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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old March 16 2009, 02:26 PM   #16
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

Let's get the canonicity issue right, shall we?

I believe the only place where regenerative shields are mentioned on screen is in VOY "Message in a Bottle", as one of the tactical systems aboard the experimental Prometheus. They are not described there - and they are not specified as being experimental or otherwise new, either. They are part of a list that is given by the ship's computer and rudely interrupted in mid-run by the EMH:

"Primary battle systems include regenerative shielding, ablative hull armour, multi-vector assault mode-"
We don't know if those things are mundane or exotic. The MVAM is a novelty, and the EMH immediately queries on it. But the EMH does not query on either regenerative shielding or ablative armor, so both might be known and common quantities aboard all or most starships. And the list doesn't seem to go from more exotic to more common, judging by the way the EMH's interruption is timed - and is unlikely to go from more common to more exotic, either, because then things like phasers and torpedoes should have come first. Essentially, we're looking at a random order, then.

The TNG Tech Manual would have us believe that all starships and specifically the E-D have ablative armor to some degree. DS9 dialogue, OTOH, would have us think that the ablative armor on the Defiant was news to Captain Benteen. Yet perhaps it was merely the amount of armor on that ship? All warships today are armored, in the sense of having metal or at least glassfiber plates against the elements. Yet very few carry so much of that metal or other material that it would make a difference in battle. Perhaps it's the same deal with (ablative) armor and (regenerative) shields - every ship has those, but the balance is different in different ships?

Timo Saloniemi
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Old March 16 2009, 03:07 PM   #17
JNG
Chief of Staff, Starfleet Command
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

^

Another appearance in the canon:

Neelix mentions the Numiri use regenerative shielding (ON THEIR BORING ALREADY-SEEN-A-MILLION-TIMES-HALF-A-GALAXY-AWAY-TRIANGLE-SHIPS), and notes that it might give them the edge in a firefight. This would seem to imply Voyager does not have shields that can be described this way, or I imagine Janeway would have responded differently to this comment.
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Old March 16 2009, 04:21 PM   #18
kent
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

i would assume that regenerative shielding technology absorbes some of the incoming fire and uses it to charge the shield generators themselves, while bleeding of excess incoming fire into space. It's the most logical explanation.

As for ablative armore...in the 2360's, perhaps ships were equipped with armor, but not armor that works like the armor of the USS defiant. Perhaps it's much less efficient, absorbes less firepower, doesn't bleed incoming fire into space, etc.

The Defiant's armor could be a new technology based off previous....
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Old March 17 2009, 03:25 AM   #19
Neutrino
Lieutenant
 
Location: UK
Re: Regenerative Shields

Mr Data tells Picard "the ventral shielding is failing" to which Picard replies "redistribute power from the aft shield to the ventral shield".

Now with regenerative shielding that's not required, the ship automatically redistributes power to the shield areas so that the entire shield maintains equal strength throughout.
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Old March 17 2009, 03:28 AM   #20
EmperorTiberius
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Re: Regenerative Shields

I thought it meant that they were double redundant? I.E. speculation that there are two sets of generators and two sets of shields? It makes as good sense as any.

As for regular shields, I assume that they absorb energy up to their capacity (ie, shields at 30% would mean that the generators are up to 70% of their capacity), then they fail. As this capacity goes down, the ship is liable to more and more damage from enemy fire. Some energy will seep through when they are down to 30%, but not when they are at 100%. I think this is consistent with what we have seen.

Also, there are divided into parts (ventral, port, etc), so sometimes, when they say shields at 40%, it could mean that overall, they are at 40%, some might be lower, others higher, unless specifically indicated, such and such shield at such percentage.
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Old March 17 2009, 04:31 AM   #21
Praetor
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Location: The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
Re: Regenerative Shields

Realistically, to me, shields should be regenerating whenever they're not taking fire. I think there needs to be special a reason why it is called 'regenerative' shielding.

That said, I like the idea that regenerative shields somehow absorb incoming energy for use. I don't like this as being redistributable to other systems, though.

The way shields were depicted in 'Equinox' might be worth studying, or might only complicate things. I seem to remember the crew somehow managing to reinforce keep the shields up even after the generator was stolen, using the nav deflector? Perhaps then regenerative shields tie the nav deflector into the shield system to absorb the energy expended against them.
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Old March 17 2009, 06:25 AM   #22
kent
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

no regular shields would be able to redistribute power to a failing shield grid automatically. that's a basic redundancy routine that would be common in shield technology. OBVIOUSLY you transferr power to a more needed area.

REGENERATIVE....this suggest something is being regenerated or recharged. Regenerative shields suggests that the shield grid either has a backup power supply that regenerates the shield generators/grid, or it uses incoming weapons energies to regenerate the shields grid and generators. the latter seems more practical and likely in battle.

In between fire or battles shields should automatically recharge using repair techniques. A generator when not under duress can fufill it's shield chargine capabilites. but to suggest regeneration means that the shield technologies not only fufill their obligations under duress but do the job of recharging also under duress, a situation that normal or standard shield generators and grids cannot do. this isn't to say regeneration technology isn't within limits, eventually it is fed so much energy that it's transistors and energy translation intermixes can't keep up and then degredation happens.

it would reasonably be the way it works.

logically this is what regenerative sheilds are.
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Old March 17 2009, 07:37 AM   #23
Cary L. Brown
Rear Admiral
 
Location: Austin, Texas
Re: Regenerative Shields

Praetor wrote: View Post
Realistically, to me, shields should be regenerating whenever they're not taking fire. I think there needs to be special a reason why it is called 'regenerative' shielding.

That said, I like the idea that regenerative shields somehow absorb incoming energy for use. I don't like this as being redistributable to other systems, though.

The way shields were depicted in 'Equinox' might be worth studying, or might only complicate things. I seem to remember the crew somehow managing to reinforce keep the shields up even after the generator was stolen, using the nav deflector? Perhaps then regenerative shields tie the nav deflector into the shield system to absorb the energy expended against them.
Well, first things first... the term is simply a made-up term, invented by people working on a TV show with barely even a high-school science education. So all it "really" means is "gee, we've heard this neato term being tossed around and so let's use it to sound super-keen!"

The term, of course, is used primarily in regards to a braking system used on electromotive vehicles (electric or hybrid). The idea is that instead of dissipating motive energy as heat (like normal brakes do) you use it to drive a very stiff "generator," converting it into AC electrical power (which can then be rectified to DC and pushed back into energy storage cells).

The point of "regenerative braking" is to avoid wasting energy, and instead to recapture energy which otherwise would be lost, for future system-wide use.

Since that's the point of the term in real life, and since the writers were (without fully understanding the term) emulating this real-life concept, I think we should apply the same concept.

That is... energy which would otherwise be wasted and dissipated is instead reclaimed, absorbed if you will, and redirected into the energy storage system.

Of course, the shields themselves are an "energy storage system" of sorts (as I mentioned earlier) so it could be that the energy is redirected into them, or it could be that it's redirected into the ship's batteries and capacitor banks and so forth.

But, of course, in reality.. it's just nifty technobabble.
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Old March 17 2009, 07:43 AM   #24
kent
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

agreed with the last post.
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Old March 17 2009, 09:55 AM   #25
shipfisher
Commander
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

Is there an MSD of the prometheus class somewhere that shows the location of the big flywheel (or all 3, what with that MVAM business) that spools up while the shields are getting whacked?

I do have a more serious question though. I assume stated shield power levels remaining in a given situation work the same as present day chemical batteries, which maintain output at or near stated voltage even as they approach total discharge. So shields at say 18% can still repel the same magnitude of firepower they can at 100%, but are 82% closer to collapsing. Is this the consensus out there?
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Old March 17 2009, 10:11 AM   #26
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

This would certainly be suggested by the two facts that a) continuous enemy fire reduces the percentages at a steady rate, not an accelerating one and b) the severity of hull damage suffered in shields-up hits is seemingly independent of the percentages.

It's only when shields "collapse", as in ST6, that hits suddenly begin to pierce the hull unopposed. Powerful hits against minimal shields collapse the shields first and only then hit the ship in e.g. "Q Who?". I don't recall any blatant counterexamples at the moment...

Apparently, it's very difficult to damage the shields, that is, to do damage to the shield machinery. Rather, one only manages to drain the shields, but if firing ceases, the shields tend to recharge fairly quickly if there is power available. Thus, "regenerative" might be a general description of all Starfleet shields as they have behaved like this ever since TOS. Or then the same evidence could be used to support the argument that "regenerative" must refer to something else than the simple ubiquitous ability to regenerate, in which case the analogy to regenerative brakes begins to sound pretty good.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old March 17 2009, 10:33 AM   #27
shipfisher
Commander
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

Thanks for the prompt response Timo - almost into chatroom turnaround time here. Shields at "full noise" right before collapse does seem consistent with most on-screen scenarios I can recall.
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Old March 17 2009, 03:42 PM   #28
JNG
Chief of Staff, Starfleet Command
 
Re: Regenerative Shields

shipfisher wrote: View Post
I assume stated shield power levels remaining in a given situation work the same as present day chemical batteries, which maintain output at or near stated voltage even as they approach total discharge. So shields at say 18% can still repel the same magnitude of firepower they can at 100%, but are 82% closer to collapsing. Is this the consensus out there?
Sometimes. It seems that there are other times they give a report on the shields with a bit more data, e.g., "aft shields at 42%," and single out an area that is no longer capable of holding, then declining at a known rate when exposed to energies beyond a certain threshold. Since the shields are not always stopping 100% of the incoming in the first place, this probably refers to areas where the grid itself, or some other hardware component, has been affected.

It generally seems that the shields are supposed to be redistributing whatever's incoming around the whole system, reducing overall protection by a smaller percentage instead of letting individual areas become overwhelmed. There are times they have changed this, though, aren't there? Reinforced a specific arc at the expense of others?

Is the ship's nose always better-protected in the primary flight direction due to the navigational deflector?

Do you think "boost power to shields" refers to exceeding the spec on the generators and so forth and "overcharging" them within a known range in which they are technically exceeding the spec but very unlikely to fail?
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Old March 17 2009, 03:54 PM   #29
Tigger
Fleet Captain
 
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Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Regenerative Shields

I've always treated it as like an onion - you have multiple shield layers and as the outer layer is defeated, it reforms at the bottom so it's effectively a continuously-regenerating multi-layered field. *shrug*
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Old March 17 2009, 03:59 PM   #30
Cary L. Brown
Rear Admiral
 
Location: Austin, Texas
Re: Regenerative Shields

shipfisher wrote: View Post
I do have a more serious question though. I assume stated shield power levels remaining in a given situation work the same as present day chemical batteries, which maintain output at or near stated voltage even as they approach total discharge. So shields at say 18% can still repel the same magnitude of firepower they can at 100%, but are 82% closer to collapsing. Is this the consensus out there?
Well, you're not really accurately stating the whole deal with batteries. (FYI, in case anyone's interested, I changed jobs several months ago, and am now the senior mechanical engineer with Valence Technologies, a high-tech battery manufacturer focusing mainly on the electromotive vehicle marketplace... so I'm fast becoming a bit of an expert on this topic.)

It's true that electrochemical batteries provide a near-constant VOLTAGE... but that's not the same as saying that they produce a near-constant OUTPUT.

Output is typically rated in either "amp-hours" or in "watt-hours" (which is simply amp-hours multiplied by the voltage... which, as stated, remains essentially constant). This is normally what's referred to as "output," not the voltage. And during the discharge cycle, the battery's available-current-per-unit-time decreases much more significantly than the battery's voltage does (though it's by no means linear, of course).

Think of it using the water-flow analogy... voltage is the difference in height between two pools of water. Amperage is the speed at which the water flows from the higher one to the lower one. In the case of a battery, this flow rate constricts as the battery discharges.

In other words, in a fully-charged battery, you may be operating at 14V and may have a lot of power being provided, while in a heavily-discharged battery, you may still have 14volts but not be able to get very much POWER out.

Make sense?
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