Would a bypass circuit work without a crystal in it - or would every circuit of the type spoken of here, be it primary or bypass, rather be a "lithium circuit"?
- When Spock suggests rigging a bypass circuit, he may be assuming Scotty has further crystals for the purpose,
The only problem with that is Scott is specific in that he has only one crystal left which means there are no spares. Spock's suggestion for a bypass circuit then must be for one that does not need any crystals.
SCOTT: One lithium crystal left, and that with a hairline split at the base.
SPOCK: Better rig a bypass circuit.
SCOTT: Can't. We blew the whole converter assembly.
Supposedly, something prevents Scotty from repairing or constructing a bypass circuit after the mass burn-out.
I would imagine that the bypass circuit for the converter assembly is a starbase-level repair job because of the massive amounts of power that the converter assembly must handle.
However, at the end of "Mudd's Women", Kirk picks up 6 crystals. That leaves us with these viable options:
1. We see 3 circuits go out on screen
and there were two more that went out off screen
during the rescue operation. There are 6 Active crystal circuits in addition to bypass circuits that do not need crystals.
2. The Enterprise already lost 2 crystals prior to "Mudd's Women" due to wear and tear or other circumstances. We see them lose the next 3 during the rescue attempt on screen. There are 6 Active crystal circuits in addition to bypass circuits that do not need crystals.
3. Kirk picked up 4 crystals and 2 additional as spares. There are 4 Active crystal circuits in addition to bypass circuits that do not need crystals.
As to "The Alternative Factor", "The Paradise Syndrome" and "Elaan of Troyius", there is nothing explicit on how many crystals the ship needs to run at full power. It might be four as seen in "The Alternative Factor" or six like possibly in "Mudd's Women".