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Tempotommy 09-18-2021 04:21 PM

How EMP proof is a 2003 RV?
Ok, call me a conspiracy theorist, that's totally fine :)

How dependent is a 2003 Monaco Diplomat 40PBDD on computer circuit boards? specifically for the engine start and transmission, then less importantly for the living functions of the coach.

As you know an Electro Magnetic pulse would fry any computer circuits instantly, rendering most vehicles after 1982 useless.

I'd love to purchase some new computer boards for the coach and keep them safe. Hopefully I'd never need them.

Thanks for this, I know I might sound crazy, I'd just love to be prepared, just in case.


Jim_HiTek 09-18-2021 05:36 PM

Most modern RVs have the ECM and TCM modules inside the metal parts of their respective devices. Those cables come from them are sometimes shielded but often just a bundle of wires. Those go to more metal or sometimes plastic boxes where they interface with the CAN system than to plastic covered bundles of wires that go everywhere.

So, how to protect things in an RV from a nuclear strike's EMP or a major sun flare event? You can't. But what I'd do if I had warning is, 1) disconnect the batteries; 2) unplug every electronic device I can; 3) Disconnect that long long 50 amp shore power cable; 4) open the engine cover I have in my RV under the bed (Cat diesel pusher) and unplug all those CAN cables; 5) lower all antennas on the roof; 6) if I have the time, park under an overpass; 6) try to ground the frame of the RV to a giant pipe if I can find one.

I'll think of more eventually, but that's a start.

sibe 09-18-2021 06:04 PM

I have had a 77 TT that was sold twice after me and is still in use about 7 miles from my country house.. WOW, refridge and heater still work my buddy told me a few months ago.. that is about all that is really on a board... LOL

My 96 winnie had a few boards and such.. I did the norcold board on door and ign stuff.. Stuff works, I do not go to campgrounds to worry on power under/over currents etc.. If I did I would get a pedestal surge EMS thingy..

Other than that , a lightning strike, genny over pukes... so be it... I had a helper back feed my inverter with a Honda 3000 , he did not realize I had a manual transfer set up in my old rig... Let the smoke out of inverter, a 2 pole 30A breaker popped bad, no resetting and the 2 groups 27 batteries swelled and spit acid...
Poop happens , human error is more likely IMO...

An EMS pulse is the least of my worries on my 25 year old rig as your 18 year old..... natural electronic failure is highly likely... there are only so many times they will fire up and turn off...

barmcd 09-19-2021 10:13 AM

You won’t be driving anywhere after that nuclear blast. Your engine management and house systems have lots of solid state circuitry in them. Just off the top of my head, the refrigerator, A/C thermostats, the inverter, and hot water heater will probably be fried.

jacwjames 09-19-2021 10:26 AM

Man, I got other things to worry about besides this happening. Now I won't sleep at night thinking about how long it would take me to fix everything.

Took a 5 week trip and it took me a month of leisurely working on my rig to get it back in travel ready mode.

Old-Biscuit 09-19-2021 10:35 AM

EMP....the RV is the last thing on my mind

At least I don't have a 'smart house'

followingsea 09-19-2021 10:40 AM


Originally Posted by barmcd (Post 5919399)
You won’t be driving anywhere after that nuclear blast. .....

Correct, dead people do not drive.

On the bright side, there will be no limit on the number of fish you can catch.

astrnmrtom 09-19-2021 12:11 PM

Boy, that's one tough question.

Of course there's the engine computer and transmission control, but there's a bunch more unknowns such as the diodes in the alternator, the ignition coils themselves, and various sensors that talk to the ECMs. Wire bundles might get induced current leading to a bunch of blown fuses and fried wiring. Back-up ECMs can cost $1000s, and what happens if you plug in the replacements ECMs but other hidden problems prevent the rig from running?

I'd say if something like this is a strong concern, you be much better off with an older towable vintage trailer pulled by a pre-computer truck. Way easier to carry a spare starter alternator and ignition coil for an old truck than a box full of electronics and sensors for something newer. Cheaper too.

Persistent 09-19-2021 03:36 PM

Tom M has it correct. Many decades ago a high altitude blast over Kazakhstan took out emergency generators on the ground. The blase was high enough that nobody died from the blast. The insulation on the generator windings cooked. The generators started and ran and produce power for a while. Then smoked. Not just one or two, all of them.

Hundreds of miles of power grid were wiped out. Power transmission transformers all fried. The bigger the transformer, the bigger the fire.

I did not hear what happened to old style automobiles, but things like toaster also fried. The cord on the toaster acted as an antenna for the pulse.

Yes, unprotected printed circuit boards and microchips will fry. Any wires attached will act as antenna.

To protect them you need a Faraday Cage. Look it up. Some people say you can wrap things in tin foil. If that does work, all the seams need to be tightly wrapped. Even pin holes can pass major power pulses. Metal ammo cans are reported to be not proof against the pulse. Presumably the seal around the lid leaks too much of the pulse.

I presume sealed metal cases housing automotive computers will leak through the plastic seals. On the other hand some people say most pulses will not damage your car. Who are you going to believe.

The real testing is all top secret. The US military knows. The Russian military knows. The Chinese Military knows. The French military knows. The British military knows. The American public is not allowed to know. A lot of people do a lot of guessing.

A bridge or metal building is not even close to being enough. The incredibly huge extremely sharp pulse will pass through any electrically open crack or hole.

It is unlikely a solar flare will take out automobiles except possibly in the arctic. A power grid in Canada was destroyed many decades ago. Mitigation measures and early warning systems have prevented any repeat.

VanDiemen23 09-19-2021 05:02 PM

The Faraday cage needs to contain the entirety of the electrical system. Anything passing thru with a wire needs arrestors to stop the pulse coming through and spare arrestors to get the connection functional again.

However, whatever is on the other end of that connection is toast anyway.

I've often thought about this and about the only solution is a mechanically injected diesel that does not rely on an electric fuel pump. That probably means a pony engine as well, but the pony would have to have shielded plug wires and a shielded magneto.

But that only covers the prime mover.

But really, the chances of someone constructing a complete electrical system sufficiently protected from EMP is virtually nil. You can't test the design until its needed....Even guys skilled in those design elements would have their doubts.

Tempotommy 09-19-2021 06:41 PM

thank you all
In Nashville, we say thank ya'll!

That's a lot to think of. Apparently I'm not the only one that's every thought of it.

There's a lot of crazy stuff happening right now, ya'll stay safe!

Tommy H

RealNiceTent 09-19-2021 07:03 PM

EMPs, Nueclear blasts & SunFlares Oh My!
This is a whole bunch of heavy chit to think about and or worry about, so I don't . If the EMP comes from a nuke, I don't have to worry about it, just watch the pretty mushrooms and then place my head between my knees and kiss my...... I also don't have to worry about SunFlares, the probability is we would never know one had one that large, the next intelligent life on the planet will list it as an extinction event when it toasted the whole planet to a nice golden brown.

I much rather think about more important issues like: where I am goinnt to fish in the morning, bait or lures, if we need to go to town or I have enough ciders far a couple more days. You know, important things.:dance:

Bobby F 09-19-2021 07:49 PM

If you can find a 1962 or earlier RV, I think you'd be much safer.

Jchemie 09-29-2021 11:34 AM

1) Wrap the entire coach in tin foil. 2) Make sure it is grounded. 3) Buy a horse & buggy. Then worry about the coach getting hit by lightening, a far greater chance of that happening than an EMP going off. Have a great day, I’m not worried. Still got some meds left. :)

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