I just read “BlogRot’s” excellent 2013 article on “How to Build A Faraday Cage in a Few Easy Steps” that you hosted on your website. It generated a lot of comments and raised a lot of good discussion regarding EMP. There’s so much to know. I ran across this article while researching a question that came up in another article recently published on The Prepper Journal: Standby Generators for Use During Power Outages.
The question I have for anyone with the answer is this: How would a generator Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) fare in an EMP event?
I am torn as I ponder and weigh the variables I come up with. For example, on the one hand, the electronics are contained in an all-metal “box” (is that not a “Faraday Cage” in itself?) But on the other hand, the contents of that metal box are literally hard-wired to the grid, or could be for that instant before the Main Breaker is commanded open isolating the house electrical system from the grid, following an instability or interruption of “street power”.
Other considerations include the fact that that the wiring (to the Main Distribution Panel) within the box is grounded, as are the circuits in the house electrical system. Also, the controller’s normal source of power — while in its “standby state” — is indeed street power, although a small backup battery supports operation of the electronics during the brief moment after the system is isolated from street power (to prevent backfeeding) while the generator is coming up to speed, but before picking up generator power. These are questions far above my pay grade and expertise, and I would appreciate any help or other guidance you could provide.
A corollary question is this: How would the generator connected to that Automatic Transfer Switch fare in an EMP event?
My gut tells me that the answer to both questions is that it could go either way — bad or good — perhaps depending on the duration of the EMP event (is it a discreet event lasting a mere fraction of a second, or is it a repetitive pulse occurring over a protracted period of time?)
Seems to me that if the EMP event were a single, brief (if massive) burst of energy that disrupted the Electrical Grid, the ATS “brain”, upon sensing instability in voltage and/or frequencies of “Street Power”, would instantaneously attempt to command the Main Breaker to open, disconnecting and isolating the house electrical system from “Street Power”. If the EMP event ended soon enough, that is, before the ATS commanded the now-operating generator’s breaker to close and re-power the house, things might just be “ok”…with the EMP event over, conditions would(?) resemble those following a simple “street power” failure.
But if the EMP event lasted long enough for the Generator Breaker to close, connecting generator power to the house and its components while the EMP event was still taking place, then maybe — probably — not so ok. Since I’m no Electrical Engineer, I know I could be way off with my reasoning, and could probably be overlooking other important factors.
Again, any guidance you could provide would be welcome and sincerely appreciated.
Thank you very much for all you do.