Robert Comsol wrote:
In TOS, the crystals are not necessary for the operation of the ship's engines as long as they have working bypass circuits.
You're talking about the impulse engines? Other than that I do not recall a specific line or event that established that warp power in TOS was possible without the use of dilithium crystals somewhere
in the "chain" of energy creation.
Actually talking about the warp engines or more specifically, "the entire ship's power". In "Mudd's Women" we see that prior to losing the last crystal their standard operating procedure is to just to bypass the crystals.
And that would have worked if it were not for the blown crystal converter assembly. This again comes up in "Elaan of Troyius" where the assembly is sabotaged, robbing the ship of main power.
SCOTT: We've got trouble, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: I'm well aware of that, Mister Scott.
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.
KIRK: Kirk here.
SPOCK: Needed on the bridge, Captain.
SPOCK: The entire ship's power is feeding through one lithium crystal.
KIRK: Well, switch to bypass circuits.
SCOTT: We burned them all out when we super-heated. That jackass Walsh not only wrecked his vessel, but in saving his skin
KIRK: If it makes you feel better, Engineer, that's one jackass we're going to see skinned.
SCOTT: But it's frustrating. Almost a million gross tons of vessel depending on a hunk of crystal the size of my fist.
SPOCK: And that crystal won't hold up, not pulling all our power through it.
Robert Comsol wrote:
Just for the fun of it, I'd really like to see a poll which provides your research data (TOS Enterprise also has two matter-antimatter reactors and antimatter pods in the nacelles) and then let the fanbase vote.
It's more complicated than that, IMO. Years ago, I would've quoted one or more of the tech manuals along with the episodes. As the years went by and the more I started to watch the original aired material the more I noticed that the tech manuals were not even close to what was depicted on screen so I stopped referring to the manuals. And if you played FASA's Star Trek or Amarillo's Star Fleet Battles you'd have a different take on how things work on top of that. And then add on each fan's personal vision of how things work and you've got a recipe for herding cats