Author Topic: Protecting generator from EMP  (Read 12157 times)

The Spamburglar

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Protecting generator from EMP
« on: September 20, 2009, 11:34:45 PM »
Were getting ready to purchase a 20kw home LP generator and a 500 gallon Propane tank. Im reading the book "One Second After" which is about an EMP attack on America. In the book all of the emergency backup generators in hospitals and other commercial buildings are destroyed by the EMP blast, im assuming because they are always tied into the electrical system so they can switch on at a moments notice. Im just curious, if I use a manual switch rather then an automatic turnon switch will that protect the generator from such an attack? If not, what precautions would i need to take to protect it from said power surge?

Offline ejsandstrom

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 07:57:58 AM »
I would say use an Appleton type connector and keep your generator in a Faraday cage. This is about the only sure way as far as I am concerned. Even a manual switch still has a ground path.
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Offline Uncle Bob (he ain’t right)

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 09:29:36 AM »
Good luck. This is a very hard thing to do with heat of generation.

Offline ejsandstrom

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 10:47:41 AM »
Good luck. This is a very hard thing to do with heat of generation.

I guess I should have clarified. I mean for storage. You really cant, at least on our budgets, protect a generator from EMP while its running. If you had enough money to protect your running generator, you can afford to keep several generators in EMP proof storage. 
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The Spamburglar

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 11:22:05 AM »
well from what i understand, and i may be wrong, if electronics are disconnected from any type of power supply, whether it be the grid, or a battery, they should be ok. i just figured if i was completely disconnected from the electrical of the house the genny would not be affected. opinions?

Offline Uncle Bob (he ain’t right)

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 11:59:32 AM »
well from what i understand, and i may be wrong, if electronics are disconnected from any type of power supply, whether it be the grid, or a battery, they should be ok. i just figured if i was completely disconnected from the electrical of the house the genny would not be affected. opinions?

Not true, an EMP could harm any solid state electronics with or without connections. Microprocessors are the most vulnerable.

Offline minimalist

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2009, 12:18:20 PM »
I have seen some of the reports that indicate that non-connected electronics would be okay. The problem is that these rely on speculation about the strength of the pulse, etc. I think if an EMP happens and some of your stuff still works, great. But I wouldn't depend on it. The real threat from an EMP is the effect on society from the breakdown in services, not any individual person's lack of power.
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Offline AtADeadRun

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2009, 04:07:21 PM »
A combustion-powered generator, fundamentally, can be thought of as a really big car alternator.  Note that the EMP Commission's report, quoted in part here: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=6553.msg82239#msg82239, says that no lasting effects were noted in vehicles turned off, and that most running vehicles simply needed to be restarted.  So, if you've got your generator in a shack and don't run it unless you need to, you're most likely golden against EMP.  The likelihood of the EMP itself is another matter entirely.
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The Spamburglar

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2009, 12:36:07 AM »
i agree that the threat of the breakdown of society is the number 1 concern bar none. which is why this is what most of us including me at TSP prepare for.....and i feel i am ahead of the game in this area........as long as my generator still works  ;D

and about the tests that have been done to test the effects of EMP...most of these tests are simulated in labs, i dont believe they can accurately test what effect a nuclear weapon detonated 250 miles above the earth would have unless they actually perform these tests (which for obvious reasons is very hard to do).

Its difficult because there are so many points of view on this topic.

Im surprised EMP attacks aren't of more discussion on these forums.

Offline minimalist

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2009, 12:26:14 PM »
Most of the EMP threads tend to get merged, which is why it seems like there is less discussion of it than there actually is. I wonder if an EMP subtopic is a possibility?
"We must plan for freedom, and not only for security, if for no other reason than that only freedom can make security secure." - Karl Popper

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Offline Uncle Bob (he ain’t right)

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2009, 12:53:53 PM »
I am going to contact a couple of Electronics Warfare engineers I know and see what their take is on it

The Spamburglar

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2009, 03:36:50 PM »
I think an EMP subtopic is a great idea, i hope it happens. good call

Offline minimalist

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2009, 06:27:51 PM »
I'd be happy to help with it as a mod, if needed. It is a topic I am quite interested in.
"We must plan for freedom, and not only for security, if for no other reason than that only freedom can make security secure." - Karl Popper

"I believe the common denominator of the Universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility and murder." - Werner Herzog

Offline ejsandstrom

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2009, 07:30:25 AM »
The problem with compairing a generator to a large car alternator is that a car alternator is not tied to the grid. A generator will most often be tied at the nutural and ground, this creates a nice path directly to the windings, AVR, and every DC control component. A car is isolated from ground by 4 rubber ballons. Just dont plug in a block heater or battery charger.
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Offline AtADeadRun

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2009, 01:40:58 PM »
...on the neutral and ground?  I've never seen a house install that got a neutral from the street; that's why you get 220/208V into the panel, and run single leg hots to receptacles and lighting.  You won't get wash back into the ground without a faulty ground, either, since the path for flow to ground is going to be, y'know, the ground.  Moreover, ground isn't tied to the windings, and sometimes, the AC ground isn't coupled to the DC control ground.
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Offline Uncle Bob (he ain’t right)

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2009, 02:31:10 PM »
Nomenclature!
Code has been, 3 lines in. 2ea 110vac, 1ea neutral
Ground is provided via driven earth ground.
The the neutral buss may or may not be bonded to ground in the panel as dictated by state and local codes.

Offline ram91648

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2013, 09:07:45 AM »
The problem with compairing a generator to a large car alternator is that a car alternator is not tied to the grid. A generator will most often be tied at the nutural and ground, this creates a nice path directly to the windings, AVR, and every DC control component. A car is isolated from ground by 4 rubber ballons. Just dont plug in a block heater or battery charger.

In reading all these posts about protecting my generator from EMP, you find the dilemma that I and so many others face.  No matter where I go and no matter who I ask, I get the same thing. Many different opinions, all of which claim to be the true facts. Now the question. Where can I get the truth?
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Offline Selvis

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2013, 08:42:30 PM »
I asked Porter Cable - for what it's worth this was their response

We cannot guarantee that it would not be subject to damage if affected by an EMP. These products were never tested against this type of requirement, there are electronics involved in the controls of the generator so we would have to assume that there would be damage from an EMP

Offline phuttan

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2013, 09:28:12 PM »
I think that a lot of confusion comes from how little testing has been done. In reading the reports that I've seen they tend to talk in uncertainties. They says that cars can receive sum protection from the metal body of the.car. They that items in metal building or containers can receive some protection. They says that simpler electronics are less susceptible. They don't give guarantees. Storage in a grounded metal container with stored items not in contact with the metal shell is best. A lot also depends on the strength of the pulse. Something might work. Others may not. We really can't know for sure at this point. Sorry
Pat
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Offline kckndrgn

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2013, 06:11:27 AM »
Here's some info on EMP's
http://www.futurescience.com/emp/vehicles.html

Watch the Discovery Channel video about the effects of an EMP pulse.

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Offline Carl

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Re: Protecting generator from EMP
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2014, 05:12:09 PM »
Were getting ready to purchase a 20kw home LP generator and a 500 gallon Propane tank. Im reading the book "One Second After" which is about an EMP attack on America. In the book all of the emergency backup generators in hospitals and other commercial buildings are destroyed by the EMP blast, im assuming because they are always tied into the electrical system so they can switch on at a moments notice. Im just curious, if I use a manual switch rather then an automatic turnon switch will that protect the generator from such an attack? If not, what precautions would i need to take to protect it from said power surge?

Don't let your generator anywhere near that FICTIONAL BOOK,it should be safe unless you are anywhere near groud zero and then ...it won't matter.
I am 100% in favor of TRIGGER CONTROL.

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you should carry it with you every day.