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Faraday Cage

Being able to survive off the grid and not using any fancy gadgets or electronics is a wonderful thing, but most of us do have, and often rely on, our electronics.  Most disasters won’t have an effect on the use of your electronics, but there are some exceptions that could completely ruin them for good.

An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) will destroy your electronics.  Likewise, solar flares will have the same effect.  I am not going to go into what both are and how they work in this post.  Rather, I want to talk about what you can do to protect your valuable electronics from these events, with a simple faraday cage.

The definition of a faraday cage is: grounded metal screen surrounding a piece of equipment to exclude electrostatic and electromagnetic influences. There is debate as to whether they must be grounded. But with that said, I’m sure that you could go out and buy some fancy mesh cage with a cool zombie logo on it and protect your electronics with a name brand, expensive metal box.  But why do that?  A faraday cage is nothing but a conductive box surrounding your stuff; that is all.

There are numerous ways to protect your electronics with previously made conductive enclosures like microwaves, ammo cans, aluminum trash cans, filing cabinets (my personal favorite), etc. Some things that you will want to consider first are:

  • What will I be putting in my cage?
  • two way radios;
  • cellphones,
  • AM and FM radios;
  • DVD player (with a small monitor. If you have kids, you want to keep them entertained. A small battery bank can power it);
  •  Inverters;
  • Laptop computers and chargers;
  • USB drives;
  •  Flashlights;
  • Solar chargers; and
  • Any medical supplies that are electronic.
  • Insulate the inside: You don’t want to have your electronics touching the conductive material.  For example, if you use a metal trash can with a lid, you could place a smaller plastic trash can inside of it then put your items in that.  You can use cardboard, plastic, rubber, anything that is not conducive can serve as a buffer between the faraday cage and your electronics.
  • If there are openings in the cage, you can seal it with aluminum foil and duct tape (or aluminum duct tape if you want to spend your money on that).

You might ask, if the grid goes down, what is the point? Well, the electric grid might not be down forever, and if you have alternative means of power like solar, you will be able to power and charge these items (be sure to protect solar charge controllers and other components). Also, a lot of these items will be good for getting you by in the beginning. At least this way you won’t be without all of your electronics immediately.  And keep in mind that people that use two way (Ham) radios will probably have theirs in cages also. So you will be able to communicate with others in this emergency.

So to sum it up, having your vital elections in a faraday cage is a good idea, you can make one out of things that are easy (and cheap) to find, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a perfectly functional faraday cage.

If anyone has any experience with this, feel free to add your insight to the comments.  After all, learning from each other is what this is all about.

Until next time…

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