Before explaining how to make a homemade faraday cage, we first need to define an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and what it can do to your electronics and devices. Also known as transient electromagnetic disturbance, an electromagnetic pulse is a short burst of electromagnetic energy that is capable of short-circuiting a wide range of electronic equipment such as computers, radio, television, satellite, microwave, civilian traffic lights, and radar receivers.
The energy created by EMP can temporarily or permanently damage your valuable electronic equipment by generating high current surges and high voltage. Sometimes your electronic devices can literally blow apart if an EMP generates enormous energy. If you want to keep your electronics safe for a long time the way you keep your firearms safe, it’s important to store them properly.
Step-by-step procedure to make a faraday cage to protect your electronics
If you are concerned about EMP damaging your valuable electronic components, then you must be wondering what to do to protect them. The best way to protect your electronics from EMP is by creating a faraday cage.
Named after an individual known as Michael Faraday, the faraday cage is the device used to protect electronic equipment from electromagnetic radiation damage. It creates a shielding effect that protects your valuable electronic items from damaging electromagnetic radiation.
A faraday cage comprises of
- A conductive layer that reflects incoming energy
- A conductor that absorbs incoming energy
- A cage that creates an opposing field to counter the incoming radiation
Most people usually think that creating a faraday cage is complicated and can only be done by experts. However, that is not true, and you don’t need to hire an expert to build a faraday cage for you. Anybody can make a simple but effective faraday cage at home to protect their electronic devices against electromagnetic pulse damage. This article will give you an easy-to-follow step-by-step process on how to create a faraday cage at home to protect your valuables.
The materials that are needed:
- Galvanized steel trashcan and lid
- Moving blanket or cardboard and bubble wrap
- Conductive gaskets
Step 1: Place a blanket or cardboard/bubble wrap inside the trashcan
The first process of creating a faraday cage placing a blanket or cardboard/ bubble wrap inside a trash can. Look for a conductive trash can made of stainless steel with a tight closing lid. The trash can will act as the first defense against electromagnetic radiation. Therefore, you need to ensure that it is made of quality material like stainless steel to protect your electronics against electromagnetic radiation by reflecting incoming radiation.
Once you have selected the right trashcan line, place a blanket or cardboard inside of the container. This will provide an additional layer of insulation. You can also add further layers of foil to boost the effectiveness of your faraday cage. The more layers your faraday cage has, the more protection the cage will offer against electromagnetic radiation.
Step 2: Affix conductive gasket to the inside of the lid where it meets the top of the can
Once you have placed a blanket or cardboard inside the trash can, the following process is to place a conductive gasket inside of the lid where it meets the top of the can. This process is crucial because it makes your trash can foolproof, meaning that damaging electromagnetic radiation will not find its way inside the container.
A conductive gasket is a mechanical seal that fills the space between the two mating surfaces. The conductive gasket will serve two purposes. They include: preventing leakage into the container when it is closed and reflect incoming fields. Make sure you attach the conductive gasket properly to make the trash can foolproof.
Step 3: Place cellphone inside the can and close it
Once you have sealed all loopholes, the following process is placing your cellphone or any other device inside the trash can and close it. The best practice is to cover each device individually in its own individual faraday cage.
For instance, you can use a simple aluminum foil or buy a faraday bag then place your items inside the bag. Once the cellphones and other electronic devices are inside the trash can, attach it with a bolt or adhesive to make the cage sturdy and foolproof.
Step 4: Test the faraday cage by calling the cellphone
Once you have sealed the faraday cage, test if it works by calling the cellphone placed inside. If the signal is blocked, then your faraday cage works. That’s it. Building a faraday cage is as simple as that.
Can a faraday cage have holes?
Most people are under the impression that a faraday cage needs to be sealed completely. Yes, it is okay to close it entirely, but it is okay for it to have small holes as long as the holes are small compared to the wavelength.
For instance, a 1GHz wave has a wavelength of 0.3 meters in free space. This means that as long as your faraday cage has smaller holes than that dimension, you should not worry because it will not let in much radiation that could damage your stored electronics.
Must a faraday cage be grounded?
This question has varied answers. Some people believe that a faraday cage should be grounded, while others think it is not a necessity. However, many experts agree that grounding a faraday cage is not a must because it has little effect on field levels.
The only thing that grounding could help is protecting the faraday cage from becoming charged or and reradiating. The bottom line is that a faraday cage that is not grounded is as effective as one that is grounded when it comes to protecting the contents inside against harmful electromagnetic fields.
A faraday cage is a simple yet essential device that can help to protect your electronic devices against electromagnetic radiation. You don’t have to call an expert to build a faraday cage for you. Instead, you can make one at home by following the simple steps given above. All materials needed to build a faraday cage are things you should find available in your home, and those that you don’t already have can easily be purchased at your local hardware or electronics shop.