Originally Posted by aeromorris
First - Electronics with transistors and integrated cirtuits would indeed be fried. The huge magnetic field would induce a current in the ic that far exceeds it's capabilities. That current would in-turn fry/heat the circiut to failure even if it was at rest, i.e. turned off. As for erasing memory, the mechanism that does the erasing is the physical damage to the millions of transistors containing the instructions.
Thanks for the clarification - I was under the assumption this could only happen under load. However, this still wouldn't be an issue for devices without them and any device with them would likely be unusable due to the lack of any data instruction from memory or storage anyway.
The short of it is, a Ford or Chevy from the 70's or earlier would definitely not be affected. Some other economy vehicles from the 80s would likely be OK, as well....and flashlights would work.
Second - Unless we're talking some kind of exotic specialty battery (Honda Insight, Prius) most rechargable (non-automotive) batteries are "dry" chemical batteries. All the logic for charging them without damaging the chemicals inside are contained within the charger. The charger monitors voltage directly and varies the charge cycle by using pulses. Old trickle chargers just applied a constant low voltage. A trickle charger will generally destroy NiMH or Lithium batteries. Either way there'd be no power to operate the charger anyway so thats a mute point.
While I'm not sure about standard AA or AAA LIon batteries, I do know many packs found permanently installed in devices are what are known as "smart" batteries. They have protection circuits built in that monitor voltage and allow a steady discharge even when idle. That circuit communicates with the charger to ensure a proper charge (it's like an internal clock) - and ensure they don't blow up. In short, the "non-dumb" LIon batteries have electronics in them. Because of that tech, some batteries won't charge properly with the wrong power cycles applied (such as 50-60hz or the reverse). Further, generator power would possibly destroy them from the dirty power the non-regulated models produce.
As far as trickle chargers, the older type would only work with batteries like Lead Acid or NiCad. I doubt one of those could even initiate a charge on a modern LIon battery. Modern trickle chargers (like a Battery Tender for a vehicle battery) detect the voltage of the battery and go into "storage" mode when capacity is nearly reached. It essentially provides current to the battery as voltage drops in the battery's natural resting state. However, they are intended for vehicle batteries, which are not LIon. You can't charge your Ipod with one.
Anyway if power is what they're after they need to open a yellowpages and find small engine supply shop and raid it for generators. Boston is a city of what 3-4mil metro? So figure there's at least a million cars, trucks, semis, & trains all parked with fuel. Assuming the population has been cut by 90-95% and that's more than enough fuel to last years. I'm thinking 5-10 and that's the above ground fuel not stored in tanks at gas stations. Imo it won't go bad that quick. EPA regulations mandate that most cars currently have gas tanks that seal. Heck, part of my yearly car inspection requires my city to confirm the integrity of that seal.
Gas in a car tank will go bad in a matter of a few months, based on volume. They aren't "sealed" like you think. It's just essentially a check valve. It's like a banker's box or a cash register type of protection. The tank at the station, on the other hand, is like the actual bank vault in terms of protection, provided the area doesn't flood or succumb to anything that could breach the tank.
In a car, most fuel researchers agree that the fuel will have been compromised in anywhere from 4-8 weeks. At that point, a good amount of the butane in gas will have evaporated and lacquer will begin forming. The other issue is, as soon as a container seal is broken, the clock starts ticking faster. Resealing it won't help - the damage has already started. So, even if your tank could fully seal, as soon as you try to put gas in, the seal gets broken. Fresh gas mixed in can allow old gas to fire again, but only so much. After a while, it's like recycling plastic: it just becomes too corrupted to continue the practice.
If they're still driving around next season, that will be an issue.
Now, I did some reading and it appears a diesel engine with a mechanical governor will operate in the conditions we saw, but the problem is the fuel. It doesn't "go bad" the way gas does, but instead it can be infested by fungus due to it's biological formation. So, those buses, trucks and trains would likely eventually contain fuel that is essentially full of mold.
The real problem is food. Once dry and canned foods are exhausted it's gonna be hard to provide food for all the refugees without planting crops. IIRC they're 3 or more months into the invasion. People should be slimming down "Survivor-style" by now.
But honestly I can't wait for the next Ep. Seriously. I have a feeling it'll be better...
Yes and no.
You're right, that unless they settle down and plant stuff, they're going to be hard up for food eventually. However, keep in mind that the major populations were decimated. That leaves a lot of supplies for the survivors. One grocery store could feed several hundred people for 6 months or more before non-perishables became scarce. I have over a dozen supermarkets within 5 miles of me in a town of 30,000 people.
3 months in, they would still be under moderate rations while they remained in the city, though getting to the food would be the biggest obstacle. I didn't notice any particularly fat people. Further, we've mostly been seeing people that are "operationally important", not the groundlings tagging along for protection. If the ones doing the fighting and such get to sleep in houses while the civies are in tents, it's likely they're eating better, too.
But, meat would be a problem in the city and even in the country for several hundred people in one "community". Even in the mountains, hunting that much food would be difficult, especially quietly, unless you happened to come across a herd of feral cows or something.
I will agree that they need to get somewhere remote and pursue some farming tasks immediately.