Unstable power cell

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Unstable power cell

Unstable power cell

A mechanoid power generation unit. The vanometric power core will run forever, extracting energy from quantum foam fluctuations. An internal amplifier system makes it unstable. If damaged, the unit will generate a massive explosion. Some brave humans steal these from mechanoids for their own use as power plants or defensive bombs. However, an unintentional detonation can be devastating.

Base Stats

BuildingMechanoid cluster
Market Value
400 Silver
15 kg
Path Cost


1 × 1
pass through only
Cover Effectiveness
Blocks Wind
400 W
Light Radius


Deconstruct yield
Component 1
Destroy yield
Component 0.5

An unstable power cell is a power generation unit that is of Mechanoid origin. The cell has a constant output of 400W and can be placed anywhere, but if damaged can cause a massive explosion. The cell bears some similarities to the Vanometric power cell in that it will create free energy infinitely and can be placed in fortified positions.


The UPC can be claimed and stolen from mechanoid clusters, once the cluster is defeated.

Beware of mechanoid turret explosions damaging the UPC, resulting in a chain explosion that can easily kill nearby colonists. Their presence presents a strategic choice; detonate the power cells from a distance to make the cluster easier to defeat, or carefully deal with the mechanoids to claim the cells for use in your base.


Unstable power cells output a continuous 400W of power without fuel or any other dependence. Only an event that stops all electric devices, like a solar flare, can interrupt this item. They glow with a radius of 4.

When damaged below 50% of their HP, they have a chance to begin to "sizzle", after 240 ticks (4 secs) they will explode. They also always explode on destruction, but not deconstruction. The explosion has a radius of 9.9 tiles and does 50 Bomb damage. Bomb damage is multiplied 8x against walls, 4x against other impassable structures and plants, and 2x against passable buildings.

Like all mech cluster buildings, they not only have a Flammability of 0%, but also take no damage from attacks with the Flame damage type. This is in contrast to, for example, a stone wall which will not be ignited by molotov cocktails but will take the 10 flame damage from the initial attack.


As bomb damage is very effective against structures, an exploding unstable power cell is very effective against the mech clusters they generate with. Actually retrieving a power cell (without it triggering from turrets and the like) is difficult, and should be weighed against its explosion, but is often worth it.

While cells only give a modest 400 W, they are fairly useful for power. They are mobile, maintenance free, and perfectly consistent. For example, a single cell can power 2 isolated deep drills, without the need to run a long power conduit line. They are also helpful as "free" power, as a supplement to your main grid. Deconstructing one is almost never worth it, due to the pitiful yield.

While their explosive nature can be concerning, it is manageable. If you fully surround the cell with walls, then it will be practically safe:

  • A single explosion cannot damage tiles beyond walls, even if the wall is destroyed. This means your other objects are safe if the cell is walled in.
  • As mechanoid buildings, they are completely immune to fires and short circuits.
  • Most raiders will not try to break walls if any other target is available.
    • For sappers and breachers, place cells (remember the walls!) in an internal position, so they have to break your outside walls first.

Therefore, the only real risk comes from an unlucky mortar strike, which is able to destroy most things, anyway. For bases with overhead mountain, even this problem is resolved.

Acquisition strategies[edit]

Several methods can be used to safely acquire power cells from mechanoid clusters. The simplest of these is simply destroying the cluster; however, the explosive nature of mechanoid turrets means one will need exceptional luck, or be able to damage the turrets enough to destroy them outright before they get a chance to explode. The Wallraise psycast can be used to shield the power cell both from turret explosions and missed shots.