Searching for a New Generator

This article appeared a couple of years ago but was lost in the “crash”, I am rebuilding it from notes with some editing.

So I am looking for a higher capacity generator than my Honda U2000i.

Here are some things I am looking for:

  1. Affordable
  2. 4,000 – 5,000 running watts.
  3. Dual fuel (gasoline & propane).
  4. Electric start.
  5. 30a RV plug.
  6. 2 x 110 – 120v household outlet (15a or greater).

Here are some things that I would like:

  1. Quiet run technology.
  2. Inverter power

Here are some things that would be icing on the cake:

  1. 240v outlet
  2. Remote start.

After the house is done the unit will probably sit in a corner of the shop somewhere gathering dust and not used much. Maybe a back-up to my solar system. Or rather, a back-up to my back-up. My Honda will be my first back-up.

I did think about a “companion” to my Honda EU2000i, effectively doubling my power capability. But I decided against it due to other considerations.

I also wasn’t real worried about noise…I have my Honda EU2000i for “stealth” running but I also don’t want to be heard in the next county over…or maybe even at the next property over.

So after a lot of searching and comparing and reading reviews I went with the Champion Model #100302 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter.

The good, bad, & ugly:

  1. Afford it at $565.
  2. 3500 running watts…500 – 1500 watts lower than I was looking for.
  3. Not factory ready for propane, but a conversion kit exists,
  4. Not electric start but all reviewers claim 1 – 2 easy pulls and it starts Evey time.
  5. 30a RV plug
  6. Two 15a 3-prong household style outlets
  7. Quiet run technology
  8. Inverter style
  9. No electric start
  10. No remote start

Here are the specs and info on the unit…

  • Advanced Open Frame Inverter Design – 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional Champion 3500-watt generator, plus our Economy Mode feature saves fuel and extends engine life,
  • No GFCI Outlets
  • Quiet Technology and Extended Run Time – 64 dBA is great for RVs, tailgating, your next project or home backup, with 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts for up to 17 hours run time on gasoline
    Clean electricity for sensitive electronics
  • RV Ready with a 120V 30A RV, plus two 120V 20A household outlets with clean power (less than 3% THD) and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter
  • Parallel Ready – Increase your power output by connecting up to two 2800-watt or higher inverter or digital hybrid with the optional Parallel Kit
  • Champion Support – Includes 3-year limited warranty with FREE lifetime technical support from dedicated experts.
  • No Voltmeter.
  • Voltage: 120V AC and 12V DC
  • Start Type: Manual
  • Engine: 224cc Champion OHV
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Quick Touch Panel – all controls on one panel
  • Economy Mode – save fuel, extend engine life

I followed the break-in procedure to the letter. I used a hair dryer for the “load”, using the various wattage settings on the hair dryer to successively increase the load on the generator for each break-in phase. I also changed to the high altitude carburetor jet. The customer service folks were very helpful getting that to me for free.

With the initial addition of the crankcase oil I added a tablespoon of Lucas Oil TB Zinc Plus. Most oil today has zinc processed out of it. But, zinc is a really good oil additive that helps lubricate an engine…especially helpful with small engines to extend their life.

After the initial break-in I used fully synthetic oil. I also use Lucas Oil TB Zinc Plus with every engine oil change.


Update #1 – About a month after the generator purchase…

I wavered on buying the wheel kit or not. I’ve never been a big fan of those cheap, mostly useless, wheels on things like generators, etc. They never seem to be right for what I want to do. But, I had to be able to move the generator around easily since I will be using it at my house-building job site and later when I need to roll it out as a back-up power supply. So I had to do something.

Then I remembered being at a nursery and using a cool cart to move my plants around. So i researched it out and found this…

It cost $127 but I felt it would be worth it. I was right. When I was done mounting the generator to the cart my rig looks like this…

For the first two weeks I used the generator at the job site. It powered everything from air compressors to AC units. I used it from 6 – 12 hours per day, every day.

Here are my findings:

  1. The generator was worth every penny!
  2. It never failed to start on the first pull.
  3. It ran everything I plugged into it.
  4. It is better on gas than I thought.
  5. I would mount the generator in the middle of the cart next time. It is off-balance mounted so far to the rear of the cart.

I am immensely pleased with the generator! I think it is a fantastic unit and will hold up just fine if I do my part to change oil, etc.

Just for the record…I always had been a Honda Guy. I felt nothing was better or could even compete with a Honda. I have to admit…I was wrong. Well, at least so far.

Honda doesn’t make a 4kw inverter generator so I can’t make a comparison. But, I can tell you this…Honda’s 3kw (25% less power) costs about $2300…yup, over 4 times more than my Champion. So I can’t complain. Yes, that means I can own 4 Champions, have more power, and have paid less than a single Honda.

And now here is what I am thinking…I am considering buying a second Champion unit. Champion makes a parallel kit to hook them up and effectively double the output to 8kw of power. Not only would I have massive power generating capability I would have a back-up for my essential needs.

And yes…That means I would have about $1200 or so invested in 7kw of power. And yes…If I went Honda that means I would have spent over $4000.

Final thought…I am pleased with my Champion generator! I think it was a very good investment. It does everything I want it to. I think it was money very well spent. And I would do it again. Actually, I am thinking I will.

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TIP: Lucas Oil TB Zinc Plus for Small Engines

This “tip” came to me from a very experienced, completely competent, marvelous small engine mechanic.

Small engine application – 1 table spoon per engine oil change. Most oil today has zinc processed out of it. But, zinc is a really good oil additive that helps lubricate an engine…especially helpful with small engines to extend their life.

Vehicle application – Lucas Oil TB Zinc Plus is a zinc additive for engine oil. Its designed for engines with no catalytic converter in the exhaust. This product is also used as an engine “break-in” additive for newly built engines. For non-race, vehicle applications, one bottle will usually treat two oil changes. Some race-engine applications require the entire bottle. Classic cars (depending on oil capacity) require approximately 2,100 PPM (Parts Per Million) zinc in the oil.

Note #1: The is meant for 4 stroke crank cases. In a 2 stroke, you don’t want any non-combustibles in the mixture as it will gum up everything, and likely damage the motor.
Note #2: diesel oil should have the higher zinc content that is required, such as Shell Rotella 15w-40. You can still use this Lucas product, just don’t over do it on quantity.

Note #3: It does not thicken the oil.

 

 

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MFJ-4416B Battery Booster

MFJ-4416B BATTERY VOLTAGE BOOSTERMFJ-4416B battery voltage boosterI really have mixed emotions and opinions on this piece of equipment. In one aspect this is a great piece of equipment that can play an important part of a prepper’s power equipment inventory. On the other hand, it can destroy perfectly good batteries that are expensive to replace. That left me in a tug-of-war on the overall recommendation on this piece of equipment. So I will leave my “buy or no-buy” recommendation till the very end of the article.

First let me describe what this this gem does. The whole concept of this “battery booster’ is to do just that…boost low battery voltage levels to more operational levels for your electronic needs. Specifically, your radio operational needs. Here are the specifics on how it does that.

Your radio has voltage needs for power. My Yeasu FT-8900R needs a little over 10 vDC to continue to operate. MFJ-4416B battery voltage boosterBelow that and it will automatically shut down. That can be a bad thing if you need to stay on the air. So the MFJ-4416B steps in to handle that situation.

The 4416B is designed to take DC voltage as low as 9 vDC and boost it to the level that is required by your equipment. So take the example of my Yaesu FT-8900R, it needs 10+ vDC but the battery is only putting out 9.2vDC. The MJF-4416B boosts that voltage up to a usable level, 11 or 12 vDC (user selectable).

The two most basic elements of this unit are; 1) available voltage going into the unit, and 2) the level of voltage the unit can output. The 4416B can accept voltages as low as 9vDC. It can also be set to output voltages between 11 and 13.8 vDC. If you set the output voltage at 12, any voltage greater than 12v will pass though vs. being stepped-down.

But here is an interesting twist…there is an RF sensor built into the unit. Let me back-track for a minute. Your radio draws a fraction of the power when in receive mode vs. transmit mode. So you really don’t need to “boost” voltage/power when receiving. The RF sensor allows the unit’s regulator to be by-passed unless you are transmitting when the most voltage/power is needed the most. The RF sensor connection is nothing more than a “T” placed inline with your antenna coax and hooked to the 4416B.

There is also a built-in user adjustable feature of a LVD (low voltage disconnect). The LVD option can be set at 9, 10, or 11 volts. I like this added feature. A stand-alone LVD can easily run $50 – $90.

Here is the downside, if you run a SLA AGM battery down to even 11 volts you have damaged the battery and reduced the lifespan of that battery (reduced recharge cycles). If you run down a regular lead acid battery to 10 or 11 volts you are probably OK. You run them down to 9 volts and you’ve just shorted their life considerably.

Here is the upside, if you are running alkaline batteries the 9v input capability (LVD) just gained you a MFJ-4416B battery voltage boostersignificant additional amount of life out of your battery. Who cares how low you run an alkaline battery down to. The alkaline battery only has one life anyways, you might as well squeeze every last minute of operating time out it while you can.

And there is another upside as well, if you are really, really needing the operational time from your radio and you just have to keep it up and running, the booster will allow you to do that. So you will get additional operational time out of your batteries; albeit, you may destroy them in the process. But, it might be worth it.

While doing my research I did find some not-so-complimentary issues with “noise” going out, especially when using the RF sensor. However, those issues were all over 6 years old or more. And from what I can tell it was all with the original version of the 4416 not the 4416B version which is what I tested. I did a quick search and couldn’t find any vendor still selling the original version. Although you might see one come up on eBay, I doubt anything other than the “B” version is being sold.

An interesting side-benefit to using this booster is kind of interesting. Radios generate heat based on incoming voltage among other things. If a radio can operate on 12v it will generally run cooler at 12v vs. 13.8v. With the 4416B you can use your batteries at 12v, the 4416 booster set at 13.8v in conjunction with the RF sensor. So anything 12v or over passes through while in non-transmitting mode. But at 12v your radio is in receive mode at 12v, it is not being automatically being boosted to 13.8v. Well, not being boosted to 13.8v until you hit the PTT key. While transmitting the 4416 will boost to 13.8v to give you maximum output wattage and then return to whatever your battery is putting out (12v or greater). Nice way to keep your radio a bit cooler.

MFJ-4416B-remoteThere is a remote control option available for this battery booster. Sweet little set-up for convenience sake should you choose to go with this battery booster. MFJ-4416BRC gives you full remote control of your MFJ-4416B Super Battery Booster plus it allows you to monitor battery voltage and battery booster output voltage.

You can place the battery booster near your battery or other convenient location close to your radio. The MFJ-4416BRC lets you turn booster and low battery alert on and off. It has boosting and low battery LEDs to let you know what is going on with the booster.

It requires a Cat-5 cable to connect the remote to the battery booster. It measures a compact 5″w x 2″d x 3″h and mounts with 4 screws. I think this is an absolute “must-have” if you are using the booster for your primary rig. Just makes sense to monitor what is going on with your power. If you are using the 4416B to begin with, you obviously have a serious need. Why not be able to monitor exactly what is going on with your batteries and your booster; performance monitoring.

So here is where I would use the MFJ-4416B battery booster:

  1. When my rechargeable batteries wouldn’t be harmed running down to 9, 10 or 11 volts (user selectable).
  2. When I was boosting alkaline batteries and they were throw-a-ways once I was done with them.
  3. If I had to keep my radio up and running, even when battery voltage was running low. This would be an emergency operations type of situation.
  4. I was in procession of a decent supply of 12v rechargeable batteries, car batteries or similar.

Here is where I would not use the MFJ-4416B battery booster:

  1. I was running AGM, SLA batteries that would be harmed by over-discharging them.
  2. I would not use this booster in any other situation or application other than to keep a radio up and running. I can’t think of any other piece of electronic gear that would be worth potentially destroying 12v rechargeable batteries.

I like the product and own it. Obviously, or I wouldn’t be able to do a review on it. But, the usage of a battery booster is limited in scope and focus. Using it in the wrong application can cause you to spend a whole lot of money replacing your AGM, SLA batteries. And in disaster, emergencies and during “grid-down” batteries might be a bit hard to come by.

Technical Information –
  • Battery Booster Width: 7.750 in.
  • Battery Booster Height: 4.000 in.
  • Battery Booster Depth: 2.125 in.
  • Battery Booster Weight: 1.30 lbs.
Sales Pitch (straight from the website) –

Keeps your transceiver operating at full efficiency and performance by eliminating low or marginal voltages in the mobile environment.  MFJ 4416B super battery boosters keep your transceiver operating at full efficiency and performance by eliminating low or marginal voltages in the mobile environment. They accomplish this by boosting input voltages as low as 9 V up to the desired 13.8 V at 25 amps peak with a typical efficiency of close to 90 percent. Even at their compact, lightweight 1.3 lbs., they are designed to be rugged, reliable, and easy to use. The MFJ 4416B super battery boosters include Anderson PowerPole connectors and high-current, 5-way binding posts for both the DC input and regulated output. An internal 30 amp input fuse protects them from excess output current demands. There are also selectable limits on the minimum voltage that can be accepted, protecting you from over-discharging a battery and possibly damaging it. They also include output over-voltage crowbar protection, should regulation be lost. An RF sampling port can be connected to your transceiver’s transmission line with a UHF-T connector, which is sold separately. An additional efficiency enhancement feature is a user-adjustable output voltage control, which lets you set the output voltage anywhere between 12 and 13.8 V. When setting the output at 12 V, input voltages greater than 12 V will pass through, but the efficiency of the regulator is higher, and lower input voltage means that your transceiver will run cooler. They typically save over 30 watts in heat dissipation during transmit, and even 3-4 watts during receive.

 

 

 

 

 

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Connecting Batteries in Series or Parallel

hooking batteries together in parallel or seriesWhy connect batteriestogether at all?  There are times when you need power for a longer period of time. Or, you need double the voltage that you get from a single battery.

Here’s the rule – series doubles the voltage, parallel provides longer power.

“But how am I supposed to connect my battery if I want to double the capacity but not the voltage?”

It can be confusing if you’ve never done it, but hopefully this will make it easier. Let’s give you a picture to show how it is done –

Connecting in Series

When connecting your batteries in series you are doubling the voltage while maintaining the same capacity rating (amp hours). Just use a jumper wire of sufficient gauge (usually 2 – 8) between the negative of the first battery and the positive of the second battery. Run your negative wire off of the open connector from the first battery and your positive off of the open connector on your second battery.

Connecting Battery in series

Connecting in Parallel

When connecting in parallel you are doubling the capacity (amp hours) of the battery while maintaining the same voltage individual batteries. Just use a jumper wire of sufficient gauge (usually 2 – 8) between the positives of both batteries and another jumper wire between the negatives of both batteries. Connect your positive and negative wires to the same battery to run to your application.

Connecting Battery in ParallelNotes:

  1. Try to use the same brand and model batteries whenever possible.
  2. Don’t put more power to your equipment than is stated by the manufacturer. You could easily blow your equipment up.
  3. Use heavy enough wire for connections. Usually 2 – 8 gauge is sufficient.

 

 

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Do you have enough candles stored away?

emergency candles for disasters and grid-downnote: article first appeared in August 2015

I have a number of preparedness friends that talk to me about their generators. I listen patiently and allow them to go on and on about how their generators can run their house, run their air conditioning or run their freezer for some number of days. I invariably ask the question, “Then what?”

They seldom have a good answer.

My point is, why have a generator for household needs? There are some exceptions but I consider those exceptions to fall mostly into the medical category. The most notable exception would be battery charging. And battery charging only when your solar charging system can’t recharge your batteries. And I am only talking batteries to run your Ham radios, handheld radios or power boxes to run mobile radios. And, maybe your AAA & AA battery chargers that already aren’t solar powered.

What the heck am I really saying and what does that have to do with candles?

OK, I am not a fan of generators unless they have a very specific purpose and a very, very limited mission. Example: powering a Ham radio. I am not a fan of generators for general purpose electric generation and certainly not for “lights.”

Read this : TRAP – Generators can get you unwanted attention. < click here to read the brief article >

Hence my tie to candles. I am a big believer in candles.Candles for emergency lighting

I firmly believe that you can use candles for 99% of your true lighting needs during emergencies and disasters. And for grid-down I am not sure you have any viable long-term alternatives. So how many candles do you have stored?

First of all let’s define the two levels of candle needs; 1) short-term for emergencies and disasters, 2) long-term for grid-down.

Short-term needs are pretty easy to meet. Calculate the maximum number of days you feel an emergency or disaster could knockout the power. Then figure how many hours each day that you would need light from those candles. You would have to figure-in the activities requiring the candle light (i.e. reading). Then take the number of hours per day of need X the number of days expected. Take that number and add 50% to it for a margin of error and unexpected issues.

If you expected a 3 hour per night need and you expected the power could be off for a maximum of 10 days then you would need 30 hours of candle use. But, then add in the 50% margin of error and that number bumps to 45 120 hour emergency candleshours of need. Now just go buy the right sized candle with the appropriate expected burn time. You can buy 115 & 120 hour emergency candles out on the Internet for $8 – $12. So you should be able to meet your needs easily and economically.

Sound pretty simple, yes? And it is.

Emergency candles come in one basic form, so-called “paraffin.” But paraffin comes in two basic forms in relation Candles at hobby lobbyto emergency candles, liquid and solid. You are probably most familiar with solid paraffin candles, just walk into Hobby Lobby.

Liquid paraffin is actually more efficient when it comes to lighting. But don’t confuse “liquid paraffin” with “solid paraffin” at all. While theoretically they are both hydrocarbons, you can’t make traditional candles out of liquid paraffin. and you can’t make liquid paraffin by melting candles. Liquid paraffin is actually highly refined kerosene. It is referred to as lamp-oil in many places.

But between the two, it is mostly cost that drives the purchases. Then storage capability. Get the most burn-time for your hard-earned money for candles you can safely store.

Couple thoughts:

  • Watch for garage sales, estate sales or church rummage sales. Sometimes regular everyday candles can be bought for a fraction of the cost of those in stores.
  • Keep an eye on “dollar stores.”  They sell some pretty big candles for $1 from time-to-time. Just buy one of the big candles, take it home, and test it for burn-time. Go back and buy as many as you can if you get good burn-time out of them.
  • Candle-03Some of the preparedness websites regularly have both kinds of emergency candles on sale. https://www.foodinsurance.com/ has them onsale for $5.59 when you buy 12. That is 1200 hours of candle light for $67.00
  • I bought and use ReadyCANDLE from https://www.foodinsurance.com. They are inexpensive when bought on sale and ready to use when needed. They give out lots of light and they are not the hassle of a regular candle.

However, what about long-term “grid-down” needs?  That becomes whole new ball game when you can’t continue to buy regular or liquid candles. In a future post I will go into detail about making your own candles with nothing special other than what you already will have on-hand. But for now, think in terms of homemade candles…

Candle-08

Candle-07emergency candles made out of crisco

 

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Will we really be hit with an EMP? (part #2)

EMP Strikenote: article first appeared in December 2015

In part #1 yesterday I laid out the case for the probability of an EMP strike on America. I started laying out the case for the severity of the impact of such a strike. This article, Part #2, finish up on the impact severity, and end with what you can do to mitigate the EMP threat.

It is probably a good idea to read Part #1 first if you haven’t already done so.

Severity –

The experts and planners really don’t know for sure just what the extent of and EMP blast effects might be. Yes, there are books written talking about a 90% die-off in the first year. But, they are writers not experts in EMP warfare, they are novel authors.

I had the opportunity to talk to a 40 year expert that worked for Motorola and was a professor of electronics at a major university. We discussed the EMP potential. He explained to me that all their own testing was different than the hype and scare that we hear about in the media and read about in the books.

He was referring to all the post-EMP books hyping pre-computer controlled cars. Granted, vehicles with all the EMP resistant BOVdifferent computer technology would be far more susceptible to being rendered useless by an EMP strike. So some cars beginning in the mid-70’s began using integrated circuits, actual computer modules were about 3 – 5 years later. Obviously any vehicle without an integrated circuit board or computer module would be far less susceptible to damage from an EMP strike.

He went on to explain that not even the cars with computers that were all “zapped” had died an electronic death. The EMP pulses that they tested with only killed about 60 – 70% of cars with computers. I found that very interesting. He explained that sometimes all they had to do was disconnect a battery and the car would survive just fine. And not all the batteries were automatically destroyed by the pulses either. So the outcome for vehicle transportation may not be as dreadful as some would lead us to believe.

Electronics were a little different in their testing. If electronics weren’t protected they usually got wiped out. But, they also discovered that protecting the delicate electronics wasn’t all that difficult. They found the concept was to direct the energy of the pulse around the electronic gadget not allowing any of the energy to come in contact with the piece of equipment.

When I asked him how difficult it was, he chuckled and said, “Not very.” He told me that placing electronics in a metal box on insulated material should be just fine.

To me the operative word was “should.”

He said there was no way to conclusively say what kind of metal box worked all the time. And the reason is the EMP pulse itself. The energy flows through the air at different frequencies. The key was to block that specific frequency of energy associated with that specific EMP blast. And he also told me that there couldn’t be any gaps in the metal box, a tight metallic seal was paramount.

By then my eyes were kind of glazing over, I was getting lost. Then he said it was pretty simple to test. He said take an FM radio, tune it to a clearly heard station, and turn the volume up. Then place it in your metal box on insulated material. Slowly start to close the lid. If the radio reception died away and you could no longer hear the radio then the box was blocking the energy frequency of most EMP pulses.

He did qualify that by saying that to the best of their knowledge at that time EMP, energy pulse frequencies were roughly that of FM stations. And that is why if you could block the FM reception, you could block the pulse energy. And technically you weren’t blocking the energy pulse. The metal box was moving the energy pulse around the outside of the box not allowing the energy to come into contact with the radio’s antenna.

He also said it would be a good idea to remove the battery and the antenna from the radio. That would further assist in keep the energy out of the radio since both of those items attracted energy. We talked about wrapping the radio in a layer of insulation and he thought it would help if there were no gaps in the wrapping.

Faraday Cages –

We talked about Faraday Cages for awhile, he was not impressed. He thought they were overrated and pretty Farday Cage protection against EMPmuch was just a fancy and more expensive version of a metal box. He even mentioned that a garbage can with no holes or cracks, with a tight fitting lid, and lined with a non-conductive material could accomplish the same thing…maybe even far better.

The idea was simply to keep the energy from entering or contacting the piece of electronic gear that you were trying to protect.

A Faraday Cage was simply a fancy metal mesh box, that might not work as well as a metal container such as a garbage can mentioned a minute ago. We again talked about steel garbage cans with a plastic lining (i.e. a plastic garbage can) as an option. He said that would probably be just fine if the garbage can lid was tight fitting and let no gaps in the lid’s seal. We talked a little more and he liked my idea of using crumpled up aluminum foil as a “gasket” to ensure that there was no gap at all between the lid and the garbage can lip.

Layer after layer –

After thinking it through for awhile I talked with another buddy of mine, a serious and intelligent prepper. And the qualifications to be called such. We talked for awhile about EMP strikes and the potential for damage. Mostly sticking to how to protect radio equipment from damage.

When as was said and done we decided that we would wrap our gear in non-conductive material ensuring that there were no gaps. Then wrap that bundle in aluminum foil without gaps or open seems. So, imagine a bubble-wrap envelope sealed tight with clear shipping tape. Then that bundle is wrapped tightly with aluminum foil with absolutely no gaps in the wrapping.

Then use the non-conducting bubble wrap again, then another foil wrap, and then finish them off with a final layer of non-conducting bubble wrap. When we were all done with that, we placed them in a metal box with a tight fitting lid that left no gaps between the lid and the box.

I thought through that a lot. Basically we would be doing what my expert buddy had talked about. End result…redirecting the energy around the piece of electronic gear you are trying to protect.

Now what?

What to do now?” is the big question isn’t it. And honestly, that is up to you. I didn’t say that to be smug or avoid answering the question. It really is up to you.

Here’s how I see it…

  1. If you take your radios and EMP proof them in a metal box, then you don’t get to use the radio. You don’t get the operational practice or get to have fun with the radios.
  2. The EMP pulse, if it does occur, might be on a completely different frequency than what you have prepared for. Therefore your box is a complete failure and your radios get fried anyways.
  3. We may never get hit with an EMP pulse. Remember, it is rated in the low or very low probability category. So you wasted all that time, effort, and money for nothing.
  4. Or you can hedge your bet. The Baofeng UV-5RA radio is very inexpensive. Buy a set to use with all the right accessories, etc., especially the programming software. Get them all set up and enjoy them. Then buy just the radio itself, a back-up  for each radio you actually use. Program them, wrap ’em up, box ’em up for that potential EMP strike. And just to be on the safe and plush side…throw in the old family laptop with RT Systems programming software loaded on it, along with the cable and DVD.
Become obsessive?

No! While the potential for an EMP strike severity could be quite high if we are struck, the probability of being struck is still quite low. So there is no reason to start obsessing over being hit with an EMP.

And honestly, what part of your preps are truly dependent on electronics or batteries? For me it is:

  • Radios
  • Tactical flashlights
  • Solar generators
  • Night vision
  • GPS

Yup! That’s it for my dependency on electronics and batteries. So I have to ask myself the question, “Could I survive without all of the above?”

“Of course I could!” is the easy and accurate answer. Would it be more convenient with them? Yes. But we could get long without them.

So you really have to ask yourself the same questions –

What preps of your depend on electronics and batteries?

Could I get by without those things?

Summary –

As far as priorities go I would put EMP-proofing your electronics way, way down the list. I would say look into it after; a year’s worth of food, water, and garden seed. And then after, considerable medical supplies, weapons, and 1000’s of rounds of ammo. Then put in water filtration and purification capability, a good tents, clothing, and quality tactical gear. Then…and only then, would I consider worrying about protecting my gear from an EMP.

This has been a really long article on EMPs, but I thought it prudent to go through it in detail. But, by now you also have a pretty good idea of what you need to be doing about it.

Now…just go do it!  “whatever “it” may be.

 

 

 

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Will we really be hit with an EMP? (part #1)

EMP Strike electromagnetic pulse note: article first appeared in December 2015

I’ve pretty much stayed away from the whole EMP subject over the years. I’ve been asked about it a bunch of times but given some pretty vague answers. I guess it is time I get serious and share my real opinions on it.

Background –

My EMP opinion has changed over the years. Remember, I worked with intelligence information when I was in the Navy back in the 1970’s. I can tell you that back then during the Cold War there wasn’t any war-based “measured response” option. There also wasn’t any of thought of a weapon to do little damage to conquer the Soviet Union or any East Block country. We were in it to win it! And that meant nuke the crap out of them.

Sure, they knew about EMP effects for nuclear explosions even back then. But that was a distant concern, issue, or topic. What we wanted was to devastate them, their military, their people, their infrastructure, just basically blow em up.

But, as times have changed I have looked at what would Russia want to do to us in terms of war-based destruction. Russia is short of resources, all kinds of resources with the possible exception of fossil fuels. That being the case, I don’t think Russia would want to slick us off like glass with nukes. Well, with one possible exception, if we hit them first. If we would throw our missiles at them first, they would throw everything they had back at us as fast as they could turn keys and push buttons.

If you think about it, why would Russia, or even China, want to turn us into a nuclear wasteland? I simply don’t think Iran Nuke weaponsthey would.In all reality…they would love to have access to our resources…natural and man-made.

Iran on the other hand has the stupid 12th Imman, end of the world thing as part of their Muslim Shia beliefs. Those crazies would nuke us just to fulfill their desire to expedite the end of the world. But, Iran would hit Israel before they would hit us.

The crazies in North Korea, although crazy, don’t do anything without the approval of China. NK won’t nuke us unless China tells them it’s OK. North Korea really doesn’t want war. They know they would lose. But, they want the attention and associated power that comes with threatening war.

We are China’s biggest customer of the goods they produce. We spend huge amounts of money buying their stuff year in and year out. China loves those dollars! Why would they want to blow-up their best customer?

Well, there actually is a point when China might make a move against us. China has been an empire for 1000’s of years. Yes, China is currently a communist country, but it no less an empire now than it was 500 or 1000 years ago. When it comes to international politics China views everything in a very large context. I am talking in terms of 100’s of years to accomplish something, for sure decades.

Let there be no doubt in your mind, China expects to be a, if not the, world dominating empire. It is only a matter of timing for them. When China decides that the timing is right, they will use all appropriate tools available to them to accomplish their goals. And using nukes against us is seen as a strategy, nuclear weapons are nothing more than tools to them. Albeit maybe not their first or most desired option.

That being said, I do not think that China wants to slick us off either. It just wouldn’t fit their history-based reputation. Sure, they want to beat us, and beat us decisively, but I don’t see them going into “annihilation mode” on us. I think they want to subjugate not eliminate. They like our natural resources and ability to grow lots of food.

You also have Pakistan and Turkey as nuclear armed countries. While they are both supposedly secular governments, they are both Muslim countries. Pakistan has really moved towards being a Islamic government, Turkey is now maybe the most Muslim of both countries. When Pakistan completes its total transition to an Islamic state, then I would move them into a similar category as Iran. Same would be true for Turkey. I think it won’t be long for both of them to finalize that transition.

So what about the EMP thing again?

Remember, I look at “threats” as “risks.” And I then look at all of it in terms of “risk mitigation”. Risk is judgement based on probability and severity of the risk actually occurring. I look at an EMP strike the same way.

Probability –

I see the risk of us being hit by a nuclear weapon that generates an EMP as low…very low at this time actually. The reason I give it such a low probability is their fear of retaliation. Russia and China have no desire to exchange a nuclear strike with us. Iran would probably love it but they aren’t ready for that yet. Pakistan and Turkey probably aren’t ’t too far behind Iran but they are maintaining a resemblance of normal behaviors. North Korea, well, they are complete nuts jobs in that country, so I don’t expect them to actually launch a nuke at us.

So based on all of that, I see the probability as pretty dang low. However, 20 years ago I would have given it a zero chance. 10 years ago, slightly more than zero. When Iran did the nuke deal with Obozo I believe Iran’s potential use of a nuke against another country went to 100%. Their use of a nuke against us is maybe at 50%. Iran nuking Israel………..just a matter of time. It’s not an “if”……it’s a “when.”

So now I have to rate the probability as on the chart.

Severity –

Here is where it could get ugly. If anyone launches a nuke at us and it actually detonates on US soil, it will be devastating regardless of where it hits. It will be the blow against us that challenges, and perhaps negates, our super-power status. If we are hit, and we don’t hit back, we will be re-categorized to the group that includes France, England, Italy…maybe worse. If we are hit and we hit back, then we can expect WWIII. And should that happen, an EMP is the least of our problems.

So let’s look at the severity if it is just an EMP. By the way, it would be more along the lines of North Korea going rogue and hitting us with an EMP without China telling them to. However, there is a potential scenario where China would tell them to hit us with an EMP just to weaken us and test out retaliation resolve.

Whatever the reason we were hit, the outcome would be very damaging. The damage would be two-fold. 1) the EMP-Strike hits our power gridactual direct result damage to infrastructure, 2) the economic fallout.

Economic Collapse from an EMPThe economic damage would be far worse than the direct damage. The stock markets would crash, the economy would nose dive. It would be economic Armageddon for awhile. Mostly due to banking being out of business. Yeah, completely out of business. Modern banking is all computer based with that information being transferred between customer and banks, banks and business, etc. entirely by electronics (i.e. the Internet). An EMP would fry most large-scale electronic systems, including the Internet and telecommunications.

EMP Strike effectsThe direct damage is a little less clear. EMP damage is directly related to a few things:

  1. The size of the weapon as described in “megatons”
  2. The altitude above the surface of the earth
  3. Your relative location to the blast area

The absolute worse location to be at the time would be directly under the atmospheric blast. As the zone expanded outward, the impact would lessen. But, that would be in direct relation to the size of the detonated weapon. The bigger the weapon, the larger the affected area. However, the further away from the blast you were, the more diminished the impact would be.

Now is when it gets blurry. And I will cover that tomorrow when I finish this 2-part series.

 

 

 

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