Labs + Inserters

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Jeeto
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Labs + Inserters

Post by Jeeto » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:49 pm

Once that I saw in a video that Labs can share their packs with neighbors using an inserter I spent hours designing different designs to be the most efficient and have been disappointed by almost every single one due to the weird logic of the inserters moving the pack that's currently being consumed by the lab instead of one of the spares. Especially if you have bi-directional inserters between a whole row of labs they'll just constantly trade packs around to eachother endlessly instead of only passing what is needed by the labs further down the chain. It's driving me nuts. It doesn't seem that I'm losing any research time but they look like a bunch of psychos playing hot potato.

Is the answer to just have single direction inserters pass them back through the grid of labs like getting all of the different pack types from one side of the array and passing them away through the array? You can't have blue packs inserting top-down and red+green inserting from bottom-top or every inserter will just flail their arms constantly looping every pack through the system constantly instead of just passing the blue ones down and the red/green up.

Jeeto
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by Jeeto » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:31 pm

Maybe the devs need to make a change to where instead of a lab "pushing" what the adjacent lab currently needs that very second, we could have a lab "request" a pack from connected lab/inserters and then one of the labs with extra of those (or is adjacent to that belt) could fulfill that request by passing one that way. Or the biggest fix would just be to pass the extra packs around evenly instead of a lab that's working perfectly fine to give up its current pack to a neighbor. Basically they need to be greedier labs and use what they have and ask for what they need instead of just throwing packs around like they're giving them away on Oprah

Amarula
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by Amarula » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:44 pm

Jeeto wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:31 pm
... instead of just throwing packs around like they're giving them away on Oprah
Thank you for my morning smile!

Yeah the whole thing with labs able to share science packs seems kludgy: an inserter will only take an output from a factory, so factories cannot share inputs. So having labs able to share inputs is non-standard to begin with. As a result I don't normally have my labs share science packs, but I am really tempted to set up a little stand-alone research park just to have them throw packs around like a game of hot potato just for fun. :D

Jap2.0
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by Jap2.0 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:30 pm

Jeeto wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:49 pm
Once that I saw in a video that Labs can share their packs with neighbors using an inserter I spent hours designing different designs to be the most efficient and have been disappointed by almost every single one due to the weird logic of the inserters moving the pack that's currently being consumed by the lab instead of one of the spares. Especially if you have bi-directional inserters between a whole row of labs they'll just constantly trade packs around to eachother endlessly instead of only passing what is needed by the labs further down the chain. It's driving me nuts. It doesn't seem that I'm losing any research time but they look like a bunch of psychos playing hot potato.

Is the answer to just have single direction inserters pass them back through the grid of labs like getting all of the different pack types from one side of the array and passing them away through the array? You can't have blue packs inserting top-down and red+green inserting from bottom-top or every inserter will just flail their arms constantly looping every pack through the system constantly instead of just passing the blue ones down and the red/green up.
Use filter inserters for different directions.
There are 10 types of people: those who get this joke and those who don't.

Jeeto
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by Jeeto » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:57 pm

Jap2.0 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:30 pm
Use filter inserters for different directions.
Ah, yeah I'll give that a try too!

Trebor
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by Trebor » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:37 am

+1 for filter inserters.
Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 9.34.06 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 9.34.06 PM.png (1.79 MiB) Viewed 322 times
Note nothing takes out of the upper right lab, it controls power to the others. Also empty right belt is reserved for space science.

astroshak
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by astroshak » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:14 am

I have found that the easiest way to set this up is through the use of a Constant Combinator controlling which science packs the Filter Inserters will move.

I also found that, for expandability, and for allowing for Beacons, only using two sides for the science packs is best. Use some Long Handed Inserters to get from the farther belt. Red+Green, Blue+Military on one side, Yellow+Purple, White on the other side, with circuit controlled Inserters moving stuff one way or the other. This allows you to put Beacons between the rows, if desired.

Nefrums
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by Nefrums » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:26 pm

The easiest way for up to 6 science packs is to have it all inserted from one side, 2 long inserters and one normal taking from 3 belts (one needs to be with underground belts, to pass the long inserters) into the same lab.

For 7 sci packs you can have rows of underground belts pass through the row of labs, each lab garbing directly from belts. This also allow fitting more beacons.

mrvn
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by mrvn » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:22 pm

I would prefer it if inserters never take out a science pack being used by a lab. Because that's when the labs start to flicker on and off.
One way to mitigate that is to override the stack size to 1 but that limits throughput.

Serenity
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by Serenity » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:21 pm

mrvn wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:22 pm
I would prefer it if inserters never take out a science pack being used by a lab.
That would be the most simple solution. Or even if they reserved an extra pack just to be sure. So only the excess gets moved

astroshak
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by astroshak » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:09 am

Burner type entities when given a stack of fuel, eat one and the Fuel Consumption bar is filled to 100%, and then as energy is used, that Fuel Consumption bar depletes to 0%, at which point another piece of fuel is eaten from the stack. Even Reactors operate in this general way, they just take 200 seconds (regardless of demand) to consume the fuel and then spit out a depleted fuel cell.

Is there a reason that Science Packs are not eaten in the same way?

The only reasons I can figure that science would not work this way would be so that you can remove the packs from a lab before picking the lab itself up, allowing you to preserve the half-(or whatever-)eaten pack so you don’t waste the resources used in creating it. Another reason would probably be that you have to consume more than one science pack at a time for all but the Red Science techs, and I don’t know that entities can eat multiple fuels (of different types, even!) at once.

Still, even with the potential loss of materials, having labs eat science packs the way that burner entities eat fuel would be nice.

But this is why you want to use Filter and Stack Filter Inserters to move packs from one lab to the next, it ensures that the packs only move one way and not both ways, even if you have different packs coming in from different sides (which you kind of need to do given that there are 7 types).

RinDiddy
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by RinDiddy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:35 am

I found the best ways to evenly distribution Packs through labs are:

1- Manually
2 -Crates to inserters to labs
3- Belts to inserters to labs

#2 is ideal for automation. This depends on how many labs you plan on using, as this does not allow for the most compact space usage. It also requires the use of splitters to evenly divide packs amongst crates.

The concept is that you places the packs into a crate, via an inserter from a belt. So you are limited to just 3 labs per crate. From the crate you have inserters that go to the labs. They will all pull somewhat evenly ( even this isn't 100% but close ).

it's all math, i.e. say you want 12 labs

1 Main Belt
Split into two ( 6:6 )
Then from each split split another time
At the end of the belt load with an inserter into the crate
From the crate there is an inserter for each lab.

Downside to this is that you have to stage carefully with belts so as to not lose much downtime with packs staying on belts too long and not being in labs.

astroshak
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by astroshak » Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:33 pm

IMO the issue isn’t a matter of “uneven draw” but rather, making sure that each lab stays busy. When you can pull the pack being used out of the lab to put it into another lab, for a brief time that pack is not generating anything, because its in the inserters rather than either lab. And this usually leaves both labs doing nothing, until the pack is put into the recieving lab and a new pack is put into the first lab.

mrvn
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by mrvn » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:35 am

astroshak wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:09 am
Burner type entities when given a stack of fuel, eat one and the Fuel Consumption bar is filled to 100%, and then as energy is used, that Fuel Consumption bar depletes to 0%, at which point another piece of fuel is eaten from the stack. Even Reactors operate in this general way, they just take 200 seconds (regardless of demand) to consume the fuel and then spit out a depleted fuel cell.

Is there a reason that Science Packs are not eaten in the same way?

The only reasons I can figure that science would not work this way would be so that you can remove the packs from a lab before picking the lab itself up, allowing you to preserve the half-(or whatever-)eaten pack so you don’t waste the resources used in creating it. Another reason would probably be that you have to consume more than one science pack at a time for all but the Red Science techs, and I don’t know that entities can eat multiple fuels (of different types, even!) at once.

Still, even with the potential loss of materials, having labs eat science packs the way that burner entities eat fuel would be nice.

But this is why you want to use Filter and Stack Filter Inserters to move packs from one lab to the next, it ensures that the packs only move one way and not both ways, even if you have different packs coming in from different sides (which you kind of need to do given that there are 7 types).
Loosing the half used packs when deconstructing a lab would be in line with how fuel already works. So that shouldn't stop anyone. But science packs are like ammo packs in that they have a health that decreases with use.

I think the reason why science labs don't work like fuel is that:

1) there are multiple science packs and fuel is only ever used in one slot.
2) science packs can be consumed at different rates.
3) research needs different science packs so some type might not be consumed at all currently.

My suggestion would be for science packs to keep working like now when you deconstruct a lab. But for inserters to never remove the currently used / last pack.

Jeeto
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Re: Labs + Inserters

Post by Jeeto » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:41 pm

astroshak wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:33 pm
IMO the issue isn’t a matter of “uneven draw” but rather, making sure that each lab stays busy. When you can pull the pack being used out of the lab to put it into another lab, for a brief time that pack is not generating anything, because its in the inserters rather than either lab. And this usually leaves both labs doing nothing, until the pack is put into the recieving lab and a new pack is put into the first lab.
Yeah that was one of my post's point where it should be greedy enough to keep the packs that are currently being used and only pass along spare packs its not currently using.

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