Warren
For some time I have been concerned about protecting or replacing semiconductor components in my 20KW whole house gen and xfer sw should a serious such event occur.  (Note that NASA devotes significant efforts and satellite systems to monitoring "space weather" to anticipate solar storms by 12 to 18 hours.)  Our (this forum's readers) concern is the fortunately-rare possibility of all semiconductors in our gensets being blown, along with fine-gauge wire coils in the throttle and xfer sw solenoids.  After the action of such a strong event, availability of replacement parts would likely be limited across a wide region for some time -- think Quebec, March 1989 or the granddaddy that affected much of the U.S. in August, 1859.  This preamble suggests a discussion of appropriate spare parts to stockpile now (beyond controller, battery charger, solenoids), how to store them (wrapped in copper foil?) and the business opportunity for Ziller (or others) to make "Carrington Kits" available to Cassandra's such as me  at a reasonable price.
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78buckshot
I don't think you can plan for every failure other than having a complete new generator to swap out. The controller, coils, relays, voltage regulator, battery charger should cover most problems.
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BillM
Have you considered wrapping your generator in aluminum foil?  Or building a Faraday cage around it if you don't think the foil will do it.  And I'm talking the thicker heavy duty foil, you can get it in larger rolls at Sam's Club.  Though the more I think about it, the Faraday cage seems like the better solution.  That's cheaper than sparing all the components.
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SHunt

I would also be interested in the durability of this equipment during a Carrington-type event, and the feasibility/cost of storing replacement components. (I can't tell if BillM is commenting tongue-in-cheek about the tinfoil.)  A Faraday cage would allow normal operation, as long as sufficient ventilation was allowed, but my understanding is that the grid will collect and conduct an EMP to any connected wiring and equipment. I imagine extent of damage would depend upon magnitude of the event.  During the Carrington Event telegraph wires acted as a conduit for the collected energy, which caused fires and injuries at telegraph stations. 

Our genset and transfer switch is by design on-grid, and would be vulnerable to EMP damage. Folks who are 'off-grid' might have a better chance of equipment survival, assuming their  'local grid' doesn't also collect and transfer the EMP's energy.  I've read that copper pipes and house wiring can act as a conduit for the energy of an EMP in the case of off-grid installations.

The US Department of Homeland Security has published a study on protecting and preparing the US for an EMP or HEMP:

https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/18_1009_EMP_GMD_Strategy-Non-Embargoed.pdf

 

 

 

 

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kdirk
I've thought about this a little, and decided it probably isn't worth worrying too much about. If something on the magnitude of Carrignton occurs again, I doubt those of us in a normal urban or suburban setting are going to have much time to worry about the genset not running. Further, if you rely on nat gas as a fuel source and not a local tank of LP or Diesel (for those generators that run the latter) it is likely the utility  gas supply will go down as well. Getting the lp/diesel tank refilled will probably not happen on any reasonable time frame either under those circumstances. 

A faraday cage is good in theory but all wiring in the structure and to the genset would somehow need to be isolated from the grid and also shielded from induced current, with some serious spark gap at the switching points (the current induced by a Carrignton level CME will jump right across a circuit breaker or typical disconnect easily) or you still have numerous paths by which damage can enter the generator and anything in the structure that would be running on the generator anyway. 

Full off grid applications have a better shot at making it intact, but the house itself would need to be a faraday cage to protect the wiring and appliances inside, rather than separately shielding all those things individually which is impractical. Hope you like going outside to use your cell phone, or listen to the radio.

And then there is the fact that if you are up and running while everyone else is freaking out in the dark with no iphone, TV, computers, refrigerators and HVAC, that's going to make you and your house a rather conspicuous target. Not sure I'd want to paint a crosshairs on my back by being the guy who's house is the only one powered for miles. The sound of a genset running will be quite easily heard as well, even if you draw the shades and shutoff the outside lights. How many portable genny's get nicked in hurricane zones during prolonged outages? 

Now, if you have 100+ acres in the country with no neighbors or roads visible in a large radius, you might be ok for a while. Most of us will be in heavily inhabited locales where a lot of desperate people will figure out who planned well in short order. 

I think it'd be better to get an old diesel truck with zero critical electronics needed to start/run and good off road capability. Then,  go hide out at a pre-planned well hidden spot, as this would be an end-of-civilzation type scenario that we aren't likely to recover from in any reasonable time frame. But this gets one into full on survivalist territory, and not many are cut out for that. Don't think I could do it long term. 
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Cobranut
The bottom line in that situation, is to be better armed and stock more ammunition than anyone else, so you can defend your family until everoyne else runs out of ammo, and you can take them out.
The ring of decaying bodies around your property will serve as a strong warning to the next round of despots who may think of giving you a try. LOL
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kdirk
That would be a succinct way of putting it. A Carrington magnitude event in todays world probably qualifies as a near extinction level event just because off the resulting violence, disease (from lack of operational modern sanitation systems for sewer, water and waste transport) and starvation from inability to produce and transport food on the scale the world has been accustomed to for over a century.

Rebuilding a genset probably won't be on the radar at all. 
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ALLEGRO
In the event of an EMP or Carrington Event, in the long-term, little is going to help you other than having a plan and preparations in place.

Sadly, these will be the chips for the poker-game of survival.

[A5R2xGg]
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Warren
Thanks for the discussion.  My first thought, too, was a Faraday cage and, in the event of sufficient (a few hours) of warning, would proceed to wrap the generator housing in aluminum foil.  Of course, if the event were severe enough, both the currents through the lines (as several commenters have pointed out), and "burn through" of the foil due to resistive heating could be a problem -- hence my idea for keeping spares.  More protective yet would be a cage made of copper foil, but that gets quite expensive.  Note that during the event, the generator would be kept "off" and the cage removed after the "storm" has passed.  On the more optimistic side, solar activity is expected to be "light" for the next ten years or so, so there is a good chance that, if we do suffer a storm, it will not be as severe as the 1859 event.  My planning currently is running toward trying to handle an intermediate type event for which electric utilities could be unavailable for a few days or weeks and replacement semiconductor-based parts needed by homeowners without special connections likely taking somewhat longer.  However, it seems reasonable to assume continuity of natural gas availability with only modest (few hours?) possible interruptions.  I agree with other posters that, for an "Armageddon event" that brings down the social and law enforcement structure, standby generating capability is no longer an important issue.
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SHunt

We don't have natural gas available, so have a 500 gallon propane tank dedicated to our 11kw genset.  I am unsure as to whether we'd get a few hours of warning prior to an EMP.  If we did, I assume you'd have to attempt to isolate the genset from other input - either from the main grid collection of energy, or feedback from the house plumbing/wiring. Would disconnecting the transfer switch block input from either side? I admit to being tech-challenged.  Could an expedient Faraday cage be made from copper mesh? I see where a 100' long, 6" wide roll of copper mesh can be purchased for $30. That's not too prohibitive - you could drive some rebar into the ground around the genset to use as a frame for the mesh.  Would you have to put the mesh under the genset, as well as over and around?

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Warren
Based on typical media response to NASA announcements, and the way the news folks like to hype the weather,  I think there is a good chance that we could get several hours or even days of warning.  Your 500 gallons of propane is a nice buffer against delivery interruptions -- if there is sufficient notice, you might even be able to get a quick fill up ahead of time.  Depending upon how much lead time would be available, my current thinking is 1) Turn the generator to off; 2) Completely disconnect it from the transfer switch by removing all wiring at the genset; 3) Wrap the entire genset housing, including the underside, in metal foil, copper mesh or both, and grounding same at a single point as close to the concrete base as possible; 4) After the event, unwrapping and hoping it will start and run;  5) If successful, and assuming loss of utility power, seeing if the transfer switch still is operative.  6) Depending on the results of 5) connecting the generator to operate the household appliances that still work.   BTW, if my home is the only one in the neighborhood with power for an extended period, we already have plans to run long extension cords to the neighbors on a cooperative, scheduled basis.  This has already been on the verge of being implemented during previous storm-related outages.
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SHunt

I read on one of NASA's spaceweather sites that the fastest CME can impact the Earth in 15-18 hours, although the slowest ones can several days.  However if the produced CME travels faster than the background solar wind speed it can generate a shock wave.  These shock waves can accelerate charged particles ahead of them along the connecting interplanetary magnetic lines– causing increased radiation storm potential or intensity. NASA's DSCOVR satellite can detect these leading shock waves, of which we may only get a 15 to 60 minute warning. 

Our genset sits on the base it came with, on a gravel pad that we leveled.  Its heavy, but I think we could tip it to place copper mesh underneath. Would we have to re-engineer the installation with a cement pad? If we had enough advance warning, I think I would shut off the propane and disconnect it, as well as the electrical lines coming from the transfer switch.  Question, if the transfer switch is fried, would the connection from the genset to the home still be available? Or would we have to replace the transfer switch to get connectivity? If we shut down the grid power manually at the meter, would it be more likely that the transfer switch would survive?

We don't have neighbors within an extension cord reach. Our 'subdivision' is isolated well out in ranch country, along with about 20 other homes, most with 10 - 15 acres and some completely off-grid. We figured if we can get our system through any problem, we can all work together to keep folks comfortable until the grid is re-energized.

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Warren
SHunt, it appears that our thought processes and research studies are similar.  Yes, we might get short warning or as much as a day or more.  Since astronauts would have to be evacuated from the ISS, that would be "news", so we would likely receive some advanced notice.  I, too, would also "tip up" the Genset to be able to get a "full wrap."  Recall that, while the Faraday cage will help protect from high frequency induction, low frequency (essentially dc) currents through pipes and main feeders, driven by high voltages across gaps that are normally assumed to be insulating, are likely to be the biggest problem -- which is why my plans include disconnecting wiring into the genset and , time permitting, disconnecting the transfer switch from utility power.  Still pondering about disconnecting the gas line (it is mostly PVC except for a few feet of iron pipe from the gas meter to the genset).  I figure if the transfer switch becomes inoperative following the event, I can simply bridge the connection it would have made between the genset and house panel to get me through the aftermath, until the grid again becomes operative -- then manually disconnect the generator and manually reconnect to utility power.  Incidentally, the DHS website has an EMP study that provides discussion and models (mostly theoretical) which can be used to obtain rough estimates of possible induced voltages and currents as a function of pipe & wire lengths, orientations, etc.
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JayH
We're at a solar minimum now. CMEs such as Carrington occur at sunspot peaks. Cycle 25 will peak in 2025 to 2026 so we've got a few years before anything is remotely likely. In case of a nuclear EMP, that's pretty much going to be game over for civilization and there isn't going to be any real warning. Interesting discussion but from a practical sense if you're really that concerned consider buying an Ecogen, wrapping it in its crate in copper mesh, and storing it for installation after the fact. The grid isn't going to be coming back any time soon after such an event. 
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