What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

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Moppy
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What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Moppy » Sun May 26, 2019 12:43 pm

I would naturally assume multiple powerplants, and emergency batteries.

However, the various books say no, not unless you installed it, and no standard ship has it.

I remember something about capacitors for jump drive and black globe but they couldn't power the ship.

While multiple powerplants may have some single point of failure (distribution grid down?) so it's possible for a full power failure, does one assume that certain critical functions have local emergency batteries?

Iris valves, for example. Would they operate, or would they need to be manually cranked? Is there even a manual crank?

Does a smallcraft undock under its own power? Are they ejected by some launcher?

Do turret energy weapons hold "one charge in the capacitor"?
Sigtrygg
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun May 26, 2019 2:29 pm

JTAS 15 had an article written by MWM and LWK about ship malfunctions:
Power Plant Failure: When activated, the power plant fails to function. Life support can operate off batteries, but neither the jump drive no the maneuver drive can function.
Symptoms- Jump drive inoperative, Maneuver drive inoperative, life support and computer using emergency power.
Power Plant Malfunction: The power plant functions erratically. When attempting a jump, roll 2D. On an 8 - the jump is successful, on a 9-1 1 the drive fails, and on a 12 there is a misjump. When attempting to use the maneuver drive, roll for erratic function as described under maneuver drive malfunction. Life support and the computer will continue to function (on emergency power or regular power depending on the state of the power plant- roll 2D for 8+ once per turn for the power plant to be malfunctioning during that turn).
Symptoms- Any symptom described in the above entry.
So there you have it. Ships have batteries and/or possibly emergency power generation capacity.
Sigtrygg
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun May 26, 2019 2:55 pm

I found a reference to how long the batteries last in the CT adventure Signal GK:
If ship's power fails, emergency lighting powered on a separate back-up circuit takes over in inhabited areas of the ship (but not the cargo hold or other unused sections). Backup power will last for 12 hours of continuous use, after which it will fail unless recharged.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun May 26, 2019 3:44 pm

Mongoose is a bit more uncompromising, emergency power and batteries are optional equipment. If you don't have them, you don't have them.

The effects of lack of power and PP failure are described in the Core book under Spacecraft Operations and Space Combat. Also see the "Not enough power, Cap'n" sidebar in HG, p16.

In short no power means no power. Iris valves require manual cranking. Weapons don't fire.

I would say small craft can launch under their own power, presuming the hatches are open. Life boats should always work.
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun May 26, 2019 3:50 pm

If you have smallcraft then you should be able to feed their power into the ship power grid for emergency situations.
Linwood
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Linwood » Sun May 26, 2019 4:11 pm

I would really limit how much power you could supply that way and how easy it would be to rig up such a connection. Since current rules typically assume small craft have their own power plants and are not battery-powered there’s unlikely to be the equivalent of a Chargepoint station in the docking bay allowing one to push power back into the ship. The small craft would also be fitted with a connection port for this purpose. Maybe that could be a spacecraft option for ships/small craft on the frontier - or maybe it’s a standard feature on scout ships?

Otherwise you’re talking about direct-wiring very high voltage cables from one system to the other, likely with improvised control over the power passed thru. That could be a very difficult task for systems not designed for that eventuality with some potentially spectacular failure modes if it goes wrong....
Sigtrygg
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun May 26, 2019 4:34 pm

Linwood wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 4:11 pm
I would really limit how much power you could supply that way and how easy it would be to rig up such a connection.
It is a pretty trivial electrical engineering task.
Since current rules typically assume small craft have their own power plants and are not battery-powered there’s unlikely to be the equivalent of a Chargepoint station in the docking bay allowing one to push power back into the ship.
Considering we are discussing this stuff don't you think naval architects in the fifty seventh century will have reached the conclusion that installing such an emergency power transfer ability is a trivial necessity?
The small craft would also be fitted with a connection port for this purpose. Maybe that could be a spacecraft option for ships/small craft on the frontier - or maybe it’s a standard feature on scout ships?
All you need is a cable and a plug...
Otherwise you’re talking about direct-wiring very high voltage cables from one system to the other, likely with improvised control over the power passed thru. That could be a very difficult task for systems not designed for that eventuality with some potentially spectacular failure modes if it goes wrong....
If you have a GCSE in physics it shouldn't be a problem...
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Moppy » Sun May 26, 2019 5:37 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 4:34 pm
Otherwise you’re talking about direct-wiring very high voltage cables from one system to the other, likely with improvised control over the power passed thru. That could be a very difficult task for systems not designed for that eventuality with some potentially spectacular failure modes if it goes wrong....
If you have a GCSE in physics it shouldn't be a problem...
Now, you might know how to do it safely so this is nothing about you, but a general observation.

Today, if not done properly, backfeeding power is quite dangerous. If you were to plug a generator into a home electric socket to run your house in the event of a power cut, I would NOT recommend you did that, and it may end in a visit from the police when something or someone in the power station gets zapped. Or your home is on fire when the power comes back on.

Maybe they've fixed this by Traveller's time ... or maybe these are the same naval architects that think escape pods and backup computers aren't necessary :-)
Sigtrygg
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun May 26, 2019 6:32 pm

If you have engineering, electronics, even jack of trades you should be able to match the capabilities of someone with a GCSE in physics...
if all you have is qualifications in media studies and plant management then you may struggle :)
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby phavoc » Sun May 26, 2019 6:50 pm

Things like emergency lighting should last for days, if not weeks of continual use. An LED requires a trivial amount of power, and batteries in Traveller are capable of storing far more power than current designs.

Small adventure-class ships probably will not have the space to have a main power plant, an auxillary power generator, and an emergency generator. So their operating on only batteries makes sense. But a ship that size doesn't require much for minimal power, so a portable generator could be sufficient in many cases. Military ships, with enough size, will set aside the necessary space because they expect to get damaged and to operate in out of the way places. A good rule of thumb is your main plant can supply 100% of needed power, and auxillary plant would supply 10%, and an emergency plant 1% (or sufficient to keep life support, comms, and minimal gravity).
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun May 26, 2019 6:59 pm

Sigtrygg wrote: It is a pretty trivial electrical engineering task.
I'm not sure bodging a transmission link capable of few hundred MW is all that trivial...
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun May 26, 2019 7:10 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 6:59 pm

I'm not sure bodging a transmission link capable of few hundred MW is all that trivial...
It is if it is an electric cable. If it is a phased plasma conduit of variable polarity with an inverse neutrino flow then all bets are off.

Ever meet the guys who repair power lines?
AnotherDilbert
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun May 26, 2019 7:51 pm

Sigtrygg wrote: It is if it is an electric cable.
This type of cable is trivial to bodge?
Image

And the necessary converter station is equally trivial to bodge?
Image

If they are so trivial why are people paying hundreds of millions €/£/$ for such transmission links?
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Condottiere » Sun May 26, 2019 8:02 pm

1. High Guard tends to address the more immediate effects and remedies for battle damage.

2. I rather suspect that there are separate electrical grids for weapon systems and drives, sensors and steering, and life support and lighting.

3. For a ten percent investment in Credite Imperialrs and space, you can switch on an emergency generator that will work at ninety percent capacity for half an hour.

4. You can probably run emergency corridor lighting indefinitely on a pair of Dee batteries.

5. Unless you have alternative sources of energy, nothing works on a default spaceship once the powerplant gives up the ghost.

6. However, solar panelling is dirt cheap and can be directed at eiother batteries or to continuously kickstart the powerplant.

7. Basic energy requirements will bleed any unrechargeable batteries dry.

8. I'm not sure how much energy life support and the gravitational plates need, but they should be the first to stop working, followed by the computer and sensors.

9. I would suppose that Sword World spaceship design should have redundancy solutions for this event, but I'm not steeply immersed in that lore; they probably do have manual cranks for every hatch.
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun May 26, 2019 8:07 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 7:51 pm
Sigtrygg wrote: It is if it is an electric cable.
This type of cable is trivial to bodge?
Image

And the necessary converter station is equally trivial to bodge?
Image

If they are so trivial why are people paying hundreds of millions €/£/$ for such transmission links?
Like I said - do you know anyone who does this for a living? Their level of education?
I do.
And they are not graduates...
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby CaladanGuard » Sun May 26, 2019 8:39 pm

Side note: As anyone who has ever served aboard a modern warship can tell you, power is life. We had emergency cabling and converters made up to bridge power across damaged sections, patch in emergency generators or unfamiliar shore power configurations.

All the engineering staff were drilled constantly on restoring critical system power, or stealing it away from working areas to get fire control or propulsion working. I'd imagine that 3I Naval vessels would be similarly equipped and trained, patching over a small craft into the emergency power systems should be something planned and drilled in the normal run of day to day life.

Patching in your portable fusion generator on a ratty eighty year old Free Trader though....yeah, you might want to cross your fingers. Unless your engineer has spent the time and paper planning how it might work in a non emergency situation.
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun May 26, 2019 8:48 pm

Sigtrygg wrote: Like I said - do you know anyone who does this for a living?
No, but I am an Engineer.

Patching an existing cable is far from designing a functional high power transmission link.

Any mistake would be spectacular; 100 MW let loose would melt something like half a tonne of steel per second.
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Moppy » Sun May 26, 2019 9:00 pm

Just a general comment that emergency repair is considerably harder than regular work or maintenance.

There is the pressure of time; the fact that your ship is probably repaired before and deviates from the plans; you might not be able to shut down becuase it's not a scheduled downtime; and if it's combat damage it can arise by a random way a maintenance tech has not seen before.
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Reynard » Mon May 27, 2019 11:22 am

This is a demonstration of Karma when players and referees try to save money and space by leaving out trivial things such as batteries and backup power supplies because 'we'll never need them' and use the space to max out cargo.
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Re: What remains powered on a ship after a powerplant failure?

Postby Sigtrygg » Mon May 27, 2019 2:10 pm

It's why I always liked the monolithic 20t bridge - you could assume stuff like batteries, airlocks and the like are subsumed within it.

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