Powering the station
There are several distinct ways to supply the station with electricity, which can either be used exclusively or in combination with each other. The solar arrays are efficient and simple, yet leave no room for experimentation. The singularity engine is a spectacular and highly satisfying to set up, but there is very little room for experimentation and a lot of room for devastating errors. In contrast, there are probably as many different thermoelectric engine setups as there are engineers, and with it so many ways of generating billions and billions of watts of fire and joules of heat.
- 1 The experimental local generator
- 2 The radioisotope thermoelectric generator
- 3 The solar arrays
- 4 The thermoelectric generator
- 4.1 Map Legend
- 4.2 How it all works
- 4.3 Start-up procedure: Basic Char Burn
- 4.4 Start-up procedure: Hell BURN
- 4.5 Tending to the engine: Holy Grail
- 5 The power transmission laser
- 6 The singularity engine
The experimental local generator
Burns plasma to make electricity. More a means of powering specific rooms rather than the entire station, for which the generator is unsuitable. Still, it can be a worthwhile backup generator for key areas such as medbay or the escape hallway as insurance against power outages. Insert a plasma tank, secure the floor bolts and flick the power switch. The generator doesn't burn fuel if the local APC's power cell is already fully charged.
The radioisotope thermoelectric generator
Uses the radioactive decay of a RTG fuel pellet to make electricity. You can expect a handful to a few ten kilowatts from these things, which is nice, because unlike the local generator, this is stationary. Unlike the real world, the fuel pellet will decay rather quickly whilst in the RTG, and there is no way to make more pellets. As a result, it's more suited as an emergency backup generator, like the experimental local generator, but for the whole power grid.
The solar arrays
Solar arrays are not a complicated affair and provide a decent amount of power once properly configured. This task can be handled by the AI in the first few minutes of any given round, which is great when the engineers have no clue how to do their job. They're also a single wire snip away from sabotage, so they should not be relied on completely in lieu of the generator if possible.
How it all works: The solar arrays
Each array is a fully automatic and for the most part self-contained system. It consists of:
- The solar tracker, which tracks the location of the sun.
- Solar panels to generate electricity.
- The control terminal, which aligns the panels to the sun.
- The array's output is channeled through a SMES unit, basically a huge rechargeable battery. For the connection, an electric terminal (not to be confused with data terminals) is required.
- Regular wiring then feeds a certain amount of power (depending on the SMES settings) to the station grid.
Auto-tracking doesn't work when there is no continuous connection between the tracker and control terminal. Damaged wiring will also prevent panels from rotating automatically, as they can't receive commands from the computer.
Keep in mind that the sun will always be moving in relation to the station, which means that the amount of electricity generated by each array won't be constant. For this reason, it's also best to leave the control terminal on the default settings (i.e. Auto) unless you want to babysit the arrays and rotate them manually.
Down to business: Configure the SMES units
Making use of the default settings of the SMES units will result in power failures within half an hour, or much less if telescience decides to play around with permaportals or something unforeseen happens. At the same time, the mechanics of the power grid are somewhat arcane, so setting up the SMES units wrong can cause power failures throughout the station including in key locations like the bridge.
To set up a SMES:
- Chose an appropriate Input value from the table below for the solar array in question.
- Make sure the Input is set to Auto, though it should be already.
- Likewise, pick the corresponding Output value.
- Set the Output to Online.
In case you consider deviating from these suggestions, be aware of two other things. The SMES unit's input should be set with a value no higher than what is indicated on the control terminal. It won't charge if it is set higher than what the arrays are producing, even if the difference is only a couple of watts. In addition, the output should have a value lower than the input in order to build up some reserves, because the SMES won't always be charging.
Note: the data in the following table may be incorrect, and some testing is required. If you do know the correct settings, please help us out.
|SMES||Image||Peak output|| Suggested
| Port aft
||~100,000 W||85,000 W||40,000 W||Supposedly the first SMES in the power-grid. This might mean that any superfluous power can be handed over to other SMES units, even if there isn't enough to power.|
| Starboard aft
(Research Wing maint.)
||~100,000 W||85,000 W||40,000 W||Don't set the output too high. Due to the way the power grid code works, it is second in line after the Port Aft Solar SMES and will receive its power overflow. If it's output is higher then the output of Port Aft Solar SMES, it will actually drain energy from the power grid!|
||200,000 W||200,000 W||100,000 W||If the engine is on, this SMES will help keep the lights on in the Portside of the station. However, that might not actually be desirable, as few station critical sections are in that part. If the engine has not been turned on, it would be wiser to just leave power uptake off.|
||200,000 W||200,000 W||100,000 W||If the engine is on, this SMES will help keep the lights on in the Starboard side of the station. Since the medbay and the mining section are here, recovering from a power failure here is much more difficult than for the Portside of the station. If the engine has not been turned on, it would be wiser to just leave power uptake off.|
||200,000 W||200,000 W||100,000 W||If the engine is turned on, these units can fill up regardless of settings, and if the engine is off, these aren't useful anyway, so be generous and make sure output level are always the highest in the station.|
|Array||Image||Peak output|| Suggested
||~90,000 W||70,000||40,000||The smallest and thus least powerful array, so overoptimistic settings will deplete the SMES unit quickly.|
||~120,000 W||80,000||40,000||Don't set the output too high. Due to the way the power grid code works, it is second in line after the aft solars and will always be loaded.|
(near tech storage)
||~120,000 W||85,000||60,000||Pretty much identical to the port solars. Because it is last in line after the four engine substations (which amount to 40.000 W combined output by default), there is more leeway to use it as a buffer.|
|SMES||Image||Peak output|| Suggested
(Port Crew Quarters maint)
||~ 120 000 W||11 000 W||9 000 W||Because of advanced power-saving technologies, the NSS Destiny consumes minimal amounts of power! Such is the ingenuity of NanoTrasen shipwrights.|
(Starboard Crew Quarters maint)
||~ 120 000 W||11 000 W||9 000 W||And by "power-saving technologies", we mean the ship is like a third of the size of a standard NT station, so of course it uses less power than an whole entire space station would.|
|SMES||Image||Peak output|| Suggested
| Port, Solars (Rightmost SMES)
(Port Electrical Substation)
||~ 90 000 W||15 000 W||11 000 W||Because of advanced power-saving technologies, the NSS Clarion consumes minimal amounts of power! Such is the brilliance of NanoTrasen shipwrights.|
| Starboard, Solars (Leftmost SMES)
(Starboard Electrical Substation)
||~ 90 000 W||15 000 W||11 000 W||And by "power-saving technologies", we mean the ship is like half of the size of a standard NT station, so of course it uses less power than an whole entire space station would.|
Since there is so much finicky stuff about the power gird, it is sometimes preferred to bypass the SMES units all together. To do this you need to have access to basic tools, a pair of insulated gloves and the SMES substations.
- Bypass the SMES by bridging the obvious gap on the floor. For more information on how to lay wires, please refer to Guide to Wiring.
- Disable the SMES on the input side. Setting its input to Off has the same effect, but this way ensures that the AI can't interfere. The solar arrays don't generate enough electricity to supply the station and charge the SMES units at the same time.
- Double-check that you haven't disconnected the control terminal or APC by accident.
As mentioned before, solar arrays don't produce a constant amount of power. While eliminating the SMES units from the equation does deprive the system of a buffer, there is almost always enough juice available to keep the APCs supplied, even if a single array may contribute only 25.000 W to the total number. Typically, the station demands circa 170.000 W.
The thermoelectric generator
This section is collapsible, click the button to the right to open it. Not all of these items will be on each map, though many of them will be common to each map.
1 - The TEG, or Thermo-Electric Generator.
2 - The PTL or Power Transmission Laser.
3 - Engine Outpuit Monitoring Computer - Allows you to monitor the output of the engine remotely.
4 - Gas Mixing Control Computer - Allows you to control the Gas Mixer (19).
5 - Engineering SMES Units - Stores the power from the engine, like a battery.
6 - Plasma - This room is where the plasma canisters are stored. Equipped with a separate Firelock.
7 - Oxygen - These are the oxygen canisters.
8 - CO2 - These are the CO2 canisters.
9 - N2 - This room is where the N2 canisters are stored. Equipped with a separate Firelock.
10 - Furnaces - Allows you to burn char or other flammable objects in them to produce power.
11 - Hot Loop Pressure Tank - Allows you to release pressure from the hot loop into the tank.
12 - Hot Loop Manual Valves - Allows you to control whether the Hot Loop is running gasses through the TEG (1)
13 - Hot Loop Purge Valve - Controls flow to the Hot Loop Purge Pump to release pressure and gasses from the Hot Loop.
14 - Hot Loop Auxiliary Port 1 - Allows you to release Gas into the TEG Input end of the hot loop.
15 - Hot Loop Auxiliary Port 2 - Allows you to release Gas into the TEG Output end of the hot loop.
16 - Hot Loop Inlet Valves - Allows you to release Gas into the TEG Input end of the hot loop, before the heating portion. (Pumps controlled by the pump controller)
17 - Combustion Chamber Bypass Valve - Allows hot loop Gas to go continue to the TEG rather than into the Combustion Chamber to if you're not using it.
18 - Combustion Chamber Inlet and Outlet Valves - Allows hot loop Gas to enter and exit the Combustion Chamber
19 - Combustion Chamber Mixing Pump - Mixes the Gases contained in the Combustion Chamber Gas Ports (20) and sends it to the Combustion Chamber. Controlled by the Gas Mixing Control Computer (4)
20 - Combustion Chamber Gas Ports - Allows you to send Gases to the Combustion Chamber to be burned.
21 - Combustion Chamber Airlock - Allows you to enter and exit the Combustion Chamber without filling the room with hot gases.
22 - Combustion Chamber - Burns the gas mixes in (20) to heat up the hot loop Gases
23 - Freezer Room Bypass Valve - Allows cold loop Gas to continue to the TEG rather than into the freezers if you're not using them
24 - Freezer Room Inlet and Outlet Valves - Allows cold loop Gas to enter and exit the Freezers
25 - Cold Loop Pressure Tank - Allows you to release pressure from the cold loop into the tank
26 - Freezers - Cools the cold loop Gas using cryo cooling
27 - Cold Loop Inlet Valves - Allows you to release Gas into the TEG Input end of the cold loop, before the cooling portion. (Pumps controlled by the pump controller)
28 - Cold Loop Auxiliary Port 1 - Allows you to release Gas into the TEG Input end of the cold loop.
29 - Cold Loop Auxiliary Port 2 - Allows you to release Gas into the TEG Output end of the cold loop.
30 - Cold Loop Purge Valve - Controls flow to the Cold Loop Purge Pump to release pressure and gasses from the Cold Loop.
31 - Cold Loop Manual Valves - Allows you to control whether the Cold Loop is running gases through the TEG
32 - Cold Loop Bypass Valve - Allows Gas to go straight to the TEG rather than through the cold loop pipes exposed to space
33 - Cold Loop Inlet and Outlet Valves - Allows Gas to enter and exit the cold loop pipes going through space
34 - Manual Gas Mixer - Allows you to manually mix Gases without a Gas Mixer Control Computer
How it all works
The Engine is the heart of engineering and the best source of power on the station. It uses the heat gradient between a loop of hot gas and cold gas to produce up to billions of watts of electricity. It has boatloads of customizability, but is surprisingly forgiving; if you forget a step, usually nothing explodes or bursts, and the engine just doesn't generate power. If any pipes burst, it just takes a few seconds of welding, and, if there's a fire, it will tend to stay in engineering. Even if you screw up so badly that the entire engine is unsalvagable, there's always the solars to fall back on.
WARNING: There are a number of systems that are rather complicated and might even be bugged, so are best not be touched until you are more experienced at their use. These are : the Gas coolers (26) and the valves that lead to them (24), the emergency pressure release valves for the hot loop (13) and the cold loop (28). Instead, if you need to siphon of gas to release pressure or 'other safety reasons' use empty canisters on the auxiliary siphoning ports (14) and (29).
Start-up procedure: Basic Char Burn
This setup uses the energy produced from burning char to heat up the hot loop and the vacuum of space to cool the cold loop. It will produce about 200 to 500 kilowatts, which is enough to keep the whole station supplied with power and fill up all the SMES units.It can be considered the standard procedure for making sure the station doesn't brown out halfway during the round. However, the engineers will need to keep an eye on the furnaces, periodically refilling them with char if the round goes more than 30 minutes, and the Power Transmission Laser will not be used.
- Drag a fuel crate to the furnaces (10) and stuff 2 of them full of char and turn them on. You can load them one chunk at a time or click-drag the char sprite into the furnace to stuff the furnace with char until it's full.
- Use a wrench to connect 2 canisters of Plasma (6) to the 2 hot loop supply ports (16). This allows the gas in the canister to enter the hot loop.
- In this specific order, Open up the 2 hot loop supply valves (16), the combustion chamber bypass valve (17) and the hot loop valve (12). This allows gas to flow through the hot loop, so it can actually be heated and sent to the generator in the first place. Since the combustion chamber isn't used in this setup, there's no need for gas to flow through it.
- Use a wrench to connect 2 canisters of Plasma (6) to the 2 cold loop supply ports (27). This allows gas in the canister to enter the cold loop.
- In this specific order, Open up the 2 cold loop supply valves (27) and the freezer room bypass valve (23). The supply valves allow the gases to actually go through the whole cold loop and be sent to the generator. The freezers aren't used in this setup, so there's no need to have gases flowing into them.
Don't forget to set up the SMES! The outputs on them are offline by default, so you'll obviously need to turn them online, and you'll need to configure their inputs/outputs. 200k/80k is usually sufficient.
But what about the pump control computer?
Safely ignorable. This setup usually doesn't generate high enough pressures (i.e. 15k+ kPa) to require fiddling with the pumps, and while ideally the pressure between the hot loop inlet and cold loop outlet should be the same, changing the pump settings alone might not always do the trick, and equilizing the pressures may not even be necessary on more advanced setups. Still, if you're so curious, here's a general rundown:
- Combustion Feed: Controls how much gas is going into the combustion chamber (22). Can be safely turned off since this setup doesn't use the chamber. Many people who do use it tend to keep this low to keep the burn going on longer.
- Hot Loop Gas Supply: Controls how much gas from the hot loop is going into the generator. Generally advised to keep it low to prevent pipes from bursting.
- Cold Loop Gas Supply: Controls how much gas from the cold loop is going into the generator. Any setting works really, cold loop tends to be fine and dandy at any pressure.
- Cold Loop Purge: Controls how much gas is exiting the cold loop and entering space. The cold loop is usually pretty chill and tends to not cause many problems, so you can leave it at default.
- Hot Loop Purge: Controls how much gas is exiting the hot loop and entering space. Basically an emergency release pump, might want to keep this on at max settings just in case.
The purge valves(13,30)?
This setup usually doesn't generate enough pressure to warrant opening these, so these can be safely be left untouched. In emergencies (i.e. a plasma fire escapes engineering), these can be turned on to let out all the pressure and hot gas into space. Remember to turn on the purge pumps on the pump control computer in this case.
The auxiliary ports(14,15,28,29)?
Ignorable. You can place gas canisters here and attempt to equalize the inlet pressures between the hot and cold loops, though it may not quite work out, and on some advanced setups, the pressures don't really matter. However, you can put empty canisters here to get super-hot/super-cold gases here, which you can use for more nefarious purposes...
The pressure tanks valves(11,25)?
Charburns usually don't generate pressure to necessitate diverting pressure into these things, so they're sort of showpieces here.
Rather wonky at the moment. Sometimes they cooperate, sometimes not. You're welcome to try though. Just leave the freezer bypass valve alone and let the gas flow into them, turning the inlet/outlet valves (24) if applicable.
The gas mixer(4)/gas ports(20)/combustion chamber(22)?
This setup doesn't burn gases to heat up the hot loop, so you don't need to worry about it. Once you've gotten the basics down though and are clamoring for more advanced techniques, these things aren't too hard to pick up. Experiment! Which gases will you use, and in what proportions? Will you use one canister or two? How about the feed pump settings? And what will you do about the CO2? There's loads of possibilities here brings us to...
Start-up procedure: Hell BURN
Hell Burn setups involve using the combustion chamber to heat the gas in the hot loop. With the right setup, the engine can rapidly start producing over 1 megawatt of power, but the output can grow endlessly. Goon engineers like to compete and brag about their highest engine output, which usually ends up into the hundreds of gigawatts or even hundreds of terawatts! At that point though, it's little more then a pissing contest as even the mighty PTL can only process 999 terawatts at it's maximum setting, and the heat coming from the engine room is enough to become a problem on the rest of the station, causing things like pieces of paper to spontaneously catch fire and gas canisters in air supply rooms to explode.
The startup procedures for a hell burn is a secret shared between good engineers and CEs and is not going to be posted on the wiki. Suffice it to say it involves using the combustion chamber, with a mix of gasses made by using the combustion chamber mixing pump (19) (which is operated from the control room (4)) and using the RCD to make several holes in the combustion chamber to stimulate proper gas flow and in the floor in specific places of the engineering sector to prevent fires from consuming the corridors.
Tending to the engine: Holy Grail
So the basic start-up procedure will keep the station alive, but will rarely exceed 800 kilowatts of power. A good Hell-burn will produce enough power to burn gods, but it will also incinerate the rest of the station. The true aim of a good engineer is to run the engine on minimal fuel for maximum Watts. AND IT CAN BE DONE! Even with humble char and a little love'n'care you can produce a surge of over 4 megawatts of power, enough to send sparks flying and supervisors crying.
Here is a hint: Which way is the gas flowing, and what can you do for it? And you see those warning lights along the pipes? They are not a joke, if they are spazzing out, your work is calling.
The power transmission laser
The power transmission laser, or PTL for short, is a way of rewarding engineers who go above and beyond the usual power supply. Using the interface on the laser system (click the lower left side of control panel sprite), the laser can receive power as an input and then output it, just like a SMES unit can. Once the PTL finishes charging (indicated by a nice little charging meter above the controls, just like those sci-fi movies), the PTL outputs its power in the form of a huge laser beam that gets sent all the way across the station Z-Level and, presumably, to some other people in need of power somewhere in space. As the PTL continues running,the engineers get a share of the money earned to their bank accounts, and the rest of the station starts receiving a steady amount of extra cash into the payroll budgets, depending on how much power is transmitted. There are a few restrictions to keep in mind, however:
- The PTL will not input any more than half of the total engine output, even if you set it beyond that threshold on the console.
- The PTL also cannot transmit power beyond 999 TW (terawatts). You need to have an insanely powerful engine setup for this to be a problem, but it's worth mentioning.
- Finally, the PTL obviously cannot transmit power when the door blocking the laser is closed.
Setting up the PTL is much like setting up an SMES Unit. However, instead of clicking on plus and minus signs to set the input and output levels, you input a number between 1 and 999 (the default is 1, but you can click on the number itself to input a different value) and then pick a suitable watt range, such as W, KW, MW, etc. As with an SMES, setting output slightly lower than input is preferred (though having them be the same is also viable, if the PTL already some charge stored). A misconfigured PTL won't exactly fail, but it will output sporadic bursts, which tend to be less efficient at earning credits than a steady continuous beam.
You'll need to constantly micromanage the laser input with the total engine output to make sure that your cash-making machine isn't at the expense of station function, but with sufficiently high-power engine setups, this won't be an issue. Experiment with how much power you're able to get away with beaming into space!
The singularity engine
This is the main engine for Linemap/Mushroom Station/Donut Station 2, capable of producing around 600 to 700 kilowatts. On other maps that start with the Thermo-Electric Engine, it's more of a plaything for bored engineers, but nevertheless it's a novel means of powering the station and a hit amongst Lord Singuloth Chaplains. This engine uses the radiation released from quantum effects in a black hole to produce electricity, like a solar panel for Hawking radiation, while keeping the singularity under containment through emitters and field generators.
Now, unless you're on Linemap, most of the required components are not in Engineering or anywhere on the station at roundstart, unlike the TEG, so you'll have to gather the parts yourself, either by exploring the Adventure Zone with a friendly Research team or ordering the parts from Quartermaster for a hefty amount of cash. Here's a quick rundown of the items.
|Emitter||Shoots a beam that powers the field generators|
|Field Generator||Generates a large containment field beam that keeps the singularity within the bounds of the beams. Beams will shock you if you get too close.|
|Radiation Collection Array||Converts the radiation given off by the singularity into electricity when given a tank of plasma.|
|Radiation Collection Controller||Controls the collection arrays.|
|Gravitional Singularity Generator||||Creates a singularity when it detects a containment field of a valid size.|
|Plasma tank||Collection arrays won't provide power if they don't have a plasma tank in them. You can usually find these in tank dispensers.|
|Welder||Essential for securing down the singularity components|
|Wrench||Essential for securing down the singularity components|
|Meson Goggles||Don't look into the singularity without these.|
|Magnetic boots||Technically not required, but it'll keep you from getting sucked into the singularity once the thing is up and running.|
How it all goes together
Once you've found enough parts, you'll have to put them in the proper arrangement. Here a a few guildlines
- The gravitional singularity generator needs to be in the center of a 5x5 area or bigger to spawn a singularity
- That means that the field generators need to be at least 5 squares apart from each other.
- The emitters should be aimed at the field generators, with at least one emitter to a field generator. Emitters can shoot through windows and have lots of range, so you afford a little protective glass or space between the emitters and field generators.
- Don't forget: emitters need power to be able to shoot at the field generators, so remember to wire them up so they'll receive power.
- The radiation collectors and the array controller can be put just about anywhere. These should be wired to the main power grid.
How to start it
Don't forget to put on your Mesons, lest you go blind while staring at the singularity.
- Secure the Emitters so they face the field generators. Turn them so they are pointing in the right direction. To secure them wrench and weld (mind your eyes and wait for the message 'you weld the emitter in place').
- Secure the Field Generators. To secure them wrench them down and weld it in place.
- Secure the Gravitional Singularity Generator'. Simply wrenching it down will do.
- Get plasma tanks from the tank dispenser. The number of tanks is determined by the number of radiation collection arrays (one for each array), i.e. 4 tanks for 4 arrays.
- Place the plasma tanks into the collection arrays, so the arrays can actually use the radiation to make electricity.
- Turn on all collection arrays and/or array controllers. Arrays can't make electricity if they're off, obviously.
- Turn on all emitters (swipe id to lock/unlock the console, click on it to turn it on/off. It's a good idea to wait about a minute after the last emitter is on so the field generators receive some power.)
- CAREFULLY Turn on all field generators
- Go to the field generator.
- Unlock it with your Engineer ID.
- Click on it. This will spawn a containment field between the two field generators, keeping the singularity within the beam and not eating up the station. This field will shock you if you're one square away from it, that's why you should...
- RUN towards the outside! (The second time you do this you'll know when to run and when not to, but until then, do it every time)
- Lock all of the emitters' consoles by swiping your ID again if you have not done so already. Don't want some random clown to turn them off and release the singularity, after all, unless...
That's it! Normally you don't have to any SMES configuration unless...
A note for Linemap engineers
If you're an Engineer on Linemap or any of the pre-Cogmap1 maps, not only do all the necessary components spawn in Engineering at roundstart, you'll also have the privilege of getting an Engine Control Computer, giving you an alternative to step 8. Because you're letting a computer turn on the field generators rather than going up to each one and activating them manually, you'll avoid the risk of getting shocked by a containment beam. The tradeoff is that you'll also have to configure some SMES units, but it's a pretty cheap price for safety.
To use to the Engine Control Computer, first do the above first seven steps (i.e.securing the components and activating the collectors and emitters), but instead of manually turning on the field generators, you do the following steps:
- Open the computer's terminal
- Put your ID Card in your hand and click on the link at the bottom of the terminal window to insert it
- Type login. Optionally, remove your card.
- type dir. This will display all programs in the folder you're currently in
- type run EngineMaster This will start the EngineMaster program
- type rescan This will scan for active equipment (it might not give you a 'done', just wait a few seconds, if you don't get a response, it's probably all well and good.)
- type startup This will start the emitters and then the field generators. Don't close the program until the singularity is spawned.
NOTE: The AI can handle all the computer work for you if you ask nicely and you've secured all the emitters and field generators. The AI cannot start the engine without someone setting those up.
Now, that's it! Don't forget to to lock the emitters, and set up the SMESes. Something like 70k/30k for each usually works.
The finished engine should look something like this, with all emitters on, field up and running, and collection arrays and their controllers on