CMEs, EMP and your BOV

Upheavals to life as we know it lurk at every angle. Financial collapse, nuclear attack, pandemics (peretrated or natural), mass crop failures, etc.  In my book, the 2nd most devastating occurrence (besides a nuclear holocaust) would be an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) which would fry all of the electronic circuitry that it comes in contact with.  The hit area would be instantly paralyzed electronically – no phones, no lights, no computers, no vehicles*, no trucks to ship food to grocery stores, no security systems, etc.  For an easy-to-read explanation of the social and economic impacts of high-tech societies when hit with a “super solar flare” [which shoots out a CME (coronal mass ejection)] followed by an extreme geomagnetic storm, click on this NASA article: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/21jan_severespaceweather/

While I personally think that a naturally-occurring EMP (from the sun) is more likely, there is another source of an EMP – the detonation of a nuclear bomb at a high-altitude.  I would be without warning.  There are warnings, though, of solar EMPs.   NASA and I’m sure other agencies and individuals around the globe are watching our stormy star to study solar flares and their effects.   Even main stream media outlets are giving some face time to this threat: http://video.foxnews.com/v/1187493136001/how-dangerous-are-solar-flares/?playlist_id=87485  and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1313858/Solar-flare-paralyse-Earth-2013.html

To get an idea of what life might look like after an EMP, read the novel One Second After by William R. Forstchen.  If you live in the city, here’s where y’all need to start paying close attention.  After an EMP, the city will disintegrate quickly into a living hell.  The masses will be cut off from food, clean water, and the police.  After the initial confusion passes, roving gangs will use their power to kill, steal and destroy.

You must get out of the city immediately.  Unfortunately, if you are like the vast majority of your fellow city dwellers, your car or truck won’t start or run.  Your electronic ignition and fuel pumps will be toast.

*However, you can buy EMP insurance before the event occurs.  You can buy a genuine bug out vehicle (BOV) that is immune to the power of an EMP – a vehicle with a mechanical ignition and fuel pumps. 

If you like gasoline engines then you need to find a vehicle with a points ignition.  It will most likely be a 1975 or early vehicle.  But be careful to first ask if the points ignition was upgraded to an electronic ignition.  Even if the seller says that it does still have a points ignition, ask them to allow you to pay for a mechanic to inspect it (find one beforehand who is familiar with points ignitions – ask if they could tune one up).  This is to make sure that the points are actually still being used.  Some sellers have no idea what you are talking about and will be curious about why you are so interested in the ignition system.  I just them that it is a project of mine.  I thought that I’d be nice and explain about solar flares and EMPs but most people don’t have the mindset to look out for black swan events.  One guy asked if I was also looking out for aliens.  I gave him a dirty look then explained about the Carrington event of 1859 (http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/06may_carringtonflare/).  He was still an @&& hole and I didn’t buy his vehicle.

I ended up going with an older diesel truck with a huge cab and dually wheels that will be able to plow through stalled cars.  If you like diesel engines then you will need to find a vehicle made before 1986.  See if the owner knows if the fuel pumps are mechanical, not electronic.  Again, I recommend finding a diesel mechanic to check it out before you buy it.  Try a dealership of the car/truck manufacturer. 

Finding your EMP-proof BOV will likely take a while so get used to dialing the phone to call sellers.

If an EMP were to occur due to a CME, then the good news is that the solar flare watchers and satellites will receive advanced warning.  There is no warning for a nuclear EMP.  Since the sun is 93 million miles away, we will have between a few hours and a few days before the billion-ton cloud of electrified gas reaches earth (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stereo/news/stereo_astronauts.html).  If you are looking for word that an X-class solar flare has occurred, then you have a little bit of time to still use your late model vehicle to get home from work, pack your BOB and other gear and get as far away from the city as possible – hopefully to your pre-arranged bug out location or retreat (BOL).  I have my doubts that the government or the main stream media would put out an urgent warning to the public that a massive CME is headed toward earth but spaceweather.com has a subscription available in which it will text subscribers if anything “interesting” is happening in the skies.

Unfortunately, if a nuclear bomb explodes over the US and induces an EMP, there will be no advance notice.  So, if your primary vehicle is not EMP-proof, then you better start mentally and physically preparing to hoof it home from work to get to your BOV.  Be sure to keep a bug out bag, running shoes, seasonal sturdy clothing and a detailed map of your city with various routes mapped out to get home.  Don’t forget to get your concealed carry permit and start carrying to and from work.

For those of you who want more easy-to-understand articles and sources about CMEs, EMP and your BOV, see below.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/06may_carringtonflare/

http://www.universetoday.com/83392/sun-erupts-with-enormous-x2-solar-flare/

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/10jun_newstorm/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_flares

http://www.space.com/13095-solar-storms-satellites-risk-geomagnetic-superstorms.html

Here is a discussion on survivalist boards dot com, regarding EMP proof BOVs: http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=3464

My handle on survivalistboards.com is (surprise) crunchyconmama.

Keep your eyes to the skies, be mentally and physically prepared, and God speed.

I’d love to hear your comments.  Connect with me at crunchyconmama@gmail.com.

21 comments to CMEs, EMP and your BOV

  • Country Codger

    Very good article Crunchy. The one thing everyone forgets is that EMP technology was invented in WWII by a very brillant researcher. He used CONVENTIONAL explovies for his EMP blast behind a stainless steel cone. It was extremely successful and could wipe out a quarter of New York electrical grid and vehicles for about $1,000.00. The catch for its use in WWII was that there just were not enough things that were electronic for it to do significant damage. Keep up the great work.

  • Ben

    (I am sure I will get savaged for these comments but I will put it out there at any rate. It is not meant to bash the posters comments or articles about an EMP.)

    I am just positing a question.

    I am not so sure about the weaponized threat of an EMP. And this is not my normalcy bias tweeting or working. I am WELL AWARE of the effects of an EMP strike if it were to theoretically happen in the U.S. I have read 2005 report from congress and I am well aware of the statistics at EMPact America. Oh, and I have also read One Second After :)

    So why do I write this?

    Have you ever seen an EMP’s effects? Have you ever seen an EMP test? Let’s say the U.S. Military created some small town to scale in Nevada out in the desert. It’s complete with all of the modern day conveniences and they test an EMP out on that little “built” town and it devastates the whole area. Everything is fried. All of the solid state stuff is rendered useless in minutes. Pumps shut down, electricity is gone, cars won’t run and on and on….

    Just one thing…

    Have you seen it? Have you seen such a test by the U.S. Military? The Soviets? Iran? India? The Chi-Coms? Best-Buy? Wal-Mart? Whoops. Because I haven’t. Do I doubt that we have the capability? Not really, I just have yet to see them use it. Haven’t we used just about every weapon in our arsenal on the field of battle? If we have this technology or some other military entity has this technology, why don’t they use it? Now. Today?

    We all know what a nuclear bomb can do. We have all seen it’s devastation, and frankly, that scares the bejeebers out of me. I have seen what Patriot missiles can do, what Nike missiles can do, what sidewinder missiles can do, STA missiles can do etc.

    Why have I never seen the effects of an EMP detonation? Where is it? Again, why hasn’t it been used on the field of battle. It would be a devastating weapon.

    Is the technology really there? Could it really be as powerful as they say it is?
    We already suffer from EMP attacks…they are called lightning. A lightning strike generates an EMP very similar to a nuclear generated one, only localized. How come those don’t devastate us or a wider portion of the surrounding area during/after a strike?

    One of the things to remember with radiation or EMP’s, is that they fall off as a function of the inverse square of the distance. So, at 2 ft you get 1/4 of what is at the source. At 10 ft you get 1/100th of what is at the source. Have military/contractor scientists figured this ratio out yet and how they can improve it?

    So are they really as powerful as they say? Who is telling us this?

    Something else to look for when you see a news report about this: Do they give you any real facts, or just tell you the dire consequences? Are there any actual numbers of how much energy is set off by a bomb high above the earth, and are there actual numbers of what that translates to (inverse square of distance) when the pulse hits the ground? Is there data about how much of a pulse it takes to do damage to various devices? Do they mention the difference in damage depending on whether something is turned on or not? If there aren’t any numbers, it would seem that this is just politics and fear-mongering.

    Because we all know the “elite” would NEVER use fear against the people.

  • Country Codger

    Hi Ben,

    As a former contractor to the Department of Energy I can tell you, yes, it has been calculated based on actual tests. These test took place at the Nevada test range under the direction of a company by the name of EG&G. I have a retirement from EG&G and most of my experience is non-nuclear.

    But since weapon configuartions vary from nation to nation and generation to generation (in the generation of weapons) the actual figures may vary greatly. This variance also has to take into consideration atmospheric conditions, time of day and hundreds of other variables but the expected yield can be guesstimated. I really don’t worry about EMP’s that much because I am still alive after an EMP. I worry about neutron weapons or just an all out nuclear conflagration.

    If you will look at Popular Science, I think around September of 2000 (Man don’t quote me), you will find a very simple recipe for a non-nuclear EMP weapon. Now, we have EMP Burst technology that replicates a burst and can wipe out a city block under ideal conditions (low temperature, low humidity.). However this is a two dimensional weapon and does not (yet) have the capability to go beyond its Lethal Cone of Effect which is shaped like < symbol.

    EMP's were of such a serious consideration in the late 70's and early 80's as solid state became more common in aircraft that most combat a/c were insulated against EMP's. This technology is welll known and in use in several countries. The problem being, the more well known it is the easier it is to defeat.

    It will be apparent to the governments involved before an EMP weapon has been used. The aggressor nation will shut down all communications with the target country to try and mitigate the damage done to their own electronic infrastructure.

    This covers man made EMP's. Solar EMP's are well know and documented daily. There are a number of sites that post their findings. Piers Corbyn at weatheraction.com makes a living by interpreting the potential damage done by the blast on the Earth's weather. Go back to the NASA website and download the report Severe Weather Space Events. In fact Crunchy may have it in her list. Recorded events are used in comparison. In fact an EMP made the news last week when China's communications were disrupted and some geostationary satellites were damaged.

    It is real and it is documented. Have a good one.

  • Crunchyconmama

    Good questions, Ben.

    CC, thanks so much for all of that great info and opinion.

    I personally am not so much worried about a nuclear EMP. I personally think that earth WILL get hit by an EMP from a X-class solar flare, just not sure of the exact date 😉 But I take my own advice and I am mentally and physically prepared as I can be for the devastating effects of a massive EMP.

  • Joe (Well-Armed Lamb)

    Excellent info, Crunchyconmama. As someone who has a deep interest in EMP and EMP weapons, your article is top-notch and everything in it is spot-on.

    I would just like to add two things I’ve learned. First, galvenized metal trash cans work as an EMP protective chanmber. So does wrapping your laptop in multiple sheets of foil. (The tinfoil hat people WERE RIGHT!!!!)

    We may get hit with a natural EMP, or a “terrorist” EMP, both are quite possible. Like I tell people, it doesn’t really matter WHO caused the SHTF, once it happens, all that matters is surviving it!

    Good article.

  • Joe (Well-Armed Lamb)

    Just to add another quick comment, these are the types of articles I will miss.

    Chris, you’re smart, but you are no where near as smart as ALL OF US (including you) TOGETHER!

    What can we do to create some sort of “graduates of DTOM/SOL Academy” as Crunchyconmama has suggested? Please consider this. As someone else mentioned, perhaps one of the members who’s been writing here a long time could take it over? CC or Mustafa or Crunchyconmama? I’d be willing to help in anyway I can, including paying a small monthly fee.

    Please understand, no one wants you to work for free! I have learned a lot form the various people here, including yourself, but more to the point, a lot from divergent viewpoints.

    Please, let us keep some sort of forum going?

  • Cunning Linguist

    All the information I’ve seen regarding EMP’s talks about it’s effects on SOLID STATE electronics. What are the effects on non-solid state electrical devices? I have a extensive background in auto mechanics and my father has owned an electric motor shop since 1960 (generators). So I have a few unanswered questions that come to mind.

    My questions are concerning electric motors and other non solid state devices. Will all electric motors and generators be fried too? What about the “condensor” (capacitor) on your points equipped auto? Fuses,batteries,etc. are they susceptible to EMP?

    Your 1970’s (and earlier) vehicles still have an ignition coil to fire the spark plugs with. Which would be another factor in favor of using a diesel powered auto/truck.

    If it doesn’t affect these items, then all this talk about semis being used for delivery no longer running and everyone starving are just a bunch of hooey.

    CL

  • Country Codger

    Hi CL,

    I hate to be a buttinski but “MOST” non-solid state items will be okay. Most nuclear test delivery systems (a fancy word for planes, trains and automobiles) were non solid state for years. Once shielding (insulation) started being employed in the test structure less problems were encountered. We ran a fleet of Marmon diesel 18 wheelers to carry the nuclear device to the test center (a fancy word for a huge hole in the ground.) These trucks, besides being heavily armed, had a myriad of electronic devices which were shielded. Obviously, a bunch of aluminum wasn’t shielding it from the blast but from the PULSE.

    My big concern for EMP’s is not from a nuclear weapon but from an outrageously huge solar flare. The damage done by these bad babies are a matter of record and historical fact. The problem is that because of the energy involved (about 100,000 to 100,000,000 or more times the energy of Hiroshima) these bad babies can cause arcing in unprotected electric motor, coils and generators, i.e. non solid state.

    Here is a little known fact. A large spool of insulated wire on a wooden or plactic spool can store this energy and discharge it when grounded. So, you can touch a spool of wire, not connected to anything and be shocked, even killed by the discharge. It is this discharge phenomenon that makes pulse weapons and naturally occurring EMP’s so dangerous. If you receive a large magnitude EMP, theoretically, everyone connected to you could also receive your pulse. That is why I stated that an aggressor nation must first suspend all communications with the target country before using a pulse weapon of any kind.

    It is kind of like radiation or carbon moxide. You can’t see it, you can’t taste it, you can’t smell it but it will kill you nonetheless.

    Hope this helps.

    CC

  • Cunning Linguist

    The spool of wire you speak of is acting as a capacitor by storing that energy. That’s what I wasn’t sure of, if the EMP would actually charge wire devices that way or not. (It’s called induction), it’s actually the basic principle by which AC motors operate in the first place. Hence the name “Induction Motor”.

    Thanks for the info.

  • Country Codger

    Hi CL,

    You are exactly right. So do you see where the problem lies? Everytime, somewhere in the electrical grid you try and restart a downed generator, it will re-dissipate the stored charge back into the system causing the system to collapse once again. And then again and again and again. Eventually,because the law of diminishing returns (yes, it works in electrical theory just like economics), the dissipation will subside to a safe level and the system will restart. But, in the meantime, will it destroy the system trying. NOBODY knows for sure. There are tons of theories, but like the theory of the cobalt shielded bomb, if you set it off (C-S-B/The Doomsday Device) to see if it works, you could destroy all life on Earth for 50,000 years. See the conundrum?

    CC

  • crunchyconmama

    CL — only older diesel semi’s would work. Diesel engines starting around 1987 started to have electronic fuel pumps and would be fried.

    WOW — thanks for all of the additional discussion, friends.

    I have been complimented several times in my life that I ask good questions. So, I want to give y’all that compliment too for asking GOOD questions.

  • Cunning Linguist

    What about the starter motor? Kinda difficult to hand crank a high compression diesel motor.

  • Cunning Linguist

    @ Country Codger
    You seem to have the most knowledge regarding EMP’s here on DTOM. I had another question for you concerning it’s effects on “Magnetic Media” (video/audio tapes + CD/DVD’s). Now I’m assuming that the internet will no longer be functionable when the SHTF, I’ve been storing my useful information on CD’s and DVD’s so I can reference them on my laptop at a later date (protected by a homebuilt “Faraday Cage” and operating from storage batteries). Do the discs themselves need to be protected as well (hide them in the microwave)lol , or are they safe from EMP events?

  • Crunchyconmama

    CL — the compression system to start the older diesel engines are not run by electronic circuitry so it shouldn’t be a problem (according to a friend who is an EMP effects expert — he is invested in older diesel for a post-EMP world). I’d love to hear CC’s thoughts though :)

    Great questions, CL. I’ll send CC an email to alert him to your questions here.

  • Country Codger

    @CL

    Here my thought on the subject. Take all the precautions you can. THe Faraday shielding, to the best of my limited knowledge is the best protection. I have built a box within a box and also wrapped some items indiviually with aluminum foil as a backup. The boxes are made out of reflective R-board and each level is separated from the other with styrofoam R-board without the aluminum backing and then I grounded each layer with an insulated No.#8 THHN (probably overkill). The ground wires go directly to a 8’L x 1/2″ dia. ground rod driven 7 1/2′ into the ground. This is the best i know how to do.

    Now as far as diesel engines go. I know all of you know that an older diesel only needs electricity to start. After that you can roll on down the road. You should have spare elctrical parts, as well as filters, oil, belts, tires, water pumps and gaskets in addition to having a couples of packs of gasket mterial, altho I use extra leather on some occasions and it works well. I find lots of all reuseable lether at garage sales, Slavation Army, Goodwill stores in the forms of old coats, jackets, pants and even sofas and chairs. Leather will be indissensible in an emergency situation. It doesn’t cost much to build a Faraday shield to protect your electronic parts, batteries and the like. The problem with batteries is that they are a storage device and can store electricity to the point that their cells can lose their integrity. Explode, probably not but it could shorten the life of the battery an it could also store the deadly pulse that would short out your electrical system. Is it likely? I don’t know.

    I have already insulated my Trojan batteries for my solar panels and I have a surge protector between the panels and the batteries and between the batteries and the inverter and the inverter and the house. This is all I know to do. Have i missed something? Probably. Oh, make sureyour ground to your house is in good order and of adequate size. Wire running through the walls and rafters and making loops in the wall and ceiling WILL definitely store electrical charges. I was wiring a house years ago. The house had no service panel so I had not set the ground rod. During the night an elctrical storm came through. The next morning, when I went to add receptacles and switches I was shocked, literally, when I touch the first wire. I thought someone had played a joke on me until I remembered the electrical storm and then I realized it was my fault. I should have grounded the wires before I got started.

    Hope this helps a little.

    CC

    p.s. Park your standard transmisson diesel truck on a hill and if you lose your starter due to a pulse you can let it roll down hill and pop the clutch. I do that with my tractor all the time since I don’t even have a battery on it.

  • Cunning Linguist

    Thanks to Cruncyconmama and Country Codger for all the input.

    Here’s what I have been able to learn about EMP shielding.

    1. For a Faraday Cage I use a box from a ream of paper. Once it’s covered in heavy gauge aluminum foil (resists tearing better than the cheap stuff). It works very well for this purpose as it has an overlapping lid (seals out rf better) and is easily removable.For an extreme EMP event a “nested” Faraday Cage is best. (Foil box inside a larger foil box.)Use a layer of plastic between each box as an insulator. Insulate your gear inside with a plastic bag (or similar)inside a still smaller box not covered in foil.

    2. It needs to be grounded very well. To be effective your ground rod needs to reach the water table during the driest season you experience. Could be a problem if you live out west or at elevation.
    DO NOT USE YOUR HOUSEHOLD ELECTRICAL SERVICE GROUND ROD!!!
    MUST BE A SEPARATE ROD, SEPARATED BY AT LEAST 8′ FROM THE OTHER ONE.

    3. In the event of a CME, we will likely have advance notice of such an event (unless the powers that be don’t want us to know).In the event of a non extraterrestrial attack you may not have any time to prepare. Having one of those foil “Space Blankets” to throw over your gear may be all you have time for. From what I have been able to learn, it’s better than nothing.

    In any event you can operate your computer from the cage, but you must protect all I/O entry points.
    Best power source is one that is isolated from the grid, use a single phase or three phase motor (connected to the grid) to belt drive your AC generator (isolated from the grid). Ideally this unit should be plugged into your UPS device. This will absorb SOME, BUT NOT ALL of the surge through the incoming power. Might save your drive motor. If you know of the EMP in advance, best bet is to put all cords inside your cage and wait until it passes.

    4. Use fiberoptic cable for your internet connections, IE. DSL phone lines. Fiberoptic does NOT conduct RF like a copper conductor will.

    5.Install ferrite beads on power cords, mouse and keyboard lines. Better still use a laser (cordless) mouse and keyboard. No physical connection = no rf feedback.

    6. Although small batteries were not damaged during the 1962 high-altitude nuclear tests, it would be wise to wrap each sealed package of batteries in a layer of aluminum foil. Future EMPs may be much larger than the 1962 events. Also, battery technology is evolving and the sensitivity of newer types of batteries is unknown at this time.

    7. I’ve only barely scratched the surface here regarding EMP’s, there is plenty of good information online for anyone interested in further research. But this should be enough to pique your interest/get you started.

    CL

  • Country Codger

    CL

    I agree. The magnitude of the CME’s that are being seriously discussed by layman and scientist alike haven’t happened in more than 150 years. WIth our main building block of our society being electricity and electronics we are in a “Wild Frontier” so to speak. I don’t think you are overdoing anythng.

    On grounding, you are absolutely right. It was my fault for not making that clear, your ground for your Faraday box should be a separate ground road. Now, it sounds silly I know, but water is about 150′ from the surface in NM. You can pour water around the ground rod on a regular basis or you can pee on it on a regular basis. The salt (and other minerals) from the urine also improves the conductivity of the ground. Some people are more modest and probably prefer just pouring water on the rod. Either way it eliminates having to go very deep.

    Now here is another technique. You can ask for a grounding mat (at an electrical supply house) and use that in place of a ground rod (4′ x 4′ is small but adequate for most houses). The mat is more expensive but improves your grounding efficiency considerably. **WORD OF CAUTION** Grounding mats are not buried very deeply in the soil so you will want to exclude heavy vehicles from that area as well as farming equipment, tillers, shovels, post hold diggers, etc.

    And before everyone writes back and tells me that the salt in the urine will disintegrate the ground rod over X period of years. I know it will but we will only need the protection for CME pulse through 2013. After late summer or early fall of 2013 there is not going to be a need for CME protection for the forseable future. How long is that? At least 11 years and maybe another 150.

    What about pulse weapons? Who knows? But we can’t live in fear so do the best you can and go on about the rest of your life. But have a three pronged back up plan. If you plan on buying a new computer soon, insulate your old one and put it in the basement or some other out of the way place. Having a slow computer is better than no computer. I am living proof of that. In fact I may upgrade to one of those new Bedrock 2000’s. They say they use half the number of vacuum tubes as the old ones. Not sure if that is good or not since I use my computer cabinet to boil water for coffee every morning. And besides, then i would have to have some kind of heater in the house come winter. Maybe I’ll just keep my old 1000 model a little longer.

    Did I ever tell you about the time me, Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble were in 7th grade together and …..

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