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HMLAC 113

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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:40 pm

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tlb wrote:Also when Honor and Co started the fusion reactors on the shuttles when changing positions to be nearer the punishment camp, they must have done it that time using power from the turbine engines. Which means the backup power output is not always necessary to start the shuttle's reactor.

Okay, now I feel a right fool. I'd totally forgotten that the shuttles had air breathing turbines. :Doh:

And if they're using the emergency thermal converters to run the air conditioning then they should still have plenty of fuel in the tanks for the turbines. Those do seem a far better power source for bringing the shuttles reactor on line.


---
As for the emergency thermal generators, I also assumed they were probably thermoelectric based. That just gives you the underlying physics mechanism. However for thermoelectrics to produce power you need to get one side significantly hotter than the other; as without that thermal gradient they can't make power.

Now, you might be able to rig a solar reflector oven to heat the hot side, or on a planet's surface make a fire from natural materials; if you were lucky enough to be near a natural hot springs that'd do it. And then you still need to keep the cool side from warming up too much because the greater the difference in temperature the more power the generator can extract. Cooling it might be simply a permanently attached air cooled radiator; though that may have issues is some environments.
If you've got access to it though, even just submerging the radiator into a cool stream or lake would make its far more effective.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:09 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:Now, you might be able to rig a solar reflector oven to heat the hot side, or on a planet's surface make a fire from natural materials; if you were lucky enough to be near a natural hot springs that'd do it. And then you still need to keep the cool side from warming up too much because the greater the difference in temperature the more power the generator can extract. Cooling it might be simply a permanently attached air cooled radiator; though that may have issues is some environments.
If you've got access to it though, even just submerging the radiator into a cool stream or lake would make its far more effective.


I'm sure that solar photoelectric and other solar energy technology has made leaps and bounds between now and then... possibly most of it in the next 50 years.

But the big problem there is hiding such a large collection area from spy satellites. Or didn't the prison have them? I'd think it's such a cheap solution to have satellites in orbit that even the Peeps would have them. But unless those varied their orbits (which means they went through their onboard fuel more quickly), it would be easy for everyone to know when those were overhead and camouflage or dismantle the collectors.

Anyway, are we sure they shut the reactors completely down? They could keep one of them running on one of the shuttles and powering both for practically indefinitely.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by tlb   » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:45 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:I'm sure that solar photoelectric and other solar energy technology has made leaps and bounds between now and then... possibly most of it in the next 50 years.

But the big problem there is hiding such a large collection area from spy satellites. Or didn't the prison have them? I'd think it's such a cheap solution to have satellites in orbit that even the Peeps would have them. But unless those varied their orbits (which means they went through their onboard fuel more quickly), it would be easy for everyone to know when those were overhead and camouflage or dismantle the collectors.

Anyway, are we sure they shut the reactors completely down? They could keep one of them running on one of the shuttles and powering both for practically indefinitely.

The planet did have satellites for weather and communication and I believe it had some minor spy capability (they were concerned that the satellites could spot the fusion reactors, if I remember correctly).

Run the reactors for five months, when there has to be restraints on the fuel capacity? I think that is very unlikely, plus why would they mention that the backup power units could supply enough power for their needs?
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by Theemile   » Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:06 am

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tlb wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:I'm sure that solar photoelectric and other solar energy technology has made leaps and bounds between now and then... possibly most of it in the next 50 years.

But the big problem there is hiding such a large collection area from spy satellites. Or didn't the prison have them? I'd think it's such a cheap solution to have satellites in orbit that even the Peeps would have them. But unless those varied their orbits (which means they went through their onboard fuel more quickly), it would be easy for everyone to know when those were overhead and camouflage or dismantle the collectors.

Anyway, are we sure they shut the reactors completely down? They could keep one of them running on one of the shuttles and powering both for practically indefinitely.

The planet did have satellites for weather and communication and I believe it had some minor spy capability (they were concerned that the satellites could spot the fusion reactors, if I remember correctly).

Run the reactors for five months, when there has to be restraints on the fuel capacity? I think that is very unlikely, plus why would they mention that the backup power units could supply enough power for their needs?


Shuttles also use laser confinement reactors, not Grav pinched reactors, the power requirements are probably completely different.

Also it's straight hydrogen fuel - shuttles probably have water or methane converters. A simple solar cell and a hydrolysis chamber is all that is needed to get some starter feed stock.
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by tlb   » Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:14 am

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tlb wrote:The planet did have satellites for weather and communication and I believe it had some minor spy capability (they were concerned that the satellites could spot the fusion reactors, if I remember correctly).

Run the reactors for five months, when there has to be restraints on the fuel capacity? I think that is very unlikely, plus why would they mention that the backup power units could supply enough power for their needs?

Theemile wrote:Shuttles also use laser confinement reactors, not Grav pinched reactors, the power requirements are probably completely different.

Also it's straight hydrogen fuel - shuttles probably have water or methane converters. A simple solar cell and a hydrolysis chamber is all that is needed to get some starter feed stock.

Let's remind ourselves of what the book says; from chapter 8 of Echoes of Honor:
That was why it was as essential to keep their environmental systems up and running as it was to keep the local plant life outside them, but doing that required power. Not a lot of it compared to even a small starship, perhaps, but a hell of a lot when it came to hiding a power plant from overhead sensors. Of course, they'd been careful to land on the far side of the planet from the island HQ where StateSec's garrison of prison guards hung out, and so far as Harkness had been able to determine when he raided Tepes' computers, the Peeps hadn't planted any of their prison colonies within a thousand kilometers of their present location. All of which meant that, logically, there should be no reason for the Peeps to be looking for anything out here in the middle of the jungle.
Neither Alistair McKeon nor Honor Harrington were particularly fond of including words like "should" in their planning, however. And even if there hadn't been the possibility of detection by satellite or airborne sensors, running the shuttles' onboard fusion plants would quickly have eaten up their available reaction mass even at standby levels.
But the Peeps who'd planned the equipment list for those shuttles had provided them with at least twice the thermal converter capability an equivalent Manticoran small craft would have boasted. Although the intention had probably been for the converters to provide power to recharge weapon power packs and other small items of personal gear, they also produced—barely—enough power to keep both shuttles' environmental plants on-line. Temperatures inside the craft were several degrees higher than anyone would have kept them in regular service, but the interiors felt downright frigid compared to the jungle's external temperatures, and the dehumidifiers kept the all-invasive humidity at bay.
And they also provide just enough power to produce a teeny bit of ice, McKeon thought, wistfully recalling the chill freshness of Honor's water bottle.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:55 pm

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tlb wrote:Run the reactors for five months, when there has to be restraints on the fuel capacity? I think that is very unlikely, plus why would they mention that the backup power units could supply enough power for their needs?


That hinges on the ability to restart those very reactors without supporting infrastructure. If they can be restarted from cold in the middle of the jungle, then sure, shutting them down is an option. And in the situation they were in, a very good idea.

But if they couldn't restart them later, then they'd have to choose between two poor choices. Keep them running so you can lift off later, but risk detection, or shut them down and depend on unknown future luck to restart them. Fortunately, this doesn't appear to have been the case.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by Brigade XO   » Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:32 pm

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? I have a question.
If your reactor on a starship shuts down and you need to start it from the power system of a shuttle......how long an extension cord do you need and where do you plug one end into a port on the shuttle and where the heck is the power feed line port for the reactor relative to the hull of the starship.
Just wondering, because just siphoning off a bucket of juice from the shuttle and carrying it all the way into the hull though how many blast/pressure doors is going to suck. :)
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by tlb   » Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:12 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:? I have a question.
If your reactor on a starship shuts down and you need to start it from the power system of a shuttle......how long an extension cord do you need and where do you plug one end into a port on the shuttle and where the heck is the power feed line port for the reactor relative to the hull of the starship.
Just wondering, because just siphoning off a bucket of juice from the shuttle and carrying it all the way into the hull though how many blast/pressure doors is going to suck. :)

We know from the author that there are plasma tubes running all over the ship: to every energy weapon, to every missile tube and so on. There are also tubes running to the surface of the ship to supply energy to things being tractored. How this exactly works is not clear; for instance: do the tubes get energy from the plasma to keep that plasma from hitting the tube walls? Anyway, there is not plasma in every tube at all times, so there are also shunts and valves; the energy weapons and missiles only need energy when weapons are being fired. Therefore we presume that there is a way to feed plasma into one of these external openings, where it can run back to start a reactor. These tubes have been discussed before, because they represent obvious failure points; so the valves and shunts must be sufficiently fast-acting to respond to emergency breaches.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by Jonathan_S   » Thu Jun 23, 2022 6:01 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:? I have a question.
If your reactor on a starship shuts down and you need to start it from the power system of a shuttle......how long an extension cord do you need and where do you plug one end into a port on the shuttle and where the heck is the power feed line port for the reactor relative to the hull of the starship.
Just wondering, because just siphoning off a bucket of juice from the shuttle and carrying it all the way into the hull though how many blast/pressure doors is going to suck. :)

I'd assume that the shuttle bay would have cables / connections to allow you to power the shuttle, and let it start its reactor, from the ship's power system.

In an emergency, when you've lost your normal power reserves for restarting the ship reactor, it shouldn't be too hard for engineering to isolate and reverse those so the shuttle can back-feed power through the ship to its reactor systems.
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Re: HMLAC 113
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:13 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:In an emergency, when you've lost your normal power reserves for restarting the ship reactor, it shouldn't be too hard for engineering to isolate and reverse those so the shuttle can back-feed power through the ship to its reactor systems.


At worst, you can fly the shuttle out and use the regular shore power connections, which the ship must have.
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