EMP proof?

On a FB page I am on, the subject of LED lights in an EMP attack came up. I am of the opinion if it has a circuit, it will fry.
A couple of people are saying LED lights have simple circuits and won’t fry.
What say the experts?

This expert asks whats more likely, EMP, earthquake, zombie attacks or winning the lottery?

Can’t say I’m an expert on it but people tend to throw around the term “EMP” like it’s some end all be all that just wipes out all electronics. Really it depends totally on the strength of the EMP, the level of shielding (intentional in the case of military equipment or unintentional in the case of things surround it metal cases), the sensitivity of the individual components and I would guess to some extent the circuit layout in relation to how much of that pulse it picks up and puts into the circuits. Many things, like cars, computers with good shielding (grounded metal cases), appliances, etc would all take a moderate EMP hit with only temporary malfunction just due to being surrounded in grounded metal cases made to prevent interference. And what is an EMP but REALLY strong interference.

Honestly not sure about how EMP resistant LED lights are but they are probably a lot better off than more sensitive items. They do have generally less sensitive components, not sure about the AVRs though. And not sure how the body of the light plays into this, I think it would actually act to shield it, yes it’s connected to the ground of the electronics but I think because it is entirely enclosed, well mostly, it would act as shielding.

Far from an expert, but then again I don’t know what one would look like in regards to a Nuclear induced EMP and modern semiconductors as there has been very little real world experience mixing the two. The closest real world experience would likely be Lightning strikes on or near electronics. Anyone have any experience how an LED flashlight fared after the person using it was struck by lightning? This has to have happened.

I would expect the answer to your question is going to vary greatly with respect to the size of the nuclear device and distance from the source of EMP. I would expect nearly everything close to a source of EMP with a PN junction to be fried. Close being perhaps something like within 100 mile radius. As you get farther and farther away the effects will become less devastating and likely be tied to things with external wires that can act like antennas to have high voltages induced in them. Things that plug in to the wall come to mind.

I would expect hand held devices that are not attached to external wires to be fairly safe at these farther distances. And how sensitive electronic components are to ESD should be a good indication of how sensitive they will be to EMP. I have never damaged an LED from ESD. I would expect LED flashlights to be reasonably well protected.

Most electronics undergo compliance testing and some of those tests have to do with how well the device handles high levels of electromagnetic fields (radio waves) and high voltage discharges in to the device (small lightning bolts in to the device). The requirements for the level of these events and how the device handles them varies based on what certification the device is going for. But most consumer devices likely will be allowed to malfunction when experiencing the event as long as they can be recovered once it is gone. The basic of requirements is that the device does not fail catastrophically in a way that would cause harm or fire. So I would say most modern devices have some basic form of protection built in now days.

Thanks for the replies… food for thought.

They done EMP testing in space that is where they discovered EMPS. When they took down Telstar and discovered the Van Allen belt. I think if a light is anodized it should be okay because it is grounded? You could always make a Faraday cage?

I know that EMP was a very big concern when I was in the military, which accounted for a lot of the weight of our team radios, and burst encryption devices and such, and that the military is back into it now, they just moved back into Cheyenne mountain, and built that EMP bunker in Alaska, and there is growing pressure in Congress to harden our power grids against both EMP and Cyber attacks.

I have never been able to find a firm answer on led flashlights, but I when I retire an old outdated light, such as my old CMG Infinitys, or the old Lightwaves, I do the plastic wrap/foil/plastic/foil/plastic thing with them, just in case, I do that with other old retired electronics, such as a transistor radio that gets retired, or old junker nimh battery chargers, and then I keep those in some old metal container like a cookie tin or something.

I’m going to add something that I am just about currently convinced of from reading about EMP, and that is, that some protection is better than none, for instance a metal filing cabinet isn’t even close to being a faraday cage, but that it will make some difference in what your gear receives from an EMP blast, or that a cookie tin that hasn’t had the paint sanded from around the edge, and that doesn’t seal perfectly as far as metal on metal, still interferes with the EMP path a little, I assume that applies to flashlights in the car trunk for instance, every little bit helps is what I’m thinking.

I suspect no one will be very concerned about the status of the LED chip after this type of incident :smiley:

I would say it has! What about Aircraft?

Can’t see how a flashlight would on its own be protected from emp, it’s a Faraday cage with a side missing (the lense end) so it’s not a Faraday cage, plus the electronics are connect to the body of the torch, even a proper Faraday cage won’t work if what your trying to protect is connected to any part of the cage

Microwave ovens make a good emergency Faraday cage if the balloon goes up and you can’t come up with something better in those last few minutes 8^)

Here is a link to some reading on EMP, the author gives an opinion on flashlights.

This thread seems mostly optimistic on led survival.

He sent me an email on this.
LED flashlights in plastic cases are very susceptible to EMP, and would
almost certainly be damaged.

Some of the small LED flashlights with heavy metal cases, particularly the
ones using the single 18650 3.7-volt lithium ion battery, are fairly likely
to survive, mainly because of their small size.

Flashlights are so important whenever the electricity is out that it is
important to store at least one LED flashlight (preferably more) under

EMP survivability is ALWAYS dependent upon the strength of the EMP.

Jerry Emanuelson

Hmm EMP always make me think things like ” when you live close to a place a huge EMP is generated the EMP is probably least of the worries” and “live far away who would EMP no dense strategic areas.”

And is something turned off not less prone to have issues?

(Yeah you see terrible prepper, yet having plants to live from, river, non strategic area, and planned own electricity production on site so kind of living in the bug out :wink: )

Very interesting, something like a C8 might do fine then. Also the direction the flashlight is facing may or may not matter, facing up, down or sideways since the glass would not be very EMP resistant. How about just an LED chip on or off a star on a shelf.

Some testing would be awesome, but who is gonna pay for that :STEVE:

Electronics for at least some military applications are specifically designed with EMP considerations. They are absolutely tested. They have testing facilities where they can test entire ships, planes, and vehicles. There’s a large body of experience and expertise, it’s just not a topic where the experts discuss in the open how to harden circuitry against EMPs.

That said, I have no idea if a flashlight will survive. There are way too many factors. Frequency content of the EMP, strength of the EMP, design of the flashlight, etc. In general unpowered electronics will fare better than devices that are powered. Things with long cables connected to them will be much more susceptible to damage. That’s why the power grid is so vulnerable. It has countless miles of antennas to be acted upon by the EM energy and channel the energy to everything plugged into it.

An unpowered small circuit board in a metal housing with no long cords should do fairly well in comparison to other devices. Yes, the glass lens is a weakness. Maybe we should be asking for ITO coated glass with the ITO electrically connected to the body to act as a shield.

I have no info either, but will note that I have 2 extra plastic headlamps and a LED flashlight that takes double A’s wrapped up in Alum foil stuffed into my Faraday cage. They do say that EMP will not harm batterys, but if I have a device that is in the Faraday Cage (cough* metal garbage can cough) that needs a battery (ie Tescun 880 needs a single 18650), then that battery(ies) is/are stored in the cage as well so that it is easy to assemble to ensure operability when needed. Items that need charging are wrapped with foil (or a plastic battery case then wrapped in foil) and placed in a bag on top. The bag has a tag on it with the dates things were last charged so that they can be pulled out and topped off periodically.

I was pretty layed back on this and basically ignored it until I read that they had moved back into Cheyenne Mountain. Ho Lee Fuk man, that’s a huge indicator of whats what out there and it ain’t pretty. Ramped it up pretty quick when I saw that.

Faraday Cage - CHECK

Extra cash precious metals on hand - CHECK

6mo-1 year of extra food - CHECK

Weapons and ammo - CHECK

Rain barrels, filters and extra water - CHECK, CHECK and CHECK

Separate location that can be driven to in 1-1/2 hours or walked to in @4 days that would be much more survivable with no power than the city - CHECK

If it turns out we never have an EMP hit but we do have a massive earthquake, I’m sitting pretty good.

BTW, from the link above (nice link thank you) “Although many LED flashlights are likely to survive an EMP simply because of their small size, the sensitivity of LEDs makes the survival of unprotected flashlights less than certain. Also, many LED flashlights contain additional sensitive circuitry. The small flashlights with an all-metal case are the most likely to survive. Because of the importance of having at least one good flashlight when the power grid is down for a long period of time, it would be a good idea to store at least one LED flashlight in a nested faraday shield. ”

if your flashlight is off it should be fine. if it is on it will lickly be fine.

Emp is actually an E1, E2, E3 altitude, and “wepon design”, latitude dependend multiple variable event.

not an expert, i just read the EMP Wikipedia page.

but it is an interesting but low eventuality question.

More good links.



Being as a Faraday cage will protect just about anything from an EMP, I would think that any aluminum or metal flashlight will be just fine. The host itself is essentially a faraday cage. The BT light that FASTTECH made a few years ago had issues getting the BT signal out of the host with the internal antenna and they had to use a plastic reflector to allow the signal to get outside the light. As I understand it, only running, powered devices would be affected anyway but a running flashlight should be just fine since the electronics are basically in a faraday cage to start with.

Of course I could be totally incorrect in my thinking. :stuck_out_tongue:

I sort of disbelieve the whole EMP destroying all electronics theory. maybe for sensitive electronic equipment like radio receivers, transmitters, computers, etc. that have antennas able to “collect” the static burst enough some may be damaged, but simple devices using robust simple circuits like flashlights, (which are already in their own faraday-cage sort of) are very unlikely to be damaged. if a bug-zapper arcing to a light body don’t damage it, (just tested that with a cheap 3-mode and a bug zapper & light is still fine) then a EMP definitely is not powerful enough to do it. An EMP powerful enough to fry electronics on that level would likely fry our own nervous system and kill everyone anyways.