Any electronics that will survive an EMP blast?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Nathan Eddy, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Nathan Eddy

    Nathan Eddy Second Unit

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    I was just curious, given that Iran wants to build and use one against us. Are there any communication devices (CBs, walkie-talkies, etc.) that would work in the event of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon attack?
     
  2. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I'm subscribing to watch the fun [​IMG]
     
  3. Nathan Eddy

    Nathan Eddy Second Unit

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    Fun? I'm not sure I get what you're saying.
     
  4. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    I don't know many specifics, but I assume the DoD has investigated this matter thoroughly and has developed capable products.

    Hopefully they will allow me to post to HTF when the sh-t hits the fan !
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Properly shielded electronics should survive. And old-skool analog phone (push-button, no features) could be useful, assuming the POTS infra-structure lives.
     
  6. Jeff_CusBlues

    Jeff_CusBlues Supporting Actor

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    I work at a large military contractor and just about every radio we build is designed and tested to survive and EMP pulse.
     
  7. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    I think people should remember that for EMP to work really effectively you need to detonate a megaton-yield nuclear device about 200-400 miles above the ground in space. That was what happened during the Starfish Prime test in 1962 using a 1.4 MT nuclear warhead.

    It appears that the so-called EMP bombs that spread filaments of carbon fiber are not as effective as they first guessed, and a low-yield 20 kT nuclear warhead detonated in near space won't have much EMP effects, either.
     
  8. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Internal Iranian politics are strange enough, and the record of those countries which have actually built atomic weapons is placid enough [the Bomb seems to have a remarkable moderating effect on even the most unstable regimes], that one can hardly speculate what developments over there will lead to.

    That said, and remarking that Ray Chuang is quite right about the magnitude of the weapon and the arrnagement of the circumstances which turned out all the lights in Honolulu [but lit up the sky brighter than any streetlamp], quite a few things would survive. All kinds of older electronics would be mostly OK: the lights went out in Honololu because the voltage surge induced in the power lines tripped the circuit breakers, and it took hours to get the power plants restarted. The problem is semiconductor junctions, because the induced voltage on a micro-scale can push them past breakdown voltage, and then they're no good anymore; there is also the possibility that capacitors could be blown up, but that's a secondary issue. Fortunately, it is possible to build parallel junctions which will take up the shock. Most civilian equipment isn't built this way, but mil-spec semiconductors usually are.

    In fine, then, your vacuum-tube radio will work; anything which has only germanium diodes and transistors will probably be fine; and "hardened" electronics, and probably most things inside Faraday cages [conductive shields; many PCs have at least partial ones, to avoid interference problems] should be OK. Your iPod will be toast, and you'll have to reset all your circuit breakers.

    I could write all night about the effects of atomic weapons, but I don't think anyone wants to read that.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It would be amusing to have this backfire on Iran such that all their electronic equipment went on the fritz.
     
  10. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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  11. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

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    Maybe it's just me, but if a nuclear missile (EMP) hit my local area - electronics would be the last thing on my mind. I don't think I'll be wondering if my warranty to my Dolby 6.1 Surround Sound receiver is still valid.

    - Colton
     
  12. DaveMcS

    DaveMcS Second Unit

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    usually takes one well placed EMP to take out my Level 3 Sentry Gun [​IMG]

    (oblique team fortress reference!)
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Remember that massive blackout in the NY area when the power grid went down? I was laughing my ass off when no one was able to use their cell phones. [​IMG]
     
  14. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

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    Mark, I'm not sure I understand why their cell phones wouldn't work. Explain, please.

    - Colton
     
  15. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Because the towers themselves would go offline.
     
  16. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    By the way, one of the reasons why the Soviets had huge SS-9 and SS-18 missiles was to detonate a 20 MT nuclear warhead about 300 miles up over the continental USA. At that yield, the EMP would have been strong enough to knock out all the electronics in a large section of the USA; for example, if you were to detonate that 20 MT warheard 300 miles above Chicago, IL you would probably knock out all the unprotected electronics in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, the eastern parts of Minnesota and Missouri, the western part of Ohio, and western half of Kentucky, and the northwestern part of Tennessee.
     
  17. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The outrage if that were to happen over Detroit during SuperBowl.
     
  18. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    +100

    Ever see "Broken Arrow"? The underground 3MT explosion causing an EMP was hilariously stupid if you know how these things really work.
     
  19. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    That's what happened...Not to mention the 'hubs' (or whatever you call them) went down as well.

    It was scary, but funny at the same time. I've never seen so many people FREAKING out because they couldn't use their cell phones.

    It really doesn't give me much confidence that people will act in a calm manner if something REALLY major happens. [​IMG]
     
  20. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It's curious that the telepaths weren't affected.
     

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