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Engineering guide, volume 1 : Basics and life support : the supermatter.

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Information' started by flying_loulou, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. flying_loulou

    flying_loulou Senior Enlisted Advisor

    Engineering guide, volume 1 : Basics and life support - the supermatter

    The goal of this guide is to teach the operations of engineering's core systems, it is not a starter guide, and you should acquire a good mechanical understanding of the game before going through it. I will not explain how to build an air alarm, or a pump, but how they work, and how you should use these. In my opinion any engineer on the Torch should know at least one of the two main systems, which are the supermatter engine, and atmospherics. However, knowing one of these two systems, or even knowing the whole wiki by heart, doesn't necessarily make you a competent engineer, and I highly recommend the trainee role to allow you to get some experience, in order to be an autonomous engineer.
    Bear in mind, this guide is NOT the bible, I will not give you a detailled explanation on everything, it's only a basis to help people to get a grasp on one of the most complex, but, in my opinion, one of the most interesting aspect of the game : engineering.

    1 - The Supermatter engine
    The supermatter engine is the main powerplant on the Torch. Its main piece being the supermatter shard, held in the core. This shard is both the one of the most important, and one of the most dangerous thing on the ship. You shall, at all cost, avoid to touch it directly, as it will cause your disintegration (yes yes, woosh, you cease to exist, purely and simply).

    The way the SM generates power is simple : you shoot it with an emitter, which "charges it". You can measure this charge with the "EER" on the Supermatter Monitoring software, on any console. Once your shard is powered, it starts heating the atmosphere around it : in this case, the hydrogen, or any other coolant you injected. The heated and pressurized hydrogen flows through the big white things on the starboard side of the room called "TEGs", which turns uses it to create power.

    SM - TEGs.JPG
    Figure 1 : the TEGs.

    When the SM shard reaches 5000 Kelvin, its integrity starts to lower. In order to prevent this, the heat has to be "taken out", and that's why you have two coolant loops. The hot loop (the green pipes) is the one going directly through the core, while the cold loop (the cyan pipes) take their heat from the hot loop, to "flush" it out in space.

    SM - heat exangers - radiators.JPG
    Figure 2 : the heat exchangers between the hot (green) and the cold (cyan) loop,
    as well as the radiators, in space, which allows the cold loop to cool down.

    While it operates, the supermatter shard turns some of the coolant into phoron, CO2, and some other gases. In order to correct this, some filters are present, on the port side of the room.

    SM - filters.JPG
    Figure 3 : the filters in the engine room.

    The filters 1 and 2, respectively on the hot and cold loops, are to be set on whatever coolant you decided to use (generally, hydrogen). As they are set, they inject the coolant back into their respective loop, and take any other gas out of the circuit, directly into the black pipes. These "other gases" then go through the third filter, which takes the phoron out of the pipe, and sends it in the canister. The rest of the mix is sent to the waste tank (see the chapter on atmospherics).

    This "coolant" is injected in the 2 loops via 2 ports, in the center of the room.

    SM - Ports.JPG
    Figure 4 : the coolant ports.

    On these ports, you connect canisters of the chosen coolant. I recommend using hydrogen, as it is one the most effective, easily available, coolant.

    Once setup, unless there is an emergency, most of the operations on the supermatter can be done from the control room. In its center, on the table, the buttons allow you to control the shutters protecting the control room itself, as well as the shutters of the engine core. The third button allows you to remotely shoot the emitter.
    SM - Control room.JPG
    Figure 5 : the engine control room.
    In order to monitor your shard, you will have to use the "Supermatter monitoring" software, on a console, tablet, or laptop. This software shows you the integrity of the shard, as well as its EER (its "charge"), the temperature and pressure in the core, as well as the composition of the atmosphere, in the core. The EPR indicates the ballance of coolant (it is in fact more complicated than that, but let's keep it simple). Basically, if you are running with an EPR under 1, you might want to inject some coolant in your hot loop, on the other side, if you are running on an EPR above 2.5, you likely injected too much coolant in the hot loop. Anything between 1 and 2.5 is perfectly okay. Bear in mind : the shard consumes some of your coolant. If you start the round with an EPR around 1.5, it isn't surprising to see it fall to 1.3 after some time. Re-injecting some coolant during the round might be necessary.
    IMPORTANT NOTE : the ability to read the informations from the SM monitoring console are bound to your char's skills, basics and trained in "engine" will give you unaccurate readings.

    SM - monitoring console.JPG
    Figure 6 : the supermatter monitoring console.

    Let's give you a basic setup, commonly used by many engineers (and let's give back to Caesar what he owns : This is the one found on Aticius' guide to the supermatter, available in game, in the library).
    1- Take 2 canisters from the engine room, and fill them to 15MPa (15'000 kPa) (see later in atmospherics if you don't know how to).
    2- Set the filters 1 and 2 (on the figure 3) to hydrogen (don't forget to turn them back ON once you are done), then max the phoron pump.
    3- Turn the pumps next to the TEGs ON (see these pumps on the figure 1).
    4- Turn the injection port's pump on, and set them to max.
    5- Inject the 2 hydrogen canisters filled at 15 MPa in the COLD LOOP (Cyan pipes).
    6- Inject the 2 remaining hydrogen canisters (filled at 4.5 MPa - or 4560 kPa) in the HOT LOOP (the green pipes).
    7- Open the core's shutters, close the monitoring room's shutters (from the monitoring room itself).
    8- Fire the emitter.

    Uncommon procedures.

    Nobody's perfect, and might need to ballance your engine, because you inject too much coolant in either of the loops, or because you powered the shard a bit too much, compared to the ammount of coolant you used.

    For the first problem, you will have to perform a "bleed" of either the cold, or the hot loop (depending on in which you have too much coolant, that's on you to figure out, indeed). This means you will pump some of the coolant out of the loop, to flush it to the waste tank.

    SM - Hot loop Bleed.JPG SM - Cold loop Bleed.JPG
    Figure 7 and 8 : respectively the pumps for the hot and cold loop bleeds.

    If you ever need to flush all the coolant out, you will have to go through the following procedure. Be very warry, when left uncooled, the shard looses integrity rapidly, therefore, before starting, make sure you have your coolant canisters at the ready, as close as possible from the ports.
    To start with, you will have to open the valve connecting the hot and the cold loop.

    SM - Hot-cold Bypass.JPG
    Figure 9 : the valve between the hot and the cold loop
    (found between the core and the heat exchangers, in the engine room)

    Once done, you will have to vent all the coolant to space. To proceed, you will have to hit the "Emergency Core Vent Control" button (Button 1, on the figure 10), in the engine monitoring room. Wait a few seconds, then hit the same button again, in order to shut the vent. Once you are done, inject the fresh coolant in the core before it explodes.

    SM - Emergency control.JPG
    Figure 10 : the emergency controls (in the engine monitoring room).
    Button 1 : Core Vent (Emergency Core Vent Control)
    Button 2 : Engine room vent (Emergency Engine Room Vent Control)
    Button 3 : Shard ejection (Emergency Core Eject)

    Emergency procedure : ejecting the shard
    As I said it above, nobody's perfect... Some unexpected events led your shard to loose integrity badly, so badly that it's becoming a direct threat to the ship. As you don't want to flood the ship with radiation after a huge, ship-wide EMP, you need to eject the core. The procedure for this simple, yet, it has to be followed thoroughly :
    1- Open the vent (button 1, on the figure 10).
    2- If you have enough time, make sure the vent is open, because if it's not, it will hit the shutter, and the shard will be off the mass driver, meaning you will have to enter the core to drag it back on the mass driver, in order to be able to shoot it out. You would rather loose 5 seconds checking, than 1 minutes correcting the failure to follow this protocol.
    3- Press the "Emergency Core Eject" button (button 3, on the figure 10).

    Hopefully you'll be able to run the SM safely, power the ship, and be the hero of the day, good luck, crewman.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020