Power

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Power is the ability to generate electricity in order to enable electrical workbenches, lights, temperature control devices, automated defenses, and more. Access to power is crucial to survival, especially in late game. The success of a colony often relies upon a fault-tolerant power grid with a reliable power flow that ensures that your appliances are working at all times, especially in emergencies.


Power generators

Wind turbine

Wind Power.png
A wind turbine produces a variable amount of power up to 3000W, based on the current wind speed (for wind conditions see Weather). It works day and night, compared to a solar generator which only works during the day. Wind turbines complemented by batteries can provide a stable supply of power since there are no wind related disasters, like the solar generator's Eclipse. A wind turbine's only real drawback is it's need for a large open area clear of trees, buildings, roofs, and other tall constructions.




Solar generator

SolarCollector.png
A solar generator provides up to 1700W of power from sunlight. It has much smaller space requirements than a wind turbine but provides no power at night or during an eclipse. It may be placed in a wind turbine's exclusion zone with no effect on the turbine. Solar generators may be protected by surrounding them with walls, but they must stay unroofed to operate.


Power output is a direct product of the daytime light level. For example, at 50% daylight a solar generator produces 850W of its 1700W maximum. Batteries are a useful supplement to solar generators since they will store power during the day and keep the base online through the night.


Solar generators only operate by the world light level; light from ordinary sources such as a standing lamp or sun lamp will not work on them. The latitude of your starting position will affect solar cycles, with equator zones giving the strong consistent output and the north pole struggling to reach peak output.




Fueled generator

Fueledgenerator.png
A fueled generator provides a constant supply of power. So you don't have to worry about the sun or the wind. It is useful in the early game when you can't afford renewable energy or if you can't make batteries yet. Its inventory holds 75 wood, refueled by haulers. A full fueled generator will provide power for about 3 days 9 hours. It provides heat, but less than a campfire.

As of Alpha 15 (August 28st, 2016), the fueled generator will consume fuel faster.




Geothermal generator

GeothermalPlant.png
A geothermal generator is a structure that can only be built on a geyser and converts the thermal energy into electrical power. It provides a contant 3600W but it is more expensive to build than the other power generators and is limited by the location and number of geothermal geysers. The geothermal generator is available once it is researched. It is the only power generator that requires research.




Ship reactor

ShipReactor.png
Although it is a ship part and and not listed in the Power menu, the ship reactor is perfectly usable as a power generator. It provides 1000W, which is less than the maximum provided by any other power generator, though without their shortcomings or requirements; however, it is prohibitively expensive to build and use in most situations other than late-game. It provides power continually and can be placed on any buildable terrain where its 5x5 structure will fit. It must be researched before it can be built, but does not generate any heat nor require special venting.




Power generator summary

Type Cost Size Max Output
(Watts)
Variable
Output
Day Night Placement
Solar Steel 100
Component 3
4x4 1700 In sunlight
Wind Turbine Steel 100
Component 2
5x2 3000 In open ground
Fueled generator Steel 100
Component 2
2x2 1000 Anywhere
Geothermal Steel 400
Component 8
6x6 3600 On geysers
Ship reactor Steel 300
Plasteel 500
Uranium 150
Component 25
5x5 1000 Outside
(can roof over afterwards)


Power transfers

Power conduit

PowerConduit MenuIcon.png
A power conduit transmits power from generators or batteries to appliances up to six squares away. Conduit doesn't block the placement of other structures and isn't blocked by them, so conduit can be placed wherever it's needed, even in walls; except mountain rock and mineral ores.


Short circuit:
If your power grid contains batteries with a stored charge of at least 50Wd, it is possible for a power conduit to short circuit, destroying the a random piece of conduit and discharging the entire stored power of the grid in an explosion proportional to the amount of charge; this can be mitigated by building non-flammable walls over your power conduits. Short circuits can be avoided by placing a power switch directly between the conduit and the batteries and turning the switch off. Turn the switch on only to charge the batteries and to provide power during a shortage. No short circuits will occur as long as the switch is off and no conduit is touching any batteries.


Power switch

PowerSwitch.png
A power switch is used to toggle power of the conduit lines connected to it. It provides an efficient way to control power to several appliances all at once, such as a large array of improvised turrets.

The 'Toggle power' button is used to request the switch to be flipped. A colonist with the 'flick' job type will flip the switch.


To construct a switchable circuit simply place the power switch along a line of conduit between the power source and the appliances. While one of the switch's connectors must connect to conduit to a power source, any or all of the three remaining connectors can be used to create branches. A switch can be placed directly adjacent to a battery or other power source, but the player will probably find it desirable to place the switch close to the appliances it's meant to control. Appliances won't connect directly to a switch, they only connect to conduit.


When the power switch is on the inspect pane displays 'Power: On', and the center of the power switch shows a pale circle.

When the power switch is designated to turn off, the 'Toggle power' button displays a red X.

When the power switch is off , the inspect pane displays 'Power: Off', and the center of the power switch is dark.

When the power switch is designated to turn on, the 'Toggle power' button displays a green check mark.


Power storage

Batteries

Battery.jpg

A battery stores electricity, up to 1000 Wd (Watt-days), when there is surplus power, and provides the stored power back to the grid when there's a deficit. A power deficit is often the result from wind turbines not getting enough wind or from solar generators not getting enough light, at night or during an eclipse.
Charging Features

  • A battery can only hold 1kWd (86.4MJ).
  • Only 50% of the energy directed to the battery will be stored.
  • If a power generator's output exceeds appliances' power consumption, excess power will be distributed evenly among all non-full connected batteries, charging all batteries at the same rate.
  • If power consumption exceeds power generation, all non-empty batteries will deplete at the same rate to fill the power gap.


Moving and Storing

  • A battery can be uninstalled, converting it to a 'minified' version in a box. It's categorized as a furniture item and will be hauled to an appropriate stockpile. It still retains its stored charge while boxed. The battery can be installed again when needed.
  • Batteries can be moved by reinstalling them. They do not lose their charge during the move, making them a portable power source.


Hazards

  • A battery that has at least 50 Wd power and connected to any power conduit is subject to an occasional short circuit, causing all of the stored energy to explode at a random piece of power conduit. This event is well-known to players by its envelope notification, as the "Zzztt" event.
  • When a short circuit strikes, more stored power will create a larger explosion, which can be devastating if a large number of batteries discharge at once. Mitigate this damage by creating separate battery networks using Power switches. Disconnect the batteries when charged, and only connect the batteries when they are needed (such as immediately after the other batteries short out).
  • A battery can be disconnected from the grid by reinstalling it away from the grid or by using a switch to isolate it from the grid. A disconnected battery is not affected by short circuits.
  • Batteries are highly likely to explode and catch fire when exposed to rain.
  • Batteries can catch fire when exposed to too much heat.



Appliances

Appliances are structures or buildings that require power but don't transmit it. Most appliances don't require a direct power cable connection, they can be placed up to six squares away from a power cable or power source. When connected to the power grid, it can take a few moments before an appliance turns on.


Managing appliances

Reconnect: Click to force an appliance to reconnect to a conduit line or power source.
Designate toggle power: Click to mark an appliance to be turned on () or off (X) by a colonist set to flick.


Reconnect
Reconnect
Toggle ON Toggle OFF
Designate toggle power




Appliances summary

Appliance Power
consumption (in Watts)
Autodoor 50
Electric tailor bench 120
Electric smithy 210
Machining table 350
Electric smelter 700
Electric crematorium 250
Nutrient paste dispenser 200
Standing lamp 75
Sun lamp 1600
Hydroponics basin 70
Comms console 200
Electric stove 350
Heater 175
Cooler 200
Improvised turret 350
Tube Television 200
Flatscreen Television 150
Megascreen Television 220