Protect a generator

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by thermax, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. thermax

    thermax Monkey+

    I have a Honda EU6500si generator, what would be the best way to protect it from an EMP. Thanks
  2. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Store it in a grounded all metal (walls and frame - a typical garden shed from Lowes about $300.00 is all metal - steel that is) building and ground the frame using 1/4" ground wire. If the building is completely closed, the metal frame and walls should absorb the brunt of the EMP. Center the generator in the building, well away from walls, and ground the frame of the generator as well. Manufacturers typically include instructions on grounding your generator make/model properly, including diagrams for attaching the ground wire, depth of the ground etc. If you have the time, budget, and inclination, you can line the interior of the shed with a fine mesh metal screen - grounded as well - but this is just major overkill.
  3. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Do not ground whatever you are trying to protect.

    A big metal box put the generator inside and be sure it makes no contact/connection with the box.
  4. thermax

    thermax Monkey+

    Thanks for getting back to me. Our building code probably won't allow for a shed. I was wondering about a Faraday box. I bought this generator to go along with my 6KW solar array. I don't think there is anyway to protect a $42,000 solar unit so I figured I'd at least try and protect the generator. I installed a new ground rod yesterday and have it connected to the frame of the generator until I can do better.
  5. thermax

    thermax Monkey+

    Tikka I've read on this site from in think it was Dragonfly that anything that was not grounded wouldn't work
  6. jbahrs

    jbahrs Monkey+

    Another Question

    I am planning on installing solar and a windmill. If neither was connected would they survive an EMP attack?

    Great Blog!
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    The Consensus Thinking of the Day is, to put the the to be protected item, in a Conductive METAL Box, with no open seams, and the item needs to NOT be touching the Metal Container Sides, by using wood or plastic spacers. Then bury the Box under the Ground a minimum of 6". Just MY Opinion.... YMMV....
    Falcon15 likes this.
  8. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Expensive electronics are shipped in an ungrounded Faraday cage; so IMO, ungrounded. ;)

    The antistatic plastic bag used to ship computer components is a type of Faraday cage. Could an antistatic bag be used to protect a cell phone; I have no clue. Common sense says it would depend on the "power" of the EMP.
    Again, whatever you are trying to protect cannot make contact with the box.
  9. thermax

    thermax Monkey+

    I would guess that an antistatic bag would work like a plastic screw driver handle. It would keep the static from your hands from getting to the parts inside. I'm guessing that an EMP charge would build up on the surface of a Faraday box and if the moisture level was high enough it could jump through the air and discharge into anything with the opposite charge. Like static builds up in your body and discharges against the door knob. The ground would give it a path and not allow it to build up? The higher the charge and moisture in the air the further it can jump.
  10. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Grounding anything give a charge affecting it a path of least resistance. Lightning rods are nothing more than a metal spike and a wire running down the side of a structure into the ground. For short term storage, an ungrounded Faraday cage would be fine. Long term, ground that sucker, and good. Solar Flare activity can last days, weeks, months or even years. That means during daylight hours (and if the flare is bad enough nighttime hours) for those days, weeks, months, or even years, the entire atmosphere will be a live wire. We will not feel it, but sensitive electronics will.

    We only discovered the destructiveness of the sun's CME's in the late 1800's. CME's have been happening for all of recorded history. It is just within the last 200 years give or take that we have had electrical devices that could be affected adversely by a CME.

    If a Faraday "cage" is grounded, the excess charges will go to the ground, so the rest of the cage would remain neutral.
  11. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Welcome to the site thermax. Always nice to have new members. Emp, is something I see 100 different answers and no two are ever the same. This is one of the generally unknown areas if you please. However, the basics are pretty much the way BTPost has said. No contact with the sides/bottom/or top of box. Must be continuous metal or wire mesh. Next question, will it work ? Most of us hope so.
    hank2222 likes this.
  12. FastBusa

    FastBusa Monkey+

    Since a Faraday "cage" can be made out of wire mesh, will a large metal building (40 X 60 ft) shop work? It's well made, but light can be seen where the walls meet the roof.
  13. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Here is some things I found that say, yes, a metal building can provide protection, with some basic understanding of electromagnetism, electricity, microwaves, and "hardening".
    One is a great article from Future Science found here. This article covers both EMP and massive solar flares.
    Why ground a Faraday cage/EMP box?

    Very simply, a floating metal box is a capacitor that could store an electrical or electrostatic charge at very high voltages and thus constitute a hazard. When connected to ground, it shares its charge with the essentially infinite capacitor that is the earth.

    For practical house wiring purposes, if there is bare wire touching the box, you would like it to draw current and open the breaker thus removing the hazard.

    Additionally some reading I did a long time ago and saved in my "Survival Bible" I am cutting and pasting from the doc, with annotations.

    Faraday cages can be built to totally enclose sensitive equipment not in use. In general, the equipment is placed in a metal or foil covered box, insulated on the inside, and preferably grounded. Exposed radios and similar equipment are extremely difficult to protect, particularly if they are plugged into a 110 volt household electric circuit. In that case, spare equipment stored in Faraday cages would be most advantageous. If the Faraday cages are sitting on a conductive surface, they should be grounded. Grounding is safer in any case, though.

    It is like Nadja said, it is one of the great unknowns. In Dr. Kepler and his work on Starfish Prime created some very real, eye opening (for science and the general public) results of high altitude Nuclear Detonation:

    That being said, and understanding that the Project Starfish detonation was tiny in the grand scheme of nuclear weaponry, newer findings have taken EMP awareness to a higher level.

    It is like BT said. Box it, insulate it, bury it (ground it and shield it) to be 100% certain. Other than that, it is all postulation and theory.
  14. thermax

    thermax Monkey+


    First let me thank you for all your advise. Second I called the Phifer screen company about the screen they sell at home depot to ask them about a coating on the screen. They told me all their screen was coated with a lacquer and weren't sure if the lacquer would insulate the wire or not. They also said the bronze screen would be better, as it has copper in it for a Faraday box however its coated as well.
  15. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++


    Here is a larger model. :D
  16. thermax

    thermax Monkey+

  17. weegrannymush

    weegrannymush Monkey+

    I didn't know where I should ask my questions re Faraday cages so have just chosen this thread at random.

    I understand (sort of) the principle behind the cages but my big problem is trying to understand just what gadgets etc. you should keep in them since I don't understand the inner workings of most tech things. For example, I have several of those lights and radios where you can generate power for them by turning a handle for a period of time. Should those be kept in a Faraday cage when not in use (while waiting for The Big One, lol)? What about those LED batteries (they look like coins) - would they be kept in a cage also?

    Sorry to sound like an eedjit but I have no scientific bent whatsoever and in spite of reading everything I can get my hands on, I still don't understand much, if any, of it all! Makes it a bit difficult to prep when you don't know what you are doing, lol! Thanks for any help you can give me, folks. (BTW, you'll need to keep your answers to words of one syllable or less, if you want me to understand it!)
    Nadja likes this.
  18. thermax

    thermax Monkey+

    I would store flash lights and small electronic tools and radios in aluminum foil. I'm only storing the meters and tools I have extra of anyway. I hope to rebuild my own grid if it becomes necessary. I wont store TV's and anything that won't work for lack of a signal after an EMP
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