviously, duct tape has many uses in any world.  A flashlight is needed, as are back-up batteries.  The GPS system could continue working for a few years without people, so bring a GPS and either more batteries for it or a charger(solar or off car batteries).  Rope will be useful, for securing things or closing doors against zombies.  Have fishing line and hooks, because there might not be much meat on a squirrel after it is hit with a shotgun, you will need more food.  And bring some kind of game for entertainment.  As a general rule, you want something that is usually lost before the batteries die, like 20 questions.  And of course, more people traveling with you would be good.  There is safety in numbers, and you don’t have to outrun the zombies, just the slowest person.  The goal of this pack is to keep you alive on your way to a safe place, not long term survival.

***Disclaimer*** don’t take me seriously.  I will not be responsible for your zombification.

I have built a bunch of stuff recently without updating.

the first is a small breakout for a SPDT switch:

the next is a breakout for screw terminals so i can use anything with wires:

such as this switch:

next are two bargraphs soldered onto 74hc595 ic’s.  Both work, but on the first the order was not right for the leds, so I built another.  The led’s don’t have thier own resistors, but it works.  I was able to do this because I bought 10 of these chips for $3 on eBay.  The displays would have been under a buck to buy.  Last but not least, I have built another person:

his head, transistor, and diode are from disposable cameras.  The chip cost ten cents, and the perfboard is just a scrap.

I built a board to hold an LCD and the parts to control it.  I started it over a week ago, and finished it today(I forgot about it).  it uses the shiftreglcd library and a 74ls164.  To save one I/O pin, the design included an AND gate made from a diode and resistor.  The board reduces a complicated LCD to data, clock, power, and ground. This will keep me from having to make a whole circuit when I want an LCD in my Arduino projects.

lately, I’ve been working on turning a line following robot into one that is controlled by an arduino.  I took out the main board and line following sensor, as they did not work.  I replaced one of the dual AA battery packs with a 9v to power the arduino, and left the other to power the motors.  I installed a switch between the 9v battery and the 2.1mm jack for the arduino, and hotglued it in.  I have ordered a l293d motor driver on eBay, and this will soon be controlled.  I wil but the l293d in a board, then hotglue that board in, below the arduino’s platform, with a female header breaking out the necessary control.  I also ordered a boarduino, which may be optimul for this project.

i got the temperature sensor i bought from sparkfun a while ago working today.  One site I found recommended a 2.2k resistor, but i found 8.8 worked better for me.  I found this by running the demo sketch in the library(in the arduino playground), and fiddling with a potentiometer.  When I got values roughly consistent with another thermometer, I measured the value of the pot’s resistance between the output and 5v(I did not connect ground, so it was not  acting as a voltage divider.  I then connected 7 resistors in series to match this, so a twisted pot wouldn’t corrupt my measurements. it is accurate(within a degree or two), and i hope to make it better.

after an hour of messing with code, I was able to get a simple demo working with a parallax ping and a servo.  This is for a self navigating robot.  When there is an object within 2 feet of the robot, it will stop.  The servo will then rotate, scanning the PING))) sensor, telling which paths are open for travel.  The robot will then choose the one that is closest to its destination.  I have only been working on getting the servo and PINg to work, and another group of people are working on the GPS.  No one has worked out the motor control for the robot tank yet.  I will post the code if anyone asks.  This was composed without access to the internet.