Wednesday, August 4, 2010

EMP Pulse Event

Will an EMP Blast/Pulse Event Disable Your Vehicles or Generators?

Here is another topic that is grossly misunderstood and hyped by doomsday prophets as an end all major disaster should we experience an EMP event. Should we make special efforts to shield our vehicles electronics from a potential EMP Pulse Event? The short answer is NO!

If your vehicle is not running at the time of the event it will not be affected and will start right up. A very small percentage of vehicles that are running during the event may stall but almost all start right up again.

View the 181 page complete test review at this link: 
The auto testing results begins on page 112 of this report. They tested a sample of 37 cars. Below is an excerpt from the report. Read the full report, it is enlightening on this all too misunderstood event.

The potential EMP vulnerability of automobiles derives from the use of built-in electronics that support multiple automotive functions. Electronic components were first introduced into automobiles in the late 1960s. As time passed and electronics technologies evolved, electronic applications in automobiles proliferated. Modern automobiles have as many as 100 microprocessors that control virtually all functions. While electronic applications have proliferated within automobiles, so too have application standards and
electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility (EMI/EMC) practices.

Thus, while it might be expected that increased EMP vulnerability would accompany the proliferated electronics applications, this trend, at least in part, is mitigated by the increased application of EMI/EMC practices.

We tested a sample of 37 cars in an EMP simulation laboratory, with automobile vintages ranging from 1986 through 2002. Automobiles of these vintages include extensive electronics and represent a significant fraction of automobiles on the road today. The testing was conducted by exposing running and non-running automobiles to sequentially increasing EMP field intensities. If anomalous response (either temporary or permanent) was observed, the testing of that particular automobile was stopped. If no anomalous response was observed, the testing was continued up to the field intensity limits of the simulation capability (approximately 50 kV/m).

Automobiles were subjected to EMP environments under both engine turned off and engine turned on conditions. No effects were subsequently observed in those automobiles that were not turned on during EMP exposure. The most serious effect observed on running automobiles was that the motors in three cars stopped at field strengths of approximately 30 kV/m or above. In an actual EMP exposure, these vehicles would glide to a stop and require the driver to restart them. Electronics in the dashboard of one automobile
were damaged and required repair. Other effects were relatively minor. Twenty-five automobiles exhibited malfunctions that could be considered only a nuisance (e.g., blinking dashboard lights) and did not require driver intervention to correct. Eight of the 37 cars tested did not exhibit any anomalous response.

Based on these test results, we expect few automobile effects at EMP field levels below 25 kV/m. Approximately 10 percent or more of the automobiles exposed to higher field levels may experience serious EMP effects, including engine stall, that require driver intervention to correct. We further expect that at least two out of three automobiles on the road will manifest some nuisance response at these higher field levels. The serious malfunctions could trigger car crashes on U.S. highways; the nuisance malfunctions could
exacerbate this condition. The ultimate result of automobile EMP exposure could be triggered crashes that damage many more vehicles than are damaged by the EMP, the consequent loss of life, and multiple injuries.

As is the case for automobiles, the potential EMP vulnerability of trucks derives from the trend toward increasing use of electronics. We assessed the EMP vulnerability of trucks using an approach identical to that used for automobiles. Eighteen running and non-running trucks were exposed to simulated EMP in a laboratory. The intensity of the EMP fields was increased until either anomalous response was observed or simulator limits were reached. The trucks ranged from gasoline-powered pickup trucks to large diesel-powered tractors. Truck vintages ranged from 1991 to 2003.

Chapter 6. Transportation Infrastructure 116

Of the trucks that were not running during EMP exposure, none were subsequently affected during our test. Thirteen of the 18 trucks exhibited a response while running. Most seriously, three of the truck motors stopped. Two could be restarted immediately, but one required towing to a garage for repair. The other 10 trucks that responded exhibited relatively minor temporary responses that did not require driver intervention to correct. Five of the 18 trucks tested did not exhibit any anomalous response up to field strengths of approximately 50 kV/m.

Based on these test results, we expect few truck effects at EMP field levels below approximately 12 kV/m. At higher field levels, 70 percent or more of the trucks on the road will manifest some anomalous response following EMP exposure. Approximately 15 percent or more of the trucks will experience engine stall, sometimes with permanent damage that the driver cannot correct.

Similar to the case for automobiles, the EMP impact on trucks could trigger vehicle crashes on U.S. highways. As a result, many more vehicles could be damaged than those damaged directly by EMP exposure.”


  1. There are several scenarios of an EMP hit. We all hope for the minimal impact but I'd prefer to prep for the worst.
    The tests run here maxed at 50 kV/m. What if that were exceeded by who knows what?
    Personally, I Faraday cage back up electronic devices including a lap top, SW radio, inverters, ignition components for small motors and vehicles and many other vulnerable items. They as well as larger items like generators are stored in an aluminum shed that is heavily grounded with copper rods 6 foot deep. I also keep grounded a jeep we primarily use for snow plowing.
    Most people don't want to even think about the possibility much less comprehend the devastation that would occur for EMP.
    Get your beans, bullets and band aids first but don't ignore preps for the effects of an EMP cuz your very life could depend on it.
    Just my 2 cents...

  2. I'm with your previous commenter. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and put on the static strap. You're only out $5, but the benefits could be enormous.

    And to add to his concerns about the low voltage of the tests in your cited article, they only tested vehicles thru 2002... that's a small percentage of what's on the road now. Things are FAR more advanced than they were ten years ago, with GPS, the wiring of everything to the same computer chips, etc.

    Living Prepared... means getting the grounding strap.

  3. Anon 9:53

    Unfortunately there are no current tests available to the public using today’s modern and dedicated to EMP atomic weapons. However, I fear for the worse because everyone who develops atomic weapons has had time to develop the more purposeful EMP weaponry. My opinion is, this will be the weapon of choice to collapse the USA to the point it will be easy to takeover by even a small amount of ground troops. Think about it,,,, every electronic device; auto computers, semi computers, cell phones, home computers, land line telephones, the electric grid and so on can be burned out in an instant, especially everything fed by above ground power line wires.

    Yes, I believe a grounding strap is necessary for your stored electronic devices within a metal storage container. But for the common car it will have no benefit.

    With that said, I do know and understand that the EMP Pulse is most effective when it passes around an exposed long wire such as 3 feet in length. When the pulse passes around that wire length it generates an electric pulse just like a generator that can be many times more than 12 or 120 volts the device uses. The voltage spike could be, let’s say 1,000 volts. That spike back fed into a computer or home will fry the sensitive electronics rendering them useless.

    This is a topic that opens doors for much speculation by the uninformed magazine readers and that’s fine. However, EMP is real and can be really devastating stuff.

    Hope this helps.


Your thoughts are welcome!