Swiss Army Fuse


Introduction: Swiss Army Fuse

About: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed. Personally I am a human...

This is a very simple Instructable based on my own experience of asking a tool to do more than it was designed to do.  MAKE SURE YOU READ THE LAST STEP THE WARNING!

Step 1: The Story

It was 1988.  I used to carry a single blade lock back hunting knife, but MacGyver was popular, so I had a mullet, wore acid washed jeans and started carrying a Swiss army knife.  (I was a teenager)  I had a 1983 Dodge Aries that was just reliable enough to get me to school and back.   One day I went to start my car and the only sound it made was a click and a pop.  I discovered that a fuse was blown, so I replaced it.  I tried to start the car and again,  just a click and a pop.  I kept putting in higher value fuses until I had blown every extra fuse I had.  I started looking around for something metal that I could use in place of a fuse.  I was looking for a paper clip, but all I could find was coins and old french fries.  I then thought of my Swiss army knife.  I opened up the scissors and compared them to the blades of the fuse. It was like it was designed not only for cutting paper, string, and hangnails, but also to be an emergency blade fuse!

I had a Victorinox.  I am not sure if Wenger or other brands would work.

Step 2: Rejoice

I then placed the scissors into the fuse holder in the car.  The old blue box shaped car fired up on the first try.  I was able to drive my car home!

Step 3: A WARNING!

I know what you are thinking.....I should have checked what was causing the fuse to blow, before replacing it.  When I got home I reached down to pull out the Swiss army knife.  It was so hot that it burned my finger and thumb!  My dad and I found that a battery cable, under the hood, had rubbed on the frame until it had rubbed off its insulation, and was shorting out on the frame.  I was lucky the only damage was the discoloration of my scissors.  So now that you know, you can use a Swiss army knife in place of a fuse, make sure you find out what is causing the fuse to blow, or you could have bigger problems to deal with.  BIGGER PROBLEMS COULD INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:  MELTED COMPONENTS, FIRE, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGE, DISMEMBERMENT, DEATH.   FUSES ARE FOR SAFETY.  REPLACING THEM WITH ANYTHING BESIDES THE SAME VALUE FUSE IS FOOLISH, BUT SOMETIMES PEOPLE TAKE RISKS AND DO FOOLISH THINGS.  HAPPY JURY RIGGING.



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    When I was in the insurance business I read of a customer of ours that had a similar problem on a hunting trip and this mans brilliance led him to discovering that a rim fire .22 cartridge is the same size as the old tube style fuses in his old truck.....u see where this is going don't you?.... Anyway skip to the end ended up with BB sized hold in his man sack!!!?

    1 reply

    better to take a fuse you do not need at that time, like internal lighting, seat or mirror warmers, enough choice out of the >50 in modern cars

    Ok, I'll try to "be nice". This was very clever if you look at it from a purely mechanical standpoint: let's see, what do I have in my pocket that could bridge that gap in the fuse panel? A penny? A comb? Pocket lint? Wait! The scissors in my SAK! Damn, I'm clever.

    This is the point to draw a distinction between clever and smart. Along the spectrum of unpredictable consequences from this kluge are some really expensive and/or dangerous ones. Because the author was lucky in this particular instance does not make it smart.

    To be fair, we don't know the circumstances. If he was in the wrong part of town, or about to be swept away by a tsunami, or facing an overnight sleeping in the car in zero degree weather, ok, maybe. I'm glad it turned out ok for the author.

    1 reply

    Good to know. I certainly hope I never find myself stranded and fuse-less with only Swiss Army scissors to save me, but I will be THRILLED to remember your project should that occasion arise.

    This is dangerous. You're lucky you didn't start a fire or cause the battery to explode and spray acid everywhere. Fuses pop for a reason - you should have found the shorted out battery terminal first rather than jamming scissors into a fusebox.

    3 replies

    The battery would never have blown up.
    A fire is unlikely, but smoke from burning wires was a possibility.
    Anyway, you do what you have to to get home.

    Could not have said it better VadimS. I got home.

    Shorting lead-acid batteries does not make them explode, but it can burn/melt what you short hem with, which, if you don't know what is going on, can be confused with an explosion.

    The author acknowledges the hazards, all you have to do is read what he writes before having an over-reaction.

    It helps to read a project all the way through before you comment, then you don't look quite so hysterical.

    1 reply

    Thanks, Kiteman. I edited my Instructable to have a warning and more graphic warning at the end.