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Old 07-13-2012, 06:12 PM
liebrecht liebrecht is offline
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Default Microwaves as Farraday cages?



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I was asked by a friend......can microwaves be used as Farraday cages? I have no idea. Somebody had dead microwaves mounted to use as such. Gurus? Yes? No? Maybe? Thanks.

Liebrecht
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:43 PM
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The short answer is probably. I have used it successfully before, but it depends on the device, the microwave, etc. A good way to test it is to put a mobile device in the microwave and try to call it or send it data.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:02 PM
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Huh, hadn't thought about it, not a bad idea. If I get a chance to test will let you know.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:43 PM
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I have heard using micro wave ovens as an improvised Farraday cage on two talk radio programs in the last five days. And no, it wasn't Coast to Coast AM, Art Bell, or Alex Jones.

The theory is, if it keeps the micro wave radiation in when in use, it should keep whatever is inside safe from EMP radiation on the outside.

It does make sense, one of those things that make you go hmmm.

I may check out the thrift stores in the next few days.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:45 PM
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It really depends on the frequency bands in question. It should work, though I'd probably prefer a coated electronics bag.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:51 PM
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Thats a great idea. I see them on craigslist free all the time.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:54 PM
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It really depends on the frequency bands in question. It should work, though I'd probably prefer a coated electronics bag.
Good idea, put it in an electronics bag, then put it in the microwave oven.
Double insurance.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by k9lwt310 View Post
A good way to test it is to put a mobile device in the microwave and try to call it or send it data.
No, that's not a good way to test it. A mobile device is low powered and operates on a narrow frequency range. Neither of which apply to an EMP. If the door is facing away from a tower, it might not connect, but that doesn't mean it can't, only that it didn't.

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The theory is, if it keeps the micro wave radiation in when in use, it should keep whatever is inside safe from EMP radiation on the outside.
That's a pretty weak theory to base something as important as a Faraday cage on. Microwaves are high frequency focused in a narrow band. The door mesh is designed to block that frequency, but it doesn't filter everything else out. If the door was solid metal, it might have more of a chance. But the mesh is a disqualifier.

There have been a bunch of threads on this before. Some folks could even get their cell phone to ring in the microwave. I assume the door was facing a tower. Because they couldn't have transmitted through the solid metal of the body.
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by liebrecht View Post
I was asked by a friend......can microwaves be used as Farraday cages? I have no idea. Somebody had dead microwaves mounted to use as such. Gurus? Yes? No? Maybe? Thanks.

Liebrecht
My guess is, no. The waves used for cooking are fairly large and low powered, which is why a sheet of mesh and plastic in the door is all it takes to stop them from cooking you while you stand there waiting for your bowl of soup to warm up.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:42 PM
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The short answer is:

As far as faraday cages go, a microwave makes a poor cage but is WAY better than no protection at all.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ForceFed70 View Post
The short answer is:

As far as faraday cages go, a microwave makes a poor cage but is WAY better than no protection at all.
True... An EMP will vary in strength and diminish with range, and putting anything between your device(s) and the EMP will further weaken it.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:28 PM
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Faraday cages need to be grounded right?

If its plugged in to the wall, and your house is grounded that would make the microwave grounded.

To mount it randomly somewhere and not ground it... I dont think it will work as intended.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:32 PM
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Faraday cages need to be grounded right?

If its plugged in to the wall, and your house is grounded that would make the microwave grounded.

To mount it randomly somewhere and not ground it... I dont think it will work as intended.
Microwaves are grounded. I've not seen one in years that didn't have a 3 prong plug.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:35 PM
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It's our weekly "Faraday Cage and EMP Misinformation Thread."

Only large Faraday cages need to be grounded, small ones do not, and in fact it's a specialized thing, not easily done by the average person. An EMP is not a lightning strike and treating it as if it were will simply create a mechanism which is poor protection.

Also: A microwave oven is very unlikely to be an effective Faraday cage. Putting a cell phone in one and seeing if it still rings is only proof that the cellphone frequencies don't get through; it is not proof that the microwave will stop all the elements of an EMP.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:37 PM
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I would rather go with a couple of cardboard boxes and some aluminum foil than mess with an old microwave.

Mine will work better and be a whole lot cheaper.



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Old 07-14-2012, 05:53 AM
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[QUOTE=goose3;4381806]It's our weekly "Faraday Cage and EMP Misinformation Thread."
QUOTE]

Sorry if I offended you. I have no idea about them and was asking for a friend. EMPs will not affect my BOV as he has 4 hooves. And if all my electronics croak, oh well. I like my computer but it is not that important. Out here is close to SHTF living anyway<smile>.

Liebrecht
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by k9lwt310 View Post
A good way to test it is to put a mobile device in the microwave and try to call it or send it data.
Try it for yourself. FAIL.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by liebrecht View Post
I was asked by a friend......can microwaves be used as Farraday cages? I have no idea. Somebody had dead microwaves mounted to use as such. Gurus? Yes? No? Maybe? Thanks.

Liebrecht
First off, I am baffled by how many survivalists who are obsessed with Faraday cages and EMP. I truly don't get it.

The risk of an EMP wiping out home electronics, while certainly not impossible, is so far out there it borders on science fiction. I know a dude who has gone to ridiculous lengths to build shields and cages but can't be bothered to fix the $hitty sub-grade wiring in his house or replace his leaky 25 year old well pump.

Seriously guys, there are a million other things that are a greater danger than EMP. If you prepped to the point that all the other stuff is cared for, then go have fun messing with Faraday cages. Otherwise, reconsider your priorities.

Anyway, to answer your question: Microwave ovens probably are a reasonable form of protection. The screened door is a weakness but not a deal breaker. You can always line the inside of the door with sheet metal or tin foil. Make sure the piece is grounded to the rest of the unit, and the entire unit is grounded to earth with as short of a wire as possible.

Also, placing a cellphone inside a protected space and seeing if it loses service is not a legitimate test. Radio signals and EMP are not a one-for-one match. To really know if you are protected would require testing in a lab with some big-buck equipment. Any kind of home built EMP protection device is a leap of faith because you will not really know how effective it is until it's actually hit with a pulse.

About the author: Tevin is a electronics technician with over 20 years experience in communications/RF
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Tevin View Post
First off, I am baffled by how many survivalists who are obsessed with Faraday cages and EMP. I truly don't get it.
There are devices I'd like protect. For example, my emergency radio. My walkie-talkies (a huge force multiplier--I'd stock a dozen if I could afford it). My battery charger.

I also am building a FC for my digital reloading scale and my chronograph.

Quote:
The risk of an EMP wiping out home electronics, while certainly not impossible, is so far out there it borders on science fiction.
Nobody can quantify the probability or risk; further, it's probably more about international relations than it is about technology.

The US cares (if that's the right word) about Iran getting nuclear weapons because an EMP weapon, fired from a container ship off the coast of the US, would get the US out of the middle east by causing it to focus on its internal problems resulting from collapse promulgated by the EMP.

The idea that Iran would use such a weapon on Israel is IMO a mindless one; turning Israel into a radioactive wasteland helps the Palestinians not at all, and the resulting fallout will do neighboring countries a lot of harm--including Iran. Further, Israel has its own nuclear weapons which would almost certainly be used against Iran in retaliation.

Here are just two articles discussing this very kind of thing:

http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/iran-warn...g-great-event/

And why we care about North Korea's ballistic missile program:

http://www.newsmax.com/KenTimmerman/...6/16/id/400260


Quote:
Seriously guys, there are a million other things that are a greater danger than EMP. If you prepped to the point that all the other stuff is cared for, then go have fun messing with Faraday cages. Otherwise, reconsider your priorities.
A million other things that are a greater danger than EMP? I consider EMP as having a nontrivial probability. But I'd love to know how you decided there are a million things which are a greater danger. Maybe I'm overprepping. Maybe I should ignore it.

You and I quite obviously disagree on this, but I do agree with you that water, food, etc. are more important preps right off the bat than EMP protection. However, it is easy to use aluminum foil and cardboard boxes and make basic Faraday cages, which cost will be trivial, and which shouldn't much interfere with more basic preps.

Quote:
Anyway, to answer your question: Microwave ovens probably are a reasonable form of protection. The screened door is a weakness but not a deal breaker. You can always line the inside of the door with sheet metal or tin foil. Make sure the piece is grounded to the rest of the unit, and the entire unit is grounded to earth with as short of a wire as possible.
"probably a reasonable form of protection"??? C'mon. On what basis? Many who have tried them using cell phones have found they don't work. That's a real indictment of their reliability. How many have taken those microwave ovens and tested them right under a cellphone tower? Very few, I'll wager.

Maybe one would work if you were on the edge of the affected zone where intensities were less, but why would anyone put their trust in one?

Quote:
Also, placing a cellphone inside a protected space and seeing if it loses service is not a legitimate test. Radio signals and EMP are not a one-for-one match.
Exactly. This is what makes your prior paragraph so inexplicable to me. You note that radio signals and EMP are not a one-for-one match (and are they ever not a match), and yet you argue that microwave ovens are "probably a reasonable form of protection". I don't get it.

Quote:
To really know if you are protected would require testing in a lab with some big-buck equipment. Any kind of home built EMP protection device is a leap of faith because you will not really know how effective it is until it's actually hit with a pulse.
Using a microwave oven is a leap of faith.

Further, EMP is not the same everywhere you might be in relation to its source. It varies in intensity and a FC which might not be quite enough in one place may work in another.

Here are some links to articles which explain more about EMP:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_K_Project

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_pulse
http://www.futurescience.com/emp/E1-E2-E3.html
http://www.futurescience.com/emp/emp-grounding.html
http://www.futurescience.com/emp/EMP-myths.html
http://www.futurescience.com/emp.html
http://www.futurescience.com/emp.html#listing
http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2006/0...ear-space.html
http://www.futurescience.com/emp/emp-notes.html

Last edited by goose3; 07-14-2012 at 08:51 AM.. Reason: Remove snarkiness.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Tevin View Post
First off, I am baffled by how many survivalists who are obsessed with Faraday cages and EMP. I truly don't get it.
It's all the rhubarb created by One Second After, combined with misinformation. Just as Patriots have a lot of people convinced there MUST be an economic collapse... even though they don't know what that means... or how it would come about... or even really WHY it would come about... OSA makes people think an EMP is something any nation or group could pull off perfectly with devastating effects. Combine that with people thinking it's some sort of 'magic' that will turn off all technology, even flashlight batteries and the gunpowder in bullets, and you've got something that drives many into a frenzy.

Also, if a microwave oven COULD be easily used as a Faraday cage, that would be one more bit of protection people would have in the event such a thing DID happen. It's a random request for information as to whether this is possible. Asked over and over.
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