Protecting Your Electronics from Solar Flares: Building a Faraday Cage

Post-Flare Loops Erupt From Suns Surface
Post-Flare Loops Erupt From Suns Surface / NASA/GettyImages

Due to all of the recent solar activity, you likely have heard about the danger of solar flares and the electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) they bring with them. There are also rumors terrorists might use EMPs to disrupt our communications. Luckily, protecting your computer isn’t that difficult. Keep reading, and we’ll show you how to do it.

To protect your equipment, we are going to build a Faraday cage that will house your computer tower or provide you with a safe place to store your laptop and smart devices during times of heightened solar activity or other dangers.

Materials Required for a Faraday Cage

  • Wire mesh (look for 20 – 30 gauge)
  • Grounding wire (8 – 12 gauge)
  • Non-conductive materials, like rubber or plastic
  • Wire cutters
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Pliers

Get Started Making Your Faraday Cage

Choose a suitable size for your Faraday cage. If you are protecting a computer tower, measure it carefully and make the enclosure several inches larger so it fits easily. If you will use it to safeguard smartphones or a laptop, consider how large you want it to be.

Use the tools to craft an enclosure. Essentially, you want a cage that surrounds what you are protecting inside when it’s closed, including the bottom. Use the pliers to bend the screen to shape it, and use the solder and soldering iron to connect the screens. If you will be opening it to retrieve your devices, ensure that you can close it so there are no holes much larger than the gaps in the screen.

  • The metal that makes up the cage should be copper or aluminum.
  • All joints and seams should be electrically continuous.

Connect the grounding wire to the cage with a good, solid connection.

Attach the ground wire to the main home ground or a grounding rod that goes at least 8 feet into the ground.

Place Your Equipment Inside the Faraday Cage

Once you finish creating the cage, it’s time to start protecting your electronics by keeping them inside. Place your tower on a rubber or plastic mat inside the cage and ensure that no part comes into contact with it. If you need to make holes in the cage for wires, you can try to seal them the best you can with conductive gaskets or conductive tape.

Use a rubber or plastic mat for your laptop and smart devices, too, or put them in a plastic bag before placing them in the cage.

How Can I Test My Faraday Cage?

Testing the Faraday cage is easier than building it and only requires you to put your smartphone inside. The cage should block all cell phone reception, and your device should lose ser ice inside. If not, some signal is still getting through that could put your equipment in jeopardy, so inspect the cage for any gaps and fill them until the phone loses service.

If there are no gaps in the cage, it could be your ground isn’t good enough.

Keeping your tower and other computer equipment in a Faraday cage can help keep them safe if an EMP hits your area. While it might not be practical to keep mobile devices in there, placing them in there at night and when you are not using them can offer some protection from damage since it can occur at any time. These cages also reduce the amount of radiation that enters your environment from your devices, which can help protect your health.