Faraday Cage Fail

This week I tried to build a Faraday Cage. I failed. So instead of this post being about how to build a safe place to keep your electronics, it is now about how I failed at it.

For those of you wondering what the heck I am talking about…A Faraday Cage is a shield that blocks external electric fields. Regardless of its name, it has nothing to do with a LOST character. Why would one need to build a Faraday Cage you ask? The theory is that if an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) were to occur, all electronic equipment in its area would be destroyed. Placing electronics inside a Faraday Cage protects them from the damage of the pulse. It’s the same reason your cell phone often doesn’t work in an elevator. Pulses can be caused by several things but the prevailing thoughts are that an EMP would come in the form of either a terrorist attack or a solar flare.

EMP bags can be purchased to protect your equipment or you can follow one of the hundreds of youtube videos that claim to help you DIY your own.

I was under the impression all you needed was a steel or other metal container, foam, and cloth to wrap the items in. So I started with my supplies gathered. I was attempting to store away one NOAA radio, an old cell phone, batteries and some AA universal battery chargers for the phone and radio.

Items gathered for DIY Faraday Cage Project

Items gathered for DIY Faraday Cage Project

I had this cute tin I had purchased awhile back from Home Goods. Bonus, no one would realize it right?

Decorative aluminum tin for Faraday Cage

Home Goods- $6. Pretty cage material, huh?

green craft foam to act as insulator in faraday cage

You need to insulate the electronics inside from coming in contact with the metal container. I used 1/2 crafters foam I had around in the garage from an old project.

foam liner for faraday cage

Next I lined the entire tin with the foam and shaped it to fit inside.

electronics wrapped for faraday cage

I wrapped each electronic separately with an old towel and put 3 packs of 4 AA batteries in with them and a few battery chargers that fit the electronics.

Finished Faraday Project

I finished it all up and was quite proud of myself. Who said prepping couldn’t be fashionable?

And then I go the bright idea to test it. I opened it back up and put my cell phone and called it. I was pretty embarrassed to find that I could hear my cell phone ringing. Yikes. It clearly wasn’t blocking the signal. So ,what went wrong? I have a couple theories.

  1. The tin I was using may not be aluminum, steel or thick enough.
  2. I may need to duct tape the lid completely which would ruin my decorator look.
  3. The foam inside wasn’t thick enough.

I will be continuing to test different ways to do this and would love to hear your theories (besides me just being an idiot) as to what I did wrong in the comments. I will post the results so that you can also build one when I get it right. Until then, I think I will investgate the ready made ones and see if that just maybe a prep worth paying for!

 

 

 

 

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