We've only got two things to say about Faraday cages. One, you've either heard about Faraday cages in relation to electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
Or two. You have no idea what the hell they are.
If you're not a seasoned prepper or just starting on the journey, you're probably thinking number two. What in tarnation is the hype about? Why do people keep saying you need it? And how do you even build one?
Well, we're here to answer all your burning questions about Faraday cages. So let's get to it:
What Is a Faraday Cage?
Let's get things out of the way as early as now; simply defined, a Faraday cage is just a shielded container made from conducting material like metal plates or wire mesh. It prevents electrical waves from entering. How? The cage distributes an electrostatic charge on the exterior, canceling out the external electric field's effect inside the cage.
It's the perfect enclosure to protect your electronic devices from an EMP attack or blast.
Any electrical pulse cannot penetrate the box and instead goes around it. It's pretty impressive. It comes as no surprise that many seasoned preppers recommend you own or DIY your Faraday cage.
The mere thought that you can give your electronics that much-needed layer of safety is definitely alluring. We're talking about protecting your radios, your phones, rechargeable batteries, and more.
Protect it from what exactly? Things like:
An intense burst of electromagnetic energy can cause an EMP attack, causing surges in the surrounding electromagnetic field. Your electronic device can't handle that if it happens. Nuclear explosions can also cause an EMP blast.
A burst of electromagnetic radiation happens on the sun's surface, and the largest classified solar flare can cause a radio blackout throughout the Earth. Yikes.
What Can Go Into a Faraday Cage
Before we get our hands dirty and bring out the tools to build a Faraday cage, you might be wondering what exactly can go into a Faraday cage.
Here’s a look at some items you can build a Faraday cage around:
We're gonna put these at the top of the list on "what to put in your Faraday cage." Think of your walkie-talkies, a radio, even a phone or two.
A good old tactical flashlight will go a long way, especially if you put it in your Faraday cage. Get a good reliable one that can weather the storm — no need for the fancy-schmancy ones.
Solar Chargers and Power Banks
Chuck in a fully-charged power bank and a portable solar charger, so you don't have to rely on grid power. If you want, you can also add in some rechargeable batteries and a charger if you've got battery-powered stuff.
Now, remember. You don’t want to store your everyday items in your Faraday cage. You keep those on you. What goes into your cage should be backups or cheaper yet still reliable duplicates of everyday items you use.
Where You Can Place a Faraday Cage
Now that you know WHAT you can put into your Faraday cage, let’s talk about where you can place it. Ideally, it should be in a place that you can easily reach in an emergency. Here are some places you can put a Faraday cage to use to your advantage:
- Home - Of course, this is gonna be an obvious choice. Putting a Faraday cage at home to hold your emergency items is the logical thing to do. The same goes for a Faraday cage in your bug out location.
- Office - If you’re a workaholic and you find yourself at your workplace frequently, then you might wanna look into having a cage there just to cover your bases.
- Car - Not many people would think to put one in their car. But if you’re a prepper with a bug out vehicle (BOV), then why not go for it? The glove box of your truck is the perfect place to put a small version of a Faraday cage to hold your phone and a power bank. The space beneath the passenger seat is also an excellent place for it.
- Survival Cache - This might be overdoing it, but in prepping, there is no such thing as overdoing it. In the case of all the places listed above getting compromised, it seems like a pretty good idea to have a Faraday cage stashed away in your survival cache, too.
Building a Faraday Cage
You've got items checked and places to put a Faraday cage checked; let's get started on building it!
To be successful at making an excellent Faraday cage, there are a few things you have to remember:
- Make sure it's properly grounded, so you don't get the literal shock of your life.
- Make sure it's covered with conductive metal like copper or aluminum.
- Make sure your items are in an insulated container like a cardboard box or on top of a rubber mat. You don't want it to touch the metal.
- This Faraday cage is not for daily use. Think of it as long-term storage and not a container that just holds your things.
Items Needed to Build a Faraday Cage
This is a pretty basic set up for a Faraday cage and the simplest one to make. We’re going with this one ‘cos it’s inexpensive, allowing you to build a couple of these at a time. It’ll also give you a good grasp of what a Faraday cage should be and pave the way to make more intricate ones in the future.
As for the items you’ll need, here’s what you’ve got to prepare:
- Galvanized metal trash can - This should come with a tight-fitting lid.
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil - Have at least several boxes of these on hand.
- Assorted cardboard boxes - Make sure that the assortment of sizes can fit inside the trash can.
- Pieces of cloth - This will be used to wrap the items you plan to put in your Faraday cage.
- Metal screening/mesh - Just enough that you can cover the top of the can snuggly.
- Plastic wrap
- Packaging tape
Steps to Prepping Your Items and Building a Faraday Cage
- Gather the items/appliances you plan to put in your DIY Faraday cage.
- Wrap the chosen items in the pieces of cloth, then wrap them with the plastic wrap.
- Once wrapped in plastic, dress the item further in about 4 to 5 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Ensure the layer of foil covers the previous layer tightly, and that there are no visible tears.
- Next, place the cloth-plastic-foil wrapped items into the cardboard boxes. Tape the boxes shut, then wrap them in foil, about 2 to 3 layers of it.
- Now, line your trash can with cardboard. Get the sides and the bottom and make sure that no metal part of the trash can is exposed.
- Put your items inside the can. Take your metal mesh and fold that on the top of the can. Force the lid down over the metal mesh and can. It should be tight-fitting, and there should always be a metallic connection of some sort.
- Now, take more of the metal mesh and fold it over the top of the lid.
- Lastly, stand the can on top of a block of wood. Make sure nothing metallic is touching the trash can.
Try to follow every step as closely as you can. If one thing is off, then your Faraday cage will be null and void, and all the effort you’d have put in would be for nothing.
We’re pretty sure you’re going to agree with us but isn’t building your own Faraday cage a piece of cake?
If you’re not up to build one, though, there are premade Faraday cages available on the market for reasonable prices. Make sure you double-check that the products are legit!
Have any comments about DIY Faraday cages? Let us know in the comment section below.