Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Condottiere
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:44 pm

There are two primary parts to the equation, power source and propulsion.

You could have a one size fits all solution that takes account of maximum energy requirements, which is what Traveller ship designs traditionally did.

Or you can cut corners.
NOLATrav
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby NOLATrav » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:21 am

When I got started in my industry we had an old adage: Fast, Cheap or Good: pick two.

Because of the fiddly accounting in the RAW I’ve applied this wisdom to stages of components in vehicle and ship construction.

GOOD power plant: RAW
CHEAP power plant: 10-60% less cost, 10-60% more tonnage OR 10-60% less output
FAST power plant: 10-60% more cost, 10-60% less tonnage OR 10-60% more output

It’s a little more complicated than that at the table as TL plays a part but it’s simple and intuitive. We use it for all associated costs, from sensors to weapons to staterooms. Sometimes the Cheap option is only available at certain systems or yards, or the Fast option is from another polity or illegal at certain law levels or whatever.

My current group has a solid ship but last campaign we got to Han & Chewie levels of slapdash components, generally due to not being able to afford the proper replacements. Great fun. “Damned fluidics!”
Condottiere
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:20 am

Technically, MongoVerse construction times are dictated by cost.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby dmccoy1693 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:47 am

I've used budget before, but always for one reason: flavor. If the world it was built on's technology isn't quite up to everyone else's, then it gets a budget version. Mind you, I work in the Foreven Worlds so tech levels are more fluid than in the Imperium.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:42 pm

NOLATrav wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:21 am
When I got started in my industry we had an old adage: Fast, Cheap or Good: pick two.

every year i hear more abour repairability

hopefully that becomes a thing
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:50 am

Maintenance in Traveller is incredibly cheap.

The only time expense is an issue is with damage and possible acquired quirks.
Linwood
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Linwood » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:25 am

If ship systems are designed with a high level of self-diagnostics and self-protection AND the crew is diligent about their PM work then annual maintenance costs should on average be fairly low. And I suspect the annual maintenance costs were set very low in order to make the economics of running a far trader balance out a bit better.

But this doesn’t take into account the impact age and abuse from special events (accidents, battles with pirates, etc.) can have on costs.

For age, maybe add 1% to annual maintenance costs per year. Not quite real world - cost increases tend to follow an exponential distribution (in the ground transportation industry anyway) - but it’s easy to calculate and track.

For special events - maybe add 0.1% of the base cost of the repairs to annual maintenance costs going forward?
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:34 am

Yes and no. The is a difference bewteen maintenance and repair.

Regular maintenance is filling engine lubrication oil in a gas engine car. Repair is workshop replacement of parts. Most things are designed for ease of maintenance but not for repairability. Things that commonly break aren't easily exposed, use custom parts, and might not be sold to end users.

An example is a computer manufacturer gluing the batteries in laptops, and soldering down a proprietary SSD drive instead of using a socket connector for a standard drive. None if these parts need to be touched for regular maintenace (which is just blowing dust out of the cooling fans) but make repair much harder. Often this makes the machine cheaper to buy up front and physically smaller, but then you're stuck when it breaks.
Condottiere
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:57 am

For electronics, except for Apple's, it's usually more cost effective to throw them away and replace them, if you can't figure out a solution within a quarter of an hour.

And for Apple's, find a gray market technician.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:34 pm

Shipboard elecronics are integrated into the ship. I'd rather repair a radar PCB than buy a new one.

In a home setting, graphics cards, high end tablets and video game consoles are several hundred $. Often the repair is just a blown capacitor on the power board.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Linwood » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:48 am

Moppy wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:34 am
Regular maintenance is filling engine lubrication oil in a gas engine car. Repair is workshop replacement of parts. Most things are designed for ease of maintenance but not for repairability. Things that commonly break aren't easily exposed, use custom parts, and might not be sold to end users.
I think your point is accurate when it comes to home electronics. For vehicles ease of repair and/or replacement is frequently a design requirement. Automakers spend a substantial amount of design time on finding ways to minimize MTTR (mean time to repair) to reduce cost of ownership for their vehicles (or their own warranty costs). I would expect starships to be similar.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:19 am

Linwood wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:48 am
I think your point is accurate when it comes to home electronics. For vehicles ease of repair and/or replacement is frequently a design requirement. Automakers spend a substantial amount of design time on finding ways to minimize MTTR (mean time to repair) to reduce cost of ownership for their vehicles (or their own warranty costs). I would expect starships to be similar.
With the increasing use of electronics in everything, firms are often bad at releasing the information needed by 3rd parties to do repairs - which I consider a deliberate attempt to make the system harder to repair and create a repair monopoly. Automakers were forced to release information a while back but there still niche sectors like farming where it's difficult.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:21 am

The consumer electronics and computer industry stopped repairing components decades ago (such as replacing capacitors). It's just too expensive, and consumers don't pay for the design.

With modern electronics fault rates are low enough to make it cheaper to discard faulty equipment. Closed non-repairable items actually have lower fault rates, so saves money on warranties.

Repairs only make sense if you don't pay for the work time, i.e. you do it yourself. And the manufacturer makes no money if you do...

Don't assume that there is any kind of chance involved in any of this, it is carefully considered. And it is driven by consumer behaviour since most people buy the cheapest or slimmest product, not the most repairable.


For expensive, long-lived items such as cars and mainframes the situation is completely different, I believe.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:34 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:21 am
The consumer electronics and computer industry stopped repairing components decades ago (such as replacing capacitors). It's just too expensive, and consumers don't pay for the design.
Laptop OEMs and the bigger laptop vendors will do component level repair on machines. Your local store likely won't. They'll just order a new motherboard for the laptop. However, primarly because of Apple, these days there are individuals who do offer component level laptop repair.

edit: Not saying a manufacturer will always repair a board but they can if they want to save some expensive component. How I started hobby tinkering beyond power supply capactitors was by watching the twitch channel of Rossman Group. He fixes Apple motherboards live on stream while teaching, and charges his customers about 1/2 the cost of a board. There's a lot of component repair places now, if you look in Google. It's not worth it for low end machines, but Apple official parts are expensive and tightly controlled. It'll become more common as the expertise enters the general community.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:38 am

Moppy wrote: Laptop OEMs and the bigger laptop vendors will do component level repair on machines. Your local store likely won't. They'll just order a new motherboard for the laptop.

edit: Not saying a manufacturer will always repair a board but they can if they want to save some expensive component.
Can? Of course. Do it on an industrial scale? I haven't heard of it since the '90s, in the West at least. Might happen in Asia?
Moppy wrote: However, primarly because of Apple, these days there are individuals who do offer component level laptop repair.

How I started hobby tinkering beyond power supply capactitors was by watching the twitch channel of Rossman Group. He fixes Apple motherboards live on stream while teaching, and charges his customers about 1/2 the cost of a board. There's a lot of component repair places now, if you look in Google. It's not worth it for low end machines, but Apple official parts are expensive and tightly controlled. It'll become more common as the expertise enters the general community.
Tiny cottage industry, neither supported or considered by the manufacturers. I would guess 99% of consumer electronics are just discarded when it stops working. The last time I bothered soldering a broken computer was a Mac Plus in the '80s.

In my limited experience the technical life-length of decent computers are longer than the economical life-length, but I don't use laptops. By the time they break, there's no point repairing then, just buy a newer one.

Except hard-drives of course, they are normal wear items to be replaced regularly...
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Moppy » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:04 pm

What is the price band at which you would attempt component repair on a desktop or workstation? A good GPU card is several hundred euros and can exceed 1,000 for a top range card.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:50 pm

Moppy wrote: What is the price band at which you would attempt component repair on a desktop or workstation? A good GPU card is several hundred euros and can exceed 1,000 for a top range card.
If it was one or two years old, it would be replaced under warranty.

If it was a few more years old it would be out-dated, and I would replace it with a new cheap card with the same performance or more probably a new expensive card with much better performance.

If it was really old, say approaching 10 years, I would definitely not spend money on repairs unless it could not be replaced.


For something that does not get outdated in a few years, say like an audio amplifier, I would happily repair it, as long as the repair cost is considerably less than a new unit which is highly likely for a decent amp.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:02 pm

If there's one thing I wouldn't screw around with on a starship, it would be the hyperdrive; for Traveller, you're intruding into a different dimension, this is something you'd want to be completely confident in that it will work as intended.

As regards consumer electronics, my upgrade cycle is two years; there is little point in future proofing a personal computer. Processors are near indestructible unless you torture them with waterboarding and/or electrical shocks; or you drop it on their pins.

I haven't had a graphic card die on me for at least a decade, the weak links tend to be power supply units and motherboards.

I get a month long no questions asked return policy, and anywhere from one to five year warranty on components. I can drop of dead components at one of the retailer's outlets for return to the manufacturer, and so far half the time I just get store credit.

In Asia, the situation is different, because hourly wages are a lot less, so the big ticket item would be replacement parts, not labour.

Redundancy is factor that tends not to be appreciated; you pay for backups, so that if the primary unit can't function, you don't have to press the panic button; in other words, have a back up phone and computer. Then, you can take your time in either getting them fixed, or finding a replacement.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Linwood » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:54 am

For Travellers location might be an important factor. If you’re on a lower-tech backwater world you might perform component repairs to get your air/raft or vacc suit working again. If you have a decent starport handy you might just buy the module or board you need instead.
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Re: Who Would Spec A Budget Power Plant?

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:42 pm

Probably one of the reasons the Imperium certifies starports and administrates them.

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