An Engineer’s Emergency Business Card


We’ve seen lots of circuit board business cards before, but none quite like this. [Saar] calls it the Engineer’s Emergency Business Card.

Since he actually makes a living from making circuit boards, it made sense for him to make a truly functional card. But unlike some of the fancier cards we’ve seen, you can’t plug it into your computer, or even open a beer with it! In fact, all it does is light up when a voltage is applied across the main pins.

But wait — why are all the components in through holes? Well, according to [Saar], that’s because it’s designed to be the electrical engineers emergency kit!

When all hope is lost, the MacGuyver engineer could snap out one of the components and save the day. Recall the countless times you desperately needed a 1 KOhm resistor to fix an amplifier at a party, only to see the girl you were trying to impress slip away with an OCaml programmer? Never again with this little kit. You even have 2 cm of solder in there to make sure the connection’s electrically solid!

We love it. Whether or not anyone will ever successfully use it in an emergency situation such as [Saar’s] hypothetical one is another question altogether. But we do have to give him creativity points for it, the artistic traces look awesome!

46 thoughts on “An Engineer’s Emergency Business Card

        1. What is the environmental impact of lead solder that is not disposed of improperly? Why should I suffer because everyone else is at fault? Don’t you know you’re never supposed to start a sentence with the word and?

          1. And you would be wrong.

            By the way let’s not get your semantics in the way of abusing the known troll fartface. You may want to google his name in the hackaday url as to why.

    1. Far as I know, Radio Shack still sells the real stuff…I’ve got a couple rolls of Radio Shack lead solder in the drawer with all of the “cancer/poison” warnings…might be old though.

      1. Pretty new if it has warnings about cancer. The rolls I have are 6 years old and they don’t mention cancer, just burns and poisoning. Not like rubbing your fingers across solder will give you lead poisoning, it actually has to enter your body for that to happen.

  1. My question is why would you have a soldering iron handy at the party but no solder?

    Or are you supposed to get really MacGyver and use the tip of a clothes iron or heat up a poker in the fire?

      1. waitaminute…

        no power
        no lights
        has zippo
        uses zippo to solder so can have led lighting

        something feels out of place..Ahh! you should have made a grilled cheese sandwich with the zippo, possibly skimming off the grease, cooking it further and adding strands of braided cotton. That way you could serve up a home-made grilled cheese by candlelight.

        1. If you’ve ever held a lit zippo for any long period of time, you’ll understand why all those movies where someone is holding a zippo for light are bullshit. Gets hot enough to ignite the flint within minutes, by that point your not going to be able to hold onto it for very long unless you have thick callous on your hands.

      2. I had the same situation last night, but used a lead/acid battery and an old headlight. Yes, I could have twisted the wires like a peasant, but a gas soldering iron comes in really handy sometimes. It basically pays for itself.

  2. Neat; the embedded length of solder alone would have got me out of a bind in the past while on a skiing holiday (a couple of us manage to do a MacGuyver fix on a remote control by using a gas torch that brought for melting P-Tex sticks and then ‘liberating’ solder from a dead fire-alarm it didn’t look pretty but we could change the channel again)

      1. Volts is expressed as E though, or electric potential. Volts is actually the name of the scale used to measure Electrical potential. Kind of like how we use degrees to measure temperature. Electric potential exists whether we quantify it, or not. Even more strangely electrons obey Ohm’s law even though none of them have even heard of Ohm. They were doing it since before Ohm was ever born too.

        1. Well isn’t Electric potential expressed as Ep with the “p” as sub-index? At least that is what they taught us at school – so that it doesn’t mix with E for Energy (which is probably what the first guy meant, although it should probably be E=I*U, not I*R). Oh and by the way, here in CZ, we say U for Voltage, not V, so… I don’t think any of this really matters.

  3. Why does everyone have an issue with through hole components? Miniaturization is fine, but when it comes to POWER, give me through hole components any day of the week…and how about SOCKETING the larger pinned chips so I’m not out a $3000 board when a processor goes bad on an industrial controller???

    Like the card.

    1. Um… because socketed procs suffer chip creep, causing service calls, causing a reduction in the manufactures bottom line, also not being able to sell a $3000 replacement board causes a reduction in the manufactures bottom line – see the trend – there’s your answer.

      1. Your analysis doesn’t make sense.

        It would come down to a multipart cost benefit:

        (service contract fees vs. service calls) and/or more sales via replacement

        Clearly, assuming everything being equal, the best option would be to charge enough for service contracts that they are profitable AND whichever parts are easy to fix and prone to failure. Therefore service contracts are thought of as a good investment by clients, yet still make a profit for the company, the manufacturing costs go down, and that loops back to adding profit via the service department. It is a self reinforcing loop of enhanced profit.

      2. I understand it’s all about corporate bottom line….but it’s always been my contention that a well designed and easily repaired by customer product is free advertising….

        When asked by others in my industry about equipment, those manufacturers that don’t have their head up their posterior and build properly get praised, while those that are building for a profit line get panned.

        1. You’d think they’d realize this, but most corporate purchase decisions end up being made by a series of disconnected drones all “doing their job”. It seems the corporate hive mind lacks in logic and tries to compensate for it with energy and momentum. A badly lossy system, but thinking would cause people to lose their jobs so it’s easier to just placate the beast. Sad state of affairs…

  4. Nice design, but a couple of ideas:
    Why not socket the parts? Makes them easier to replace or use when needed
    What about integrating a couple of tools in there as well? IE Simple wire stripper using a coupple of razor blades arranged in a V-shape or something?

  5. If the goal to to have “parts” for emergency, why not make a matchbook
    of the components from cut tapes/reels? It has higher storage density
    and more usable than to desolder the parts.

    Strangely enough, this is one case where a microcontroller with analog
    and digital I/O might come in handy. Who know if you need something that
    be program to replace a block of circuit in a pinch.

    Right now it is a good way to drive off girls or attract TSA attention.

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