Power

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Power is electrical energy that powers the operation of certain appliances, including 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

Chemfuel powered generator

Chemfuel powered generator.png

A chemfuel powered generator provides power by burning chemfuel. Unlike the variable power output of solar generators and wind turbines which depend on the night-day cycle and wind, respectively, chemfuel powered generators produce a constant supply of power for as long as they are fueled. A constant supply of power may reduce your base's need for batteries at the cost of having chemfuel and haulers to keep it running. Chemfuel is obtained by milking tamed boomalopes or creating it via refinery. Similar to the Wood-fired generators, chemfuel powered generators avoid issues with wind, weather, and eclipses as long as they have fuel. Requires no research

Wood-fired generator

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The wood-fired generator is identical to the chemfuel generator, except that it is fueled by wood and is slightly cheaper to construct. Requires no research.

Geothermal generator

GeothermalPlant.png

Geothermal generators can be placed on steam geysers to produce power. Requires research.

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 can 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. Requires no research.

Wind turbine

Wind Power.png

A wind turbine produces a variable amount of power up to 3450W, 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. The orientation of turbines doesn't matter, they will spin equally well in any direction. 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 its need for a large open area clear of trees, mountains, buildings, roofs and other tall constructions. Requires no research.

Watermill generator

Watermill generator.png

A watermill generator provides power from a moving river. It is relatively cheap and requires no upkeep, but is also fairly large and cannot be placed too closely to another without degrading performance. 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.

Vanometric power cell

Vanometric power cell.png

Similar to the ship reactor, the vanometric power cell provides a consistent 1000W of power at all times with no upkeep or restrictions. It has a small footprint and can be moved freely. The catch is that these power cells are very rare; they cannot be manufactured or purchased, only received as a quest reward. With their comparatively low output, there is no reliable way to acquire enough to satisfy more than a small fraction of a normal colony's power budget, but they are a convenient way of powering high-priority or off-grid equipment.

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 3450 In open ground
Watermill generator Wood 280
Steel 80
Component 3
5x6 1100 On riverbanks
Chemfuel generator Steel 100
Component 3
2x2 1000 Anywhere
Wood-fired 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
6x7 1000 Outside
(can roof over afterwards)
Vanometric power cell N/A 1x2 1000 Anywhere

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.


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 600 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

  • Stores up to 600Wd of energy.
  • Efficiency of 50% -- takes twice as much energy to charge than it can store.
  • Excess generated power is distributed evenly among all non-full, connected batteries, charging all batteries at the same rate.
  • If power consumption exceeds power generation, all non-empty, connected batteries will deplete at the same rate to fill the power gap.
  • Small self-discharge of 5W.


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

  • Conduits can be faulty, and a battery can amplify the effect of a short circuit, causing all of the stored energy to explode at the faulty power conduit. This event is well-known to players by its envelope notification, 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 2900 during day only
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