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How to Use a [BUSTED] Cell Phone to Meet 5 Basic Survival Needs
The Art of Manliness ^ | June 14, 2012 | Manly Guest Contributor

Posted on 08/05/2012 4:11:03 AM PDT by GonzoII

How to Use a [BUSTED] Cell Phone to Meet 5 Basic Survival Needs

by A Manly Guest Contributor on June 14, 2012 · 69 comments

in Manly Skills



This content series is brought to you by Dockers. Take the adventure of a lifetime! What’s this?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Creek Stewart.

Last week we talked about the many survival uses of the tampon. But unless he specifically packed one in a bag or car, a man’s unlikely to have one on him in a pinch. So today we’re going to explore the survival uses of an everyday item you’re much more likely to have with you in an emergency: your cell phone.

Ever leave home without your cell phone? For most of us, the answer these days is no. I think I’d be more comfortable leaving home without my pants on.  I feel more naked with no cell phone.  The cell phone has become our portal to the world and we pretty much have one with us at all times.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Whether in a boat, on a plane, traveling through Africa, taking a road trip, or backpacking the Rockies, our cell phone has become a regular piece of Every Day Carry (EDC).  I think it’s pretty safe to say that we will probably have our cell phone with us if ever faced with a tragic survival situation.  It’s also not hard to imagine that it might not be working.  Regardless of the reason, a broken or busted cell phone is STILL an amazing collection of pieces and parts that, with a little insight and creativity, can be used to help meet a surprising number of basic survival needs.  How do I know this?  I busted open a handful of cell phones to find out.

Survival Signal Mirror

Each of the cell phones I cracked open had metallic, mirror-like layers of material behind the screens.  These can function as a perfect survival signal mirror.  The reflection from a mirror can be seen for miles by land, air, or water rescue crews.  This has saved the lives of many survivors in history.  You can even use the reflection from a bright moon to make a flash at night.  I made a more workable signal mirror by “gluing” the reflective pieces to a hunk of bark with some pine sap.

Aiming an improvised signal mirror requires a little finesse.  Simply hold up your peace sign and place your target (the rescue crew) in-between your fingers.  Then, flash the sun’s reflection across your fingers.  You can see the reflection on your fingers which ensures you are also flashing your target.

Navigation

Most speakers (if not all of them) contain a magnet.  All of the cell phones I opened contained a magnet with the speaker portion of the phone.  All of the phones also contained MANY little pieces of wire that I could magnetize; it must be a ferrous metal wire – copper will not work.  With these two items you can make a very accurate improvised compass.

Sweep the magnet across the metal wire in the SAME direction 10 or so times.  Make a mental note of the direction you are sweeping the magnet.  This is the end of the wire that will point NORTH.  You can then FLOAT this metal wire in a small pool of water on a small leaf or shaving of wood.  It must be a completely undisturbed pool of water with no current so as to not affect the results.  The wire will align itself with the NORTH-SOUTH line with the end you noted above pointing north (in the Northern Hemisphere).  Right of North is East and Left of North is West.  Now you know direction.

Spear Points & Cutting Tools

Each cell phone also had a circuit board.  I used the circuit board from a SmartPhone to make two very useful items to a survivor.  I noticed that when I abraded the edge of the circuit board against a smooth rock it actually ground down to a fairly decent cutting edge.  I used half of the circuit board to make a useful cutting tool which I used to gather and cut some natural bark cordage and also scrape a pile of very fine fire tinder shavings from a dried Mullein stalk.  Both of these items are incredibly useful to a survivor.  This crude cutting tool can be used for a variety of other survival chores as well.

I then shaped the other half of the circuit board into an “arrowhead” spear point which I lashed onto the end of a willow shaft using the natural cordage I gathered.  I abraded the edges of this point against the stone to sharpen it.  I’ve made many make-shift gigs and spears in my life, and I have no doubt that this point can do some serious damage – either in self-defense or in food procurement.

I was also able to make a back-up gig by folding and pounding (using two rocks) a small, thin piece of metal into another arrowhead-shaped point.  This is crazy sharp and is very similar to a make-shift broad head.

And Then He Made Fire

Probably the most valuable piece of a broken cell phone to a survivor is the battery.  Almost any battery can be short-circuited to generate either a spark or a hot enough wire to ignite flammable tinder.  Fire can be used in a survival situation to signal for help, boil water, regulate core body temperature, make tools, fend off predators, and cook food.

Everyone has seen the old steel wool trick.  Steel wool ignites very quickly when brushed across the positive and negative terminals on a cell phone battery.  But, when’s the last time you saw a wild steel wool tree?  I seriously doubt you are going to have some steel wool on-hand in a survival situation.

However, I used thin wire that I found inside a cell phone to connect (and short circuit) the cell phone battery.  It almost instantly turned red hot when I touch it simultaneously to the + and – terminals.  I had to peel off the battery’s outer coating to do this.  Make sure you have your fire tinder ready because it doesn’t last long and is almost certainly a one shot chance.  This red hot wire can be used to ignite natural found tinder such as the below seed pod or a spare SURVIVAL TAMPON.

I also tried to magnify the sun’s rays using the lens from a phone’s camera but was unable to get anything to smoke or ignite.  I was pretty stoked about this possibility but couldn’t get it to work:

Fishing Lures

As I looked at the pile of cell phone parts in front of me, some looked surprisingly similar to fish tackle lures, so I went to work and quickly created these four fishing lures.

The most basic lure is the one marked GORGE.  This is a classic survival fishing hook and rather than hooking a fish, it “gorges” itself in the fish’s throat.  It must be baited in parallel with the fish line as shown below.  Once the fish swallows the bait and the line is pulled taught, the gorge pivots on the line and “gorges” in the throat.  I counted as many as 20 gorge lures in one phone.  With enough cordage you could set out several fishing lines to work for you.

Survival Small Game Snare

Do you use wired headphones with your phone?

If so, this use might come in handy.  A small game survival snare can be made using the wire from a pair of headphones.  This wire can also be used for a variety of other projects that might require cordage.  Setting snares allows you to focus on other survival priorities while they hunt for you.  To see exactly how to make this snare, read this survival snare article.

Instead of the headphones silently playing your music, let them silently hunt for you.

Conclusion

It goes without saying that your cell phone should only be dismantled as an absolute last resort option in a survival scenario.  Even when there seems to be no signal, your phone might be able to register a ping from nearby cell phone towers which can be used by first responders to track your general location.  But, if it’s already busted, one of these tricks just might save your life.  What other survival uses can you think of for a busted cell phone?

____________________

Creek Stewart is a Senior Instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft.  Creek’s passion is teaching, sharing, and preserving outdoor living and survival skills. Creek is also the author of the book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit. For more information, visit Willowhaven Outdoor.

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TOPICS: Outdoors
KEYWORDS: cellphones; preppers; survival

Great arrowhead tip! -Mike

1 posted on 08/05/2012 4:11:22 AM PDT by GonzoII
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To: GonzoII

Ingenious - thanks!


2 posted on 08/05/2012 4:18:24 AM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: P.O.E.

No problem..


3 posted on 08/05/2012 4:22:10 AM PDT by GonzoII (Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea...Quare tristis es anima mea?)
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To: GonzoII; Kaslin

This is one of the most useful SHTF posts I’ve seen in a while. No offense to Kaslin, but this one just struck me as neat. THANKS!


4 posted on 08/05/2012 4:32:26 AM PDT by Lazamataz (I hate the Universe, and it hates me.)
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To: GonzoII

mark


5 posted on 08/05/2012 4:42:12 AM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (Obamanomics-We don't need your stinking tar sands oil, we'll just grow algae.)
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To: GonzoII

ping


6 posted on 08/05/2012 5:00:16 AM PDT by marvlus
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To: GonzoII

outstanding, thanks


7 posted on 08/05/2012 5:00:37 AM PDT by eartick (Been to the line in the sand and liked it)
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To: GonzoII

You know, only a small handful of people have a brain as powerful as this writer. Thankfully the Web lets us see their work.


8 posted on 08/05/2012 5:31:18 AM PDT by BobL (Cruz'd to Victory - July 31, 2012)
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To: GonzoII
With all the interest in survival skills I'm curious how many have taken up flint knapping? I've been doing it for 40 years never thinking of it as a survival skill but just as a hobby that I love to do. For someone trying to develope or gain skills I would think that would be a must have. These were all made with stone, bone or antler all found on the ranch. Bone works well for pressure flaking but I prefer antler plus the base of the antler make great billets. Making bows arrows and atlatl's are pretty simple and all can be made using flint. Broken glass is another very usefull tool, it very knapable. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
9 posted on 08/05/2012 5:35:41 AM PDT by Dusty Road
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To: GonzoII

Nothing says ‘post apocalyptic’ quite like making arrowheads out of printed circuit board. :-)


10 posted on 08/05/2012 5:42:27 AM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Dusty Road

For those that are interested theres a friend of mine that has a series of video’s on Youtube, he’s one of the best knappers I’ve ever met and the best teacher. But I will caution y’all, it’s very addictive.

http://www.youtube.com/user/paleomanjim


11 posted on 08/05/2012 5:43:22 AM PDT by Dusty Road
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To: Dusty Road

NICE!


12 posted on 08/05/2012 6:02:46 AM PDT by X-spurt (It is truly time for ON YOUR FEET or on your knees)
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To: GonzoII

bfl


13 posted on 08/05/2012 6:10:34 AM PDT by VRW Conspirator (We were the tea party before there was a tea party. - Jim Robinson)
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To: GonzoII

k


14 posted on 08/05/2012 6:24:59 AM PDT by quintr
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To: GonzoII

That’s some pretty darned good reasoning...


15 posted on 08/05/2012 6:45:27 AM PDT by bcsco
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To: Dusty Road

That looks a lot like the Hawken hanging on my office wall. The lock is a little different, but otherwise very similar.


16 posted on 08/05/2012 6:54:17 AM PDT by bcsco
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To: Dusty Road

Yes, flint knapping is a great survial skill and have had it marked for SHTF. Nothing fancy but I’ve taught it to a few youth groups.

Never thought about putting my stained glass into that category until now, so thanks.


17 posted on 08/05/2012 6:54:20 AM PDT by bgill
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To: GonzoII

***Simply hold up your peace sign and place your target (the rescue crew) in-between your fingers*****

That is a VICTORY SIGN! The hippies hijacked that years ago to mean something it does not!


18 posted on 08/05/2012 7:20:24 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Tyrannies demand immense sacrifices of their people to produce trifles.-Marquis de Custine)
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To: Dusty Road

I used to do that when I was a kid and had a local source of material. I got pretty good at it, but you are a master.


19 posted on 08/05/2012 7:30:40 AM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Kirkwood

Thank you, I’ve been at it along time.


20 posted on 08/05/2012 7:36:45 AM PDT by Dusty Road
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To: GonzoII

Great read, thanks! I’m going to pass this on to my husband.


21 posted on 08/05/2012 8:53:54 AM PDT by leaning conservative (snow coming, school cancelled, yayyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: GonzoII

Bttp


22 posted on 08/05/2012 9:05:17 AM PDT by Two-Bits (Failure to know history is sadly a way to repeat some of the most evil ever done.)
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To: leaning conservative
I’m going to pass this on to my husband.

Make sure you hide your cell phone!

23 posted on 08/05/2012 9:42:35 AM PDT by GonzoII (Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea...Quare tristis es anima mea?)
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To: Kartographer

Prepper ping!


24 posted on 08/05/2012 9:48:00 AM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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To: Kartographer

Prepper ping!


25 posted on 08/05/2012 9:48:18 AM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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To: GonzoII

Just in case no one knows, rosin core solder used real rosin. The pine tree shown produces great flux. I have white pine around my shop and have used the sap (reduced with alcohol) to silver solder for years.


26 posted on 08/05/2012 9:52:12 AM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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