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Thread: EMP protection

  1. #1

    Default EMP protection

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area (California)
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    21,264

    Default 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
    20x BP 4175B panels (replacement) + Xantrex GT 3.3 inverter for 3kW Grid Tied system + Honda eu2000i Inverter/Generator for emergency backup.

  3. #3

    Default 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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,854

    Default Re: EMP protection

    Quote Originally Posted by thermax292 View Post
    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?

  5. #5

    Default Re: EMP protection

    Quote Originally Posted by BB. View Post
    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.
    12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is, 4.2 kw APC UPS powered either by battery or a Prius. Really.

  6. #6

    Default Re: EMP protection

    Quote Originally Posted by ggunn View Post
    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...rringtonflare/

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...event-science/
    12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is, 4.2 kw APC UPS powered either by battery or a Prius. Really.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Nova Scotia canada
    Posts
    2,725

    Default Re: Reply to ggunn

    Quote Originally Posted by thermax292 View Post
    "The uploader has not made this video available in your country. (Canada)
    Sorry about that."

    Very interesting.
    1900 watts PV, (1000 watts PV feeding MidNite Classic 150; 900 watts PV + 160 watts micro hydro both feeding into a single shared Morningstar TS-MPPT-60) ; Xantrex Pure Sine 1800/12 for heavy loads; Xantrex Pure Sine 1000/12 on 24/7 for everything else; six Rolls Surrette 2 volt L16 @ 12 volts.
    Domestic hot water totally provided by the sun 8 months out of every year via thermal panel.

  9. #9

    Default Re: EMP protection

    Wayne its called Electronic armageddon produced by national geographic. You might find it on a google search.

  10. #10

    Default 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/GetTR...c=GetTRDoc.pdf
    http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTR...c=GetTRDoc.pdf

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