EMP protection

thermax292thermax292 Posts: 23Registered Users
I was doing some research on the effects of an EMP on a solar rig. I can't seem to find any info about the effect on the panels, I know it could fry the inverter and controller for sure. Especially if its a man made EMP. Is there anyway to protect this equipment? I've purchased an inverter generator to charge my batteries during extended cloudy days and I'm storing it in a Faraday cage along with some of my extra test equipment that I don't use anymore. From what I understand is an EMP will follow the power lines into the equipment. Even the lines running from the panels to the inverter will serve as antennas for the pulse, and grounding won't help. Next year NASA says it could get pretty bad with sun activity however our biggest risk is man made. Thanks

Comments

  • BB.BB. Posts: 24,642Super Moderators admin
    Re: EMP protection

    The problem (EMP/Solar Flares) are not really going to affect a "home sized" sized off grid wiring systems. Mostly, it will affect utility scale networks on the order of miles or larger.

    If you use Google and search for:
    • solar flares emp site:wind-sun.com
    You will find quite a few discussions here (the "site:wind-sun.com" tag limits Google searches to this forum--Very handy).

    Here is a link that does the same Google Search (save you typing the stuff in).

    If you are close enough to an EMP Event that would take out your home system--you probably will have other issues that will ruin your day anyway.

    Certainly, if you have utility power to your home, a solar flare could send energy down the power line and into your home--causing significant damage or possibly starting a fire.

    However, I am not sure what you could do, safely, that would make your home save against a solar flare induced voltage excursion... I could make guesses (i.e., pull the meter ahead of the event)... But that is probably not a good idea. Unsafe to pull if there is a voltage excursion, and a ticked off utility company if 20% of the customers pull their meters "just in case".

    If you install a transfer switch (generator/battery backed inverter), then you can at least open the transfer switch on run on local power until the trouble has passed--Assuming that the utility power is back on.

    Adding some surge suppressors at the main panel probably would not hurt either.

    I am just not sure of the voltage and current levels of the surges--So, I would be hesitant to recommend any positive ways to address the issues other than just following proper code and lightning protection recommendations (lightning is already a lot of energy).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • thermax292thermax292 Posts: 23Registered Users
    Re: EMP protection

    I have a 6 KW Xantrex system plus 2 charge controllers and 8 6v batteries ( 400 AH ).I realize in the event of a nasty EMP it would most likely take out the chargers and Inverter. I'm thinking about storing a set of inverter and controllers to replace them if this happens. Provided the panels don't fry. I'd store them wrapped in Aluminum foil inside the Faraday box. I don't have enough money to replace the Xantrex equipment with another set of Xantrex. Could you recommend units that I could reconnect to my panels and provide at least some electricity. Thanks again
  • ggunnggunn Posts: 1,972Solar Expert
    Re: EMP protection
    thermax292 wrote: »
    I have a 6 KW Xantrex system plus 2 charge controllers and 8 6v batteries ( 400 AH ).I realize in the event of a nasty EMP it would most likely take out the chargers and Inverter. I'm thinking about storing a set of inverter and controllers to replace them if this happens. Provided the panels don't fry. I'd store them wrapped in Aluminum foil inside the Faraday box. I don't have enough money to replace the Xantrex equipment with another set of Xantrex. Could you recommend units that I could reconnect to my panels and provide at least some electricity. Thanks again

    What "nasty EMP" event are you worried about? Has it ever happened?
  • techntrektechntrek Posts: 1,357Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: EMP protection
    BB. wrote: »
    If you install a transfer switch (generator/battery backed inverter), then you can at least open the transfer switch on run on local power until the trouble has passed--Assuming that the utility power is back on.

    Even that may not be good enough, for a Carrington or a lightning strike. If the voltage is high enough it can just jump the air gap. If you have enough warning on a Carrington event it would be best to completely disconnect your wiring from the transfer switch. Alternatively or if you don't have much time you can add additional air gap by throwing every breaker between your system and the grid... service panel main breaker, circuit breaker feeding the transfer switch, the transfer switch itself, and all the other breakers in the utility panel and any sub-panels.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • techntrektechntrek Posts: 1,357Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: EMP protection
    ggunn wrote: »
    What "nasty EMP" event are you worried about? Has it ever happened?

    Not EMP, but just as destructive, look up "Carrington event".

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

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110302-solar-flares-sun-storms-earth-danger-carrington-event-science/
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • thermax292thermax292 Posts: 23Registered Users
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Posts: 3,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Reply to ggunn
    thermax292 wrote: »

    "The uploader has not made this video available in your country. (Canada)
    Sorry about that."

    Very interesting.
  • thermax292thermax292 Posts: 23Registered Users
    Re: EMP protection

    Wayne its called Electronic armageddon produced by national geographic. You might find it on a google search.
  • nsaspooknsaspook Posts: 396Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: EMP protection

    The logic of an EMP pulse weapon use here is dubious. All of the critical control systems for detection, authorization and release of our weapons are EMP hardened and any use against us would be game on. Almost any natural cause would be of a low frequency (non gamma ray/X-ray) nature and would effect mainly long transmission lines or structures.

    Some EMP docs.
    http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A955411&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
    http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A100508&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: EMP protection
    nsaspook wrote: »
    The logic of an EMP pulse weapon use here is dubious. All of the critical control systems for detection, authorization and release of our weapons are EMP hardened and any use against us would be game on. Almost any natural cause would be of a low frequency (non gamma ray/X-ray) nature and would effect mainly long transmission lines or structures.

    Some EMP docs.
    http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A955411&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
    http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A100508&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

    even taking retaliation out of the equation it would not pay for them to do it economically either as no country is truly that isolated anymore. making not only the country that is emped have a collapsed economy, but also that of the offending country and the rest of the world as it would domino. even now economies are super fragile and is the basis for some out there going the route of solar as it is an aspect of self sufficiency. against nuclear emps solar may not survive either.

    our biggest potential is a gamma ray burst from space and the right one could even fry everything we know making life non-existent. now that's the ultimate in emp.
  • nsaspooknsaspook Posts: 396Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: EMP protection
    niel wrote: »
    even taking retaliation out of the equation it would not pay for them to do it economically either as no country is truly that isolated anymore. making not only the country that is emped have a collapsed economy, but also that of the offending country and the rest of the world as it would domino. even now economies are super fragile and is the basis for some out there going the route of solar as it is an aspect of self sufficiency. against nuclear emps solar may not survive either.

    our biggest potential is a gamma ray burst from space and the right one could even fry everything we know making life non-existent. now that's the ultimate in emp.

    If you look the continuous several billion year history of life on the planet the odds of a life lethal gamma burst seem pretty long. We are in the galactic backwater and pretty far from the action.
    Within a few months, the controversy about the distance scale ended: GRBs were extragalactic events originating within faint galaxies at enormous distances. The following year, GRB 980425 was followed within a day by a coincident bright supernova (SN 1998bw), indicating a clear connection between GRBs and the deaths of very massive stars. This burst provided the first strong clue about the nature of the systems that produce GRBs.[20]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-ray_burst

    One of the cool things is that we now understand how the very focused gamma EM waves are generated and can use the same method here to generate lower frequency waves (uhf+) that are still very directional without a external antenna.
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2010/06/18/faster-than-light-electric-currents-could-explain-pulsars/
    The researchers are now applying their model to another mystery of astrophysics, gamma-ray bursts. Astrophysicists typically estimate the intrinsic power generation of these bursts by assuming the inverse-square law, and the values they get are off the charts. But if FTL effects are involved, the inverse-square law might be overestimating the power and astronomers should really be using a simple inverse law.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0903.0399
    http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0405062
  • ggunnggunn Posts: 1,972Solar Expert
    Re: EMP protection
    nsaspook wrote: »
    The logic of an EMP pulse weapon use here is dubious. All of the critical control systems for detection, authorization and release of our weapons are EMP hardened and any use against us would be game on. Almost any natural cause would be of a low frequency (non gamma ray/X-ray) nature and would effect mainly long transmission lines or structures.

    Some EMP docs.
    http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A955411&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
    http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A100508&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

    If we are hit by an EMP weapon capable of taking out utilities on a massive scale, then keeping the lights on in individual homes is among the least of our problems, and being the only one in town with electricity makes one a pretty obvious target.
  • nsaspooknsaspook Posts: 396Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: EMP protection
    ggunn wrote: »
    If we are hit by an EMP weapon capable of taking out utilities on a massive scale, then keeping the lights on in individual homes is among the least of our problems, and being the only one in town with electricity makes one a pretty obvious target.

    I have a friend in Connecticut that lost power for 10 days from that Oct snow storm. People shared generators until they ran out of fuel because all the streets power lines were down from fallen trees and the gas stations had no resupplies or power. This is kind of event we need off-grid solar power systems for.
    http://modernsurvivalblog.com/weather-preparedness/3-million-without-power-october-snowstorm/
  • ggunnggunn Posts: 1,972Solar Expert
    Re: EMP protection
    nsaspook wrote: »
    I have a friend in Connecticut that lost power for 10 days from that Oct snow storm. People shared generators until they ran out of fuel because all the streets power lines were down from fallen trees and the gas stations had no resupplies or power. This is kind of event we need off-grid solar power systems for.
    http://modernsurvivalblog.com/weather-preparedness/3-million-without-power-october-snowstorm/
    Agreed. It's a small scale power outage with a reasonable recovery time. An EMP attack on the US that takes out huge sections of the grid requiring months or years for recovery is a very different scenario.
  • thermax292thermax292 Posts: 23Registered Users
    Re: EMP protection

    I think the most scary part is the fact we don't make the parts to repair anything. Like National Geographic said in the video we don't even make the main transformers that power up the grid and would need to totally rely on countries that hate us for all our replacement parts. Our culture is build on electronics, we need them now to survive, and while we where getting hooked on electronics our leaders helped move the industries out of the country and dropped all tariffs to allow the import of these goods and the free flow of cash to leave the country. Even if we retaliated we'll still be left in the dark. As it says in the video 90% of us will die with in the first year after an attack. I pray we never see this happen, however I'd like to stock a few parts now just in case.
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