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Solar panels are a significant power loss for me


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Here's the issue in a nutshell: it costs me far more energy to keep a section of roof clear and cool than I get from solar panels. Like, 4x as much or more.

I'm using robo-miners to clear the regolith, and I have to keep those cool. Presumably a lot of the thermal load is coming from the regular deposits of 300 C regolith, rather than just the heat generated by the miners themselves.

Each miner has a little pit with drywall and a ceiling keeping regolith from falling on it. I've got them in pairs, and each miner can clear its neighbor's roof as well as a stretch of floor.

I'm cooling them with radiant pipes fed by aquatuners, and I'm finding that each aquatuner can only service about 3 miners. Any more than that, and the cooling loop steadily increases in temperature. Which means that I'm consuming 1200 watts to keep a relatively small stretch of ceiling clear, and solar panels underneath can't being to keep up with that kind of energy demand.

I remember seeing Neotuck mention a system where he let the regolith fall on the miners and then dug them out. With an automated system of doors overhead, I can see how you could time it so one miner in a pair got buried, its partner dug it out, and then you let the regolith fall on the second miner once the first one is operational and can dig it out.

That would work if the regolith were cool enough to cool off the miners. I.e. if it were 200 C and the miners had a limit of 275. That's not how it is, though, the regolith is 300. Maybe it would work with space materials with an overheat limit much higher than 300 C.

Otherwise, you're right back to actively cooling the tiles under the miners, even if you're using the regolith to transfer heat from the miners to the tiles. And there's that prohibitive energy cost for cooling.

There's always wheezeworts, of course, which don't require energy, but it'd take 20 wheezeworts to do as much cooling as a single aquatuner. I've got, maybe 3 or 4 extras I could use.

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Sounds like you are cooling down the regolith instead of mostly just the miners.

I remember seeing someone cooling down their miners with a bit of polluted oxygen of a morb, maybe someone can link it. 

Found this, maybe it will be useful to you: https://imgur.com/a/fS3CHIF#UbxCUpB

Alternatively you can always use doors instead of miners (no power, no heat, no blocking of sunlight) but you will need some more automation to set it all up. 

 

 

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For solar panels, i use 2 worts for ~10 solar panels inside a closed chamber filled with some gas and glass-tiles above. Even if sometines a piece of debries falls down to the glass roof, the chamber never overheats.

As for the robo-miners: They stand at another glass tile row as a floor, that is in no way connected to the glass-roof of the solar-chamber to prevent heat exchange. In the beginning i make them from steel, and keep a close eye on it. After the first few rocket launches, i replace them with niobium which gives me a huge benefit when it comes to temperature resistance. And the, of yourse, they are replaced with thermium, and from that point on, they will only break, if the system has a glitch, and heat sums up miraculously.

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In my previous game i play whit solar panels, and after increase the regolith drop from dust comets, i abandon the design. I don't want to use the door automation to get rid of excess regolith (in my vision this is a bug), and the shove vole is buged (they eat some regolith then stop and if you don't reload they don't eat any more). So i play whit natural gas generators, and the excess of natural gas i convert it to liquid methane. The solid methane from space i melt it to natural gas and converted again. So why bother. 

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6 hours ago, Gus Smedstad said:

Here's the issue in a nutshell: it costs me far more energy to keep a section of roof clear and cool than I get from solar panels. Like, 4x as much or more.

Have you tried a Morb? It emits PO2 of 40 C ish. It’s cool enough naturally for all your heating machines.

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I'm not really interested in a door-mashing setup. That feels like an exploit to me, like the gas matter conversion thing.

As I said, I'm pretty sure the problem is cooling down the regolith, not just the miners. While my cooling pipes never come into contact with tiles which touch regolith, the tiles which do get regolith conduct heat to the tiles under the robominers. That conducts heat to pools of petroleum, which in turn heats the robominers.

It might help to have insulated tile around the robominers. The regular tiles must be glass or diamond to pass light, but the tiles around the robominers don't necessarily have to be.

The issue isn't cooling the solar panels. It's cooling the robo miners which keep the light path to the solar panels clear. The diamond window level with the robominers doesn't touch the solar panels.

Clearing the regolith with dupes isn't just dupe labor intensive, it's player labor intensive. I'd have to check the roof all the time and mark new falls of regolith to be cleared.

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I've seen that setup in older threads. It didn't really register at the time that you had a million wheezeworts supplying the cooling.

I'd also really think you'd want a system to ensure that adjacent robo miners didn't both get buried at once. I guess if you're overlapping them sufficiently, if even one robo miner remains operational, they'll dig themselves out in a chain. I've been spacing mine in pairs, with no overlap between pairs.

There are some drawbacks to the covered pit approach I'm using. Mainly that the petroleum I'm using to link the cooling pipes to the miners significantly obstructs light.

UPDATE: Yeah, adding some insulation tiles between the robo miner pits and the main stretch helped with cooling considerably. I haven't tried testing to see exactly how many robo miners a single aquatuner can support with the revision.

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I have solar panels in vacuum and no cooling , glass ceiling above and robo miners with no cooling on the ceiling....works fine.  as stated above  start with steel and switch to thermium.  the regolith actually cools the thermium robo miners.  zero cooling needed

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Steel doesn't work fine. Either you let your robo miners get buried, in which case they heat up to 300 C and take damage, or you give them overhead protection and they overheat because they generate heat and can't shed it.

I guess one approach would be to protect them from regolith, and then live with destroying them and reconstructing them any time they hit 275. 

As I said, you can cool thermium miners by letting them get buried by 300 C regolith, but I'm a long, long way from thermium, and I need to deal with keeping my roof clear with what I have. At this point I'm using steam rockets to do science missions.

 

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17 minutes ago, Gus Smedstad said:

As I said, you can cool thermium miners by letting them get buried by 300 C regolith, but I'm a long, long way from thermium, and I need to deal with keeping my roof clear with what I have. At this point I'm using steam rockets to do science missions.

I don't have a clear solution yet, but I feel your pain.  Many of the solutions involve some serious investment no matter what you do, and I find a  lot of them to be touch and go.

@Neotuck's solution seems to work, but it takes a lot of time to get everything to cool down before you can use it, and even then I had issues with heat spikes because I wanted my regolith for vole ranching.  Supercoolant loops seemed to work better for me than the wheeze, but they still couldn't handle the heat spikes with just steel without a significant investment in infrastructure for multiple loops for back to back storms.

Layered miners with drywall/petro drips seemed to work best long term, but one errant meteor later and you're re-dripping half the system.  This is most likely to occur in areas where your rockets have gaps in the solar energy system.  If you split your base to 3/4 rockets on one side and everything else on the other (ignoring the trash from the gravitas facility that *will* be in your way) you can defend from silo interference that way.  You'll still need a way to clean your silos but that's a different challenge for the engineering.

If there's a best way other than door mashing I haven't found it yet.  I never thought I'd miss the ease of unbuildable wells and miner's automated for arrival. 

Thermite IS our best answer right now.  There are a few solutions for this that I hope Klei implements, though.

The most obvious solution would be to allow miners, loaders, and sweepers to conduct without a medium in vacuum.  This would make for machine contact to a nearby tile to allow for heating/cooling to transfer between them.  However, this is not the easiest to develop.  You're talking about changing the entire heat transfer mechanism of the simulation.

The *easiest* solution I can see being developed is a new part that is simply there to conduct temperature between a machine and whatever it is you connect it to.  Similar to the way wire bridges can transfer heat/cold, something of that nature would help.

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4 hours ago, Gus Smedstad said:

It might help to have insulated tile around the robominers. The regular tiles must be glass or diamond to pass light, but the tiles around the robominers don't necessarily have to be.

Silly question but are you aware airflow and mesh tiles are perfect insulators in a vacuum and they do not block any light at all unlike the 10% blocked by glass.

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Why would they be perfect insulators? Don't they obey the same rules other tiles do?

The thing about vacuum is that buildings don't directly exchange heat with tiles, they only exchange heat with gasses, liquids, or (if entombed) solids. Vacuum is a perfect insulator for buildings, but it has no effect on tile-to-tile heat transfer. It's also apparent that debris exchanges heat with tiles, even in a vacuum.

The problem I was experiencing was that regolith was heating up tiles, and those tiles were then heating up the petroleum baths for the robo miners. Mesh tiles are unsuitable since they'd pass the petroleum, and presumably airflow tiles would exchange heat with the petroleum.

I'm also pretty sure that airflow and mesh passing light is an oversight, and will be fixed in some later update. They've fixed similar issues with those tiles in the past.

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1 hour ago, Gus Smedstad said:

Steel doesn't work fine. Either you let your robo miners get buried, in which case they heat up to 300 C and take damage, or you give them overhead protection and they overheat because they generate heat and can't shed it.

I guess one approach would be to protect them from regolith, and then live with destroying them and reconstructing them any time they hit 275. 

As I said, you can cool thermium miners by letting them get buried by 300 C regolith, but I'm a long, long way from thermium, and I need to deal with keeping my roof clear with what I have. At this point I'm using steam rockets to do science missions.

 

you can get thermium from close planets so not too bad....but yes, for a while you rebuild the steel miners.  better than building and powering active cooling imho

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You are trying to cool the regolith with aquatuners instead of using the heat as an asset.

 

Build a steam turbine. Build a cooling loop with petrol where the entire bunker doors gets cooled by the hot chamber of a steam turbine setup. Steam turbines will delete heat anytime where the hot chamber gets above 226c, so the temperature will hit 226c in the surprisingly short run on the bunker doors. Steel autominers can take 275c, so the falling regolith cools the steel autominers.

 

Use a small puddle of oil (drywall, glass and handpump) to cool a single autominer that you keep covered with mesh tiles to dig the rest out. Cool the glass under with the same petrol "cooling" loop.

 

In general, if you are cooling steel and spending energy in the process, you are doing it wrong - the steam turbine makes any heat source over 500C an asset.

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12 hours ago, Mullematsch said:

I remember seeing someone cooling down their miners with a bit of polluted oxygen of a morb, maybe someone can link it. 

Here it is, @goatt 's post "Self-Sustainable Scanner Module"

<<in the battery chamber, there is a Morb providing 41.4C infinite PO2 and woots has enough cooling effects to counter batteries' heat.

  • 10g/s PO2 output to robo-miner area to prevent robo-miner from overheating.>>
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2 hours ago, Gus Smedstad said:

Why would they be perfect insulators? Don't they obey the same rules other tiles do?

The thing about vacuum is that buildings don't directly exchange heat with tiles, they only exchange heat with gasses, liquids, or (if entombed) solids. Vacuum is a perfect insulator for buildings, but it has no effect on tile-to-tile heat transfer. It's also apparent that debris exchanges heat with tiles, even in a vacuum.

This design uses mesh and airflow, cooling is cheap.

 

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4 hours ago, lee1026 said:

You are trying to cool the regolith with aquatuners instead of using the heat as an asset.

[Snip]

In general, if you are cooling steel and spending energy in the process, you are doing it wrong - the steam turbine makes any heat source over 500C an asset.

Unless your point is not actually digging out the regolith and just letting it sit there building up, explain to me how that has anything to do with how to keep your miners, loaders, and sweepers from overheating?

Where to put the resultant heat, or not, is not the question.  It's how to keep the equipment designed to clear regolith from overheating.

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Think for a second. The loop keeps the system around 200c. That includes the new regilith on top. When that now colder regolith covers the miners it will remove heat from the instead of adding heat.

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Our OP is trying to keep the miners cool by using coolant and an aquatuner. He said that it works but just takes too much power.

 

The solution is of course to dump the heat into an steam turbine directly, because now you get power for that, and quite a bit of it if memory serves, even if I am not precisely measuring it.

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Been using this setup for quite some time already, seems to work well and have zero issues with cooling:

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Solar panels do not require any cooling currently, valves on robo-miners are set to 20g/s, shutoffs only open when bunker doors are closed to avoid interfering with scanners and panels. Doors on which robo-miners are built open to let falling regolith through, then close to allow robo-miners to work, then open again to remove scanner/panel interference. Any gas with reasonable temperatures will work, i use excess oxygen from hydrogen production.

Main power consumers are bunker doors, spent some time trying to avoid them cycling back and forth a couple of times on each detection. Robo-miners themselves use fair amount of power. I would not say that solar panels are massively effective as a result, but since scanners are needed anyway - why not?

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Easiest way to do it is to put a robominer under an automated door. Since its reach is as much as an satellite detector I usually place it underneath it with some drywall. With proper automation you can automate it to release the bunkerdoors above the satellite, then after a few seconds open the door under the satellite, then close again after a few seconds. Robominers only heat up during use this way. To cool them down, I just use just 1g/s ventilation just under the robominers to keep em cool (think I use excess oxygen from a SPOM for that with a splitter bridge). Each robominer/satellite can cover 4 solar panels, and that is plenty to cover the bunker doors, automated doors, robominer and satellite. Since you need 6 of em anyways you generate excess power. Think someone posted a build for such automation.

Regolith falls on the mesh tiles, with proper size and height the robominer should never get buried under said stuff. Just make sure that the initial use needs to have no regolith at all, so just mine it by hand before the automation process. No autotuners used in this process at all.

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