Faraday Cage for Just-in-case?
There are a lot of posts here on the blog about the topic of EMP (electromagnetic pulse). There have been a number of posts about the Faraday cage too (electronic device protection from EMP). We have also discussed ideas about what to keep in a Faraday cage, for just-in-case. It’s time to revisit…[ EMP Category ]
Just the other day I was looking at one of my ordinary galvanized 30-gallon trash pails. FYI they can be repurposed as a makeshift Faraday cage for “some” protection (about 20 – 40 dB if done correctly). For whatever reason (maybe today’s crazy times?) I started thinking about EMP and the whole subject of what’s worth protecting in a Faraday cage, and Why.
Several issues make it somewhat difficult to consider.
- The cost of storing these electronic “things / devices” because they would be separately purchased backups which would be out of service during normal times.
2. The real world effectiveness of your Faraday cage coupled with the many theoretical EMP factors which would affect and vary the resultant outcome (what survives and what doesn’t).
3. One’s personal risk-tolerance threshold for doing it in the first place. In other words, the likelihood of the EMP event ever actually really happening versus tying up money in the project.
Which Backups Might Be Important?
In a perfect world you would love to store Faraday backups of all electronic devices for all your “things”. One of everything, right? Well, that would probably be ridiculous unless you’re filthy rich.
With that said, the reality of life after an EMP event will be drastically severe. Think it through. This will affect your decisions about what you might decide to protect (attempt to protect) from EMP. Or what not to bother with…[ Read: If The Lights Went Out ]
We don’t know exactly how much, or to what extent, an EMP (or several simultaneous) will fry electronic devices within its sphere of a short (nanoseconds) intense zap of 50,000 volts /sq.meter destruction. Some things will survive it. Some won’t. There are variables / factors that will determine the extent (beyond the scope of this article).
I only say that because the world has not experienced a purpose-designed nuclear EMP high altitude detonation (except by accident many decades ago during nuke tests over the Pacific). And that was way before the days of today’s electronic infrastructure. We just don’t know with absolute certainty.
How To Decide What Goes In The Faraday Cage
So with all of that said, here’s what I was thinking about as I looked at that 30-gallon metal trash pail pictured above.
Keep the decision process simple and focused. Consider the electronic backups that would be THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOUR SURVIVAL, given your own personal situation and circumstances.
Presume that the grid will be down. This itself will create the nightmare.
What will you need to survive? Same as it always was… WATER, SHELTER, FOOD, SECURITY.
Of those categories, what electronic devices might serve you if they were protected in a Faraday cage. That’s what you would need to think about.
I reiterate, this will depend on your own personal situation. I will throw out a few thoughts as though it were my situation…
Water – Shelter – Food – Security
Related electronic device spares for my well water setup. Water! Though I could hoof it down to the natural spring every day – but that would get old real quick…
The well system (and other household systems) will not function without maintaining the operation of my off-grid solar energy system. Therefore the decisions about spares in this regard (I’m not going to list them all). Rather, just being general.
Shelter category considerations for me are simply the ability to heat my home in the winter, given my seasonally frigid location. Wood stove? No electrics required…
Food with regards to EMP falls into the cooking category. Methods thereof. My propane stove will operate without electricity (except the oven). Plus I have many additional methods to cook without electricity.
Special Emphasis On Security
Security. That’s an important one for sure. This is where Faraday may come in real handy.
- AM/FM/Shortwave Battery Operated Radio and/or Ham radio (they work on 12-volt battery) for gathering “potential” information out there.
- GMRS/FRS 2-Way Radios or Baofeng handhelds or similar for security comms. Consider extras to establish neighborhood security if that fits your AO personnel.
- Battery Charger for Consumer type Batteries to keep those radios working. If you don’t have functioning off-grid electrics, then you’ll need solar panels to power your charger(s).
- Solar panel (fold-able to fit in Faraday?) for power to Charger and other small load devices.
- LED flashlights & headlamps
- Old laptop that you might have replaced before. Maybe you keep important info on it for reference?
- USB thumb drive(s) with any important files & info
- Night Vision Device, if you have one. Though an expensive investment, it is a massive force multiplier. Protect it!
These are just a few thoughts. There certainly are more. However when it comes down to it, it may be easy to get carried away with thoughts of what to protect. The point I’m trying to make is “if” something like this were to happen, you might not need everything and “the kitchen sink” in that Faraday cage. Why? Because we would be in so much trouble – your biggest concern will probably be Security and just having enough food and water to survive! I won’t even bring up the notion of all those nuclear power plants out there![ Read: 5 Nanoseconds To Lights Out ]