High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

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Sigtrygg
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri Aug 24, 2018 4:29 pm

After further research, power output is per square metre of panel:
TL6 125 W - 25% degradation per year of use
TL7 250 W - 10% degradation per year
TL8 500 W no degradation if maintained
TL9 750 W
TL10 1kW
TL11 1.25kW
steve98052
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby steve98052 » Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:41 pm

Note also that efficiency cannot exceed 100%. If you're in a system with a dim red dwarf, you need to be really close in, or have a really huge array, to get a decent amount of power.

There should actually be two different types of solar power arrays:
1. The huge, fragile arrays that are possible for a space station that never has to stow away it's power array.
2. The smaller, sturdier arrays that can be stowed inside a ship during maneuvers more energetic than mere station keeping.*

For sizes and costs, if the Mongoose numbers just don't make sense, look at another edition for more reasonable numbers. (Just don't use the classic ANNIC NOVA as an example; it's wacky.) I would look at the GURPS Traveller numbers, because they were designed by engineers and gearhead gamers. I somehow don't have Fire, Fusion, and Steel, but it also has a reputation for more thorough engineering.

As for what you can power with solar arrays, I would include these kinds of things:
- batteries
- life support (with expendables resupplied in annual maintenance at worst, ideally more often so crew don't get tired of food made from recycled sludge)
- routine electronics
- laser weapons, missile launchers, sandcasters, repulsors, and screens
- station keeping drives limited to about 1/1000 G (built as a maneuver drive 1/1000 the size of a 1 G drive, but subject to the same minimum size, so probably much larger)

Some systems could operate briefly on solar power:
- particle and meson weapons are shooting very small quantities of highly energetic matter, so I would give them a fairly generous number of shots before the weapons need an injection of matter from gunners (who will complain a lot, and need a skill roll), such as the hydrogen in a bucket of water from the nearest fresher
- plasma and fusion weapons shoot larger quantities of energetic matter, so I would limit them to a fairly small number of shots, comparable to the number a missile launcher can fire without an extended magazine
Note that these weapons require so much power that it's probably a really bad idea to design a ship with them that depends on solar power anyway.

Some systems are off limits with solar arrays, but only one comes to mind right away.:
- no use of maneuver drives for anything more than the 1/1000 G of station keeping; to run maneuver drives at 1 G (or even 1/100 G), the solar arrays need to be stowed, and the drive run on batteries or fusion (or at lower technology, fission or even chemical power)

So what about the really large, fragile arrays for space stations? What if you need to stow them even though they're not meant for that? Then, instead of pushing the "retract solar panels" button, with a couple of maintenance people outside in vacc suits to kick the inevitable stuck joints, you need a full space manufacturing team on the job for days or weeks to dismantle the arrays, then you need them all over to reinstall them at the new location.

* These could also be used for starships, but that strikes me as bad design. The only reason to use solar arrays is because you'll be in a system for so long that it's inefficient to use a fusion power plant that needs to be refueled regularly. With a starship, you need massive fuel loads anyway, to power the jump drive. If you're going to be on station for a long time anyway, power your ship with fusion from the jump fuel tanks, and refuel when it's time to jump. If you'll be in the same system for a really long time, it makes more sense to use a non-starship and hire a jump tug to get there and eventually leave.
Sigtrygg
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:26 pm

My numbers are real world based, with the final entry being about 90% efficient for a solar panel in Earth's orbit. [A black globe tech solar panel would generate 1361-1365 W/m^2]

Move closer to the sun and you will generate more power, move away and you will generate less, jump to a different star system and you can do your own math :)

I checked out FF&S - their solar panel numbers are pure fantasy.

By the way there is no reason for these things to be flimsy, a TL15 solar array could be a few mm of solar panel stuck to a cm thick bonded superdense panel, if current organic solar cell tech plays out you could coat your entire ship hull with a solar array for emergency power - it should be a free by-product of any stealth coating ;)

My next thought experiment is how to handle fixed arrays and foldable arrays in terms of displacement tons...
AnotherDilbert
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:39 pm

Sigtrygg wrote: By the way there is no reason for these things to be flimsy, a TL15 solar array could be a few mm of solar panel stuck to a cm thick bonded superdense panel
Sure, but it would be prohibitively large.

The square km or so of panel needed for a small ship multiplied by 1 cm would be something like 10 000 m³ ≈ 700 Dt, hence the panel would be larger than the hull it was supposed to be included into.
Reynard
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby Reynard » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:41 pm

This is beginning to sound like a very thick collaborative Referee's Guide with lots of tables.
steve98052
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby steve98052 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:21 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:26 pm
My numbers are real world based, with the final entry being about 90% efficient for a solar panel in Earth's orbit. [A black globe tech solar panel would generate 1361-1365 W/m^2]

Move closer to the sun and you will generate more power, move away and you will generate less, jump to a different star system and you can do your own math :)
That suggests a possible power supply for permanent stations that for whatever reason don't want to use fusion power: build solar arrays as close to a system's star as possible without thermal or photochemical degradation, and beam the power to the station. Microwave beam power was proposed as a way to provide 24-hour solar power years ago, and without atmospheric beam distortion it would work even better, assuming that beam's generator and receiver were large enough to minimize diffraction.
I checked out FF&S - their solar panel numbers are pure fantasy . . .
Good to know. I think they tried for more plausible physics, thus the reputation for better engineering, but I'm not surprised that some parts ended up bogus.
Linwood
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby Linwood » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:28 am

Reynard wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:41 pm
This is beginning to sound like a very thick collaborative Referee's Guide with lots of tables.
I’d buy that, I think. Solar just seems like one of those technologies that should be ubiquitous in a high-tech setting once the costs become competitive with other power-generating tech.
Condottiere
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby Condottiere » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:59 pm

This aspect of engineering is subject to misuse and abuse, and I've certainly flogged that dead horse in any number of designs.

if you want a more "realistic" application, you'll have to house rule it.

As regards to the arrays, it's a question of surface area, though the question would be if you can embed the in the hll, or have them deployed as large arrays; I tend to think both are possible.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:42 pm

Condottiere wrote: As regards to the arrays, it's a question of surface area, though the question would be if you can embed the in the hll, or have them deployed as large arrays; I tend to think both are possible.
If MgT ships are anything like CT, MT, or TNE ships then panels embedded in the hull will be orders of magnitude too small.

Even small ships will need something like a square km of panels. The only real possibility is huge thin films.
Condottiere
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby Condottiere » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:58 am

Or extendable wings.

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AnotherDilbert
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:02 pm

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Condottiere
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Re: High Guard 2e - Solar Panels

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:31 pm

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