Parabatteries

bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
December 18, 2013 - 1:11am
Everything in the Frontier runs on parabatteries.

But how long do they last?

We know that each parabattery uses a certain number of SEUs, but what does that even MEAN?

For example, let's say that you have an explorer that uses a parabattery.  If it is driving across an unexplored planet, how long before it runs out of juice?  The book states that all vehicles can travel 1000 km on one parabattery, but how does that translate into time?  How long before your robot conks out?  How long before that space station experiences a power blackout?

How many SEUs are used up in an hour or a day?

In my games, I have tried to gloss over this issue, but I'd really just like to have an answer for people.

I'd love to hear how others have solved this issue, or if there is an explanation in the books which I have missed. 
Comments:

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 18, 2013 - 2:34am
With Explorers, we used to just tried to figure out how far one had gone in a day and keep adding totals together. But you're right, there's nothing concrete to work with in same that is the case for SEU usage.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 18, 2013 - 6:31am
This question came up in the question and answer section of the Dragon magazine for robots and the answer was 1 SEU/ km travelled.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 18, 2013 - 11:09am
Something else to bear in mind as well; vehicles sometimes come with the occasional piece of technology as standard equipment. I've always operated under the assumption that the parabattery that the vehicle draws its power from will also power those standard pieces of equipment (unless otherwise noted in the description) without detracting from the 1,000 km travel range. However, if the PC adds a piece of aftermarket equipment they should also make allowences for an additional power source for whatever equipment they have added or else the maximum range that the vehicle can travel would be reduced.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 18, 2013 - 11:18am
One wonders if the battery can be recharged from some other source whilst it's en route. Solar panels, a wind turbine, that sort of thing. I guess that would depend on the environment that it's in.

Rollo's picture
Rollo
December 18, 2013 - 12:19pm
Though I can't recall where I've seen this; I believe that parabatteries, powerclips, etc were not intended to be able to be re-charged by PCs. Presumably, once they are discharged they get recycled or something. I house rule that they can be recharged using recharging units desined for that task. As an optional piece of equipment, I allow PCs to have a recharging unit installed on their starships (or anywhere that has a continuous powersource). I also allow generators to act as recharging stations, etc.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
December 18, 2013 - 2:26pm
I knew about the 1 SEU per KM, but what I really want to know is how long do parabatteries last when used in non-vehicles...

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 18, 2013 - 5:00pm
You can't recharge powerclips but you can recharge the belt and back packs and parabatteries.  I allow them to be charged at any generator.  If you control the generator it is free.  If you have to pay for it, it's 5 Cr. per SEU.

As for how long they last fo non-vehicular or military equipment, you just have to make a guess.  If the thing draws a lot of power, use it up fairly quickly.  If not, it could last for a long time.  The rules say that a computer uses a parabattery equal to its level (or a type I or II generator for level 5 or 6 computers) and that the parabattery lasts at least a year.
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Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

iggy's picture
iggy
December 18, 2013 - 6:38pm
My gut says that you're idle time for an explorer, or hover cycle, or hover craft, or any other vehicle is going to be very very long.  But the actual energy put into traveling any given distance, that's going to consume a lot more power.  Therefore the game is glossing over how many SEUs a vehicle uses per hour verses how many SEUs are used per kilometer.

I am however tempted to do an engineering analysis of the SEU to see if I can baseline it.
-iggy

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 18, 2013 - 7:32pm
1 SEU = 100 Joules.  It takes between 10-500 Watts to generate the laser power needed to cause damage.  You can cause minor burns in flesh with as little as a couple of watts but it takes significantly more to damage materials.  Assume that is delivered over some small fraction of a second and you have the 500 Watts of power needed.

That's a complete guess off the top of my head.  I'd love to see a real analysis.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 19, 2013 - 5:15pm
There some interesting stuff here:

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/sidearmenergy.php

As a comparison, laser weapons rules in the Traveller:2300AD RPG state that a kilo of TNT produces 5 megajoules of energy, and that 1 watt for 1 second = 1 joule. The RPG's lasers fire anything from a 35 to 80+ megawatt pulse in one hundredth of a second, depending on their design (they don't have adjustable settings, as is the case in Star Frontiers). So, a 40 megawatt pulse for 100th of a second is equal to 4 tenths of a megajoule.

bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
December 19, 2013 - 2:18pm
This is all very helpful.  Awesome.

Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
December 21, 2013 - 6:36am
I'd say the SF lasers have the adjustable setting as the game designers wanted them to be kind of like the Phaser in Star Trek with different settings, or even Star Wars blasters could be set to stun. Which would be a surprise to Han Solo, only lasers can't actually stun.
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
December 17, 2015 - 12:18am
I know this is an old question, but I have some relevant data.

First, as a paranthetical note:, 1 SEU is 1000 Joules, not 100, as stated above..

Next, 1000 km is ~620 miles.  To find how long that is in time, find the speed in either MPH or KPH of the vehicle.

For example, an aircraft capable of Mach 1 at sea level is travelling at 1225 km/h (or 761.2 mph).  So the aircraft is travelling ~20.42 km/min.  The aircraft would cover the 1000km in just under 49 min.  The type of parabattery listed for aircars and jetchoppers (Type 4) holds 4000 SEU, not 1000, for a total trip duration of 3 hours, 15 minutes.

An Explorer going ~97km/hour (~60 MPH) with it's Type 3 parabattery (2000 SEU) would have a total trip duration of ~20 hours.


ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
December 17, 2015 - 1:53pm
KRingway wrote:
One wonders if the battery can be recharged from some other source whilst it's en route. Solar panels, a wind turbine, that sort of thing. I guess that would depend on the environment that it's in.


In that case, I would propose that instead of one big battery, the vehicle would have two smaller batteries of equivalent total capacity.  One the "draw" battery that is powering the vehicle at the moment, and the other "on the charger".

Or you could just have the vehicle run off a power generator with the battery being the "surge" storage for heavy usage periods or when the generator is down.