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Gamers Handbook

A new take on Battery Switching / Regular Wire Power Grids

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I’m super excited to finally share this design; I’ve been working on it for a very long time.  Ever since I saw @Tonyroid ‘s video several months ago ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-lvvOripp0 ), I’ve been very intrigued by regular wire power grids.  I couldn’t find a design that was to my liking though.  I wanted the same functionality as a heavy watt backbone:  Smart batteries to turn generators on and off automatically, synced smart batteries so I can set which generators turn on first, the ability to place my generators wherever I want instead of a central location, no battery bank, and using a single wire.  

So, I set to work coming up with my own design and then thoroughly tested it.  My power grid design uses a “transformer flipper” (aka battery switcher with transformers) to provide the same functionality a smart battery does for the standard heavy watt backbone.  I no longer have to concern myself with heavy watt wire’s:  crappy decor, inability to go through walls without a joint plate, and 50 kiloWatt maximum.  I tested this design like crazy (including up to 200kW and using it in my most recent playthrough) and I love it.  I hope you guys can get as much benefit out of it as I do.

Video with the details:

 

Edit:  For anyone who was asking for additional clarification via a long form video, including dupes building the design, I recently tried out YouTube's live stream feature doing just that.  Unfortunately my rural ISP dropped my connection mid stream so it's in two parts.  Part one is here (starts at ~4:40) and part two is here.

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@BLACKBERREST3  The video is not meant to be a explanation nor history on switching/flipping batteries and regular wire power grids.  It is simply to show the transformer flipper, which according to my searching is a new method that hasn't been used until now.  This is what I do with my Heart of a Build series, and it was explained in the opening statements.  I did provide some background and context, because I know not everyone is even aware switching / flipping batteries or regular wire power grids even exist.

The purpose of noting multi-battery switches/flippers is just to note it as an option that works with the design.  It was to address fringe use cases / power users.  It was part of my testing I conducted when trying to define the limits of the system, so I wanted to include the information in case anyone was wanting to do it.

I referenced my inspiration and research for my design: Tony's video.  It is only very recently that I have come to these forums (for reporting the transformer draw bug which was recently fixed and for reporting the power shutoff bug; both of which I made detailed videos on to help out the community and developers), at which point I was already well into the testing of this build, which is how I discovered those bugs (as in the first time I experienced the bug) in the first place.  I've also commented in 2 out of 4 of the threads you linked in reference to the bugs.  I'm a regular on r/oxygennotincluded, which is where I saw Tony's design months ago and started my own journey.  A search at the time found no one able to imitate the "this generator comes on first, then that one next if I need it" functionality smart batteries have in a heavy watt backbone style power grid; not without a battery bank anyway (I can't remember if that was an original idea by myself or something I saw first).  I developed my own battery bank design, but I was still unsatisfied because it required wires from every distant generator to be ran to the battery bank.  Weeks ago I came up with this transformer flipper idea, and I've been testing it ever since.  My Reddit history will confirm this, as well as my closing to the video linked below posted 6 weeks ago. (I was confident in the design at the time to mention the future video, so the idea was well underway even then and is a testament to how much testing I've done on this design.)  This is also why I refer to them as flippers and not switching batteries, because I didn't read of their developments on the forums here.  So, I referenced exactly what I used when making this design and video, which was Tony's video as inspiration and an introduction to the topic.  I also did a search before making the video (but after the concept was fully fleshed out) and couldn't find anyone else using transformers in the same way.

I titled this thread as "new take" because the transformer flipper is something I haven't seen anyone using before.  It gives us the ability to tier our generators so certain ones come on first, an extremely useful feature heavy watt backbone provides.  Unfortunately, the only other designs I found (and even one I used myself) that have this functionality also need some form of battery bank, or perhaps a creative solution with all the power producers in the same location / automation wire ran all over.  I want to be able to put my generators in different locations, so that left me running many wires into a battery bank which wasn't ideal.  The transformer flipper allows a one wire solution, something that isn't new, but it also allows this tiered functionality while still being one wire; which again is something I was unable to find anyone else doing.  There is no across map automation wires, no across map heavy watt wire, and no across map multiple regular wires.  Just one wire.  Your power generators don't even require heavy watt and aren't limited by transformer output, a flaw many of the other designs seem to also have.  So I believe it is a new take, as it appears to be superior to many of the other designs while also introducing something new.

FYI you wouldn't want to throttle the switching of the transformer flipper as it degrades performance according to my tests.  You want it controlling itself.  As for your consumer flippers, I already acknowledged in my video there's nothing new there, so feel free to do it however you always do.

Spoiler

 

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The subreddit has a lot of helping players get through the beginning and mid game, and there's also some more in depth knowledge presented there as well.  The search function is still sub-par, but seems to be a bit better than here.

Just because you don't view me as a subject expert doesn't invalidate what I've designed.  Also, I am not required be a subject expert before I can present my new discoveries.

As previously stated, the video was never intended to explain everything about switching/flipping batteries and regular wire power grids.  The video's sole purpose is to showcase the new component (aka the heart of the build): the transformer flipper.  The transformer flipper is a powerful new way to design and use regular wire power grids, and I wanted to share it so others can reap the benefits as well.  The fact I didn't include tangential history on switching/flipping batteries and regular wire power grids doesn't change the validity of the transformer flipper (and it doesn't speak to my understanding / disunderstanding of them either).

My videos are intentionally short and to the point because there's an audience that likes content that way (myself included).  There's plenty of very popular ONI content creators who make excellent long form videos you would enjoy.

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Mullematsch    219

The video is well made, nicely done.

Also nice to see people experimenting with new ideas but I think you are over complicating this or I don't get what you are trying to do. 

image.thumb.png.0d9accab97ce55e1dec9647eed2fcd0e.png

5d92b748933ab_Ebene6.thumb.png.5a2526ac5ae59b627480ef6299e9969e.png

If you don't want the generators on a heavy wire, you would just go normal wire -> switch design -> control unit. 

If 50kw is not enough, you can just run solar power or whatever directly on the mainline. 

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@Mullematsch  Your consumers are powered by 25% of each of those power sources.  You have no way to say for example, not burn coal.  By using a transformer flipper, I can have hydrogen gens run first, then if they can't keep up nat gas kicks on, then another gen type, etc.  Just like you do with a regular heavy watt backbone power grid.  That's why this transformer flipper is soo powerful.

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nakomaru    1454

You can say which power station you want to take priority without doing anything special. At least, it reliably works for me. Build your transformers in the order you want them used.

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@BLACKBERREST3 Now you're just being dishonest.  I've made it abundantly clear by now that the transformer flipper is what's new.  You act like I'm ripping off someone's design by making a video about the transformer flipper, but that is not the case.  This idea was 100% conceived in my own brain.  You haven't even provided any evidence that someone else has showcased the transformer flipper before.

@nakomaru Are you talking about @mullematsch 's pictures?  So every time you add a new top/bottom (idk if it prioritizes first or last built) tier power source, or even just change your mind about the tiering, you rebuild every transformer?  That sounds pretty ridiculous.

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nakomaru    1454

Yes, those pictures will do. They should drain from oldest to newest. But I have yet to see anyone reproduce/fail to reproduce my claims.

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mathmanican    2354
12 hours ago, Gamers Handbook said:

I’m super excited to finally share this design;

I loved the video. You've got all consumers connected with regular wire, and filling batteries near them with power so you can easily automate things locally.  I love the design. It addresses a question @Mullematsch asked long ago in the link below, and gives a nice local way to deal with the problem without long strings of automation wires moving all over the base. Nice work.  Thanks for sharing. Now if the power shutoff bug would just get fixed..... I don't think I've seen a build that uses flippers/switches in exactly this way. 

Spoiler

 

 

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BLACKBERREST3    235

internet went out so i’m typing this from my phone

:wilson_facepalm: The only difference from my old design and your new design was that you looped the batteries to the transformers. I got tunnel visioned and completely missed that. That is no excuse on my part, I was in the wrong there. I kept wondering why things you had said didn’t add up. After the third time watching it, it hit me. My apologies, this is a great build. please excuse my lack of attention. I’ll edit out my posts so they don’t subtract from the conversations in this thread.

a little backstory on where my focus was: transformers didn’t work this way until recently. they used to have unlimited draw which is why this build wouldn’t have worked before the update been the size it is now.

@Gamers Handbook, please continue making great content and again, I am sorry for my transgressions.

 

I can’t link anything right now, but nakomaru said something interesting that reminded me of a post i made on automation. in that post we determined that build order affected certain aspects of the automation. I always prioritized the generators with the low threshold of the bat switches. Are you saying that build order affects the priority of transformers?

 

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nakomaru    1454
1 hour ago, BLACKBERREST3 said:

 Are you saying that build order affects the priority of transformers?

Yes. A while ago mathmanican responded to my claim saying that is determined by wire sequence. But after that I retested all of my power stations again and was able to perfectly control depletion order by transformer build order. However I have not tested since the most recent transformer bug fix.

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Mullematsch    219
6 hours ago, Gamers Handbook said:

@Mullematsch  Your consumers are powered by 25% of each of those power sources.  You have no way to say for example, not burn coal.  By using a transformer flipper, I can have hydrogen gens run first, then if they can't keep up nat gas kicks on, then another gen type, etc.  Just like you do with a regular heavy watt backbone power grid.  That's why this transformer flipper is soo powerful.

Uhh, I mean all power sources feed into the control unit with the smart batteries and transformers. So you just use the smart battery automation outputs to turn on the generators in your desired order. 

Guess i am missing something here but I don’t see the point of your flipper except to make it less of a hassle to go over 50kw and it’s slightly easier to run all generators on a normal wire. 

My issue was always just the 20kw which transformers limited you to, now that it’s to 50kw, generators - control unit - mainline works great. 

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@BLACKBERREST3  All is forgiven.  FYI this design worked before the transformer fix too ;) I was actually testing variations for this design when I first experienced the transformer bug myself.

Spoiler

 

@Mullematsch  Oh man I totally missed the joint plates originally, and therefore gave you an incorrect response.  Sorry about that.  So imagine you want those 4 generators each in one corner of your map.  You must connect them with heavy watt wire (or get really creative and have a regular wire or automation wire for each one ran back to this hub). 

This is what I had used in the past, which is a variation of a hub that uses many regular wires to connect to generators in distant places:

Spoiler

 

With a transformer flipper you don't need any of that, just a regular wire output for everything.

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Mullematsch    219
18 minutes ago, Gamers Handbook said:

 

@Mullematsch  Oh man I totally missed the joint plates originally, and therefore gave you an incorrect response.  Sorry about that.  So imagine you want those 4 generators each in one corner of your map.  You must connect them with heavy watt wire (or get really creative and have a regular wire or automation wire for each one ran back to this hub). 

This is what I had used in the past, which is a variation of a hub that uses many regular wires to connect to generators in distant places:

Yeah, I get it, that is a nice way to go about it. I usually build a big power plant so heaving generators on a conductive wire is not a problem. And If I have some other power source far away, I just run an automation cable over there or a normal wire -> switch design -> control unit. 

I will have to play around with your design a bit. 

 

 

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BLACKBERREST3    235

In the vid, handbook mentions wire bridges being destroyed first. Is this also build order or is this always greater priority over regular wire? His other video on overloading shows a randomness when it’s only regular wire. 

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t sync the batteries with an extra gate to prevent them from overloading as it was pointed out to me in another thread, I just wanted to know the pattern behind it and build order.

A long time ago in a gal...nvm. when I was working on an excel spreadsheet for this game that I scrapped cause I wasn’t happy with it, I noticed some magic happening with info cards where they would switch back and forth between each other. This still happens in game. I have a feeling that this is an indicator of these sorts of mechanics (although sometimes they actively switch based on the building and not dependent of build order as well).

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2 hours ago, BLACKBERREST3 said:

In the vid, handbook mentions wire bridges being destroyed first. Is this also build order or is this always greater priority over regular wire? His other video on overloading shows a randomness when it’s only regular wire.

Someone brought that to my attention after seeing my video (the ONI community is soo helpful and willing to share tips).  In testing for this design, I found a bridge always overloaded before a random piece of wire did.  It's handy to ensure breakages occur where they're accessible.  You must have wire on each end of the bridge though, and iirc both ends must connect (aka no dead ends).  So I just set mine up as a tiny side loop.  It was amazing for testing, because if a particular configuration induced overloading you could just fix up one segment instead of hunting for the piece that broke.  I've only used it a bunch with regular wire bridges, but I noticed the behavior with conductive on about 2 occasions so it probably applies there too.

And oh man do I love Excel.  I could see it getting quite involved depending on what you were trying to do for the game with it.

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BLACKBERREST3    235
9 hours ago, Gamers Handbook said:

And oh man do I love Excel.  I could see it getting quite involved depending on what you were trying to do for the game with it.

You might like these then. I use http://oni-db.com mostly, but there is also spreadsheets available from a couple of the posts around here.

 

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tofof    30

Terrific, very nice work.

I also had some trouble distinguishing what made this design particularly different than the usual switching battery setups. It seems that even quite experienced players had the same difficulty. After I figured things out, I made schematic views for my own reference later. 

Hopefully they're helpful to others and also will serve as a check of my understanding.

 

A classic setup using switching batteries looks something like this, schematically:

classic.thumb.png.5652e92cafdfe0a0cdd66089b6735f83.png

Normal wire is the thin black lines.  Automation control wire is the colored dashed lines.

This setup solves many of the problems associated with using a heavy-watt wire backbone, including its decor penalty, the difficulty of dealing with joint plates to pass through tiles, the extra space and material cost of mitigating the decor penalty by building maintenance shafts, and the cap on the kW you can transmit.

However, it still leaves some issues unsolved.

Problem Group 1: spanning geographical distance is expensive

  • All power equipment for a particular circuit can be located remotely, but then you have to run automation wire all the way back to the first generator + switching battery if you want both generators to be available to power both circuits. Automation wire, being refined, is comparatively expensive.
  • If you centralize the generators, but the switching batteries are remote, you have the same problem, just now on one of the blue dashed lines instead. Again, automation wire is comparatively expensive.
  • If you centralize everything, you have to have all the individual output wires (the lines connecting to the loads, in the diagram) all running in and out of the central location. For example, running 8 individual circuit wires all to a central location is comparatively expensive, while also being quite difficult to lay out.

Problem Group 2: generator priority

  • The individual switching batteries will discharge at different rates, depending on the various separate loads attached to them.
  • Aggregating the signals from the switching batteries tells you only that some charging is needed somewhere, or no charging is needed anywhere. Accordingly, it is very difficult to distinguish a heavy load from a light load.
  • Because of that, it is also very difficult to preferentially use particular generators while reserving others only for times of heavy load, at least while also keeping the generators available globally rather than tied to any one particular switching battery. 

There are several variations on this design, but generally speaking, most will behave similarly enough to the simple case pictured above. As Nakomaru indicates in a later post, one common variant to add large transformers (and a smart battery for control) between the generator and the switching battery, using heavy-watt to connect the generators to the transformers. This solves some of problem #1, at the cost of the extra equipment and the reintroduction of heavy-watt (though it's still avoided on the backbone).
 

 

GamersHandbook's design adds a transformer (or two) and an extra set of switching batteries per generator cluster:

newtake.thumb.png.ea96209f3a6620390374d3dc89ca53b8.png

Conductive wire is shown in heavy black. The "backbone" wire is drawn in orthogonal (right-angled) style. (Ignore spurious arrows on the backbone.)

The key difference is the use of "transformer-flippers", in which the low side of the transformer carries the power output, which is looped back to a dedicated switching battery of the transformer-flipper itself.

The transformer segregates the output of the initial switching battery (the heavy black conductive wire), allowing it to charge other batteries - both the downstream switching batteries that define each circuit as well a loop back to itself.

This solves most of the issues with the classic switching-battery setup, at the cost of some additional space.

Problem Group 1: spanning geographical distance is now cheap

  • Now, the only the "backbone" wire spans large distances, which is cheap regular wire. No automation wire running across the whole map.
  • Only one wire has to connect the various sets of components, no matter the layout.
  • Although there's additional material cost the extra switching batteries, transformers, and the small amount of conductive wire used to connect between them, it's actually cheaper than the classic design for sufficiently large geographic distances.

Problem Group 2: generator priority

  • The backbone wire feeds all draws, including the transformer flippers themselves.
  • These draws come from 3 locations: the transformer-flippers themselves, the individual switching batteries of the load circuits, or the up-to-1000W of load that can be attached directly to the backbone.
  • Any draw at any location is fed equally from all the transformer-flippers. Furthemore, because the transformer-flippers themselves are a draw, fed equally by all the transformer-flippers, the batteries in the transformer-flippers will stay synchronized after a manual initialization.
  • Because the batteries stay synchronized, but there's a unique transformer-flipper for each generator cluster, you can easily trigger different generators to engage at different levels of battery depletion. In this way, you can turn backup generators on only once power demands aren't being satisfied by the first-line generators, simply by setting the battery on the first-line generators to e.g. 70/90 and the battery signaling the backup generators to e.g. 40/60. This way, the first line generators kick on when the batteries in the the transformer-flippers hits 70%. If that's not enough and power continues to drop while they're on, the backups will then engage when the batteries reach 40%, and so forth.

 

Hopefully, this longer-form explanation of the properties of this design helps people who found GamersHandbook's condensed "Heart of a Build" format to leave a little too much unexplained to completely follow along.

 

PS - GamersHandbook - you may want to edit the spots in your post where you say "50 Watt" and "200W" - you obviously meant kW in both places.

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