(Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not included)

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Theikkru
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(Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not included)

Post by Theikkru »

Here's my take on the old problem. I've adapted a few things according to my preferences, since I wanted a nice clean setup for starting nuclear power:
  • Clean fit up against a bus (yes I put nuclear processing on my bus)
  • Low cost to build (relatively speaking)
  • High efficiency (respectable neighbor bonus)
  • Auto-start (no priming necessary)
  • Automated control (no fuel wastage)
  • Manual overrides (for debugging/servicing)
  • Deep throttling (can throttle between 0~480MW without energy loss)
  • Failsafes (handles low/no fuel, power outages, contaminated belts, etc. gracefully)
  • Customization (interface at steam/water pipes)
I've intentionally excluded turbines and pumps, since I want flexibility in how to pipe in water, and I don't want to invest in 80-something turbines right off the bat (since I don't need that much power to start). I've therefore made the water and steam pipes accessible, and as long as 5 pumps are connected to any 2 sides of this thing, water flow appears stable for at least a few full cycles (and probably more; my base doesn't gobble enough power to test the pipe balancing requirements for continuous operation). It's also possible to lop off 20 heat exchangers and their heat pipes for further build cost reductions, without compromising the overheat protection, so long as you don't try to tax the plant above its new power limit (-10MW per exchanger excluded).

I did design and test for all the weirdness that may occur during normal operation of a base (fuel starvation, power outages, waste backup, etc.) and this setup will simply stop whenever a blocking condition occurs, and resume operation normally once that condition is removed. Finally, the logic is designed to start from the blueprint state without priming, so I think I've achieved my goal of set-and-forget; once you hook this up, you shouldn't have to futz with it. (See circuitry section for details.)
Pretty pictures

As recorded, the blueprint is configured for belting use, but it can easily be converted for bots by removing the belts, replacing the two lower iron chests with fuel chests, and placing depleted cell collection chests under the appropriate long-arm inserters.
Circuitry
The control circuit is designed to auto-start, so it'll get confused if you just dump fuel cells directly into the reactors to prime them. So what do you do if you need to jumpstart the system from a blackout and this is your source of power?
Manual priming instructions
Last edited by Theikkru on Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:47 am, edited 10 times in total.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

Blueprint updated with minor cosmetic wiring optimizations, and circuit limits added to fuel cell chests to make startup easier when fuel is scarce.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

Finally did some heat tests, and adjusted the steam trigger to 20k/tank to improve steam buffering and flow behavior. Even with 6 exchangers missing and no steam drain, reactors do not overheat. Blueprint and text in first post updated.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by mrvn »

You only have one pipe going from the steam tanks to the turbines. And a lot of pipes between the tanks and the first pump. How many turbines can you power with that?

The reason why I ask is because I think you have too many heat exchangers. It might be the right number for the reactor but there is little point producing steam much faster than you can consume.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

The blueprint doesn't include the turbines; that image was just an example where I was using it and I didn't need that much power (which is why I put in the exclusion lines). As I wrote earlier, you can knock off heat exchangers to save on building costs if you don't need that much power initially, but I'm putting them all in the blueprint so you can repaste it later to expand. The pump is definitely overkill at the new steam trigger level. You can just connect turbines directly to the steam pipes around the edges if you wish.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

I've updated the wiring in the blueprint to account for a case where the circuitry could possibly get stuck depending on the signal timing when reloading fuel under low power conditions. (I've had some trouble reproducing it reliably.) Hopefully I've serialized it enough that it can't get jammed anymore. I've also updated the pictures to take advantage of the high-resolution sprites in 1.0.0.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by gGeorg »

Your setup is unfortunate. You actualy need about 4 steam tanks to hold the heat to prevent overheating. Make the math. :idea:

Edit:
Or check mine math for my plant thermal balance
viewtopic.php?f=208&t=96233
Last edited by gGeorg on Sun Jul 18, 2021 12:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

gGeorg wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:25 pm
Your setup is unfortunate. You actualy need about 4 steam tanks to hold the heat to prevent overheating. Make the math. :idea:
I'm not sure what you're trying to say. It's primarily the heat pipes that store the heat and prevent overheating, not the tanks. The steam tanks are mostly there as an extra backup for usage spikes (since you can attach an arbitrary number of turbines). Their other purpose is to act as an indicator for when to trigger the next reactor cycle. (See circuitry explanation in main post.)

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by gGeorg »

Theikkru wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 3:13 am
gGeorg wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:25 pm
Your setup is unfortunate. You actualy need about 4 steam tanks to hold the heat to prevent overheating. Make the math. :idea:
I'm not sure what you're trying to say. It's primarily the heat pipes that store the heat and prevent overheating, not the tanks. The steam tanks are mostly there as an extra backup for usage spikes (since you can attach an arbitrary number of turbines). Their other purpose is to act as an indicator for when to trigger the next reactor cycle. (See circuitry explanation in main post.)
Look, Storage tank holds about 2,5 GJ of energy, heat pipe holds 0,5GJ.
  • Thermal capacity of the design covers the drops in consumption. Your Power plant thermal capacity is way overboard.
  • Spikes could be covered by extra turbines, which are over the regular (480MW) capacity. But they are not inculded in your design.
You are somewhat mashing everything into everything.
Edit :
Check data
viewtopic.php?f=208&t=96233
Last edited by gGeorg on Sun Jul 18, 2021 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

That's the point; it's a one-size-fits-all design that has enough heat buffering to prevent overloads under intermittent use, while also maintaining a healthy steam buffer to handle spikes above rating. As I mentioned above, the turbines are left out intentionally to make setting it up simpler when resources are limited. The blueprint would be a lot more awkward to fit around terrain and other parts of the factory if it came with over 80 turbines stuck to it. Tacking them on after the fact is pretty trivial since the steam pipes are exposed all around the edges.
You could even hook it up as a steam depot instead of a direct power plant, and export the steam by train to distant outposts or something.
This build isn't tuned to a minimum heat buffer because that's not one of the design goals.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by echo_aka_echo »

Very nice! This didn't work for me because the 3rd Decider from top left which checks if the reactors are empty was expecting input "0" but was receiving "-4" from the four empty reactors.

Everything works after I changed that Decider to "< 0". I don't know if the blueprint is wrong or if I did something wrong when setting it up.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

That's odd, there shouldn't be any normal case where the fuel count gets below 0. Did you happen to prime the reactors by manually putting in fuel? As another possibility, was your factory low on power when you started up this plant?
You can restore it to normal behavior by undoing your change to the decider setting and briefly turning on the memory reset signal (R signal on the constant combinator) while the reactors are empty.

Edit: I've updated the blueprint and first post again to improve some failsafe and error tolerance behaviors. Most importantly, I've included an update to the circuit that should work around an incompatibility that I recently discovered between inserter pulse signals and combinators under low power conditions. The energy-storing components of the build haven't moved, so it's possible to update to the new version without wasting any energy (if you're careful to engage the manual halt and deconstruct the 4 fresh fuel inserters first).
There may, hypothetically, still be an edge-case where the circuit can get desynced if the build is never supplied with 100% electricity through construction and initial startup. That case can be avoided by either ensuring the logic circuit gets some full power sometime between construction completion and first reactor startup, or making sure that all combinators in the build first get power at the same time.
As a footnote, the new circuit's memory cell now normally counts between -4 and 0, instead of the 0 to 4 in previous versions.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by echo_aka_echo »

Theikkru wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:23 am
That's odd, there shouldn't be any normal case where the fuel count gets below 0. Did you happen to prime the reactors by manually putting in fuel? As another possibility, was your factory low on power when you started up this plant?
You can restore it to normal behavior by undoing your change to the decider setting and briefly turning on the memory reset signal (R signal on the constant combinator) while the reactors are empty.
Yes I both primed manually and there was no power when I set it up. Mind you I am completely new at this. :) I did try a lot of resets, but it was always following a blackout, so with manual priming and no backup power I wasn't able to 'snap out' of the -4 signal problem.

Anyway now that I understand the decider logic a bit better I reverted my change and sent the reset signal and now everything is working as intended! I'm also excited to try out the new blueprint. Thanks!

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

Erp. Unfortunately, there's no way to build a combinator logic circuit that can work while unpowered, (so the reset won't help there,) and an auto-starting circuit is going to get confused if you just manually prime the reactors and leave the system to its own devices. I hadn't considered trying to boot the system from a cold blackout; I've added an instruction set for that in the main post.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by NotRexButCaesar »

Theikkru wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:51 am
Erp. Unfortunately, there's no way to build a combinator logic circuit that can work while unpowered, (so the reset won't help there,) and an auto-starting circuit is going to get confused if you just manually prime the reactors and leave the system to its own devices. I hadn't considered trying to boot the system from a cold blackout; I've added an instruction set for that in the main post.
You can make a separate solar grid to power the combinators/inserters
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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

I know, but then it's not a pure nuclear build, and wouldn't be compatible with the "Steam all the way" achievement. Adding a solar backup is a pretty trivial exercise, so I figure I'd assume it unwanted, and leave it to the end-user to tack one on at runtime if desired. I never thought of the blackout scenario because I'd just assumed the presence of legacy boiler power, but that turned out to be a bad premise, so here we are.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by gGeorg »

Theikkru wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:38 am
I know, but then it's not a pure nuclear build, and wouldn't be compatible with the "Steam all the way" achievement. Adding a solar backup is a pretty trivial exercise, so I figure I'd assume it unwanted, and leave it to the end-user to tack one on at runtime if desired. I never thought of the blackout scenario because I'd just assumed the presence of legacy boiler power, but that turned out to be a bad premise, so here we are.
For a reason to stay away from solar, you can add a normal burn boiler, with burner inserter, then attach the 165C steam to the power plant system. It can prime itself this way.

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Re: (Yet another) Nuclear Cloverleaf, 4R/480MW - belt/bot compatible, auto-feed, lossless, failsafe (Batteries not inclu

Post by Theikkru »

You can definitely do that, but I don't see much reason to include it in the blueprint, since you could just plunk down a boiler in place of one of the heat exchangers temporarily and dump fuel into it manually. No need for any additional infrastructure, so it's even more trivial than auxiliary solar.
I'm assuming worst case scenario for compatibility reasons, so if someone's in the position where they need to boot this system from a cold blackout, I suppose no fuel for boilers, ergo priming instructions. Knowing how to cold-start the system sans alternate power sources won't hurt if an easier option is readily available. Brownouts, blackouts, no solar, no boiler fuel, etc.; I'm just covering all the bases.

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