Ships What is the difference between thermal load and distributor draw?

Clearly there is a difference as some engineering like overcharged increases both thermal load and distributor draw, whereas short range just increases thermal load. I know when you run out of juice on your distributor things heat up. Certain things seem to stop working if you run out of power in the distributor. You can’t boost for example, with no charge in engines and lasers stop firing if weapons runs out, although MC’s seem to keep going and start heating things up.
 
I’m sure a more experienced CMDR will chime in and correct/clarify but as I would understand it thermal load affects the heat level of your ship? Does that sound right? A higher thermal load results in a higher resting heat level.

Distributor draw I would read as being, err... the draw on your power plant as managed by your power distributor? A higher rated/overcharged power plant provides more power, and a higher rated distributor manages it better. The better your distributor manages your power, the faster your boost/weapons recharge, depending on your pips.

So as I’ve been understanding it an overcharged PP would provide more power, but draw heavier on the distributor and have a higher thermal load, raising your ship’s resting heat level.

Please correct me if I’m wrong because I’ve not been playing too long so I need all the help I can get:ROFLMAO: but I hope this helps CMDR, o7
 
I'm assuming you are talking weapons?

thermal load is the amount of heat that it imparts on your ship when firing. Higher TL increases ship heat levels quicker.

Distro draw is simply how much energy from your WEP distributor you use when firing. Inc dist draw means you run out of WEP energy faster.
 
I'm assuming you are talking weapons?

thermal load is the amount of heat that it imparts on your ship when firing. Higher TL increases ship heat levels quicker.

Distro draw is simply how much energy from your WEP distributor you use when firing. Inc dist draw means you run out of WEP energy faster.
Thanks CMDR, you’ve clarified my understanding of that too, o7
 
I'm assuming you are talking weapons?

thermal load is the amount of heat that it imparts on your ship when firing. Higher TL increases ship heat levels quicker.

Distro draw is simply how much energy from your WEP distributor you use when firing. Inc dist draw means you run out of WEP energy faster.
It is not clear to me exactly what power the power distributor is distributing. You have to have sufficient power available from your power plant when weapons deployed or the ship will shut things down. So your weapons are powered down when retracted and get full power when deployed, so in theory can fire with no extra power needed. Where is the power that your power distributor is providing coming from and why is it needed?
 
Greetings,

Power is simply how much is needed to run all the toys. As long as it is a little more than needed all is fine cruising around.

There are three banks SYS, ENG, WEP that store power for use. Depending upon the toy they may use this stored power up fast.

The distributor assigns recharge power according to the current need. The limited charge rate is disbursed by the number of pips assigned to each bank so the player decides the priority with the pips. If the distributor could max charge all three banks at once we wouldn't need any pips. Alas the Frontier Devs won't let us off that easy!

For example SYS at 1 bar with 2 pips plus incoming hits shields are down to 1 ring. The 2 pips are transferring power to the shields at a specific rate. This may not be enough to overcome the incoming hits so go to 4 pips. The rate to the shields has increased. It may not prevent the loss of shields but will slow it down. Breaking off the attack for the moment, going to 4 pips and charging the SYS bars adds a considerable amount of power available to the shields.

Distributor capacity and recharge rates can be increased with engineering. Adding to one will detract from the other. They can also be dedicated to specific SYS, ENG, WEP as desired.

Flow rate efficiency for a power plant has a heat effect. The lower the efficiency the more heat generated. That is why a G5 overcharged power plant with -25 percent efficiency increases the ship's heat percentage. G5 armoured at +12 percent or low emissions at +65 percent can significantly drop the heat generated at the cost of other variables such as integrity (low emissions), mass and power.

Thermal load does the same thing in reverse. The lower the thermal load the lower heat generated. It is just coding numbers and could have been called reverse efficiency to confuse us. Meanwhile Frontier already does that with their confusing + & - signs. Just remember blue is good and red is bad.

As a WEP bar is drained a beam will heat up the ship. WEP is simply the power available to keep the weapons cool. Could be WEP efficiency or thermal load. Could be the beam's efficiency, thermal load and distributor draw counting WEP bars. Maybe both. Who knows which? I just experience what happens. Then a G5 efficient beam doesn't need the WEP much so the bank stays full.

So...what to do. Have enough power going with A rated or D rated if weight is an issue. If using overcharged engineering add a little more as toys are installed. Remote engineering blueprints makes this easy. An exception for me would be maxing armoured and low emissions to G5 as they add great low heat benefits costing some increased mass and lower max power if you can live with it.

All maxed out and the right modules page usage says that you are over at 101 percent (weapons deployed). Red is bad. Turn off modules when weapons are deployed by changing the priority numbers to the right of the module. The higher the number the lower the priority. Go figure. There's a fuel scoop and a docking computer. Set their priorities to 2 or 3. The usage then drops to 99 percent. Orange is good. They will be turned off when weapons are deployed and back on when stored. Other non-essential modules such as auto field maintenance unit, vehicle hangar, refinery, can be set. Test them manually clicking on the module then deactivate it to see the result. Other items like more than one shield cell bank, heat sink launcher or missile rack can be manually turned off then as used up swapped out for another in combat. Sneaky huh?

Hope that this info helps and it's only a start. There is a also a good chance that it is correct! Alas I didn't program the game but it all works for me having flown every ship. :)

Fly Safe
 
Last edited:
(A small addition to this good leadership.)
The Guardian Distribution gives 5 percent of the power to the Guardian Power Station, though it's full of its drawbacks, but it's better to know for sure.
 
Greetings,

Power is simply how much is needed to run all the toys. As long as it is a little more than needed all is fine cruising around.

There are three banks SYS, ENG, WEP that store power for use. Depending upon the toy they may use this stored power up fast.

The distributor assigns recharge power according to the current need. The limited charge rate is disbursed by the number of pips assigned to each bank so the player decides the priority with the pips. If the distributor could max charge all three banks at once we wouldn't need any pips. Alas the Frontier Devs won't let us off that easy!

For example SYS at 1 bar with 2 pips plus incoming hits shields are down to 1 ring. The 2 pips are transferring power to the shields at a specific rate. This may not be enough to overcome the incoming hits so go to 4 pips. The rate to the shields has increased. It may not prevent the loss of shields but will slow it down. Breaking off the attack for the moment, going to 4 pips and charging the SYS bars adds a considerable amount of power available to the shields.

Distributor capacity and recharge rates can be increased with engineering. Adding to one will detract from the other. They can also be dedicated to specific SYS, ENG, WEP as desired.

Flow rate efficiency for a power plant has a heat effect. The lower the efficiency the more heat generated. That is why a G5 overcharged power plant with -25 percent efficiency increases the ship's heat percentage. G5 armoured at +12 percent or low emissions at +65 percent can significantly drop the heat generated at the cost of other variables such as integrity (low emissions), mass and power.

Thermal load does the same thing in reverse. The lower the thermal load the lower heat generated. It is just coding numbers and could have been called reverse efficiency to confuse us. Meanwhile Frontier already does that with their confusing + & - signs. Just remember blue is good and red is bad.

As a WEP bar is drained a beam will heat up the ship. Could be WEP efficiency or thermal load. Could be the beam's efficiency, thermal load and distributor draw counting WEP bars. Maybe both. Who knows which? I just experience what happens.

So...what to do. Have enough power going with A rated or D rated if weight is an issue. If using overcharged engineering add a little more as toys are installed. An exception for me would be maxing armoured and low emissions to G5 as they add great low heat benefits costing some increased mass and lower max power if you can live with it.

All maxed out and the right modules page usage says that you are over at 101 percent (weapons deployed). Red is bad. Turn off modules when weapons are deployed by changing the priority numbers to the right of the module. The higher the number the lower the priority. Go figure. There's a fuel scoop and a docking computer. Set their priorities to 2 or 3. The usage then drops to 99 percent. Orange is good. They will be turned off when weapons are deployed and back on when stored. Other non-essential modules such as auto field maintenance unit, vehicle hangar, refinery, can be set. Test them manually clicking on the module then deactivate it to see the result. Other items like more than one shield cell bank, heat sink launcher or missile rack can be manually turned off then as used up swapped out for another in combat. Sneaky huh?

Hope that this info helps and it's only a start. There is a also a good chance that it is correct! Alas I didn't program the game but it all works for me having flown every ship. :)

Fly Safe
Yes I am getting to grips with the practicalities of it, it is the theory that has me puzzled. I assumed that it was a sort of capacitor that dished out energy to the various systems that needed it, but it puzzles me where the energy comes from. It has a paltry power requirement something like 2% of power plant output compared to 20% for thrusters and yet putting 4 pips to engines is supposed to give such a boost to engine power that it increases top speed substantially and provides energy for boosting. It can’t be taking all the power from the power plant and distributing around as needed as regardless of pip setting or distributor charge when you deploy weapons if power plant output is exceeded it shuts things down, which suggests that power is being routed directly through to weapons. It is all very puzzling.
 
Yes I am getting to grips with the practicalities of it, it is the theory that has me puzzled. I assumed that it was a sort of capacitor that dished out energy to the various systems that needed it, but it puzzles me where the energy comes from. It has a paltry power requirement something like 2% of power plant output compared to 20% for thrusters and yet putting 4 pips to engines is supposed to give such a boost to engine power that it increases top speed substantially and provides energy for boosting. It can’t be taking all the power from the power plant and distributing around as needed as regardless of pip setting or distributor charge when you deploy weapons if power plant output is exceeded it shuts things down, which suggests that power is being routed directly through to weapons. It is all very puzzling.
The disto is just a guide for your power- think of it as having various sized pipes and taps connecting a tank of water to three hoses. The pipe diameters (ENG. SYS. WEP) can be made larger or smaller via engineering (WEP / ENG / SYS focus), the pressure of water can be made greater ( high charge) or that the length of hose can be made longer to contain more water (high capacity). The water flow is constant from your tank (the powerplant) to the hoses (engine, system and weapons) and the fill rate is adjusted by the taps (the pips in a distro). If you switch off the distro power still flows, its just not guided about.

As far as shutting down, I think its more to do with your systems not knowing who gets the power so the computer will brute force stop everything until you set the power priority.
 
The disto is just a guide for your power- think of it as having various sized pipes and taps connecting a tank of water to three hoses. The pipe diameters (ENG. SYS. WEP) can be made larger or smaller via engineering (WEP / ENG / SYS focus), the pressure of water can be made greater ( high charge) or that the length of hose can be made longer to contain more water (high capacity). The water flow is constant from your tank (the powerplant) to the hoses (engine, system and weapons) and the fill rate is adjusted by the taps (the pips in a distro). If you switch off the distro power still flows, its just not guided about.

As far as shutting down, I think its more to do with your systems not knowing who gets the power so the computer will brute force stop everything until you set the power priority.
My point about shutting down was it happens regardless of how many bars you have in weapons distributor, so if the distro was routing all the power until it drained the system wouldn’t know there was a problem.
Then there is the whole cooling/not cooling thing. Firing weapons when your Wep bar is empty causes your ship to heat up, so the distro has some sort of cooling function, but repeatedly boosting causes your ship to heat up regardless of a full Eng bar, so the distro has no cooling function!?
Anyway back to the original point so if a weapon has an increased thermal load, but no increase in distributor draw providing I can keep things cool with thermal vent, heat sinks or a cool running ship I am good to go and the distributor will drain at the same rate as the standard weapon - correct?
 
My point about shutting down was it happens regardless of how many bars you have in weapons distributor, so if the distro was routing all the power until it drained the system wouldn’t know there was a problem.
Then there is the whole cooling/not cooling thing. Firing weapons when your Wep bar is empty causes your ship to heat up, so the distro has some sort of cooling function, but repeatedly boosting causes your ship to heat up regardless of a full Eng bar, so the distro has no cooling function!?
Anyway back to the original point so if a weapon has an increased thermal load, but no increase in distributor draw providing I can keep things cool with thermal vent, heat sinks or a cool running ship I am good to go and the distributor will drain at the same rate as the standard weapon - correct?
Its not about power as such, its more about your ship not knowing where to divert power so it stops and asks you- too many systems to power at once but the power is there, almost.

As far as your question, the only way to know is to do it. Less draw means more firing per distro, but it could be that firing more creates more heat on top of the extra generated. From memory weapons generate heat regardless- if I fire all five of my PA my distro dissapears but I also get a spike in heat.
 
Its not about power as such, its more about your ship not knowing where to divert power so it stops and asks you- too many systems to power at once but the power is there, almost.

As far as your question, the only way to know is to do it. Less draw means more firing per distro, but it could be that firing more creates more heat on top of the extra generated. From memory weapons generate heat regardless- if I fire all five of my PA my distro dissapears but I also get a spike in heat.
I think the key there is it drains your distro cos I have 5 OC MC’s on my Python and I start to heat up when the distro drains from what I can tell, but I probably need to do a controlled experiment like putting zero pips to Wep and firing until things heat up and the same with 4 pips to Wep.
 
The PD only exists because Video Game. Seriously. It makes no sense from a practical standpoint - everything draws power directly from the Power Plant, but also requires power in the appropriate capacitor, for Reasons. But, y'know, sometimes it's fun to yell "DIVERT POWER TO SHIELDS!!!!!"
 
The PD only exists because Video Game. Seriously. It makes no sense from a practical standpoint - everything draws power directly from the Power Plant, but also requires power in the appropriate capacitor, for Reasons. But, y'know, sometimes it's fun to yell "DIVERT POWER TO SHIELDS!!!!!"
I guess you are right. It is a half baked attempt at a power management function. A full power management systems probably requires a crew cos it is too much for one person to handle as well as firing and manoeuvring the ship. Having said that ED is set in the 33rd century and they haven’t figured out a smart system to dynamically route power to where it is needed? What did they do in the intervening 12 centuries?
 
The PD only exists because Video Game. Seriously. It makes no sense from a practical standpoint - everything draws power directly from the Power Plant, but also requires power in the appropriate capacitor, for Reasons. But, y'know, sometimes it's fun to yell "DIVERT POWER TO SHIELDS!!!!!"
Nope. Sorry.

I have seen many uses for capacitors in machinery (which is basically what the PD is, a big giant Sci-fi capacitor)

They are specifically designed to store power so you can unleash a lot more than your PP generates at a specific point in time, i.e. to fire a powerful laser...
 
I guess you are right. It is a half baked attempt at a power management function. A full power management systems probably requires a crew cos it is too much for one person to handle as well as firing and manoeuvring the ship. Having said that ED is set in the 33rd century and they haven’t figured out a smart system to dynamically route power to where it is needed? What did they do in the intervening 12 centuries?
No it's actually quite a plausible implementation to allow huge power output for short periods of time. like boosting or firing high energy weapons etc.
 
(A small addition to this good leadership.)
The Guardian Distribution gives 5 percent of the power to the Guardian Power Station, though it's full of its drawbacks, but it's better to know for sure.
It is an odd beast the Guardian PD. For recharge rate it is about equivalent to a G3/4 charge enhanced PD, but with a significantly lower capacity, but a higher integrity. The Guardian PP is stat for stat a G4 over charged, but with 25% more integrity. So worth considering if you need the power and not too fussed about the weight.
 
No it's actually quite a plausible implementation to allow huge power output for short periods of time. like boosting or firing high energy weapons etc.
So where does it get the power to recharge from? A 7A G5 charge enhanced PD with super conduits has 55.6MW Wep capacity with a 9.2MW recharge rate yet draws only 0.89MW of power for all 3 capacitors. Logically there should be a base recharge rate according to the spare power capacity available from the PP modified by where you put your pips, but the way it is implemented in ED your ability to recharge is independent of power plant output. You could have barely enough power for everything or several MW spare output and it makes no difference. Also logically it would make more sense to store the energy locally so each weapon, the thrusters, shield etc have a capacitor built in which is recharged when not drawing full power. A central energy bank, which to follow your logic is what the PD is would be vulnerable, a single hit wipes out all your energy storage capacity for everything.
 
Last edited:
I think the key there is it drains your distro cos I have 5 OC MC’s on my Python and I start to heat up when the distro drains from what I can tell, but I probably need to do a controlled experiment like putting zero pips to Wep and firing until things heat up and the same with 4 pips to Wep.
I don't want to cause any confusion but it has not been mentioned so far. Pips to WEP means power to the cooling system of the weapons, the other two are power to the equipment but this WEP pips meaning power to cool the weapons is why you get the thermal overload condition message when the pips run out. (Hence more pips to WEP allows for more cooling of them and so more time firing.) It is confusing because that distributor drain is totally different from the thermal load which, as has been stated, is the effect on your ship's temperature from using the weapon.

BTW - In case it is not clear - your weapons actual power is supplied direct so energy for lasers or firing a kinetic weapon is independent of the PD, all that is required is that they be powered in the modules priority page, they will fire in that case as long as they are not in thermal overload.

tl/dr: PD's pips to WEP just cools the weapon.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom