Optimized Steam Engine Setup

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Patric20878
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Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:33 pm

Version 2.0. Last updated 12/25/2017. Compatible with: Factorio 0.15.xx

So a while ago, it came to my attention that boilers are now implemented differently, as of Factorio 0.15.xx. As such, the previous steam engine designs are no longer applicable. 30/60 boiler/engine rows have since become considered optimal, so I'm happy to say that I've worked out how to nearly double that length, to 59/118. Picture below:

Image

Shown above are 4 rows of boilers/steam engines, stacked for your understanding on how to stack one row with another, as well as how to stack pairs of rows with each other. Each row's engine count is maximized to utilize the full throughput of a fast belt. To overcome the water pressure issues required to make such long rows work, I had to introduce several new designs never needed before - carrying water beyond the initial boilers with underground pipes, and compacting pipes as close as possible to the boilers, with help of offshore pumps on landfilled ground. The underground pipes carrying water are essential for this design to work, since as row length is so long, one must distribute water pressure beyond just the initial boilers.

The compacted pipes provide two benefits - it greatly shortens the distance the underground pipes need to carry water to, from the expected 30th boiler or so to just the 15th. It is also critical for vertically compacting the belts, pipes, and offshore pumps between each pair of rows enough for express underground belts to clear, allowing for one to weave fast/express belts on the same lane, which enables this design to stack more than twice as much as the setup shown. As the shore between the engines and water is 3 tiles wide, up to 3 express belts may be used. This is equivalent to 4.5 fast belts, hence, supplying coal via the shore side of the setup supports a maximum limit of 118 * 8.5 = 1003 engines. I have also kept the high emphasis on resource efficiency and low tech requirements (with fast belt tech being the highest needed) present in previous designs and discussions, so power pole usage continues to be only a minimal number of small poles.

If you're wondering why the design uses 59/118 instead of 60/120 rows, the reason may be found in fast belt throughput. To calculate how many steam engines worth of coal a fast belt can support, you may use the following formula: 8000 KW (Fuel value) * 0.5 (Boiler efficiency) * 26.67 items/s (Fast belt throughput) / 900 KW (Steam engine output) = ~118.53 engines. As discussed on page 14 of this thread, the number aesthetics and tiny increase in energy production from 60/120 rows is generally not worth losing the permanent sustainability of a 59/118 setup. However, depending on your situation, you may find that having a slight, temporary burst of power from having more engines may be more favorable by default, such as when shore length is severely limited and you must prioritize maximizing burst over sustainable power production.

And finally, an ongoing bug is causing the ratio of boilers/engines to be slightly lower than 1:2. As such, any 1:2 steam engine setup, including this one, will eventually run out of steam. After approximately 20 minutes, the steam buffers in the boilers and engines will deplete in this setup, causing average power production to drop by roughly 1 MW per row. As a result, boilers will also consume less coal than usual, so at least while this bug is present, the setup will actually support 119 engines per row (albeit not at a sustainable 900 KW per engine). For the sake of keeping this design future-proof though, I have decided to keep it at 118 engines, for when the bug eventually gets fixed. The bug report for this issue may be found here.

Suggestions on further improvement are always welcome.

Continued thanks to:
- Aru, for originally convincing me of the importance of having low resource costs and tech requirements in a design, and increasing stackability.
- Qon, for originally introducing me to the concept of having more engines per row than usual, via landfill usage and compacted offshore pumps.
- Everyone else who took the time to discuss this design with me!

Previous versions may be found below, for your reference:
Factorio 0.14.xx and Prior
Last edited by Patric20878 on Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:08 am, edited 75 times in total.
Tekkit Classic expert and admin of the Tekkit Classic Wikia specializing in factory and frame gunship engineering, creator of the Optimized Steam Engine Setup, and a huge fan of Touhou. My designs may be found at http://patric20878.imgur.com.

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Re: Improved Steam Engine Setup

Post by Cerbsen » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:04 pm

Nice setup ;)

I'm not 100% sure but i think the automated emergency water supply can only power 15 steam engines total, as one pump should limit the fluid throughput from 60 to 30/second. So you may have to add a second parallel pump to each one in the setup.

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Re: Improved Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:15 am

Thanks.

Not sure what you mean by the 15 engine thing though. The small pumps shut off when there's no coal left, blocking the cold water from the offshore pumps from entering, and then the hot water tanks take over completely. When it does, no pump is being used at all. Each engine row uses the standard 14/10/1 ratio setup, but arranged even more efficiently, with an additional automated valve shutoff controlled by the coal detector. Can you clarify?
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Re: Improved Steam Engine Setup

Post by Cerbsen » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:28 am

I think the 3 small pumps can only power 15 steam engines at 100% capacity (29 @ ~50%), because a small pump has only half the water throughput of an offshore pump.

* One offshore pump provides 60 water per second.
* One small pump provides pressure for 30 water per second.
* One steam engine needs 6 water per second @100°C to run at full capayity.
* 108-114 water per second (18-19 steam engines) is the upper limit for one pipe in most scenarios.
The maximum possible pipe throughput can be found here: https://forums.factorio.com/forum/vie ... f=5&t=6066.

So you might have to add a second small pump to each line of steam engines. See example below:

Code: Select all

OP   : offshore pump
BL   : boiler line
SP   : small pump
/XX/ : water / second
==   : pipe section

Code: Select all

OP/=====/BL/==============/60/================/ 10 steam engines @ 100% ( 60 / 60 )


OP/=====/BL/=====/60/=====/SP/=====/30/=======/ 10 steam engines @ 50% ( 30 / 60 )


OP/=====/BL/=====/60/=====/SP/=====/2x30/=====/ 10 steam engines @ 100% ( 2x30 / 60 )
                         =/SP/=

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Re: Improved Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:13 pm

Ah, I see what you mean. You meant each small pump would only supply about half of each row, which is 5, and 15 is 3 half rows of 5 each. Funny that using multiple small pumps didn't occur to me when I actually read that same thread you linked just a day ago heh.

But yeah, thanks for spotting the mistake. Verified and fixed. Also, just 2 hours ago, I spotted yet another way to compact the steam engine setup even more than I already did, from 57 tiles long to 55. Update incoming xD

Edit: From tests, not even 4 small pumps can supply enough water to 10 steam engines outputting at max rate for some reason. Don't know why and haven't really looked either, but the expanded variant is unfinished again until a solution is found.
Last edited by Patric20878 on Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Improved Steam Engine Setup

Post by Cerbsen » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:30 am

Is the single steam engine powering both the radars and the pumps ? The steam engine provides 510 kW the two radars and the 6 pumps take 780 kW, so the pumps can only run at 65% capacity.

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Re: Improved Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:27 am

Oh! I totally overlooked that having 2 radars and 6 pumps instead of 1 and 3 increases the consumption from 390 to 780. No wonder adding more pumps increased boiler usage by 2-3 each, because adding more pumps redistributed more power to them from the radars, not increased water throughput! And actually, it powered at even less than 65% because I intentionally set only one boiler for the steam engine, and the whole reason for that is because 80% production was just about enough power for 1 and 3 at roughly 400ish or so KW. And now I have a good idea on how to fix this. Having 100% production probably isn't the solution, as 2 boilers would seriously slow down the response time, and 3 boilers and 2 steam engines would make the detector larger than it ever should be. Pretty sure using an accumulator powering the radar to control power priority is the best way to do this. Thanks for helping again - added you to credits. :)

Update: Yep, accumulators are the way to go. And so I found, a side effect of using storage tanks as batteries is that it takes forever for power output to completely stop thanks to water tanks draining slower and slower as it depletes, which makes fast inserters on the main belt viable! Yet another upgrade heh. Original post updated!
Tekkit Classic expert and admin of the Tekkit Classic Wikia specializing in factory and frame gunship engineering, creator of the Optimized Steam Engine Setup, and a huge fan of Touhou. My designs may be found at http://patric20878.imgur.com.

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Re: Improved Steam Engine Setup

Post by ssilk » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:11 pm

Moved from Gameplay Help due to topic-owner-request.
Cool suggestion: Eatable MOUSE-pointers.
Have you used the Advanced Search today?
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Re: Improved Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:49 pm

Thanks for moving it.
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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Skellitor301 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:07 pm

Hey Patric, mind if I add this to the TDT thread as an updated version of the optimized steam engine layout?

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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:45 pm

Sure, that'd be great. The full-sized pictures are at http://i.imgur.com/5Gx0tQb.jpg, http://i.imgur.com/YUIPebM.jpg, and http://i.imgur.com/EoztqQk.jpg, and if you need the setup redone for picture purposes, let me know.
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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Skellitor301 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:36 am

heya Patric, sorry it's been a while, quick question though. In that build that will warn you about low power, is the accumulator necessary or no? Because if not then it would be more cost effective to leave it out and give a more earlier warning than to wait for the stored battery to run dry

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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:18 pm

Yeah, it's definitely necessary for priority control, and it doesn't actually store any energy. When working, it is actually always empty. The radar always uses all power from the accumulator, but with lower priority than the small pumps. The point of having the accumulator/radar setup is to speed up response time, not slow it down. Normally without the accumulator setup, the coal supply in the detector's boiler takes much longer to run out since it's only powering like 6 small pumps (and even longer as they start to slow down as well), but with the additional setup, it both consumes coal faster to improve response time greatly as well as do so with low priority, so if there isn't enough power to go around for both the small pumps and radar, small pumps always get the power first. Total boilers/steam engines in the detector is of course dependent on how many small pumps the detector is powering.

As said though, the low alert build is quite optional. I find the main design perfectly fine for my uses, as actually running out of coal AND not noticing the coal field getting low kinda takes some major effort to do :P
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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Skellitor301 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:18 am

Ah, I see, that's clever to set up the pumps to only be connected with the energy alert system. Great to see that idea put into play really well :)

Any chance of getting a close up shot of those pumps connected to the alert system? Since you already got the build made and all :P

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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:29 pm

Yep, updated the original post with it. Link to the thumbnail and original version at http://i.imgur.com/dnIa0xel.jpg and http://i.imgur.com/dnIa0xe.jpg. In it, the bottom small pole is disconnected from all except accumulator and radar, and the top small pole is connected to the 2 medium poles 1 tile right and several tiles above it. The other 4 medium poles are connected to the main power grid.

Oh and, in your tips and tricks thread, the parts in the description, "(Below shows two versions of the same build, both with varying sizes of hot water storage)" and "I've left both versions of the compact power plants just to give you a bit of variety for you guys, pick which one you like and have fun building :)" should probably be deleted/moved down so it makes more sense. :P
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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Skellitor301 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:54 am

Thanks for the shots of the polls :)

As for the leaving in of the other layout, I've left that there so people can choose which layout they would like to use. I figured if you give a variety of builds that have the same general purpose it would give a bit more appeal to the thread. It's like a variety of foods, you can eat the same thing every day, or you can get a variety of different foods which sounds more appealing, something along those lines

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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Patric20878 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:02 am

No, you missed my point. You showed the first pic with description of "here's 2 versions of the same builds" when you only shown one build in the pic, and the 2 builds aren't the same lol. Then you added how there's 2 builds so people can choose what they like, between the 2 builds instead of after them. Just illogical order :P

Read above quote of mine, the wording was meant for the first version of the description, not the corrected one.
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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Skellitor301 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:09 pm

when I said same version of the two builds I meant the original version, and your optimized version. It is technically the same build, just yours is more space and resource efficient

One thing I would like to try and do is get a variety of builds that do the same thing, that way people can play around and find which layout they would like to use. Cause one thing I noticed is there are more than one layout for just about everyone of them, especially furnace layouts.

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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Aru » Sun May 01, 2016 3:53 am

This is my compact one, low tech (only small power poles, yellow belts and splitters), only two pipe gaps in each row of engines, and I think a single yellow belt should be able to support 10 rows (100 engines), so no need to use red belts. There is no need for space between rows, it tiles upward as far as you want, and I guess you could go up to something like 31 adjacent rows with blue belt (310 engines! 158 MW). Also, the poles at the top can easily be moved down to reduce vertical size by one. Right now they're positioned for an additional row. It can be repeated upward, or downward if you shift the bottom poles down. I also made the poles as sparse as I could, yet still patterned.

Image is native resolution if you open it (2325 x 595).
Image

I couldn't figure out how to get this on imgur but Skellitor301 did.
Lossless version of the same image, 1.4 MB, 2325 x 595

Here's what it looks like with pumps added for a backup system (totally outdated don't do this), where pumps can be powered by both main grid and by the isolated backup part; it's 3 tiles longer (4 if you count engines sticking out, but it also loses the poles on the right):
3 Small pumps
Here's with only 2 pumps per row, this should work too:
2 Small pumps
Last edited by Aru on Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
Designs: v0.16 | Research | Automated nuclear | Centrifuge ratios | Solar + Accumulator | v0.14 | Research | Steam engines (can't link because URL limit is dumb)

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Re: Optimized Steam Engine Setup

Post by Skellitor301 » Sun May 01, 2016 3:11 pm

One thing I can see about that layout is the furnaces at the end will be a lower priority when it comes to coal. The first line will get half while the third one down will get like 1/8th. Other than that it's a good layout, I'll be sure to add it to the TDT

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