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Old 05-26-2010, 08:47 AM   #1
Vertigo
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Default Laptop EMP protection?

Hi all,

I have a little question for the people on this site who have any knowledge/experience on the subject of EMP protection for electronics.

One of the things I have been thinking about lately is how to conserve information in a SHTF scenario, more specifically in the case of an EMP or solar flare (since a solar flare appears to have the same effect on electronics).

For data storage most would consider a good 'ol book of course, when in preparation for an EMP. And there is nothing wrong with this, but the fact remains that people can have a book shelf full of books, but they will not get close to the amount of information that can be stored on a modern laptop. One could store entire libraries of information on a single laptop, and lets not forget the ability to store instructional videos, dvd's, music, etc.

The biggest problem is then to protect the laptop against EMP. Normally one would consider a Faraday cage (a metal box that can be closed completely, with a lining on the inside to insulate the goods you put in the box, from the outside metal casing). But as I am typing this post, there might just be an even better solution...namely the one right in front of me.

I own and use one of those new, unibody Macbook Pro laptops, from Apple. These laptops come with a completely aluminum outer casing. And I think it i safe to believe that the electronics inside are shielded from touching that casing (or else there would be all kinds of shorts and electrical issues). So when the laptop is closed, and the power cable is not connected, would this not constitute some kind of a Faraday cage?

I hope some of you have the knowledge or experience to help out with an answer for this question. If this hunch I have, would turn out to be true, it would make a great off-the-shelf solution for storing data! If not, we're back to storing a dedicated (old) laptop in a normal Faraday cage

Let me know what you have to say,

greetz and take care,

V.

PS: here is a link for the product page, to find some additional information. I have already tried to look up some information about EMP and this laptop on the internet, but so far I have been unable to find anything substantial. So that's where the wise people of Prepared Society come in hopefully

here is the link: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/design.html



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Old 05-26-2010, 02:37 PM   #2
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I honestly do not have a solid answer for you. Some of the words that they use make me think that it will be safe and other words make me think that it might not be EMP-proof.

Now, there are "ports" that an Electro Magnetic Pulse might be able to use to get inside the case and attack the system-board and all the electronics inside. Those ports are for the power-plug, USB and related connections. If the laptop is plugged into the wall, that would be a perfect conduit into the laptop to fry it.

Short of doing destructive-level testing in a protected environment to prove it EMP-protected (or not) would be the only way to check. From what I can see in the pictures, I would say that it is better protected from EMP than your basic plastic-bodied laptop.



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Old 05-26-2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NaeKid View Post
Now, there are "ports" that an Electro Magnetic Pulse might be able to use to get inside the case and attack the system-board and all the electronics inside. Those ports are for the power-plug, USB and related connections. If the laptop is plugged into the wall, that would be a perfect conduit into the laptop to fry it.
You are definitely right about those ports, but on the other hand a box lined with a metal mesh (which also has holes obviously) also works as a faraday cage... So maybe it might just be enough...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaeKid View Post
Short of doing destructive-level testing in a protected environment to prove it EMP-protected (or not) would be the only way to check.
Anyone want to buy one of these and send it to the test lab in White Sands, New Mexico?
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
You are definitely right about those ports, but on the other hand a box lined with a metal mesh (which also has holes obviously) also works as a faraday cage... So maybe it might just be enough...
True that, but, the holes in the mesh are all equal, not random ports here-n-there. That is why I am not sure about the ports. The power-plug is my number one concern, especially if the unit is plugged in at the time of an EMP-burst.

If the unit is not plugged in, I would hazard a guess that it would be better than your average plastic-bodied laptop.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:00 PM   #5
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You have to remember there is still the gap where the screen closes. It may not be much but its still access to the screen and possible other electronic parts inside the case. You're better off taking the safe bet and making a small Faraday cage to put it in.

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Old 05-29-2010, 12:45 AM   #6
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I know i,am a dum azz for asking this , will there be a net if we get blasted? I,am still an old fashion book man, i,ve got way to many. My brother in law say's he can EMP proof a laptop by putting it in and old fridge. His is a metal cased one to.


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Old 05-29-2010, 03:30 AM   #7
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Nope - if EMP takes out the grid (power) it will also take out the grid (internet). The lines themselves may not be down, but, the hundreds of thousands of servers that provide the information to the collective known as the "INTERNET" will not have power, the routers and switches will not have power, the ends of the fiber-optic lines will not have power ... and on and on.

Most servers run behind power-protection systems ( UPS - Uninterruptible power supply - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) and most likely will be protected for the short-term, but, once the battery inside the UPS dies and there is nothing to recharge those batteries (AC-power) they also will shut-down.

Now - if the EMP-blast is "close enough" to the servers in their steel cages, they may also be fried. If the blast is significantly far enough away, the servers (and related equipment) may survive, but, without power, will not be able to do anything.


There are programs out there to "copy" entire websites to your computer and the program will make the site run as if you are connected to the internet. Being able to run those programs and copy everything possible (think the DrumRunner site) and put that information onto a data-DVD will help preserve the information that is currently available, and, if you can continue to run your laptop (solar charge the battery) you will continue to have access to the stored information.


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Old 05-29-2010, 03:09 PM   #8
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Default Laptop EMP

I thought I had shared this with you guys, but I guess not. Here is how I protect my spare laptop. Hard case, then sheets of fine steel mesh surrounding a layer of non-conducting foam, with the laptop in the middle. When wire cage closed up I use duct tape to insulate the wire sheets from the out side case. I also keep a couple of thumb drives in there with more PDF info, manuals for all my weapons, how to guides, etc.
This case is down in the 'pit' which should protect it even more. Oh, and I also pack some desiccant pacs in there to. Power supply and extras are in a ammo can, packed with foam.


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Old 07-06-2010, 12:12 AM   #9
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Default what about the old g.i. quninst hut?

a very long time agoi when i was in the U.S.A.F.we used the quinst hut
to store gear in some had no windows and was made of steel.

does anyone think thay could be made to work.
also what about the large steel box contaners used to ship cargo on ships and trains


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Old 07-18-2010, 02:04 AM   #10
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Default Laptop EMP protection

For shock protection as well as electrical protection look for; heavy duty MYLAR insulated bubble wrap used in construction work, its' a burly heavy mil. polyethylene laminated product. It sells under the name of REFLECTIX insulation, it comes in big and small rolls in varying widths, you can cut it to fit in any carrying case and duct tape it into shapes along the seams. It functions as a flexible FARRADAY cage because of the MYLAR, I have cut it to fit inside my BOB as a liner and held it in place with adhesive VELCRO patches, which makes it removable.




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