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JT Perfecthair September 25 2013 06:15 AM

How many settings on a Phaser
I'm not sure if I'm remembering from the Franz Joseph tech manual or some other early Trek book but I recall a phaser having various settings:
  1. Stun: make a living thing dazed
  2. Heavy stun: make a living thing unconscious
  3. Kill: make a living thing die
  4. Heat: speeds up molecules, things get hot
  5. Disrupt: separates molecules, blows things up
  6. Dematerialize: energizes molecules, make things vaporize
Also used during TOS were a wide stun beam for dealing with a crowd and an invisible cutting beam. There is also one use of a stun setting on the ship mounted phaser banks.

I'm not clear on whether the phaser is just outputting varying power levels of the same energy beam or is each setting a different beam or stream of different particles?

What other or different settings do you think were on the TOS phasers and how did the later series or movies differ?

Shawnster September 25 2013 08:14 AM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
I believe you're correct (or, at least, we've read the same list somewhere). However, I have a question as to the abilities of some of these settings.

What would the heat setting do to living tissue? Those rocks in "A Private Little War" looked to be glowing pretty hot. Perhaps Heat and Kill are the same?

Could the invisible cutting beam be one of these other settings like disrupt, only with a narrow focused beam?

Mark_Nguyen September 25 2013 11:24 AM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
Known settings listed here. Not surprisingly, especially early on they didn't have a uniform way of describing phaser power levels:


JarodRussell September 25 2013 12:10 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
1. Stun
2. Kill
3. Plot

MacLeod September 25 2013 01:46 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
Well if you go buy the TNG Technical manual, they are 16 settings. Shame by the 24th Century they have forgotten ships phasers can be set to stun.

Maurice September 27 2013 09:09 AM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
Turn it up to 11.

PhoenixClass September 29 2013 07:08 AM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
Don't know about TOS phasers, but per the TNG Tech Manual, the little phasers, Type I, that fit in the palm of your hand, go from 1 to 8. Type II, which are little larger and we see more often, go from 1 to 16. The Type III rifles are similar to the II but with a greater power reserve. There are also variants of Type I that are limited to setting 3, heavy stun.

Duncan MacLeod September 29 2013 02:48 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
I used to use these setting for FASA's Star Trek RPG


# setting description
1 Light Stun 50 pts. non-lethal (n-l) damage, subject will be unconscious for about a minute and semi-conscious for 1D4 minutes more.
2 Stun 75 pts. n-l, subject is unconscious for 4 + 1D6 minutes.
3 Heavy Stun 120 pts. n-l, subject is unconscious for 30 + 3D10 minutes.
4 Heat I 30 pts. lethal (l) damage, will heat objects to 150 degrees C.
5 Heat II 60 pts. l, will heat objects to 300 degrees C.
6 Disrupt A 90 pts. l, will cause an exit wound, will bore through rock at 9 cm. per shot.
7 Disrupt B 150 pts. l, disintegration threshold (DT) of organic matter will atomize up to 35 kg. will bore through 15 cm. of rock
8 Disintegrate 250 pts. l, DT of rock and light metals will atomize 100 kg.
9 Structural I 350 pts. l, will bore through 3.5 cm. of rodinium alloy per shot, will atomize 175 kg. of rock
10 Structural II 500 pts. l, will bore through 5 cm. of rodinium alloy and atomize 250 kg of rock, DT of boron steel will atomize 25 kg.
11 Structural III 1000 pts. l, DT of adaman alloy will atomize 25 kg. also 50 kg. of boron steel and 500 kg. of rock, will bore through up to 10 cm. of rodinium alloy per shot.
12 Structural IV 2000 pts. l, DT of trititanium alloy will atomize 20 kg., will atomize rock by the ton, houses will be vaporized, will penetrate up to 20 cm. of rodinium alloy.
13 Structural V 5000 pts. l, will atomize 75 kg. of trititanium alloy, 500 kg. of boron steel, 150 kg of adaman alloy and any natural physical object up to 5 tons that is not force field protected. DT of rodinium alloy will atomize 15 kg.

Power Drain

Setting # Power Drain
1 1 kw
2 2 kw
3 4 kw
4 8 kw
5 16 kw
6 32 kw
7 64 kw
8 128 kw
9 256 kw
10 512 kw
11 1 mw
12 2 mw
13 4 mw

Power Packs and Max Settings

Phaser Years Power Pack (kw) Maximum Setting
II-X (early pistol phaser) 2250-2260 3000 10
III-X (early rifle phaser) 2255-2275 9000 11
I-A (TV hand phaser) 2260-2279 1500 7
II-A (TV pistol phaser) 2260-2279 5500 11
I-B (ST-TMP, 2 hand phaser) 2277-2288 2000 8
II-B (ST-TMP, 2 pistol phaser) 2277-2288 6000 12
I-C (ST 3, 4 hand phaser) 2285-2335 2500 8
II-C (ST 3, 4 pistol phaser) 2285-2335 7500 12
III-C (ST 5 rifle phaser) 2285-2335 15000 13
II-CS (ST 5, 6 assault phaser pistol) 2286-2350 7500 13

Ranges and Overload

Phaser Ranges PB/S/M/L/X (meters) Overload Radius (meters)
II-X 3/15/40/100/160 40
III-X 10/50/150/300/500 150
I-A 1.5/10/24/60/100 24
II-A 3/20/50/120/200 50
I-B 1.5/12/30/70/120 30
II-B 3/30/70/120/250 70
I-C 1.5/12/30/80/130 30
II-C 3/30/80/130/300 80
III-C 12/60/180/360/600 180
II-CS 3/40/80/130/300 80

bbjeg September 29 2013 03:48 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
I thought there were infinite settings and ranges.

T'Girl September 29 2013 11:02 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
Don't forget the best setting of all, make a lot of noise and then blow up.


Boris Skrbic October 1 2013 09:29 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
I'm sure Data can change a TNG phaser setting instantly and accurately, but what about everyone else? Do they listen for the number of beeps? Do they count the tiny lights? A simple numeric display would've been easier to use.

Mark_Nguyen October 1 2013 09:53 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
Well, in TNG anyway there's a grand total of TWO BUTTONS plus the trigger. As such, I'd wager Starfleet has a fairly intuitive user interface such that anyone trained in its use could change the settings as needed for most foreseeable situations. For everything else, you pop the lid and fiddle with the insides, as we've seen done on at least one occasion.


Boris Skrbic October 1 2013 10:09 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
I'm saying that a mini-Okudagram showing "16" or "9" or "1" would've been easier to read (though not as easy to implement in prop form using 1980s technology).

Saturn0660 October 3 2013 05:04 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
I get the feeling that the buttons "buzz" just a bit when you touch them so you know you pushed it..

Boris Skrbic October 3 2013 09:11 PM

Re: How many settings on a Phaser
But how could you get that feeling, seeing as you couldn't have held them down yourself? Moreover, I don't recall any onscreen dialogue to that effect (I didn't see much of VOY or ENT, though).

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