Jul162012

64 Comments

What’s in YOUR Faraday Cage? A common sense guide to preparing for an EMP

image by Cali4Beach

Massive solar flares have been in the news recently, along with vague warnings of how a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) might affect us here on earth. The dangers of a man-made Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) was outlined in excruciating detail in One Second After by William Forstchen.

We rely on electronics way too much to ignore the potential of these events, and although even the experts aren’t always in agreement where details are concerned, it makes sense to have a plan to protect important electronics in either event.

What experts do agree on is that many items with any type of electronic component may become inoperable by either a CME or EMP. From Survival Mom: How to prepare your family for everyday disasters and worst-case scenarios:

An EMP can be caused by the detonation of a large bomb,
nuclear or otherwise, in the atmosphere, miles above land. Its pulse
wave can easily cover a continent and destroy electronic components
in computers, engines, power plants, and solar panels alike. An event
like this has never happened on a large scale, and there are differing
opinions as to the exact consequences, but one thing is certain: In a
matter of moments, life as we know it would be gone forever. Our
closest star, the sun, could also do extensive damage in the form of a
Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The results would be similar.

I don’t have a plan to turn my garage into a giant Faraday cage in hopes that our vehicles would be spared, but I have made plans to protect other, smaller items that would make a huge difference in our survival following a CME or EMP. Here is a list of some of those items.

  1. Mp3 players filled with music. also, every spare set of earphones I can scrape up around here.

    image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

  2. An old laptop computer with downloads of ebooks and stored personal information
  3. One or more digital cameras.
  4. A set of walkie-talkies that run on rechargeable batteries
  5. Solar battery chargers
  6. A Kindle containing more than 150 books, many of them reference and survival books but also dozens of classics and a couple version of the Bible
  7. One or more digital watches and clocks
  8. Small DVD player (a backup player would be good also)
  9. Any and all digital photos stored on a DVD and/or a thumb drive
  10. Scanned documents stored on a DVD and/or thumb drive (See Grab-n-Go Binder.)
  11. Computer hard drives
  12. Ham radio equipment
  13. A small generator
  14. LED flashlights
  15. Shortwave radio
  16. Inverters
  17. Electronic medical equipment

And what should these be stored in? Well, again, most every expert has differing opinions. We have a few Tech Protect Bags and a metal trash can. Here are some other options:

  1. Tech Protect Bags – The owners of this company recommend nesting Faraday containers.
  2. A metal garbage can
  3. Ammo cans
  4. An old microwave (mixed reviews on this one)
  5. Heavy duty aluminum foil wrapped around individual items, wrapped in plastic, and then again with aluminum foil.
  6. A tool box
  7. Gun safe
  8. A cardboard box or other container that has been “Faraday-ized”
  9. Holiday popcorn tins

If/when an EMP or CME occurs, there is no going back for a “re-do”. Whatever works, works. Whatever doesn’t, doesn’t, and there will likely be no way to make repairs. Because of that, I highly recommend taking these precautions.

First, if you have more than one of an item, 2 digital cameras, for example, don’t store them together in the same container. If the metal trash can proves to be effective but the microwave doesn’t (and you will only know following the EMP/CME), at least you’ll have one item that operates.

Next, pack small Faraday containers into larger Faraday containers. If you are using a Tech Protect Bag, store it inside a larger Tech Protect Bag, an ammo can, or another (hopefully) EMP-safe container. This layering could include a clothes dry, metal filing cabinet, or metal drum.

If you have emergency kits that contain electronic items, package them in an EMP-proof box or bag, so you’ll have your most important survival items protected when you may need them most.

True, we could survive just fine without music, photos, probably most documents that are important today but may not be, “one second after,” but since the exact results of a CME/EMP are so unknown, I would rather protect even just a few of these items than face a future without anything at all containing an electronic component.

One final thought. No one knows if or when either a CME or EMP will happen, and if it does, what the intensity will be. Whatever you pack in a Faraday container will be safest if it remains there. For example, don’t pack your laptop if you use it several times a week. Instead, pick up an older laptop on Craigslist, store your information, and then pack it away.

What are your plans for protecting electronics and what is in your Faraday cage?

 

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

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(64) Readers Comments

  1. Good article and one I need to look at harder. *sigh* One thing at a time. :) thanks for the post!

  2. If an EMP happens, would you be able to charge these items once the battery wears out (kindles, etc)? I thought if it happens, there would be no more electricity (at least until that is all fixed/re-done).

    • There are solar battery chargers with USB ports. It would be a good idea to have at least a couple of those.

    • This question makes sense… if there was a widespread EMP, the devices you store are good only as long as their batteries last. Or, if you’re able to get out of that area to where there is still a working power grid.

  3. Do wind up flashlights and radios need to be kept in a Faraday cage?

    • Anything with a charge controller is susceptible. The radio, unless it is really old, is also susceptible.

  4. As far as solar battery rechargers go, just stockpile a big batch of solar garden lights. Those things run on rechargeable AA or AAA batteries – so you get a solar powered light, a rechargeable battery, AND a solar powered battery recharger all for a buck or two. This week, solar garden lights are on sale at Kmart for only $1.50 each. I remove the batteries and get them fully charged in a wall-socket battery recharger before putting them into a faraday cage, storing the batteries in a baggie next to the solar lights. (If you store batteries inside a battery operated device, the battery will eventually go dead even if the device is not being used.) Also, regarding #5 above, you need to wrap an electronic device in a baggie first, then add a layer of tin foil, then another baggie. The inner baggie prevents the device from coming into contact with the charge that’s being carried through the tin foil. The outer layer of baggie prevents any rips from damaging the tin foil layer. Then put the whole she-bang inside a larger faraday cage.

    • If you would like to keep your batteries and solar lights together, slip a piece of plastic between the battery and the contacts and it will not discharge. Also, you can get the rechargeble batteries for the solar lights MUCH cheaper that regular rechargables because they are lower output. I bought 36 for less than $20 on eBay. Put them in the lights, charge them, then switch them out for the old ones and throw them in the freezer charged and ready to go.

    • Regarding using plastic, my electrician (who is a prepper) recommended NOT using.keeping plastic wrapping because it is a conductor or electricity. So I have been removing all plastic packaging from my electronics (including plastic wrapping for batteries), wrapping each component in paper and then wrapping all that in a paper bag. Then I wrap that in heavy-duty tin foil. I print a photo copy of the item and attach that to the outside of the foil packet for easy ID.

  5. I recently heard about this somewhere, I wish I could give credit to the right person but. Visiting a friend recently I found he had about a dozen old microwaves in his garage. He is using them as faraday cages since when in use the keep microwaves in the should keep microwaves out. He just runs a wire to ground each one. I thought that was a clever way to recycle!

    • A microwave oven will act as a Faraday cage for microwave frequencies ONLY, but not for an EMP or CME event. I will try to write an enlarged comment later on as I have some limited experience in this area.

  6. Regarding keeping your photos on a drive or CD – how could you print them if power is out. Right now I’ve got to use my Canon Selphy or the Epson printer connected to the computer. We’ve got an external hard drive for photos, etc. Would the external have to be shielded also? Until actual restoration of power I don’t think I could use the Selphy, but we could at least access the photos on the laptop, but still have no way to print.
    Hmmm…now you have me thinking. I really don’t want to even think about printing all the photos of all 3 grandchildren. Maybe if I go through the external and just pick favorite photos? I’m a scrapbooker so I’m used to picking just one or two photos.
    Gonna have to think about this seriously.

  7. I am sooo posting a link to this on my blog! Just in case anyone actually reads it. LOL!

  8. Though it goes against OPSEC somewhat, I will say I have solar chargers and emergency radios wrapped in aluminum foil inside their original non-conductive packaging. By the way, you can buy really cheap aluminum foil and wrap it extra, but you should also buy metal tape at the hardware store to seal the edges.

    • That’s an important point – taping around the lids is important, particularly with painted tins. I believe holiday tins are really supposed to have the paint sanded off around the lid’s edge so the actual metal edges are in contact and conducting any charge, so having metal tape across this part is particularly important. I cannot, however remember exactly what the recommendation is for that.

  9. I ordered several different sizes of the Tech Protect bags. It’s still a work in progress but so far I have: solar yard lights, 2 solar battery chargers (w/ batteries in Food Saver bags so they won’t get misplaced), and battery operated carbon monoxide/smoke detector. Good idea about layering the bags inside a galvanized trash can!

    My goal is to get my flash drive updated, an inexpensive tablet or lap top, an MP3 player w/ my favorite music stored, and perhaps an hand held HAM radio “Faradayed” too.

    Keep on prepping ladies, and men! ;)

  10. For three of the past four years, I have worked on the design of military radar systems. These systems are required to be hardened against electronic countermeasures, including EMP. We had to essentially design complex Faraday cages to protect the sensitive electronics that make up these systems. Along the way I picked up a few things.

    First, the conductivity of the surface of your Faraday cage is important. Aluminum conducts far better than steel. Copper conducts better than aluminum. Thicker conductors have less electrical resistance than thinner materials. While a thin-walled steel can will provide some protection, a thick-walled aluminum or copper container will provide better protection.

    Second, Interfaces should be electrically conductive. A Faraday cage won’t work properly unless it is electrically conductive across the entire surface. One of the most difficult aspects of designing these radar enclosures was getting the access doors to properly conduct electricity across the interface between the doorway and door frame. We used advanced electrically conductive gaskets that provided a tight seal against water and dust, while conducting electricity with minimal resistance.

    This means that ammo cans don’t make as good Faraday cages as some people claim. The rubber gaskets between the lid and can, as well as the paint they are covered with, provide good protection from the elements, but prevent electricity from flowing from the lid to the can. Likewise, a metal lid just resting on a trash can probably doesn’t have a very reliable electrical connection. I’m sure these are both far better options than leaving sensitive electronics out in the open, but they are not optimal either.

    I present this information in the hopes that it will help readers better protect their sensitive electronics from electromagnetic threats. I hope it helps.

  11. I’d like to add that since CDs and DVDs are optical storage devices, they will be completely unaffected by EMP.

    EMP induces voltages in antennas over a distance. In this case, any length of conductor could act as an antenna. The longer the antenna, the greater the voltage. Power lines, being extremely long conductors, are likely to develop very large voltages if subjected to an EMP. For this reason, anything plugged into an outlet is susceptible to EMP.

    On the other hand, small handheld devices with very tiny circuitry is likely to develop only small voltages under an EMP attack. In this case, it becomes a matter of how sensitive the electronics are compared to the voltages induced. For this reason, I would expect small electrical devices with very simple electronics to be relatively unaffected by EMP (although you may choose to take precautions regardless. These include batteries, flashlights, power tools, and so forth.

    • Remember: EMP is a massive induced charge. The E1 from known nuclear weapons can produce 50,000 volts per meter or 6.6 megawatts of energy per square meter (more recent tech is said to have enhanced EMP capacity and there are a lot of variables). Desktops with long cords that attract charge (power cords, internet, mouse, keyboard, speakers, printers) are real problems. This isn’t just for computers, but televisions, appliances, etc. Every yard of cable will funnel that much extra charge to whatever it is connected to. All cords and cables in the entire house will need to be unplugged and secured or there are going to be secondary fires from the voltage overload on those cords and whatever they are attached to. Also remember: it’s not just your house that will be subjected to EMP. All of your neighbors will as well, so if they’re still plugged in and not aware, they’ll need a lot of extinguishers or sand-buckets handy.

      Unconnected or wireless devices only have to deal with their own square footage for the induction so if they’re properly secured in a faraday enclosure, they should be just fine.

      Note, however, for a faraday cage to be effective, the grounding cable must be able to carry that much energy in that short a time, so a little 12 ga wire probably won’t be adequate for larger cages and don’t plan on the insulation doing anything other than melting or combusting if you use insulated wire for this purpose.

      • Faraday cages do not need to be grounded. The electric charge on the surface of the cage rearranges itself to cancel out the external electric field. This does not require a ground connection. It does require good conductivity all around though (ammo cans probably are not so useful for this).

        JMD’s comments sound pretty authoratative.

        Keep in mind nuclear detonations are point sources of electric field. They therefore follow the inverse square law; that is, every time you double the distance from one, the electric field is reduced to 1/4 of the magnitude. Somehow I think if nukes are being detonated overhead, EMP is the least of our worries. Could be wrong though…

  12. This is something I need to get done. Right now, I have a metal watch box that is almost perfectly sized for it with an iPod, headphones, and charging cord.

    We have an old laptop. I’m looking for the cord to charge it, then I’ll download my kindle books onto it and cage it up, too. I routinely store photos and data backup (INCLUDING MY COMPLETE CONTACT LIST) on cds just to make sure I don’t loose too much if (when) my computer dies.

    I’ll also put the walkie talkies in a box. When we upgrade our now-elderly (for what they are) iPhones, we can put those in too, with a nice selection of survival apps on them.

  13. The Tech Protect cell phone microwave test video showed a cell phone successfully receiving a call:
    1. Outside the microwave
    2. Inside the closed microwave
    3. Inside a Tech Protect bag
    4. Inside a Tech Protect bag placed inside the microwave

    It seems to me that video demonstrates the FAILURE of both a microwave and Tech Protect bag to protect any sensitive electronic devices placed inside.

    “The FCC permits an effective maximum allowable level of up to 500 watts per channel” for Cellular communication systems. If the cell phone can still receive a relatively narrow band, low level radio frequency signal inside the microwave and Tech Protect bag, how could it possibly be protected from the much wider bandwidth, higher magnitude radiated signal produced by an EMP? (http://people.seas.harvard.edu/~jones/cscie129/transfer/FCC_Doc_1.html)

    What am I missing here?

    • You are missing a lot. Try this yourself and see it it works.

    • Tech protect bags are designed to prevent direct static discharge into sensitive electronics, not necessarily to prevent an external electric field from reaching the device. The conductive surface is extremely thin. An ordinary metal tin with a good connection at the lid all around should do a lot better.

      • Hi Paul,

        So you’re saying that Tech Protect bags are probably not a good choice for EMP protection?

    • But didn’t you see that after the phone was zapped in the microwave in the Tech Protect bag and it still worked! That’s protection to me. Plus they have a Military Spec to back it up.

  14. Thank you so much for this information. I will be sharing this on my FB and twitter.

  15. Microwaves as Faraday cages: Ummmm, MAYBE that will work?

    Here’s a test that might have you thinking twice about that concept:

    1.) Have a WiFi router set-up in your home;
    2.) Establish a WiFi-connection from a PC or laptop to the WiFi router.
    3.) Begin surfing the internet or using the “ping” command to simulate data traffic.
    Example: PING http://www.yahoo.com /t
    (The above command will send a repetitive series of “pings” to/from the Yahoo webservers.
    4.) Now, put something like a bowl of water in your microwave, and turn it on for 30-60 seconds.
    5.) Do your pings “fail” when the microwave is running? And resume once the microwave goes off?

    if so, hint: Microwaves (radio waves) are escaping from this so-called Faraday cage. So much so, that they are interfering with your WiFI radio transmissions. So, if the microwave can’t even contain what it is purposefully-designed and SUPPOSED to stop/prevent — then what makes you think microwaves are:

    a.) SAFE for use in your home?
    b.) worthwhile as Faraday cages to protect your electronics from an EMP?

    Peace.

  16. If there’s a video showing a phone taking calls inside those bags then surely those bags are worthless?

    • I think its showing that cell signals are different from EMP waves. I’ve purchase a couple of these bags and I’m going to layer and store in a steel garbage can for extra protection.

  17. I don’t have a plan to turn my garage into a giant Faraday cage in hopes that our vehicles would be spared…

    An automobile IS a Faraday cage; that’s why one never need fear lightning while inside a car.

    • Well… most hot-rolled steel cars, yes. There’s a lot less metal in cars nowadays than there used to be. Anyone looked at this issue in detail?

      It is my understanding that the problem for modern autos is the timing and control chip in the engine. If a charge is induced in that, it’s cooked and the car won’t run. Some folks order a spare chip from the manufacturer to put that in a faraday cage, so they can replace it after the event, but there are so many other motors and electronics in modern cars that I’m not convinced they can survive in anything other than a massive faraday cage.

      Phrased differently, I think the scene in the War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise insisting only the alternator needs to be replaced is pure Hollywood.

  18. Prepping is certainly a good idea as the future is uncertain. One thought though, if the EMP/CME event happens, having working electronics will be nice but probably of little use fairly quickly.

    Why?

    AFAIK, few nuclear reactor control systems are hardened against EMP. Once the control systems are fried, every Gen 1 and most Gen 2 reactors will become so many more Fukushimas. No amount of prepping (save leaving the planet or living at the bottom of a mine) will help after the inevitable core breaches and SFP cook-off.

    • I’m not sure whence you get your information. If I understand correctly, the default behavior of pretty much all nuclear reactors (unless perhaps there are still some Chernobyl-style reactors in use) is for the control rods to insert fully, which puts the reactor into a low-power state where it cannot have an uncontrolled reaction. Then the only thing needed is to supply minimal cooling water to deal with residual heat. Cooling systems at nuclear facilities are rather rugged, involving some pumps and valves which may survive an EMP just fine, or be replaceable with offline spares in short order. The reason the Fukushima reactor overheated was not due to any electrical or control issue, but because the tsunami filled the coolant reservoirs with mud and debris which was drawn into the intakes and plugged the system.

      • Many modern reactors do have the ability to scram. However, if you research the very old GE Mark 1 (fukushima and over 100 others) you will see that without external power supply, the cooling pumps will not work. By the time external power can be restored, cooling will likely have been off-line long enough for major damage if not containment breach to have occurred. Considering the Gong show at Fukushima, imagine this happening at over 100 more sites. Remember, every non-EMP hardened piece of electrical equipment will be toast and there will likely not be enough spares available as the spares will be non-hardened as well.

        Ethan – “The reason the Fukushima reactor overheated was not due to any electrical or control issue, but because the tsunami filled the coolant reservoirs with mud and debris which was drawn into the intakes and plugged the system.” – reference? As this is simply wrong based on all of my sources.

      • Saner is correct, many plants cant shut down without site power and a shitload of computers.

        And the spent fuel pools will boil off the water, then melt into a fantastic fire

        ELE scenario, our nuke professionals have set us up for.

  19. As an electrical engineer (BEE Vanderbilt), and with the practical experience I have gained in working with electromagnetic power and interference, I would have to say that I don’t feel in the least threatened by EMP. I think it falls in the category of cyber-attack, in that the threat is way over-blown.

    For one, nearly all electronic equipment is protected by some sort of ground plane (car computers in particular). Granted, there would be some stuff trashed, but the energy would likely be dissipated before it could do much damage.

    • You are saying that existing grounds are sufficient to draw off suddenly-induced charge of 50,000 volts per meter or 6.6 megawatts of energy per square meter across an entire house? Remember, all wiring and cables and all ferrous metal will attract that charge.

      This is a sincere question because my science is old and seldom used. I note that “an average bolt of negative lightning flash carries an electric current of about 30,000 to 100,000 amperes (30-100 kA) at a voltage of over a billion volts” and many houses are grounded against lightning, so my question is: can existing ground systems really dissipate the charges above gathered from every wire, cable and piece of ferrous metal in an entire house?

  20. You people are not thinking right…if EMP or CME really happens and disable all the electronics, it would save us from this Hi-Tech slavery life we were put in front of our eyes… Consider the EMP/CME as a second chance for humanity..for the whole world… So, why would you preserve any of the electronics? So you can contribute to rebuilding the New World Order ALL OVER AGAIN?

    • I live in the east, and all my family in the west. I would like to be able to still communicate with them. That would be a big reason in my book to try to protect my technology. I have a big library and can live without music, but keeping in touch with my family is critical to me.

    • Survival of me and mine will be aided by the gizmos

  21. We all have many hundreds of grandfathers. All of them got here without gizmos.
    None of them came very far without food and water.

  22. Some educated folks here indeed, and the subject is complex. We are further hampered by lack of accurate data measurements of both EMP and CME events. While I agree with most all techie comments, there is some where I disagree. I’m also open minded enough to know that I could be wrong to some degree, so please keep that in mind.

    Both EMP and CME are primarily magnetic events. When a dynamic, or moving, magnetic field crosses a conductor an electrical current is produced. Conversely when an electric current travels through a conductor a magnetic field is produced. They might be seen as interchangeable effects in a way. A very neat experiment is to drop a magnet through a straight copper pipe. It does not fall as one might expect as the magnet generates a current in the copper which generates a magnetic field, which in turn acts against the falling magnet causing it to “fall” very slowly. The effect is known as “eddy current”. Pretty cool if you have never seen it. But I digress.

    A magnetic field can be redirected using iron (or steel containers) surrounding what you are trying to protect. Copper and aluminum have poorer magnetic properties than iron, thus iron will best stop the magnetic field. But iron is a poor electrical conductor and the induced current will cause it to get much hotter than if it were made of aluminum (better) or copper (better yet) conductors. In my opinion at lease, I would place items to be protected in an iron (steel) box, but wrap them in heavy aluminum foil. Probably the best magnetic director I have ever seen is something called Mu Metal, but the price of it is very high.

    Another suggestion is do not keep your “safe box” near other metals, either steel or even PVC water pipes. Impurities in water make them electrical conductors, at least in the pipe. If enough energy is imparted the pipe it can even explode. However at these levels the human body will be destroyed so even my tin foil hat will not protect me. (My lame attempt at humor.)

    The “big” risks, as has been stated by others, are the long lines, electrical wire, cable TV and phone lines (except for fiber optics). The book “One Second After” is great, but I think overworked, especially with the central planning meme for survival. Like all good works of fiction it has a factual base, but it is still fiction. We humans need other humans to survive, but as an observer of history, central planning seems to always lead to mass death. Just my opinion for what it is worth.

    A word on DVDs and CDs being optical. They are read optically, but the media is conductive. Another experiment; Put an old CD in your microwave for 30 seconds on high and watch through the door. The little streaks of lightening you see on the disk surface is the media arcing out. It will not harm your microwave, but the disk will be super erased!

    As far as protecting downloaded technical books, a great media is paper and ink, historically called books. They are pretty EMP proof.

    I agree with Anarcho-Capitalist here. There are limits to being a prepper, but for me at least it will not include a Faraday cage. Toilet paper, food, whiskey, and bullets in large quantities are things we can use or trade.

    Still I love this site Lisa. Great things to ponder here.

    • Toilet paper? You’re kidding, right? Whisky, bullets, medicinal herbs and guitar strings for me. someone’s got to play da blooz. :)

    • Just bought a 36 gun gun safe, will be a great faraday cage

    • thank you. I appreciate your concise and sensible information. I have been searching for basic info on EMP protection for basic things like batteries and out of all the information I have found in the last two hours yours actually makes sense. Thank you again.

  23. Oh, I forgot to add to my prep list, is gold and silver. Federal Reserve Notes can be used to start cooking fires in an EOTWAWKI event. I keep a series 1924 German 50,000,000 Mark note as a reminder of how well government maintains monetary value. But you guys already knew that.

  24. What about a home with a metal roof? How much protection can that afford? Just wondering as I prep for the eventual collapse of civilization (unless some magician can pull a magic “rabbit” out of his hat!)

  25. Tech Protect Bags are based on the Military Specification (MIL-B-81705-Rev-C). This is what the military uses to protect their electronics. I would advise you also to read the description under each bag on our website. There is some great info there. If anyone has specific questions please email us at info@techprotectbags.com Thanks Survival Mom!

  26. You can not practically or financially protect your goodies from an EMP. A CME maybe,as they are two different animals. If it was inexpensive the electric companies would have their power substations covered with aluminum tents.
    A EMP travels in 3 pulses, each one lasting longer than the previous. A CME is a single pulse that is buffered by the earth’s magnetic field and weakens after first contact and is dependant on which side of the earth is facing the Sun when it hits.

    • You’re right about electric companies choosing to not protect their equipment.

  27. I’ve read a good bit about EMP and worked as an engineer in defense electronics where Faraday cages were used (for testing only – not for the products we built). The conclusion I came to is pretty much “no conclusion”. The fact is that, outside of the basic theory of how it works, there are so many variables involved that we cannot accurately predict what will or will not happen.

    Protecting items from EMP is a good idea – I’ve got a spare set of HF ham radio gear set aside and protected, as well as a solar-powered calculator. Other than that though, I have focused on older technology rather than on trying to save the latest modern (and very fragile) technology..

    computer PDFs and ebooks = books (lots of them)
    computer = slide rules (and knowing how to use them)
    computer CAD system = drafting instruments and a good supply of paper
    computer word processor = paper and pencils and pens and ink
    utility powered water pump = hand powered water pump

    Think about how long such an event would likely last – and then how many charges you could get on those batteries, assuming that the charger doesn’t break. I don’t mean to say that everyone should take this same approach. It works for me for a variety of reasons though. My main point here is to not get so fixated on Faraday cages that you miss out on other alternatives.

    • Absolutely. Learn how to live with, enjoy and use pre-electric technology in your everyday life. Simpler is easier to maintain. I live in an area prone to long power outages during winter storms, so we get a lot of practice being non-electric. Print out photos, buy books, have sturdy bikes, manual tools and acoustic guitars. :). A radio is the only thing we need.

  28. So what about a fire safe? Would that offer any protection? I imagine a lot of us have an extra hard drive stored in a fire safe.

  29. We have an old chest freezer in the garage that no longers works. Although its a bit big, would it work as a faraday box? Definitely could hold several layers of containers.

  30. I just built my new house. High on a hill for flood protection. Every wall, soffit, fascia, and the roof is covered with aluminum foil which is grounded with copper rods. Windows have aluminum blinds. That is what is relative to this discussion. Do not have your radios, short wave, C/B or whatever, hooked up the the antenna till after an event. My walls are reinforced concrete. All aluminum clad Styrofoam insulation is on the outside, then stucco wire then stucco. Mostly fireproof. Interior walls are stucco wire on studs and then plaster. Mostly fireproof. I love this construction technique because it is maintenance free! Roof is steel but has the aluminum and Styrofoam underneath. Its also grounded. It has the aluminum coating on the outside, known as galvalume ie, aluminum coated steel roofing. Just to be safe there are electronic devices wrapped in foil. Back up pumps, blowers, inverters, etc also wrapped in foil.

  31. What kind of effect does this EMP have on people, animals, vegetation?

    • None at all. It only affects electronic components, which is just about everything we use nowadays.

  32. I’m not sure what use a cell phone would be after an EMP. Wouldn’t cell towers, etc., be disrupted also?

    Solar lights are widely available now. Would the lights themselves be disrupted or just the solar batteries? I have plenty of solar lights but would hate to try and protect them in a faraday cage.

  33. If I use a metal garbage can, do I have to line it with something and also ground it?

    • Yes. Do a search on this blog for EMP and you’ll find instructions with photos for making a Faraday container out of a metal trash can.

  34. First, everyone must keep in mind – Who is going to tell us that an EMP is coming? The way things are today, who, of the higher ups, cares if we know. NEXT: HOW would they tell us in time? Would it come through a radio? You would have to be listening continually. Again: How much control does the higher ups have over communications? How many minutes will it take before they try, if they try, between a launch of a missile to tell us? They may be busy trying to stop it.

    Think about it, we may be on a computer like we are now and suddenly all power goes out. That fries the computer, the wiring and anything outside the faraday boxes.

    Next: all wiring and electronics, including your computer in it will be fried. Actually, who cares. You worry about your car or your gas generators. They are useless unless protected. No, your car is not a good faraday cage. And even if it keeps running, the electrical grid will be down, so the gas pumps will NOT be working, so NO GAS. If they are, soon they will be out, IF your car is running and you are able to get to the end of a line at the pumps. Welcome to the Bicycle and walking age again.
    No trucks of Gas are running but dead on the side of the road.

    No trucks? Forget the food being delivered to the stores. IF they are running, they will probably be stopped in route and raided.

    How about WATER: Water pumps are run by electricity. Do you have water storage and food storage to last at least a year? It will take a long time for the grid to be repaired if at all. Parts will be almost impossible to find and the way to get them and transport them to the affected site. Who is going to be on the job trying to do this while their families are left alone, without protection and possibly without food and water???

    So your computer is protected. You have music or something else to occupy your time? How much time do you think you will have to listen. You will be continually looking out your window and all around to see if groups or mobs will be coming up the street, breaking into houses for food or anything.

    Research and learn how the people of the 1800s lived and survived. LEARN IT.

    Some say you can plant a garden? OK, what about those mobs roaming, they will be raiding any gardens that are available and probably raid the house it is at. By the way, without water, how are you going to grow that garden anyways. The best thing to do is to grow inside, in your window, SPROUTS. That is live and the best thing you can have in this situation and most will not know you are doing it.

    Your Refrigerator will be fried too. Get a small Frig and test it, then put it back in the box and wrap it with Alum. foil. Leave it there until needed. Be sure to have, start now, to accumulate a year supply of food, do it in 3 months at a time, and have a couple of 55 gal. drums of water with hand pumps. You can get some 100 gal drums also. Some is for rehydrating dehydrated food, and some for hand washing sanitation. Remember no showers or baths, only by hand, and hand washing of clothes, mostly under ware and sometimes, outer clothes.

    Get some solar units that are cheep and can give you light when needed, run your small refrigerator some, especially if you need to keep medicines cold. That is another thing, get a year supply of medicines that you cannot do without. Because of transportation and production being stopped, there may be a problem.

    Cooking and mixing your food storage. No gas will be available, fuel stopped, you must have alternative methods of cooking. Stock up on charcoal in bags, starter pellets or paper, matches or these little friction guns that light. Better yet, get some propane canisters, bit and small, and possibly a Volcano, which you can use propane and charcoal in and use Dutch ovens. Last and cheapest is to have an American Solar Oven. It can, winter or Summer, get up to 400 degrees when placed outside when the Sun is out.

    Cook what you need to last a couple of days and put it in the little frig you have. When you store foods, do not store thing that need to be frozen. Get can goods and ROTATE them. The best is the dehydrated stuff, there is no need to rotate that, they last for 20 to 30 years, but the way things are going, you probably will be using them sooner than later. But then again, make sure no one is roaming the area. Once they smell food, watch out.

    To protect yourself and your family, you know what you have to have, with extra you know what. Don’t wait to long to get them. But first, Food, Water, fuel then those things. A good book to use to get ready for being self sustaining is at this site.

  35. What about solar panels themselves, not hooked up would they survive an EMP

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