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Old 07-31-2009, 01:43 PM
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Default EMP effect on Solar generator



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I've seen discussions about the effect EMP would have on electrical circuitry and such but was wondering what it might do to a solar generator? Thoughts?

Last edited by bluetrain; 07-31-2009 at 02:10 PM..
Old 07-31-2009, 02:11 PM
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Most likely wipe it out. Almost all charge controllers are microprocessor controlled, so they're history. In addition the panels themselves could get fried since electromagnetic field generated could possibly cause voltage spikes in the traces in the panels themselves. I don't know if this has ever been tested, but based upon theory the whole setup could get fried without shielding.
Old 07-31-2009, 04:35 PM
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The basic problem as I see it is that nobody really knows what's going to be the extent of damage to electrical/electronic systems. Plus there's the uncertainty about how big of a device we're talking about, has it been specially tweaked to deliver maximum EMP, will the EMP fry circuits that are not under power or connected to the electrical grid, will a home-constructed Faraday box really protect enclosed items from a strong pulse, and the uncertainty goes on and on.

At this point I'm working under the assumption that a multiple-EMP device attack at max power would render anything electronic a useless heap of plastic & silicon, because if a critical lynch-pin of my gear is electronic and it's suddenly useless, I'm totally screwed. So I'll hope that it won't be the complete end of all electronics, but I"m planning for having zero operable modern devices that are not entirely mechanical. That way if I do still have some stuff that works, boo-yah! But if not I won't be dead in the water.
Old 08-01-2009, 10:28 AM
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Bassed on what I have read, all it would take is 1 nuke detnated at 300 miles over the US and then entire US is back to the dark ages, litterally. The higher the nuke is detonated the more damage caused by the EMP. Of course there may need to be some load adjustments but I don't think it would need to be Max Load, possibly small 100kt nuke 300 miles up maybe all it would take. I'm still doing more reading on this subject but it seems a very real posibility.
Old 08-01-2009, 10:42 AM
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What in the hell is a solar generator? I have been in the solar business for many years and NEVER heard of such a thing.

If you are talking about a Solar System, comprised of solar panels (called an Array,) regulators, inverters, batteries, and wiring, then and EMP would most likely destroy the regulator(s) and inverter(s) and the blocking diodes in the solar panels.

Simply remove the blocking diodes (they are inside the junction box on each panel), the regulator(s), and inverter(s) from the system and connect the solar panel wires directly to the battery bank. You will have to closely monitor the system for high voltage and disconnect the panels several times a day, but you will still have power. You would also remove the wires from the batteries at night to prevent "DC leak."
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:20 PM
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smm123, would you get a "DC Leak" if you keep your charger hooked to your battery bank, even when it not charging? I left mine hooked up this past weekend at the BOL, and was wondering if you get the same leakage.
Old 08-17-2009, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by smitty32303 View Post
smm123, would you get a "DC Leak" if you keep your charger hooked to your battery bank, even when it not charging? I left mine hooked up this past weekend at the BOL, and was wondering if you get the same leakage.
We were talking about the Effects of EMP. Nothing I said applies to business as usual, especially considering your battery charger works from grid.

The diodes on your panels should be fine at the moment, so you would not be suffering from DC leak regardless of whether your charger is hooked up or not. Once an EMP hits, your diodes would be fried as well as your charger.
Old 08-17-2009, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMM123 View Post
What in the hell is a solar generator? I have been in the solar business for many years and NEVER heard of such a thing.

If you are talking about a Solar System, comprised of solar panels (called an Array,) regulators, inverters, batteries, and wiring, then and EMP would most likely destroy the regulator(s) and inverter(s) and the blocking diodes in the solar panels.

Simply remove the blocking diodes (they are inside the junction box on each panel), the regulator(s), and inverter(s) from the system and connect the solar panel wires directly to the battery bank. You will have to closely monitor the system for high voltage and disconnect the panels several times a day, but you will still have power. You would also remove the wires from the batteries at night to prevent "DC leak."
this is what i have been waiting to discuss. thanks, smm123.
i live with solar power and have for almost 20 years. i have heard very conflicting opinions on the effect of emp on solar panels. generally i have heard that the panels would be fried.

you believe that the panels would survive an emp? excellent. certainly it makes sense, then, to keep spare blocking diodes, charge controller and inverter in a faraday box, against the eventuality of such a thing.

are you fairly confident that you're right?
i would love to feel more secure. i have thought of a replacement array in faraday storage, but the expense is almost prohibitive.

yours is an encouraging post!
Old 08-17-2009, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerdruid View Post
this is what i have been waiting to discuss. thanks, smm123.
i live with solar power and have for almost 20 years. i have heard very conflicting opinions on the effect of emp on solar panels. generally i have heard that the panels would be fried.

you believe that the panels would survive an emp? excellent. certainly it makes sense, then, to keep spare blocking diodes, charge controller and inverter in a faraday box, against the eventuality of such a thing.

are you fairly confident that you're right?
i would love to feel more secure. i have thought of a replacement array in faraday storage, but the expense is almost prohibitive.

yours is an encouraging post!
There is no way to know 100%, but solar panels are solid state electrical objects, not electronics. Solid state items tend to not be affected by EMP, with the exception of some items that may receive a surge when connected to grid power. Still, an electric motor will typically survive, though its capacitor/regulator may get smoked.

I am not worried about my panels, but at the same time, it all electricity disappeared all at once (including alternative sources), I would be just fine.
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Old 08-18-2009, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMM123 View Post
What in the hell is a solar generator? I have been in the solar business for many years and NEVER heard of such a thing.

If you are talking about a Solar System, comprised of solar panels (called an Array,) regulators, inverters, batteries, and wiring, then and EMP would most likely destroy the regulator(s) and inverter(s) and the blocking diodes in the solar panels.

Simply remove the blocking diodes (they are inside the junction box on each panel), the regulator(s), and inverter(s) from the system and connect the solar panel wires directly to the battery bank. You will have to closely monitor the system for high voltage and disconnect the panels several times a day, but you will still have power. You would also remove the wires from the batteries at night to prevent "DC leak."
take a few propain tanks and fill them with gas like a wind mill then when the gas heat it rises the tank then flows to the lower tank and repeats.. doable but more effecnt ways to do solar power.. like a solar cell
Old 02-06-2012, 10:00 PM
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The cells which comprise a photovoltaic panel (solar panel) are semiconductor devices with pn junctions somewhat similar to transistors.

I don't know of any documented tests available to the public to answer this for us.
My personal belief is that they will be damaged by EMP.
I've got spare electronics for the entire balance of system componets, but only a few pv panel in EMP secured storage. Budget prohibits more panels right now.

Unless you have the funds to aquire additional panels to securely store, my advice is to not depend solely on your solar system...just make it part of many energy options.
Old 02-07-2012, 12:00 AM
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I believe that panels would survive an EMP. EMP doesn't damage by directly impinging upon a device. External wiring acts as an antenna collecting the EMP energy and delivering it as a burst of current. Long power and phone lines lead to thousands of volts being delivered for a microsecond. If you are disconnected from the grid, then the "antenna" to collect EMP would be just the panel size and associated wiring. That can be protected with good design practices and appropriate circuitry.

Integrated circuits are especially vulnerable because their microscopic component size makes it impossible to handle the heat loading caused by the sudden but brief spike in current. The component size in a panel is as big as each individual solar cell. That is a lot of heat sink.

It makes a great deal of makes sense to keep spare blocking diodes, charge controller and inverter as well as spare panels. Faraday cage is unnecessary. Even if panels were invulnerable to EMP (which I am not sure of) they are NOT immune to lightning strikes, windstorms, fires, theft and simple age. Personally I consider the latter MORE likely than EMP so the question of EMP vulnerability doesn't really even enter the equation for me.

There is a lot of drivel and hyperbole and misinformation about EMP out there. This is the definitive resource for information on EMP effects and protection:

EMP Commission Critical National Infrastructures Report 2008
Old 02-07-2013, 11:02 PM
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do you think a faraday cage would be any help to keeping a solar array and associated peripherals from getting fried?
Old 02-18-2013, 06:36 AM
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As the (much more experienced) posters above have noted, the cell itself will probably be fine. My guess is that much of the conditioning component(s) would also be fine, as they are generally more robust in terms of unexpected voltages. The control circuits would probably not be fine though, as they work in the very small volt world, and they quickly cease function if hundreds or thousands of volts appear in parts of the circuit not designed for that load.
You could probably cache a conditioner in a faraday cage. Disconnected, of course.
Old 02-21-2013, 07:01 PM
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The effects of magnetism on electronics is greatly exaggerated.

If you have a desktop computer that does not use a mechanical hard disk drive, unless the magnetism causes some wires to cross and short it that way, it will be functional.
And if you have a solid state drive, your data is still there.

How do I know?
I've actually done this, though it was really just a metric ****ton of electromagnets in an old refrigerator and not a true EMP, but it was strong enough to have had the whole thing collapse on the computer case until we cut the power.
The computer worked fine, the HDD was blank, the SSD was fine, the CRT monitor was blue and white, the LCD monitor was fine.

I don't know what it would do to a solar array, but that's all dependent on how well the thing is grounded since electrical damage is all that would do it, and luckily solar panels output such a pitiful amount of wattage, you'll probably be okay.
I think the highest consumer output I've seen is 150w for $600.
Old 02-24-2013, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim94536 View Post
do you think a faraday cage would be any help to keeping a solar array and associated peripherals from getting fried?
A good Faraday cage would protect it, but would probably rule out significant power production while in place.
Old 03-13-2013, 11:50 AM
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It's not as easy to generate a large EMP pulse. Which is a good thing; considering how easy it would be for a couple of US hating countries to sail a disguised, missile launching boat (or two or three) near our coast.

You need a good sized fusion bomb to generate a big EMP. Not a small, beginners (?) fission bomb like the countries alluded to have or will have soon. I'm not saying be complacent, but I believe this risk is relatively small at this time.

But to cover the bases; and there are related risks like CMP; plus a couple of potential enemy countries that do have fusion bombs; that I'd like to take some precautions.

In that space. Can those of you more in the know give me a little more detail on the diodes needed? How about for 15yr old Siemens panels?

Thanks!
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