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Thread: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

  1. #1

    Default After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    This post is not about Faraday Cages. Nor is it for discussing/debating the probabilities of an EMP, Flare, or Grid Hack.

    Rather, it is to answer this question, "After a prolonged/indefinite power outage (emphasis on prolonged/indefinite), with many who will need illumination of various sorts, what will you share, distribute, give out, and will you be carrying some sort of bag from which to assist or help others?"

    Over the past years, I have given out to family members and friends various lights of great utility. Initially, some laughed at my choice of a gift but they later thanked me after describing how the light I gave them came in handy.

    Lately, in pondering this question, I have stocked up on the Nitecore Tube and batteries including rechargeable ones for some other lights I own. I could see myself giving out some Tubes here or there. I have one or two ways to recharge rechargeable batteries.

    Honestly, I'm at a loss because with finite resources, the need for illumination at night will literally be infinite. My annual purchases of lights and related items are modest, and I'm ok with that, and perhaps one day I will be able to make purchases that are much more than that.

    This post does not even begin to address that us humans cannot live on illumination alone-- a subject for other types of websites no doubt, which I see no need here to discuss.

    I'm just narrowing the scope of this inquiry to the possibility of a quickly accessible go-to bag just with modest lights to provide family members, perhaps some neighbors, and some friends in the event of an indefinite or prolonged power outage. I do not have lights/batteries located all in one place for obvious reasons (and yes, I EDC several lights and have a few in my car as well).

    So, in the event of an indefinite outage, without getting into geopolitical topics and probabilities of incidents or events, what are your plans ahead of time, if any, to provide illumination?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    I'm thinking this thread might be better for "The Cafe" ... but we'll let it run for a bit here, and see how it goes
    ... is the archimedes peak

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    *Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Yup, Cafe bound.....in...3...2...........

    I have a complete solar rig up and running. I actually have several different sized rigs. Several portable and one large semi fixed. They all have 12 volt "car type" batteries to store energy. I can run my battery chargers from the batteries. So basically, I never have to worry about charging batteries. I guess the odds of a EMP wiping out all of my solar rigs is pretty darn low.

    So what to do if a EMP does fry all my gear? I have a pretty healthy supply of batteries and lights that could run probably a year. I also have plenty of Hot Wire lights too! I also have a Salt G-MAG AA battery charger. Just add salt & water and it will charge my AA's. I got that for my camping trips where setting up a solar panel at night to charge batteries doesn't act so well. It works well and is sure to impress the chics.
    Interested in Saltytri lights. Pm me!


  4. #4

    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    A modestly sized (~10 W) solar panel, either with USB built in, or wired to a regulator that outputs 5V via a USB port or 12V via a cigarette lighter outlet, would be a convenient way to power a charger.

    Even where I am in gloomy Washington, a 10W panel should produce enough energy per day to do a full charge on an 18650 battery on all but overcast days. Even on overcast days, you'd be able to get a partial charge, and manage your energy carefully to last until sunnier days.

    So if you're mindful of how much energy your lights consume in various modes, you can get a lot of mileage out of this kind of setup. In past power outages, I've set my Fenix E01 on its tail in the room I'm in to provide enough illumination via ceiling bounce to find my way around. A good 18650 light can provide days of illumination at that level, although more realistically, you'd probably only use it for a few hours per night before going to bed, but use higher modes when you're more active.

    I haven't bothered to get such a solar panel yet. I probably will at some point.

    I also have a car jump starter pack that can be used to store excess energy if smaller batteries are topped off, in addition to the batteries in the cars themselves - it's not like they'd be used for much if the gasoline ran out.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    I will just roll with it.









    Also have this. Odds are the Eneloops (the whites in the clear plastic case) would outlast me.



    And have 4 Nightstar shake lights (shake light, a dirty word... I know). I think they're powered by a capacitor which can be charged via shaking more times that I would actually have time. They all work just fine after over 10 years of ownership but little actual use. I do crack the Nightstar CS and standard models out occasionally cuz it is a lark. I think the larger standard model was semi practical for actual use though the CS was small enough there is actually one in my INCH bag. I believe loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong running lower modes of modern LED flashlights made the entire shake light thing obsolete. That and awful low quality ones sold on Ebay.
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    The light I own the most of (don't ask...) are Fenix E01's, combined with Energizer Lithium primaries with 10 year shelf life. Search out some of the runtime and torture threads here. Eneloops with solar would last indefinitely as said above. I've gifted about a dozen E01's over the years, never had one come back broken. The only ones who care about the tint are us flashaholics, everyone else is just happy thd damn thing makes light when needed...

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    +1 on the E01. I have several E01s in my PSKs with Lithium primaries. Bomb proof combo IMHO.

    Now for the infamous shake lights. I owned a bunch but the Nightstar were the only ones worth it though also the most expensive.



    The large clear one was the last I purchased (still a good number of years ago) and has a newer (at the time) 5mm GS led. The rest have 5mm DS. I could be wrong as no expert on 5mm LEDs. The DS has a better tint but GS brighter and for these brighter really matters as they're dim. The larger ones are much easier to charge via shaking. I have another smaller newer Nightstar CS with guessing GS 5mm led (the little one with OD webbing on the left) inside an INCH bag as it's far more packable for something I may never use given how long my packed lights operate with batteries. So in total I have 4.

    Capacitor... I think...



    Rare earth magnet with copper coil.



    Magnetic switch so there is no actual access for water to get inside.



    Air vent guessing so the magnet can move without compressing the air but that's speculation. Maybe it's for something else.



    Magnets with the same polarity (to repulse the larger rare earth magnet) on both sides of the inner tube to facilitate the shaking process.



    Tonight the beam shots......
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    I do like your fire on a stick approach too, WW. No batteries to run dry, never needs charging. The IPX rating, however... .

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    A campfire lay can be set to handle really really hard rain though there are no guarantees with fire and water. LOL! I do think the Nightstar has an insanely good water rating. Something like 200 feet though I am only good up to my nose. Now the beam shots!!!!!



    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    If you use the E01, or other aaa light, you can put the inhaler cap on it to make a lantern.

  11. #11

    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Quote Originally Posted by LetThereBeLight! View Post
    So, in the event of an indefinite outage, without getting into geopolitical topics and probabilities of incidents or events, what are your plans ahead of time, if any, to provide illumination?
    No plans really. I have so many lights and batteries sitting around at 60-80% charge that I don't give it a thought.

    If things got really bad, a simple cheap 48-pack of AAs will power my 1xAA Zebralights for years.
    GOOD TINT!

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    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Interesting thread here !





    Let me add the fact Energizer Ultimate Lithium
    batteries ( size AA and AAA ) now have a
    20 Year Shelf Life rating !


    And they tolerate a wide temperature range.


    Oh, and they just dropped 25% in price !



    I have great respect for the afore-mentioned
    Fenix E01 lights !

    But sure wish Fenix also made
    an " AA cell " version, as well.


    _

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    I have a large flashlight collection with at least a 3:1 ratio of batteries to flashlights. I believe the collection would last 2-3 years without recharge capability, infinite with recharge capability. For family I have multiple solutions, but each year at least one gift per year is a new flashlight with batteries. For neighbors/acquaintances, I have close to 100 AAA lights I could gift...

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    I makes me sick the majority of people give no though to be preferred for any emergency, no flashlight, no battery`s, no stored water, no way to generate electricity once the fuel runs out, I gave all my relatives magnetic flashlights for Christmas to attach to the refrigerator in case of an emergency.

    The problem is in the UK, It is very very rare to get a power cut, and when we do it only last for an hour or two, So people see no reason to make any emergency preparedness at all.

    I have a number of solar panels but with the amount of sun we get it the UK how much use will they be.

    In the UK we only grow 40% of our food, The rest is imported, So if a significant proportion of the population survives how long before we dine on forbidden meats

    John.
    Last edited by TinderBox (UK); 07-15-2017 at 02:26 AM.
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    An EMP attack would be devastating since it would destroy almost all electronics, I would expect most of the population to perish within a few weeks from lack of clean water, want of food and medical supplies, and from violent crime. Lighting though useful might be a lower priority than food, water, and defensive equipment.
    Modern lights incorporating electronics would be vulnerable as would be modern batteries that incorporate electronic protection circuits.
    Simpler batteries would be OK. Battery chargers, INCLUDING SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLERS would be killed.

    Without going too far into unwanted p0litical talk, I think it safe to say that an EMP event would HAVE to be an attack, the only known cause is a high altitude nuclear detonation, which is hardly a natural occurrence. Remember also that whoever was behind the EMP attack might follow up with other types of attack, including invasion.
    I strongly recommend the novel " One Second After" for a fictional but IMHO fairly accurate account of an EMP attack and the consequences thereof.
    There has never been a significant EMP event, though there is some evidence of localised effects from early above ground atomic bomb tests.

    A solar flare by contrast is a natural event and could occur with no or very little warning at any time. A solar flare would cause damaging electric currents to flow in all very long electrical conductors, high voltage grid lines are the obvious weak point, but long pipelines, railroad tracks, telecommunications lines and even unusually long barbed wire fences are also at risk.
    Most electrical equipment should survive just fine including everything portable, provided that it was not connected to the grid at the time.
    Severe solar flares have occurred, but before the age of large electrical grids. Google the "Carrington event" for details.

    A hacking attack on the grid is an unknown unknown, I would expect a national blackout for a few days to a few weeks, survivable by most. A hacking attack cant affect non grid electricity in most cases.
    Last edited by broadgage; 07-15-2017 at 02:46 AM.

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    *Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    broadgage, "This post is not about Faraday Cages. Nor is it for discussing/debating the probabilities of an EMP, Flare, or Grid Hack.

    Rather, it is to answer this question, "After a prolonged/indefinite power outage (emphasis on prolonged/indefinite), with many who will need illumination of various sorts, what will you share, distribute, give out, and will you be carrying some sort of bag from which to assist or help others?"

    Just sayin.
    Interested in Saltytri lights. Pm me!


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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    I kept clear of Faraday cages and also kept clear of the likelihood of the 3 different events actually occurring.

    The results of an EMP attack would however include the likely destruction of many items that some seem to be considering as useful preps.
    It is unlikely that anything containing modern electronics would survive.

    My lighting related preps include
    Incandescent flashlights, including a few hundred spare bulbs.
    100 Energiser lithium AA cells
    100 Duracell alkaline D cells.
    some "OLD STYLE" NICADS.

    Batteries would probably be too scarce to routinely use for lighting after an EMP event.
    Lighting would be mainly candles and oil lamps, these store well and are inherently immune to EMP.

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    Flashaholic* TinderBox (UK)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Just store any electronic items in a tight fitting steel box or cabinet, would wrapping flashlight ect in aluminium foil work to protect against emp.

    John.
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    with considerable trepidation I decided to post on this topic, and hopefully my post will respect the original OP intentions of avoiding probabilities, etc. My apologies in advance if I went too far.

    In a direct answer to the OP topic, late last year I decided to focus on USB charging. I purchased a smallish solar panel (16W). Although after running some tests, the average power output of the solar panel will be dismally low because of clouds, short exposure time at sun angle for peak output, etc. Hence some intermediate storage is required for solar panels. that need is perhaps answered by the small USB/18650 cell power sources. I have an nominal assortment of flashlights, some with USB charging, and USB chargers in case of. I do not have a bug-out bag since I live outside a major metro area. I avoid chargers that rely on the 120/240 VAC grid.

    However, as an incentive for the forum readers to at least think about their response to a grid-level power failure, be it from an EMP, CME, etc., the current issue of "The Economist" (from London, July 2017), has an article entitled 'a flash in the sky'. skipping all of the 'what would happen' suggestive progression of events, I found the some specific data on the power grid to be interesting.

    - average age of high-voltage transformers on the US grid is about 40 years.
    - The US grid runs on about 2500 large transformers., but only about 500 can be built in a year.
    - currently about a year is required before an ordered grid transformer is received.
    - power grid transformers can weigh 400 tonnes.
    - there are ~9 critical substations in the US grid.


    not incidentally, I happened to be in a BX in Syracuse NY at the start of the NorthEast Blackout in 1965. I was taught some lessons.
    Last edited by moldyoldy; 07-15-2017 at 06:29 PM.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Quote Originally Posted by broadgage View Post
    I kept clear of Faraday cages and also kept clear of the likelihood of the 3 different events actually occurring.

    My lighting related preps include
    Incandescent flashlights, including a few hundred spare bulbs.
    100 Energiser lithium AA cells
    100 Duracell alkaline D cells.
    some "OLD STYLE" NICADS.
    Batteries would probably be too scarce to routinely use for lighting after an EMP event.
    Lighting would be mainly candles and oil lamps, these store well and are inherently immune to EMP.
    There ya go.
    You made me remember I have 2 small oil lamps. Around here we call them Hurricane lights. I picked them up from a yard sale years ago. Tomorrow, I am going to check to see if I still have the oil & see about getting a few spare wicks. After reading your post, I think I need to get a pack or two of candles. I honestly don't think I have any in the house. I think candles would probably be a wise addition to my EMP preparedness kit.
    Interested in Saltytri lights. Pm me!


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    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Wrap everything in Cinefoil, it is not like the foil for cooking this is very thick. I did one wrap around my cell phone, used the House landline, and my cell would not ring.
    Last edited by RedLED; 07-15-2017 at 10:47 PM.
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    I like the "UCO Mini Ultra Light Candle Lantern for Tealight Candles"
    And 2 pack of 100 candles at Ikia for $3.50 each 100.
    Sometime I just light them up at night just to look at them.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLED View Post
    Wrap everything in Cinefoil, it is not like the foil for cooking this is very thick. I did one wrap around ny cell phone, used the House landline, and my cell would not ring.
    Cool, do you still have to wrap it with a non-conductive wrapping on top or in between?

    --
    Which brings me to ponder if AA (and probably Size D) are still the most commonly available and practical option for these kind of scenarios?

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    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Quote Originally Posted by xdayv View Post
    Cool, do you still have to wrap it with a non-conductive wrapping on top or in between?

    --
    Which brings me to ponder if AA (and probably Size D) are still the most commonly available and practical option for these kind of scenarios?
    Wrap it a few times, put it in a Metal box, safe and it will I hope be fine. Again this is Cinefoil. For photographic and motion picture lighting. Call Mole Richardson in LA.

    I tested it with my cell phone, and it worked. However remember if you ever get in trouble or just want to disappear, I would just double stick tape my phone with a solar charged to a Union Pacific freight train, and let them figure that one out!

    By the time whey figure it out you, or myself will be on a beach in the Maldives Islands, Indian Ocean. Wonderful place if you have not been, a little dangerous but not that bad! Just north of Diego Garcia, US Naval Supout facility, by like several hundred miles. spent some time there on an imbed that when wrong. I left and went to the Maldives, most beautiful water in the world!

    And don't worry about the solar activity.
    Check my Web Site: www.Redwayphoto.com

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    Flashaholic* TinderBox (UK)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Yeah, I think i read a while ago we have so much metal space junk that the earth is more protected than ever from a solar flare.

    John.
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    I would avoid anything with electronics in it, including USB chargers, solar charge controllers and the like.
    It is possible to provide battery lighting without any electronics, but takes a fair bit of planning.

    A large flooded deep cycle acid battery is a good starting point, you do know how to charge it from a PV module without any electronics don't you ?
    And how to determine when the battery is fully charged, by observation, without any electronic instrument or tester?
    Old school D size nicads may be charged from this large battery, make certain that you have some of the batteries, and that you know at what current to charge them, and for how long, and means of setting the desired charging current and indicating this, again without any electronics.

    Non portable lighting may be powered direct from the large battery, stock up on suitable INCANDESCENT lamps preferably lower wattage high efficiency types.

    The D size nicads may be used in flashlights, do you have plenty of these ? And plenty of spare INCANDESCENT bulbs, dozens at least, hundreds might be prudent.

    And returning to non electric alternatives, remember that the sort of outage we are talking about might be for years. Candles are good, but just one or two a day is 10,000 candles for 20 years.
    Oil lamps are good, but don't forget spare parts, and say a hundred gallons of fuel.
    Glowsticks are arguably the safest form of lighting, get a few hundred.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Planning to get some UCO lanterns and the UCO Mini for the tea lights I have lying around. The Mini doesn't have great reviews due to the wax spilling if moved while hot but I'll be using it as a table light anyway and won't be moved around. The candles are last resort anyway. Just much safer in the lantern than a fully exposed flame.

    Scanning yard sales for out of season candles are a cheap way to acquire some.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    For a "prolonged" outage of several weeks or even months, solar power is the best way to go IMO. I'm using Goal Zero products for easy examples, there are competing products, & possibly better solar options available.

    For personal portability (no vehicle available), something like the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 with two to four Nomad 28 Plus portable panels, or one Nomad 100 panel, depending on your power needs & weight restrictions, could be ideal. With 4 Nomad 28 Plus panels chained together for charging, the Sherpa 100 can be charged with as little as 3 hours of good sunlight (mid day with no clouds). Fully charged, the Sherpa 100 can theoretically charge seven to ten 3400mAh 18650's drained to around 3.2V, & weighs less than 2 pounds, while the Nomad 28+ panels weight about 3 pounds each.

    For vehicular portability, something like the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium only weighs 17 pounds & provides up to 428 watt hours of power, & can be charged in as little as 8 hours through four chained Nomad 28 Plus panels, or one Nomad 100 / Boulder 100 panel. Doesn't add a lot of weight that can reduce MPG/KPL, & can easily charge batteries, tablets, & laptops multiple times from a single charge.

    For in-home power, theGoal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium weighs in at just under 46 pounds & provides up to 1425 watt hours of power. which can run a decent sized refrigerator for up to 24 hours. It can be charged in as little as 6 hours through 6 chained Boulder 100 panels.

    Personally for in-home full-time power, I would like to have 4 of these, one for the refrigerator, one for cooking on the hot plate, one for whole house lighting, fans, entertainment (computer, TV, music), & battery charging, and one to run the water pump. I would still need electric service for the water heater & A/C, but unfortunately, even one Yeti 1400 is NOT justifiable with my current income, even for use during power outages. Especially since I have a 5550 running Watt (8000 Watt surge) gas powered generator for power outages & extended outages beyond 3 days is EXTREMELY unlikely.

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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Those talking about vehicular portability presumably have available a vintage vehicle, manufactured before about 1975 ? Nothing manufactured after about 1980 will run after an EMP, and the more modern vehicles from earlier years wont run either.
    A horse would be a better bet.
    Lithium batteries can only be safely charged with a fairly sophisticated charger, that contains electronics and will almost certainly be killed by the EMP.
    Laptop or tablet PCs are unlikely to ever work again after an EMP.

  30. #30
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: After the EMP/Solar Flare/Grid Hack

    Quote Originally Posted by broadgage View Post
    Those talking about vehicular portability presumably have available a vintage vehicle, manufactured before about 1975 ? Nothing manufactured after about 1980 will run after an EMP, and the more modern vehicles from earlier years wont run either.
    I wouldn't worry about modern vehicles weathering EMPs - ECUs and their associated sensors and accessories are already hardened since engine electrical systems are quite harsh. Fuel availability is going to be a far far bigger problem since pumps will be offline and the fuel supply itself will rapidly vanish in today's world of JIT logistics.

    Quote Originally Posted by broadgage View Post
    A horse would be a better bet.
    So long as there's forage to be had, this is true. I'd rather use a bicycle, however - less maintenance than a horse and easier to keep under a wider variety of circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by broadgage View Post
    Lithium batteries can only be safely charged with a fairly sophisticated charger, that contains electronics and will almost certainly be killed by the EMP.
    Laptop or tablet PCs are unlikely to ever work again after an EMP.
    It's doubtful that standalone devices will be effected by an EMP since they lack the long antenna of the electrical grid to channel induced current into them. Place backup electronics in a Faraday cage wrapped in alternating layers of conductor and insulator if you wish - the sudden lack of industrial civilization is going to be a far larger and far more pressing problem.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

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