I brought my “Arduino on the go” along to New Mexico, but discovered I’d installed a pushbutton on the breadboard in a spot that was already wired to ground, making the button always “pressed.” In order to move it, I needed more jumper wires; and due to a combination of hurry and hubris, I had brought none along.
I needed some 24- to 26-gauge solid wire, in a cabin, on a mountain (excavaaaaaating for a mine). The nearest Radio Shack was twenty miles and about forty minutes away, and I couldn’t think of any store in Angel Fire likely to have wire for me.
So, where would you scrounge up wire in an emergency? I’m actually interested in suggestions — add them to the comments if you can come up with something other than my ideas. I didn’t have anything along that I could take apart for wire, I didn’t have a soldering iron to tin stranded wire, and I wasn’t willing to damage anything in the cabin, the car, or the area.
My first thought was to find a phone service pedestal. Buried cable has solid wires, not stranded; and pedestals often have short ends lying about that were chopped off by the punchdown tool. But the only pedestals I could find outside the cabin were for power service, so no luck there. And even if I had found a phone pedestal, I’m sure rooting around it for 2″ pieces of wire would have been pretty obvious terrorist activity, and I would have ended up somewhere that I wouldn’t be blogging about the experience.
While I was walking about looking for pedestals, I thought of twist-ties. I don’t know whether there were any in the cabin, and I think the wire in them is more like 28- or 30-gauge anyway. But they might have worked in a pinch.
Still, I had a better idea by the time I got back, and the telephone pedestal idea was on the right track.
Phone Cable — that No One Will Miss
I pulled the phone jack off the wall, figuring that if the cabin was old enough for the phone service to have been wired with two-pair cable, and since it only had a single-line phone, I could clip the unused ends off the black and yellow wires; and as new as it was, it likely had four-pair cable, so I could clip the unused green and brown pairs; and as an absolute worst case, I could cut off some of the two feet of excess cable that telephone installers seem to like to cram into the box and reterminate the jack myself with a little bit less cable.
Bingo! Four-pair cable, jack wired for two lines even though only one is used, green and brown pairs wrapped back around the jacket, snip! and about four 5″ pieces of wire for me. The ribbon cable to the pushbutton is moved to a safer place, and all is well with the world.
Oh, and I could have had about eight 2′ pieces of wire, and no one would have been the wiser.