Letter Re: Questions on EMP Protection

Hello Jim,
I recently finished reading [the recently-released novel] One Second After [by William R. Forstchen].The potential realities of this story can grab you. [In the novel] a young girl who dies because her insulin supply deteriorated. Lack of adequate refrigeration degraded the quality and effectiveness of the insulin.

I was reviewing some bug out literature and ran across a list of equipment that included a portable 12 VDC cooler unit. This would be great for transporting heat sensitive pharmaceuticals during a move of some distance.

My question is this: What effect would an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack have on this kind of machine? Does it contain modern circuitry that would be susceptible to the EMP effect?

The second question:
Are solar panels susceptible to EMP effect?
I am referring to just the panels and not associated secondary storage, control and electrical connections.

The third question:
The chargers that come with solar panels, spotlights, hand held radios, scanners and the like seem to be simple transformers.
But do they contain any circuitry that an EMP wave would destroy?

I read your site every day. Cordially, – JWC in Oklahoma

JWR Replies: In answer to your questions:

Even if your refrigerator has some microcircuits, it is probably not at risk to an EMP waveform, especially if it is running from a stand-alone 12 VDC power system. (Generally, devices that are connected to grid power are at greater risk of EMP coupling.) But just to be safe, when your compact refrigerator is not in use, you should store it in a galvanized steel garbage can (with a tight-fitting lid), to act as a protective Faraday cage.

Solar panels themselves are not at risk, but charge controllers and possibly inverters are, because they use microcircuits. Since protection via zener diodes is not always reliable, the most practical solution is to buy a couple of spare charge controllers, and store them in ammo cans.