If you are looking for an EMP proof generator, the best you can do is to shield your generator properly to obstruct EMPs. This can be done using special designs termed Faraday bags and Faraday cages for generators. More details on these will be discussed in the context below. Before approaching the insights, let’s learn more about EMPs and how it affects the generators.
What is an EMP?
The abbreviation EMP stands for Electrical Magnetic Pulse, which is a form of a large electrical pulse. This is created mainly due to lightning strikes. The solar flares of the sun can also generate EMPs that destroy certain electronic infrastructures. Although the naturally occurring EMPs may not significantly harm the generators, artificially created EMPs could be more destructive. This type of EMPs is caused by high voltage sources or by a magnetic force.
Can Generators Withstand EMP?
The function of a generator is to generate electricity using simple motors driven by fuel. Then the produced electricity is controlled and filtered to provide a predictable voltage that can be used to run electrical equipment. Since these generators are designed and built for this rough work, they usually have very less computers and electronics in them. Hence, a generator is not directly affected by an electromagnetic pulse. The motor of a generator would most likely stay unaffected by an EMP.
However, the electronic components that filter and regulate the electricity would face disturbances due to the EMPs. The primary function of these components is to filter out any spikes and stabilize power fluctuations. Hence, they would be damaged in trying to control the electricity generated. Electronic components such as circuit boards, wires, and fuses are prone to damage. If the EMP is so severe, as an event of a nuclear detonation, all electrical equipment would be disrupted. This includes even the car engines and gas pumps in addition to the generators. Hence, there will be nothing much that you can do to protect the devices in a large geographical area.
Will Generators Work After EMP?
The function of a generator after an EMP depends on the severity of the impact. Natural EMPs would not impact generators, whereas transformers and power substations are mostly at risk. The average protection will be enough to make sure that the generator is safe. When the power from the grid goes down, a standby generator would automatically activate. If you have a portable generator, you would need to start it up manually.
How to Protect a Generator From EMP?
Protecting a generator from a powerful EMP could be a challenging task. Installing voltage transient protectors and suppressors would help minimize the effect of damage. These should be installed with the expert electrical knowledge of a professional electrician. The smaller or portable generators can be protected much more easily by storing them inside a Faraday bag or a Faraday cage. Let’s identify more about these two options.
A Faraday Bag
A Faraday bag is a special design that can disperse EMP energy around electronic devices and other sensitive equipment. Mission Darkness is a popular manufacturer that produces Faraday bags. These are waterproof bags that consist of a conductive material that distributes the pulse around the equipment stored inside. Hence, it acts as a shield for the generators from EMP. However, the EMP bags for generators are relatively small and will only accommodate small portable generators. These bags are suitable only for storing the generators. Running a generator inside EMP bags for generators is not suitable as it will cause excessive heat, which will damage the bag and overheat the generator itself.
A Faraday Cage
The Faraday cage is a special enclosure built around the generator to protect it from EMPs. A continuous layer of conductive material around the generator acts as a shield in preventing any EMPs from damaging the generator. This would be a conductive wire mesh connecting all sides without any gaps for a pulse to escape. The generator should be placed on a thick rubber mat inside the cage to isolate it without contacting the conductor.
The Faraday cage would protect the generator by dispersing the pulse, preferably when the generator is not running and disconnected. Even if the generator is running, the Faraday cage for the generator will limit the damage caused by EMPs. But it cannot be guaranteed that this would completely protect the generator from any damage. Therefore, it is advised to have backup generators completely disconnected and placed inside Faraday cages.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of solar generators?
Solar generators can be protected against EMPs as they do not operate with the same solid-state electronic controls as the other generators. The solar panels installed on them will also remain unaffected by the EMPs as in electronic ones. Hence, these are almost EMP proof generators that could increase the convenience.
Will a Generac survive an EMP?
The electronic components in the generators are the vulnerable parts to get damaged by an EMP. The failure of the circuits and other electronic components may vary depending on the type and magnitude of the EMP.
Will EMP destroy unplugged electronics?
EMPs often impose a direct threat to electronic devices and sensitive communication equipment. Electronic devices in a wide area can be destroyed by EMPs generated due to electromagnetic bombs or E-bombs. Comparatively, the older electronics including tube radios and CRTs are more likely to survive EMPs than the modern ones.
What material can block EMP?
The aluminum foil acts as effective protection against EMPs. It successfully blocks unwanted electromagnetic pulses from reaching communication devices such as radios, providing a safety shield.
As there are no EMP proof generators, selecting a proper method to reduce the effect of EMPs is the best way to secure a generator. Having a good backup device and spare of critical devices is another alternative that you can use to ensure the proper function of devices. EMPs are not the only way that can disrupt the operation of a generator. Adverse weather and moisture can also damage generators in operation. Here’s how to run a generator in the rain.