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Rocket Automation for Cavemen


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I've been seeing some super elaborate setups recently, and have done my fair share of those. I wanted to present a very simple rocket automation that still gets stuff done.

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Notes:

- No gantry. I like to have my astronauts work, instead of taking pee breaks or whatever it is that they do when they get out. Without a gantry they can't leave the rocket, so we're flying all the time. My guy used a jetsuit to get in, but you can always build a temporary, unpowered gantry and deconstruct it once he or she has boarded. Once the astronaut is in the rocket, you can unassign their bed and meal table too. We'll talk about a permanent gantry below, if you must have one.

- No pump automation. The LOX is in a permanent loop in ceramic pipes, always moving, keeping cold from the tank. LH2 is in insulation pipes. The permanent loop would work for LH2 too, but by that time I had enough insulation to make this really simple, so I did. Details later.

Why this works:

- The underground scanner relies on the network strength to catch the rocket. I have 100% network, never had a busted bunker door due to a rocket landing. It's connected straight to the doors, and opens them on landing. In this configuration that is its only job.

- The rocket will emit an active signal when it's ready to take off (fueled, etc). I combine this signal with a hydro sensor through an AND gate. The hydro sensor is there to override the takeoff, so I can hold the rocket for the occasional changes to destination, etc. 

- If the rocket is not held, we use the rocket ready active signal and link it to both the doors, and the rocket's automation input to cause it to take off. The rocket will stay put while the doors are not fully open. Once they open, it takes off, and it's done.

Extra things:

- The gantry is easy to automate, simply take the door signal and a NOT gate; that's it. If you have multiple gantries on the same rocket, you may want filter gates with different timings on them, so they don't all draw power at once.

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- Fueling

I don't think the usual method of starting the pumps on demand is the best option. Two other possibilities are shown here, both are simpler:

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Ignore the garbage on the screenshot, I deconstructed a bunch of stuff so this is easier to follow.

A) is my LOX pump. It uses a bridge to put liquid into the pipes as needed. It's always on, and usually not doing anything due to the pipe being blocked.

B) is the rocket's fill port for oxidizer. If the rocket is full or not here, the LOX keeps going around in the pipes, preventing breakage. The liquid warms up a bit in the ceramic pipes but cools down when it's back in the chamber.

C) Is a shutoff and a vent, I use this to empty the pipes and make changes to the plumbing. Purely optional.

For the loop you want ceramic pipes outside the LOX chamber, and radiant pipes within. The radiant pipes will need to cool down, you will get some damage initially that you will need to fix, but once they're at temperature they will hold.

This works for LH2 as well but once you get enough insulation, it gets super simple:

D) Is the LH2 pump. Always on.

E) Is the rocket's fill port. That's it. All the bridges on the LH2 line are just there to save materials.

 

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I use a surprisingly similar system. My astronauts never get out, they are one with the machine. Couple of questions.

In the first set of pictures you have the space scanner connected directly to the doors, when the rocket is landed the scanner will output a constant red. Will this red signal not override the green signal coming from the capsule and hydro sensor when it's time to launch, preventing the doors from opening? 

How do you unload the ship? I used to unload manually but if I did this to fast the rocket would be refiled and ready to launch before the bunker doors had time to close fully after landing. Since the doors were not fully closed they counted as open and my rocket would attempt relaunch and smash them. How do you avoid this scenario?

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26 minutes ago, JohnFrancis said:

How do you unload the ship? I used to unload manually but if I did this to fast the rocket would be refiled and ready to launch before the bunker doors had time to close fully after landing. Since the doors were not fully closed they counted as open and my rocket would attempt relaunch and smash them. How do you avoid this scenario?

Do conveyors give you the same problem?

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57 minutes ago, JohnFrancis said:

In the first set of pictures you have the space scanner connected directly to the doors, when the rocket is landed the scanner will output a constant red. Will this red signal not override the green signal coming from the capsule and hydro sensor when it's time to launch, preventing the doors from opening? 

A wire can be active or inactive. The latter is the default. Any active source on a wire will turn the entire wire active, the inactive sources don't matter.

59 minutes ago, JohnFrancis said:

How do you unload the ship?

I find that conveyors take more than enough time with 2 or more cargo bays. But you can add a filter gate to your rocket ready signal if you want to delay things a bit.

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1 hour ago, bleeter6 said:

Do conveyors give you the same problem?

Only if I have a dedicated rail for each cargo wagon, limiting to a single exit rail slows it down enough. (I always send two wagons)

53 minutes ago, biopon said:

A wire can be active or inactive. The latter is the default. Any active source on a wire will turn the entire wire active, the inactive sources don't matter.

Good to know, I can rip out that OR gate I'v been using.

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17 minutes ago, Gurgel said:

So the scan network can have both types of scanners on it and they both get the same network quality?

I`m not sure but i think any powered scanner increases the network quality no matter what it is set to detect. I`m not sure how it works after that. All i can say is that multiple scanners set on asteroid detection don`t detect at the same time.

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11 hours ago, Gurgel said:

So the scan network can have both types of scanners on it and they both get the same network quality?

It would appear all scanners share their detection for all objects. However detection is independent. Meaning two scanners on the same network can detect meteors at different times. You can lock a scanner in bunker tiles and it will still have access to all other scanners on the network, useful for automation.

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9 hours ago, JohnFrancis said:

It would appear all scanners share their detection for all objects. However detection is independent. Meaning two scanners on the same network can detect meteors at different times. You can lock a scanner in bunker tiles and it will still have access to all other scanners on the network, useful for automation.

Thanks!

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20 hours ago, Sasza22 said:

I`m not sure but i think any powered scanner increases the network quality no matter what it is set to detect. I`m not sure how it works after that. All i can say is that multiple scanners set on asteroid detection don`t detect at the same time.

I believe this is how they work:

- Every powered scanner provides 0.167 to Network Scan per scan % they have. (So 6 powered 100% scanners get you 100 Network Scan - it's useless to go above 100 network as its effect seems to be capped here.) They only need to be connected to power, and not to automation to provide their boost to Network Scan.

- Every powered scanner, regardless of their own scan strength, gets 2 seconds minimum lead time per Network Scan to detect whatever it is they're set to detect. This is capped at 200 seconds. So at 50 Network every one of your scanners will detect somewhere between 100 and 200 seconds in advance; the number will be random in that range and vary from scanner to scanner. This is what @Sasza22 saw.

- At 100 Network, you get 200 seconds on all of your scanners, and they will all detect meteors at the same time. Once you reach 100 Network, it's enough to hook up just one meteor scanner to the automation network, the other 5 can be left connected to power only.

- Unfortunately with the doors closed, Network goes down to 0 and your rocket scanners get a 1-200 second detection time during meteor showers. This means a 20% chance that your rocket will be detected 1-39s ahead of time, which means busted doors. Having more than one scanner per rocket decreases the chance for busted doors as they all get an independent 1-200s window. Having two exposed scanners uncovered by bunker doors and boosting network strength during storms should give you 33.4% network strength and 60+ seconds of advance time on rockets. You then have to deal with keeping them repaired and free of regolith. Not sure what's worse, two permanently problematic scanners or the very occasional busted bunker door.

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