Dear Fellow Survivalist;
Of all the potential disasters we face, none has sparked modern imaginations as much as the threat of an EMP. Sadly, while the threat of an EMP is grave, little is understood about it. That makes for a lot of exaggeration and false information being spread around. While an EMP would cause massive problems, as noted in the EMP commission report, some things would surprisingly survive.
An EMP normally considered to be a byproduct of a nuclear explosion; but that’s not the only place they come from. Solar storms can produce EMPs, as well as sudden discharges of electrical energy. While the EMP caused by discharges of electrical energy are not big enough to cause major damage, they help us to have a better understanding of EMP and its effects.
You can actually build a small-scale EMP generator fairly easily; all that’s needed is an old camera flash and a few other items. This won’t be big enough to cause an TEOTWAWKI event, but it will be big enough to play with and gain a better understanding of EMP.
To build it, take apart a camera flash or a camera that has an integral flash. A separate flash will work better, as it is usually larger and has larger capacitors. What you’re looking for is the circuit board that controls the flash (or the camera) and the capacitor for the flash. The capacitor will look like a little milk can, connected to the circuit board with a couple of wires.
Before removing it, look to see where the battery pack attaches to the circuit card, where the wires are to go to the flash bulb and where the switches are. There are two switches, one to turn the flash on and off and a momentary switch which will make it flash.
This card is going to form the backbone of your EMP generator, but you’ll need a few other parts. First of all, you’ll need a batter pack that holds the same number of AA batteries as the flash originally used. Then you’ll need switches to replace the on/off switch and fire switch, unless they came out with the circuit board. Finally, you’ll need a coil of some sort.
A coil is literally nothing more than a coil of wire. You can find them in many old radios. There are two basic designs. The first is a donut shape, with the wire wrapped around the donut. The second is a spool, with wire wrapped around it, like a spool of thread for sewing. Both will have a magnet in the middle, in fact, with the donut shaped one, the donut is a magnet.
If you can’t find a coil, you can make one. Simply take a bar magnet or a ceramic donut shaped magnet and wrap as much solid copper wire (not stranded) as you can around it. The wire that is normally used is uninsulated, but lacquered. The lacquer acts as the insulation in this case. But you’ll probably be better off using insulated wire, simply so that you don’t short out your coil.
To turn all this into an EMP generator, you’ll need to do a bit of soldering. Don’t try putting it together by twisting wires together or holding them in place with electrical tape. That won’t work for the levels of electricity that you need. Solder the battery holder to the contacts on the board that were originally attached to the battery holder in the flash, being sure to keep the polarity correct. Solder the coil in place of the flash bulb and the switches to replace the originals. Polarity is not important for the coil or the switches.
Now all you’ve got to do is mount everything together in a small plastic box, what they call a “project box.” These are commonly used by people who make their own electronic devices, whether in an engineering laboratory or a home hobby shop. You can get them from any electronic parts supply.
As an option, you may want to mount the coil on the outside of the box, putting it on a mast that puts it several inches away from the box. This will allow you to be more specific as to where you place the EMP. If you do this make sure that your mast is either non-metallic or that it is insulated, so that it doesn’t short out the coil.
Your miniature EMP generator is ready to use. Put some batteries in it, turn it on and allow it to charge up. Most flashes have a LED that turns on once the capacitor is charged, so you’ll know when it’s ready to use.
To test your EMP generator, turn on a transistor radio and hold he coil end of your EMP generator close to it. If the radio has an external antenna, hold the coil close to the antenna. Push the button and see what happens to the radio. Be careful not to touch the coil when you push the button, or you will probably receive a nasty shock.
You should hear a rather forceful static discharge through the speaker of the radio. That’s the EMP being received by the radio. So, now that you have a working EMP generator, play around with it and see how it affects other electronics in your home. It shouldn’t be strong enough to destroy anything, but you should see some effects from it.
Have fun. Until the next time we meet, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.
P.S. By the way, if you destroy anything messing around with your EMP generator, it’s not my fault.
P.P.S.: BTW here’s a great guide to surviving an EMP: www. DarkestOmen.com