Anybody else know what an EMP is?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by machiasmort, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    An EMP is an elctro magnetic pulse. Basically it can be caused 2 ways. Either by a solar flare or a nuclear detonation in the atmosphere, high above us. An attack or flare of this nature could wipe out electricity to the entire planet for years!

    Does anybody know the effects of EMP upon unplugged electronics? I'd like a well educated source instead of rely upon what I read elswhere on the Net!

  2. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    The concern with an EMP produced by a solar flare is that some theorize it will destroy thousands of tranformers in our electrical grid all at once and there won't be enough replacements available. Imagine no electricity at all, and no immediate restoration in sight! The doomsday folks are claiming this to happen in 2012, when we are at the peak of sunspot activity and all the planets align.

    Will this happen, is it possible? I don't know for sure but I do know that solar flares have temporarily knocked out communications satellites and ground communications in the past, and have disrupted power grids. So we know that yes, there could be temporary disruptions. The question is, can they lead to more serious damage of equipment on a worldwide scale if powerful enough?

    An EMP produced by a nuclear detonation would produce localized damage. Yes, it can damage unplugged equipment if the voltage induced by the circuit board traces exceeds the voltage rating of the transistors and diodes in the device. Old vacuum tube equipment will be unharmed because vacuum tubes are tolerant to short term overloads, where semiconductors will instantly fuse once their ratings are exceeded.

    So basically, keep a car or motorcycle with points & condenser ignition, a diesel generator, and a Hallicrafters tube type ham radio handy along with a lot of guns and ammo for 2012!
  3. We use EMPs all the time. When a spark jumps the gap in a spark plug, a magneto induces voltage in the pickup, an electric motor turns, or a generator produces voltage are examples of EMP. Solar flares have been around as long as the sun has been shining. The problem with solar flares in the near future is the Earth's magnetic field is at a weak level right now, perhaps it will reverse polarity soon. This has happened before, in what seems to be a cycle. Your compass will read backward if/when it happens. The magnetic field normally protects us from solar flare EMP by redirecting the EMP towards the poles, producing The Northern lights here in the Northern hemisphere. With the magnetic field being in a weakened state, this protection is weakened and we can expect the EMP felt on the surface from solar flares to be much stronger than usual. Radio interference will be much stronger, satellites will be disrupted, TV reception will suck, etc. Massive blackouts are possible and unshielded electronics and electrical systems will be at risk and may burn out. Then again, there may be little effect and it will end up like the silly furor when the millennium changed.
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Valid points, mike.

    The OP mentions solar flares and nuclear detonations as producing massive EMP spikes, which they do. However, it is quite possible to generate an EMP spike of sufficient magnitude to take out unshielded electronics in a large portion of a major city with conventional explosives, in a weapon that will fit in a 55 gallon drum. No, I am not going to give the details of how that is done, but it is a weapon in the world's arsenals, and it was used in Iraq in 2002.
  5. AussieJester

    AussieJester Member

    And again in Oceans 13 to knock out lights in Las Vegas before cleaning out the Casino :p

  6. moondog

    moondog Member

    A single cosmic ray particle can change a computer memory cell, or change a chromosome in a reproductive cell. They can also affect radio communication and cause corrosion in northern pipelines.
  7. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member


    So what I'm getting here is that an EMP whether man made or natural is possible.

    Unenergized electronics will be effected. Even cars? Some sites say that the computer in your car will be shielded from the metal exterior...

    Communication will be essential. I've got a 2M portable... Some sites say they are shielded in a file cabinet????

    Either way, If this situation were to materialize there would be pandamonium!

    Could be years before the grid gets repaired!
  8. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    And a regular pedal bicycle!! My new fixie is the bee's knees when it comes to ultimate transportation. As long as I had a few sets of tires, very minimal tools, and a bit of lube... this thing will literally last forever. Everybody needs a fixed gear 29'er with or without electricity. A BLAST, I SAY!!
  9. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    Ride that THANG!

    Ever seen the new War of the Worlds with that famous scientologist?? The aliens blast Earth with an EMP and no car starts anymore. They even had to replace the solenoid in the starter to get the car working again. Didn't make sense to me, because the car was a standard, IIRC... so he coulda just popped the clutch, no?
  10. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    What about Faraday Cages? One could shield electronics with a faraday cage, no problems from EM within the cage. It's very simple, a metal mesh with holes no larger in diameter than the wavelength of the electromagnetic waves.

    If you wanted to shield small electronic devices, like phones, spare computer parts, even a car's ECM, you could put them in a broken microwave. Microwaves are faraday cages, with a magnetron in them. If the 12.4 cm/2.45 GHz waves can't get out, then they can't get in either. Waves much higher or lower in frequency than that found in a microwave won't affect electronics.

    A faraday cage could even be made around devices you want to protect.

  11. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    While these are all uses of electro-magnetism, I don't consider them uses of pulse magnetism - except the ignition coil, where the high voltage is derived from a sudden change in a magnetic field. And in a smaller scale, this electromagnetic noise can wreck havoc on electronics. An example would be the glitching of a digital speedometer on a motorized bike due to the ignition.

    Marty - yes, EMP's whether man made or natural are very real, and have been known to knock out power grids and disrupt communications, and destroy satellites. What we don't know is how we will be affected come 2012 when the "perfect magnetic storm" will be in full force. I hope the power companies are stocking up on spare parts!
  12. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    Of course they ain't stocking up AG. The Government has allowed them to become monopolies, why should they?

    What concerns me is that the last several years, they've had great trouble predicting the solar occurances. Things are getting unpredictable!

    A few years back, I seen the N.lights, so strong, it made me nausous. They were swirling so bad it was incredible. Full blown display, right here in NY!
  13. safe

    safe Active Member

    I've discussed this idea of EMP before and how it relates to ebikes too.

    If (when) there is an EMP caused by war or nature all our computer and other high tech stuff will be destroyed. The only way to protect the electrical parts is to place them in a "Faraday Cage" which will keep the electromagetic energy dissipating in the cage.

    If Russia decided to attack America (say after 2012 sometime) with nukes (like Nostradamus suggests... the whole "Two Brothers" reference) I suspect the LAST thing people are going to be worrying about is ebikes or cellphones. (though communications could be of value) Most cities will be leveled and those that are downwind MUST stay underground (the basement) for two weeks before coming out. After two weeks the radiation is low enough to be okay.

    The survivors will be people who are not downwind and also in rural locations.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
  14. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Looks like I'm toast. (literally)
  15. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    I asked a family member who works at a power company about EMP. It's not a problem for transformers, they are big enough to handle any electromagnetic pulse. They handle thousands of volts with no problem. Control systems for substations, wiring and switches, are all "tempest hardened", meaning that they are shielded from EMP. (either with a solid metal box or a faraday cage.)

    So... looks like your computer will be the problem. Anybody have any spare metal mesh?

  16. WhizBangAndy

    WhizBangAndy Member

    If you are worried about no power go to for some off the grid soloutions for post EMP AND Gasoline..I have been a fan for years and there are some sharp minds at work behind this site. Enjoy!
  17. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member


    "14. I have heard that the Earth’s magnetic field will flip in 2012 just when the strongest level of solar storms in history is predicted to take place. Will this kill us or destroy our civilization?
    Near solar maximum (which happens every 11 years approximately), there are many more solar flares and coronal mass ejections than near solar minimum. Flares and mass ejections are no danger for humans or other life on Earth. They could endanger astronauts in deep space or on the Moon, and this is something that NASA must learn to deal with, but it is not a problem for you or me. Large outbursts can interrupt radio transmission, cause bright displays of the aurora (Northern and Southern Lights), and damage the electronics of some satellites in space. Today many satellites are designed to deal with this possibility, for example by switching off some of their more delicate circuits and going into a “safe” mode for a few hours. In extreme cases solar activity can also disrupt electrical transmissions on the ground, possibly leading to electrical blackouts, but this is rare.

    The last solar maximum occurred in 2001, so the next one was predicted for around 2012, 11 years later. However, the most recent solar minimum was unusual, with a period of a couple of years with almost no sunspots or other indications of solar activity, so scientists now guess that the next maximum will be delayed, perhaps to 2013. However, the details of the solar cycle remain basically unpredictable.

    You are correct that the Earth’s magnetic field protects us by creating a large region in space, called the Earth’s magnetosphere, within which most of the material ejected from the Sun is captured or deflected, but there is no reason to expect a reversal of magnetic polarity any time soon. These magnetic reversals happen only once in 400,000 years on average.

    15. I am confused about a report on the Fox News website that in 2012 a “Powerful Solar Storm Could Shut Down U.S. for Months”. They referred to a report from the National Academy of Sciences that was commissioned and paid for by NASA. If nothing is going to happen as a result of the event in 2012, why would NASA allow such nonsense to be reported?
    NASA is pleased with the National Research Council report on heliophysics. As you note, this report includes a worst-case analysis of what could happen today if there were a repetition of the biggest solar storm ever recorded (in 1859). The problem is the way such information can be used out of context. There is no reason to expect such a large solar storm in the near future, certainly not in 2012 specifically. Your reference to “the event in 2012” illustrates this problem. There is no prediction of an “event in 2012”. We don’t even know if the next solar maximum will take place in that year. The whole 2012 disaster scenario is a hoax, fueled by ads for the Hollywood science-fiction disaster film “2012”. I can only hope that most people are able to distinguish Hollywood film plots from reality."

    So it looks like the good folks at NASA aren't really concerned.

    That page also says that there is no planet alignment in 2012, or any other time in the next several decades. So to all the news reporters out there - WTF?

    So it looks like my diesel generator will just be for ice storms and other "normal" disasters.
  18. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    Arceeguy - thanks for a breath of fresh air from the common sense region. Once again, the world is not ending. I suppose that's too boring for some.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015
  19. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    Thanks for the info AG! Congrads on the election results out there!
  20. eastwoodo4

    eastwoodo4 Member

    it might not be ending,but its ending as we know it.