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[GUIDE] How Power Works (as of 4/28/17)


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"Power" is measured in Wattage, or energy "moved" per second.

1 Watt = 1 Joule per Second

1W = 1 J/s

Joule is a unit of energy. So a Watt is a unit of energy generated per second. (Fun fact, Joule was a scientist who studied temperature and how to make thermometers, because heat is also just stored energy)

 

GENERATORS

Manual Generator aka "Hamster wheel" generates +400W, or +400 J/s. Coal Generator: +600W. Hydrogen Generator: +800W (fueled by 100g/s of hydrogen)

The Manual Generator generates +400W no matter who is running on it or what their Athletics skill is. But it DOES train the dupe's Athletics and Tinkering skills. If no batteries are connected to the Manual Generator, dupes will just keep running on it until they need something. This assumes other machines are connected to the Manual Generator's circuit.

 

CONSUMERS

Machines consume Wattage while active. The Ceiling Lamp consumes -10W, or -10 Joules per second (your common household lightbulb however, is 40 to 60 W). Most machines only activate when there is work to be done or when a dupe is using the machine. A few machines are always active if powered, such as light sources and refrigerators.

All powered machines generate heat while active. Each machine has a listed "Overheat Temperature", and will continuously take damage when it reaches this temperature. A "damaged" machine will continue to work until it has taken enough damage to become "broken", at which point it will shut off until repaired. Dupes will repair damaged and broken machines automatically, however you can click the Cancel Repair button on the machine if you desire. Repairs require whatever material the machine was originally made from. Active machines will continue to get hotter and hotter even while damaged, assuming dupes continue to repair them.

Space Heaters self-monitor their own temperature and will shut themselves off to prevent overheating.

To combat overheating, build machines out of Gold Amalgam. This raises the "Overheat Temperature" of the machine. Another option is planting Wheezwort on a natural tile next to the overheating machine.

 

BATTERIES

Batteries consume Wattage, but do not count in the wattage limit of the wire, even though they are listed as -200W. They will consume 0 or more Joules per second and store these Joules, up to 40,000, or 40 kiloJoule, or 40kJ. Batteries consume any excess Wattage produced, and in some cases consume a minimum of 1W even if this means causing a machine to be unpowered.

Tiny Batteries hold up to 10kJ. Besides that, they have the same heat properties, charging, and discharging rates as large batteries.

Batteries have no limit to their own power generation, or output Joules per second. But they hold up to 40,000 J, so a full battery will power a lightbulb for... 40,000 J divided by 10 J/s = 4,000 seconds. Or a hypothetical 40,000W machine for one second!

Batteries, despite their in-game description, do NOT lose charge over time. This is likely to change as the game develops. Nor does the length of wire matter (unlike real world power lines that lose power over long distances). So if you have the metal to spare, it can't hurt to set up large battery banks far away from the base.

Batteries will charge and discharge constantly on a circuit where power production is less than power consumed. Generally, the battery bank will charge up from 0 to X Joules, where X varies. The circuit's Potential Power Consumed seems to factor into X. Then the battery bank will discharge, powering additional machines for a brief moment and starting the process again.

 

CIRCUITS

A circuit is all the wires connected to each other and the buildings powered by those wires. View a circuit's properties by selecting any object or wire in the circuit and examining the Energy tab for that object.

Wires in this game are not exactly like pipes. If even a single wire is "low-wattage" then the whole circuit is low-wattage, meaning you will "overload" the circuit if your machines try to consume over 1000W total at any given second. When you look at the electricity overlay, white wires indicate a healthy circuit, yellow indicates the power draw is approaching/hitting the max, and red indicates the circuit overloaded for a second and will result in broken wires. High-Wattage circuits top out at 2000W worth of machine draw. So as it stands, a large base will probably need multiple distinct circuits.

You can replace standard low-wattage wires by simply building high-wattage wires directly on top of them. No need to deconstruct the old wire. Same goes for replacing pipes.

"Potential Power Consumed" is the total Wattage a circuit might consume if all machines were active at once. "Maximum Safe Wattage" indicates how much power can be consumed at once and not overload the circuit, it will be 1000W if ANY wires in the circuit are standard, and 2000W if ALL wires in the circuit are High-Wattage. These are the numbers you want to look at in determining if you can add more machines to the circuit.

 

SWITCHES

Switches allow you to interrupt the power flow at a single wire in a circuit. When switched "Off", the wire under the switch is disconnected. A switch does NOT turn off an entire circuit. Place a switch on a wire between power generators/batteries and the machines you wish to turn off. Multiple switches can be used on a circuit at different branches. Since a switch turned off essentially "removes" that wire from the circuit, this alters the circuit's properties. Turn off a switch and you have essentially split a single circuit into two. A great use for a switch is to set up an emergency battery bank. Charge the bank to full, then turn the switch off between it and the circuit. Now you have backup power when the coal runs out or whatever the case may be. Switches are also handy for turning off pumps in undesirable tanks and areas.

Thermo Switches act like regular switches except instead of needing to be manually turned on and off by the player, the Thermo Switch turns itself on and off based on its own temperature reading. Thermo switches are very handy for hot machines. Place a thermo switch next to your Air Scrubber, and run a wire through the thermo switch and then to the Air Scrubber. Now set the thermo switch to activate IF COLDER THAN 80 degrees F (or whatever in C, I dunno). Now your Air Scrubber won't be constantly running and heating up your base. Apply to all hot machines.

 

BUGS

- Batteries present themselves as -100W or -200W. This number is currently meaningless.

- Generators will periodically generate more than their listed Wattage for a split second to meet the needs of a circuit trying to draw more power than is generated. Additional machines will appear to activate but as of yet this effect seems to be purely visual and no work is done.

 

NOTES AND TIPS

- Have as many power generators as you need on a circuit, meaning you'll want enough total power generation to match Potential Power Consumed.

- Have at least 1 battery on a circuit to maximize fuel efficiency, but keep in mind the more batteries, the more heat generation. But hey, maybe you want to generate ridiculous amounts of heat?

- Use batteries if your machines on a circuit aren't constantly running or if you don't want your dupes to be running on the wheel all the time.

- Hydrogen generators produce the most power, assuming you can supply them with a regular feed of at least 100 grams per second of hydrogen. But the electrolyzer is a fickle beast. Theoretically you might be able to feed one generator per electrolyzer, and switch from coal to water power but I haven't really explored that yet. Plus you'll need at least one pump. 

- Dupes refuel Coal Generators or hop on the hamster wheel when ANY of the circuit's battery's power stored is below 50% (unless you change the setting on the power generator itself). But generally all batteries stay equally charged, so its safe to just consider multiple batteries as a single "battery bank".

- Coal generators create lots of heat and CO2. Plan accordingly.

- The game moves forward in "ticks", each lasting a fraction of a second. So the game's engine actually uses "Joules per tick", not "Joules per second". One can see this by setting up a manual generator connected to a battery and noting the increments that the battery charges.

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1 hour ago, Vilda said:

and here a copy of corrections where you are wrong ;)

Are you sure? I could've sworn my batteries slowly discharge over time. It even says so in their description.  Well, maybe they don't generate heat to the slow discharge. I'll have to look into it. I will make the correction afterward. Thanks.

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7 minutes ago, Maverick42 said:

Are you sure? I could've sworn my batteries slowly discharge over time.

I'm 100% sure they don't. Once I had a pack of charged batteries disconnected from everything for a few cycles and they didn't lose single unit.

It may change in future releases though.

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9 minutes ago, Maverick42 said:

Are you sure? I could've sworn my batteries slowly discharge over time. It even says so in their description.  Well, maybe they don't generate heat to the slow discharge. I'll have to look into it. I will make the correction afterward. Thanks.

Yes. I am.

Bat1.png

Bat2.png

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Re battery heat: Wiring is cheap, and distance doesn't appear to be a factor. Batteries can be placed very far away from the circuits they're buffering.

Quote

Only use batteries if your machines on a circuit aren't constantly running or if you don't want your dupes to be running on the wheel all the time

You should also use batteries if the overnight load on a circuit exceeds the output of that circuit's coal/hydrogen generators.

 

In general, if you can tolerate the heat, you should run lots of batteries. Deep reserves of energy make your base more resilient to crises. If you run into some kind of all-hands emergency, you may have more urgent demands on your dupe time than running hamster wheels.

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On 4/23/2017 at 5:16 AM, Maverick42 said:

Since a battery only eats up to 200W, to charge efficiently and lose as little excess wattage as possible, you will want at least 3 batteries per Coal Generator or 2 batteries per Hamster Wheel or 4 per Hydrogen Generator.

This is what the in-game descriptions imply, but in reality is not true.   Any battery (even a single) will consume any amount of unused power being generated until it is full.  It's simple to test:  create two separate hamster-wheel fueled circuits; one with a single battery, one with two.   The single-battery circuit will charge twice as fast as the two-battery set.  If each battery was limited to 200w inputs, they would reach full at the same time.

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On 23/04/2017 at 8:16 PM, Maverick42 said:

Lightbulb eats -10W, or -10 Joules per second. Your common household lightbulb however, is 40 to 60 W.

old incandescent bulbs, yes. (incandescent aren't even legal to sell here now). maybe they are LED lights or compact fluorescent?

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19 hours ago, Tamber said:

This is what the in-game descriptions imply, but in reality is not true.   Any battery (even a single) will consume any amount of unused power being generated until it is full.  It's simple to test:  create two separate hamster-wheel fueled circuits; one with a single battery, one with two.   The single-battery circuit will charge twice as fast as the two-battery set.  If each battery was limited to 200w inputs, they would reach full at the same time.

I will test this to verify and update the guide, thanks!

 

12 hours ago, SchlauFuchs said:

I have generated a Wiki page from this thread now. See https://oxygennotincluded.gamepedia.com/Power_Circuits

Cheers,

SF

Awesome! Apparently some of the info is wrong, as I made a few assumptions based on item descriptions, when they actually work differently. I'm going to do some tests to confirm everything in the guide is true. Starting with the battery charging and discharging rate.

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Updated the guide. Discovered that the hamster wheel occasionally exceeds its own 400W output if you load it with more than 400W worth of machine draw. Tested using ceiling lamps and refrigerators which both run constantly. On top of that, charging batteries consume an apparent minimum of 1W even at the expense of powering a machine.

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Did a test on whether the extra bursts of power are useful. No batteries on the circuit. I tried to power 20 gas pumps off a single hamster wheel, and yes periodically a dozen or so pumps would activate for a split-second, they did not actually pump anything. Also, the circuit would "Overload" during these bursts, but did not break any wires.

Any volunteers to test if other machines can make use of the bursts of extra power? Algae Deoxydizers might work, and I THINK the ceiling lamps light flickers might enhance plant growth. Conceivably, one could set up multiple "burst circuits", and place multiple lamps over a garden, each on a separate burst circuit, and the flickering of the multiple lamps at different times might be as growth enhancing as a single powered lamp.

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LOL burst circuits . try smaller grids for non essentials with their own wheels. the lights cost so little energy you could run a bunch off one battery for cycles between charges and if they forget to charge them for extended cycles because of more important duties then you not suffering from their drain on the rest of the system

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19 minutes ago, heckubis said:

LOL burst circuits . try smaller grids for non essentials with their own wheels. the lights cost so little energy you could run a bunch off one battery for cycles between charges and if they forget to charge them for extended cycles because of more important duties then you not suffering from their drain on the rest of the system

The lights are just an example for testing whether the bursts can be harnessed. The bursts exceed the "Safe Wattage" limit but do not break wires, that's the potentially useful part. I've now tested a burst circuit with a hamster wheel and 20 water purifiers, but they only run when 2 conditions are met: sufficient polluted water built up in the purifier, and an empty output pipe. Some purifiers ran nearly constantly. Many ran sporadically. And a couple flickered on and off. The latter were part of the "burst" I've been talking about. Results were inconclusive. I'll have to reconfigure the pipe outputs so that they are always empty to properly test if the flickering purifiers are actually doing anything.

The point of all this is to figure out exactly how the power system works. If the bursts prove usable, it means we can make a power grid that uses/steals more power than it is generating.

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the production scales from the devices like electrolyser scrubbers and anything with consumption. having 10 machines running the same task sporadically at about 10% are the same as 1 machine doing the job at 100%. creating a circuit based on faults is only going to encourage faults

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the faults would be the data errors that show devices that are working when they arnt and devices using 90% of their energy max leave the 10 % for other things several non full devices can leave waves of extra unused energy that would leave the appearances of extra energy when its only a lack of total consumption not a surpluss

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4 hours ago, heckubis said:

he has a section of lights that will show you what your looking for in surplus from the illusion of extra power

He makes no mention of the flickering lights or why they are flickering. And he's studying the effect of stress on hamster wheel output, not surplus energy. All of his tests ran the same circuit load throughout, 1kW worth of lightbulbs. He doesn't compare with tests using JUST 40 lightbulbs and no more. He also uses a battery, which complicates the system.

4 hours ago, heckubis said:

the faults would be the data errors that show devices that are working when they arnt and devices using 90% of their energy max leave the 10 % for other things several non full devices can leave waves of extra unused energy that would leave the appearances of extra energy when its only a lack of total consumption not a surpluss

If I understand you correctly, you say faults are data errors resulting in devices only appearing to show activity. Well, that's what I'm trying to prove or disprove, is it illusory or is it useful? You also say devices use 90% of their max power consumption? You're saying machines actually only use 90% of their listed power consumption? Now you got me confused. I ran the test myself, 400W of lightbulbs stay continuously lit from one hamster wheel and not a single lightbulb more. And what is a "non full device"?

 

Anyways, I ran my own tests across many many cycles and recorded the daily reports of each. From circuits that had under 400W loads to circuits with 40kW loads, there was apparently no discrepancy in the REPORTED data. The same average 195kJ being produced each cycle. But clearly, something strange is happening when the real-time Energy readout on a circuit is fluctuating and we see machines flicker on an off.

I also discovered that power transmission is not instantaneous. Each time my dupes jumped on the wheel, the "Power Wasted" would rise a bit, indicating a gap in time between a generator starting and the circuit's machines activating.

Finally, I added a battery to the 40kW load circuit. This produced a peculiarity, as the reports showed a miniscule rise in Power Produced. The average before was about 195kJ per cycle, but adding a battery into the system, that jumped to 205kJ per cycle. Unfortunately, when I added a bunch more batteries, the game crashed, and I'm done for the day. More testing is required.

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the video itself yes is not directly an example but the lights he has set up on either side of the build he was using for the test had 60 lights hooked up and they never once had any more than 40 running. the extra power is a small amount that's not reliable or even detectable beyond being a remainder left over after power calculations are made.

most devices have a listing of requirements costs and usages these are maximums not the constant total so devices whether running at half capacity or full use based on that formula not all devices need to be at full to operate. water pumps will stagger themselves if the pipes they are filling are full will sometimes show they are pumping but are not using energy or moving mass. Oxygen electrolysers wont always fire every second and water purifier will only use energy and sand in accordance with the rate that contaminated water happens to be available.

you can have large scale circuits that have maxes well beyond the 2k if the usage of power on average across the system is less than the 2k. air supply systems are good examples of this with the constant max pressure keeping the system from overpresurizing your base

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19 minutes ago, heckubis said:

the video itself yes is not directly an example but the lights he has set up on either side of the build he was using for the test had 60 lights hooked up and they never once had any more than 40 running. the extra power is a small amount that's not reliable or even detectable beyond being a remainder left over after power calculations are made.

Watch the video again. He has 100 lightbulbs, 10 in each row. 40 stay lit, and 10 flicker on and off. He also used batteries which complicates the data.

Well the power calculations of the program should be fairly simple right? 400W produced, 400W consumed by the circuit. No abnormalities should appear. But they do, and figuring out why is the fun part. And what makes you say its not reliable? Watch the video, that flicker occurs at regular intervals. Its little tiny bugs and floating point errors like that that give rise to huge exploits in games.

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