Solar Panel Disruption

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by my_honey, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. my_honey

    my_honey Monkey++

    Hi I'm wondering if anyone has the answer to this:
    If you have solar panels and there happens to be a "purposeful" EMP detonation, would it wipe out your solar power system?
    Would that sort of EMP wipe out any kind of power system you had?
  2. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I'm not an expert, and may be wrong but like the president I'll answer anyway and give my 2cents.

    The panels themselves may not be effected, but the electronics associated with charging batteries and power distribution I would suspect would be fried.

    I may be wrong, dunno.
  3. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Anything with a circuit board and transistors or other sensitive electronics should be enclosed in a Faraday Cage and grounded. As for the panels....I doubt they would be effected, but I could be wrong.
  4. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I seriously doubt that the panels would be affected, depending on the actual circuitry on the panels themselves...(hard wired = no.)
    The rest of the system: like invertors with any transistors, or any sensitive electronics would be devastated/fried (instantaneously).
    It's a lot like a sudden shock that has little amperage, but a whole lot of voltage....(like you get from carpets or car seats at one time), that's why in electronics they wear those anti-static bracelets and anklets to dissipate any build up of static charges before they touch any circuit boards, semiconductors, etc.
    You can seal a lot of (smaller) sensitive electronics in those MIL-SPEC mylar foil looking (stainless steel) sealable bags....But, they also need to be placed into a "grounded" Farady cage for the ultimate protection.
    Where I once worked, I had to handle and seal a lot of military parts into those bags, which were then placed into larger anti-static bags, sealed and placed into a steel container, prior to shipping.
    I looked like I worked in a surgical department, all dressed up in a gown, mask, booties, and 2 anti-static cords 1 wrist and 1 ankle, attached to a copper strip along a special table for packaging.....
    (as a simple experiment, in my home.... I took an older 256mb ram stick, drug my feet on a fairly new carpet with rubber soled shoes, then touched the stick itself to the door knob ...the result was: it actually blew one of the IC chips off the board!)
    Interesting effect!
    Oh, and it really smarts too!
  5. my_honey

    my_honey Monkey++

    So if I had, say, a steel room, would that protect things enough or would I still need to do the anti static bag & the Faraday?
    And what about my safes? Would things that are in there be protected?
  6. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Why didn't I think of that? Yes a safe would make an excellent "faraday cage". All you would have to add would be a good ground connection. I think on mine I might weld a flex ground strip from door to front face panel as well to ensure continuous ground.
  7. QuietOne

    QuietOne Monkey++

    No good. A Faraday cage only works if there is no wiring running into it. The wire run from the panels to the electronics acts as an antenna and will carry any EMP through the cage.

    If the run is short, the source far away and you have some overvoltage protection (zener diodes or similar) it might not pick up enough voltage to harm anything. Maybe. Only way to be sure is to disconnect it.
  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    And please don't forget to make the Faraday Cage with a non-conductive interior or else you will just be pissing in the wind.
  9. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I lost one of my 2000 buck Outback inverters last week to a lightning surge ( not a direct hit at all ) own fault for not having enough surge suppression on the lines.

    I think an EMP hit would put me out of the solar business. The lightning hit was actually a GOOD thing, because now I'm planning to store extra charger controller and inverter components in a Faraday set up.

    On the gun safe as a cage......I use a "golden rod" dehumidifier stick in mine.....I suspect that would render it useless as a Faraday cage since it takes line power inside the safe, and would probably act as an antennae for EMP.
  10. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I really think the large gun safe will make an excellent faraday cage with only 2 additions. Ground bond the door to the outer shell with a woven (for give in flexing repeatedly) copper flat strap, bolted to lugs on door and shell. (that way it can be easily replaced also). and last but not least a good ground wire #4 copper from shell lug to ground rod at nearest edge of house. Entire inside is lined with fire resistant material and carpet. I will store sensitive electrical parts for repair of various item after a EMP event.

    if someone with great knowledge of this subject can punch holes in this idea, please do so and give references or bonifides please.
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Make sure to scrape the paint off under the bonding straps attachment points.
  12. fireplaceguy

    fireplaceguy Monkey+

    Sounds like a pretty good setup. You'd be surprised at how much EMP could leak in around the door gasket of a safe. A reasonable fix would be to remove the gasket, scrape the paint, wrap the gasket in a metal window screen material and reinstall. You could also replace the gasket with a flat braided wire like you plan to ground with, if you could find something thick enough to fill the gap.

    Carpet is great for static electricity. I'd line the safe with rubber that has a known insulating value. It couldn't hurt to store all your parts in mylar bags, either.
  13. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    That's as close to an emp as it gets Andy,
  14. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

  15. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I talked to a friend of mine last week about this very problem and he is an electrical engeneer who left Cape Caniveral about two years ago. He said the solar panels themselves should be fine, however, the blocking dioads would be toast. The cost of these dioads for the kycocerra anyway is about $1.00 ea. Each of my panels take 3. Cheap fix. Sure hope it works.
  16. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Another thing to remember about the EMP Effect, is that although Diodes are dirt cheap, NOW, they will be very expensive, as will ALL working electronic devises, if an EMP Event actually happens. So, If your planning to have these things work AFTER, then you must protect backup components NOW, in EMP Proof containments. I have Power FETS, and Spare boards for my Inverters, wrapped in Foil, stored in Mylar Bags, Inside Steel Waterproof Containers, buried under 12" of earth. The thing I like about Diesel Generators, is the have NO Fancy Electronics in the Ignition System, and will still make power long after an EMP Event.... ....
  17. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Thanks for the helpful info. I bought about 72 diodes just two weeks ago, and as soon as the rest come in, will buy them to. Also have a spare invertor and two charge controllers put away. I watch my two solar stores here in our small town and every now and then , they have used components for sale, from either people upgrading present systems or from people getting on the grid. Also , the Navajo nations are now going on the grid and a lot of the solar systems are for sale really cheap. Spare parts in their whole are much easier then just extra boards for most people, me included.
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