EMP Myths and Facts. What’s BS and What’s True?

C. Davis
By C. Davis September 24, 2015 16:42

EMP Myths and Facts. What’s BS and What’s True?

Most of the questions I receive on my website AskaPrepper.com are about EMP’s and Faraday Cages.

What I realized is that there are a lot of EMP myths generated by movies and even some internet sources. The situation is so bad that the United States Air Force Space Command commissioned Bill Nye to make a video for the Air Force called “Hollywood vs EMP” (which is not available to the public). It seems that the Air Force wanted to make sure that Hollywood fiction would not confuse those who must deal with real EMP events. (Source)

Well… this is exactly the purpose of this article. No bs, no exaggerations.

Myth or Fact? Will an EMP destroy batteries?

Not likely. Batteries are made of relatively thick plates of metal that are unaffected by EMP’s. Some experts claim that they even extra charge a little bit. (Source)

But if the batteries are connected to the power grid, they will take some damage.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter that much, since all of the electronics you run off of that batteries will likely be fried.

I was thinking that if a car dies, why not use the battery? But what to do with it?

Myth or Fact? – Will Cars Really Come to a Halt?

There are a lot of people saying that cars will work just fine. Some say that they’ll stop and all you need to do is to restart them. And some say that all cars made after 1990 will come to a halt because they are totally dependent on their electric parts.

All of this is based on a report made by the EMP Commission. They tested 37 cars in an EMP simulation laboratory (up to 50 kV/m). All cars stopped at approx. 30 kV/m, but only one car was damaged seriously. The other cars just needed to be restarted.

What people don’t know is that this test was made long ago and the 37 cars tested were vintages ranging from 1986 through 2002, which means they depended less on electronics.

The EMP Commission also states that “since 2002, the number of microprocessors in cars and the reliance on microprocessors in all motor vehicles has increased greatly.  Also, the sensitivity of the electronic circuitry to EMP has increased due to the use of smaller electronic components designed to operate on lower voltages.”

Another thing is that an HEMP can produce more than 50 kV/m, which can have even more damaging effects on cars.

The fact is that you don’t need to damage all cars to make the traffic stop. I think it’s enough to permanently damage 40%-60% (some sources say even 15%) of cars to block cities, highways and supply lines.

Read more: How to Build An EMP Car Bag

Myth or Fact?Will Phones/iPads/Electronic Devices be Affected by an EMP?

Well, first you should know that 95% of these devices already have an internal EMI shielding (which is there to protect the components from affecting each other). Plus, these devices are very small (comparing to the power grid) so you have very good chances of using your iPhone immediately after an EMP. But not to make calls or to search stuff on the internet. Telecommunication antennas will be fried so signal (on any kind) will be dead.

But if the phone is connected to the power grid – charging – at the moment when the EMP hits it will be fried. And even so, you have a chance of getting away with only a fried phone charger.

Related: This Free iPhone Application Identifies Plants on the Spot

Myth or Fact? Solar Storms Will Only Affect the Side of the Earth that is Facing the Sun when the Storm Hits.

EMP MythsNot true! Solar storms tend to disturb the entire magnetic field of the Earth and can affect both sides.

Because of a solar storm on 13 March 1989, Hydro-Quebec lost electric power, cutting the supply of electricity to 6 million people for several hours. This happened at 2:44 a.m. in complete darkness, so Quebec was on the side opposed to the Sun.

In the picture: A fried transformer from Hydro-Quebec electric power grid.

Myth or Fact? Will Planes Fall Out of the Sky When an EMP Hits?

Older planes use hydraulics and cables attached to the pilot controls (with manual valve actuation & direct pressurization from the ram air turbine) which means they’ll still have semi-functional flight controls.

plane nasa2Newer planes (almost all airlines) will be extremely difficult to control after all their electronic parts will be fried. But even so, all Airbus and Boing planes are demonstrated to be controllable with complete electrical failure. They would be extremely difficult to land, but it would still be possible.

All planes will be turned into semi-controllable gliders… with newer planes having almost no control and older planes having almost full control over the plane.

And pilots will face a very hard task: to land the plane, with highways being full of broken cars, no emergency services and if it’s night then add no ground lights to this. I’m not an expert, but I guess that if you’re on a plain when an EMP strikes you are pretty much dead or incredibly lucky.

But don’t think that an EMP will cause planes to enter in a spin and pancake into the ground like you’ve probably seen in movies.

Myth or Fact? Will the World as We Know it Come to an end?

A world without electricity is not the world as most of us know it. But if the blackout lasts for 1-3 days then it won’t be a huge problem.

It all depends on the time required to replace the broken pieces:

“The equipment used in the transmission grid is costly, specially produced, and has to be ordered from overseas before replacement in the U.S. Those with the expertise to replace transformers and capacitors are likely to be overwhelmed if much of our infrastructure is damaged, only delaying the replacement of equipment that generally takes two years to be manufactured and delivered.” (Source)

Nobody knows for sure how much it will take to replace all transformers and capacitors if other countries help, but a time-frame of 10-20 months is not far-fetched.

Did you know that New York City had a blackout (in 1977) that lasted for only a day? It was called “The Night of Terror”. The night resulted in widespread looting throughout many New York neighborhoods. The police were outmatched and had no chance of stopping such massive theft, largely having no choice but to stand by watching the looters from a distance. This will be just the first night after an EMP. After a few months it will be total chaos and widespread starvation to say the least.

Myth or Fact? Do Faraday Cages need grounding?

No. Grounding, but it’s not necessary. To be sure that you made an EMP hardened Faraday cage all you need to do is to place a small turned on radio. If it stops… then you have an EMP hardened box.

Related: 10 Faraday Cages You can Make at Home

Myth or Fact? If you test your Faraday Cage with a radio then the electronics inside are 100% protected against an EMP

NO! No protection is 100% certain, but shielding against a 20,000 volts/m EMP will be enough to protect it from known weapons.

Jerry Emanuelson from Futurescience has a very good explanation for this:

“A very efficient 80 db faraday cage would reduce the EMP by a factor of 10,000.  In other words, it would reduce a 20,000 volts per meter EMP field to 2 volts per meter.  This high level of shielding is necessary for some applications, but not for the average consumer (except for the most critical electronics such as an emergency radio receiver).  For many applications, an imperfect shield is quite helpful and may be all that is necessary.  (In some cases, though, such as an expensive solar panel system, it makes sense to try to get as close as possible to military grade protection since a functioning solar power system may determine whether you have electricity or not.)

This myth is analogous to saying that if a coat doesn’t keep you from being cold during a winter blizzard that you might as well just rip your coat off and go shirtless while out in the snowstorm.  Asking how much shielding that you will need is like asking how much of a coat you will need in the winter.   (It depends upon how cold it will get, and upon how sensitive you are to the cold.)”

Related: 7 Things to Do Immediately after an EMP Strike

Myth or Fact? Turning Off Electronics Will Better Protect Them

Yes, it seems that equipment is more vulnerable if it is operating. And this also includes cars. Cars that will be running when an EMP hits have a higher chance of getting broken.

But this of course doesn’t mean that all systems that are turned off will be unaffected.


Myth or Fact? Will an EMP Destroy Pacemakers?

pacemakerA solar storm won’t destroy a pacemaker. But if you are in an airplane – flying above 30000 ft – then you might be in trouble. Earth’s atmosphere does not provide significant shielding at this altitude. According to NASA, the effects at this altitude are ten times higher than on the ground.

On the other hand, a HEMP (nuclear EMP) generating over 30000 V/m can be a problem. Here is a very good answer:

” I have been a medical scientist working with pacemakers for 36 years, and I think I can give a definitive answer! The hermetically sealed can will indeed be a pretty good Faraday cage so no direct damage from an EMP. A bipolar system with, say, 5mm electrode separation will, with a major high-altitude EMP generating ~25 kV/m in the northern US, deliver a voltage pulse to the circuitry of about 900V – this won’t damage a pacemaker, they are designed to cope with external defibrillator voltages. A UNIPOLAR system, where the electrodes may be 15cm apart, will generate a bigger voltage, maybe 4-5kV, to the generator, and this could be damaging.” (Source)

According to some manufacturers a powerful EMP may just turn the device off.

Myth or Fact? Will an EMP Destroy Solar Panels?

A solar storm won’t cause major problems to your solar panels.

If they are not connected to the power grid, nothing will happen to them. If they are, then in case of a solar storm the inverter will cause your system to shut down automatically. Worst case scenario will mean your inverter will blow a fuse and a simple fuse change will get your solar panels back to full working order.

But a nuclear EMP (powerful enough) will destroy unprotected solar panels.

The best way to protect them is, of course, to enclose them in a Faraday Cage.

This means you won’t be able to use your solar panels.

But since solar panels are pretty expensive, I guess that only a few people buy them just to put them aside for hard times. So if you want to minimize the potential damage in case of an EMP, while using your solar panels, there are still some things you can do:

1.  Cut off cable surplus: Cable acts as an antenna, picking up the EMP and intensifying its strength. The leads from the panels to the charge controller and battery bank can pick up the pulse and fry the inverter.

2. Buy an invertor and keep it in your Faraday Cage, so you can replace the other one if it breaks (this is not the only part that may fry);

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C. Davis
By C. Davis September 24, 2015 16:42
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  1. Streven Warben Jaegerman Jenson September 25, 02:49

    What is the effect of an EMP on LED Flashlights and Flashlights in general?

    Reply to this comment
    • C. Davis Author September 25, 15:55

      I keep one flashlight in my Faraday Cage, but I can’t tell you for sure. Why? Because it depends on a lots of things like: Is the flashlight totally metal? (this will shield the electronics inside a little bit) How big is the Flashlight? What kind of circuits has inside? What kind of EMP (E1 or E3)? How big? x V/m?

      As I’ve just said, I keep one in my Faraday Cage, just to be sure. And I’ll advise other to do the same.

      Reply to this comment
      • Luke October 21, 15:37

        Put a block of wood in your FC and put the electronic devices on the wood, not in contact with the cage itself.

        Reply to this comment
      • Gary green August 23, 10:51

        There is one sure way to find out is run your own experiment. By the use of an teaser (stungun). While in operation bring it very close to your led flashlight and see what happens. The teaser well emit a very small emp.You can build your own emp device from a disposable camera. I did this experiment with a disposable camera on a $1 calculator. On the ones with a shielded keypad it did no harm. On the one with no shield on keypad it stopped working. You can find a diy emp on the internet. Now you have your answer. Make sure your faraday cage has a real ground. Not an electrical ground. If you want to know about a proper ground system send me a email. I will be glad to be of help.

        Reply to this comment
    • Mydlear April 22, 19:10

      I think that a plane would actually be more protected as we thought against EMP simply because planes are designed to be a Faraday Cage.

      Reply to this comment
  2. MrApple September 25, 04:09

    And what of pacemakers?

    Reply to this comment
  3. THE WISEMAN September 25, 14:05

    At the San Francisco airport some years ago, four men rented four rental cars from Avis. All four cars left the airport and headed toward the Golden Gate bridge. Two cars – side by side – lead the other two cars – also side by side. In the middle of the bridge in heavy traffic all four cars stopped simultaneously. The two men driving the rear cars got out, locked the doors, and climbed into the back seats of the two leading cars, which then drove away – leaving the two rear cars blocking all Northbound traffic on the busiest bridge in the Western USA. Traffic was jamed for more than two hours as police broke into the locked cars and then towed them away. No one ever found out who committed this crime. Imagine the congestion caused by, say, 50% of all cars on the highway crippled by an EMP!

    Reply to this comment
    • BOFH May 4, 22:46


      According to this, Golden Gate has six lanes…
      I tried searching for the blocking you mentioned, but found nothing. Care to include links or something to this?

      Reply to this comment
      • Grieb March 30, 21:22

        Would night vision need to be placed in a faraday cage? Also is there a good place to buy a already made faraday cage?

        Reply to this comment
        • Jack March 31, 07:37

          I don’t know what kind of night vision equipment you have.. but you will hurt nothing by storing it in a Faraday Cage. If it has ANY semiconductor electronics, those electronics would be subject to failure from an EMP, thus, I WOULD store such in a Faraday Cage for its protection.
          As for as buying ready made Faraday Cages…. If you find some thing suitable, GREAT! But quite honestly, the reason I started commenting on websites like this is BECAUSE I see people offering “Faraday Cages” that I know would fail. If you want a faraday cage that will work, LEARN what makes a faraday cage a faraday cage! I personally have written several times on how and why they work.. and if you are up to it, its not hard to build your own.
          First of all, you need a metal box. I favor ammo cans.. however the lid will make it a failure as a faraday cage.. as the lid is NOT PROPERLY GROUNDED to the rest of the metal box.
          In short, when a EMP crosses the box it generates an electric current PERPENDICULAR to the magnetic field. This current then generates a COUNTER magnetic field perpendicular to the current, thus IN DIRECT OPPOSITION to the EMP field, thus repelling the very field that creates it. HOWEVER, if the electric currents and magnetic fields are perpendicular to each other, what do you think is going to happen to that protective magnetic field that is always perpendicular to the current.. if the current has to go up to the lid, then flow SIDEWAYS to get to the handle or hinge to flow across the lid? Now your magnetic field is no longer countering the EMP at these points.. and at most angles you might as well just leave off the lid!
          BTW, this counter field is EXACTLY what makes brushless AC motors like the motor in your drier.. or on your air compressor.. work.
          If you take an ammo can of suitable size.. completely remove paint along the inside, just below the top. What you need to do is get some ungalvanized (solder-able) thin strips and make angle pieces. I suggest perhaps 20 ga about 3/4″ wide.. What you are going to do is create a lip all around the inside of the box so you can place a piece of sheet steel on it and have it touch all around the edges. Best to have a shop spot weld them into place.. and the solder is simply to give complete conduction at ever millimeter of its length. Miter each piece so you are going all the way from each corner to the next.. When you set the lid (JUST a tad smaller than the size of the opening of the ammo can, you need that lip just low enough so you can place a SPRING on the inside lid.. and when you close the ammo can lid, it compresses that lid to assure full contact against that lip. So how low down inside the ammo can you go.. depends on how tall of spring you decide to use.
          This method allows you to maintain the air tight gasket of the ammo can lid, and, you can set the inside lid further down.. My emergency ham radio gear.. the electronics.. sets inside the inner lid. There are cables to go between various electronics pieces.. but most of those cables do not need EMP protection, however, I don’t like to separate those cables. In a real emergency one can very easily forget many pieces or cables.. so ALL is kept together.
          Of note, REMOVE BATTERIES from inside ALL electronics. Store in sealed bags such as freezer baggies… and, if NOT in a extremely hot or cold environment, keep them in the faraday cage WITH the equipment, just separate. If the batteries are subject of freezing or over heating… then keep them, perhaps, in your go bag you have at your home or other thermally safe area, ready for grab and go. My grab and go/go bag.. contains batteries and all other such stuff.. I only need to grab it. My ammo can is already stashed!
          If you don’t understand, ask me.

          Reply to this comment
        • BHKeen August 3, 18:56

          Grieb,there is no need to purchase a ‘ready-nade; cage, They do not need to be a light-tight, air-tight, or water-tight, as long as the gaps are completely covered with a conducting material.

          That is, in the Air Force we had rooms that had been built specifically for faraday cages so that we could work on the radar equipment without interfering with anyone. These
          Screen Rooms” were two layers of copper window screen (double layered) with finger seals around all of the joints. These fingers made sure that the connections between each panel were good. The air conditiioning worked through the screen and you could see and hear just fine.

          BUT !
          If someone left the door open, JUST A LITTLE, and the system was powered up, the local airport would call very quickly!

          A metal trash can with a metal lid will work and you just need to use aluminum tape to seal the lid down.

          Any piece of wire will act as a conductor and allow the current to enter the device.

          Reply to this comment
          • Jack August 3, 23:58

            Working on EMP shielded power plants for US government .. All conduit was GRC (Galvanized Rigid Conduit… aka, schedule 40 threaded steel pipe). All our outside conduits had the couplings fully welded.. and the connected buildings.. each was a huge faraday cage.. and like an Avery, had two sets of doors. You went thru one door and it had to be closed before the second door was able to open (however, there was a bypass that required special permission to use.. and doing so unauthorized could get you killed.. by missile base security. At least, you would be face to face with a SWAT like team within a minute or so).
            Anyway, when that door would shut.. your 2 way radio was worthless.
            The thing about perforated type materials.. there will be some frequencies that might get thru. When you have given frequencies you are protecting against.. you can design for those specific frequencies.. however, its more like you would have to design to ALLOW a given frequency to get thru! They are generally pretty efficient.. and your double cage would help cover what the first cage doesn’t. Great idea.
            If you were directing MY talk of faraday cages.. because I have spoken of water tightness….. I would have to apologize if I lead anyone to think air or water tightness is necessary. It is not.. however, my biggest concern is ELECTRONICS being damaged. But there is nothing to be gained if you protect from EMP.. but you end up with water damage.. so I PERSONALLY prefer to finish the job of protecting my electronics.. by INCLUDING water protection. Its to easy NOT to!!
            A metal trashcan will give pretty good protection against EMP.. Iv seen test showing a can used with.. and without the metal tape. Both copper (made for the job).. and regular aluminum foil type duct tape used.. the difference was insignificant regarding which tape.. but the tape made about a 10db increase in attenuation. The galvanized steel can with the tape made about a 50db attenuation to the pulse. This, as memory serves. The test signal source was a 500MHz signal amplified to 1,000 watts. An EMP (E1) will have lower and lower power as frequency goes higher… so not sure how well a metal trashcan might behave at about 100 MHz and below. Best to do similar as your double cage.. by placing a smaller can inside a larger can. Made sure the inner one HAS NO CONTACT with the outer can… and that inside needs to be insulated from the inner can. My personal opinion is that if a electronic unit touches on ONE (and ONLY one) spot.. it wont matter.. however, as soon as you have a second spot, you have an electrical path THRU the electronic device.. and this can create a destructive field INSIDE the electronic device. Best to avoid ANY contact with the can.
            One big issue with such cans… when you put the lid on it generally does NOT have continuous contact along the inside of the lid.. but will have intermittent contact, actually. Pour a gallon of water into a metal trashcan.. put the lid on “tight”. Now, invert it. IF the lid has really good contact, little or NO water will come out around the lid. I doubt you will find many steel trashcans that can pass this test. This is not about being water tight but about spaces where the lid contacts for electrical conduction.. and where it is merely very close. You need .. want.. very good, intimate contact with the lid.. no matter if its a trashcan.. or a metal box.
            The boxes I built for me are ammo boxes with a sheet metal angle that goes around the inside of the ammo can where it is spot welded in place.. then solder is used to cause fully intimate electrical contact. A metal lid is fitted to sit on the inside angle .. and a spring is attached. When the lid is closed down.. it pushes against the spring applying pressure against the inside cover.. pushing it down to assure any slight twist or distortion is overcome and the lid makes full and intimate contact with the rest of the box.
            I keep a portable ham radio in it.. along with related equipment. Another box contains an older 12vdc operable laptop, 12vdc printer (and data chips holding valuable files, manuals on equipment, special recipes, black books, etc.. !).. along with foldable solar panels, a 12vdc powered battery charger… as MUCH of my equipment operates on AA rechargeable batteries .. and others. Of course, a printer isn’t much good without paper, ink cartridges (I found a printer that uses separate REFILLABLE ink ‘tanks’.. and a separate head.. which I have extra of. And I carry bottle of ink for the tanks. I keep my batteries separate. including computer and printer.. and keep them somewhere where they wont see sever Alaska temperatures. The ink.. seems to hold up under freezing and thawing. This latter part is beyond what I started with.. but worth sharing ideas..
            Best to all of you out there!

            Reply to this comment
    • Gary green August 23, 11:17

      There is one sure way to find out is run your own experiment. By the use of an teaser (stungun). While in operation bring it very close to your led flashlight and see what happens. The teaser well emit a very small emp.You can build your own emp device from a disposable camera. I did this experiment with a disposable camera on a $1 calculator. On the ones with a shielded keypad it did no harm. On the one with no shield on keypad it stopped working. You can find a diy emp on the internet. Now you have your answer. Make sure your faraday cage has a real ground. Not an electrical ground. If you want to know about a proper ground system send me a email. I will be glad to be of help.

      Reply to this comment
      • Jack September 26, 06:22

        This will produce an EMP about a hundred-billionth of .. or likely even much smaller than what you are comparing.
        I AM wondering exactly what you compare .. as a “real ground” compared to an “electrical ground”. (I’ll leave how you would define the difference since I cannot be sure HOW you are applying). (If a ground is applied improperly it will do more harm than good).
        Single frequencies can use screens used specific to that frequency… or groups of frequencies. Wide range will tolerate much less openings.

        Carol, you can gain by layers of aluminum foil.. but best if you keep each layer isolated each layer will add attenuation. I dont know how much it will take to get “X” amount of attenuation… but it will likely be a pain everything you wish to unwrap).
        Read previous entries EMP and solar panels.
        I have a pretty good understanding, PN, junctions, and EMP.
        As much as Id love nothing more than to answer and explain every single question I can.. much of it has been repeated several times. Read back first folks.
        EMP is radio waves generated differently and vastly more powerful.
        Hope this helps.

        Reply to this comment
  4. Carol September 25, 17:00

    i would like to know what affect an EMP would have on solar panels. Mine are portable, not attached to a roof. Should the panels and generator be housed in a faraday cage?

    Reply to this comment
    • C. Davis Author September 28, 14:38

      If you want to protect them against a nuclear EMP: YES, this would be the only way!

      But if they are not connected to the grid, a solar storm won’t do them any harm.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Don September 25, 22:18

    Great article, Claude. Lots of great info and very commonsensical. Thanks for the insights!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Skip September 28, 00:31

    I too would like to know how to protect a solar panel, mine is installed on a sailboat. Thanks

    Reply to this comment
    • C. Davis Author September 28, 14:39

      Thanks! I incorporated in the article. The fact that they are on a sailboat makes no difference.

      Reply to this comment
    • James Grubbs September 28, 19:09

      You can harden your panels with chicken fence. The cheap thin stuff with holes no bigger than 1″ in diameter and the panel must be completely wrapped. The wiring must be shielded also. You can use metallic flex conduit 3/8″ diameter and it must run all the way to the inverter. The chicken fence will reduce your efficiency. My guess would be around 10% loss but that is a guess. Your inverter must be hardened also. all armor and shielding must remain continuous with no more than one inch gaps. NO GAPS preffered but impractical for many applications. I would recommend taking one panel loose from your array and make a template. Once the template is complete, do what Mr. Davis suggested by putting a small radio tuned to a station with the strongest reception and if it can’t pick that station up then you are good to go. Do this before investing into the rest of the supplies needed to harden your solar powered system. Note: If your system is a grid tie system, I recommend hardening all the way to the panel box and using a Square D breaker as the main breaker to your inverter. Square D breakers are not only thermal trip but also magnetic trip and will add extra protection. If you use Square D home grade, find out if it is also magnetic trip. I believe it is. I know commercial grade is. Hope this helps.

      Reply to this comment
      • Ausvirgo June 22, 08:58

        If using any sort of mesh for a Faraday Cage, I’d recommend spacing the cage away from the protected equipment, using insulators, by at least twice the maximum dimension of the holes in the mesh.

        Reply to this comment
      • Jack March 10, 23:28

        As a licensed, commercial/industrial electrician, I think you will find most if not all modern panel breakers ARE thermal and magnetically trip-able. But in ALL cases, NONE of them will be even remotely fast enough to protect circuits, and equipment from an EMP. E-1 will pass thru it and be OVER.. and never trip the breaker. the E-2, yes.. but if the E! is not stopped; to late.
        Thyristers made for EMP blocking are pretty well the only thing you can actually rely on. Gas discharge tubes are almost fast enough for E1.. but E2, yes. Lightning protectors can cover E2.. If you put on a power line, putting a load resister in series is a consideration least the dead short a GDT creates.. doesn’t damage your generator or apply the direct short on the utility. Such will typically destroy the GDT to never work again. The power of shorting a Utility power system in it.. will likely destroy not only the GDT but the entire mounting system.. without a load limiting resistance.
        Another issue .. for me as a ham.. is protecting my transmission lines, as, when transmitting Im applying a voltage to the line. If the GDT fires off (shorts to ground) at 50 volts.. I cannot exceed a given peak power or it will short out. If I move it to 100 volts.. then the GDT will not short an EMP until voltage going into my radio exceeds 100 volts. What will that do to my input circuits?!!
        As for chicken wire.. Iv read on similar areas of protection.. however, I do not see this as providing much protection. Ways of allowing air to enter a protected are is similar to waveguide principles.. but the squares in chicken wire are hardly waveguide and do not reflect the concept as a whole. I would try it and see.
        EMP’s strongest ** power is usually in the lower frequencies.. and the size of the waveguide .. the smaller, the higher the frequency its tuned to.. and would shield out lower frequencies. So choose smaller holes. Remember, waveguide is tubes, hot holes. Remember, if you test it, BE SURE you are TOTALLY enclosed and conductive on all sides.. and make sure your radio antenna and radio are completely isolated from touching the cage… and NO power cords.
        It is KEY that the wire of the chicken wire.. conducts at every place it is comes to the other chicken wire intersections. If wire is insulated between its intersections.. don’t waste the time and money on the experiment. Get something that has no insulation.
        ** power levels of frequencies statement is general. Many variables.
        Let us all know how it goes!

        Reply to this comment
  7. duh September 28, 15:41

    why not

    Reply to this comment
  8. James Grubbs September 28, 19:16

    Hardening your off grid power system is an all or nothing proposition. It is a waste of time to harden only some of the components of your power system because everything else will act as an antenna and defeat your protection. Thanks for sending me this article Mr. Davis and as usual your articles never disappoint me after having read them.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Raven September 28, 19:29

    What about ham radios? I have the BoeFeng UV-5R V2+, do I need a back up in a faraday cage?

    Reply to this comment
    • tim September 28, 19:53

      I bought 2 because they are so cheap. I used the battery from my main one I always use to put all of the freq into the spare radio so I don’t charge the 2nd battery. hopefully they battery will stay new that way for years to come. then I put the spare with the unused battery into a faraday cage just to make sure. the $35 for a spare radio was worth it to me.

      Reply to this comment
      • James Grubbs September 28, 20:08

        What type battery does it use? If NiCad then your probably OK but if Lion then you should completely charge it every so often or it will get to where it won’t take a charge. NiCad, on the other hand, tend to work better when completely discharged then completely recharged without interruption so storing it while it completely discharges should be fine. Try to also avoid discharging your Lion (Lithium ION) below 50% or the next charge will be slightly degraded.

        Reply to this comment
    • Ausvirgo June 22, 09:06

      As I understand it, ham radios use long antennas, which would make them very vulnerable.

      If you’re using all valves instead or transistors/semiconductors that would reduce the vulnerability, but if you’re using, for example, a 3 metre antenna and the pulse is 50,000kv/m, that could potentially put up to 150,000 volts into your Ham radio.
      Would you want to risk it?

      Reply to this comment
      • Jack April 22, 21:16

        Ausvirgo; Hams use antennas that are directly related to the frequency they are transmitting on. Think of an antenna like a swing; If you are “pulsing” (rithymically pushing it).. and you go faster… you are out of sync with the swing UNLESS you shorten the chains on the swing.. making it “resonant” with the pulses. A Transmitter “pulses” the antenna likewise. The speed of the electron pulse is always close to the speed of light (notice I did not say the electrons themselves. The energy is like you see with those little balls that hang on the strings. You raise one and when it smacks the first one up.. the energy transfers “instantly” to the other end. Electrical energy transfers likewise). The radio wave that leaves the antenna, leaves at the speed of light (again, basically. Speed of light IS effected by the density of what it travels thru.. but in a vacuum is 300 million meters/second or 186,000 miles/second)…. and how far it goes before the pulse in the antenna makes one cycle.. is the WAVE LENGTH. The 144,000,000 to 148,000,000 Hz… at 300,000,000 meters/sec. give you almost 2 meter wave length.. and is thus called the 2m band. If we “work” 7.2 MHz (7,200,000 Hz),.. this is (dropping the 6 zeros).. 300m/ 7.2 = 41.66 meters… or the 40 meter band. Most factors come together for about 95% of the actual when we calculate wavelength… and if you don’t know a meter… its 39.38 inches.
        I hope this helps people understand not only our antennas.. but you can apply in other areas.
        I hope it has become clear to everyone, but the voltage you can develop can vary widely.. the closer you are the denser the EMP will be just as the more powerful the detonation. There are many other factors as well but I think this is probably the best guideline to remember. The geomagnetic field will also effect how well/far the pulse travels.

        Reply to this comment
  10. CaptainNemo September 28, 23:45

    Aircraft can take a lightning strike and not usually be harmed. Why would an EMP affect them at all?


    Reply to this comment
    • Rod September 29, 18:23

      Lightning strikes are direct current hitting a single spot. EMP is microwave RF energy covering a huge area. The physics involved in the actions of DC and RF are extremely different.

      Reply to this comment
      • Gary green August 23, 12:27

        You are right that lightning is dc. DC is electrons that flow in one direction from a high potential to a low potential. Lightning is a build up of static electrical current. When it reach it break down point then there is a discharge from it’s high potential to low potential. Low potential is the earth ground. Now emp is a broad band RF pulses.

        Reply to this comment
    • George September 29, 23:31

      The most modern airlines use what is called “fly-by-wire”. This means that the pilot provides inputs into a computer, which then supplies commands to move the control surfaces.

      If such an aircraft was exposed to an EMP, it is likely that the computer would be burned out and the pilot would have no control over the aircraft.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Rod September 29, 18:20

    One addition to the vehicle test information. This was done by a government agency with a minimal budget. Vehicles were borrowed from other departments with the understanding they would be returned in the condition they were lent. The agency doing the testing was VERY conservative with their testing pulses, and after the one vehicle sustained the damage it did, testing was stopped. The best idea for a vehicle is to have one that has minimal parts that can be damaged, and have spares for those parts shielded. Know how to install those parts. You will still be able to drive for as long as the fuel holds out. In a grid down situation, fuel will not be transported so what you have on hand, and what you can scrounge will be all that is available.

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  12. Ron Angel October 13, 01:15

    The electromagnetic radiation field inside a microwave oven is very similar to that of EMP pulse, the strength depending on power of the oven. A microwave oven does not heat by varying the power out put when turned down or up but by the amount of time it is on or off using a mark space ratio, like a simmer stat (Not thermostat ) feeding a hotplate ring using the latent energy in the ring or food in microwave oven to cook.
    To test if an item (encased in faraday cage) will survive place inside oven in cage for max 5 seconds full power.
    Remember if not properly shielded will DESTROY completely beyond repair electronic device being tested.
    This should only be done if you want to test a critical expendable now, item which can be replace to make sure it will function after the event.
    Any item that is stored in an old microwave oven with door seals completely intact will survive an EMP event if not plugged into the mains supply, to be certain. If you have old or spare one put in your basement with small radio and or other items you want to protect, as it is itself a faraday cage of a sort.
    How do I know all this stuff you may ask.. because I am an electrical engineer.

    Reply to this comment
  13. floyd December 16, 01:34

    What about whole house standby generators. Will they survive?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ausvirgo June 22, 09:23

      If they’re connected to the house wiring at the time it’s likely that they will be destroyed.

      Additionally, the generating coils may amplify the pulse.

      If you want the generator to survive I’d suggest isolating it in a Faraday Cage. If you want it to cut in automatically, use optical comms to let it know to open the cage and connect to the house. One possibility might be to use a solenoid to poke insulated probes through holes in the Cage to make contact with the house wiring. On standby the probes should be at least twice the hole size away from the inside face of the cage, and preferably grounded to the generator.

      Of course, you may not want to connect the generator immediately if there’s an EMP, just in case there’s a second one. It should be pretty easy to to use circuitry to determine whether the power failure is EMP related or not. Simply have a LED driven by a battery and EMP sensitive circuitry. If the power’s out and the LED’s on, it’s a normal blackout. If the LED’s off, It’s an EMP, and you probably want the generator to wait before connecting, just in case there’s another EMP.

      Reply to this comment
  14. sugadoll December 16, 03:34

    How will an EMP attack affect a power wheelchair ? Mine uses a gel cell battery.

    Reply to this comment
  15. chris January 23, 15:13

    I have a shipping container 8x8x40 ft. it is all metal with a wooden floor could this be converted into a large faraday box? what would I line the walls and roof with?

    Reply to this comment
    • C. Davis Author January 24, 10:43

      As long as what you want to store inside does not get in touch with the metal walls… it’s a Faraday cage. You can test it with a radio, but I’m pretty sure it works.

      Reply to this comment
    • BillH February 1, 02:27

      It needs to have a conducting floor as well, or it is not a Faraday cage. A Faraday cage uses a very difficult to understand concept. The wave that hits the cage causes an electrical current that moves with the wave and exactly (limited only by electrical resistance) matches the wave and cancels it from the perspective of the items within. This is the principle that makes motors and generators work, and is the reason why they are essentially the same. A motor will work like a generator if an outside force moves the armature; a generator will work like a motor if you put electricity into it instead of out of it. The magnetic wave and the current flow in the conductor adapt to each other.

      Ideally, a Faraday cage is not grounded, as doing so results in currents that do not match the “signature” of the EMP wave.

      There is a second, not often mentioned, way of blocking an EMP pulse. EMP waves are, essentially, very powerful radio waves. They travel in a straight line; they cannot “turn corners”. So if you live in a valley, with a mountain between you and the source, you are protected. Likewise, any sufficiently grounded shield between you and the actual point source will block EMP. But the usual small ground wire is presumably insufficient. Unlike the Faraday cage approach, I am unaware of any tests to quantify this.

      Imagine a Faraday cage between an item and the source. The item is outside of the Faraday Cage. If the Faraday cage is insulated from the ground, the contents of the cage will be protected. But the item hiding behind the cage will receive the full pulse, as a Faraday cage cancels and thereby reproduces the wave unchanged; it is like an invisibility cloak. If the Faraday cage is partly grounded, it will block some of the wave to the item behind the cage, but offer lower protection to the items within.

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      • TheProfessor April 1, 01:48

        your idea of how a faraday cage works is incorrect It is a very simple concept It intercepts the signal and sends it directly to ground. without the ground the cage becomes an antenna and becomes a destructive device to its contents. I suggest you do some research on how they work. I have both worked in them and designed them. by the way, there is no such thing as partially grounded. it either is or isnt. there is no partial.

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        • JR July 9, 19:49

          Thank you so much on you input. I live in Colorado High altitude and have solar, I must find another power sorce as a back up.

          Reply to this comment
        • Ausvirgo June 22, 09:40

          I would have thought there were two ways something can be “partially grounded”.

          1) A ground with a higher than ideal impedance.

          2) A ground with inadequate current capacity, so that it burns out under load.

          I do not know how this would affect EMPs. My suspicion would be that the high impedance ground would reduce the efficiency of a Faraday Cage or Reflection grid, while an inadequate capacity ground might last long enough to do the job anyway, especially as there would likely be arcing as it burnt out.

          Reply to this comment
        • Jack September 4, 10:33

          Well “Professor” I do wonder what your credentials are..
          I have worked on military systems.. and while, yes, the cage was indeed grounded, it was grounded every few feet. Bear in mind this was a large building, in fact, it is the new power plant for Fort Greely in Delta Junction, Alaska.. and when you go inside thru a set of double doors.. unauthorized entry WILL result in finding these little laser beams all over you from a crew of DEADLY SERIOUS armed military personal!).. anyway, when you close the door, radios will not work, nor cell phones. I will say no more about the specifics.. but my background is in radio theory, electronics, (and commercial electrician; retired).. and Iv been dealing in radio for 5 decades.
          Most grounding is discouraged because it can act as an antenna if done improperly.
          Things like grounding shielding on cables where the shielding is designed as a noise barrier.. grounding on both ends creates a path.. so when a current is induced it has a path.. a flow. The flow of this induced current will then cause a corresponding magnetic field.. that then induces a current into the “protected” conductors and the result is the noise is carried to the protected conductors, defeating the use of the shield.
          Try taking a suitable magnet and a straight aluminum tube (or ANY non magnetic tube) and dropping a magnet thru it. Unlike a piece of NON magnetic metal.. which will fall right thru unimpeded, the magnet will take FAR, FAR more time. This is because as the magnet falls thru, the magnetic field generates a current in the tube.. and the current that flows makes its own magnetic field.. which is opposite the very field that created the current so it opposes the magnet and resist its movement. Of course, when the magnet slows, the generation of current into the tube reduces.. and the counter field then weakens.. allowing the magnet to continue faster down the tube.. except, well it reaches a point of equilibrium…
          I convert appropriate (suitable) ammo cans by removing the rubber gasket and the paint under the gasket.. and paint on the edge of the can lip. Line the can with light cardboard or ilk.. then I take braided shielding such as from larger coax and pull it over a suitable vacuum hose line from auto parts store. This is inserted where the gasket WAS, and I try to fold the original retaining metal from the rubber gasket.. over to help hold the braided hose in place. The idea is complete contact and continuity between the lid and can for continuous conduction. Yes, the lid tends to ground when you close it with a rubber gasket.. but the high currents generated in an EMP would then be forced to run thru those points of contact instead of being largely even all the way around…
          I believe when currents are even they tend to neutralize, where as if only grounded on the ends leaves uneven currents;
          When I measure currents with a clamp on ammeter (amps), the individual wire(s) must be isolated. If I try to measure with a hot and a neutral together, the magnetic fields are equal and opposite and neutralize yielding a ZERO reading. Such is the way a GFCI works. If the current coming in the HOT wire is equal to the current going OUT the neutral wire.. there is no field to read. IF there is current traveling a different path back to source, then both HOT and Neutral conductors are NOT equal and a magnetic field can be interpreted … and this causes the GFCI to trip. NOT an excessive current.
          There are THREE primary elements to a EMP. An E1, and E2 and an E3. The E1 is where your highest frequencies are to be found.. it is the beginning of the pulse. A pulse is a waveform, and briefly, the start of the pulse and how quickly it goes up is related to its frequency. It is what is most dangerous to sensitive electronics. When you have this great field that can generate 50kV per meter, you don’t want long wires and cords to act as antennas to “pipe” that voltage into the electronics. If you have warning, removing cables, power cords, antennas will give you your best change to save an electronic device.. other then using a faraday cage. Pulling one of those mylar sleeping bags or such.. is a waste of time. Even a well sealed metal garbage can will provide about 50db of protection. You will have to work at it to get 80 and 100 db protection.
          FYI, db is a long rhythm.. and its measured in tenths as indicated by DECI bell. A bell is a change of 10 fold. Hence as follows, starting at 2 bells or 20 decibels; 2 bells is, well, TWO zeros or 100 times. 3 bells is three zeros.. or 1,000 times… and 6 bells (again, 60 deci-bells).. is 1,000,000 times difference. So, a 30 db signal going to a 40 db signal is a 10 fold gain. (BTW, same with your earth quake readings. a 7,0 is 10 fold a 6.0).
          In an EMP/HEMP.. the violent explosion.. actually caused electrons to be stripped from the molecules in the air.. These are called “Compton electrons” or Compton Effect. Im pretty sure this huge amount of electrons.. traveling away from the nuclear explosion are a major part of the magnetic field called an EMP.
          As far as waveforms, do a search to understand what makes up electrical waveforms, fundamental frequencies and harmonics… look into squarewave forms..
          This is already VASTLY to long! but then, Iv been looking at much of this stuff for over 50 years.
          Hope it helps. I fear there will be to many people who will think they are ready.. but will find out only to late they were wrong.
          My background starts in radio.. but Im interested and studied in many forms of energy.. and while its been decades since college chemistry, I have that too as a background.. and the study of thermal dynamics takes me way into many fields!

          Reply to this comment
      • TheProfessor April 1, 01:55

        also radio waves DO bend and turn corners Ham radio operators and CBers use this phenomena all the time you really need to educate yourself before you continue to make a fool out of yourself. You can start by reading this:

        Reply to this comment
        • Jack August 11, 20:12

          My gosh!
          has anyone hears of “line of sight” issues? This is characteristic of higher frequencies; the higher the frequency, the more they are line of sight. Cell phones come in at about 800 to 900 MHz on the bottom and go up. The way you can go around a corner with a cell is because the radio wave will bounce off structures (and looses energy on each bounce limiting that ability.. but then you usually get into reach of another tower). Lower frequencies tend to be “ground waves”, which tend to follow the earth surface for distance. High frequencies are necessary to permeate the ionosphere for satellite communication .. and its why VHF and UHF communications need relay stations on places like mountain peaks (overlooking a wide area for best coverage and distance). Lower frequencies (HF) will not permeate the ionosphere but instead bounces back to earth (“skip”). as frequency goes up, the longer the arc is to bend. This is why AM transmission does so poorly at a distance and tends to shift from intelligible to not so intelligible (slowly.. as the ionosphere is shifting. AM radio transmits three different frequencies; a carrier, an upper sideband and a lower sideband. In your radio these combined to give what you see in the varying waveform we represent as the AM wave. Now, being 3 different frequencies, they go out together.. but after a bounce.. they dont come back all in phase, thus giving that shifting ability to hear intelligibly.
          Wave guide is a tube that is designed in its physical size to allow the radio wave to basically bounce down it with little attenuation (instead of a cable .. which would give greater loss) incidentally, waveguide in aircraft must be pressurized to prevent arcing in the lack of air).
          In order to get fresh air into the faraday cage buildings Iv worked in, they draw air thru a plenum (NOT a straight plenum but with twist and turns.. perhaps deliberate).. then the entrance is a series of tubes specifically calculated to attenuate any wave that might enter. In my research the recommendation is that a tube must be at least 5 times its diameter, its diameter based on the frequency you wish to block. Thus allowing air to be brought in for internal functions (running generators, etc.)
          As for grounding a faraday cage. Certainly, I see the military buildings well grounded.. but for a small faraday cage.. and as far as “partial grounding” (I have to wonder what and who referred to partial grounding to specifically reply).. but yes, I can certainly see something one might refer to as partial grounding. Such might be a resistance ground.. and I can see grounds being cancelled at any given level due to resonance. Doing a study on SWR would be enlightening! At given points on a coaxial transmission line, you can actually short out a coax line and have no affect on the line… but as you change frequency, it will come into effect more and more as your frequency changes. EMP.. we ARE dealing with frequencies (although largely caused directly by the waveform.. such as a square wave being a combination of odd harmonics). In grounding 3 phase delta circuitry, we employ a resistance ground to one leg of the three phase (when grounding of that energized system as such is required). Resistive grounding will limit current …so a pulse of high current is limited.
          As far as chicken wire protecting from an EMP.. Honestly, while Iv read of it, I seriously doubt it will do much of anything. At all. Like i said, really need to test it. One thing as always, you cant just cut it and hold it together. IF it will do ANYTHING, it must be fully conductive all the way around. I wouldnt even test it if it wasnt. Actually, I wouldnt waste my time unless I was already set up to test it.
          I base what I share on what I have learned thru experience and education, things Iv come to learn and understand with a deep understanding acquired over at least 50 years of working with it. No, I have not worked with EMP for 50 years.. just electronic and radio wave theory, which is what EMP is. I KNOW about resonance. I KNOW about the behavior of electricity, I KNOW how radio waves travel.. this and other things have been an integral par of my life for even longer then 50 years.
          I see endless people asking the same kinds of questions.. simple questions. Rather then trying to case every question, I try to explain the WHY and HOW things work.. hopefully, it will make some since to many and people can resolve their own issues with intelligence and knowledge.I WANT people to be able to protect themselves. This is WHY I do this.

          Reply to this comment
          • Jack August 11, 20:39

            I checked out the website; http://www.evarc.org/Intro%20to%20Radio%20Wave%20Propagation-modified.pdf; This is a pretty good website. It goes a good ways to explain basic wave theory… however hardly comprehensive to EMP, wave theory (from the stand point of different wave FORMS.. which would be helpful in understanding EMP).
            As an Extra Class ham, you must have a very good understanding of this .. and much more.. before taking the Extra Class test.
            I would suggest it as good reading to understand wave propagation and how radio waves behave.

            Reply to this comment
      • Ausvirgo June 22, 09:30

        Radio waves may have limited cornering ability, however they can be reflected, e.g. off the ionosphere or off mountains, so this is not a reliable EMP protection.

        Reply to this comment
  16. Quark March 8, 15:46

    Good information, thanks! However, please hire an editor or get spell-check. The spelling is terrible!

    Reply to this comment
  17. Mr. Beeman April 15, 18:47

    When a driven vehicle is hit with an EMP, it will likely blow all the fuses. Even if the dash lights are flashing, if the car is running go to your destination. You can buy a fuse pack pretty cheaply and keep it in your trunk.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ausvirgo June 22, 09:33

      A strong EMP will likely blow more than the fuses.

      If the car’s diesel it will likely keep running as long as it’s not dependent on an electric fuel pump, etc.

      Reply to this comment
  18. Lizzy September 9, 07:02

    This is so interesting! Im a female prepper and try to share info but some people! Thanks for your excellent explanations, and plrase keep me updated, will fill in fetails. God bless the Americans who so freely help and share! Lizzy SA xx

    Reply to this comment
  19. Amzenmaster December 1, 00:52

    Standard metal filing cabinets are pretty good Faraday cages.

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  20. C1 December 1, 13:16

    I was in Manhattan in 1977 when the blackout hit. Your article greatly exaggerates what actually happened. It was the night New Yorkers came together, directed traffic, helped each other and made the best of it. Perhaps there were looting in other Boroughs, but it was minor.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Nadine December 4, 06:57

    What is the difference between a solar storm and an EMP?

    Reply to this comment
    • JDC January 9, 18:22


      You can think of a solar storm as an EMP event. Just like rainstorms, they come in all sizes, and it is generally the big ones that cause issues whether we’re talking rainstorms or solar storms.

      Generally a solar storm (assuming one generated by an eruption from our sun) is monitored and we might have a little warning from NASA.

      Here is a great website which will explain the subject better:


      Reply to this comment
      • Ausvirgo June 22, 11:01

        My understanding is that solar storms ( Geomagnetic Storms caused by a Coronal Mass Ejection hitting the Earth’s magnetic field) are quite different to EMPs in their effects, and mainly affect very long wires such as power lines.

        Generally being disconnected from the grid will protect you (your equipment) from solar storms, although if your phone/internet lines are wires you could also be hit that way.

        Solar storms are more likely to knock out your grid power supply than your equipment, although surges through telecommunication wires may cause damage.

        I suggest using good surge protectors on both the power and communications lines to your equipment.

        Reply to this comment
  22. Caro January 2, 14:12

    How do I build a faraday cage big enough for a car?

    Reply to this comment
    • JDC January 9, 18:15

      About the only practical way to build a faraday cage big enough for a car would be the shipping container previously mentioned. One of those would be a superb cage to protect an entire supply of prep electronics and a vehicle. The down side is that there are not many residential areas that you could put something this big into and meet local zoning requirements.

      There are a lot of videos on line about burying these containers which might be an option for new construction.

      Reply to this comment
      • Caro January 9, 23:05

        Is there such a thing as a blanket that works as a Faraday cage?

        Reply to this comment
        • Ausvirgo June 22, 11:14

          NO, although a conductive blanket, e.g. foil, that completely covered the car and reached the ground all around it might help, especially if it was grounded.

          It might be easier to turn your metal car into a faraday cage. Grounded wire grills over all the lights, some wire mesh inside the front grill, which is often plastic, and under the bottom of the plastic stone tray. Metallic window tinting might be conductive enough for the windows if you ensure it’s grounded, or you could put wire mesh over the windows as well. You’d probably need wire mesh over the windscreen, as it may be illegal to add metallic tinting.

          You wouldn’t be able to use a mobile phone in the car, or get reception on the radio (You’ll want to disconnect the antenna, or the EMP could get in that way), unless you used optical communications to/from a device outside the car that wasn’t connected to the car’s wiring (i.e. separate battery, possibly solar powered.)

          Reply to this comment
    • Ausvirgo June 22, 10:53

      You could convert your Garage into a Faraday cage,by lining all the walls and doors, the floor and the ceiling with metal or wire mesh, and grounding the entire assembly. Make sure that the wires of the mesh have good electrical contact with each other, so that it is effectively a sheet of metal with small holes in it.

      All components must be electrically connected to each other, preferably at multiple points, and there shouldn’t be significant gaps.

      Arrange so that when closed the doors have good electrical contact with the rest of the cage on all four edges – preferably at intervals of no more than an inch.

      One option might be to use foil insulation held in place by wire mesh. The mesh holes can be bigger in this case. Make sure that there’s good electrical contact everywhere, and test the end result.

      Reply to this comment
  23. allison construction equipment February 7, 16:56

    Wonderful work! This is the kind of information that should
    be shasred around the net. Disgrace on the search engines forr not positioninng this pput up higher!
    Come on over and visit my website . Thank you

    Reply to this comment
  24. Dan March 14, 07:49

    Solar panels put in place but not connected to grid. They are on top of metal sheds. Is there a way to protect the panels in place or would they need to be took down and put in a Faraday cage

    Reply to this comment
    • Ausvirgo June 22, 11:21

      If they’re on a galvanized roof in good condition you could possibly put a Faraday cage around them in place, using the metal roof as part of the cage.. You’d need to also shield the cables, and any equipment they were connected to. All the shielding should form the one Faraday cage, with the cable shielding connected to the panel shielding and to the equipment shielding so as to completely enclose the whole assembly. And remember to ground the cage, although the metal sheds may do that for you – just check by checking that the resistance between the cage and earth is near zero.

      Reply to this comment
  25. TheProfessor April 1, 01:41

    Let me preface my following statement.
    I am an Electronics Engineer. I hold an MS/EE. And this article would NOT be worth toilet paper were it printed On toilet paper. First Bill nye did no such video for the Airforce. Bill Nye is an ACTOR and holds NO DEGREES in the Science field.
    Next. Batteries: Most Lithium batteries Will be damaged by an EMP. Why? they have a solid state charge limiter installed in them to prevent them from exploding due to an overcharge condition. other batteries will not be affected.
    Cars trucks and other motor vehicles ANY vehicle that depends on solid state devices to start and or run WILL be affected. PERIOD. The author listed imagined voltages per meter. pure imagination. all it takes is an induced voltage of double to triple the rated voltage of the solid state device of note and it will be destroyed. PERIOD. This is why the government vehicles are old school and not modern systems.
    Yes radio waves DO bend and turn Ham radio operators use this all the time Its called Propagation CB operators call it skip, the Idiot who wrote this article noted it when he mentioned the solar storm that affected the power grid in the late 80’s in Quebec afte 2am, but he doesnt realize that it was because of their latitude and time of the year. He doesnt use logical thought and isnt qualified to write on this subject. His comment on 80dB suppression isnt accurate first off that suppression is based on the measurement of an AM radio signal inside the cage. there is no way to measure it against an emp that hasnt happened yet;
    And for the knowit alls in the comments, An ungrounded cage is NOT a cage, its an ANTENNA! A faraday cage MUS be securely earth grounded to bleed any signal or charge off it as soon as it hits it or it will reradiate it to the interior of the cage! Ive spent many years working inside them as well as designing them.And here is some bad news for you, even the most efficient cage isnt guaranteed protection, as it is all based on the strength of the pulse.
    The stooge who wrote this article recommended cutting cables short on your solar panels. again NOT! Coil them! make a six inch coil at the panel and at the other end if you have enough cable to make more than two wraps at each end and use zip ties to hold them in place if your panels put out enough voltage you can try to cage them with hardware cloth if they are permanently installed, check their output first. it might reduce their output too much. And to the resident know it all. An EMP will destroy solar panels faster than a three year old with a framing hammer. they are a direct solid-state junction and that is precisely what an emp destroys. And yes they will wipe out LEDs as well. Want to protect a car? an all metal garage with metal doorsthat have ground straps that get clipped to the walls every 6 inches, and make sure the building is grounded. but there is an easier way. get a car/truck that is a 95/98 have the engine rebuilt. then replace the ignition with breaker points and the fuel injection with a carburator, and pull the fuel pump out of th gas tank, replace it wit a fuel pick up and install a regular electric fuel pump under the hood. WHAT?? ELECTRIC??? thats right electric, not electronic. an EMP ONLY destroys ELECTRONIC devices. not plain old fashioned electric. now the hard part. get several sets of diode pairs and voltage regulators for your alternator, take spme short jumper wires and short them out, wrap them in aluminum foil stick them in a small can and bury them right next to your house ,if you want do the same to a full alternator too . if you are mechanically inclined just store the new distributor fuel pump and carb. Remember, the newer cars dont have distributors so you need a car that you can swap in a distributor and carb. As for the article, the author is a flat out fraud. do the research for yourself to get the truth. Ive mixed addressing his bs, the BS of one of the know it alls in this thread and answering some questions. I would have to write a book to address it all to set things straight. By the way, dont worry about a repeat of the carrington event, the burning wires only happened because one end had to be grounded, in order for the telegraph sounders that were being used. to work. the change in the magnetic field cause current to flow in the wires and they heated up. we dont use that set up anymore and have had so many similar events since then we would have noticed it, in fact we had one just over a year ago with no issue.

    Reply to this comment
  26. Sarah November 27, 01:33

    Would an EMP affect an older tractor (1950-1980)? How about diesel motors? We live near many Amish who use older type diesel motors to pump water and run pneumatic equipment just wondering how these items could be affected. Thanks for the thought provoking information.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ausvirgo June 22, 15:18

      An EMP can create very high voltages in any wiring in a tractor, e.g. wiring for lights, starter motor, etc, which can rupture insulation and cause short circuits.

      I didn’t know Amish used diesel motors. As long as these motors don’t use electric starter motors they probably won’t be affected. Electric motors may be affected, but are not as vulnerable as electronics.

      Reply to this comment
  27. Danguy February 25, 03:10

    I disagree with the professor on grounding. You only need to ground your faraday cage if there are conductors penetrating the cage. In the case of your typical garbage can lined with cardboard cage, this is not an issue.

    Reply to this comment
  28. 5leaf June 30, 03:32

    I’m having problems finding something I need in my disaster preparation: I’m looking for a battery-powered fridge about half full size. I don’t want a car battery-powered fridge and I refuse to order thru Alibaba where I have been ripped off before on a totally unrelated product.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Tricky dickie August 22, 17:52

    Ok, I have a power wheelchair, and of what I uderstand the police, sheriff’s, fire dept.,
    Forestry fire dept. Their radios signal are electro magnetic frequencies. When I’m in my powerchair and they drive by my joystick goes dark and I come to a complete stop. How do I make my joystick alive again…

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  30. Tank September 13, 22:45

    If my solar panels are in the original cardboard boxes and then wrapped with two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil and stored in a close, will this protect them fro a nuclear EMP? don’t have big enough emp cage to house them.

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  31. Stills September 16, 21:12

    If all power is disconnected from electrical devices will the electronics still be affected by an EMP? Say you take the battery terminals off of vehicles, would they still ne affected? A question that keeps jumping into my head.

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    • Jack September 17, 10:24

      First, while “The Professor” may disagree as he says EMP destroys the PN junction, I don’t see it the same; Your solar panels are made up of PN junctions!
      Its putting EXCESSIVE VOLTAGE across that PN junction that destroys the PN junctions.
      WIRES are like antennas and they have the capacity to collect voltage and run it into the panels.. and therefore destroy all those PN junctions.
      In the day’s of electron tubes.. tubes used WAY higher voltages than most PN junctions and a short burst of high voltage usually didn’t hurt them. You might do an internet search for “Starfish Prime” nuclear test done in about 1962..
      There are parts of a nuclear EMP.. the E1, E2, & E3… a good read might offer some clarification; https://modernsurvivalblog.com/emp/nuclear-emp-components-e1-e2-e3-and-what-they-mean/
      I see a LOT of BS in many of these survival blogs but I think this offers good, minimum technical explanation of a nuclear EMP and its effects.
      Now, back to wires acting as antennas. No one can tell you how well your devices will fare in an EMP as there is so many variables in an EMP … such as size for of the nuclear explosion, altitude, location.. the geomagnetic field at and where the explosion.. but for sure, the more “antennas” you have leading into the devices you have, the more likely it is to be damaged.
      Some will come back and point out if you have common “noise” on your wires coming in.. voltages will cancel each other. Yes, but so many things have to be right for this to happen. (Research “common noise vs. differential noise” to understand). Understand, if you have the same voltage in both of two wires.. you wont have any flow. Please also understand this stands in the same instant of time; Your power coming into your home.. is AC. This means it goes back and forth. IF the same instance in time one side is at its peak POSITIVE and the other is at its peak NEGATIVE.. you are NOT at the same voltage on both wires, at least, not relevant to each other. If BOTH wires were at their peak POSITIVE (or NEGATIVE).. then they WOULD be the same and no current would flow. You might look at the first as differential and the latter as common.
      Have you ever wondered WHY a bird sits on a hot wire and isn’t hurt? Because he sits on ONE wire.. and there is NO other conductor of different potential .. for a differential.. to create a current flow.. And current flow is what you FEEL in a shock.. and what kills you. A Tesla Coil can generate such high voltages as you can see people with their hair stand up! There is so little current flow.. you don’t feel anything. CURRENT is what kills… or shocks.
      Now, back to solar panels.. I think if you can prevent your wires from bringing that high voltage into the solar cells.. this would protect the sells from damage. This is generally not practical however. IF you can provide adequate protection IMMEDIATELY at the cell’s wiring connection.. you might do alright. On the other hand, if you are far enough away from the EMP blast that the voltage per meter of wire is low enough … you can probably protect your wires from the panel outward. Again, how strong of an EMP do you wish to protect against??
      As for Faraday cages.. Aluminum foil boxes.. I wouldn’t waste my time. You need something heavier. Whatever that is, it needs to be continuously conductive all the way around.
      When electrons travel, they create a magnetic field at right angles to their direction of travel. And I believe much of an EMP.. the E1.. is generated BY these electrons (Compton effect electrons)…. and when that huge magnetic field travels across wires.. they induce that voltage we are worried about…
      Well, I believe your faraday cage/box .. upon that field traveling across… over a conductive surface create a current IN that conductive surface. As that current travels thru the conductive material they create their own magnetic field… and this field is of SAME polarity of the very field (your EMP) that created the current.. and with the two fields being the same polarity, they REPEL each other. Now, the concern here is what is called SATURATION. At some point the potential for the shielding material not to be able to hold enough current .. and counter field.. to repel a potentially stronger field of the EMP.
      If you take a very strong magnet.. and you attach it to a thin sheet metal surface.. it will easily be pulled off. This is because the sheet metal is to thin to carry anything but a small amount of the magnetic lines of force.. it is saturated and the magnetic lines of force “ooverflow” the metal.. Try the same with a heavier piece of metal .. and you will find it MUCH more difficult to separate the magnet and steel!
      BTW, this is the principle of how your inductive motors (brushless AC motors).. work.
      Aluminum is a better conductor than steel.. but steel has a MUCH greater permeability than aluminum. This means it can carry a magnetic field, as I recall, about 40 times better. Some consider the conductive properties to be preferred. Others the permeability. Of note; in my experience working on Military backup power plants.. there was NO aluminum. EVERYTHING was STEEL.. even the couplings on the GRC conduits were welded. (GRC is Galvanized Rigid Conduit.. i.e. schedule 40 steel pipe).
      This has been a rather exhaustive explanation of things.. and lie the professor said, its really way more then this site has room for. I hope this helps, however, you and others.
      As for me, I have a technical background over several fields from some chemistry and physics.. and about 50 years of working.. and playing with radio electronics.. exploring WHY things are as they are!

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  32. Jack December 18, 09:09

    I still get notices when someone comments.. but in reviewing things everyone has said, including myself, I see some things that should be pointed out..
    First, Faraday cage grounding. Improper grounding can do more harm then good. Best to keep ground conductors very short, straight down into earth. Otherwise, can act as antennas to collect EMP. This is a general statement. Get an EMP engineer to help you.
    As stated before, a faraday cage is an inductive device. Iv painted verbal pics of the effect that makes one work. Iv illustrated it mechanically to others such as a button magnet dropped down an aluminum tube-taking 11 seconds to travel 36″ straight down due to the magnetic field creating a current in the tube .. that makes a COUNTER field that resist the magnetic field that creates the current… I also have a rolled tube for demonstration where the ends don’t quite meet.. the magnet passes straight thru without even slowing down.. because the POTENTIAL created by the magnet dropping thru the tube cannot become an electrical current as the tube is an open circuit by the slot where it ALMOST comes together; no current can flow.. so no counter field is generated.. IT MUST BE A COMPLETE CURRENT PATH ALLTHE WAY AROUND. A faraday cage with a wooden bottom is NOT a faraday cage! You need to enclose the bottom with sheet metal.. completely welded in. When you have gaps in the welding and therefore gaps in full conductivity you create “hot spots” where current is forced to NOT follow in areas, and flow more intensely where its welded. Best to be continuously welded in all places. Air tubes should be small enough to limit wavelength.. and be at least 5 times longer then they are diameter. Staggered lengths is better, but always 5x or better. You do NOT want any protected gear to be part of the circuit. Keep it not only from contact.. but best to keep away from welded corners.. incase of issues with the welding!.
    Radio waves.. Yes, they can bend. Higher frequencies tend more to line of sight. Lower frequencies tend to follow the ground (“ground waves”).. Why do subwoofers come as single speakers? Unlike higher frequencies, the lower frequencies tend to fill the room where higher frequencies tend to be more direct.. so you use in speaker pairs. but I don’t want to get involved in multiple speaker setups.. this is only about low and high frequencies… When you transmit various frequencies into space.. “bouncing” (skip).. happens because as the radio waves go into the ionosphere they tend to curve down, not unlike a light into a prism.. the high the frequency, the deeper they penetrate before refracting.. until eventually they are high enough to pass thru. This is why you need upper frequencies to go thru the ionosphere to reach space. When transmitting AM, 3 principle signals leave your antenna.. the carrier frequency, the carrier MINUS the audio frequency, and the carrier PLUS the audio frequency. AM does poorly in skip.. because the 3 frequencies bounce differently in the ionosphere and do not always come back to earth in phase.. That varying waveform you see in books they call an AM signal.. is the signal summation IN THE RADIO after the received wave signal is cancelled against each other. Understand, these 3 signals are carrier, LOWER SIDEBAND, AND UPPER SIDEBAND. When you leave out all but the upper or the lower sideband.. you no longer have the wave shifting from 3 frequencies bouncing off the ionosphere.. only ONE. BUT, you need a beat frequency to cancel against the received signal.. to create the intelligence carried on the sideband. This is WHY you get shifting in long distance AM.. but you can get much clearer signal over distance with SSB. This is to show you CAN and do get bending of radio waves… But most concerns might be bouncing signals from off surfaces that tend to reflect.. such as many buildings…
    EMP comes in multiple frequencies.. and part of that is in pulse.. You also have Compton electrons and the effects from that.. Anytime electrons are moving.. they are creating a magnetic field.. Compton Electrons are basically from the force of a nuclear blast.. which is violent enough to actually strip them from their orbits in matter.
    As this is long enough.. I would advocate looking up E1, E2, E3 pulses from an EMP.. and Compton Electrons..
    Also, for protection of wiring, USE conduit.. and if you ground it, ground ONLY ONE END. Follow noise shielding protocols. Grounding both ends creates a current path.. which makes a magnetic field on the shielding conductor.. and thus, INDUCES that same pulse.. couples it.. to the conductors you are trying to protect… wasting your time and materials.
    As for circuit breakers…
    I saw someone entering something about Square D breakers.. as both thermally and current activated. Unless you seek out a special breaker, pretty much ALL electrical breakers are both thermally and current activated. At least unless you are going back over 50 years.. they perhaps might find exceptions. In ALL CASES, these mechanical breakers will act WAY, WAY to slow for an EMP pulse. Even lightning protection used on Ham antennas are at best, poor and limited for EMP protection. There are special devices on the market specifically for this.. but be sure you get stuff fast enough for an EMP pulse! E1 is sub-nanosecond in its rise time… and frequencies range from well over a GHz.. to below 10KHz. I might suggest that the bulk of intensity is about 100MHz. but I think this will be more determined from the strength, altitude of the blast.. and distance away from you.
    For those who don’t know me.. My primary background is in radio.. over 50 years.. and Im an Extra Class ham radio operator; Im also a retired commercial/industrial electrician licensed in Alaska and Washington… Schooled in Chemistry and physics (long ago!).. Im also a heavily certified welder in many types of welding.. .. Iv worked electrical systems for many generation plants.. including EMP systems for the government.. and Iv done a little research on EMP and EMP protection.. because I was tired of all the BS I was finding I KNEW was BS.. regarding EMP protection!
    And yes, if you read under firearms, I also do gunsmithing, gun and cartridge designing.. 40 years of reloading.. and have several post on that end!
    Never the less, my goal is to be helpful.
    To whom much is given.. much is required.

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  33. Preppers make the best targets March 10, 22:41

    guh. these things are so funny. it won’t matter. in the event of a societal collapse of any non-insiginificant non-localized magnitude, your problem will not be lack of electricity, or electronics, etc. it will be PEOPLE. many many many people, trying to kill you and take your food, water, electricty, and electronics. As mentioned in the article, look at what happened in NYC after only ONE DAY without power. So, really, none of this will matter. People (unless they live in a very rural isolated hidden mountain cabin) worrying about things like faraday cages and which devices might survive what type of EMP is laughable. A Faraday cage will NOT protect you from a starving mob. (PS neither will guns. Mobs have guns too (and Molotov cocktails, etc.) , and they hugely outnumber you) Personally, I try to remember who in my neighborhood is a prepper, so I know whose house to ransack first.

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    • Jack March 21, 22:39

      Interesting philosophy..
      Not that none of us havent considered all this.
      For one, you should present your argument to another page of this website.. where it got pretty hot over city folk vs. country folk.
      You DO prove our point about being prepared.. Power goes out.. and those not prepared go into chaos. Thank you.
      I can only guess you were one who isnt prepared.. When I talk to those who tell me they will wait until things happen.. are telling me they will wait until their children are crying and hungry.. then go and steal from someone who worked hard and saved for an emergency.. When you or your children cry hard enough.. you will murder to steal.. I will spare you what I think of such folk.

      Next, you seem to think a mob is going to over power preppers. Perhaps some. PERHAPS. You seem to deem a mob much different than I see them. First, your mob is a STARVING mob BECAUSE they didnt plan ahead.. they did not prepare.. Mobs are NOT organized groups of prepared fighters or they wouldnt be mobs. Most mobs will have one leader.. and a few “Lieutenants”.. the rest of the people will be used by these people.. maybe getting a scrap of food or whatever occasionally. BECAUSE they are unorganized, you will have every kind of firearm.. and probably wont go to far before the guy with a 38 is trying to figure out how to use 9mm ammo in his 38. No organization. They may have some success.. but very a handfull of organized survivalist will likely wipe out the mob. Those radios in the faraday cage will allow them to contact others.. likely reinforcements.. the radio’s your mob has.. will be toast BECAUSE the mob didnt plan ahead to preserve communications.
      Personally, my interest in munitions goes well beyond small arms. Much of it I cant talk about on a site like this. I expect people like yourself.. mobs.. and that is part of WHY we talk of faraday cages and electronics. Again, you prove my points.
      Most of the folks on this site do not live where I live.. but I DO live in a remote place.. and I am prepared for you.. or a mob (if they can survive to get there). You would get buried in the back.

      There are many possible scenarios of how things might happen with a mob against an organized group.
      Im very much for preparing and organizing. I push for people to consider uniform ammo, magazines at the very least.. and if possible, uniform weapons. This philosophy carries thru out being organized. Every member is a valued member, has responsibility to a group.. and isnt mad with hunger, unlike most of the members of a mob. This leads to better choices, stronger people.

      The likelihood of survival is far more favorable with an organized group over a disorganized, unprepared mob! But if that’s your choice.. WHY ARE YOU HERE ON THIS WEBSITE?

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  35. Reno Dad October 17, 02:38

    I have a mid-sized safe with a battery-powered push pad (mylar buttons) that activates the locking mechanism. About 12 years old. Is it likely to survive an EMP event? Should I have a locksmith swap it for an old-style dial lock? Obviously the contents are worthless if you can’t get at them. Thanks!

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  36. AnnMarie July 31, 18:04

    In the event the car is effected by the blast there must be specific car parts which are far more likely to be effected. I feel purchasing those extra parts and storing them in my faraday cage would be wise. I would suggest to include a spare battery, onboard computer controls every electronic part that enables the engine to function such as, fuses, switches, spark plugs and wiring harness. Ensuring you select a 4WD to store parts on so you wont need the roads to be clear is wise unless you wish to resort back to horses.

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  37. Bruno October 21, 05:52

    Jack chill out

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