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Author Topic: Recharge Stations  (Read 1035 times)

SCC

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Recharge Stations
« on: 05 June 2019, 07:41:47 »
OK, first of all what makes a space station a Recharge Station a Recharge Station? My gut instinct would say mounting Energy Storage Batteries, expect looking them up in TacOps shows that those have internal fusion power plants, which doesn't seem the align with the descriptions we've had of Recharge Stations before.

Secondly how quickly can the batteries used by Recharge Stations recharge, 7 days like JumpShips, or can they be recharged quicker?

dgorsman

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #1 on: 05 June 2019, 09:12:02 »
Why wouldn't a recharge station use reactors?  The storage batteries are just the storage mechanism.  They could be charged via solar sails, fusion, or more exotic means.
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Weirdo

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #2 on: 05 June 2019, 11:18:23 »
Energy storage batteries are what make a recharge station. The reactor(and the station's sail) is what charges those batteries. The charge is transferred to JumpShips via direct connection when docked, or from a distance using microwave transmission. Direct docking is when you get the time boost.

I forget the amount of time direct docking shaves off(and it varies from star to star, but I believe it's somewhere between half a day and two days. This may not sound like much, until you consider a ship traveling a very long distance, with many jumps. Over time, the savings add up to a significant amount of time.

Even if you're not going to be docking(and thus no time savings), jumping to a point with a recharge station is almost always preferable to jumping to a point without one. The stations are all the facilities of a major port in one place. You can obtain repairs or medical assistance, restock supplies, trade with merchants on the station or other ships, be protected by the station's guns and fighters, catch up on news(very important in the lethally unstable 31st-32nd century), and give your crews a few days of much-needed shore leave.
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SCC

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #3 on: 06 June 2019, 02:37:00 »
Why wouldn't a recharge station use reactors?  The storage batteries are just the storage mechanism.  They could be charged via solar sails, fusion, or more exotic means.
Pretty sure they've been fluffed at least to use sails like JumpShips normally do.

Energy storage batteries are what make a recharge station. The reactor(and the station's sail) is what charges those batteries. The charge is transferred to JumpShips via direct connection when docked, or from a distance using microwave transmission. Direct docking is when you get the time boost.

I forget the amount of time direct docking shaves off(and it varies from star to star, but I believe it's somewhere between half a day and two days. This may not sound like much, until you consider a ship traveling a very long distance, with many jumps. Over time, the savings add up to a significant amount of time.

Even if you're not going to be docking(and thus no time savings), jumping to a point with a recharge station is almost always preferable to jumping to a point without one. The stations are all the facilities of a major port in one place. You can obtain repairs or medical assistance, restock supplies, trade with merchants on the station or other ships, be protected by the station's guns and fighters, catch up on news(very important in the lethally unstable 31st-32nd century), and give your crews a few days of much-needed shore leave.
Docking doesn't technically save time, it just nets you a -2 to the quick charging roll. Some of the wording suggests that if the resulting modifier drops to 0 there's no roll but it's not outright stated. With that modifier you can charge the jump core in as little as 100 hours without the modifier going higher then 0. And it doesn't look like Energy Storage Batteries are actually affected by star type, or that a star is even needed.

dgorsman

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #4 on: 06 June 2019, 09:25:46 »
And they usually do, but with a slow charging star, high numbers of ships, during sail maintenance, etc. the reactors make up the difference.  They can also be in other locations where there is no way to charge from the star.

I don't think it's been stated yet, another benefit with direct charging is skipping unfurling and furling the jump sail.  That's not just time saving, it skips the chances of damage from doing so.
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Weirdo

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #5 on: 06 June 2019, 09:41:56 »
That -2 is the time savings, as you can charge faster while still staying safe.

And it doesn't look like Energy Storage Batteries are actually affected by star type, or that a star is even needed.

If you use reactors, a star isn't. (Then again, I suspect reactor-charging a battery uses just as much fuel and carries at least some of the risks as reactor-charging an actual core.)

My 'savings vary by star' comment was regarding using a station vs using your own sail. A recharge station over a very faint or otherwise less suitable star would offer much greater savings vs one over a brighter star.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
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The_Caveman

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #6 on: 06 June 2019, 13:44:35 »
A station need not carry its fuel with it. It can have small craft or DropShips going back and forth constantly to siphon hydrogen from an available source. And with no K-F core to worry about, its fuel tanks can be arbitrarily large. The fuel can even be stored in a secondary station that is just a floating gas tank and piped over as needed.

Solar charging is free, but "free" doesn't necessarily beat the cost of sail maintenance or the weak power output around small stars, and in most places hydrogen is trivially easy to collect. It can even be slowly sucked up from the solar wind if you run Bussard-type magnetic funnels.

BTW reactor-charging a core is perfectly safe as long as you don't attempt to quick-charge. It just burns fuel, which for JumpShips is a tightly limited resource. Electricity is electricity, the core doesn't (and shouldn't) care where it comes from.
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R.Tempest

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #7 on: 07 June 2019, 00:46:00 »
 A couple of nit-picking points.
1) Physically docking to the station. How long does this take? Clearly the Jumpship can't arrive directly on top of the station, so it has to maneuver to get there from its safe arrival point. Station keeping drive can probably get you moving, but I don't know if its thrusters would slow it down enough to achieve a docking. Warships, sure, but maybe not Jumpships. Since we don't have tractor beams, the station can't really help. Maybe Tugs of some sort are used but that would cost you something. Maybe enough to negate the cost savings from quick charging.
 Or does the station have telescoping arms that extend out to connect to Jumpships at several kilometers distance.
2) Beaming energy out to a Jumpship. If this can only be done one vessel at a time per bank it seems a bit wasteful. if an energy bank can recharge several jumpships in a relatively close formation that would be much more efficient.
 Also the Jump sail might need some modification. The gap where the station keeping drive exhaust passes would have to be closed. The Jumpship will already have to be facing away from the transmitter so that bulk of the ship, and any attached dropships, are 'shaded' by the sail but that hole will allow the transmitted power to directly hit the drive system.
 As always - feel free to explain to me how & where I am in error, I have a fairly thick skin.
 

The_Caveman

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #8 on: 07 June 2019, 02:54:59 »
JumpShip station-keeping drives are 0.1g. That's actually a LOT of thrust. Ship only needs to swap ends to brake--assuming it doesn't have reverse thrust.
Half the fun of BattleTech is the mental gymnastics required to scientifically rationalize design choices made decades ago entirely based on the Rule of Cool.

The other half is a first-turn AC/2 shot TAC to your gyro that causes your Atlas to fall and smash its own cockpit... wait, I said fun didn't I?

SCC

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #9 on: 07 June 2019, 04:21:50 »
2) Beaming energy out to a Jumpship. If this can only be done one vessel at a time per bank it seems a bit wasteful. if an energy bank can recharge several jumpships in a relatively close formation that would be much more efficient.
 Also the Jump sail might need some modification. The gap where the station keeping drive exhaust passes would have to be closed. The Jumpship will already have to be facing away from the transmitter so that bulk of the ship, and any attached dropships, are 'shaded' by the sail but that hole will allow the transmitted power to directly hit the drive system.
 As always - feel free to explain to me how & where I am in error, I have a fairly thick skin.
Each energy bank can only recharge one JumpShip at a time, want to recharge more JumpShips buy more banks, which actually sounds reasonable. What gets weird is that if you have something with an LF Battery battery that needs recharging you can only get the time boost for docking for either the K-F Drive OR the LF Battery.

R.Tempest

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #10 on: 08 June 2019, 00:15:26 »
JumpShip station-keeping drives are 0.1g. That's actually a LOT of thrust. Ship only needs to swap ends to brake--assuming it doesn't have reverse thrust.
  True, but once you have turned over your drive is pointed toward the station, or near the station anyway. I don't know how powerful the drive plume is but it would be passing near the station. Little room for errors.
 Also, I would think small craft/ dropship traffic control could be.... entertaining.

The_Caveman

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #11 on: 08 June 2019, 13:25:34 »
  True, but once you have turned over your drive is pointed toward the station, or near the station anyway. I don't know how powerful the drive plume is but it would be passing near the station. Little room for errors.
 Also, I would think small craft/ dropship traffic control could be.... entertaining.

You wouldn't point the ship directly at the station in any case, because in the event of a sudden drive failure you'd be on a collision course. You'd plot a course from the arrival point to a location near the station, maybe a couple km away, come to a halt, and then proceed to dock using vernier thrusters.

It's very unlikely that the drive plume is a perfectly collimated energy beam (if it was, we'd have mentions of using a WarShip drive to saw vessels in half at long ranges รก la Kzinti Lesson), so given a few hundred meters' distance it should be sufficiently spread-out to be nondestructive.
Half the fun of BattleTech is the mental gymnastics required to scientifically rationalize design choices made decades ago entirely based on the Rule of Cool.

The other half is a first-turn AC/2 shot TAC to your gyro that causes your Atlas to fall and smash its own cockpit... wait, I said fun didn't I?

dgorsman

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #12 on: 08 June 2019, 15:02:50 »
Naval version of the 'I am Jade Falcon maneuver'...
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Thunderbolt

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #13 on: 10 September 2019, 03:58:34 »
Do recharging stations like the Olympus have "tugboats" which could lock onto and safely maneuver JS to and from charging docks?

Weirdo

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #14 on: 10 September 2019, 07:39:03 »
There are tug DropShips, yes. We have stats for three classes, two of which are fairly uncommon due to being very new and very old, respectively. I do not remember offhand how common the third is, it's described in Handbook: House Kurita.

I don't know how common that ship is or if it's a representative for tugs found elsewhere. It's possible that at most stations ships just have to dock on their own.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
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Thunderbolt

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #15 on: 10 September 2019, 19:47:35 »
There are tug DropShips, yes. We have stats for three classes, two of which are fairly uncommon due to being very new and very old, respectively. I do not remember offhand how common the third is, it's described in Handbook: House Kurita.

I don't know how common that ship is or if it's a representative for tugs found elsewhere. It's possible that at most stations ships just have to dock on their own.
thanks for the reference, where are the others listed?

cray

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #16 on: 10 September 2019, 20:46:25 »
  True, but once you have turned over your drive is pointed toward the station, or near the station anyway. I don't know how powerful the drive plume is but it would be passing near the station. Little room for errors.

I'd recommend taking a cue from real life space station docking: do your big maneuvering burns far from the station, and then putter up to it at a walking pace for the last few kilometers using your RCS jets. You never need to have the main drive plume pointed at the station.

And since the recharge stations are inside the proximity limit (per StratOps), maneuvering is required for either recharging by transmission or direct connection. JumpShips don't like to sit IN the jump point either. You never know when someone's going to ignore arrival protocols, roll the dice, and land atop you.
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Weirdo

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #17 on: 10 September 2019, 20:57:09 »
thanks for the reference, where are the others listed?

3057 and 3075.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
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Thunderbolt

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #18 on: 11 September 2019, 01:20:24 »
3057 and 3075.
thx PDFs?

Just a quick if random thought, but noted above that dimmer stars require longer recharge times

They would also plausibly require JS to drop down deeper into the gravity well, to make up for the lack of luminosity

So you're most likely to need to use your maximum station keeping drive thrust over such stars, whereas you wouldn't have to tax your torches over brighter stars, where you could reside far from the central star and still harvest lots of light


Just think the numbers work out that way, 1/10th of G implicitly defines a minimum safe distance and a maximum harvestable luminosity, which might be meaningful?

Interestingly, all the BTU numbers do check out, your minimum safe distance in sol system is about 12M km = 0.08AU, whereat insulation is about 160x earth level

But over a minimum mass M9 star, the same thrust level translates to a minimum safe distance around 4M km, whereat total "bolometric" insolation is only around 1/6th of earth's...

But that is about the insolation at every standard JP

Suggests JS are fitted with 0.1G drives to accommodate station keeping around the jump harbors of all IS systems, from M9 on up?

Weirdo

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #19 on: 11 September 2019, 07:52:58 »
Yeah, we tend to be a scientifically literate bunch on this forum, but a lot of us aren't THAT good. Better English/Science ratio, please?
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"The BT universe is startlingly deficient in both wisdom and hindsight." - Cray
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Thunderbolt

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #20 on: 11 September 2019, 08:06:27 »
Your station keeping drive is over built, and generally only necessary in dim Red Dwarf systems, wherein you have to drop down deep into the gravity well to harvest enough light

Most IS stars are bright enough that you can reside far enough away that you don't have to use your maximum drive thrust

Thunderbolt

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #21 on: 11 September 2019, 08:34:23 »


White line = 0.1G given Mass of and Distance from star

JS can only reside on or to the right of the line (weaker gravity at greater distance)

The lightest dimmest stars only put out earth level power densities at the minimum JS distance, whereas JS could theoretically harvest enormous fluxes around brighter stars

dgorsman

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #22 on: 11 September 2019, 08:41:21 »
Commercial shipping routes tend to avoid systems with dim stars without recharge stations.  Takes longer to recharge and there's usually little to no local habitation that requires shipping.  No point operating on a loss when there's another system nearby with better characteristics.
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Weirdo

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #23 on: 11 September 2019, 09:23:58 »
Over built is good. Over built means it dull keeps you safe even when it's 500 years past its sell-by date. It also means that it takes you less time after a jump to get safely under the jump limit and get into position to dock or deploy your sail, in an industry where time is money.
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"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
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Robroy

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #24 on: 11 September 2019, 09:34:20 »
Might burn less fuel to just generate the extra energy to supplement what the sail gathers for a normal recharge time. As opposed to do the extra maneuvering.

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Colt Ward

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #25 on: 11 September 2019, 14:52:34 »
Recharge stations have changed a bit since they first entered the fiction.  If BT science lines up right, you can blame cray who answered stuff earlier in the thread- he is responsible for some of the more technical sections in TO/SO afaik.  Weirdo's point about being overbuilt is right . . . consider the Apollo astronauts went up in the equivalent with flying beer cans you can appreciate the accumulated safety margins.
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Thunderbolt

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #26 on: 12 September 2019, 02:15:04 »
Well, for one thing, the BT system is very granular, 1/10th G doesn't necessarily mean 0.100000000000000G

Also, think you could over thrust to 0.2G ?  If over thrust was sustainable you could slide down to about 10-12 M km = 0.075 AU or so from a minimal mass Red Dwarf, and still harvest almost one earth's worth of power density



The rules clearly already know about this effect, imposing longer recharge times for such systems, surely implying JS which don't over thrust?

Thunderbolt

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #27 on: 12 September 2019, 03:34:14 »
Haste makes waste, not as much of an effect as I was hoping for BTU excitement and adventure potential:)



Tidal effects (even in a rotating reference frame) are only of order GM/D2 x 2rplanet/D

Even if the first term gets up to a few tenths of a G, the ratio of planet size to orbital distance is at most 1/1000, roughly 10,000km / 10,000,000km

So the maximum effect is a few tenths of a milliG

You could possibly get serious FX on moons orbiting gas giants, think the ratio for Io is...

Wolfram alpha...

.7 mG

If the moon was a planet, a few times larger... And revolved more quickly, a few times faster...

You could get up to a few percent of one G

And if you thought Io suffers under Jupiter's magnetic field :D

Try as i might i can't actually get it to be a game worthy effect
« Last Edit: 12 September 2019, 04:09:55 by Thunderbolt »

cray

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #28 on: 12 September 2019, 05:00:16 »


White line = 0.1G given Mass of and Distance from star

The last time I mathed any jump point gravity it was so small that it seemed like an airlock leak could hold a JumpShip at station, but I was mostly crunching numbers for Sol-like stars.

Do you mind if I ask to see the numbers for M9V stars?

Quote
The lightest dimmest stars only put out earth level power densities at the minimum JS distance, whereas JS could theoretically harvest enormous fluxes around brighter stars

StratOps takes a moment to note that JS at pirate points (like the Terra-Sol L1 point) could get truly epic quantities of sunlight if you wanted to fry the drive.

Also, think you could over thrust to 0.2G ?  If over thrust was sustainable you could slide down to about 10-12 M km = 0.075 AU or so from a minimal mass Red Dwarf, and still harvest almost one earth's worth of power density

JumpShips don't have to hold station. They could thrust into orbit. How long would 0.1G take to put you into an orbit around that minimum-mass red dwarf?

Quote
The rules clearly already know about this effect, imposing longer recharge times for such systems, surely implying JS which don't over thrust?

As I understand from some reverse engineering efforts, the recharge times look like only two stellar types (G2 and something in the M class) received the same insolation. So, it's more likely the numbers are the result of quick-and-dirty curve-fitting in the mid-1980s.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

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**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading." --Thomas Jefferson, or not

Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

Thunderbolt

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Re: Recharge Stations
« Reply #29 on: 12 September 2019, 22:07:50 »


Think you get something mostly like that

1/10th G hover harvests Mars level insulation or higher for all star systems

Earth level for about 0.25 Msun
Venus level for about 0.35 Msun

 

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