BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum

Posting requires Registration and the use of Cookies-enabled browser

Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Energy

Energy Energy topics that do not have a dedicated board.

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-31-2015, 03:08 PM
randallhilton's Avatar
randallhilton Male randallhilton is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Fort Worth TX
Posts: 1,443
Default Dump truck = EMP

Interesting story about how easy it is to disrupt the grid: A dump-truck crashed into a power pole, causing the high voltage lines to cross the distribution lines which caused a surge that exploded thousands of "smart" electric meters. The story says about 8,000 customers are without power.

Watch the video to see the extent of the explosions.

Use less, lose less, weigh the benefits, count the costs.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2015, 04:14 PM
Tim Horton's Avatar
Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In the bush of BC Canada
Posts: 6,089

I am not very "electricity" knowledgeable..... But it seems there were several levels of failure in the downstream layers of the system in this incident....

Of course crossing a local distribution line into a long distance line is not going to be good..... But it seems local fail safe down the power food chain didn't work as you would expect it should... For instance, I think there are fuses on transformers... And there don't seem to be any fuses or other safe guards in these meters as it appears there was damage in houses down stream of the meters...

Back to the key point... That being this seems a reasonably small neighborhood outage... But take out the wrong segment of main transmission line, at the wrong time of year (mid winter, summer) and it would dangerously affect many people....

Facts, details, thoughts ??
Always fresh.
Keep your stick on the ice. Red Green
Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2015, 04:25 PM
backlash's Avatar
backlash Male backlash is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Dry side of Washington
Posts: 1,930

Here is an eye opening article.

The U.S. could suffer a national blackout if attackers knocked out just nine of the country's electric-transmission substations on a hot summer day, according to a previously unreported study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2015, 07:29 PM
Jjr's Avatar
Jjr Male Jjr is offline
Master Pontificator
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NWLA
Posts: 837

We made some extensive renovations last year. Virtually had to move out, and then move back in. We have community water and natural gas. We have a small generator capable of powering lights and fans and then a larger generator (without going and reading the numbers 8,600/6,500 or real close) very capable of running a combination of three freezers/refrigerators, and handling the surge if all three tried to kick on at the same time, which is not likely, but possible, plus lights, radio, tv, etc.

We originally intended to install a whole house natural gas generator, but after reading the September/October Backwoods Home Magazine article: "Why you need to add solar power to your emergency power backup plans" we opted instead to add solar power and had a 7.56 KW system installed in December 2014. The natural gas grid seems to be just as weak as the electrical grid, thus what influenced our change of direction.

This system afforded the maximum solar power for the least direct capital out lay for us. Taxes will pay for 80% of this system, although we had to pay the up front costs, taxes will reimburse us for 80% of the total costs. A smaller solar system would have failed to maximize the tax credits and a larger system would have just cost us more directly from our own pockets. (The tax credits were just basically a swap in who got the money, but by installing the solar system we did get something tangible for our tax dollars, rather than just kissing the tax dollars good by!)

The same tax credits were previously available each tax year and we would like to double the 7.56 system making it a 15.02 KW system if the state tax credits are renewed. We're watching the legislative session closely, so we will know what our options are. Keeping our fingers crossed at the moment.

It seems like my interest in something is the "kiss of death!" I have sometime wondered, based upon the performance of candidates I have supported and voted for, if it would not work better, if I just picked out the candidate I wanted to loose and voted for that individual, rather than voting for the one I really desired to see win.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2015, 10:33 PM
JeepHammer Male JeepHammer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 39

OK, lets clear a couple things up,
One, this wasn't an 'EMP'.
EMP is 'Electro Magnetic Pulse',
The only thing capable of creating an EMP that will effect anything beyond a few feet is a nuclear detonation.

When a nuclear detonation occurs, charged particles race outward, striking electrical conducting materials, and creates a weak, very momentary, electrical surge.

An EMP of any size would take a Gamma Burst at the very least to produce, if not a full scale nuclear detonation.
The only natural EMP potential is the nuclear reaction in our sun, and even very large solar flairs have to reach out to the earth,
Get through the magnetic field protecting the earth,
To do any damage, which has been VERY minor from even the largest solar flairs & mass coronal ejections.

Humans still can't produce anything with the potential to black out the entire country or planet, not even close.
If some country did try something large enough to produce an EMP, the lack of electricity would be the last of your worries,
Since the charged particle (Gamma Radiation) would kill you very quickly,
And if you were in an area that blacked out, then the radiation would kill you...

EMPs are mostly just a little bit of science fact, and a whole lot of science fiction...


What is reported here is an OVER VOLTAGE situation,
Where sustained high voltage was delivered to the local transformers,
And those transformers delivered a higher than usual voltage to the meters...

Now, the meter wouldn't have exploded due to voltage alone,
There were at least TWO feeds, that's TWICE the 60 cycles a second the meter was designed to withstand,
This was HIGH FREQUANCY issue, 120 or more cycles per second, which will heat up the stuff designed for 60 cycles per second...
Probably exploding capacitors in the meters, since they are about the only 'Sealed' thing that will explode with force.
Capacitors don't like high frequency heating...


What they aren't telling you...
The power grid is so old, and in such bad shape, and so over taxed, it doesn't take much to 'Black Out' any area or cause serious damage to it.

It's not that 'Terrorists' might attack the grid,
It's that the big energy companies have been MUCH more interested in reaping profits than updating and building new infrastructure.

A simple grid voltage/cycling sensor connected to main system breakers would have prevented this entirely...
As soon as the cycles or voltage got out of safe limits, a series of breakers *Should* have tripped, blacking out the system, but saving it from serious damage...
Those OBVIOUSLY weren't installed.

If you remember a few years back,
The big black out on the east coast that blacked out to the Midwest and all the way up into about 1/3 of Canada,
They tried sticking the blame to 'Cyber Terrorists',
They tried pinning the blame on consumer demand,
They tried pinning the blame on 'God', a lightening strike,
When the investigation was over, turns out a utility employee simply screwed up a switch over from one energy supplier to another.
The lines got crossed, the power produces shut down to protect their equipment, one after another...

The fact of the matter is, simply GREED has kept them from upgrading the systems, installing larger capacity, disbursing the generation points, and last but not least,
Installing the aforementioned disconnects to shut down a local grid when something goes wrong (Like a truck dumping a 1.4 million volt line onto a local 7,200 volt line...).

There is a reason I'm off grid...
No power outages, I didn't have to pay the local electric company $118,000 to run power poles and wires back here in the sticks.
15 years without a power outage I didn't initiate myself for upgrades/connections.
The neighbors have gone a week without, I didn't know the power was even off after a storm until I went to the local diner for breakfast 3 days after the storm...

With the savings, I have back ups to my backups! No outages, no $118,000 second mortgage before the first mortgage.
The system paid for itself in 9 years and is still going strong.

Last edited by JeepHammer; 10-23-2015 at 10:49 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2015, 05:32 AM
randallhilton's Avatar
randallhilton Male randallhilton is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Fort Worth TX
Posts: 1,443

Originally Posted by JeepHammer View Post
OK, lets clear a couple things up,
One, this wasn't an 'EMP'.
Hi, JeepHammer, welcome to the forum.

I would be surprised if many of the members of this group have any confusion about what an EMP actually is. EMP is often perceived as a shortcut to TEOTWAWKI. I simply wanted to point out that a far simpler act could result in a similar, albeit more contained, disaster.

I used "EMP" in the title so that the thread would pop whenever someone searched for the EMP topic. Apparently, that mechanism worked as designed and now you have added more elucidation to the topic. Thanks!

Use less, lose less, weigh the benefits, count the costs.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2015, 01:03 PM
JeepHammer Male JeepHammer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 39

The 'EMP' weapon is the big bad wolf in the military,
I spent 16 years in the military...

A localized EMP is a HUGE amount of power wasted on a very short range device.

From something like the sun, the MILLIONS of miles of electrical power grid lines are a possibility.
If we ever had a coronal mass ejection that reached earth, power grid would be the last of the worries...

Satellites in space, outside the strongest magnetic field of the earth, can have 'Glitches' from CMEs, but even our old, broken down power grid can handle what gets through the magnetosphere of earth.

When nuclear testing was going on, people observed the EMP effect,
But they quickly found that simply shutting off equipment would keep it from being damaged...
The military still recommends shutting off radios/vehicles, ect. if a nuclear detonation is imminent...

Most 'EMP' shielding in aircraft, ships, ect. was way over blown,
And it's mostly there to protect newer, sensitive radar & communications from older power grids inside the equipment.
Some of those radars can cook you from the inside out, and it will do the same thing to the older internal power grids...

By far, the strongest 'Beam' weapon humans ever produced was microwave radar...
Strong enough to break up cloud formations in some cases, like those HUGE units the air force employed to search for Soviet bombers over the artic.

When you don't have precision, which they didn't in 50s & 60s, they simply added more POWER,
And remember, those beams didn't stop at the atmosphere,
When we get a message from 'Aliens', it will probably be
"Shut The Hell UP!, We are trying to watch 'I Love Lucy!'"

We are a NOISY little speck of dirt in space!
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2015, 07:54 PM
doc doc is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
Posts: 1,529

If someone uses a nuclear device to inflict an EMP situation on us, we would have a bigger problem than the EMP and its effect on our power grid and machines: it means we have suffered a nuclear attack. We would essentially be at war and be contemplating escalation of nuclear war.

In the 19th century the planet did suffer a huge solar flare that knocked out telegraph equipment across the world. Those devices were not nearly as sensitive as modern electronic devices, yet suffered severe malfunction. There were essentially no health effects inflicted by the radiation.

The Carrington Event 1859:
Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 02:45 PM
JeepHammer Male JeepHammer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 39

The Event you refer to had two causes,
1. No 'Surge' protection at all, with THOUSANDS of miles of exposed wiring to pick up the solar flair/charged particles/magnetic interference...
Most of the long runs of wiring was iron/steel, making it several times more susceptible to EMP events.

2. VERY tiny wiring involved,
Again, with no surge protection...
Repeaters welded shut, providing the telegraph receivers with full battery current from the repeaters,
Cooking the small wiring...

Most modern electronics are now SHIELDED, a metal shield around any windings,
And most modern electronics have surge protection.

Also, most modern electronics are AC, not DC.
Unshielded DC windings or DC lines that run on for miles are most susceptible to the electro-magnetic link.

Modern Solar PV has shielded sensitive electronics, surge protection, and VERY short runs of exposed wiring.

Simply using a 'Grounded' metal conduit for your wiring would prevent this solar event from effecting your longer runs of wiring,
While a 'Grounded' metal container around your sensitive electronics would do the same.

Solar Flairs have ZERO effect on solar panels since it's a MAGENTIC event,
And the panels are PHOTON (Light) powered.
It's the WIRING that might be a risk, furious metal shielded wire would prevent even that.

On Grid, a power filter/surge protector would stop the surge and/or frequency changes from destroying your home electronics.

Last edited by JeepHammer; 11-02-2015 at 02:52 PM.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -2. The time now is 06:18 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1996 to Present. Backwoods Home Magazine, Inc.