Guide to Power

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Power is one of the biggest and most important concepts of engineering. If nothing else, engineers are at least expected to provide power to the facility for the duration of the shift, so learning how to do so is paramount to performing your duties as an engineer..

The Power Network


While each facility has different layouts and different power generators, generally speaking they all follow the same sort of structure. At the most basic level the power plant (colloquially referred to as the Engine) produces electricity, which is then stored in a special battery, which then distributes the electricity where it is needed through a series of wires. These wires can be separated into their own power network using substations, allowing different departments to run off of their own independent sub network. These sub networks then provide power to many special wireless power transmitters which run the lights and equipment in a room.


Electricity has to first be generated by an engine before it can be put into the power network. There are a few different ways to generate power but the primary method is using the facility's primary engine. Of the available engines the ones worth looking into are the Supermatter Engine and the Tesla Engine as those are the ones that you're most likely to interact with. Additionally there is the Singularity Engine and the R-UST Fusion Reactor. While all engines can be constructed from scratch, NanoTrasen has had the foresight to equip each facility with an engine prefabricated with minimal assembly required. Refer to each engine's individual page for instructions on how to set them up.

SMES and Substations

The power produced by an engine has a tendency to have fluctuations in its output. To solve this the engine feeds a large, specialized battery called a Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES for short). If you are familiar the an Uninterruptible Power Supply then the concept is similar. The SMES has internal 'battery capacity' which is charged by the potentially fluctuating engine output, and using its battery charge it outputs a steady stream of electricity to its power network.

While there is the one SMES charged directly from the engines, referred to as the Main SMES or just Main, there are often other SMES around the facility which can draw power from the Main SMES, referred to as Substations. Substations are a way to power individual departments and keeping their power networks separate from each other. This can be useful in case of emergencies, or to simply limit the power a department can draw and even adds a small layer of safety in case someone decides to touch an exposed live wire.


Area Power Controllers, or simply APC, are as their name suggests a method to provide power to an area. Power from an SMES flows through wires and into APCs, which then transmit its stored power wirelessly to lighting and equipment in an area. Like SMES, APCs also have power storage, however an APC battery is much simpler and lower capacity, able to be changed out relatively easily with common power cells.

Engine Core SMES

While not a part of the main facility networks this is arguably the most important SMES in the facility, This SMES is what keeps the equipment needed to run the engine safely working. If this SMES loses all of its charge, or its output is disabled, it can lead to catastrophic engine failure. Needless to say it is important to ensure this SMES remains charged and outputting at all times. It is also worth checking if it even has a charge before attempting to start the engine since it's possible to lose power during engine setup, leading to aforementioned catastrophe.

Secondary Power Sources

Facilities are often equipped with additional power sources that are used as emergency or supplementary power. This most often takes the form of many solar panels feeding into their own SMES which then outputs onto the main, but it can also be a thermoelectric generator run by igniting a burn chamber with hot gases or even a special portable generator that can be plugged into any network to provide power only where needed. These power sources are great when the entire facility is starting to go dark and the primary engine has either not been set up or has failed, but they should not be relied on as a primary source of power.

Engine types

Supermatter.png Supermatter Engine

The supermatter, or SM, is a highly unstable crystal consisting of exotic material, which is able to emit radiation and certain gasses once energized. It can be energized by pretty much anything, but is typically powered by an emitter. Currently the only facility equipped with a SM is the NSB Adephagia. This particular setup uses the SM to heat up gas in the core to be extracted and piped into TEGs, which is utilized in tandem with the cold gas from heat exchanging pipes in space to produce power instead of using radiation collectors. A familiar but somewhat unforgiving engine if allowed to delaminate. The need for having cold gas for the TEGs means that the SM is built where radiators can passively chill the cold side of the pipe loop.

Energy ball.gif Tesla Engine

The tesla an unstable, moving, power generating anomaly held in place by a containment field. Power is generated whenever the ball of energy arcs electricity into a tesla coil, harnessing and transferring the energy into the power net to charge the SMES. A relatively safe engine that does not emit any radiation and is safe to look at with the naked eye, but unlike the supermatter engine you will not know that something is wrong until it is already too late to remedy the situation. The Tesla is also EXCEPTIONALLY LOUD when operating so it is exclusively built in a vacuum for the comfort of the rest of the crew.

R-UST.gif R-UST Fusion Reactor

The R-UST fusion reactor is an experimental nuclear fusion engine that, on it's own, utilizes fusion to generate power, though the proposed setup will involve TEGs as well, much like the supermatter setup. Usually deuterium and tritium are fused in a super heated field into helium, releasing a large amount of energy once it occurs. Very safe, will explode if the field is turned off, though, which would probably release super heated kill gas and radiation everywhere and EMP a large amount of the equipment surrounding the core.

Singularity.gif Singularity Engine

A seemingly popular engine, this setup generates a black hole and keeps it contained by means of a containment field similar to the tesla engine after being shot with particles from a particle accelerator with the resulting radiation being captured by radiation collector arrays. A lot can go wrong with this setup if the singularity is fed carelessly, particularly when it's set loose and begins consuming the station, which would probably warrant an evacuation order. This engine is not to be built on solid ground as it will constantly suck up matter from below and cause it to expand and break containment at which point it will consume everything in its path and grow larger and more dangerous the more matter it absorbs.

Secondary/Backup Power Sources

Solar rotating.gif Solar Panels

See also: Solars

The NSB Adephagia and Rascal's Pass feature large solar farms on the surface, and the NRV Stellar Delight has a pair of small solar arrays. While solar panels are mostly to provide backup or supplementary power, it's possible to use them as the main power source for Rascal's Pass. Engineering has a crate filled with additional solar panels which can be installed where needed.

Superpacman.png P.A.C.M.A.N.

The PACMAN generators are normally used for emergencies when power goes out and must be restored quickly, usually used for the engine room if a crisis strikes there. Wrenching a generator on top a wire knot and turning it on will supply power to that power net. Note that setting their power level to max will generate a lot of heat, and remaining at 300 Celsius (800C for Mrs. PACMAN) will cause the generator to explode. It should also be noted that PACMANs have stock parts and can be upgraded by Research. There are three types of PACMAN generators:

Type Fuel Safe rating kW Maximum output kW Overheat Threshold Additional notes
P.A.C.M.A.N. Phoron sheets 80 100 300°c
Super P.A.C.M.A.N. Uranium sheets 80 100 300°c Half fuel consumption, produces radiation
Mrs. P.A.C.M.A.N. Tritium Ingots 200 250 800°c Half fuel consumption

NuclearReactor.pngNuclear Reactor

This miniaturized nuclear reactor (sometimes referred to as a P.T.T.O.) functions very similarly to the Super P.A.C.M.A.N. but has a higher output rating. It uses uranium sheets as fuel and is rated for 200 kW. The reactor will emit a small amount of radiation while active. Nuclear Reactors are the primary energy source on the ITV Talon, NRV Von Braun, and SAARE Typhon.


The radioisotope thermoelectric generator, or RTG, is a power source that is entirely passive and functions simply by existing. However, even with the improvements of modern technology and materials science its output still pales in comparison to active power sources. The RTGs are a secondary power source seen on the ITV Talon, and are mostly used as an emergency backup used to maintain mission-critical systems.

Power Distribution

Producing electrical power is simply one aspect of the power network. Actually getting machines, doors, lights, atmospheric scrubbers, and other things powered is a task handled by equipment ranging from simple electrical wires to the almighty SMES.

CableCoils.png Wire

Wire cables are what transfer power throughout the entire station, usually from a SMES unit to an APC. Wires connected together form a power network, and networks are generally separated using substations. It is also possible to connect two networks together, sometimes referred to as 'hotwiring', and this may be done intentionally or by accident. Wires will connect to each other at the 8 edges/corners of a tile, but can also have a special connection in the center of a tile called a 'wire knot' which is what SMES units actually output to and what terminals for SMES and APCs use to draw power from a network. If you use a multitool on a wire you can measure how much power is in it, just be sure to wear insulated gloves or you may briefly and fatally be connected to the network yourself. For more information on how to actually lay down and connect wire coils see the wiring guide.

SMES animated.gif SMES

See also: SMES Manual

A SMES (Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage) unit is basically one large rechargeable battery, capable of storing several megawatt-hours of energy for later distribution, depending on the coils installed inside the unit. These large storage devices are what (safely) controls the flow of power throughout the station, determined by how much energy it has and what the output level is set to. In order for a SMES to receive power, a wire must be knotted under the terminal connected to the unit and input must be turned on. In order for a SMES to output the energy it has stored, a wire must be knotted under the unit itself and output must be turned on. If the input and output are on the same network, such as a substation with its bypass enabled, then the SMES will constantly output into its own input which accomplishes little but is thankfully not hazardous.

SMES are composed of up to six superconductive magnetic coils which when combined determine the SMES throughput and its capacity. Generally speaking the Main SMES with have 4 coils while all other SMES units will have just one installed. There are three different kinds of coils available to upgrade a SMES unit. For more information on how to upgrade a SMES to increase its throughput and/or capacity see the relevant section in the SMES Manual.

Breaker.png Substations and RCON

There are a number of SMES units tucked in maintenance around the facility that are easy to overlook, but the purpose of these units is to provide power to particular areas of the station (medbay, security, etc.), which will divide the grid into sub-grids, which carries a few nice reasons for using these:

  • Solar Grub damage/power draw localization
  • Control over specific department power usage
  • Preventing your boss from getting upset for not bothering to set them up.
  • Your boss getting upset anyways for not setting it just the way they like it but at least you can say you tried.

All pre-built SMES units (except for the AI Core SMES) have something called RCON (Remote CONtrol) enabled, which allows for anyone with access to a RCON console to adjust the input and output of a SMES unit remotely, which is rather convenient given how many units are present on the station, but the console is also used to control the breaker boxes next to the substations which, when toggled (bypass disabled), will separate the area from the main grid, relying on the area's SMES for power.


An APC (Area Power Controller) is a console localized to any room that supplies power to equipment, doors and peripherals, and lighting. All APCs have an interface that allows you to control the three categories mentioned, but they all remain locked unless you swipe an engineering ID over it. APCs have terminals connected to them that are, in turn, connected by wire to the power net. Based on the charge of the cell and how much power the APC is receiving, as long as the categories are set to auto, it will automatically turn off equipment to conserve power, starting with turning off equipment, then lighting, then environment once the cell eventually runs out of charge. Conveniently, the screen color on an APC will change depending on it's status:

  • Green: Receiving power, cell at full charge.
  • Blue: Receiving power, cell charging.
  • Red: Not receiving power, therefore not charging.

There are also lights on the side of the APC that show what equipment is receiving power:

  • Black: APC breaker turned off.
  • Blue: Category is set to auto and is turned on.
  • Green: Category is set to on.
  • Red: Category is set to off.
  • Orange: Category is set to auto but is turned off.

Powercell.png Power Cell

Power cells are most commonly found inside APCs, but are certainly found in other pieces of equipment as well. Without cells, the APC would quickly cut power to all equipment it's in charge of the moment there's a discrepancy in the grid. Below are the different types of power cells as well as their charge capacity:

  • Potato Battery: 0.3k
  • Heavy Duty Cell: 5k
  • Default Borg Cell: 7.5k
  • Charged Slime Core: 10k, plus passive recharging.
  • High Capacity Cell: 15k
  • Super Capacity Cell: 20k
  • Hyper Capacity Cell: 30k
  • Infinite Capacity Cell: Infinite charge, duh.

SMES Settings

Below is an example list of RCON settings for the multiple SMES units around the NSB Adephagia. Ensure the substation bypasses are disabled when you turn the input and output on for the substations.
Note that these are only one configuration, and that others can be perfectly acceptable. Feel free to experiment.

SMES Input Output Notes
Engine - Core 250 250 Powers the engine room. Draw is variable depending on the engine, though these two values should remain maxed.
Power - Main 1000 950 Powers anything not covered by a substation. This is considered the main grid, though care should be considered regarding the input based on how the engine was setup. It should also be noted that this SMES unit takes priority when drawing power from the engine over the Engine SMES.
Atmos 200 250 Powers atmospherics. Draw is variable depending on how atmospherics was configured that shift.
Cargo 40 80 Powers the cargo department. Normally draws 8 kW, has 1 recharger.
Civ West 40 80 Powers surface EVA, tool storage, The three floors of the Garden, Pool, Fitness Room (As well as showers/bathrooms) and first aid station. Normally draws 7 kW, has 2 rechargers.
Civilian 80 160 Powers, Dorms (including Maint ones), Tram, laundry room, washing room, holodeck, cryo pods, and library. Normally draws 32 kW, can raise higher than 80 kW if holodeck is in use.
Command 60 120 Powers bridge, CD and HoP offices, teleporter, meeting room, IAA office, and EVA. Normally draws 18 kW, has 3 rechargers and 1 cell charger.
Engineering 80 160 Powers the engineering department, including the three space-side telecomms relays. Normally draws 37 kW, has 4 rechargers and 3 cell chargers.
Exploration 60 120 Powers the hanger, gateway
Medical 100 200 Powers the medical department. Normally draws 36 kW, has 2 rechargers and 1 gas cooler. Given high input due to value to the facility.
MedSec 40 80 Powers surface triage and surface drunk tank. Normally draws 8 kW, has 1 recharger.
Mining 40 80 Powers the mining department. Normally draws 7 kW, has 1 recharger and 1 cell charger.
Mining Outpost 20 40 Powers the off-station mining outpost. Normally draws 5 kW, has 1 recharger, 1 cell charger, and 1 mech charging station.
Research 100 200 Powers the research department. Normally draws 46 kW, but has a lot of different rechargers, hence the high input.
Science Outpost 80 160 Powers the toxins outpost. Normally draws 15 kW, but houses atmospherics equipment which can increase power usage greatly. Otherwise it is mostly unused.
Secondary Command 60 120 Powers Secondary Command and its Teleporter Room, which is the highest power draw when in use.
Security 80 160 Powers the security department. Normally draws 32 kW, has numerous wall rechargers.
Surface Civilian 80 160 Powers hydroponics, the bar and kitchen, reading rooms, phoron shelter, and backup shuttle landing pads. Normally draws 23 kW, has 1 cyborg recharger. Power draw will increase significantly if the Tour Bus SMES is set to charge as it draws from the same lines as Surface Civilian. Recommendations are to boost the numbers if/when the Tour Bus SMES is being used.
Telecomms 80 160 Powers surface telecommunications. Normally draws 22 kW.
AI Chamber 200 200 Powers the AI Core. Normally draws 10 kW, but increases to 60 kW if an AI is present. This SMES cannot be accessed remotely.
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