What will happen to hi tech LED flashlights in an EMP?

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
2,303
Location
Mobjack Bay
Depending on distance from EMP, driver electronics and LED(s) will be fried, along with any other solid state electronics.

In case of nuclear holocaust, use incan.
 
Last edited:

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
13,702
Location
In a handbasket
Considering that we lost some solid state electronics from the EMP of a lightning strike a couple of blocks away, yeah any unprotected solid state circuitry would probably not survive if the pulse is close enough.
 

bignc

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
436
Location
South GA/ North FL
I keep an E1L, an L1 and L2 (my wife and daughter’s favorites, some primaries, rechargeables, 2 multi- chem chargers and several malkoff modules (ok and some walkie-talkies and a kindle) wrapped in cardboard boxes and then stored in a couple Metal ammo cans (with body/ lid gap sealed with copper tape. ) I’m nuts but that’s the extent of my EMP specific preps.

Split between 2 cans and only open one at a time. Sweet baby Jees, I sound like a total nutter.
 

idleprocess

Flashaholic
Joined
Feb 29, 2004
Messages
6,647
Location
dfw.tx.us
Upside of the typical portable device is it's not connected the enormous antenna that is the grid and will receive a minuscule percentage of the pulse. Downside is that the tradeoff for the increasing efficiency/recued cost of modern solid-state electronics is smaller process size and lower voltages which makes them less robust than older electronics with larger process size and higher voltages.

The EMP Commission put out some light reading for those inclined to investigate...
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
2,987
If you know there’s an emp coming, put your lights and other electronics you want saved in the microwave (don’t cook your lights). It’s basically a faraday cage. That will at least give your devices a chance to survive an emp. Remember, cell phones will probably be useless after an emp so don’t bother saving them (unless the flashlight app is your only light). Two way radios will have some use. Small solar panels, rechargeable batteries, and chargers will be lifesavers if you can save them all. Always have a backup plan in case an emp fries everything. Candles, gas lanterns, and light sticks for light. You need lots of matches, lighters, and good firesteels for starting fires, lighting lanterns and candles, and lighting a gas stove (which you should also have in your emergency kit). Then there’s water. After an emp, water is no longer treated and it doesn’t take long before the sewage gets mixed in with the fresh water and you risk cholera drinking it. Have a good portable water purification system and lots of bottled water to spare. You’ll need to get somewhere with a decent fresh water supply to survive. If you have to travel to survive, keep in mind the 5 first things you need:
Heat- Have the ability to make fire
Shelter- If you’re cold and wet, you’ll die quickly otherwise
Water- Needed in first 3 days to survive
Food- This may require hunting, gathering, fishing, or bartering with other people. Make sure you take a supply of food with you before resorting to skills you may not have in order to survive.
Security- When you’re out in the wild, every minute something wants to bite, sting, or eat you. And that’s just the snakes, scorpions, mosquitoes, bees, and bears. Other people may be a threat too after an emp. Security involves risk assessment and prevention to keep you from getting killed. Take shifts sleeping. Those awake in camp should form an alert circle. Animals do this to survive. Everyone faces a different direction so nothing can surprise and attack the camp. If weapons or perimeter alarms are required for security, use your best judgment for the good of the group. If barriers or walls need to be erected, do what you have to do.

With the current state of affairs, I am concerned that the next “spy” balloon flown over the U.S. could easily be carrying an emp. Our adversaries now know that we would let it fly all the way across the continent before shooting it down. We do need to be prepared for the possibility of an emp attack in the very near future.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
643
Location
Columbus, Ohio
Returning to the topic of Faraday cages, many hardware stores sell a small, tight-fitting galvanized steel can, mostly for storing bulk dry pet food or bird seed. These are often 5-10 gallons in size, and can accommodate quite a bit of stuff (just make sure your gear has no direct contact with the metal in the can). I have a 10-gallon can filled with a selection of lights in non-conducting plastic containers so that I can be more or less assured of having a selection of lights capable of using any type of battery found in the wild, (along with my own personal supply of Bunny-brand lithium primary cells, just in case). I also have a broad selection of good, solid and reliable 1xAA and 2xAA lights stored therein, for use in trade or barter (this on the theory that a good quality AA light will be disproportionally valuable to a man who doesn't have one).

As a kind of rough & ready test of the can's seal and ability to block electromagnetic signals, I placed one cell phone in the can, isolated from any contact with the metal, then placed a call to the phone. The can's metal completely blocked any signal to the test phone. I also tried the same test with hand-held radios. Same result, no signal penetrated the can. I don't know if these results are indicative of the shielding effect of a galvanized steel can during an EMP event, but I felt it was encouraging.

These galvanized steel feed cans are robustly built, with a tight-fitting or even a locking lid (necessary to keep out bugs, squirrels, racoons and miscellaneous rodents). They're easily portable, so if you need to scoot, you can just grab the entire bucket by the handle and take everything with you. Here's an example of a typical 10-gallon can; no endorsement is implied, it's just a good image for illustration purposes. Prices typically range from $25-$35, depending on size and construction. And non-conducting plastic containers are cheap and easily sourced.

Prepare wisely, grasshopper...

1675848842380.png
 

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
2,303
Location
Mobjack Bay
We may be overthinking things. Certainly, Faraday shields and cages will protect solid state electronics from EMP. But most decent flashlights are already constructed out of conductive metal, save for the lens and rubber boot. Depending on the wavelength of the EMP, the unprotected flashlight with conductive metal host will be unprotected at the lens and switch. But covering those areas with a metal or metallic fine mesh will turn the flashlight itself into a Faraday shield. So what we need is some custom items for favorite, popular and ubiquitous models of flashlights, namely, Faraday flashlight head and tail covers. Then we're not concerned with stuffing things into other things.

Also, not for nothing, wrapping a device in aluminum foil will work just fine to protect SS electronics against EMP, and for a flashlight, just the openings.

I feel weird mentioning, but I have had a recurring nightmare a few times where a cosmological event destroys all electronics, and further, in a sustained effect, continues to prevent electrical conductivity. Some massive calamity far, far away reaches Earth, and that's it for electricity. The only lights at night are chemical. So maybe pack some glow sticks, matches and lighters, and something to burn.
 
Last edited:

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
17,946
Location
My own little Idaho
Watching this one tv show post appocolypse they had 4D Maglites and SureFire 6P's after the bombs had detonated like 75 miles away. Nice Lexus cars and Nissan trucks were all dead but the 1966 Chevy step-side was still going.

Strangely enough in the show there was a local tavern with a big flat screen tv that still worked.
 

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
2,303
Location
Mobjack Bay
the 1966 Chevy step-side was still going.
I don't know the model, but I would want a diesel with one of these (and probably ear plugs):
ZBHvEZt_d.webp

qlwXAlV_d.webp

A44JiBI_d.webp


They all but disappeared on American models by the 1950's. Land Rover Series III, Nissan Patrol, and I think Toyota Land Cruisers included them up until 1980.
 
Last edited:

jabe1

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
2,895
Location
Cleveland,Oh
You still need a working battery to manually crank an engine over, and a working ignition module.
Iirc there have been a few threads on this before; I think both Curt at Peak and Henry at HDS have determined that an emp blast wouldn’t affect the relatively small electronics in lights.
 

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
2,303
Location
Mobjack Bay
Those vehicles have batteries, for electric start. But they can start with the crank if the battery isn't working. Most modern diesel engines require some electricity to work, because they are electronically controlled by computer. Those vehicles above are from before they put even simple computers in cars, and will start and run without a battery. To be clear, an old pre-1980's crank start diesel engine will run without any electricity whatsoever, but also there'd be no radio or lights. They'll still get you where you're going without electricity.

And if the EMP wavelength is smaller than the diameter of the lens, and smaller than the diameter of the bottom of the metal reflector, and if it is high energy it most probably will be, it will go right through there and fry any electronics. But if you cover that and the boot and any other holes with foil, that's enough to protect the electronics.
 
Last edited:

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
13,702
Location
In a handbasket
An EMP pulse is likely to contain energy in a very broad range of frequencies. Some of them might be too large (low frequency) to fully enter the unshielded end of a flashlight, but other accompanying frequencies might be able to.

A story similar to the open end of the flashlight -

Many years ago I was working in a TV production truck where we were covering an outdoor event. It was either a speech or a concert, doesn't matter. What did matter was that it was just a block or two away from a local FM radio station's tower. We quickly discovered that whenever our cameras were pointed towards the radio station, we got lots of interference in the picture. Pan the camera a little to the left or right though and the interference was blocked by the camera's metal case. There was no way to shield the lens from the interference because it had to be open to receiving electromagnetic energy (light). So the lens on the otherwise well shielded camera was it's weak point.

Substitute camera lens for flashlight lens and you have the same situation for the same reason.
 

ampdude

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 7, 2007
Messages
4,090
Location
USA
I'm set for life with incans, so I don't really worry about it. And if I survive and some of my LED's survive, so much the better.

There's a lot of other electronics that will go out, fridge/computer/ect. that I'll worry about more than flashlights.
 
Top