Figuring out the best way to provide power, how much power you need, how to store extra power, and where to plug things in takes a couple minutes to understand. It’s logical enough once you’ve wrapped your mind around it, but it’s not super intuitive. This guide will walk you through all of the steps and requirements for powering your base.
The easiest and fastest way to collect Salvaged Data is in Buried Technology Modules. You’ll find these on just about every planet (they’ve been on every planet we’ve visited, but it’s a big universe). They’ll show up in your Scanner and in your Analysis Visor as a two-bar Wi-Fi signal-like icon. Make your way to them, and dig them up with your Terrain Manipulator. You’ll collect at least one Salvaged Data (usually more) for each.
The blueprints we’ll be talking about in this guide are all under the Core Habitation Tech tab of your Construction Research Unit (which is a piece of portable technology, so it doesn’t require power).
You can also find these blueprints on the Anomaly. When you land, head to the left side. All the way in the back, past the Teleporter room, you’ll find a room with several vendors. On the left side, between the Ship and Exosuit upgrades, you’ll find the Construction Research Station.
Not every piece of technology or equipment requires power. In fact, you’ll be able to make an entirely functional (and functioning) base without any power. As you start building more and more advanced add-ons to your base, though, you’ll start seeing a lightning icon that means you need juice.
There’s no easy way to know when that’s going to happen from inside your menus. There are a few rules of thumb, though:
You’ll find the means to generate power in your Tech > Power & Industry > Power construction menu. The basic version is a Biofuel Reactor. Power it up with some Carbon, and it’ll start pumping out juice.
Collect some more Salvaged Data, and you’ll unlock Solar Panels. These generate power during daylight hours (which makes sense).
Both of these generators generate power for a finite time — the Biofuel Reactor as long as it’s got Carbon, and the Solar Panels as long as the sun is shining. To buffer yourself against outages, you’ll also want to build a Battery. This takes all the power you’re not using and stores it to be used when your generators aren’t, well, generating.
Now it’s time to create a power grid. Unlock the Electrical Wiring blueprint from the same tree in the Construction Research Unit. Wires don’t cost anything to build and can run basically anywhere within the area of your base. You can even add junctions by starting and stopping, allowing you to create branching power lines.
When you’ve got Electrical Wiring selected in your construction menu, you’ll see green, lightning bolt icon sockets on anything that needs power.
You don’t have to get too clever with your wiring. So long as a generator and your tech are connected by a wire, it doesn’t matter how many junctions or other pieces of tech your wires go through.
Interacting with a Biofuel Reactor, Solar Panel, or Battery will open a readout about your base’s Power Grid. Here, you can see information about how much fuel or sunlight is left, the current (pun!) Power Output, and the state of your Power Grid.
The right side is where you’ll troubleshoot your problems. First, look at the Grid Power Usage at the top. The first number is how much power (kP) is required by everything you have plugged in. The second number is how much kP is generated by your various generators.
Below that, you’ll see how much (many?) kP you have stored in Batteries. Between the two panels of this readout, there will be animated arrows. If the arrows are green and pointing right, you’re generating more power than you’re using and, presumably, storing the extra in Batteries. If the arrows are red and pointing left, you’re draining your stores. So long as you don’t drain them completely before either you refill the Biofuel Reactors or the sun comes up, you won’t lose power.
Solar Monitoring Rod Lamp
In your standard panel bases, you don’t have an option for any sort of integrated wiring, so you’ll be running the wires everywhere you need power. You can pass wires straight through the wall or floor panels. If you’re concerned with aesthetics, try creating junctions by stopping your wires short, then run longer wires along walls (just like an extension cord).
Prefab structures have outlets on the outside. When you plug them in to grid, the entire room gets power. Any technology you add that is integrated into the room — like teleport modules or storage containers — will get power automatically. Other tech, like Hydroponic Trays or Appearance Modifiers, will need to have an extension cord run from outside. Some doors will have outlets on either side so your cables don’t have to go through the wall.
A quick note: Corridors do transfer power to any room or other corridor connected to them, but they seem to have trouble transferring power straight across. For example, an X-Shaped Corridor will power a Storage Container on the right and left, but won’t provide power to the one straight ahead. You’ll just need to run some wire to power the third one. A similar thing happens with a Storage Container at the end of a Straight Corridor.
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