RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 141,562
Posts: 5,514,112
Members: 25,147
Currently online: 492
Newest member: Wolfspaw

TrekToday headlines

Two New Starships Collection Ships
By: T'Bonz on Dec 26

Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions
By: T'Bonz on Dec 25

Trek Paper Clips
By: T'Bonz on Dec 24

Sargent Passes
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

QMx Trek Insignia Badges
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

And The New Director Of Star Trek 3 Is…
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

TV Alert: Pine On Tonight Show
By: T'Bonz on Dec 22

Retro Review: The Emperor’s New Cloak
By: Michelle on Dec 20

Star Trek Opera
By: T'Bonz on Dec 19

New Abrams Project
By: T'Bonz on Dec 18


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 19 2014, 06:00 PM   #76
EmperorTiberius
Captain
 
EmperorTiberius's Avatar
 
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

I wouldn't try to come up with a grand unification theory based on every time they fire on screen, you'll just pull your hair out trying to do that. Just a general idea of how and why is good enough in my book
EmperorTiberius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 19 2014, 07:37 PM   #77
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

...But if a GUT were needed, it wouldn't be that difficult to formulate one. Note how when Kirk's old ship fired phasers, they emerged from various locations unrelated both to specific surface features and to the points of emergence in other episodes - and often the locations did not connect to the hull of the ship at all, but were clearly distant from it. Logic then dictates that a phaser emitter can generate a beam originating at a random point in space and pointing at a desired direction, and it's merely the most energy-efficient to generate the beam at a point very close to the emitter machinery. Sometimes tactical considerations overrule efficiency, though, and beams are generated far away from emitters. Obviously.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 19 2014, 08:54 PM   #78
Egger
Lieutenant
 
Egger's Avatar
 
Location: Germany
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

...Yeah. And the advantage of invisible weapons is that the ship looks less hostile.
But firing the beam out of the actual emitter is way more efficient so Starfleet used these again in the (more militaristic) TMP era. Then they increased the number of emitters to have more coverage redundancy (Excelsior) and then arrays were developed culminating in the Galaxy class that had almost the same freedom over where the beam emerges from as the Constitution class again but with the added advantage of higher efficiency. Brilliant!

And the cascading effect explaination from my last post would be still another advantage of arrays in this.

Oh and another reason why the saucer of the Galaxy class has the long arrays (and therefore the long banks too) is because she needs them to fire her phasers at all when seperated.
Egger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 20 2014, 05:02 AM   #79
blssdwlf
Commodore
 
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

Egger wrote: View Post
After watching a bit of Voyager, I saw that the cascading effect is shown less often there, so I had to come up with a new theory:

First a question:

Is the cascading effect absent in any instance when the ship has only auxiliary power? (I can exclude TNG: "Booby Trap" so far)

If this is not the case, let's go back to Timo's idea from post #51:
I'm not aware of that many episodes where a ship with strips is firing only on aux power. The only one I can think of is the E-E in "Nemesis" and they were using almost all the strips and you can see the cascade effect on the long strips when the phasers fired.

Egger wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
Perhaps long strips compensate for weak powerplants? Thus, the battle section can fight with short strips agitated by a big warp core, while the saucer achieves the same with long strips agitated by a small core. The "cascade effect" is a waste of time for the stardrive section, but a necessary power multiplier for the saucer section.

Then again, the saucer section supposedly has the power of the battle section available during attached flight, and that's the very mode of operations where we see the long strips firing with the cascade effect...
There's actually no contradiction. IF the answer to the above question is NO it could be as follows:

Maximum firepower fed directly by the warp core can be channeled through one emitter but auxillary power is not enough for that, so it must be built up in the phaser banks (banks in this case could be the arrays themselves).

Phaser banks should probably be linked throughout the whole ship to have shorter arrays be able to fire with the same firepower as long arrays and also to explain why mostly only single beams are fired. Otherwise all arrays should fire simultanously on one target.

So, the one example I am aware of where warp power failed and we saw the cascading effect in all shots from all arrays is "Nemesis".
When we see a ship fire when it has warp power the energy stored in the banks is only added to the beam to give it an extra punch. This makes sense for all those instances where we would assume high-powered shots (but it wouldn't be necessary).

This could also be where the energy from "all EPS taps" goes in "A Matter of Time". They're all discharged through the phaser bank for additional firepower.
The same could be true in "The Nth degree" but the energy is only fed to 40 emitters.

Why they're pumping it through only 40 emitters here and not the whole array I don't know yet. Although this wouldn't hurt the theory so far.

After all, the cascading effect now could be the actual phaser energy travelling on the array again.
Or inside the array glowing through the emitters.
Or the energy stored in the bank (in cells inside every emitter) built up to feed the one emitter where the pulses meet; to have enough energy there to energize the emitter, which then produces the phaser energy.

I think I like the last one the most.
Actually those seem reasonable. It's a little counter-intuitive though to think of the long strips to compensate for a weak power system but in an odd way does make sense for the Saucer-Battlesection layout.

Egger wrote: View Post
Oh and if many emitters can built up a charge why not just let one emitter fire this energy without a cascading effect? There the intensity thing comes into play. It's about shooting out a short intense beam instead of letting it trickle out through one emitter. First, I stand by what I said about energy being applied over less time means more damage (because the thing fired upon can't dissipate the energy fast enough to remain undamaged) and second, if you want to hit a target fast you should make the discharge as short as possible.
Keep in mind that I'm not disagreeing that delivering more power over a shorter period of time can be more effective.

I'm disagreeing that we've seen via "The Nth Degree" that the ship has hit their maximum limit on delivering as much power possible via a phaser beam. If they had extra power available to fire a second beam at the same power (effectively increasing amount energy per same amount of time) we would have seen it. OTOH, perhaps in the later series these ships get phasers and power systems upgraded for the Dominion War and Borg threat and therefore we see more 2-3 beam attacks...

Egger wrote: View Post
All in all, this theory would mean:

- a single emitter can channel maximum firepower, so every array regardless of length can
- phaser banks are part of the arrays
- long arrays can store more energy, but since they're all connected throughout the ship every array can fire all the stored energy
- having arrays split up makes no difference in that regard
Agreed.

Egger wrote: View Post
- the absence of long arrays means having less phaser bank capacity

That last point of course means the poor battle section has lower firepower again. But think about it:
It already has fewer impulse reactors!
Although I'd have to ask why would Starfleet design it like that? If they knew that the phaser array strip length already compensated for the weaker impulse-only saucer design then they'd have more incentive then to just keep the phaser bank capacity either equally distributed between saucer and battlesection or majority in the battlesection for the very purpose of the battlesection in order to go into battle. Remember the battlesection keeps the warp core and it's generally preferable to have that over the impulse reactors.

Egger wrote: View Post
Also, if phaser banks store energy and regardless if they're part of the arrays or just somewhere near them it would mean that taking away the saucer section would take away phaser banks. Either that, or the saucer has none.

So what does that mean?
First, since the shield bubble is smaller the saved energy can be used in the phasers instead (directly or through the banks to compensate for the missing impulse reactors).
Second, since the combined phaser bank capacity is much smaller, they could be charged and discharged faster. So the beams fed by the banks are less powerful but they can be fired more rapidly.

So is the battle section less powerful? Yes, but only slightly, plus it is more maneuverable and it is still not supposed to be an über-warship but only the part of the ship that stands its ground while the other part flees. It can do some battling. It can do much battling. It only can't combine quite as much firepower into ONE beam.
I don't think that assessment accounts for the fact that the battlesection will have the warp core and the saucer section won't. That in itself will indicate that the battlesection will be significantly more powerful than the saucer section from a power generation capability. And that translates into speed, maneuverability, phaser power and endurance.

Egger wrote: View Post
I meant the 4 banks are all behind the 2 emitters we always see firing. They are interconnected, but not with other banks in other parts of the ship, for example the aft phasers shown in ENT: "In a Mirror Darkly". Those have their own 4 banks.
That would suggest then that the TOS-Enterprise had something in excess of 20 banks? I dunno. I've always thought of it as only four banks that powered the whole phaser emitter network that way "phaser 1" powering the 3 separate phaser pulses appearing from 3 different points in "Balance of Terror" makes sense


Egger wrote: View Post
You expend all 10 points into a single beam firing for 1 second or you fire 2 beams at 5 points each for 0.5 second.
Yes. I'm just pointing out that you'd need a more powerful energy source to increase the power output since they are likely already hitting a throughput limit.

Egger wrote: View Post
Egger wrote: View Post
Going by the lack of the respective details on the models, we can.
And saying there are invisible weapons is kind of a moot point, IMHO.
You know how I regard the cases when weapons fire came from where no weapons are.
Considering the Enterprise-D and Defiant has fired phasers from points that do not have visible weapons there is an ongoing precedence of weapons not being detailed on a model.
And since they're invisible trying to infer their firepower from their look is impossible.
I'm just replying to your question about the apparent lack of armaments on the Akira or aft torpedo tube on the Enterprise.

Egger wrote: View Post
Also since they're invisible they're irrelevant to a discussion about phaser arrays.

BTW, regarding the example of Voyager fighting against the tactical cube: The phaser beam actually comes from the underside from the nacelle, so it's not the pylon array firing but yet another invisible weapon.
Yeah, I had mistaken it for a warp pylon strip.

In anycase, I've uploaded a compilation of phaser firings that you can watch if you're interested. The video will stay up for a week or two and then I'll remove it.

http://youtu.be/tKVDaKp-NK4

What's interesting is that the E-D rarely uses her smaller arrays while Voyager used almost all her strips at some point. The Galaxy-class ships in DS9 tend to also stick with only the strips on the saucer. The cascade effect seems to be somewhat arbitrary in that it isn't consistently shown.

Also, the E-D rarely fired more than 1 beam at a time while the later DS9 Galaxy's you can see 2 beams at once in some big battles. Voyager seems to like firing 2 or even 3 beams at once.
__________________
My WIPs: TOS (and TFS) Enterprise / TOS Era Ships
Random Data: Starship Cargo Volumes
blssdwlf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 20 2014, 03:44 PM   #80
Egger
Lieutenant
 
Egger's Avatar
 
Location: Germany
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Egger wrote: View Post
After watching a bit of Voyager, I saw that the cascading effect is shown less often there, so I had to come up with a new theory:

First a question:

Is the cascading effect absent in any instance when the ship has only auxiliary power? (I can exclude TNG: "Booby Trap" so far)

If this is not the case, let's go back to Timo's idea from post #51:
I'm not aware of that many episodes where a ship with strips is firing only on aux power. The only one I can think of is the E-E in "Nemesis" and they were using almost all the strips and you can see the cascade effect on the long strips when the phasers fired.
Yeah, me too. And in "Nemesis" even the short arrays have the cascading effect and I think even its duration is the same.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Egger wrote: View Post


There's actually no contradiction. IF the answer to the above question is NO it could be as follows:

Maximum firepower fed directly by the warp core can be channeled through one emitter but auxillary power is not enough for that, so it must be built up in the phaser banks (banks in this case could be the arrays themselves).

Phaser banks should probably be linked throughout the whole ship to have shorter arrays be able to fire with the same firepower as long arrays and also to explain why mostly only single beams are fired. Otherwise all arrays should fire simultanously on one target.

So, the one example I am aware of where warp power failed and we saw the cascading effect in all shots from all arrays is "Nemesis".
When we see a ship fire when it has warp power the energy stored in the banks is only added to the beam to give it an extra punch. This makes sense for all those instances where we would assume high-powered shots (but it wouldn't be necessary).

This could also be where the energy from "all EPS taps" goes in "A Matter of Time". They're all discharged through the phaser bank for additional firepower.
The same could be true in "The Nth degree" but the energy is only fed to 40 emitters.

Why they're pumping it through only 40 emitters here and not the whole array I don't know yet. Although this wouldn't hurt the theory so far.

After all, the cascading effect now could be the actual phaser energy travelling on the array again.
Or inside the array glowing through the emitters.
Or the energy stored in the bank (in cells inside every emitter) built up to feed the one emitter where the pulses meet; to have enough energy there to energize the emitter, which then produces the phaser energy.

I think I like the last one the most.
Actually those seem reasonable. It's a little counter-intuitive though to think of the long strips to compensate for a weak power system but in an odd way does make sense for the Saucer-Battlesection layout.
Yeah. And also remember that in this theory I see the banks as integrated into the arrays so they don't use up any internal volume anymore (compared to ball-turret phasers). So that's another advantage.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Keep in mind that I'm not disagreeing that delivering more power over a shorter period of time can be more effective.

I'm disagreeing that we've seen via "The Nth Degree" that the ship has hit their maximum limit on delivering as much power possible via a phaser beam. If they had extra power available to fire a second beam at the same power (effectively increasing amount energy per same amount of time) we would have seen it. OTOH, perhaps in the later series these ships get phasers and power systems upgraded for the Dominion War and Borg threat and therefore we see more 2-3 beam attacks...
Yeah. "The Nth degree" would show the maximum power the ship can fire. And regarding the later examples of two or more beams, I agree, upgrades seem to be a reasonable explaination.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Although I'd have to ask why would Starfleet design it like that? If they knew that the phaser array strip length already compensated for the weaker impulse-only saucer design then they'd have more incentive then to just keep the phaser bank capacity either equally distributed between saucer and battlesection or majority in the battlesection for the very purpose of the battlesection in order to go into battle. Remember the battlesection keeps the warp core and it's generally preferable to have that over the impulse reactors.
If I understand your question correctly the answer would be that the (impulse only) saucer simply needs the capacity of the long banks to produce a phaser beam of any significant firepower, so that it can defend itself when seperated from the battle section.

And the saucer's firepower can be anything that is reasonable, she even could be able to fire a short maximum intensity burst every 30 seconds or so only by charging her banks with impulse power. Accomplishing this could also be a reason why the saucer arrays are that long.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
I don't think that assessment accounts for the fact that the battlesection will have the warp core and the saucer section won't. That in itself will indicate that the battlesection will be significantly more powerful than the saucer section from a power generation capability. And that translates into speed, maneuverability, phaser power and endurance.
Significantly more powerful overall, yes. What I meant was that the battle section can't produce a single beam that is quite as powerful as the whole ship can, beacuse there are fewer phaser banks and therefore less power to combine with what the warp core can offer.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
That would suggest then that the TOS-Enterprise had something in excess of 20 banks? I dunno. I've always thought of it as only four banks that powered the whole phaser emitter network that way "phaser 1" powering the 3 separate phaser pulses appearing from 3 different points in "Balance of Terror" makes sense
Yeah, that was an answer regarding the (now) older theory and in my new theory the ship can have its 4 banks again, because I see arrays as also connected throughout the whole ship. Isn't that nice?

The reason for why the banks should be interconnected is that otherwise short arrays would be useless again when warp power is unavailable. That would contradict the use of them (firing one at a time) in "Nemesis".


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Yes. I'm just pointing out that you'd need a more powerful energy source to increase the power output since they are likely already hitting a throughput limit.
Basically, I think a buffer in the array would be needed to compress the energy to the same density again as it had before it was split up. Without that, firing the energy with two emitters would halve the intensity of each beam while keeping the discharge length.

But this part of the discussion has become kind of pointless since my last theory accounts for the fact that (mostly) single beams are fired. Where more beams are fired, they're either not fired with maximum power or the power systems are upgraded to a point where a single emitter isn't able to handle that anymore, as you pointed out.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Egger wrote: View Post
And since they're invisible trying to infer their firepower from their look is impossible.
I'm just replying to your question about the apparent lack of armaments on the Akira or aft torpedo tube on the Enterprise.
Yeah, I see what you mean. Sure, invisible weapons could be anywhere.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Egger wrote: View Post
Also since they're invisible they're irrelevant to a discussion about phaser arrays.

BTW, regarding the example of Voyager fighting against the tactical cube: The phaser beam actually comes from the underside from the nacelle, so it's not the pylon array firing but yet another invisible weapon.
Yeah, I had mistaken it for a warp pylon strip.

In anycase, I've uploaded a compilation of phaser firings that you can watch if you're interested. The video will stay up for a week or two and then I'll remove it.

http://youtu.be/tKVDaKp-NK4

What's interesting is that the E-D rarely uses her smaller arrays while Voyager used almost all her strips at some point. The Galaxy-class ships in DS9 tend to also stick with only the strips on the saucer. The cascade effect seems to be somewhat arbitrary in that it isn't consistently shown.

Also, the E-D rarely fired more than 1 beam at a time while the later DS9 Galaxy's you can see 2 beams at once in some big battles. Voyager seems to like firing 2 or even 3 beams at once.
Nice video, thanks.

Regarding the E-D's phaser use: Yeah, maybe the long arrays are considered the main (phaser) armament while the saucer is docked and the battle section's strips are only used when necessary.

Regarding the cascade effect, yes it is a bit arbitrary. But there could be explainations for the different instances:

If the effect is shown, the ship either uses only the energy in the banks or the combined energy of the banks and the warp core. How much energy comes from which source can be completely arbitrary.
The reason for using the energy from the banks combined with warp power could be that the bank's energy is completely used up in the first moments of the beam firing, so it has a higher intensity in the beginning. That increases the beam's impact damage on the target. ("Sacrifice of Angels", "BoBW", ...)
Of course the bank's energy can also be added in a steady fashion.

If the effect is not shown, the ship uses only its warp power. Voyager does this often.
Alternatively it could also use auxiliary power without builing it up in the array, so the resulting beam would be very weak (that's what my questions were about).

In the special case of "Conundrum" the first shot (or the first two shots) are fired with energy from the banks and the rest is using warp power. Why? Maybe they wanted to use only the energy from the banks but the enemy ships flew past the E-D and there wasn't enough time to build up a new charge on the other side of the array.

Last edited by Egger; March 20 2014 at 05:09 PM.
Egger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 29 2014, 07:44 PM   #81
Egger
Lieutenant
 
Egger's Avatar
 
Location: Germany
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

After reading Crazy Eddie's interesting idea on how phasers could work in his "NuTrek's Starfleet" thread (in this post: http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?...1&postcount=85) I had an idea.

Assuming this "frequency bands"-theory could also be applied for the prime universe, phaser arrays could be the next evolution of this.

So a phaser array has as much frequency bands as it has emitters, which means the E-D's longest ones have hundreds of bands. This allows the ship to fire a beam that is so perfectly modulated that it can disable shields of enemy ships without any real damage to the ship. Or you can disable individual systems without really damaging them. The perfect "soft kill" ability so to say.

Shorter arrays are more damaging because the beam is less perfectly modulated. They are not more or less powerful, they're only not so good when it comes to disabling an enemy ship without damaging it (and thus maybe resulting in casualties). But this really only counts for the shortest arrays. They barely have enough "bands" to be more than pure "blunt force" weapons.

So the Galaxy class, being developed for peaceful exploration has weapons that have the best "soft kill" ability possible, and ships more built towards combat can have shorter arrays. Why don't they have long ones when it would be possible?
Because of damage resistance. Although I imagine that a long array shot in half will then be two shorter arrays that work just fine independently from one another, I think that a hit by a weapon that is also precisely modulated could just result in an overload disabling the whole array. So having more of them is better for "combat effectiveness".

The usefulness of long arrays is only limited by the sensors' ability to determine all the details about the enemy ship you need to know to "finetune" the phaser beam for it, and thus also by the enemy's ECM capabilities.

I really like "Crazy Eddie's" theory applied to phaser arrays. It makes them kind of an ingenious invention. I imagine the problem with really big conventional phaser cannons that have many frequency bands is (aside from being much bigger for a given power output) that the parts that produce the different frequencies are arranged in a linear arrangement. So you have a long weapon. And if there is damage to only one of these ... let's call them emitter segments, the whole weapon is disabled. So the brilliant thing about phaser arrays is that the emitter segments are laid out in a parallel arrangement. So when one segment fails, the rest of them work just fine, only that the former long array is now 2 shorter ones.

Oh and regarding the cascade effect, I view it as something unrelated to this. It just doen't fit this theory so well. But maybe it could. I'm not so sure about this.

An alternative I thought of is this. Especially on Voyager it sometimes seems as if the effect is just searching for the right point to fire from. So I think the effect could simply be the targeting systems trying to find the best firing point on the array while also being ready to fire immediately in case that the target suddenly changes course drastically. The "glowing energy pulses" are the "ready to fire" firing points. If needed, the beam would just emerge from one of the pulses (or both) right where they are at the time.

Think of the "searching for the ideal firing point" idea like if an emitter is fitted to a rotating ring and the ring rotates into the right position for the emitter to fire.

And I don't think the firing point is normally set by the tactical officer, but that he is only choosing a preset "attack pattern" that is then executed by the computer.

For the instances where the cascade effect can't be seen, the explaination would be that the ideal firing point has already been determined. That could also apply to shots without the effect fired directly after a shot with the effect (as in "Conundrum").

So, basically the cascade effect is: Taking the time to determine the ideal firing point while maintaining the ability to fire immediately.

What do you think about this theory?
Egger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30 2014, 12:47 AM   #82
blssdwlf
Commodore
 
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

Egger wrote: View Post
After reading Crazy Eddie's interesting idea on how phasers could work in his "NuTrek's Starfleet" thread (in this post: http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?...1&postcount=85) I had an idea.
Hmm, interesting but then if long phaser arrays have the most versatility in producing a specific phaser band then shouldn't that be a prerequisite for ships designed to fight the Borg like the Defiant? Instead she fires rapid phaser pulses from essentially point emitters.

I suspect that in regular Trek that phaser energy frequency is set at the phaser generator level before making it to the emitters. In "Starship Down" the Defiant was able to route one phaser blast from their phaser generator to the main deflector when the phaser emitters were down. And in "Basics pt2", an overloaded backup phaser coupling sent phaser energy throughout the entire Voyager without discharging via the arrays.


Egger wrote: View Post
An alternative I thought of is this. Especially on Voyager it sometimes seems as if the effect is just searching for the right point to fire from. So I think the effect could simply be the targeting systems trying to find the best firing point on the array while also being ready to fire immediately in case that the target suddenly changes course drastically. The "glowing energy pulses" are the "ready to fire" firing points. If needed, the beam would just emerge from one of the pulses (or both) right where they are at the time.

Think of the "searching for the ideal firing point" idea like if an emitter is fitted to a rotating ring and the ring rotates into the right position for the emitter to fire.

And I don't think the firing point is normally set by the tactical officer, but that he is only choosing a preset "attack pattern" that is then executed by the computer.

For the instances where the cascade effect can't be seen, the explaination would be that the ideal firing point has already been determined. That could also apply to shots without the effect fired directly after a shot with the effect (as in "Conundrum").

So, basically the cascade effect is: Taking the time to determine the ideal firing point while maintaining the ability to fire immediately.

What do you think about this theory?
I tend to think that is the likely explanation as well, like an electronic eye scanning for a firing solution. Although I wonder if this can be connected to when they are "locking phasers" so that when Worf says, "phasers locked" we can see the cascading effect happening?
__________________
My WIPs: TOS (and TFS) Enterprise / TOS Era Ships
Random Data: Starship Cargo Volumes
blssdwlf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30 2014, 02:09 AM   #83
Egger
Lieutenant
 
Egger's Avatar
 
Location: Germany
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Hmm, interesting but then if long phaser arrays have the most versatility in producing a specific phaser band then shouldn't that be a prerequisite for ships designed to fight the Borg like the Defiant? Instead she fires rapid phaser pulses from essentially point emitters.
It may be that a complex modulation of the phaser beam isn't more useful against the borg, because they adapt to certain frequency patterns (the whole modulation), not only single frequencies.
Maybe it's even less useful than a simple modulation because they just adapt to all the different frequencies it consists of at the same time, making all of them useless.

So less is more regarding the borg.
I imagine the idea behind the pulse phaser is that every pulse has a unique frequency, and fired rapidly the borg are unable to adapt quick enough.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
I suspect that in regular Trek that phaser energy frequency is set at the phaser generator level before making it to the emitters. In "Starship Down" the Defiant was able to route one phaser blast from their phaser generator to the main deflector when the phaser emitters were down. And in "Basics pt2", an overloaded backup phaser coupling sent phaser energy throughout the entire Voyager without discharging via the arrays.
Interesting, I wonder how that is supposed to work. A single "phaser generator" somewhere in the ship that releases its energy through whatever emitter you want? Hmm ...

Still, I think the emitters could set the frequency and the generator only feeds them with the raw phaser energy. But it would work both ways.

It's only that I still want long phaser arrays to have some kind of advantage that makes them special in some way. And this theory would nicely fit the array arrangement on the different ships. Long arrays for perfect beam control for "soft kill" ability especially on the more peaceful ships and shorter (but more) arrays for redundancy which work with more blunt force on combat ships.
And something like the Nova class could be an exception, because its weapons are only for defense anyway, or alternatively, if we regard the Nova as a re-purposed Defiant pathfinder.


blssdwlf wrote: View Post
I tend to think that is the likely explanation as well, like an electronic eye scanning for a firing solution. Although I wonder if this can be connected to when they are "locking phasers" so that when Worf says, "phasers locked" we can see the cascading effect happening?
That varies. Sometimes there is a cascade effect after they "locked" their phasers on the target (e.g. "Conundrum"), sometimes not (e.g. "Booby Trap").

EDIT: So maybe "locked" only means that the (phaser) targeting system has locked onto the target and not the actual phaser array. The "firing solution" comes after that.
Egger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 24 2014, 05:20 PM   #84
varek
Commander
 
varek's Avatar
 
Location: Danville, IN, USA
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

The phaser energy for the array-weapon would have to pass through a series of boosters, over the long distance to the emitter, wouldn't it? Otherwise, the energy might dissipate. Kind of like electric power lines, isn't it?
__________________
Varek, Vulcan Engineer
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations
Time, like latinum, is a limited commodity.
varek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 29 2014, 01:37 AM   #85
blssdwlf
Commodore
 
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

varek wrote: View Post
The phaser energy for the array-weapon would have to pass through a series of boosters, over the long distance to the emitter, wouldn't it? Otherwise, the energy might dissipate. Kind of like electric power lines, isn't it?
It's possible. Those considerations are probably lumped into the "power couplings and power distribution grid" since it's not mentioned as an issue even in unusual damage circumstances.
__________________
My WIPs: TOS (and TFS) Enterprise / TOS Era Ships
Random Data: Starship Cargo Volumes
blssdwlf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 6 2014, 08:21 PM   #86
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

EmperorTiberius wrote: View Post
DS9 has segmented arrays, but I was saying that there is a significant bulk underneath them, they are not strips on top of the hull:

Not that this carries much weight at this point, but this shot is actually a glaring VFX error: this was intended to be a SINGLE emitter with phaser beams coming out of the "bread top" shape at the very top of it. Unfortunately, this turns out to be yet another case of the ILM "We'll stick em wherever the hell we want" syndrome that has plagued Star Trek for over a decade.


Egger wrote: View Post
After reading Crazy Eddie's interesting idea on how phasers could work in his "NuTrek's Starfleet" thread (in this post: http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?...1&postcount=85) I had an idea.

Assuming this "frequency bands"-theory could also be applied for the prime universe, phaser arrays could be the next evolution of this.

So a phaser array has as much frequency bands as it has emitters, which means the E-D's longest ones have hundreds of bands. This allows the ship to fire a beam that is so perfectly modulated that it can disable shields of enemy ships without any real damage to the ship. Or you can disable individual systems without really damaging them. The perfect "soft kill" ability so to say.
I hadn't thought of that, but if one considers that the phaser arrays truly represent over a CENTURY of weapons development from the TOS years, having them be that far in advance works extremely well. The phaser beam could be so precisely controlled that it could be virtually unstoppable even at relatively low power levels; this would put the Galaxy Class in competitive range with threats with highly sophisticated defenses -- nanotech, meta-materials, exotic shields, etc -- that would normally laugh at phasers and keep on coming regardless.

I would go so far as to speculate that the rotating modulation that was (briefly) effective against the Borg wouldn't even be possible with a conventional ball-turret emitter; where the arrays can be re-tuned at the push of a button, the ball turrets (much like the hand phasers and the rifles in First Contact) would have to be physically dismantled and re-tuned to a different emission pattern in order to overcome Borg adaptation. It's also possible that only the longest arrays can be so intricately reconfigured, while the shorter arrays are less flexible.

That capability would not be all that useful in combat (ordinarily) but it would expand the NON combat role of phasers substantially. They could be easily reconfigured to emit a non-letal energy discharge that would actually strengthen some organisms (as we see in "Encounter at Farpoint") or rigged to emit a low-level radiation pulse that would only affect people with pre-existing medical conditions ("Inter Arma"). They could be programmed to a setting that is especially good at tunneling through solid rock ("Legacy") or tuned to a frequency that has very specific effects on a planet's atmosphere ("A Matter of Time").

Shorter arrays are more damaging because the beam is less perfectly modulated. They are not more or less powerful, they're only not so good when it comes to disabling an enemy ship without damaging it (and thus maybe resulting in casualties). But this really only counts for the shortest arrays. They barely have enough "bands" to be more than pure "blunt force" weapons.
Actually, my original point was that there is a certain amount of trade off between the size and the power of a phaser weapon and that engineers have to choose which features to emphasize for a given emplacement. A very small phaser has a more limited bandwidth than a larger phaser at a similar level of sophistication, and thus in most circumstances much less of its energy will be absorbed by the target; on the other hand, the smaller emitter could outperform the larger one if more power was available to it.

In which case, starships with smaller powerplants would prefer larger emitters because it lets them use their weapons that much more effectively, where starships with an abundance of power would prefer a larger number of small emitters. While the larger array can actually hit considerably harder for a given power output, the added size and complexity is a disadvantage in combat situations: a single larger array is easier to put of action than multiple smaller ones with independent power feeds. Moreover, the galaxy class saucer would be more able to defend itself with the longer strips where it doesn't have the capacity to channel warp power into those weapons; with just its fusion reactors powering them, it can still hit just as hard as any other starship. That feature may result in the Galaxy being the first ship in the fleet whose saucer section can still defend itself after separation.

The usefulness of long arrays is only limited by the sensors' ability to determine all the details about the enemy ship you need to know to "finetune" the phaser beam for it, and thus also by the enemy's ECM capabilities.
And the Galaxy class has some of the most sophisticated sensors ever.

I really like "Crazy Eddie's" theory applied to phaser arrays. It makes them kind of an ingenious invention. I imagine the problem with really big conventional phaser cannons that have many frequency bands is (aside from being much bigger for a given power output) that the parts that produce the different frequencies are arranged in a linear arrangement. So you have a long weapon. And if there is damage to only one of these ... let's call them emitter segments, the whole weapon is disabled.
Exactly. Which is why we so rarely see them on combat vessels like the Defiant and why "hardened" ships like the Intrepid and Sovereign classes have their arrays intentionally divided.

The nova class presents a mystery, though. I would imagine it's because that ship was never meant to have much punch anyway and the arrays were really added just because the ship could barely defend itself at all with point emitters.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 02:22 AM   #87
Egger
Lieutenant
 
Egger's Avatar
 
Location: Germany
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Actually, my original point was that there is a certain amount of trade off between the size and the power of a phaser weapon and that engineers have to choose which features to emphasize for a given emplacement. A very small phaser has a more limited bandwidth than a larger phaser at a similar level of sophistication, and thus in most circumstances much less of its energy will be absorbed by the target; on the other hand, the smaller emitter could outperform the larger one if more power was available to it.

In which case, starships with smaller powerplants would prefer larger emitters because it lets them use their weapons that much more effectively, where starships with an abundance of power would prefer a larger number of small emitters. While the larger array can actually hit considerably harder for a given power output, the added size and complexity is a disadvantage in combat situations: a single larger array is easier to put of action than multiple smaller ones with independent power feeds. Moreover, the galaxy class saucer would be more able to defend itself with the longer strips where it doesn't have the capacity to channel warp power into those weapons; with just its fusion reactors powering them, it can still hit just as hard as any other starship. That feature may result in the Galaxy being the first ship in the fleet whose saucer section can still defend itself after separation.
So in essence, shorter arrays are less efficient, in that less of the energy they fire is absorbed by the target, but they can outperform longer arrays if only enough energy is pumped into them?
But what if this much more energy would be supplied to a long array, wouldn't that one be even more powerful then? Or is there somekind of a limit to how much energy can be fed to a long array?
Or is the answer hidden in "... in most circumstances much less of its energy will be absorbed by the target ..."?

I'm asking these questions because we still need an explanation why there are arrays which are shorter than they could be (e.g. the E-D's four short aft phasers).
Could it be that for long arrays to be effective, they must be properly tuned? And short arrays on the other hand can be fired instantly with the simple modulation they have?
Still, I think there would have to be a limit of some kind for the maximum power input for long arrays, otherwise short arrays couldn't outperform them.

Additionally, a problem with my ... or should I say our theory I encountered is that I can think of at least two Voyager episodes where shorter arrays were used for "non-lethal" disabling shots; in "Ex Post Facto" (rapid fire from the short aft phasers) and "Parturition" (a single, "finely tuned" shot from the ventral engineering hull array).

In the first example it could be that they didn't have the data to precisely tune their phasers so instead they used the shorter arrays (with more power fed to them).
But first, if that would be true and short arrays could be an advantage in such a situation, wouldn't it be nice to have short arrays in the front part of the ship too? And if the answer would be that you can also use small parts of long arrays in a similar fashion, then the existence of shorter than possible arrays would make no sense again.
And second, what keeps them from getting that data here, whereas in so many other instances this seems to be no problem?

Regarding the second example, I think the explaination for this could be that the (slightly longer) ventral array has enough frequency bands to do the job.


Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
The nova class presents a mystery, though. I would imagine it's because that ship was never meant to have much punch anyway and the arrays were really added just because the ship could barely defend itself at all with point emitters.
Or, if we accept the Nova as a re-purposed Defiant pathfinder, these smaller arrays are left from the time when the ship (then built for combat) still had a powerful warp core. Or this and then afterwards as a result of the designers seeing no point in changing the weapons system left it as it was leading to your explaination.
Egger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11 2014, 06:48 AM   #88
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

Egger wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Actually, my original point was that there is a certain amount of trade off between the size and the power of a phaser weapon and that engineers have to choose which features to emphasize for a given emplacement. A very small phaser has a more limited bandwidth than a larger phaser at a similar level of sophistication, and thus in most circumstances much less of its energy will be absorbed by the target; on the other hand, the smaller emitter could outperform the larger one if more power was available to it.

In which case, starships with smaller powerplants would prefer larger emitters because it lets them use their weapons that much more effectively, where starships with an abundance of power would prefer a larger number of small emitters. While the larger array can actually hit considerably harder for a given power output, the added size and complexity is a disadvantage in combat situations: a single larger array is easier to put of action than multiple smaller ones with independent power feeds. Moreover, the galaxy class saucer would be more able to defend itself with the longer strips where it doesn't have the capacity to channel warp power into those weapons; with just its fusion reactors powering them, it can still hit just as hard as any other starship. That feature may result in the Galaxy being the first ship in the fleet whose saucer section can still defend itself after separation.
So in essence, shorter arrays are less efficient, in that less of the energy they fire is absorbed by the target, but they can outperform longer arrays if only enough energy is pumped into them?
But what if this much more energy would be supplied to a long array, wouldn't that one be even more powerful then?
Absolutely. That's the whole point of having a longer array as opposed to a series of much shorter ones covering the same area. But this potential firepower advantage is offset by the longer array's inherent vulnerability: the longer integrated system has more failure points, which means it requires more maintenance to be kept in working order and can be more easily put out of action by battle damage.

I'm asking these questions because we still need an explanation why there are arrays which are shorter than they could be (e.g. the E-D's four short aft phasers).
Could it be that for long arrays to be effective, they must be properly tuned?
I don't think so. I've always felt that for various reasons, starships have a "preferred" attack axis in that whenever you're trying to shoot at someone, you tend to turn that part of your ship in their direction. This is part of the reason most torpedo tubes mainly face forward and is also the reason that most starships -- especially Klingon ships -- have all their biggest weapons mounted in front. I suspect there are designs out there that prefer "broadsides" so the ships usually turn slightly just before attacking, or ships that have most of their weapons mounted so that they're most effective shooting directly upwards or directly downwards.

But Federation and Klingon vessels like to point their noses at their targets, so it makes sense that their heaviest phasers would be mounted forward (plus, on most ships those main arrays have a pretty extensive firing arc anyway). The smaller arrays would add coverage if someone gets the drop on you from aft, if you suddenly find yourself outnumbered by multiple small craft, or if you've separated the saucer section and you're just pumping a fuckton of warp energy out of the nearest convenient emitter and don't have time to do anything artistic to the modulation settings.

Still, I think there would have to be a limit of some kind for the maximum power input for long arrays, otherwise short arrays couldn't outperform them.
That's just it, it's not simply a matter of performance. After all your grandmother's minivan would probably outperform an APC in a street race, but for various reasons, a minivan wouldn't be the ideal car to drive soldiers into a firefight, especially on rough terrain.

Think of it in terms of modern warfare: there are practical reasons why you don't see squads of soldiers going into battle armed exclusively with grenade launchers and light machineguns. Different types of weapons have different advantages that come into play in different circumstances, and starships clearly have a mix of types that become appropriate to use in such and such a circumstance. The main phaser array may be more versatile, but isn't always the best choice.

Additionally, a problem with my ... or should I say our theory I encountered is that I can think of at least two Voyager episodes...
I generally go out of my way not to pay attention to anything that happens on Voyager, but in this case I don't see the contradiction. Like I said, the smaller arrays can match the performance of the larger ones if enough power is fed into them, so the differnce between the two probably isn't a matter of raw striking power and more a matter of cost-benefit analysis from one situation to the next.

But first, if that would be true and short arrays could be an advantage in such a situation, wouldn't it be nice to have short arrays in the front part of the ship too?
Depends on the situation. The main time the shorter arrays really have the advantage is during pitched combat when there's an elevated risk of battle damage knocking out one or more phaser subsystems. The Galaxy Class mitigates this problem by separating its saucer section so that its shorter arrays have a clear firing arc forwards (and so the civilians can get the hell out of dodge). Smaller ships like the Intrepid class don't have this problem because their main phaser arrays are broken into two segments and are actually sort of "intermediate" length weapons: they can draw a lot of power, but they're pretty robust otherwise.

And second, what keeps them from getting that data here, whereas in so many other instances this seems to be no problem?
It's Voyager, dude. Best not to ask.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
The nova class presents a mystery, though. I would imagine it's because that ship was never meant to have much punch anyway and the arrays were really added just because the ship could barely defend itself at all with point emitters.
Or, if we accept the Nova as a re-purposed Defiant pathfinder, these smaller arrays are left from the time when the ship (then built for combat) still had a powerful warp core. Or this and then afterwards as a result of the designers seeing no point in changing the weapons system left it as it was leading to your explaination.
Yeah, that could work. Could be the ship was originally designed with a much larger powerplant in mind, in which case the shorter arrays (along with the dual photon torpedo launchers forward) would make a lot more tactical sense.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25 2014, 05:39 PM   #89
Egger
Lieutenant
 
Egger's Avatar
 
Location: Germany
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Egger wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Actually, my original point was that there is a certain amount of trade off between the size and the power of a phaser weapon and that engineers have to choose which features to emphasize for a given emplacement. A very small phaser has a more limited bandwidth than a larger phaser at a similar level of sophistication, and thus in most circumstances much less of its energy will be absorbed by the target; on the other hand, the smaller emitter could outperform the larger one if more power was available to it.

In which case, starships with smaller powerplants would prefer larger emitters because it lets them use their weapons that much more effectively, where starships with an abundance of power would prefer a larger number of small emitters. While the larger array can actually hit considerably harder for a given power output, the added size and complexity is a disadvantage in combat situations: a single larger array is easier to put of action than multiple smaller ones with independent power feeds. Moreover, the galaxy class saucer would be more able to defend itself with the longer strips where it doesn't have the capacity to channel warp power into those weapons; with just its fusion reactors powering them, it can still hit just as hard as any other starship. That feature may result in the Galaxy being the first ship in the fleet whose saucer section can still defend itself after separation.
So in essence, shorter arrays are less efficient, in that less of the energy they fire is absorbed by the target, but they can outperform longer arrays if only enough energy is pumped into them?
But what if this much more energy would be supplied to a long array, wouldn't that one be even more powerful then?
Absolutely. That's the whole point of having a longer array as opposed to a series of much shorter ones covering the same area. But this potential firepower advantage is offset by the longer array's inherent vulnerability: the longer integrated system has more failure points, which means it requires more maintenance to be kept in working order and can be more easily put out of action by battle damage.
How can a short array be more powerful when the whole point of having a long array is that it is more powerful?

The ship's energy systems have a maximum power output. If you pump all this energy into a phaser, which one does more damage; a short one or a long one? If it's the short one, the long one can't be more powerful and if it's the long one, the short one can't be more powerful.

There would have to be some kind of a limit to how much energy you can put into a long array for the short array to be more powerful in any situation.

Or are you strictly going by the power output and not by the part of it that is actually absorbed by the target and does damage? I would think that energy that has no effect on the target is out of the equation.
Or maybe I simply don't understand how you meant it.


The point of my last theory was to solve the whole problem by saying that long arrays aren't more powerful, but only able to focus their firepower on a single "thing" like shields, hull armor (not the hull itself) or some internal system by modulating its energy so that it is completely absorbed by only that "thing" and nothing else. Short arrays on the other hand would damage everything on the target equally.
You would burn through the hull armor, pierce the hull and even damage internal systems all at the same time. With a long array you could burn away the whole hull armor without even scorching the actual hull beneath it or anything else to "make your point" or simply disable some systems like shields or weapons.

That's why warships can have shorter arrays, because they're supposed to be destructive anyway, whereas more peaceful ships have the perfect softkill weapon. Think of it as beating the enemy up until he's knocked-out vs. using a Vulcan nerve pinch. Same result, less "collateral damage".

To explain the usefulness of short arrays we could say that long arrays are slow because arrays have to be initialised first because they only work as a whole and short arrays do that much faster, therefore are more suited toward attacking small maneuverable targets. So a short array can fire single shots immediately in fast succession, whereas a long array must be initialised for the number of shots needed in advance because it would take too long to initialise it before every shot (that would be what happened in "Conundrum").
Additionally it could be that long arrays are more vulnerable to attack, need more maintenance etc.


The alternatives for this theory I think would all be centered around long arrays simply being more powerful by some mechanism.

It could be that the shortest array on a given ship is always long enough to channel full power and the longer arrays are only able to build up that power and then discharge it in one much more intense beam. Then, for a shot of the same strength, it has to be charged again. So the output per time is the same for every array length, but a long array can put more power into one shot.

If you're wondering what's the reason for placing such a limit, it's because, in the canon, mostly we see ships fire only a single beam at a time, especially when it's said to be high-powered.
Aside from just saying "they shoot as many beams at a time as neccessary", without such a limit one had to ask why ships with multiple shorter "main" arrays don't discharge them simultaneously. Much earlier in this thread I posted some examples where ships did that, but since I realized that even then the shots were only partially overlapping, not simultanous.
And if the limit would be higher, maybe even that only the longest array of a given ship is able to channel full power, that would only explain why long arrays are used one at a time. It wouldn't explain the (mostly) singular use of short arrays. Also, as blssdwlf noted earlier, even the Lakota fired only one phaser at a time, and if arrays are so much more powerful, then the Lakota's energy systems must be very weak compared to ships armed with arrays.

The explaination for the usefulness of short arrays would be the same as in the previous theory.

Another thing I just thought of is that maybe the one detail from my earliest theory, that longer arrays are more powerful but short ones are more efficient could somehow be worked into all this. Hmm ...


The alternative to this theory is that long arrays are more efficient. Again, the usefulness of short arrays would be explained as in the other theories. Plus, another limit to the power input or output of a long array would be added.
This could simply be that the efficiency advantage drops with higher power input and at some point long arrays are no more (or even less) efficient than short ones.
By the way, could this be the answer to the question I asked at the beginning of this post?

So in essence, aside from the first theory, the others are: more powerful at the same efficiency or more efficient at the same power output. Obviously there's also the possibility that long arrays are both slightly more powerful and slightly more efficient ... but I want the world to be easy black and white, no grey areas please.

... okay, maybe if there's a good explaination for it. ^^


Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Egger wrote: View Post
Still, I think there would have to be a limit of some kind for the maximum power input for long arrays, otherwise short arrays couldn't outperform them.
That's just it, it's not simply a matter of performance. After all your grandmother's minivan would probably outperform an APC in a street race, but for various reasons, a minivan wouldn't be the ideal car to drive soldiers into a firefight, especially on rough terrain.

Think of it in terms of modern warfare: there are practical reasons why you don't see squads of soldiers going into battle armed exclusively with grenade launchers and light machineguns. Different types of weapons have different advantages that come into play in different circumstances, and starships clearly have a mix of types that become appropriate to use in such and such a circumstance. The main phaser array may be more versatile, but isn't always the best choice.
Hmm ... it's only that I don't really see different types of weapons in this case, only different calibres, only high-power beam weapons and low-power beam weapons. As said above, the short arrays maybe can react much faster, but that's it. A really different type of weapon would be a pulse phaser or a disruptor, or if short and long arrays would fire different kinds of energy.
Hmm ... maybe this is the answer to my question at the beginning. Long arrays are more versatile, but short arrays are set for the kind of energy that is needed in most circumstances. But on the other hand that would only make the short arrays as good as the long ones in most circumstances, not better.


Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Egger wrote: View Post
But first, if that would be true and short arrays could be an advantage in such a situation, wouldn't it be nice to have short arrays in the front part of the ship too?
Depends on the situation. The main time the shorter arrays really have the advantage is during pitched combat when there's an elevated risk of battle damage knocking out one or more phaser subsystems. The Galaxy Class mitigates this problem by separating its saucer section so that its shorter arrays have a clear firing arc forwards (and so the civilians can get the hell out of dodge). Smaller ships like the Intrepid class don't have this problem because their main phaser arrays are broken into two segments and are actually sort of "intermediate" length weapons: they can draw a lot of power, but they're pretty robust otherwise.
But there are also the other ships with very long arrays: Nebula, New Orleans, Challenger, Cheyenne and Springfield, all ships which don't seem to be able to saucer-seperate like the Galaxy class. Why do these ships have such long arrays then?


Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It's Voyager, dude. Best not to ask.
Yeah, you're probably right. But on the other hand, maybe there's a theory out there that fits all the evidence, and since I didn't have a nervous breakdown yet, I keep trying to find it.
Egger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 04:19 AM   #90
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: How powerfull is the stardrive section?

Egger wrote: View Post
How can a short array be more powerful when the whole point of having a long array is that it is more powerful?
Because phasers are not designed to be used only under a single set of circumstances, they're designed to be used under ALL circumstances.

So you don't always need more power to get the job done. Also, you don't always HAVE more power to get the job done. And every once in a while it's not even a question of power, but a question of control: the longer arrays would provide advantages in those odd situations even on starships that go their entire careers without ever firing their weapons in anger (probably like the New Orleans or Springfield classes mentioned below).

The ship's energy systems have a maximum power output. If you pump all this energy into a phaser, which one does more damage; a short one or a long one? If it's the short one, the long one can't be more powerful and if it's the long one, the short one can't be more powerful.
That's not the point. All things being equal, the longer one IS more powerful.

So what do you do when all things are NOT equal? What's your fallback position when minor damage takes the entire main phaser array out of action and forces you to rely on the shorties? What's the fallback position when you've separated the saucer and no longer HAVE the big arrays to play with? What's the fallback position if some crazed madman from the 20th century takes out your main energizer and you have to make your next shot count with batteries only?

There are situations where the longer array has the advantage and situations where the short array has the advantage, and there are even situations where it doesn't even matter which one you use. Most starships are designed to handle ALL of those situations, which is why they have a mix of short and long arrays.

Or are you strictly going by the power output and not by the part of it that is actually absorbed by the target and does damage?
Sort of both, actually.

If USS Pickle has a very long main array and three shorter secondary arrays, the long forward array will be more effective for a given power level (say, if they're putting 100Gw into their phaser power feed). This is because the main array can sink 90% of its destructive energy into the target while the secondary arrays can only deliver 60%. In a normal combat situation, 400Gw might be the standard power distribution to the weapon systems for a good balanced approach to the situation.

But then the Pickle takes a hit that blows out the EPS junction on Deck Twelve, taking the main phasers off line. Pickle now has to rely on its three shorter arrays for the fight. This leaves the Captain with various options with how to respond, and one of those options would be to "divert auxiliary power to weapons" in which case the distribution to the phaser subsystem is bumped to 150GW instead of 100. At this point, the secondary phasers are now just as powerful as the main array.

Here's the thing: the question you're basically asking is "Why not just transfer auxiliary power to the main arrays in the very beginning?" That's a good question (one I often ask myself when playing STO), but the simple answer is that every scrap of power you put into your weapons is power you DON'T have available for engines, shields, sensors, structural integrity fields, etc. If your ship has a power budget of 500GW, that extra 50GW has to come from SOMEWHERE, so you wouldn't want to put more power than you need to into your phaser banks unless you are absolutely sure that doing so will allow you to smash your enemy before he notices how much power you've diverted away from your shields. If, on the other hand, the goal is NOT to quickly smash your enemy to bits (which covers, like, 99% of the combat situations Starfleet gets into), then it actually makes more sense to transfer that power to the shields or the maneuvering thrusters, since those systems -- and NOT the power of your weapons -- would give you the edge you need to accomplish your goal.

That, primarily, would explain why the longer strips are used much more often than the shorter ones. They allow a starship to generate a very effective phaser discharge on a relatively small energy budget.

The point of my last theory was to solve the whole problem by saying that long arrays aren't more powerful, but only able to focus their firepower on a single "thing" like shields, hull armor (not the hull itself) or some internal system by modulating its energy so that it is completely absorbed by only that "thing" and nothing else. Short arrays on the other hand would damage everything on the target equally.
That's sort of what I mean by "more powerful" in that the longer array will have more of its energy absorbed by the target. The shorter arrays can (if need be) make up for the limited spectrum by simply firing at a higher power setting.

That's why warships can have shorter arrays, because they're supposed to be destructive anyway, whereas more peaceful ships have the perfect softkill weapon. Think of it as beating the enemy up until he's knocked-out vs. using a Vulcan nerve pinch. Same result, less "collateral damage".
Exactly. Which also explains why the Defiant uses those very compact phaser cannons with a direct line to the warp plasma conduit instead of those long, complicated arrays like the Galaxy class. It's not meant for controlled discharges or precision strikes: it's is a broadsword, not a scalpel.

Hmm ... it's only that I don't really see different types of weapons in this case, only different calibres, only high-power beam weapons and low-power beam weapons.
A Squad Automatic Weapon is considerably more powerful than an M4 carbine, despite them being basically the same TYPE of weapon (both throw solid projectiles downrange with a high rate of fire). But again, The M4 carbine isn't the best weapon for every situation and neither is the SAW. That's why a fire team will usually carry BOTH.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Depends on the situation. The main time the shorter arrays really have the advantage is during pitched combat when there's an elevated risk of battle damage knocking out one or more phaser subsystems. The Galaxy Class mitigates this problem by separating its saucer section so that its shorter arrays have a clear firing arc forwards (and so the civilians can get the hell out of dodge). Smaller ships like the Intrepid class don't have this problem because their main phaser arrays are broken into two segments and are actually sort of "intermediate" length weapons: they can draw a lot of power, but they're pretty robust otherwise.
But there are also the other ships with very long arrays: Nebula, New Orleans, Challenger, Cheyenne and Springfield, all ships which don't seem to be able to saucer-seperate like the Galaxy class. Why do these ships have such long arrays then?
Probably because, except for the Nebula class, their designs were never finished as most of them were only built in the first place so the Borg would have something to destroy.

The in-universe reason, I'd wager, is that it is exactly this characteristic that keeps these ships from being assigned to hazardous deep space assignments like the Galaxy class (and the reason why we rarely see them in unexplored space). They're rear-guard vessels not intended to be sent into pitched combat, and therefore are only provided with the "bare essentials" self defense package that includes a "30-length" or 40-length" multi-purpose phaser array.

I guess it would be like asking "How come none of your security officers are carrying phaser rifles?" answer: "Because they're guarding a shoe store."
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!

Last edited by Crazy Eddie; May 26 2014 at 04:33 AM.
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:46 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.