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Imagine you live in world with no electricity.
It’s been years since you’ve seen a working computer.
There are no iPhones. No cars.
After sundown, you live in total darkness.
Then one day a trader arrives in town and pulls out a solar-powered lamp… an MP3 player with thousands of songs on it… or even a DVD player with a built-in screen.
What would you give to get your hands on one of those?
The Ace up Your Sleeve
This week we’ve been talking about surviving and trading in a nationwide grid-down scenario.
But when the entire country has been knocked back into the Dark Ages, nothing is going to beat the trading value of a working electronic device.
Today, I’m going to show you how to protect your electronics from an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) blast.
We’re going to build a Faraday cage.
This is a simple homemade device that will shield your electronics from an EMP blast.
In an earlier issue of Money & Crisis, I showed you how to build a Faraday cage out of a trash can, which is great for storing a large cache of electronic devices.
Since then, I’ve received emails from a lot of folks saying they didn’t have the space to store an entire trash can.
If you want to save on space, there is a more compact, easier-to-store option available.
The Easy-Store Faraday Can
To build our compact Faraday cage, you’ll need:
- A .50-caliber ammo can
- Aluminum foil
- Aluminum HVAC tape.
The secret to a good Faraday cage is alternating layers of conductive and nonconductive material.
It may seem counterintuitive to include conductive material in a device trying to block an electric pulse.
But the conductive layers act almost like a shield, absorbing most of the electric pulse and diverting it.
This makes it easier for the nonconductive materials to block the remaining energy.
Here’s how to build it…
- Start by measuring the inside of your ammo can. Use these measurements to cut your cardboard into pieces, which will be used to line the inside of the can.
Use an X-Acto knife to cut the pieces so they fit nice and snug in your can. The more exact your measurements, the more room you’ll have to store devices.Some folks use underlayment because it’s more durable than cardboard. But your ammo can is going to be airtight and waterproof, so I wouldn’t worry about it.
- Wrap your devices in a layer of newspaper, then a layer of foil and then newspaper again. Then stick them in a Ziploc bag and place them in the can.
Squeeze the air out of the Ziploc bags and stack your devices carefully to fit as much as possible in a single can.Make sure to take the batteries out of the devices and store them in a separate Ziploc.
- Before closing the lid, place a layer of newspaper and cardboard over the top of your devices.Close the top and seal the can with the aluminum HVAC tape. Tape over the lip of the can. Take special care to make sure the hinges are covered.
And there you have it. Store your can on a nonconductive surface such as wood or stone.
You can test to see if it’s working by putting a phone or a radio in the can and trying to call it. If your Faraday cage is working, the signal shouldn’t be able to get through the can.
If you’ve completed all the above steps correctly and there is still some signal getting through the can, you need to remove the writing painted on the can.
I know it seems silly. But often this paint can conduct enough electricity to cause a problem for your Faraday cage.
Obviously, an ammo can isn’t going to be able to hold as many devices as our trash-can Faraday cage. But they’re much easier to store. And you can make multiple cans and store them around your home to make up for the lack of space.
When deciding what to put in your cage, keep in mind this isn’t just a great way to preserve some of your electronics for survival and entertainment.
Working electronics will be hot commodities for trading in a prolonged grid-down scenario. You’re going to want extras of everything to trade and barter.
As always, we welcome feedback from our readers. If you agree, disagree or have any financial horror stories of your own, you can email me right here.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis
Editor’s note: The strategies you read about in Money & Crisis were developed with the help of Jim Rickards, the best-selling author of Currency Wars and The Death of Money.
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