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The Carrington Event of 1859, the first observed solar CME, proved that a natural EMP can happen and that they can be devastating. The most widespread protection system for electrical apparatus is the Faraday box or the Faraday EMP- protected bags. On the other side, an NEMP’s E1 pulse arrives as a radio wave and will attack any electronics not buried deep underground or contained inside a Faraday cage.
A Faraday box is simply an electrically seamless metal container, be it a box cylinder, sphere or any other closed shape designed to divert and soak up the EMP. Many containers are suit- able for makeshift Faraday boxes: cake boxes, ammunition containers, metal filing cabinets, etc. I have heard a lot about Faraday cage rooms, but even if copper or aluminum foil in the ceiling, floor and walls appears to insulate a whole room from an EMP, it is doubtful that you will be able to cover all gaps for the wavelengths involved and truly create cage-like protection.
For true peace of mind, place Faraday-bag-protected electronics inside bubble wrap bags to separate one from the other, then place everything inside a steel trash can lined with plastic foam. Protecting your equipment is wise, but that may not help if the main power and communications grid goes down and never comes back again.
With this in mind, I would suggest that before you pack your iPads and laptops for EMP protection, place some basic resources— critical electrical parts— in your Faraday cage.
And what about all the electronic equipment that can’t be unplugged or the vehicles parked in your garage? You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Did you know that if you own a safe with an electronic lock that you might be locked-out of it after an EMP?
A good friend of mine who is trying to be as prepared as possible called me the other day and asked me about his electronic safe and how it would handle a possible EMP.
So, from the terms ‘not EMP rated or tested’ I think we can assume the answer is that; their safe is not EMP-proof. So how does an EMP damage the integrated circuits like the ones inside your cell phones, computers, car & truck ignition systems, and dozens of other everyday items, including that fancy electronic safe?  That was also part of Jerry’s question, and the full answer is by its nature highly technical. Disaster preparedness planning is not a one-size fits-all paradigm… there are many variables, and the trick is to solve as many potential problems with the best planning and the least amount of equipment and related costs. When a nuclear weapon is discharged in the upper atmosphere it generates a very potent electromagnetic pulse of energy, which can affect a very large geographical area (thousands of square miles). The bottom line for people and devices located on the surface of the planet below the HEMP discharge and downrange in all directions for a thousand miles or more, is that a huge transitory electromagnetic field is generated at the surface of the planet.
The big problem with an EMP attack (or a localized EMP caused by a lightning strike) is there is virtually no warning; there is no time to get anything done. So as we see from the video, arguably, with a near-coastal launch of an EMP weapon taking as little as 60 seconds, and with the speed of a ballistic missile, the military might have as much as 15 minutes warning! Let’s start with the simplest, least expensive solution and work our way up to the biggest and arguably the best solution for average Preppers. If you’re considering a safe, look at the old-school dial combination (mechanical) lock, as opposed to an electronically locked safe, which by the way, uses a battery.
Metal garbage cans are ubiquitous and can be bought at most hardware stores fairly inexpensively.
The military and other well-financed public and private companies can afford to have consulting firms design and build buildings and structures that are ‘shielded’ from EMP.
Shipping containers can be securely locked-up with their existing locking mechanisms, and they are waterproof unless they have been damaged or are rusted-through, which takes decades near the sea. It’s important to keep anything that is stored in the container from touching the metal of the container, if you’re using it for EMP protection. And if you’re one of the people who unfortunately bought a safe with an electronic lock, then you can place the safe inside the container (of course it too must be insulated and must not touch the metal of the container anywhere). I like to secure copper ground wires to all four corners of the container as an extra precaution. So as we see, there are EMP solutions at almost every level of affordability depending on the size of space required.
This entry was posted in DIY, Tips & Tricks, Emergency Power, Emergency Preparedness, Most Popular, Prepping, Recent Articles, Self Reliance and tagged shipping container, EMP solution, emp, emergency power on February 6, 2015 by Capt.
What modification(s) if any would be required to protect the electronic equipment from a CME?
In a Carrington-sized event (which is not as big as they can come), certainly, anything that is plugged into the electrical grid, or that is attached to any long wire or conductor as the plasma cloud's magnetic field passes the earth could be irreversibly damaged.
That said, stand-alone devices (not attached to the grid) that contain solid-state components, transistors and integrated circuits such as those in your car and in your electronically locked safe would be unaffected by the magnetic field generated by a CME. Forstchen, deals with an unexpected electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States.
Many nuclear- equipped countries can deploy en- hanced-EMP warheads, and many oth- ers have the capability to put unmanned payloads and satellites into orbit.


It is just an electromagnetic pulse, similar to a simple electrostatic discharge between two ob- jects.
These two systems have to protect your electronics from the three E1, E2 and E3 pulse phases of an NEMP, or the E3 phase of a CME. It can damage unplugged electrical equipment with its very short, high-frequency (up to 100 MHz) pulse, sometimes lasting only a few nanosec- onds, which is way too quick for most surge protectors.
If the object placed in the Faraday box is insulated from the inside surface of the box, it will not be affected by the EMP travelling around the outside metal surface of the box.
Despite what you may have read or heard, these boxes do not have to be airtight due to the long wavelength of EMPs; boxes can be made of wire screen or other porous metals. It is not necessary and in some cases it may be counter-productive, but it is also true that an ungrounded cage can reradiate, too.
Any AC lines, or any construction gaps in the shield, will let the energy in and leave you unprotected. Used by many agencies, they provide an astonishing 98 decibels of signal strength protection, about double the typical steel trash can when sealed with conductive foil tape.
You can even cover all the sides of a large refrigerator or line a wood closet with conductive materials, taking extreme care to double seal the door hinges with the foil to avoid a break in the conductive layer. I doubt that can happen, as many countries in the developed world are placing resources to protect themselves in such a scenario, but it could take days, weeks or even months before the grid fully recovers. The short-wave radio, in particular, will supply you with communication way before you have internet again. You will have to accept a certain level of risk and place some simple but effective firewalls. The best bet to increase your odds is to buy a backup diesel vehicle with a mechanical injection pump, which will increase your vehicle’s survival probability to nearly 100 percent.
Of course this is an excellent question, and it’s the kind of question that more people need to be asking! The operating voltages of integrated circuits is very low, and can range from just over one-volt to 5-volts D.C.
This electromagnetic field is of sufficient strength to cause high-voltage to flow in any conductors (wires, circuits, etc.). Civilians would have much less than that, if any, before all the electronics over a very large area are toast. The metal can should be lined with an electrical insulator such as cardboard (you don’t want anything stored inside touching the metal can) and then packed with anything you want to protect.
If you are considering a container, make sure to walk the roof of the container; if there is any damage (deformed metal, large dents, holes) find another one.
Note: Those owners of electronic safes might alternatively have a safe-tech come-out and retro-fit the safe with a mechanical lock (may cost a couple hundred dollars or more).
While it’s true that if the shipping container is setting on moist earth it is likely well-grounded as a result of the extensive surface area of the container sitting on the ground, I still prefer to add the grounding as outlined herein above. Understanding what effects it will have on electronic devices on earth requires that we understand a bit of physics and electromagnetic theory; when a conductor moves relative to a magnetic field, electrons (current) flows in the conductor, which is known as ‘electromagnetic induction’.
Even though it is not a 'solid' mass, its total mass is so immense that it generates its own magnetic field.
An apocalyptic and rather de- pressing scenario, the fact is that such an attack is quite possible. The fact is that there are many different sce- narios, both natural and manmade, that could expose our countries to the end of the world as we know it via EMP.
An EMP event can include nuclear (NEMP), high-altitude (HEMP) and non- nuclear (NNEMP) weapons designed to disrupt enemy infrastructure. While the worst-case scenario will not be able to damage our infrastructure beyond recovery, having some sort of communications, indepen- dent power supply and safe computation and data storage will mean the difference between having social services partially working again in a few months and not. The E2 phase energy burst is similar but much slower, travel- ing at tens to hundreds of microseconds, and it can be handled much easier by surge protectors. In my opinion, it is generally safer not to ground your Faraday unit since a ground wire can actually conduct additional energy back toward the item you are trying to protect.
These bags do have limitations in size, but they will do marvels protecting your valuable computers, data hard disks or communi- cations equipment. This type of setup would offer over 100 decibels of signal strength protection, a level close to high- dollar military and commercial Faraday cages, but at a prepper budget, all while adding flood protection, which is more likely to occur than an EMP.
If the lock were to fail electronically, a safe technician would still be able to open the lock by penetrating the door and lock casing to move the bolt. OK, so we see there is some potential vulnerability at least with the electronic safes at one major company. It’s not like you’ll have time to shove everything you want to keep functioning into a Faraday Cage, which is basically a metal box or ‘cage’ that attenuates the field strength of the EMP. All-metal cargo trailers can also be used effectively as Faraday Cage storage, if the trailer is truly ‘all-metal’ (the roofs on some trailers have plastic vent covers, which must be replaced, or properly shielded (covered with metal foil).


These robust steel containers are very solidly built; onboard container ships they will regularly stack them 8-10 high on top of each other.
Be very wary of containers with recent repairs; there’s nothing worse than a leaky container!
The strength and orientation (polarity) of the plasma cloud's magnetic field is an important consideration when considering its effect on the earth. To add to this possibility, there are many scientists who admit that a large EMP produced by a coronal mass ejection (CME) from our sun is even more likely to occur.
Some of your electrical equipment is innately EMP resistant, such as large electric motors, ham radio vacuum tube HF amplifiers, or simple interrupters and relays. Depending on who made the safe, its model, where the safe is located, and the distance away from the EMP source, you may or may not be able to access the goodies that you have tucked away in that fancy electronic safe! If there is concern regarding the accessibility of safe contents following an EMP situation, it would be recommended that a mechanical lock be used in this case. And it’s probably reasonable to assume that may be the case with many other companies, and their safes may also be vulnerable to EMP, unless they will warrantee the safe as being EMP hardened. Most people understand that if they were to accidentally connect an appliance to the wrong voltage, it would severely damage the appliance or device. Attenuation (the reduction of the EMP field strength) is an important concept here, since many people don’t have a perfect Faraday Cage that is large enough to protect all their gear. The heavy cardboard from large appliance boxes is perfect as an electrical insulator for lining the inside of a shipping container as needed. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, having logged more than 150,000 miles at sea.
Basically, the crust of the earth contains a considerable amount of conductive minerals such as iron. Both could be devastating for our infrastruc- ture, especially if it was a global incident. No matter the type, the real problem is the magnitude of the EMP, be it a solar CME or a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere. On the other side, some devices are very EMP sensitive, such as integrat- ed circuits or field effect transistors. Nonetheless, to prevent a device from being powered by the wrong type (AC current versus DC current) or amount of voltage, manufacturers use a specific plug on appliance cords that use 120-VAC, and totally a different plug on 240-VAC appliances; it prevents mistakes. The obvious disadvantages are limited space and dealing with placing square boxes in a cylinder. This is accomplished by going to your local building supply and buying a grounding spike (designed to ground a household electrical system) and an appropriate length of #6 or larger copper wire, which is securely connected to the ground spike (which is driven deeply into the earth… see local electrical code for depth) and then to the frame of the trailer. Prices vary depending on where you are in the country and the age and condition of the container. So when the magnetic field moves past the earth’s crust, it generates current (flow of electrons).
In the case of battery-operated devices, they accomplish the same thing by the plugs and the size of the compartment for the particular battery required. When you connect the ground wire to the trailer, use a copper lug that is soldered to the copper wire and bolt the lug to clean bare metal on the trailer frame. The amount of current that is generated in the crust of the earth when a plasma cloud from a CME passes depends upon several factors, including but not limited to; the size of the magnetic field, the strength and polarity (orientation) of the magnetic field of the cloud relative to the earth's magnetic field and the localization of conductive minerals in the earth's crust (some geographic areas of the earth's crust contain more conductive minerals). This is why the best protection against CMEs and solar storms is ensuring that your backup electronics are not plugged into anything. The bottom line is that devices are very sensitive to applying the wrong type or amount of electrical current.
As the cloud's magnetic field passes, the power that can flow in the earth’s crust at the surface can easily be sufficient to generate huge voltage spikes in many conductors. This is the most dangerous threat of solar CMEs, HEMPs and NEMPs as the effects will burn electrical infrastructures that will be neither quick nor easy to repair. Power lines and any other long wires can develop huge transient voltages as the magnetic field passes (even after the grid fails), which can damage many electrical devices that are attached to these conductors. Some long-wire antennas for instance, metal antenna towers (cell towers) can also become electromagnetic inductors, and could therefore discharge damaging current into any associated radio equipment that might be attached.
As things stand today, any such massive voltage fluctuations, such as seen during the Carrington Event of 1859, would certainly permanently take-down the national energy grid, but not before hammering most everything that it touches. Therefore, even if you have a generator and fuel, anything that was plugged-in during the event, would likely be toast.



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