# How powerfull is the stardrive section?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by EmperorTiberius, Feb 20, 2014.

1. ### EmperorTiberiusCaptainCaptain

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Feb 7, 2009
The Nth degree. I never knew about the info blssdwlf gave. It must have been a long time since I watched it lol...

2. ### EggerLieutenantRed Shirt

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And not only in TNG. Look at Voyager. The only instances I remember where the Voyager used one of her short strips were against a small Kazon patrol ship flying behind her, the small Vaadwaur attack ships flying past her and an unshielded vessel in "Workforce".

3. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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Feb 26, 2010
Voyager has used her belly strip and warp pylon strip against a Borg ship. There are other instances where she's fired from the smaller strips as well.

But as I've said before, the biggest phaser strip on the E-D is the saucer dorsal. The next biggest strip is 33% smaller (the saucer ventral). In many cases where they called for full power shots, they went with the smaller ventral. So why that one instead of the longer, and allegedly more powerful dorsal strip especially when they are both in the same firing arc?

4. ### Lord Garth FOICommanderRed Shirt

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Dec 18, 2010
No kindergarten in this section only a tea sipping poetry reading solarium so it's much tougher

5. ### EggerLieutenantRed Shirt

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It's actually 23 percent, not 33, according to one of your earlier posts.

I have an idea for this (and I hope you get what I mean because I couldn't find exact translations in the dictionary for a few things):

If you channel all energy the ship can deliver to the longest array, you get a maximum power beam within the array's nominal capacity limits.
Since in my theory the second-longest array would be slightly more efficient, if you do the same with that one, you get a slightly more powerful beam within that array's maximum capacity limits.

That means you can use the longest array to continuously fire a maximum power beam, whereas the second-longest array can be used to fire an even more powerful beam, but only once (or a few times) before the emitters are damaged by overheating.

That explains why the most powerful shots fired by the E-D come from the ventral saucer array.

This would apply for almost every TNG-era ship class, especially for the ones based on the Galaxy class, but also for others including the Ambassador, Intrepid, Sovereign and even the Galaxy battle section which all have two different sizes of long phaser arrays (not sure about the Sovereign, but it seems the dorsal array is shorter than the ventral ones).

6. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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Feb 26, 2010
Ack, my mistake

Hmm, why not consider then that the E-D's second longest strip is the "standard" for a "max power beam" and the longest strip (saucer dorsal) when firing a "max power" is not able to be fully utilized?

In other words, you could keep the idea that strip length=phaser power capability but the ship's power output is limited so that it can only fully utilize the second longest strip?

Doesn't really explain why the battle section gets hamstrung by the super short strips though.

7. ### EggerLieutenantRed Shirt

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No the ship is designed so that it has an array that can work with full power continuously and a slightly shorter and therefore more efficient array that can work with the absolute maximum it can bear (but only for a few shots). In this "overload" fire mode it can fire a more powerful beam than the longest array on "nominal power".

One weapon for continuous high power fire and one for a few shots at the absolute maximum.

8. ### EggerLieutenantRed Shirt

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Okay this could be an alternative but it wouldn't explain why the ship then has a longer array than it couldn't fully utilize at all. Although there are other possible explainations for this.

EDIT:
One possibility is that the longest array has its additional emitters for future improvements of the ship's power systems.

Or it could be that the second-longest array is the longest one the power systems can supply directly (meaning the maximum amount that is supposed to be used by it under normal conditions) and the longest array can use as much energy as can be re-routed to it in addition to its normal energy supply. But that would probably contradict the evidence again since the most powerful shots are fired from the second-longest array (and both examples we discussed here had additional power routed to the phasers).

Yeah, that one would be a kind of a design compromise, that, in the end, couldn't compensate for this disadvantage enough, and that's why the battle section was used so rarely. Othewise you would imagine it would be literally made for the dominion war. ^^

Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
9. ### ManticoreManticore, A moment agoPremium Member

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I eyeballed them on my Diamond Select E-E with a piece of string, and the ventral phaser arrays are each about 80% the length of the dorsal. I didn't bother trying to factor in the wee bitty segments on the terraces though. That might change it if you consider them part of the same array.

10. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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Feb 26, 2010
On the other hand, a Battle Section-only Galaxy-class is missing the cavernous internal volume of the saucer. That volume would be useful for troop, fighter, runabout, cargo, supply carrying. So it isn't unusual for the saucers to stay attached during combat, IMHO.

Anyways, I prefer not to think of the short strips as a design flaw/compromise but fully capable of full power shots and the long strips just a bunch of short strips strung together for aesthetic and firing arc purposes. YMMV.

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Indeed, it's so rare for saucers to be separated during/for combat that we never see it happen in the Dominion War!

The design of the E-D would seem to be good confirmation that long strips aren't better than short ones, or else the fighting half would get the long ones and the fleeing one the short ones. Then again, it makes rather little sense to deprive the fleeing one of a warp core (although absent canon counterproof, we can assume the saucer does have a warp engine; at least we know it can go FTL at will).

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...

So, in the end, I prefer to agree with blssdwlf: strips are just as long as most conveniently fit on a given surface, and length poses no advantages other than not wasting the opportunity of reaching juuuust a little bit farther in that direction, juuuuust a few meters and degrees more towards upper starboard. There simply isn't any reason not to install a long strip on a wide saucer, is all.

Timo Saloniemi

12. ### EggerLieutenantRed Shirt

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Thanks, Manticore!
And I don't consider the wee bitty segments on the terraces to be part of the long array.

If there would have been only the Galaxys in the dominion war battles, maybe with a number of small ships for escort, then I would agree. But there are so many ships of varying sizes that it would seem unreasonable for the Galaxys to transport all the troops/fighters/etc. So they shouldn't need their saucers, especially if they're more powerful without them.

Regarding the idea that the reason for having long arrays is a better firing arc:
First, we see arrays firing to the side very shallowly above the hull quite often.
Second, in BoBW the E-D's pylon arrays are firing straight ahead.
Third, the Prometheus has long, straight arrays.
Therefore, we can assume that a straight array no matter how long could fire in a 360° arc around itself and that the length has nothing (or at least only little) to do with it.

Here's another possibility:

First, let's assume that longer arrays are more powerful.
Then let's assume that phaser banks are the same as arrays, or rather, arrays are a kind of phaser bank. So the part that stores energy is in the arrays.
Let's also assume that the reactors of a ship can't deliver as much energy as would be needed to supply all phasers directly.
Then, the long phaser arrays could store more energy than short ones. This could be the main reason for having longer arrays.
Taking the Galaxy class as an example, we could say the two longest arrays of the battle section are the longest (and most powerful) the warp core can supply directly and with the saucer attached the ship only has the additional ability to fire maximum power beams at more targets simultaneously, as long as the saucer arrays have enough energy stored.

Now, the saucer arrays could still be more powerful. They could fire all the energy stored in them in one intense beam. In this case, the saucer arrays could fire one or two very powerful shots, but without the additional stored energy in them even the longest phaser arrays would be only as powerful as the battle section's phasers.
Or they're not really more powerful but only able to discharge all their stored energy in one or several long-lasting beams.
Also, the array length needed for a maximum power discharge doesn't have to be the length of the long battle section array, but could even be blssdwlf's 40 emitters (according to DITL the Galaxy's pylon arrays have around 40 emitters).
You can have it several different ways.

The point being, long arrays are mainly larger energy buffers so the ship has:
- more energy than the warp core can deliver as a reserve in battle
- the weapons ready (even with maximum power) before the warp core starts supplying the phasers
- the weapons ready (also with maximum power) when the warp core is not working
- more powerful phasers (if you want it that way)
- ...

Regarding the statement that the E-D has 10 phaser banks, let's say the 4 short arrays at the aft of the ship are really only two phaser banks (with two arrays each). Then the ship has 10 banks. ... Or not. I would rather dismiss this one canon statement than having no comprehensive theory on what's special about phaser arrays. For comparison, how many decks does the E-E have? 24, 26 or 29 with a bottomless pit below?

The cascading effect could still be the "activation sequence" I proposed but an explaination would be needed for why sometimes only part of an array is activated and most of the time the whole array is. It could be:
- activating fewer emitters is more efficient but more demanding for the individual emitters (or energy cells), so using more of them increases lifetime
- if longer arrays are more powerful, then using more emitters results in a more powerful beam
- ...

Also, even the battle section could have the cascading effect, because all emitter segments of the array are charged by the energy systems of the ship and so all of them must also be discharged.

If I'm not mistaken about the firing arc idea, it would only be a waste of resources and (internal) space.

Last edited: Mar 12, 2014

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Aug 26, 2003
Definitely so. But if there's an unused patch of hull available somewhere, slapping some more strip onto it will still help, if only by a degree or two: the ship is a three-dimensional object, and a typical stretch of strip could hope to control at most a hemisphere, but the strip next to it will control a hemisphere extending one degree further in one direction (and one less in the other), thanks to hull curvature and whatnot.

The actual motivation for having more strip wouldn't be "we need it for coverage", or even "we can trivially afford it and it also gives extra coverage". It would be coverage redundancy: "if we lose some strip here and here, these three bits will still cover that cone of fire".

That, and naturally redundancy of other sorts. "If we lose 50 meters of strip, it's nicer to have 200 meters left than just 20"; "We can take down 40% of this for maintenance now that we have so much of it, rather than just 10%". This probably would also favor multiple short arrays, if taking down an entire strip happens to be more practical than taking down a specific length of a strip.

Like many of such good and working theories on strip phasers, this fails to explain why the battle section should be deprived of "larger energy buffers", when it is the section that deserves every phaser advantage Starfleet can muster. It rather annoyingly still boils down to "if long is good for reason X, then the battle section is ill equipped for battle", unless we can somehow make X be unrelated to fighting. And that's darn difficult to do with such lethal hardware.

Which is why "long is indifferent" is the better-working theory overall.

I suspect it was written as the E-D having "type 10 phaser banks", and the technobabble bit was lost in translation somewhere...

We can treat the figures as suspect anyway, of course, because the computer lies to our heroes on many matters relating to the mission. Perhaps the computer is told to hide the existence of the ventral transverse strip because the Satarrans damaged it badly in their initial efforts to try and get it to do their bidding without Starfleet help?

If we have to guts to treat the dazed Worf and his lying computer as unreliable witnesses in "Conundrum", we can apply similar standards to Picard: in ST:FC, he would be less familiar with his vessel than in the later movies, and more likely to make a silly mistake such as saying "24" instead of "34".

Certainly there's no discrepancy between 26 and 29: dialogue and visuals confirm that these decks exist, but do not preclude the existence of still more decks. And no, the bottomless pit wouldn't be on deck 29, but more like halfway between it and the bridge from where Riker started his downward journey of intercepting the Viceroy. Fifteen floors does make a good impression of "bottomless"... (Heck, the MSD even has a suitable shaft at such a position in the neck area!)

Internal? The things might also be pure surface features, or at least something you can fill your less-than-standing-height deck areas with.

Timo Saloniemi

14. ### EggerLieutenantRed Shirt

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Redundancy could be further improved by splitting the long array up into many short ones spread across the hull. That way, damage is confined to one of many arrays and not a part of one long array that could be affected by this in its entirety.

Or why not just place single emitters across the hull, because if length is irrelevant, even single emitters should be able to fire maximum power beams.
Against that you could say: If emitters work individually and are not in any way coupled, we can place them in a row because if damaged, only those emitters will be disabled, without the danger of the whole array being affected.
Then I would say: If single emitters are able to fire max power beams, firing several emitters simultaneously would mean combining their firepower.
You could then say: That's assuming that the reactors can provide more than enough energy to fire max power through more than one emitter at once.
I would then say: But the ship can store energy in the phaser banks which can be combined with the energy coming directly from the reactors.
You: That's assuming one emitter can't fire the combined energy of the banks and reactors.
Me: Then build more banks into the ship to store more energy.
You: Maybe a single emitter can fire the absolute maximum power any ship could possibly have.
Me: But fired by two emitters simultaneously at the same spot on the target would, while halving the discharge length, double the intensity.

Or let's assume the amount of energy one emitter can channel is limited. This would also mean that firing more emitters would be better. Also there are instances when the beam's emerging point travels along the array, meaning many emitters are firing in a row. This would also mean longer arrays are better.

Whichever way you look at it, there is a general advantage in firing more than one emitter at one target at the same time and since we don't see that (not simultaneously, only one beam after the other overlapping), and not once when it is stated that they're firing with maximum power, there has to be an explaination for this.

Also let's not forget the ball-turret phasers. The dual banks fire both emitters at the same time or alternately (and in DS9 the older ship's phaser beams come from between the emitters so that's another problem altogether).

And why don't the TMP-era ships have hundreds of emitters for redundancy? The only answer I have for this so far is that there is something special about arrays. Something other than redundancy.
If it's a shorter cooldown time, this would imply that you can also shoot a more powerful beam and then have the cooldown time of short arrays again.
A shorter recharge time would imply that longer arrays can store more energy, supporting the theory in my last post.
Every alternative I can think of makes at most little sense or supports my theory.

And then there's the cascading effect which downright screams "combining", "accumulating", "charging". What could be an alternative explaination for this?
Maybe all the emitters which could possibly be used for the next shot are prepared to fire, perhaps for the beam to travel along them. But then why is the cascading effect seen when they fire at a stationary target or the beam does not move when the target is moving? (like in "Sacrifice of Angels")

Because it's a compromise. The main reason for the seperation capability is to protect the civilians aboard. In that case the battle section is only called like this because it is the section of the ship that goes into battle. Even if its only weapon would be Worf with a phaser rifle strapped to the ship it could be called battle section. The term says something about its purpose, not its capabilities. And regarding that: Besides weaker phasers it still has the torpedo launchers, a smaller shield area which could mean the shields are stronger and it is lighter what probably makes it more maneuverable.

And is it so hard to believe that this compromise is the reason that the seperation feature is so rarely used, especially in the dominion war?

Sure, there could be other explainations for that, but since this seems to be the only counterargument against the "Bigger=Better"-theory, I would rather take the "compromise idea".
This plus the more obvious cascading effect explaination plus the almost exclusive use of long phaser arrays on many different ships, sometimes even when shorter arrays could hit the target easier (*) and always when maximum power is stated, to me says that longer arrays really are more powerful than short ones.

(*): I'm thinking of Voyager fighting against a Borg Probe: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/File:USS_Voyager_fights_Borg_probe.jpg

All in all, my theory can explain why there are phaser arrays in the first place, why Starfleet would fit weapons to its ships that are much bigger than what they used before; giving them a purpose, making them an invention worth having. It can explain the cascading effect, the almost exclusive use of long arrays, thereby matching almost all the evidence (I know so far), with only a handful of cases countering it which also can be explained. It all fits so nicely.

The alternative on the other hand would be that Starfleet invented phaser arrays and use them on their ships just because they can. I know they're all about the second and third backup, but not the 200th or 300th. That's like having hundreds of wheels on your car because maybe one or two tires might burst. And if it's about people shooting these tires with bazookas, have the tires more seperated. That way you improve the redundancy even more. Then imagine the car has shields, thereby making it much harder to hit even one of the tires. And since we don't see the phaser arrays fail because of a direct hit even once (with the possible exeption of Star Trek Nemesis as far as I know) but see them fail because something else in the ship is damaged (plasma conduits, reactors ...) it's more probable that your car breaks down because of an axle fracture or damage to the fuel pump, making all the redundancy ... well ... redundant.

That's an interesting alternative. It would make sense to let the computer hide all evidence that could lead them to realize the Satarrans are behind all this.

Yeah. I see. I had the bottomless pit thing from a review I think and haven't thought about it anymore.

15. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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If one the advantages of an array only uses up surface area and not internal volume, then peppering the hull with many short arrays would use up internal volume. Not a big issue for the battlesection but for the comfort-biased Starfleet they might balk at using up internal space in the saucer.

In the original FX TNG they did use single point emitters for the main banks ("Encounter at Farpoint", "Darmok") and the warp pylon phaser emitters. In the re-mastered FX these shots were replaced by arrays.

The only point emitter that seems to have been kept for the new FX is the one from "The Arsenal of Freedom" where the battlesection fires a phaser beam from where no arrays exist, AFAIK.

As far as TNG goes, the phasers can fire the max power the ship can output at that moment ("A Matter of Time", "The Nth Degree").

In order to buffer more energy than she can output at any one moment, they came up with charging up the main navigation deflector so it stands to reason that the phaser banks were not designed to store much more power than the ship can produce at any time. Perhaps phaser banks can't buffer energy long enough to properly build up the power?

Or it's like you have a limited amount of water feeding two hoses. Yeah, you can fire two water streams but it's still the same amount of total water you have, so no free lunch.

As said above, the answer to the limited phaser output is the main nav deflector. It would be argued that all ships should just have more of these things installed on turrets to act as big guns

If the phaser array charging/sweeping effect were used all the time I'd agree. But it seems like it only happens on the initial energizing of the array so it's hard to tie that effect to anything other than a power up sequence.

These ball turret phasers get fed from phaser banks and therefore having hundreds of these would mean hundreds of times of internal space used to run power to them. They still would have to consider practicality.

I'm not aware of any episodes that talk about cool down issues.

"Charging" would be the simplest and doesn't imply any additive effect. Think of the pre-glow of the photon torpedo tubes prior to actual firing.

Combine that with "The Nth Degree" and we could say that a small section of emitters can contain all the phaser power the ship has and discharge it as a single beam. It doesn't mean that adding another small section you'd get more phaser power though, since you're already pulling all the engine power for the first phaser shot. You'd need a second warp core or a larger warp core.

Energizing effect seems to be the easiest answer.

From "Encounter at Farpoint", the battle section aka stardrive contains the main armaments as well. Wouldn't that suggest the phaser array length on the "main armaments" of the battle section to be more than enough to deliver the ship's full phaser power?
Captain's log, stardate 41153.7. Preparing to detach saucer section. so that families and the majority of the ship's company can seek relative safety while the vessel's stardrive, containing the battle bridge and main armaments, will turn back and confront the mystery that is threatening us.
Could it be then that the compromise would be the long phaser strips on the saucer for more internal space?

The Galaxy-class saucer (not including stardrive) could easily hold more than 785,000 m3 of cargo which is 15x more than a Reliant and 5x more than an Excelsior. That's alot of combat cargo that can be moved and brought to combat or for planetary invasion.

Although we can also see Voyager firing her short warp pylon array at a bigger Borg cube here (around 3:56 mark)

Do you have a catalog of every phaser array firing, their locations, indicated power setting (if available) and whether they used the cascading/energizing effect in each time? I would argue that for the theory to be valid all evidence should be in agreement...

Didn't Voyager's phaser array blow up in one of it's alternate history episodes?

Joined:
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The thing about long strips being good but nevertheless absent from the Battle Section is annoying - but that's not the actual condemning counterproof. As said, the Battle Section might be a compromise. But unfortunately, every other starship in Starfleet is also designed wrong the very same way!

If long is good, the engineers who split the dorsal array of Intrepid or the ventral one of Akira should be hanged for treason. That's not a matter of wanting to put a long array aboard a fighting ship but having to make do with a small fighting ship like the Battle Section. That's a matter of arbitrarily choosing to have a short strip.

The same goes for the paired short strips all over the E-D. Long simply cannot be better than short, or else these strips wouldn't have been artificially made short.

Timo Saloniemi

17. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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That's a good point. There are plenty of opportunities to stick long phaser strips on the star drive but we don't see that at all.

18. ### EggerLieutenantRed Shirt

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I'm not sure I understand the first sentence completely. Are you saying that if an advantage of arrays is that they're not using up internal volume, having many short arrays would use up internal volume?
Do you mean their energy supply? I think someone in this thread posted that the TNG tech manual says long arrays have redundant energy feeds, so there wouldn't be much of a difference.
Or do you mean arrays have only two energy feeds, one on each end, and that the cascading effect shows the energy from these feeds being transferred to the emitter, meaning many short arrays would have many more feeds?
That would fail to explain the instances where the cascading effect starts somewhere on the array. On the contrary, it would mean that there is an energy feed between every emitter and then we could just say these are under the emitters and the cascading effect is something else.

But you gave me an idea:
Let's take your second sentence. The reason for having long arrays on the saucer section could actually be to save internal space. If the energy buffers (or banks) are built into the emitter segments, having a really long array means that you have a large energy buffer and also used up only little internal volume. The battle section's shorter (main) phaser arrays instead have additional rows of energy buffers below to compensate for their reduced length. The downside of this would be that the additional banks would of course use up much more internal volume. But the battle section can afford it.
This explaination could also be applied to the even shorter arrays, although there would be a limit for how many rows of banks could fit under the arrays (e.g. the pylon strips).

This would mean that the length of an array is not necessarily the deciding factor for their firepower, since the shorter arrays can have additional energy buffers.

But long arrays can still have advantages, because they still have more emitters. Having a long array with only one row of energy buffers would mean that every emitter must only produce a relatively small amount of phaser energy which is then combined and fired. The emitters of shorter arrays with multiple rows of energy buffers must produce a much higher amount of phaser energy to produce a beam of similar strength, thereby reducing their lifetime.
This would also place a lower limit on the length of an array for maximum power shots, because the individual emitter segments would have an upper limit on how much energy they can handle.
So all this would mean that the battle section's main array is as long as needed for a maximum power beam fed by its phaser bank. The even longer arrays would then only have the advantage of higher emitter lifetime and reduced use of internal volume. But since the emitters could still channel more energy, the longer arrays are at least potentially more powerful.

Now, to explain why there are ships with shorter (main) arrays than would be possible, my earlier explaination that shorter arrays are more efficient could still be applied. The reason for their higher efficiency is that the distance the energy from each emitter must cross to reach the firing point is shorter. So on longer arrays, this transfer takes more energy.

Also since what we are talking about in this case are more maneuverable ships (smaller and/or with more powerful impulse drive) where the higher efficiency of shorter arrays can be utilized more easily. These ships are simply maneuverable enough to be turned fast enough towards the target so that all the long arrays can fire on it, wheras larger, more sluggish vessels like the E-D have wide firing arcs for their long arrays so that they don't have to be turned toward the target.

Regarding the fact that even very short arrays are sometimes split up, consider this:
What was the maximum number of beams emerging from one array simultaneously? Not counting the antimatter spread in BoBW, it seems to be 2, 3 or maybe 4 as far as I know. Maybe that's another limit. So splitting up an array, regardless of its length, means doubling the number of beams that can be fired at the same time. Especially if short arrays would be mostly meant for point defence, meaning they fire relatively weak beams at small targets, being able to fire as many beams as possible would be favorable to higher firepower.
That doesn't mean long arrays can't be used for point defence (see "Conundrum") but you can't use them for point defence and for high-power fire against bigger enemy ships at the same time, or at least not as good.

And that's why the Akira has both a long array and two shorter ones. On the other hand their placement would mean you have to rotate the ship accordingly. But the main armament of the Akira seems to be the torpedo lauchers anyway.

I always saw the instances where phaser beams came from somewhere else than an array as errors. YMMV.

But that doesn't preclude the possibility that there is also additional energy stored in the phaser banks. It only says that the phasers can channel this "max output produced at any moment". Maximum power to the phasers could mean this plus the additional energy stored in the banks. This would explain why of the three shots fired in "Q Who", the first one does the most damage and the second and third one do less damage. Also, in the battle in Star Trek Nemesis the first thing that happened was that the warp drive failed. Now that wouldn't necessarily mean that the warp core also failed, but we saw explosions, sparks etc. on the core, and its pulsing effect behaved kind of stange so it stands to reason that it failed too. Then the battle goes on and at the end Data reports that "phaser banks are down to 4%". This seems to imply that they fought with energy stored in the banks plus impulse power only. And that one seems to be damaged also at the end, because the ship can barely move with all power diverted to the engines (even from life support if necessary).

Regarding the deflector dish as a weapon, only because the dish can store MUCH more energy and can then fire a MUCH more powerful beam doesn't mean that phaser banks can't store much energy themselves. It only means the dish can do more than any given phaser the ship has.
Also the idea that there should be turreted deflector dish cannons all over the ship would have its own problems:
1. the dish burned out
2. they had to evacuate parts of the ship because of radiation
3. to have an advantage in firepower the turreted dishes must be of similar size ... a bit big if you ask me.

And do you know why they had to deactivate the deflector beam? Because the warp core overheated. This seems to imply that only the deflector dish can channel all the energy the reactor can provide momentarily and the phasers always have plenty of "direct" energy with the banks only as a reserve. In that case my theory above in this post (only the part regarding energy buffers) is redundant or at least of lesser importance. That means I can revert back to my earlier theory. I mean the one before I posted an explaination for why the ventral saucer array is used more often than the dorsal one. Before that, because this explaination wouldn't work if the ship has much more energy than even the longest array can channel.

But maybe I have a new one:
The need to explain that came from the two (or three, if we count "Q Who") examples where we know they're channeling additional power to the phasers.

In "The Nth degree" that is true, but that beam also seems to be fired from the dorsal array, as implied by what we see on the viewscreen. Sure, it could also be the left one of the short saucer strips. So this one can support both theories and therefore is inconclusive. And I also had an explaination for why they're isolating the emitters 80 to 120. (see post #38)

After reading in a transcript for "A Matter of Time" I noticed something. In that episode, they're channeling the power from the warp core to the deflector dish, not the phasers (WORF: "Warp power has being rerouted to the main deflector dish, Commander.").
With the phasers they did something else (DATA: "Yes, sir. After an eight point three second burst from the dish, we'll discharge all EPS taps through the phasers.").
Sure, this definitely could imply that they channel additional power to the phasers too. But on the other hand, from earlier dialogue we know that the point with this "modified phaser blast" is that they need it precisely tuned (the "off by as little as point zero six terawatts" thing), not more powerful.
So perhaps this example also is not so conclusive.

Then there's "Q Who", where they fired that powerful beam from the ventral array. But that one is also a bit strange. If they want to hit the tractor beam emitter of the Borg cube, why are they firing at the corner of the cube, hundreds of metres away from the emitter? As I said in an earlier post:

Maybe a problem with the targeting system, which assigned the (wrong) target to the only phaser array which could hit that target at the time.​

And why is the first beam so much more powerful than the following two? Because the discharge length is two times as high.
So even that example is inconclusive.

And in TOS they can?

But we're talking about particle beams, not water. Double the amount of particles on a given area and you have doubled intensity, thus doubled the piercing power of the beam. It's like a sudden powerful impact instead of a gentle constant push.

Good. Then the advantage of long phaser arrays could be that they do not need so much more internal volume, as explained in the above theory.

That's just one of the alternative theories to explain why longer arrays could be better than short ones.

As I said:

Maybe all the emitters which could possibly be used for the next shot are prepared to fire, perhaps for the beam to travel along them. But then why is the cascading effect seen when they fire at a stationary target or the beam does not move when the target is moving? (like in "Sacrifice of Angels")​

Why would you "charge" all the emitters of the array if you then discharge only one of them. And for the next shot you then charge all of them again to then also discharge only one again? This can't be true. But if you would discharge all of them, or rather the energy produced by them and held in a conduit inside the array, it would make sense to charge the emitters before every shot.
And for those instances where several beams are fired from an array after only one "charging" (as in "Conundrum") the explaination is that, as said in an earlier post, you can discharge the energy in the conduit through several emitters one after another or even at the same time.
This could also explain the instances where we didn't see the "charging" at all. Perhaps they charged the array offscreen and held the produced phaser energy in the array for immediate discharge.

If we go by the theory at the beginning of this post, not really. You could say the amount of energy one emitter can channel is limited. That way a longer array can fire a longer discharge but not a more intense one. But then it would make sense again to discharge the energy through several emitters at the same spot on the target, which we don't see.
If we go by the later theory in this post, also no. Sure, the longer arrays could still have only one row of energy buffers, but since the ship has more than enough energy to supply the arrays directly, the same reason I gave in the last paragraph would apply.

Also, maybe what's considered as "main armament" are the torpedo tubes.

If the saucer is so voluminous, then it also could easily hold more phaser banks (energy buffers) for higher firepower.

Also they wouldn't need that much space when accompanied by hundreds of other ships of varying size, or for the retaking of DS9.

You mean the super-strong tactical cube that has all its critical systems on the outer hull and seems to have no shields? Yeah, I wouldn't be suprised if even a shuttle's phasers could damage that one. ^^

All evidence brought up so far supports or at least does not refute the theory. But of course it is open to further discussion in light of before unknown evidence. That's what a discussion forum like this one is for after all. And until this before unknown evidence is brought up, it should at least be considered that the theory could be true. You can't ask someone to first watch all of Star Trek in highest possible detail before considering his ideas. If he or she didn't do it, there would be nothing to discuss, and if he or she did it and all the evidence fits the theory there would be no need for further discussion.

If you're referring to "Year of Hell", it was a power overload in sickbay:
EMH [OC]: Doctor to Bridge. We've got a power overload in Sickbay. I need an engineer down here right away.
CHAKOTAY: Stand by, Doctor. Harry, can you handle it from here?
KIM: No, Sir. The overload's spreading. Half that deck is going to blow in less than five minutes.
CHAKOTAY: Doctor, get your patients out of there. All hands, this is the Bridge. Emergency evacuation deck five.
...

But even the "long arrays are just for redundancy" theory would need to explain that. So yeah, that's a good point that no theory so far has explained.

On the other hand it's like asking "Why has the Akira class no aft phasers?", "Why does the refit Constitution class seem to have no aft torpedo tube?" or even "Why is not every (war)ship completely covered in weapons?"

19. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

Joined:
Feb 26, 2010
This. Based on the energy coming from the ends to meet at the firing point then the internal space would be from where the phaser equipment connects into the power grid. A long single strip would only have two power connects whereas multiple short ones would have many and thus use up more internal space.

Why does it need to explain it if the full cascading effect isn't even present in all firing actions except for the initial one?

Or the energy feed between the emitters is between the emitters and the cascading effect is purely aesthetic...

I lean toward something like that. My difference in interpretation is that the "buffers" are the "banks".

Potentially more power, yes due to more emitters on the array. Still, the ship is power-limited by it's power supply so they'd really need a warp core upgrade or an extra warp core.

That seems a bit arbitrary, IMO. They are the same hardware (AFAIK) for long and short strips so they should be able to perform identically.

The Akira suffers more than the E-D if phaser strip length = power. The longest strip is on top and the next longest strip is below at only 1/3rd as long.

LOL YMMV. But I was surprised they kept that weird spot in the remastered "The Arsenal of Freedom" given that they altered "Encounter at Farpoint", "Darmok", etc.

I do agree that phaser power is stored temporarily in the banks but I'm not sure if it is augmented by engine power or simply can only discharge what it has stored.

But is this the case all the time when multiple shots are fired? And if it is on a downward trend, how can you differentiate between it being an issue with the phaser system and not the power system?

No, I think you are correct that they were fighting with impulse power only in that battle.
LAFORGE: He hit our warp drive with his first shot. We've only got impulse, Captain.
...
DATA: We've exhausted our complement of photon torpedoes. Phaser banks are down to four percent, sir.
However, if phaser banks can be charged to fire more than what the engines can deliver all at once then the "down to four percent" shouldn't be an issue since they should be able to "charge up the banks to charge back up to 100%". Curiously they couldn't suggesting they were impulse power-limited.

However it can do more because it can apparently buffer the energy whereas the phaser system cannot. If the phasers could buffer the energy then the deflector dish wouldn't be necessary.

They seemed to have solved those two problems by "Night Terrors".

Well I didn't say it was practical

The warp core overheated because it was pumping power into the deflector for minutes (they started as soon as they dropped out of warp) prior to firing the deflector dish. This would suggest that the deflector dish can store and channel way more than what the warp core can provide momentarily and the core overheated trying to keep up. In this case, the initial blast was probably more powerful and then suddenly less powerful as the buffered energy was used up and were relying on what the warp core could manage.

There's likely another reason why it's phrased differently in that the phasers draw their power from multiple sources like warp+impulse+batteries and it gets fed by their EPS grid. In "The Nth Degree" it's the same thing where the plasma is powering them as well. The main deflector dish however might only be fed by the warp core.

Not that I'm aware of. Which episode did you see a phaser buffer and augment an engine-powered phaser blast?

But wouldn't doubling the amount of particles mean also doubling the rate of expenditure of power and halving the time on target with the beam? In the end it's still the same amount of energy fired.

This charging of "all" the emitters on the strip isn't consistent though. We've seen many times where the cascade/charging effect begins somewhere in the middle of the strip to combine and fire (that's a partial charging).

Since you're effectively bringing everything with you it makes sense to pack as much as you can and not rely on the small ships to make it through the battle.

That doesn't change the evidence that the small strips were used on Voyager to attack a Borg ship. That same argument could be applied in that the Borg cube in "First Contact" appeared to have no shields as well

I politely disagree. If the evidence supported long phaser arrays equaling more powerful phasers then we should see a proliferation of equally long strips on top and bottom and on the battlesection so it can do some battling. The lack of long strips and the evidence that a short segment can fire maximum phaser power points suggests that the length of the strip isn't connected to the it's power output.

On the contrary. There are plenty of folks here who have watched it more times that they can count and still discussion exists because we all have different perspectives.

That's a different can of worms :P

But as with anything, we don't know enough about the Akira to say she has no aft phasers. And to the same extent, we don't know enough of the refit-Enterprise to say she has no aft tube.

But more importantly, why is not every phaser strip the same length or always long or always short?

20. ### EmperorTiberiusCaptainCaptain

Joined:
Feb 7, 2009
I answered this only for my post to be lost to the stupid forum loggin me out..