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Rugged Laptops

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by DrSticky, May 7, 2012.

  1. DrSticky


    Nov 28, 2005
    The wife and I have been watching Jericho on Netflix (not sure how we missed this) and one of the characters(Hawkins) uses a ToughBook. He says it is ruggedized against EMP. My initial thought is that it isn't likely, but it is in a magnesium case so I don't know for sure.

    I am more curious about who has spent the money on a rugged laptop and what do you recommend. I have a pile of old laptops laying around, but nothing I could take into the field.

    How you plan on charging it when SHTF would be an interesting helpful as well.

    So I guess what I am asking:
    1. Is the Toughbook really EMP proof?
    2. What rugged laptop do you use and recommend?
    3. How do you charge it?
  2. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    Tuffbook,faraday caged........... .'08.

    I'm using a 90s model Tbook ta reply.

  3. racerford


    Apr 22, 2003
    DFW area
    Try to find a "Tempest" rated laptop. That should have a good chance of surviving.
  4. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

    Sep 16, 2008
    So as a civilian what is the use of a EMP resistant laptop? :dunno:

    A Major SHTF even where an EMP is involved would mean the internet and other civilian computers will be gone, and the nationwide electrical grid will be gone.

    But with your toughbook you can;

    Look at videos and pictures of your family? OK that is nice.

    Maybe using it as a DVD player for the kids to cartons to settle them down.

    And what else...?
  5. Chindo18Z


    Apr 17, 2010
    You can:

    1. Run inventory/consumption spreadsheets for supplies, fuel, food, etc.

    2. Display/print digital imagery taken for a variety of projects to include defensive arrangements, site surveys of proposed usage locations, inventory of property, route reconnaissance photos & videos, etc.

    3. Generate SOPs, Rules, Instructions, Operations Orders, Patrol Orders, WTB/For Sale ads (barter), wanted posters, journals, letters (for courier delivery), etc.

    4. Generate duty rosters and work schedules (guard, kitchen, radio watch, planting season, etc.).

    5. Generate maps and tactical graphics for local defense.

    6. Print applicable extracts from .pdf files (user instructions for radios, GPS, weapons, engine repair, food prep, recipes, medical care, drug dosages, how-to documents, etc.).

    7. Run local hard wired security camera feed to laptop.

    8. Organize and maintain personnel files (missing persons lists, skill sets of people in your group, personnel rosters for new additions).

    9. Use for weather prediction (using downloaded NOAA yearly weather data to estimate typical weather for each month, season, week, etc.). Readily available data that shows how much rain, sun, hi/low temp, cloud cover you can expect. Almanac stuff.

    10. Use for encrypting communications between locations (to be passed via flash/thumb drives). Might be worth someones life to not be found with an incriminating document in their possession. Rather than having the same info buried electronically deep in an almost unbreakable (and easily hidden) Iron Key encrypted thumb drive.

    11. Organize all gleaned news, rumors, and collected intelligence into something to brief all present on a daily, weekly, monthly basis...keep your people informed.

    12. Keep minutes of group discussions or meetings.

    13. Use to train folks on specific skills via videos, manuals, or instructional pages pre-saved to the hard drive.

    14. Repository for all identity, insurance, property, and personal documents if/when emergency is effectively over (and a recovery, rebuilding, and claims process begins).

    Yeah... If it's just you, the wife, and kids, perhaps the computer is just an entertainment/morale device. But if it becomes several families, lots more folks, or an entire community...that same computer becomes a time saver and functional organizer. Perhaps a teaching tool. Perhaps a security device.

    I can't speak to EMP hardening, but I personally lugged a Panasonic Toughbook all over Afghanistan in 2002. I kept it packed inside of a metal 25mm ammo can fitted with extra internal padding (mess hall procured cardboard egg-cartons & spare foam pieces). That computer survived a year of dust, heat, and impact during thousands of miles of back country travel in various pickup trucks, MC-130s, helicopters, and rucksacks.

    That improvised computer hard case typically rode in the back of Toyota pickups (along with rucksacks and gear) where there were no roads. Bone jarring off-road impact and vibration. Later in the war, we got Pelican hard cases, but the improvised ammo can worked just fine. We thought highly of the little Panasonics and used Toughbooks at all remote field locations. Still do.

    Honestly, I almost always used portable generator power to run/recharge my computer; also carried 2 x spare batteries. On occasion, I ran that computer off of vehicle accessory plug power.

    Solar power would be the way to go, but I have no specific recommendations as to model. It would really depend upon whether you anticipate being in a fixed location, having a vehicle to both carry and power the computer, or need to carry it in a backpack.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  6. Mister Clean

    Mister Clean

    Jul 16, 2010
    Good Answer! :wow:
  7. Kadetklapp

    Kadetklapp Methberry PD

    Jan 2, 2007
    I'm typing this reply on my "free" (I traded an old obsolete ham HT for it) CF-28 TB. It's not a fast machine, and it only has one USB slot, but it's a good "starter" machine for me. It is what I use to program my scanners and ham rigs, and to run Unitrunker and EchoLink. It's also got a lot of SHTF info and manuals on it.

    They can be had on Ebay for next to nothing. But be prepared to do some work on it.

    Mine needs a new CCFL and a new battery, plus it could use some wireless hardware upgrades.
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  8. I had an asus netbook for my shtf rig, which had a 6 cell battery (8 hours). had a 12v input, had all of my HAM software and survival PDFs on it. Yeah the screen was really small and the processor was stupid slow, but the size and battery life mostly made up for it (sucks it got stolen). Though I'm still seriously consideirng an E reader for my survival PDFs
  9. Travclem

    Travclem Badass Member Lifetime Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    I think everyone will have bigger problems than not having a laptop when there is dookie on the blades.
  10. pugman


    May 16, 2003

    The average home doesn't have two weeks worth of food or a gun - being able to play a DVD for Junior to get to sleep IS a viable problem but a laptop is way down the list of needs during the OP's EMP attack

    Chindo's list is spot on though especially #13. Per Wired Magazine since 2010 over 50% of internet usage is video downloading - of course what percentage of that is porn?
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  11. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Ancient Member Millennium Member

    Nov 7, 1999
    Free Republic of Tejas
    I have had a Toughbook CF-30 for about four years now and it has performed flawlessly.

    It is not the fastest, nor prettiest, nor lightest and you are limited to a 1024-768 screen but if you can live with this it will last a long, long time.

    At some point I'm going to replace the 80GB HD with a 160GB SSD but otherwise will leave it box stock.

    Take a look at fleaBay. You see them posted frequently, in all conditions and prices.

    It's a good choice! That and my Nook reader will be the information central at the hideaway.

  12. Kadetklapp

    Kadetklapp Methberry PD

    Jan 2, 2007
    Like I said, if you are a ham radio operator (and it's my belief every serious prepper should be) a rugged lap top is a massive help bordering on required for use with your radios. Obviously, in a real SHTF, the first thing to go is the internet, but I can still program several of my rigs and listening devices using stored info on the computer and a cable built for that purpose. The last thing I care about is entertaining children with it (I don't have any), what I want it to do is get my radios set up as my needs change and fast.

    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  13. Akita

    Akita gone

    Jul 22, 2002
    How do the Toughbooks compare pricewise vs comparable laptops? ie, how much am I paying, %agewise for that toughness?
  14. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    I got mine for $50.'08.
  15. ArmoryDoc


    May 14, 2006
    Yes. A laptop will be the last of my needs / wants. WWII was planned and fought with pencil and paper.
  16. AK_Stick

    AK_Stick AAAMAD

    Jan 20, 2004
    Alaska, again (for now)
    A laptop can be serious force multiplier.

    If you've got technical data on it, you could have thousands of books on stuff you're not 100% on, to access as you require.

    Yes, I can get by without my laptop. But it makes my life significantly easier.
  17. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

    Mar 17, 1999
    Western WA
    A laptop can be a great tool, but I wouldn't want to pay the penalty in weight, cost, and lack of performance for a ruggedized model. Really, how often are you going to NEED to look up whatever info or do your spreadsheets in the rain.

    I would much rather get a decent Ultrabook, Air, or tablet that I can use day to day if the S doesn't HTF and stick it in a drybag wrapped in my sweater if I need to.
  18. Kingarthurhk

    Kingarthurhk Isaiah 53:4-9

    Sep 5, 2010
    Wait the world is comming to an end let me check facebook.:tongueout:
  19. Kadetklapp

    Kadetklapp Methberry PD

    Jan 2, 2007
    I probably have $60 in mine. It runs XP and is able to program my radio equipment. That's all I ask. Everything else is a bonus.

    And some are still missing the point. It's really not about internet.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  20. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    I use mine ta program scanners and store a lot of info.'08.