Will An EMP Destroy Electronics That Are Off? (Answered)

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Will An EMP Destroy Electronics That Are Off?

Will An EMP Destroy Electronics That Are Off? Yes, it is very likely that an EMP event will even damage electronics that are turned off. An EMP creates a magnetic field that will affect anything that has circuits, wiring, and conductors. There is a minute chance that small electronics such as watches would not be affected by an EMP event but there is no guarantee. It is better to prepare and put a plan in effect to protect your devices using a Faraday cage if at all possible.

A pulse of electromagnetic energy is not radioactive; it is generated by nuclear explosions or electromagnetic bombs. Electronics may be permanently or temporarily damaged by an electrostatic pulse even if they are turned off.

Here, we will learn about EMPs, their effects on electronics, some protections against EMPs, and some frequently asked questions. Let’s get started.

will an emp destroy electronics that are off

What Is An EMP?

In addition to being known as a transient electromagnetic disturbance, an electromagnetic pulse emits a brief burst of electromagnetic energy. A natural or artificial EMP can originate from an electromagnetic field, electrical field, magnetic field, or conducted electric current depending on its source.

An electrostatic pulse is generated when air molecules are ionized by gamma rays released from a nuclear explosion. In this process, the gamma rays interact with the air molecules causing positive ions to be produced and electrons to recoil.

The electromagnetic pulse, which affects a strong electromagnetic field, especially within the vicinity of a weapon’s burst, is the result of this pulse of energy. Non-nuclear sources of electromagnetic pulses, such as electromagnetic bombs, can also produce EMP.

Natural occurring things like thunderstorms and solar flares can also cause EMP events to happen.

How Long Does an Emp Last?

Well, that depends on a number of factors, including the size of the emp and the intensity of the EMP pulse. Generally speaking, however, an emp will last for several seconds to several minutes. This may not seem like very long, but it can be enough to disrupt electrical equipment and cause widespread blackouts.

The after effects of the EMP could last for just minutes, months, or even years until the infrastructure has been rebuilt and put back into place.

Can Electronics Be Shielded From EMP?

You can protect your devices against electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) by installing a basic conductive shield, known as a Faraday cage, which blocks most waves of energy.

Faraday cage, bag, or box, is named after its inventor, Michael Faraday, a scientist of the 1800s who contributed to dispersing electromagnetic radiation from the enclosure to the outside, thus preventing charges from collecting within.

By redirecting the ground’s power through it, it actually functions as an EMP shield. As a result, damaging electrical currents will not enter the cage.

will an emp destroy electronics that are off

How Does EMP Fry Electronics?

EMPs are electromagnetic pulses, which are high-energy, short-lived pulses of electromagnetic radiation. The mathematical details of a short pulse can be found in the Fourier analysis of an impulse signal. Basically, it is like having a powerful radio transmitter that broadcasts simultaneously on many frequencies.

In metal enclosures for electronic devices, all electrical conductors function as antennas, and the EMP’s broad spectrum of resonant frequencies can be found in a wide range of wire lengths and discontinuities.

Signals of this strength generate voltage and currents that are strong enough to break the normal operating range of electronic components. This is what damages the electronics.

What Material Is EMP Proof?

The material is known as magnetite. This material is capable of absorbing microwave energy because of its magnetic properties. EMP shielding can be made from a number of materials, but mostly used: Foil made of aluminum.

Will Aluminum Foil Protect Electronics From EMP?

In a word, the answer is yes. The use of aluminum foil for EMP shielding is extremely effective. Aluminum foil, a heavy-duty material, can block nine million watts of radiofrequency energy from reaching electronics.

A Faraday cage is formed by dispersing electrostatic charges and electromagnetic radiation around its perimeter because aluminum foil is a conductive material.

A Faraday cage can be made of aluminum foil as long as it does not have holes in it and you put a space or another layer in between the tin foil and the electronics. The tinfoil in combination with the extra layer will help ensure that the object has the maximum protection.

Also, if used as a pouch, liner, or outer skin of a container, aluminum foil can create a Faraday cage effect.

Will Tinfoil Protect Electronics from Emp?

Tinfoil is an effective method for shielding electronics. You can create a homemade Faraday cage by covering your electronics or appliances completely with tinfoil (more on Faraday cages later).

Using three layers of tinfoil, cover the device with cloth, paper, or any other non-conductive insulation. Do not leave any gaps between the layers.

Does Concrete Protect From EMP?

Although normal concrete cannot protect from EMP completely, it can at least protect a bit. EMP protection can be provided by specially designed concrete. For example, Christopher Tuan and Lim Nguyen, two engineers from Nebraska, have developed inexpensive concrete that blocks intense pulses of electromagnetic energy. This shielding concrete coating protects electronic equipment from EMP in structures built or coated with it.

Does a Faraday Cage Block Emp?

A Faraday cage, also called a Faraday shield, is an enclosure used to block electromagnetic fields. A Faraday shield may be formed by a continuous covering of conductive material or in the case of a Faraday cage, by a mesh of such materials.

Do They Sell Faraday Cages or Boxes?

Yes, you can buy Faraday boxes, bags, and even pouches that are designed to protect your electronics in your home to prevent damage from an EMP event. These boxes are meant to hold items such as personal electronics such as phones, keys, and other small items.

In addition to the boxes, there are also bags and pouches that you can get for other items that won’t fit in the boxes. They make these bags for items like computer towers, generators, and even make a bag that you can use in a bug out situation.

Here are our favorite options for Faraday gear:

Mission Darkness Revelation EMP Shield for Generators

This bag is made specifically for protecting large items like generators in the event of an EMP by placing your generator completely inside of this bag and closing it up.

A generator is definitely an item that you need to protect in the event of an EMP as the power grid will most likely be down for a period of time.

This bag features 3 layers of protective liner and it is military grade. It also has a reinforced bottom to support the weight of the generator or other gear you are protecting.

What we like:

  • The size of the bag will protect large items
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Extra layers of protection

What we don’t like:

  • The price

OffGrid by EDEC Faraday Duffel Bag

This duffel bag is made specifically for protecting items either in your home or on the go when you are bugging out to a safe location. You can put several small pieces of gear or personal electronics in it and carry them with you.

You can also use this bag to protect items and then place this bag into another Faraday bag for added protection. This bag provides radio frequency shielding and is made out of ballistic fabric made in the USA.

What we like:

  • The size of the bag is great for on the go
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Durability
  • Made in the USA

What we don’t like:

  • Only has one compartment

Can a Metal Garbage Can Be Used as A Faraday Cage?

Steel garbage cans with lids can also be used. An EMP won’t affect your electronics when the can is lined with cloth or cardboard. Make sure the lid is secured with duct tape so it can’t easily be knocked off. Likewise, houses with metal roofs or solar panels should be able to protect against an EMP, but they should be well-grounded.

Will a Metal Roof Protect Against Emp?

The way a metal barrier or cage works is that it can block EMPs but there needs to be a protective layer in between the metal and your electronics. In some cases, a layer of cardboard will work.

However, any break or crack in the metal protective layer will seriously jeopardize the protection that it offers from the EMP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Lastly, let’s look at some FAQs about EMP and its effects on electronics:

Will Phones Work After EMP?

If a solar flare or an EMP event occurs with sufficient power, it could damage or totally take out any electronics that are plugged in such as communication devices, Keeping two-way radios in EMP bags will serve as your backup communication system after the situation.

Will Batteries Survive An EMP?

The vast majority of batteries are capable of withstanding pretty much any size of an EMP attack or event. This is true of most battery types that are available in the market today including lithium-ion. The problem is likely to affect only complex batteries with other built-in electronics such as controllers.

| Related: How to Start a Fire with A Battery and A Paperclip

Will Flashlights Work After an Emp?

It is really hard to say as it will depend on the type of the flashlight and the way you have it stored. If it is an all metal bodied flashlight with the LED mechanism facing down with the metal body facing up, then there is a small chance that it will survive.

There is a train of thought that LED flashlights will not be affected depending how high tech they are. Personally, I would prepare for EMP by having multiple types of lighting ready to go just in case that your flashlights no longer work.

Will Emp Destroy Solar Panels?

No, an EMP will not destroy your solar panels but it could potentially damage the inverter. Again, this is if you have a grid-tied system where the power from your solar panels goes into the inverter and then to the grid. If you have a stand-alone system, then you should be fine as long as there are no exposed wires.

Will a Car Work After an Emp?

It is possible that your car will still work after an EMP event but there is no guarantee. This is because most cars today have computer chips and other electronic components that could be fried by the EMP.

Cars that have the best chance of surviving an EMP event are vehicles that are older and do not have a lot of electronic components. More specifically, vehicles manufactured before 1984 as that was the year that a lot of vehicles started having computer chips, electronic windows, electronic locks, and other electronic components.

If you are prepping for an EMP event, then you getting an older truck or jeep and fixing it up as your bug out vehicle would be a good idea.

will an emp destroy electronics that are off

Would Walkie Talkies Work After Emp?

This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on the type of walkie talkie that you have. If you have an older model that does not have a lot of electronic components, then there is a chance that it will still work.

However, if you have a newer model that has a lot of electronic components, then the chances are that it will not work after an EMP event.

The best way to ensure that your walkie talkies will still work after an EMP is to get ones that are specifically designed to withstand EMPs. These types of walkie talkies are usually more expensive but they will definitely work after an EMP.

Although this is an option, it is probably a better idea to invest in a CB radio or even a HAM radio to be able to reach out over longer distances to communicate with others nearby or even in different geographical locations to get information.

will an emp destroy electronics that are off

Will a Ham Radio Work After an Emp?

It will depend on the individual model that you have and how many electronic components are in your HAM radio setup. If it is a basic setup then there is a good chance that your HAM radio and possibly your CB radio will work after an EMP even t if you have a power source to get them up and running.

Can A Microwave Be Used As A Makeshift Faraday Box?

Yes, and no. There has been some speculation over the last few years about whether or not you can use a microwave oven as a makeshift Faraday cage or box.

The key thing is that you can make a complete seal between the door and the case of the microwave. Simply closing the microwave door and hoping for the best will not work.

You will have to close the door and then seal off the gap between the door and the frame with mylar tape or aluminum foil and tape.

There is still no guarantee as to whether or not this will work even in a pinch but it is certainly not the best way to protect your electronic devices in the case of an EMP event.

You would be better off purchasing a Faraday Cage or building your own to specs you could find online.

In Conclusion

Are you prepared for an EMP event? What about your electronics? Do you have a plan in place to protect them? If not, it is time to consider what you can do to safeguard your devices.

While there is no guarantee that an EMP event will cause damage, the risk is simply too high to take chances.

Protect your family and yourself by putting a Faraday cage protection plan into effect now.