|Wire the solars, you lazy bums!|
|Obvious exits||Solar Control Room north/south (depending on the solar array you're on), space anywhere|
|Purpose||Powers the station by capturing sun rays|
|Noteworthy contents||Solar Control Computer, SMES Cell|
|Clearance||Captain, Chief Engineer, Engineer|
|Locations on 8station|
The Forgotten Power Source
Solars often are fully neglected by but a few people, and for slightly dangerous reasons (covered in a lower section). BUT, They are the safest way to generate power for the whole station! And, if there was a black out of power already, they will always have power until hooked up, and can provide the engine APC a charge until it is set up itself.
There are four solar arrays on the station. The first, and easiest to configure, is on the rightmost side of the station just below the escape shuttle port (Aft Starboard Array). The second is located "north" of the chapel (Fore Starboard Array). The third can be found to the left of engineering (Aft Port Array). The fourth is best accessed by going through the left maintenance door of the tool storage area (Fore Port Array).
Connecting the Arrays
- Several cable coils
- One space suit or hardsuit
- One crowbar to open doors if the power is out.
- Optionally, a large stack of metal from which to make floor tiles so as to protect your newly placed wiring from easy tampering.
Nanotrasen engineers are renowned for their shoddy craftsmanship and poor work ethic. You will find that none of the four solar arrays have been connected to the station. You will need to connect the solar panels and the solar tracker to the wire leading from the station. To wire a tile, hold a cable coil in hand and click an adjacent tile, this will add a wire radiating from the center of the selected tile toward your current position. Wiring is best learned by trial and error. Using this method, connect the solar arrays and solar tracker to the station. Having excessive knotting in your wiring can sometimes cause power loss, gremlin attacks, and metaphysical anomalies, so avoid it!
Calibrating the Arrays
Once you have wired an array, you need to calibrate the tracking and power so that it actually produces energy. Apparently, our space station is rotating or in orbit around something (no one really knows for sure). This means that the solar panels need to constantly rotate to face toward the sun. Click on the Solar Control CPU and set it to auto-tracking. You should see a degree displayed at the top ranging from 0 to 359; this is the current direction of the sun.
- 0 degrees = North
- 90 degrees = East
- 180 degrees = South
- 270 degrees = West
(The consoles are a bit glitchy so you might have to turn off auto-tracking then turn it on again before the panels start to rotate). Also, auto rotation is not smooth, it jumps about every 20 seconds. Keep this in mind if it seems like nothing is happening.
You don't need to use manual tracking!! The only time you will ever need to manually calibrate a solar array is when a meteor or traitor destroys the tracking unit.
It is important to note that THE STATION BLOCKS SUNLIGHT! This is the biggest cause of solar fail known to spessmen. When the panels of an array face the sun (and are correctly wired) they produce about 90,000 Watts of power. However, if the station is between the panels and the sun, they produce 0 Watts of power. This means that as the panels rotate with auto-tracking, they move through a series of power levels ranging from 90k (full sun) to nothing (station obscures sun). The rotation cycle takes roughly 5 minutes to complete.
Why is this important?
Because of the battery! See that big white thing in the solar control room? That's the SMES cell. It's a battery used for holding solar energy and transferring it to the station. Click on the battery and you get a window with input, output, and charging options.
(Optional) Skipping the SMES Cells
If you don't feel like configuring the SMES cells for over 5 minutes each, you can optionally reroute the wiring and skip the whole battery setup! Just recognize two wires: The wire coming from the Solar Control CPU and going to the SMES cell, and the other wire coming from the SMES cell and going to the station power grid. Connect these two wires and voilá! You have skipped the SMES cell and saved yourself a lot of time. No need to turn that pesky SMES on at all, just configure the Solar Control CPU and you're done, time to move to the next set of solars!
BUT there is one big downside to this: the station powergrid now holds about 400 kW of power, which is almost enough to put someone into instant crit. Not a good thing if you have shocked doors or someone exposes those electrified grilles inside windows.
Setting up the SMES
After you have wired the array, set tracking to auto, and verified that the panels are indeed rotating, set the battery like so:
Input: 200,000 watts
You want to leave output off and let the battery charge before you send the power to the station. I recommend waiting for a charge of at least 10% (maybe more) before you turn on the output. The battery needs this charge to provide sustained power during the dark phase of the solar rotation. If the battery runs out of charge, you'll have to turn it on again or it will not provide power. While you wait for the battery to charge, you can wire up other solar arrays on the station.
Once the battery has some charge, you can set the output to 50,000 - 75,000 depending on how much power you need. (If the output load is equal to the output value you set, it means the station needs more power than it's getting. Crank it up!)
These four arms can provide enough energy to power the entire ship in the event of a singularity engine failure. But, given the position to the engine, the wires will likely be eaten away and you will have charging solars that aren't connected to the station.
Cleaning the panels
Solar panels will eventually get dirty, obstructing light and reducing power output. To clean panels, you'll need to remove the glass with a crowbar and place it back.
DANGER WILL ROBINSON
There are a few dangers on the solars, one being the electrical wires if you forgot to wear insulated gloves: never forget or you will get zapped! In addition, you are vulnerable and alone. This leaves you an easy target for those pesky space carps and/or space-walking attackers that need a new cover identity. Finally, there is the chance to misstep and go drifting off through space. This hazard is easily solved if you act quickly. Simply throw something in the direction of your flight path, like shoes, or a pen. The equal and opposite reaction will start pushing you in the other direction!
- Solar panels don't get dirty on NewStation