Loading nuclear reactors

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Gus_Smedstad
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Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Gus_Smedstad »

I've got a small nuclear reactor setup (2 reactors) that I want to use for backup for my solar panels. I don't want to run it all the time as my primary power source. I've got both steam storage and batteries.

One thing that's tripping me up is that I want to load 1 fuel cell per reactor when the steam reserve gets low, and only load more when the first cell is exhausted. I don't want to load 5+ cells into the reactor and have it run long past the point where my power and steam reserves are full.

I'm struggling with designing some combinator logic to handle this. I'm tentatively setting up a box as an input buffer, so it holds exactly 1 cell, and I don't reload the box until the previous cell is done. I can detect when the reactor's finished by wiring the output belt to detect a used fuel cell.

I'm wondering if someone has already solved this one simply. RIght now it seems like I need something of a state machine, since there's no way to measure directly whether the reactor is running. I expect I have to set a flag when I load it, and clear it when I detect the used cell.

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by ftbreizhbugs »

o/
Maybe use the fact that when the cell is depleted, the reactor output empty cell
use 3 chests: fuel assembly -> A->B->Reactor->D
- inserter assembly->A always works
- inserter A->B work when D has more than one item (ie empty fuel cell)
- inserter B->Reactor works when low steam?
?

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Gus_Smedstad »

I think you need something more complex than that. As described, it never starts, since D is empty at start. If D is ever full, it loads the reactor continuously while steam is less than 500, rather than loading just one.

Make me think about using D as some sort of flag, though. Where D gets emptied to clear the flag.

eX_ploit
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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by eX_ploit »

Here is a save with example reactor design that does exactly that with combinators, but its four cores. Put all your fuel cells into top-left chest, it will distribute them evenly among all cores, and only load them into cores when 3 conditions are cleared:
1. Steam is low
2. There exists fuel for all cores at the same time
3. Enough time has passed since the last fueling, so that old fuel has been used.
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orzelek
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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by orzelek »

I posted blueprint for bigger one here:
viewtopic.php?f=208&t=46135#p265001

You can easily remove two reactors and their control blocks and use it with only two.
It needs to have tanks on steam side of heat exchangers but will do a bit more then eX_ploit wrote since it will balance up time of nuclear reactors to your energy consumption. And it tries to keep only 1 cell in reactor unless overloaded.

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Gus_Smedstad »

That's not really a solution. Unless I misunderstand what you're doing, you've got a requester chest asking for 1 fuel cell, and you're hoping that it doesn't get reloaded before the steam gets above the desired threshold. There's nothing really stopping the reactor from filling up with fuel cells as fast as your logistics robots can move them, if the source of fuel cells is at all close to the requester chest. Which it should be.

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by orzelek »

Gus_Smedstad wrote:That's not really a solution. Unless I misunderstand what you're doing, you've got a requester chest asking for 1 fuel cell, and you're hoping that it doesn't get reloaded before the steam gets above the desired threshold. There's nothing really stopping the reactor from filling up with fuel cells as fast as your logistics robots can move them, if the source of fuel cells is at all close to the requester chest. Which it should be.
That requester chest can be swapped to belt and it's not used to insert into reactor.
The steel chest below it is the one thats circuit controlled to contain only 1 fuel. And this control is only overriden if you run out of steam (overloaded reactors or design issues like lack of water can cause this).

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by eX_ploit »

but will do a bit more then eX_ploit wrote since it will balance up time of nuclear reactors to your energy consumption.
What do you mean by that? My setup does that too, since fuel is loaded with speed that is proportional to energy consumption. If you consume more energy, your steam will run out more frequently, and therefore fuel will be inserted more frequently.
And it tries to keep only 1 cell in reactor unless overloaded.
That's also what my setup does, except the overloaded part. It keeps no more than one cell in reactor period. There is absolutely no point to load more then one, it doesn't produce any more energy.

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by ftbreizhbugs »

Gus_Smedstad wrote:I think you need something more complex than that. As described, it never starts, since D is empty at start. If D is ever full, it loads the reactor continuously while steam is less than 500, rather than loading just one.

Make me think about using D as some sort of flag, though. Where D gets emptied to clear the flag.
Whatever setup you try with nuclear, you will most of the time have to boot it up manually, so just put manually the first fuel cell in B ?
Once C is not empty, you must empty D
Also make sure every inserter has stack size override to 1
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OdinYggd
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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by OdinYggd »

Gus_Smedstad wrote:That's not really a solution. Unless I misunderstand what you're doing, you've got a requester chest asking for 1 fuel cell, and you're hoping that it doesn't get reloaded before the steam gets above the desired threshold. There's nothing really stopping the reactor from filling up with fuel cells as fast as your logistics robots can move them, if the source of fuel cells is at all close to the requester chest. Which it should be.
Actually there is a solution.

A belt reader set to pulse output.

When an inserter recieves such a pulse, it will insert exactly 1 time. The cycle will complete once started by the trigger pulse.

Then you override the stack size to 1 item, and you are now in a situation where it is possible to insert exactly 1 item. This also makes sure that all of the cores in the set start and stop at exactly the same times, maximizing the neighbor bonus.

Make a belt loop SR latch with the read step outputting a pulse instead of holding.

I've got a 2x2 reactor array that is fuelled this way with excellent results, a 50MW factory is powered by 480MW installed reactor capacity with zero waste. It inserts 1 fuel rod into each of the 4 cores whenever the accumulators get low, and there is enough thermal mass in the system that at fuel rod burnout the cores are at only 800C- the cap is 1000C.
In my mind, Steam is the eternal king of the railway.

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by The Eriksonn »

Another thing to remember is that the reactor has a constant burntime for each fuel cell (12000 ticks), so if you have a decider to output red when steam is above 10% and then have the inserter check if red =0. if you then have the inserter read pulse and multiply it by 12000 and going into a clock that counts down, and then have that clock also send red to inserter, it will work. ;)

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Killcreek2
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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Killcreek2 »

@OP There is a simple 1-combinator [per reactor core] solution to only load 1 fuel at a time: the Memory cell.

Here is the setup I'm using: One core is powered constantly [only 1 fuel cell at a time], the second core is only powered up if the 500 degree steam tanks drop below threshold level, for better fuel efficiency.
configuration pic
All inserters are on stack size override=1. Note the "pulse" on the output and "hold" on the input ~ this is to ensure the memory cell is reset fully. As with many automagic setups: you will need to manually insert the very first fuel into each reactor core, but it will require zero attention after.

Nice feature about this setup is that if there is a nuclear fuel shortage, the input inserters remain poised to grab the next one as soon as it arrives, thanks to the memory cell holding the signal.


To run it as a backup power supply for your solar field, I would have both input inserters set to "IF empty fuel cell > 1" & wired to the bottom trigger combi, which would be monitoring the accumulator charge instead of the steam levels. OR you can set each reactor core to activate at different accumulator charge values, by adding a separate trigger combinator for each core.
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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Shokubai »

I think a combination of suggestions is in order. If I am not mistaken, accumulators now report charge. You could wire accumulators to an inserter at your Nukes that does something like...
1)Stack size override =1
2)counts input fuel vs output spent to only ever insert 1 if accum % is less than something.
Theoretical here...Wire input inserter and output inserter together. Output counts item in hand. and set input to only insert when spent=1. Both inserters are stack size 1. Your acumulator % logic could go to a power switch that kills the power pole for these 2 inserters. You would need to manually load the 1st ever fuel cell to prime the system.

3) for bonus, rig a speaker for global alert so you know when your nukes kick on.

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Killcreek2 »

Shokubai wrote:I think a combination of suggestions is in order. If I am not mistaken, accumulators now report charge. You could wire accumulators to an inserter at your Nukes that does something like...
1)Stack size override =1
2)counts input fuel vs output spent to only ever insert 1 if accum % is less than something.
Theoretical here...Wire input inserter and output inserter together. Output counts item in hand. and set input to only insert when spent=1. Both inserters are stack size 1. Your acumulator % logic could go to a power switch that kills the power pole for these 2 inserters.
Tried that direct-wiring approach during my testing: it ONLY works if there is a new fuel cell ready to grab, if not: it breaks [due to the single 1 tick pulse].
In addition, wiring it directly to the accumulator levels could cause multiple triggers in a short timespan [and thus multiple fuel cells loaded] if the accumulator charge flickers at the trigger point, as often happens.
Using the memory cell would prevent both of those nasty situations occurring, as it is air-gapped from all other inputs and the inserter requires both "reactor empty"=true & "charge levels low"=true to activate.

Nice idea about the speaker alert, will add that to my setup.
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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Shokubai »

Killcreek2 wrote:
Shokubai wrote:I think a combination of suggestions is in order. If I am not mistaken, accumulators now report charge. You could wire accumulators to an inserter at your Nukes that does something like...
1)Stack size override =1
2)counts input fuel vs output spent to only ever insert 1 if accum % is less than something.
Theoretical here...Wire input inserter and output inserter together. Output counts item in hand. and set input to only insert when spent=1. Both inserters are stack size 1. Your acumulator % logic could go to a power switch that kills the power pole for these 2 inserters.
Tried that direct-wiring approach during my testing: it ONLY works if there is a new fuel cell ready to grab, if not: it breaks [due to the single 1 tick pulse].
In addition, wiring it directly to the accumulator levels could cause multiple triggers in a short timespan [and thus multiple fuel cells loaded] if the accumulator charge flickers at the trigger point, as often happens.
Using the memory cell would prevent both of those nasty situations occurring, as it is air-gapped from all other inputs and the inserter requires both "reactor empty"=true & "charge levels low"=true to activate.

Nice idea about the speaker alert, will add that to my setup.
Since you are only triggering on the output of a spent cell, the multiple trigger thing shouldn't matter. The fuel is used or it isn't.

You could get fancy here and build a 20 second timer that only releases a signal if power threshold is met on the 20th (Or other arbitrary number) second. I think this is the fudgy part depending on what you want. Remeber your engines need electricity to run so kill power there would give you an INSTANT shut off.

You should always have fuel ready and you could easily do another alert if fuel in the waiting chest is below some threshold.

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Killcreek2
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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Killcreek2 »

Shokubai wrote:Since you are only triggering on the output of a spent cell, the multiple trigger thing shouldn't matter. The fuel is used or it isn't. (Or other arbitrary number)

You could get fancy here and build a 20 second timer that only releases a signal if power threshold is met on the 20th second.

You should always have fuel ready and you could easily do another alert if fuel in the waiting chest is below some threshold.
You are correct about the "only triggering when empty" preventing multiple loads, my bad.

Heh, actually did start with a timer circuit approach [that worked well enough], but it used 4x more combinators than the single memory cell for the same output conditions...

I agree fully that you should always have fuel ready, but supply issues can easily happen:
Like when I was redoing the reactor train station and forgot to add logi bots back into the roboport after moving it... damn iron plates... :oops:
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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by orzelek »

eX_ploit wrote:
but will do a bit more then eX_ploit wrote since it will balance up time of nuclear reactors to your energy consumption.
What do you mean by that? My setup does that too, since fuel is loaded with speed that is proportional to energy consumption. If you consume more energy, your steam will run out more frequently, and therefore fuel will be inserted more frequently.
And it tries to keep only 1 cell in reactor unless overloaded.
That's also what my setup does, except the overloaded part. It keeps no more than one cell in reactor period. There is absolutely no point to load more then one, it doesn't produce any more energy.
Yep sorry I missed that.
I'll need to take a look and switch to yours if it's simplier :)

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by torne »

Killcreek2 wrote:Here is the setup I'm using: One core is powered constantly [only 1 fuel cell at a time], the second core is only powered up if the 500 degree steam tanks drop below threshold level, for better fuel efficiency.
Doesn't that make the fuel efficiency *worse*, not better? When you're just running one reactor, you are consuming half as much fuel, but only generating 25% as much steam. It's most fuel efficient to always load all of the reactors with fuel at the exact same time, because of the adjacency bonus, and let them all turn off together as well when you have plenty of steam.

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by Distelzombie »

Does someone have a control-setup blueprint for a single reactor?
Complete 2-Lane system as a Blueprint-Book! The perfect OCD reactor? Testing chained science lab efficiency Please use real prefixes and proper rounding!

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Re: Loading nuclear reactors

Post by orzelek »

You can grab mine from above mentioned thread and cut out other 3 parts.
Or use this one:
string
This one contains only constant combinator for control and one set for reactor. Description is here: viewtopic.php?f=208&t=46135#p265001
It might be tad to complex.. I think it can be done much simplier just didn't have time to experiment.

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