EMP's: How can they affect our electronics? - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-05-2017, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

Let's see if we have some electronics gurus on here

If we were exposed to an EMP blast... how would that affect our electronics?

Our FJs? If they are off are they ok? If not, can they be fixed without having to replace every computer in it?

The electronics in our generators?

Cell phones seem pretty delicate so I'll just assume they're done... nevermind the communications grid.

How about Ham radios? All this talk about having the Ham radios as a backup comms system is great... but would the EMP not knock them out too?
If so, what is required to fix it? Beyond a DIY'er skillset?

Are there any ways to protect electronics from an EMP blast?

Discuss


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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-05-2017, 11:19 PM
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

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Are there any ways to protect electronics from an EMP blast?
Tinfoil hats!!!

Seriously though, the various armed services of the world have to have considered this at some point. I'd love to know if NESSIE is as apocalypse-proof as I want to think she is.
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-05-2017, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

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DubstepPear previously said: View Post
Tinfoil hats!!!

Seriously though, the various armed services of the world have to have considered this at some point. I'd love to know if NESSIE is as apocalypse-proof as I want to think she is.
This guy says most infrastructure is vulnerable...
North Korea openly threatens EMP attack for the first time, changing the game | Columnists | Opinion | Winnipeg Sun

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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-05-2017, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

This video is a bit dry but the guy seems pretty thorough and it's a neat idea.
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 12:55 AM
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

Automotive electronics are pretty well protected from EMP by the "Faraday cage" provided by the vehicle's metal body structure. The risk is to electronic devices that are connected to the power grid, or through copper conductors to the data infrastructure (telephone lines, cable TV/internet, etc.). Your cell phones are physically isolated from the "system", but it doesn't matter if your cell phone is intact if all the cell phone support system are down. ALL electronic devices could be protected by
disconnecting them from exterior power or data lines, and enclosing them in a Faraday shield like a metal box, tightly-wrapped aluminum foil, etc. If electromagnetic energy cannot get into the device, EMP will not damage it.

For an interesting and moderately technical read on what EMP is, how it is generated, and its effect on electrical and electronic systems, see:

https://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/www/effects/eonw_11.pdf
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 01:12 AM
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

I've read a fair amount of stuff on this situation over the years and from everything I've seen there are a lot of variables. The frequency of the pulse, the strength, etc. For vehicles it can depend on which direction the vehicle is facing when the EMP goes off such as facing it or facing away from it. Is the vehicle parked outside or in a garage? Is the garage cement or metal? If cement there could be problems as the cement can conduct a bit of the electromagnetic current. If it's metal then that's the best. It also depends on what is in the garage. The wiring in the garage is hooked to an outside source that can cause the pulse of energy to be conducted into the garage over these wires. Is there an antenna on the garage? This can do the same thing.

I read about some tests that were done on vehicles from the '90s to the early 2000s. Some vehicles were running when the "blast" went off and some weren't. The ones that weren't had less problems than those that were running. The ones that were running stopped and most just needed to be restarted with some that still ran, but they had dash lights on and other things. Some were a bit more involved as far as repairs, but were still able to be fixed. Newer vehicles like the FJ and those of today have even more processors than those in the test so they could be more vulnerable.

Some vehicles did better than others in the tests, but they were kept secret as to what make and model and how they did so one couldn't take a good one and tear it apart to compare it to a bad one to see what made the one better. Most vehicles have shielding around electronic parts and wiring and results can change just by moving a wire from one spot by a harness to a spot farther away. The Russians did some test back in the early 60s and they found that even diesel trucks shut down. The cause in a lot of vehicles were components with wire coils such as starters, generators, alternators, etc. where they have the wire coils that are sealed with the epoxy or whatever the stuff is. When the pulse of energy hit those coils they heated up and the coating melted which then allowed shorts to happen. So after these test they recommended parts like those and then coils be kept for spares and on some engines mechanical distributors and stuff be stocked to swap out.

As far as radios and other electronics it depends on a few things such as where they are kept and how. If a radio is setup and connected to an outlet and then an antenna these are then connected to the outside and the energy pulse could enter and mess up the radio through the wire or antenna when it's conducted along them to the radio. There are recommendations to use a Faraday cage which is a metal or metal mesh cage or box surrounding an item or items that reacts with the energy pulse conducting it through or around the cage and basically blocks it from reaching the items inside, but it's not 100% blocked and it once again depends on the frequency of the pulse and how powerful it is.

It was also mentioned that an EMP could be set off at a high altitude and not hurt the soldiers below, but it could wipe out all communications and electronics sending them back to using tactics from long gone days. They also would be in disarray as there would be no communications and stuff like say missiles that needed electronics to be fired and to guide themselves or whatever would become junk in the silos.

Even though the vehicles would either stay running or could be restarted or repaired and then started, it might not make much of a difference as they'd still need fuel and once your stash of 5 gallon cans ran out then you'd be at the mercy of the refineries and their shipping and then the gas stations. They would all have to make repairs and then get up and running again to resupply the fuel. It could take weeks, months, or longer depending on the situation and how each part of the chain was affected.

The way companies do things today with inventories on parts could be the biggest problem of all. It used to be that spare parts were kept in a fairly good quantity to have them when repairs were needed. Now parts aren't kept on hand as much and it would be like the fuel problem noted above in that it would man that the manufacturer would have to do repairs and get up and running again and then the transport section of the chain would have to do the same and then the parts would get to the facility to be used. That brings up other problems and questions too. Where are the parts from? At the plant we had parts for a big piece of our equipment that only came from Germany and there was a minimum of a 6 month wait as they were made to order. You'd have to able to not only contact them in German to see if they were up and running and could make the part, but then all the other parts of the logistics of the situation came into play. We also had parts like our big main transformers that took over a year to be built if a new one was needed so that wouldn't be pretty. If the EMP went off it could hit the main high voltage lines and then be conducted through them to any number of places and take out transformers and other equipment and if some of that equipment was like the transformers with a long lead time for new ones, the system could be down for a long time.

It could be a rather rough time if an EMP hit. So much of our lives revolve around electronics anymore that if they are disrupted or ruined it could bring things to a standstill. Fuel needs power to run the electric pumps and the displays and the cash registers for one example. No power, no fuel. Even if you could drop a hand pump into the fuel tank paying for it could be a rough time as a lot of the younger people and even some older ones don't know how to make change anymore and you wouldn't know how many gallons you pumped for sure anyways. The cash registers tell everyone what change to make and most only know how to go by that. One of things I've seen that made me wonder was when you have a bill for say $6.67 and you have the $-.67 plus a $20 bill and you don't want to get back change. I've handed the person the $20 and the change and they couldn't figure out what I was doing even after I explained it to them. Anymore everything depends on fragile electronics that can easily be fried by a surge of electricity which can make things a real problem if they all fail at the same time.

All of this leads up to what Preppers usually plan on. They stock up the food and water and supplies to get them through for a few months or a year or two and then they have the seeds and animals and stuff and plan on being self sufficient on their land. They learn to do stuff the old way or the Amish way with hand tools and animals so that it doesn't matter if there is electricity or fuel or whatever. They can use a horse and plow. Mama can use a spoon or a whisk or an old fashioned hand mixer to make up a cake or whatever in the kitchen. They use wood stoves so they don't need electricity to run a heater or they aren't relying on things to be working so they can get propane or other fuels. They cook on a wood stove in the winter and then on a fire outside in the summer.

This is just a bit of the info I've read over the years and how things might happen in the case of an EMP and all the different things that can be a secondary part of the main event. It gives one a lot to think about.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 06:08 AM
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

Quote:
Winterpeg previously said: View Post
This video is a bit dry but the guy seems pretty thorough and it's a neat idea.
Protect Generators and Cars from EMP - YouTube
Quote:
BIGGUY previously said: View Post
I've read a fair amount of stuff on this situation over the years and from everything I've seen there are a lot of variables. The frequency of the pulse, the strength, etc. For vehicles it can depend on which direction the vehicle is facing when the EMP goes off such as facing it or facing away from it. Is the vehicle parked outside or in a garage? Is the garage cement or metal? If cement there could be problems as the cement can conduct a bit of the electromagnetic current. If it's metal then that's the best. It also depends on what is in the garage. The wiring in the garage is hooked to an outside source that can cause the pulse of energy to be conducted into the garage over these wires. Is there an antenna on the garage? This can do the same thing.

I read about some tests that were done on vehicles from the '90s to the early 2000s. Some vehicles were running when the "blast" went off and some weren't. The ones that weren't had less problems than those that were running. The ones that were running stopped and most just needed to be restarted with some that still ran, but they had dash lights on and other things. Some were a bit more involved as far as repairs, but were still able to be fixed. Newer vehicles like the FJ and those of today have even more processors than those in the test so they could be more vulnerable.

Some vehicles did better than others in the tests, but they were kept secret as to what make and model and how they did so one couldn't take a good one and tear it apart to compare it to a bad one to see what made the one better. Most vehicles have shielding around electronic parts and wiring and results can change just by moving a wire from one spot by a harness to a spot farther away. The Russians did some test back in the early 60s and they found that even diesel trucks shut down. The cause in a lot of vehicles were components with wire coils such as starters, generators, alternators, etc. where they have the wire coils that are sealed with the epoxy or whatever the stuff is. When the pulse of energy hit those coils they heated up and the coating melted which then allowed shorts to happen. So after these test they recommended parts like those and then coils be kept for spares and on some engines mechanical distributors and stuff be stocked to swap out.

As far as radios and other electronics it depends on a few things such as where they are kept and how. If a radio is setup and connected to an outlet and then an antenna these are then connected to the outside and the energy pulse could enter and mess up the radio through the wire or antenna when it's conducted along them to the radio. There are recommendations to use a Faraday cage which is a metal or metal mesh cage or box surrounding an item or items that reacts with the energy pulse conducting it through or around the cage and basically blocks it from reaching the items inside, but it's not 100% blocked and it once again depends on the frequency of the pulse and how powerful it is.

It was also mentioned that an EMP could be set off at a high altitude and not hurt the soldiers below, but it could wipe out all communications and electronics sending them back to using tactics from long gone days. They also would be in disarray as there would be no communications and stuff like say missiles that needed electronics to be fired and to guide themselves or whatever would become junk in the silos.

Even though the vehicles would either stay running or could be restarted or repaired and then started, it might not make much of a difference as they'd still need fuel and once your stash of 5 gallon cans ran out then you'd be at the mercy of the refineries and their shipping and then the gas stations. They would all have to make repairs and then get up and running again to resupply the fuel. It could take weeks, months, or longer depending on the situation and how each part of the chain was affected.

The way companies do things today with inventories on parts could be the biggest problem of all. It used to be that spare parts were kept in a fairly good quantity to have them when repairs were needed. Now parts aren't kept on hand as much and it would be like the fuel problem noted above in that it would man that the manufacturer would have to do repairs and get up and running again and then the transport section of the chain would have to do the same and then the parts would get to the facility to be used. That brings up other problems and questions too. Where are the parts from? At the plant we had parts for a big piece of our equipment that only came from Germany and there was a minimum of a 6 month wait as they were made to order. You'd have to able to not only contact them in German to see if they were up and running and could make the part, but then all the other parts of the logistics of the situation came into play. We also had parts like our big main transformers that took over a year to be built if a new one was needed so that wouldn't be pretty. If the EMP went off it could hit the main high voltage lines and then be conducted through them to any number of places and take out transformers and other equipment and if some of that equipment was like the transformers with a long lead time for new ones, the system could be down for a long time.

It could be a rather rough time if an EMP hit. So much of our lives revolve around electronics anymore that if they are disrupted or ruined it could bring things to a standstill. Fuel needs power to run the electric pumps and the displays and the cash registers for one example. No power, no fuel. Even if you could drop a hand pump into the fuel tank paying for it could be a rough time as a lot of the younger people and even some older ones don't know how to make change anymore and you wouldn't know how many gallons you pumped for sure anyways. The cash registers tell everyone what change to make and most only know how to go by that. One of things I've seen that made me wonder was when you have a bill for say $6.67 and you have the $-.67 plus a $20 bill and you don't want to get back change. I've handed the person the $20 and the change and they couldn't figure out what I was doing even after I explained it to them. Anymore everything depends on fragile electronics that can easily be fried by a surge of electricity which can make things a real problem if they all fail at the same time.

All of this leads up to what Preppers usually plan on. They stock up the food and water and supplies to get them through for a few months or a year or two and then they have the seeds and animals and stuff and plan on being self sufficient on their land. They learn to do stuff the old way or the Amish way with hand tools and animals so that it doesn't matter if there is electricity or fuel or whatever. They can use a horse and plow. Mama can use a spoon or a whisk or an old fashioned hand mixer to make up a cake or whatever in the kitchen. They use wood stoves so they don't need electricity to run a heater or they aren't relying on things to be working so they can get propane or other fuels. They cook on a wood stove in the winter and then on a fire outside in the summer.

This is just a bit of the info I've read over the years and how things might happen in the case of an EMP and all the different things that can be a secondary part of the main event. It gives one a lot to think about.
This guy is a great author. I've read quite a few of his post apocalyptic novels and am in the middle of one now. I believe he's done alot of homework on this subject and knows way more than you or I can comprehend.

BG is right though. The best defense against an EMP attack is to be prepared in the non-technological sense and move your preps away from things that you can't count on. If there were an attack, most of the grid would be down and some would most likely survive. The best defense is to set up your life in such a way that you just don't need anything electronic. If it's communication that you really need, the best strategy is to relocate like minded people or family/friends to areas that you can concievably get to on foot if need be.

Using a faraday cage or shielding cloth also, isn't a guarantee. You increase your chances of being able to use your electronics but the simple fact is: Nobody really knows what to expect if an EMP does occur, how strong the magnitude will be, or what the loss or damage will be in real life.


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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 07:29 AM
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

Microwave ovens are a faraday cage - but designed to contain EM radiation rather than protect from the outside. Basically, they are a metal box.
a car (or anything else) stored in a shipping container should be pretty safe, as the energy would flow around the container. Have you ever seen what a screen door does to wifi signals? metallic window tint to cell phone signals or wifi?

If you were the paranoid type, you could line your garage with screen door mesh, (don't forget the ceiling, floor, and windows/doors!) which would work just fine.

Airplanes are pretty good faraday cages, and lightning flows around them (and cell signals suck inside them). Composite planes like the B787 Dreamliner have copper mesh on the skin to conduct static/lightning...

A car would be pretty well protected on its own, but wrapping the electronics in mesh/foil might help, but I'm not an expert.
Cars & plans are fine with lightning strikes, but an EMP is a different animal.
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

Fuel is a problem, but not as much as water would be a problem... It's all pumped electrically (yes even if you have a water tower in your town - how do you think the water gets up there to start with?), same goes for sewage.
No power means hygiene becomes a HUGE problem even if there are hand pumps. Cholera, dysentery etc would be a massive problem....
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 08:17 AM
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Re: EMP's: How can they affect our electronics?

This is a pretty good read:

Electromagnetic Pulse - EMP Myths - futurescience.com


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