Introduction: Protecting Your Electronics From EMP and Solar Storms
Few people really think about it, but we live in a world that is so completely immersed in advanced technology that we depend upon it for our very survival. Many of the things we do for our everyday activities from flipping a switch to make the lights come on, buying food at a nearby supermarket, to doing our banking are dependent on our modern devices. And these devices are at risk on mass from an unseen enemy, EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse).
Weather from the detonations of a thermal nuclear device, lightening, a coronal mass ejection, or some other severe solar storm, we need to protect our electronics from EMP, and we need to be able to do it on short notice.
There's no need to panic; but we do need to be aware, many of the systems we depend upon in the modern world rely on telecommunications, GPS, satellites, and power grids, that could be disrupted for an extended period of time if a solar storm as large as the one that hit Earth in 1859 were to happen today, and we'd probably have less than a day to prepare for it.
Electromagnetic shielding is the practice of reducing the electromagnetic field in a space by blocking the field with barriers made of conductive or magnetic materials. Shielding is typically applied to enclosures to isolate electrical devices from the outside world, in an insulated grounded box.
This Instructable is on how to make a quick down and dirty EMP shielding for your most important electronics.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
Typical materials used for electromagnetic shielding include sheet metal, metal screen, and metal foam. Any holes in the shield or mesh must be significantly smaller than the wavelength of the radiation that is being kept out, or the enclosure will not effectively approximate an unbroken conducting surface.
Solder & Soldering Iron
Male Banana Jack
I have EMP and static shielding bags, foam, and bubble wrap, which can give added protection from EMP and static electricity, but you only need insulation on the inside of a metal box to protect your electronics when the box is energized from EMP or getting bumped around.
If you want to know more about Faraday cages or Electromagnetic shielding these are a couple web sites that might interest you.
Step 2: A Quick EMP Shield
A quick EMP shield; can be made in just a few minutes, with no more than a tin container, a grounding wire, and some bubble wrap.
Cut a piece of bubble wrap large enough to line the bottom and sides of the tin container.
Sand the edges of the tin container and the lid.
Place the bubble wrap in the tin container and place the electronics in the bubble wrap making sure you cover the electronics completely with bubble wrap.
Take a piece of wire about two feet long and strip about an inch of the insulation off both ends.
Fold one striped end of the wire over the lip of the tin container and press the lid on tightly making sure the wire makes contact with the sanded edges of the tin container.
Connect the other end of the wire to ground and you have an EMP shield for your electronics.
The ground can be a steel bar in the ground, a grounded electrical box, or your household pluming.
Step 3: A Well Grounded Box
If you are like me; you like to be prepared beforehand, and it doesn’t take long to make a well grounded box for quick use as an EMP shield.
Start with a box large enough to hold the electronics you want to protect and sand a spot on the lid and the body of the box to make soldered joints.
Thake four inches of wire and strip the ends of the wire of insulation; just enough to solder the wire from the lid of the container to the body. Take a foot or so of wire and strip the ends of insulation, just enough to solder the wire to the body of the container and a male banana jack.
Solder the wires to the container and the male banana jack.
Next line the container with static shield foam and your EMP shield container is ready to store your electronics.
Step 4: Static Shielding Bags Foam and Bubble Wrap
Every time I get electronics shipped to me the electronics arrive in EMP and static shielding bags, foam, and bubble wrap. I don’t discard the EMP and static shielding with the rest of the packaging, I save the EMP and static shielding for other uses.
EMP and static shielding bags do offer some protection from EMP and static charges; they are designed to shield against low level static from people handling the electronics, and to dissipate low level EMP around the outer layer until it is rendered harmless.
EMP and static shielding bags are easy to use; just select a bag large enough to hold the electronic device you want to protect with a little extra to fold the opening over to close the bag. Then bag your electronics.
Step 5: Sure Shielding
Although EMP and static shielding bags offer some protection from EMP others and I find ourselves wondering just how much protection they do offer, so I like to store them in a grounded shielding.
I place the bags in a grounded box covered with static shielding foam and plug the banana jack in a ground of an outlet. Since the box is grounded I don’t need to worry the EMP quality of the static shielding bags.
Step 6: No Time or Materials
In a pinch if you have no other choice, time, or materials, to make a good EMP shield you are not completely defenseless. You can use a well-grounded household appliance like a freezer or a refrigerator, even a washing machine or a dryer can be used as EMP shielding.
Better than nothing an appliance can block EMP; just be sure it doesn’t have a large window the EMP can breach.