Solar Panels do not output energy to assemblers/refineries

Xavier Bouchard shared this bug 3 years ago
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Solar panels don't seem to work correctly. I'm playing on Mars, which naturally has no atmosphere and thus wind generators cannot be used. However, whenever I try to use a solar panel, regardless of how high the Max. Output is, the Current Output remains at 1kW, even when I'm trying to use power. The solar panel didn't power my Basic Assembler to make Power Cells, despite the assembler being turned on, full up on materials, plenty of space in the output inventory. The max. power of the solar panel reached over 140kW at some points in the day, but still yielded no power to my basic assembler.

Replies (9)

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Likewise - I built a new grid with nothing but the solar panel, a few armour blocks and a solar panel and nothing works. Add a refinery and the refinery worked fine. This was on the moon.


It appears that the amount of energy that the Basic Assembler is requesting and the amount it receives is very slightly different - it says it needs 1kW and gets one kW but it keeps saying "no power" in the production window. This only happened this afternoon - I built a new grid on another server this morning and it was fine.


Trouble MAY be with the Advanced Assembler too, but people usually have batteries by that time - we need the Basic Assembler to actually build the power cells that we need to build the batteries to act as a buffer. :(

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Just to point out also: There's no way that those of us doing a fresh start on the moon or space (or anywhere else without wind power) can progress onto anything more than a simple refinery and a survival kit for production - nor can we even make batteries. This needs to be fixed ASAP.

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I'm wondering what you mean by a fresh start. I just finished playing a game in space where I started with just a small ship having a Hydrogen Engine, an O2/H2 generator and a Survival Kit and I progressed to my goal of having both a full sized Refinery and an Assembler. It's hard, but definitely doable. My biggest problem was finding all the ores I needed once I had a Basic Refinery.

What I did was park the small ship by an asteroid, gather ice to survive off of and power the ship (managing ice consumption by the Hydrogen Engine was tricky), then gathered stone to produce basic ingots in the Survival Kit until I could build a Basic Refinery. Originally I had planned on powering it with a large block Hydrogen Engine, but the necessary components can't be produced by the Survival Kit. So, I ended up using Solar Panels. For the Basic Refinery, that wasn't so bad. Then I could refine basic ores instead of just stone. I then built a Basic Assembler. Powering the Basic Assembler was tricky. It took several Solar Panels and I had to disable the Basic Refinery while it was operating. From there, I built up my base a bit. The progression tree was annoying because I sometimes had to build blocks just to unlock other blocks that I needed (e.g. building a Conveyor Tube to unlock a Conveyor Junction). I also added some batteries to store up energy for when I needed it most. I also built up my initial ship into a barely passable miner. After that, it was just time and effort and making sure that I didn't run out of ice and battery charge at the same time. The key progression was starting with a hydrogen engine, survival kit and oxygen generator, then building the Basic Refinery and a Solar Panel, then building the Basic Assembler and more Solar Panels to power it, and then onward from there.

Oh, I forgot to mention. When powering the Basic Assembler off just the Solar Panels, I also had to wait for the sun to be in the right place. The Sun's rotation had a huge impact on my activities. It also helped that I built solar panels on the small ship and batteries as soon as I could.

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Quote: The progression tree was annoying because I sometimes had to build blocks just to unlock other blocks that I needed (e.g. building a Conveyor Tube to unlock a Conveyor Junction).


As far as I understand (and it is working like this on my end) you do not need to build the first icon in a branch of the progression tree. All block icons on the horizontal branch can be built with equal priority. A conveyor tube is the same as a conveyor junction progression wise. (at least, in the 3rd playtest. You might be talking about playtest edition I or II)

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Update: I have attempted to use solar panels on a different Public Test server, with similar lack of success. As Marcus noted, for those of us who start on a moon, space or Mars, progressing beyond simple refineries is impossible as making power cells is impossible. I can't even make hydrogen engines, as they require 1 power cell. Please try to fix this as soon as possible.

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A basic assembler makes powercells from iron, silicon and nickel. And the parts for a basic assembler can be made with a survivalkit. I don't see the problem.

[edit: And the basic assembler makes parts for the big refinery and big assembler (metal grids and large tube) once you refined cobalt in the basic refinery. Again, progression is never halted.]

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The problem is that, even with a solar panel connected to the base with a max output of over 140kW, the actual output was stuck at 1kW, which was insufficient to power the assembler. The solar panel wasn't generating power, even in full view of the sun at all times of the day. Without power, I can't make power cells, which means I can't make batteries, hydrogen engines, etc. It isn't that I don't have the resources to make the power cells, it's that the solar panels are barely yielding any power.

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Your panel appearing in direct sunlight might be deceiving you. You really need to pay attention to the indicator lights on the panel to know if they are producing. Today I have 6 panels way up on a rotor-tower that in the short term keeps track of the 2 hour sun-rotation (rotor speed can't go slow enough I think). I noticed that they only started producing when at the rotor at the bottom of the tower the middle of the sun showed rising above the nearby mountains on the horizon. At the height of the lowest solar panels a full sun was seen but no power was generated. Shadows and power generation are not linked in this game it appears.

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I have been paying attention to the indicator lights; during the day, I regularly get 3 indicators and often the full 4, which would indicate my power output should be at least 120kW per large solar panel. Sadly, I'm still not getting any power to my assembler.

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I think this is a misunderstanding of the power requirements. I used solar panels in space with a basic assembler and got it to work just fine (though I had to have quite a few of them to do it). I doubt it's different in space and on planets. But... what I did notice is that whereas the Basic Refinery would run off of partial power, the Basic Assembler would not. The way I read the info panel is that both require 1 kW of power when on standby (I think that's the right amount), but the Basic Assembler requires something like 280 kW of power to operate at all. Unlike the refinery, it seems to be all or nothing. The key point is that the 1 kW is not the minimum to actually use the equipment. I'm pretty sure that's just its standby power. ;p

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The trouble there is that the 2 solar panels I had BOTH had maximum outputs of higher than 140kW so, by that reckoning, it should have been working... instead they just HALVED the output to 0.5kW...

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My angle wasn't didn't get me the full output from the Solar Panel, so it took me 3 of them and I had to disable the Basic Refinery while using the Basic Assembler. Once I had a battery, that problem went away.

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Alright, so I took some time to set up a test. Here's what I found (repeating what I think everyone already knows for clarity):

  • The Solar Panel reports two values for output power, the Max Output and the Current Output. The Max Output is how much the Solar Panel is currently able to produce based on how much light is falling on it. The Current Output is how much energy is actually being drawn from it.
  • The Basic Refinery and Basic Assembler both report two values, a Max Required Input and a Required Input. The Max Required Input is the amount of power that it takes to actually operate the device, but there's a bit of a caveat as both my Survival game and my test showed (see below). The Required Input is how much power the device is drawing based on its current activity. The later is a bit confusing because it is not based on what you want it to do, but what it is actually doing. Both report 1 kWh when they are doing nothing. This is their idle/standby power whenever they are enabled. The key point is that this value doesn't change just because you ask the assembler to make something or put some ore in the refinery. It doesn't change unless there is enough power to meet their Max Input Requirement and they actually start processing (but again, see the caveat from my test below).

Okay, so back to my test. I started a Creative game and created a grid with just the Basic Refinery and the Basic Assembler. I set up my test so that Solar Panels would have a good angle with the sun. I already know from my earlier Survival game that they work just fine, but at a reduced output, when at an angle, so I wasn't testing that again. As a result, every Solar Panel that I added during the test had a Max Output of 159.35 kW.

First I added a single Solar Panel and then put some Stone in the Refinery. It worked, but it would flicker on and off. This is the caveat I was talking about above. One Solar Panel was not enough to meet the Refinery's Max Required Input so it should never have activated. Instead it seems that it activates, overloads the power system, the power system shuts down and the Refinery stops, the power system restarts and then the whole process repeats.

I then tried using the Basic Assembler and it did exactly the same thing as the Basic Refinery, flickering on and off (due to overloading the power system) and eventually producing its products. I didn't expect it to do that because it had not worked off of just one Solar Panel during my Survival game, even though the Basic Refinery did. During the Survival game, the Basic Assembler that I built wouldn't even activate until I had multiple Solar Panels and disabled the Basic Refinery since I didn't have enough power for both. I don't think is was a difference between Creative and Survival, I think it's due to the amount of power each Solar Panel was generating.

Then I tried using both at the same time. And, again to my surprise, both flickered on and off as they repeatedly overloaded the power system, but both eventually produced products.

So, in conclusion, the behavior is unstable and somewhat unpredictable when you don't have enough power to meet the Max Required Input of all of the devices that are currently trying to operate plus the Idle power (which is reported as Required Input when the device is idle) of any devices that are enabled but not currently trying to operate. But, if you do, then everything works as expected. What makes it confusing is that the devices will sometimes operate when really they shouldn't, which then makes the meaning of the labels "Required Input" and "Max Required Input" confusing, especially since "Required Input" is more like "Current Input" rather than what you need to do what you're trying to do.

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Hello, Engineer!


Thank you for your feedback! Your topic has been added between considered issues.

Please keep voting for the issue as it will help us to identify the most serious bugs.


We really appreciate your patience.


Kind Regards

Keen Software House: QA Department

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Mars has an atmosphere, but not one high in oxygen. Wind turbines would work on Mars.

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