Idea: Capacitor bank

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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby ConnorY71 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:12 pm

As far as I know, if the current is low enough they won't die, regardless of the voltage. The actual arcs are hot enough to burn, though, so it would be like fire that gets conducted by the victims.
An electrolaser uses a laser to create a path of conduction through air, so it would be the same as an arc except it travels in a straight line. There used to be a video of a security system using an electrolaser like an electric tripwire, but I can't find it any more. As for stunning the victims, apparently a taser does it by pulsing the electricity at a certain frequency to mimic the nervous system, resulting in your muscles seizing up and effectively paralysing you.

Speaking of high voltage (and to keep on topic), higher voltage capacitors take up a lot more space than capacitors of the same capacitance that handle lower voltages, so there will need to be larger capacitor banks as an upgrade.
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby jintonation » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:30 pm

The lithium-ion capacitor has a power density of at most 25 Watt-hours per Liter (which figures out to be 25,000 Watt-hours per cubic meter), and can output up to 4.0 volts. Wouldn't putting several parallel arrays of these in series give us the same energy capacity at a lower current?
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby ConnorY71 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:59 pm

You'll end up with both a higher voltage and current if you put capacitors in both series and parallel, so higher energy and higher current.
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby jintonation » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:40 am

Ah, that makes sense. What voltage would the ship run at? I think DC would work fine, since we're sending power over short distances. Of course, AC does make it easier to step voltages up and down; it also provides a nice, universal time constant (50 or 60 Hz).
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby Zardoz » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:11 am

Nearly all modern electronic equipment since the 80's not needs high voltage. The ISS uses 120 V DC, the shuttled used 24 V DC, and is very common using 48 V DC in planes industry. Plus actually we have very efficient DC-DC converters, and think that the power that comes from capacitors, bats, solar panels and RTGs is DC always.
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby Krarl » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:31 am

Real life spaceships doesn't need high voltage, but they don't have plasma shields, fusion reactors or giant laser weapons ;)
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby ConnorY71 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:46 am

If a DC power supply is pulsed you can use a transformer, so that's where the high voltages could come from (a power inverter is another option). High voltage power running through the wires in the ship is more efficient than high current power (current is directly proportional to heat loss), but I think it would be better if we had room temp superconductors instead. There's less risk of arcing or shorting and thus less risk of a fire. The high voltage can be generated where it's needed, even if that means multiple transformers.
If we're going with low voltage power for most of the ship, High voltage capacitors aren't necessary. Looks like we only need one type of capacitor bank, which can be put in its own bank for more power.
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby jintonation » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:00 pm

I myself am leaning toward 24VDC for general-purpose power; it would reduce the amount of parallel capacitor arrays and make our electronics smaller because they only need a DC-DC converter or a linear regulator. Would we have the generator making 240VAC and running it through a transformer and a rectifier? Or would the generator itself produce DC?
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby Zardoz » Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:25 pm

ConnorY71 wrote:If a DC power supply is pulsed you can use a transformer, so that's where the high voltages could come from

What do you think that is a DC-DC converter ?

jintonation wrote:I myself am leaning toward 24VDC for general-purpose power; it would reduce the amount of parallel capacitor arrays and make our electronics smaller because they only need a DC-DC converter or a linear regulator. Would we have the generator making 240VAC and running it through a transformer and a rectifier? Or would the generator itself produce DC?


RTGs, solar panels, batteries produces DC current.
Nuclear reactor can produce DC by thermoionic generator (as real space nuclear reactors) or by a mono polar generator as is used in some nuclear reactors for subs.
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Re: Idea: Capacitor bank

Postby ConnorY71 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:07 pm

Zardoz wrote:
ConnorY71 wrote:If a DC power supply is pulsed you can use a transformer, so that's where the high voltages could come from

What do you think that is a DC-DC converter ?


Yeah its is, but the output is also pulsed. The first widespread transformer used DC. A capacitor could be used to help maintain a constant voltage from the output.
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