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Thread: EMP / NVG Question

  1. #1
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    Cool EMP / NVG Question

    Greetings!

    I have a question regarding the survival of Morgan's NVG gear from the first book. It's obvious that he did a fair amount of prep with all of his gear, but I'm curious about the EMP not affecting his NVGs while driving down the highway. If I recall, he mentions that his laptop was toast.

    So, either I don't know squat about what makes NVGs work (which is a true enough statement already) or I've missed something entirely. Not looking to poke holes at anything, just wondering.

    <*SPOLIER * SPOILER * SPOILER *>

    I'm halfway through "Surviving" and where a certain traveler on a two wheeled conveyance produces an electronic device from a Faraday protected pouch. Made me think about whether Morgan was that prepared given his surprise described in the book.

    </*SPOLIER * SPOILER * SPOILER *>


    Thanks!

    Andrew.

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  3. #2
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    That is a good question, and one I have been thinking about. Do you have to have this protected in a real event?
    "You have been baptized in fire and blood and have come out steel!!!"

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    Perhaps if Morgan had an Apple MacBook Pro instead of a Windows Laptop it might have survived as it has a Full metal Jacket (sorry) Its almost completely encased in Aluminium, does that count as a Faraday Cage ??

    Not only NVG, but what about LED flashlights, the LED itself is a semiconductor device, you might think they are prone to fail during EMP attack
    most of the NVG consists of fiber-optics and lenses, with a small amount of electronics, but you would think they are still prone to fail,

    Interestingly the Russian and Chinese Fighter Jets use Valves (Vacuum Tubes) instead of semiconductors in their Avionics as they are EMP proof.

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    Distance of travel of the pulse, along the length of conductive materials, plays a part in EMP failures, and a little LED assembly just doesn't have much to it. I would think quite a few might be ok, maybe in a hit-or-miss way. Also, if I recall, some things were in static bags (lightly shielded) inside the car itself (also a layer of shielding, though not enough for the car's own systems.)

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    So then in theory, those really small electronics (LED flashlights and NVGs) could survive given distance from the event combined with some light shielding. Works for me!

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    I've had some things permanently fail after only the amount of EMP you get with a lightning strike. Now, I live in a little metal box, which is light shielding (but sucks the a/c and kills the electric bill come summertime,) but it wasn't enough. And if something has a circuit board inside it, every bit of printed trace on that board increases the available route for that charge to travel and burn things.

    So shield things properly if you can, and practice redundancy planning (two is one, one is none.)

    The flashlights in your house might all fail, but the ones in static bags, in a faraday cage, in your car trunk, in a grounded sheet-metal pole barn garage 50 feet away might be fine.

    If you really want to be on someone's radar, you can call up the pentagon and ask if there's been any testing.

  9. #7
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    if i remember right, Morgan said the NVG were in a bag of some kind. and if he had them in a bag to protect them why was the laptop not in one too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by W.Lynn View Post
    I've had some things permanently fail after only the amount of EMP you get with a lightning strike.
    Now that you mention it, After a lighting strike I'd spend the next two weeks going round replacing D-Link and Siemens ADSL modems, within a 5km radius of the strike, Also DSL modems would fail if someone in the same street was using an ultrasonic welder . Not necessarily caused by EMP , but more a static discharge , but it does go to show you how susceptible some electronic stuff is.

    On the other hand, Early on when working on N308 - N616 Small business phone systems we were trained to use a ground wrist strap when handling the boards, as they were 'static sensitive' and the boards were stored in anti static bags, years later when these systems were obsolete and being upgraded I discharged a piezo generator, in the order of 5,000 voilts onto various points on one these boards with no detrimental effect. ??

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    I respectfully disagree with regard to static discharges from lightening as the cause of death for little electronics like that. Unless you're counting it coming through the lines, then I feel like we're talking about a common effect with a different cause.

    The lightening strike, as W. Lynn stated, does cause an electro-static discharge. However, I don't believe that unless it was right on top of you that portable equipment would feel an effect from it.

    Being a long time tech-head (both professionally and recreation-ally) most post lightening death, in my experience, has come from surge on the lines in question. Be it power lines, phone lines, coax lines, etc. Any equipment that is connected to any kind of wiring in your home is susceptible to surge. While it's true that a lightening strike, even when not direct to power lines or phone lines, can cause a surge; this is more through an induction effect on whatever lines are nearby. This surge travels down the line and wreaks havoc on equipment that it has direct connection to.

    I think it would take a true "EMP event" or solar flare to have enough juice to effect smaller portable equipment.

    W. Lynn - Have you personally experience death of portable electronics (not connected to building wiring) as a result of nearby lightening strikes?

    Thanks!

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    Just loss from the ones "right on top of" us, say a tenth of a mile or less. But that's nothing to what a Carrington-like event (or event plus EMP blast) would do, even way out on the fringes of the affected area.

    We tend to keep lots of low-tech solutions available just because I can't be bothered to keep every static-bag that comes into the house.

    I may start keeping them now.

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