Originally Posted by DaveFi
Also, what I found to be a bit odd was if there was a EMP field going, how did they get their cars to start, let alone have working flashlights, batteries, generators, etc?
Originally Posted by DaveFi
Don't all modern cars have spark-plugs? The newer batteries are all copper-free (no liquid)- they shouldn't work after an EMP should they?
You obviously are misinformed about what an EMP does.
First, let's take the name: EMP: Electro-Magnetic Pulse. The simple explanation is, it's a giant magnetic field. It's like the biggest junkyard crane magnet ever.
What is does, is erase things like chips, drives and other storage media that contains instructional information to operate a device. It doesn't "fry" anything, though certain devices might overheat if they remain running when their control or cooling circuits have failed. It just erases information necessary to control or operate an electronic device. So, an electronically controlled ignition found on a fuel injected car won't work because the computer won't operate. Solid state radios won't work, because the tuners are digital. LED lighting likely won't work because the voltage circuits might be affected. Rechargeable batteries won't work because they have chips in them that tell a charger how drained they are - and the chargers won't work, anyway. The power grid is controlled by computers and landline and cell phones use digital technology to distribute calls. A telegraph would work, though, if you could connect it up, as would an older manual phone line from the rotary days (if you can find one). Older tube-style ham radios would work if you had power. Crystal radios would also work. No digital ones, though. So, leave those FRS units behind.
Alkaline and lead acid batteries are simply a chemical reaction. A flashlight is a simple circuit with a switch to make a connection to battery. Most generators with a pull start are carbureted with a simple stator connected to the motor that generates the electricity, while burning off excess current through a rectifier. Spark plugs are just that: a plug with an open end (like a cut, bare wire) to allow an electrical arc to take place. Early 80's and older carbureted cars would operate because the fuel system is mechanical: throttle lets more fuel enter the cylinder, butterfly valve opens to let more air in, spark from the generator ignites it on the up stroke, driving the piston down. The valves open and close mechanically with camshafts. Even the electric cooling fan would work: it's a simple electric motor controlled by a temperature controlled valve: heat opens the value, sends power to fan. Once cool, the valve closes and the current is cut off.
Your best bet would be 70's and 80's era motorcycles, or any 2-cycle dirt bike with a kick start. Even an electric ignition on an older motorcycle would be fine, since it's merely a simple electrical circuit with no chips. So, my 30 year old motorcycle would be unaffected, but my modern truck would be dead to the world. The truck has a manual transmission, but bump starting it wouldn't work since the computer wouldn't work to be able to send fuel to the injectors.
What won't work are computers, MP3 players or anything else that requires EPROM memory. If it has a drive, it won't operate, even if the data is stored on non magnetic media - it's the chips that allow it to be read that would prevent it since they'd be erased. Even fluorescent lights with electronic ballasts won't work. TV screens would be functional, but there would be no way to turn them on without replacing the electronics that operate them.
The exceptions to the above would be any device that was someplace that shielded it from the pulse. You'd have to be well underground or well shielded with something like lead. In other words, the same protection the EMP device had so it wouldn't kill itself immediately upon activation.
Now, the issue would be gasoline. Gas stored in tanks at a gas station would last for quite a while in those tanks, unlike gas in cans or in car fuel tanks. If you had a good supply of Stabil or Seafoam from the local Autozone, you could extend the life for months or longer. Eventually, you'll run out of gas that will actually fire, though. You could likely eek out a bit more by throwing some ethanol in there, but eventually it will eat your carburetors and you'll be constantly replacing the gaskets and floats as they degrade. Fuel for a 2-cycle engine would give you more time, too. Diesel would be worthless once it absorbs too much moisture - not that the motor would operate since I believe the glow plugs and other systems in a diesel engine are electronically controlled (I'm not versed on diesel engines, so I'm not sure).
At any rate, the show itself was average. Not great, but not bad. I'll stick with it for a bit longer.
If it gets worse, I'll bail. If it gets better, than I have a new series to watch.