It’s basically a tired Hollywood cliche : every time the bad guy plants a bomb, it must have a visible timer indicating the amount of time remaining, and it must have an inordinate amount of wires and extra components. I’ve seen some tv bombs that appear to have entire computer systems integrated into them.
A time bomb isn’t a complex device. It’s a clock, some kind of mechanism to throw a switch, a battery able to supply enough current, and some kind of heating element to set off the first charge. (a blasting cap has both the heating element and the initiator in one convenient component)
The more complex a mechanism is, the more likely it is to fail. Furthermore, the typical “tv” bomb is so complex that cutting one wrong wire will set off the device. Well, it would in real life : the actual TV bomb generally accelerates the countdown as an “anti-tamper” mechanism.
I just cannot imagine even the dumbest mad bomber creating a device that is more complex than it has to be : if the thing is rigged with tons of anti-tamper devices, odds are at least one of them will be miswired or malfunction when the bomber tries to arm the bomb.
I read about the Vegas casino bomber, who did have a device the size of a xerox machine with reams of wiring. The FBI did not feel confident enough to cut wires on that thing, and they let it explode as I recall.
Are there any other examples? I’ve read about many cases where a local bomb squad will use a controlled explosion to destroy the wiring on a crude bomb because they do not want to disturb it by cutting wires.
With that said, if you are forced to attempt to defuse a bomb, just cut any wire, right? Preferable one leading to the battery, but any old wire will do, right?