Protecting your electronics

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  • #55838

    Rod
    Member

    @hansel1 wrote:

    A video to watch is

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/834171/” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    Now, there are some typical embellishments in some of the interviews but the main message is clear.
    The video was produced by Discovery and of course is done in the typical discovery fashion
    John

    I have seen that production and they say that electronics in the line of site of the burst are in danger from the EMP. So that would leave out modern vehicles that happen to be in the shadow of the burst such as those in a valley or a tunnel, underground garage or protected by a large Faraday Cage like a metal garage. My latest vehicle has the hood grounded to the rest of the body with a cable, if the radiator is also connected to the metal body, this may be enough protection depending on where the vehicle is in relation to the burst and how delicate the electronics are. I wonder if a modern diesel truck has been tested with that device? The trucks that carry the oil and the food are the most important vehicles on the road. Without them many people will truly be lost.
    Anyone owning a vehicle with electronic ignition or any computerized controls would be foolish to depend on it running after a EMP event but there may be some surprises and there is always the option of keeping replacement parts protected in a Faraday Cage in the trunk.
    So, in my mind it all depends on the effectiveness of the attack and the weapons. The weapons have to be large enough, detonated high enough and to do it properly there would have to be at least 3 of them in 2 separate waves separated by about 30 minutes and still there would probably be some modern cars/trucks in CONUS that would just be lucky. Of course the grid would be toast for a very long time.

    #55839

    Hansel1
    Member

    Well, lets assume (with all the truth behind that lol) that 20% of cars will run, and 20% of trucks will be made to run withing say 2 weeks. Meanwhile, the grid,computer infrastructure,streets stuffed up with stalled cars, satelites,broadcasting and 2way radio service, trains and airplains are largely down too..some may work, most will not. In todays world, no city has food or gasoline available for more than 72 hours, if the grid goes down, even less. That means that in a mater of latest 1 week cities will run out of all food and other important items. Most natural gas compressing stations have NO generators and depend on the grid, so do refineries, waste treatment plants and water treatment plants, warehouses, food storage facilities and other.
    So, in one week latest, the country will run out of food,water, heat and most of its transportation. What do you think will happen when 350 million Americans and 12 million (est) illegal immigrants plus all the tourists and visitors will wake up to that reality? Outside help will NOT arrive on time as the infra structure is destroyed making distribution almost impossible…moreover it takes large ships weeks to traverse the oceans with the goods..(less then 50% available infra structure is considered non recoverable in short term). And I do not even take into account the fact that many people will try to use the situation to loot .steal mug, kill, burglary and so on….and am not even talking about racial tensions and the resulting inner city riots, shootings and general lawlessnes that will break out within only hours of the attack. If it happens, be prepared for the worse and do not look to big brother for help because most of the so called public servants will be not only clueless but will not be able to communicate either and will be the first to run to the store and get whatever item they want .
    And, without sufficient communications and transportation big brother will be helpless and not able to uphold law and order. Take the riots we had in a small scale after the rodney king debacle and that were suppressed only by bringing in outside forces…take those, multiply them by a thousand, place them simultanious into every city through out the US and see what will happen….it is not a nice picture.

    A word to the wise, should you end up with a vehicle that actually moves after such an attack, don’t use it unless you are prepared to defend it against a mob of hundreds or even thousands of desperate people that will kill you on sight without asking questions.

    John

    #55840

    Rod
    Member

    Yes, we were discussing an abstract.

    @hansel1 wrote:

    Well, lets assume (with all the truth behind that lol) that 20% of cars will run, and 20% of trucks will be made to run withing say 2 weeks. Meanwhile, the grid,computer infrastructure,streets stuffed up with stalled cars, satelites,broadcasting and 2way radio service, trains and airplains are largely down too..some may work, most will not. In todays world, no city has food or gasoline available for more than 72 hours, if the grid goes down, even less. That means that in a mater of latest 1 week cities will run out of all food and other important items. Most natural gas compressing stations have NO generators and depend on the grid, so do refineries, waste treatment plants and water treatment plants, warehouses, food storage facilities and other.

    Even the small cities will get very bad in days.
    @hansel1 wrote:

    So, in one week latest, the country will run out of food,water, heat and most of its transportation. What do you think will happen when 350 million Americans and 12 million (est) illegal immigrants plus all the tourists and visitors will wake up to that reality?

    People will die, many needlessly because they don’t get out fast enough or they do not know how to live without.
    @hansel1 wrote:

    Outside help will NOT arrive on time as the infra structure is destroyed making distribution almost impossible…moreover it takes large ships weeks to traverse the oceans with the goods..(less then 50% available infra structure is considered non recoverable in short term). And I do not even take into account the fact that many people will try to use the situation to loot .steal mug, kill, burglary and so on.

    Many will try to live off of the death of others and it would probably take a year for help to arrive in the hills.
    @hansel1 wrote:

    ..and am not even talking about racial tensions and the resulting inner city riots, shootings and general lawlessnes that will break out within only hours of the attack. If it happens, be prepared for the worse and do not look to big brother for help because most of the so called public servants will be not only clueless but will not be able to communicate either and will be the first to run to the store and get whatever item they want .

    Public servants will be taking care of their own families as best they can.
    @hansel1 wrote:

    And, without sufficient communications and transportation big brother will be helpless and not able to uphold law and order. Take the riots we had in a small scale after the rodney king debacle and that were suppressed only by bringing in outside forces…take those, multiply them by a thousand, place them simultanious into every city through out the US and see what will happen….it is not a nice picture.

    A word to the wise, should you end up with a vehicle that actually moves after such an attack, don’t use it unless you are prepared to defend it against a mob of hundreds or even thousands of desperate people that will kill you on sight without asking questions.

    John

    You are talking about a very effective EMP attack that I don’t believe terrorists are capable of by themselves. From all that I have read the bursts would have to be very high and very powerful. Only a couple of countries are capable of such and one is tied to our economy.

    I agree, if you are not isolated at all then you will have to defend everything that you can not hide and being isolated may only buy some time. The largest and most powerful defenses will be the hardest to hide and they will be looking for you.

    Now nature could do this same thing to the entire Northern Hemisphere.
    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=NWM1NDdjZjc1MzE4NTQ5Y2M5NmJmYThjNGYwOGExYjA=” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false
    The Sun Also Flares
    The strongest solar storm on record is the Carrington Event of 1859, named after Richard Carrington, an astronomer who witnessed the super solar flare that set off the event as he was projecting an image of the sun onto a white screen. In those days, of course, there was nothing much to damage. A high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy shot through telegraph lines, disrupting communications, shocking technicians, and setting their papers on fire. Northern Lights were visible as far south as Cuba and Hawaii. But otherwise life went on as normal.

    The same would not be true were a solar storm of similar magnitude to erupt today. Instead, the infrastructure we depend on would be wiped out. Most of us would not adapt well to this sudden return to a pre-industrial age.

    How likely is a repeat of the Carrington Event? Scientists say it is not only possible — it is inevitable. What they don’t know is when. The best estimates suggest that super solar storms occur once every 100 years — which means we are 50 years overdue.

    Effectively hardening the grid would only soften the blow if one of these mindless things comes our way.

    #55841

    Hansel1
    Member

    Correct,
    it will not be nice. I do disagree with you on the difficulty of a effective EMP. Any country that has the capabiltiy to design and build a rocket that can reach 200-400 miles up (and there are many) and if it wants to do damage gets its hands onto a nuclear warhead can do this. I.m.h.o the reason why islamists are pushing so hard in Pakistan is to accomplish this. Rockets like this can be launched from ships close to the international boundry or even within out waters close to shore. If that would happen there would not be enough warning ( the close to shore the less warning) and time to shoot it down with interceptors. I for one do NOT under estimate those people. many of them where grade A students at MIT, and other international institutions that are at least as good. I always laugh when I see people making comments like “”those guys are un educated blah blah blah….this is the same attitude that brought us a nuclear India, Pakistan, and N Korea. Thanks to the constand media mantra of ra ra ra only the US is capable of doing anything a large part of the people believe that the rest of the world is un educated and lives in dirt huds. They would be shocked to see that many so called 3rd world countries have cities that can rival ours in modern style and layout. What prohibits a roughe general in predominantly muslim Pakistan to loose a nuke and join the rebel movement? The hatred of people in this world toward the US is immense. I.M.o. part of this is the result of a different ideology (muslim) and part of this is our own fault because in the past and even today this country has made many enemies with its we are better then you and also sometimes bully attitude. An old saying saiz don’t call lout in the valley if you don’t want an echo. If we insist to bully others they will push back and unfortunately internationally we are at a point where others have obtained or are obtaining the means of pushing back. In my opinion it is not a question if either a nuclear attack or an EMP attack will happen during my life time but its a question when. I have traveled this planet extensively for a living in the past I was on every continent but antarctica I was in what is considered 3rd world countries, i was in what was considered the enemy in old days of the cold war, i was in China, Indonesia, Europe ..everywhere. I have first hand experienced the attitude of the people toward the US. And many a times the saving grace that prevented some ugly outcome in a situation was not that I was a US citizen but that I being born and raised in Germany can also very well pass as a German. Not that they are liked much in certain pastrs of the world either lol.
    We have made many international enemies, we have many international friends we have many international so called friends that will go over to the enemies at first sign of a conflict. Many of our enemies are becomming proficient in ways that will hurt us a lot more then 9/11 did. I am not trying to scare anyone with my outlook ( I am a little pessimistic tho) far from it, but if I get one person..just one to stop underestimating our enemies then I consider my mission a success.

    John

    #55842

    Rod
    Member

    True the missiles could be hidden and launched from ships but they would have to be reliable. Reliable missiles are only the easy half of the problem. The size of the bomb yield required is very large unless there is some way to tune it to get more EMP effect from a smaller warhead and there has been no indications of any such tests from any countries that have come into the nuclear age reciently. The Chinese may have had a few weapons large enough but they were supposed to be destroyed and the Russians probably still have a few but the new nuclear powers have never tested anything close so they would have to be assisted with the large warhead (not impossible).
    I agree that a devastating atomic blast or two is possible from terrorists along with bombs inside people bringing down planes and people purposely infected with biologic weapons flying into CONUS and maybe some schools or power grid attacked.
    But the difficulty, risk and expense of missile launched EMP weapons for terrorists when they have the people who are willing to carry out the much less expensive and more reliable suicide attacks is a stretch for me at this time.
    The Chinese like our economic relationship but Russia is still a deadly enemy, I believe Russia has recently tried to talk China into a economic attack on the US Dollar. If the Russians could get away with supplying the warheads and accomplishing our destruction via terrorist, that would be a great concern.
    This EMP is still a threat weather it comes from enemies or our friend the sun. The electrical grid should be hardened to save the lives of US Citizens and this is going to cost money that has been squandered.

    #55843

    GreenGlove
    Member

    I found this while searching news,
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124125001” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false
    then found this forum on electronics by searching this site.
    Another reson to be pepared, but I don’t belive their timeline of a few days/one week prep being enough. You all obviosuly have that figured out.

    #55844

    Muzhik
    Member

    OK. There’s a similar discussion going on in the “Disaster Survival” forum, in the thread titled “One Second After.” I’m going to repost something I put there yesterday:

    …you need to check out the “EMP Primer 101” thread on http://www.survivalistboards.com. The guy who wrote it answers a lot of questions about EMPs and Faraday shields. What I’ve picked up so far:

    Ammo boxes are excellent Faraday shields, esp. after they’ve been buried a couple of feet underground.

    Any item you’re using as a Faraday shield must be connected to an earth ground at multiple points. Without the earth ground, the imperfections and bad connections in the metal being used will cause the EMP to be re-radiated inside the shield.

    Burying your EMP box at least 2-3 feet under hard-packed earth or under 18 inches of reinforced concrete is one of the best ways to ensure the stuff inside will be unaffected by the EMP. (The deeper the better.)

    Aluminum foil is worthless for EMP protection. Don’t even bother.

    Some things to consider when discussing an EMP attack:

    An EMP is an electronic signal that covers many, many frequencies. Bombs that are designed to be primarily for EMP are designed to release a lot of energy in the high frequencies. The higher the strength of the high frequencies, the more powerful the EMP. Structures that can withstand low-frequency EMPs (such as nearby lightning strikes) can be EXTREMELY vulnerable to high-frequency EMPs.

    The best solution to withstanding most high-frequency EMPs is to bury your Faraday shield under 2-3 feet of hard-packed earth or at least 18 inches of reinforced concrete. Even all-metal containers buried underground (such as shipping containers) need to have grounding rods connected to them at multiple points.

    The reason a container may work at lower frequencies but not at higher frequencies is related to something called “inductance”. “Resistance” measures how much “resistance” there is to a direct current. “Impedance” is resistance to an alternating current, such as a radio wave. “Inductance” allows two electrically separate circuits to be coupled through an alternating current. Every time you have a change in a metal, through a solder joint, a weld, two pieces that are touching each other, etc., you may have a circuit that is low resistance to direct current, but high impedance to alternating current. So instead of having one contiguous piece of metal, you’ll have multiple circuits that are inductively coupled. In a high-frequency EMP, all this inductive coupling will allow a spike of high-frequency current to be induced INSIDE the Faraday shield, destroying the sensitive equipment inside the shield.

    Now, as for nuclear EMP itself…

    The minimum height needed for an EMP to form is 40km — say, about 25 miles. Below that height the processes needed to form an EMP tend to cancel each other out, or form “too late” so that the blast effects are of greater concern than the EMP effects. At that height, your typical 20kt nuclear device won’t have a lot of blast effects underneath the blast zone, but it will create an EMP that will take out unprotected electronics in a cone at least 20 miles radius around the base underneath the detonation. (Possibly more — still researching that.) The Shahib-3 missile used by Iran can be launched off the back of a tramp steamer and can reach 40km easily; maybe as much as 60km, but not much more. The higher you go, the stronger your EMP bomb has to be to achieve the same effect over a wider area.

    I mentioned “20kt” for the nuclear device for a reason. The first atomic bomb that was dropped, on Hiroshima, was a uranium “gun” type device. It had a yield of around 12kt. This is the simplest nuclear device to build — you could put one together in your garage, if you had the materials. The limiting factor there is the materials: it requires about 114 lbs of uranium. The first bomb ever DETONATED (and the kind used in the second bomb, on Nagasaki), was a plutonium-based bomb, technically, a “single-stage implosion device”. It had a yield of about 16kt. Improvements in design mean that you could get about 20kt out of such a device now. It’s more complex than a uranium-based bomb, but not exceedingly so: you could build one in a fairly well-equipped machine shop using off-the-shelf equipment.. The best part: it only takes about 22lbs of plutonium, so it’s much smaller, and easier to transport or launch.

    The thing is, plutonium is not found naturally. It must be created, using breeder reactors. Breeder reactors do not have to be large. They are used not only to create plutonium, but also all sorts of other nuclear materials used in research and nuclear medicine. Your typical commercial reactor produces between 500 and 600 MW; a research reactor would only be about 30 MW. A smaller reactor doesn’t need as much uranium to run, also. The uranium that is used only has to be enriched to 20% — just what Iran has now. A 30 MW research reactor can produce enough plutonium to build one bomb every 2 months.

    What’s scarier, is that this 20kt device can have its yield boosted to between 100 and 140kt simply by adding a neutron reflector to increase the efficiency of the nuclear reaction. The reflector can be a carefully-machined piece of beryllium. The problem isn’t in the machining, it’s in the mathematics: calculating how the piece is to be machined and where it is to be placed is a non-trivial task. It is NOT insurmountable.

    So, I don’t think we need to worry so much about “One Second After” scenarios just yet. Despite all the talk about the dangers of old Soviet nuclear warheads making their way to the black market, we know it hasn’t happened yet (I know that because Israel is still there) and I doubt it will happen in the near future. Two-stage implosion devices (aka H-bombs, with yields in the Megaton range) are still too technically difficult for any but a handful of countries, and less than a handful of countries have missiles that are capable of carrying such bombs to altitudes that could take out the entire US with an EMP.

    However, using 4 smaller bombs carried with Shahib-3 missiles and detonated 40km up could still destroy this country, if the targets are New York, Washington DC, LA, and Seattle. If they were feeling lucky, they might try to sneak one through the St. Lawrence Seaway and launch it over Chicago, or even Toledo. (Don’t laugh. Look at a map and count the number of highways and railroads that use Toledo as a hub. Add in the shipping that won’t be done because you can’t load or offload anything, the possibility of also taking out Detroit at the same time, and Toledo might make a better tactical target than Chicago.)

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled nightmares…

    #55845

    Hansel1
    Member

    I have read the site and the postings by this so called expert. I don’t know where he gets some of his info from but anyone with an electrical degree and experience in this field will have a good laugh at some of the statements. That said. you can’t go wrong with what he advocates, but a lot of it is over board and useless because he does not really fully understands the physics behind the mater. I think he is one of those experts that became experts by reading too much half truths on the internet couples with just a little of electronic knowledge that makes him look good.

    Anyways, to bring up the point of shipping containers. They don’t need to be burried and in addition, they don’t need to have groundrods (at least not for EMP) ground rods do not work anyways for several reasons, one being the inductance along that thin piece of steel, if you want to do effective EMP grounding you need to have a grid burried and the attachments have to be wide, real wide straps and those as short and straight as possible (we use 8-10 inch wide straps at work). Anyone who knows how a faraday cage works will be able to tell you that it does not need grounding to protect whatever is inside. Moreover, because of the large metal surface of a shipping container inductances and resistances do not come into play, with shipping containers it don’t mater how high the frequency of the pulse gets as other limiting factors come into play. One fact commonly overlooked is that although the output of higher frequencies will make the pulse more powerful, it is those frequencies that can be easiest mitigated through usage of inductance, capacitance, usage of cavities with effective cutoffs, selective shorts (direct or indirect) and something called skin effect that effects pulses more at higher frequencies then at lower. In fact, because of this skin effect, the effectivity of a faraday shield goes up as the frequency goes up as long as the shield is manufactured with good connectivity all the way around. A faraday shield is a self contained unit no grounding needed it can float in the sky and nothing will happen to anything inside. One of the reason a modified shipping container (originally used for frozen goods) works well is that in fact it is 2 shields in one.

    John

    #55846

    Hansel1
    Member

    At that height, your typical 20kt nuclear device won’t have a lot of blast effects underneath the blast zone, but it will create an EMP that will take out unprotected electronics in a cone at least 20 miles radius around the base underneath the detonation. (Possibly more — still researching that.)

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    It will be a lot more, it will be line of sight destruction. Every point on earth that has a straight view to this device will be suspectible to this pulse. Farther out less , close in more of course. A device that is exploded about ~200 miles above the surface in the center of the US will destroy most of the electronics in the US, parts of Canada and a small part of Mexico. It will have to be powerful to do this but it is duable…maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but eventually it will happen. The factors that play a role here are:
    Hight above ground, yield of the weapon, the fact that the earth is round and the pulse will not be seen over the visual horizon (although there will be some knife edging going on the effects of it will be minimal) and of course for higher frequency pulses at the outlying fringe areas of reach… as strange as it might sound the weather plays a large role. Higher frequency pulses get attenuated by rain and clouds, Real high fast pulses get shattered by ice particles in clouds and by rain. The pulse is only highly effective if it arrives in a linear direct fashion any reflection, changes in phase because of differend path lengths will change the pulse form and makes it less effective (or in the close in areas it actually can sum together the signal making it more powerful). So Summer with a large area high presure zone over the center of the country with clear skies and no big weather systems on the horizon will be the best day if someone wants to do this.

    John

    #55847

    SCPrepper
    Participant

    Good used ammo cans?

    #55848

    Muzhik
    Member

    They’ll help, but they’ll work best if they’re underground or surrounded by reinforced concrete.

    #55849

    TheLight
    Member

    There’s a ton of EMP misinformation out there, including misinformation on Faraday Cages. This link (viewtopic.php?f=121&t=2780) goes into a pretty detailed discussion of EMPs and much of the misinformation is discussed. Check it out. Also, if you’re a member of the ARRL, check out the QST archives for some good articles on what an EMP actually is and how to protect against it.

    Addressing some points that have been raised in this thread:

    • The ideal EMP proof container is a completely sealed and grounded metal box. Any deviation from that will result in some amount of EMP infiltration.
    • Most shipping containers are not capable of being buried without significant reinforcement. They are designed to keep weight on the four corners and will likely collapse if weight is dumped on top.
    • A shipping container by itself is not a Faraday Cage. All seems would need to be taped with electrically conductive tape to ensure that an EMPs energy does not infiltrate it and any doors or other openings need to be electrically connected to the main frame. A shipping container is a *great* start, though. Look at putting in conductive and blocking door gaskets and sealing the floor.
    • Faraday cages DO need to be grounded. They will still function to block a strong field if not grounded, but they will remain hot if the charge is not directed elsewhere and will burn/electrocute anyone touching them.
    • Radio, TV, and Cellular signals are not a valid test of EMP shielding. They’re the wrong frequency and power ranges entirely.

    Finally, to get some idea of what real EMP shielding is like, grab a look at the Holland Shielding website here: http://www.hollandshielding.com/index.php?p=Nieuws&id=135&Lang=2 Pay special attention to the door gaskets, vent fittings, etc…

    #55850

    Will an aluminum case with foam interior and foam inserts be accurate protection for my GMRS and NOAA radio; which will also be individually wrapped in aluminum foil? I would also like to share the webpage which goes into great detail about protecting small electronic devices in this manner. http://www.futurescience.com/emp/emp-protection.html

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