Getting the most out of your ME Network

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ShneekeyTheLost

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Dec 8, 2012
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Lost as always
Applied Energistics is an amazingly awesome mod, which provides a truly enormous step forward in storage optimization and organization, as well as automation. However, I've seen some builds being shown off that... could use a bit of tweaking. It's not that they don't work, it's just that I see ways to clean things up a bit, make it a bit cheaper, run a bit faster, use a bit less power. So I thought I'd 'share with the class' some quick tips and tricks for getting the most out of your ME Network.

* It doesn't need to be big to be useful.

The first ME Network I generally build consists of: ME Controller, ME Drive, 4k disk, an ME Interface, and a Crafting Terminal. That's it. I hook it up to the power line that my machines are sitting on.

Generally, I hook up the ME Interface to the machne outputting the processed metals in ingot form. On a Thermal Expansion system, this gets really compact. You have your 'input' pulverizer, with the Induction Smelter to one side, and the Powered Furnace below it. Primary output goes over to the induction smelter to get turned into ingots, secondary 'bonus' ores go down into the powered furnace. Then I put the ME Interface right in that little corner so the Powered Furnace is outputting sideways into it, and the Induction Smelter is outputting down directly into it. Either way, ores go in to the pulverizer, and go directly into my ME Network.

Remember, you'll almost never need to actually access your Controller, so you can bury it back behind everything else, as long as it has power. You will only intermittently need to access your ME Drive (only when formatting, adding, removing, or upgrading disks), so it can also be behind an 'access hatch' or be otherwise inconveniently located, because you won't be accessing it in the normal course of your activities.

Also remember that as long as everything is physically touching, you don't need any ME Cable. This can really contribute to exceedingly compact builds which function elegantly.

* Automation doesn't need a MAC

Automation can start with an ME Interface attached to a machine to automate certain components. For example, the ubiquitous Basic and Advanced Processors which are needed to make most of your components... they need to be crafted, then smelted. Okay, so put an Interface on a furnace-type block, and tell it that one Basic Processor Assembly = one Basic Processor. Same thing with the Advanced. Oh, and while you are at it, tell it that one Nether Quartz Dust (or you can use Certus, but I just use Nether Quartz because it is so much more common) = one Silicon. Now you can just tell the system 'make me a dozen Silicon', then use the Shift + ? functionality from NEI to craft the assemblies, drop them back into the Terminal, then request the Processors themselves. See? You never even had to leave the terminal interface to get that whole task completed!

Users of IC2 will find a LOT of use in this system long before they can afford a MAC. Macerating coal dust, compressing carbon plates, and the whole new system that the Experimental fork is implementing can be automated with ease! One Interface can be used to make all your plates. Another to make all your wires (on the second machine, since it can't tell the machine to switch from making plates to making wires). And when you get to nuclear technology... all those things that can't stack in your inventory? Still stack in an ME Network!

The second advantage of this is that when you DO get your MAC set up, all of those sub-processes are already in play, so you can just set up a recipe for crafting Processor Assemblies, and you've got the automatic crafting of Processors done. It will send the quartz dust to the furnace to get turned into silicon, automatically craft the assembly, then send the assembly back to the furnace and spit out your freshly crafted Processors you requested!

*Before you use a Bus, ask yourself this: Can an ME Interface do this just as well or better?

This is related to the previous statement, but really deserves its own bullet point. The ME Interface you use to automate a process on a machine can also be used to receive the output. I've seen many builds which have an import bus to pull products out of a machine, but that's just not necessary. If you can't set up the machine to output back into the Interface directly, you can just pull it out and route it back via any item routing system, although I'd probably suggest Translocators for ease of use and compact design.

While I'm at it, I'd also like to point out that if something can pull from an adjacent inventory, like say a Railcraft Boiler, you can use an ME Interface to make the required items available through the ME Network without needing to use a bus.

And hey, while we're on a related topic to automation, I'd like to take this time to point out that an ME Interface can also accept input via Tesseract quite seamlessly. So you've got your automated mining setup that can chew through chunks like popcorn at a double-feature. You can route all that output via Item Tesseract hooked up to an adjacent ME Interface and get everything into your ME Network quickly and easily. It's much faster, and cheaper, than using input buses on an enderchest. Heck, the interface can even be the same one you've got receiving all of your ore refining results!

* You don't always need an ME Interface on every machine in a multi-task process

Scores of ore and seven interfaces ago, our forefathers put a separate interface on each machine in the ore refining process. Then we realized how silly that was and stopped.

Let's take ore refining as a perfect example. In the experimental version of IC2, there's like four machines now involved in the ore refining process. Now, you could set them all up in a row, with an interface on each machine, all set to automatically process your ores. However, this eats up four interfaces, and it also will prevent you from storing things like dusts in your ME Network because they will automatically get pulled into your furnace to get turned back into ingots, which is counter-productive. Or, you can have one ME Interface at the beginning of the chain, then use something like Translocators or pipes or something to make the line continue, and have the input on the final machine, possibly even wrapping back around to output into the same Interface!

This is really easy to do in Mekanism, thanks to the Configurator. Set up your ME Interface to have all ores route to it. Then you have a Translocator pull them into your Purification Chamber, then you've got the machines in a circle around a central Universal Cable and Translocators moving stuff from the Purification chamber to the Crusher to the Enrichment Chamber to the Energized Smelter, then have the output from that going back into the ME Interface, easy peasy.

Not everything needs to be automated with Applied Energistics, and it can waste a lot of energy and resources to try.

* You don't always need your entire ME Network online all the time.

I think this is a holdover from Railcraft-style thinking of 'create a stupid amount of energy, always on, so that it doesn't matter how much energy I am wasting, because I've got a surplus created'. You know, just set up a few 36 HP boilers with all the Commercial Steam Engines hooked up and just not worry about power anymore.

However, the ME Dark Cable makes it ridiculously easy to shut down large portions of your ME Network when not in use, dramatically reducing the amount of negative power flow on your energy grid. Heck, you can use MFR's Rednet to send redstone signals to the ME Dark Cables, with a series of levers at your Interface. So, for example, you decide you want to make a bunch of Advanced Machine Blocks. Fine, flip the lever that turns on the ME Dark Cable attached to the ME Interface which is connected to your compressors and pulverizers. Create your run of components. Flip the switch back off and walk out when it is done. If those machines aren't going to be running when you aren't there, then there is zero need for the ME Network to have all the power draw for all that cabling and ME Interfaces.

You can segregate entire sections of your ME Network to power down when not in use, which can dramatically reduce the power draw of your ME Network when not in active use.

* Bulk Items do better outside your ME Network

We've all had situations where we got a few thousand cobble, and wondering what to do with it. The last thing you want to do, however, is actually put it in your ME Network, because it will chew through disk space. MFR's Deep Storage Units + Storage Bus does a *MUCH* better job.

In closing, I hope this has been informative for you. Please feel free to share your tips and tricks for optimizing your ME Networks, and as always, constructive criticism and critique are welcome.
 

Golrith

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Nov 11, 2012
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Nice Post.

I've just started using AE myself, nice learning experience. On my setup though I wanted more control on the common crud, so have some diamond pipes to filter that stuff out into mekanism crates, overflow goes into a energy manipulator (remake of the energy condensor from EE2). Everything else is pumped into a Storage Block (forget the exact name). Each crate has a storage bus on it so the network can access the contents. I also have an overflow chest with a higher priority then my drive that only accepts items that only belong in the crates. So if I pull out of the system some of the resources, and my farms refill the crate, then I put those resources back into the system, it forces the excess to go into this chest (and then pumped to the energy manipulator) instead of being stored on a disk.
I'm also using the same Storage Block to export certain items, which a translocator will pull out to maintain certain stock levels in an ender chest. I then use this ender chest in different areas of my factory to maintain exact quantities of items, or to move resources long distance without having to string a long line of expensive cable. I'm using this system to produce maintain a stack of charcoal, MFR rubber/plastic products, etc. Ender chest gives a lot of inventory space for maintaining single stacks of a product.

Would have been a much smaller and cheaper build if I didn't worry about using the crates for the common crud, but it would have been less satisfying.

Translocators and Enderchests are ideal addition to AE, especially for maintaining stock levels.
 

budge

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Jul 29, 2019
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Another quick tip for the very early game. You can automatically save a lot of power by putting a pressure plate in front of your first terminal, and connecting that plate's signal to an RE cell or HV splitter. Now your controller only draws power when you stand in front of it.

Later on, if you can make one basic Buildcraft gate, you may set it next to the interface into which your ore refinery deposits, and set the gate to "inventory full (or items in inventory) -> redstone signal." Invert this signal and now your controller will also turn on to accept those shiny new ingots.
 

Cronos988

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Has anyone figured out a good way to have the same machine process different Recipes (say electrum and hardened glass) with just one interface without the possibility of the two recipes mixing and crashing the entire craft process (e.g. you get 1 gold and 1 lead ingot in your induction smelter)?

I generally know how to use logistics pipes, but even with those I can't think of a way to make sure that only exact pairs get injected.
 

angelnc

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Jul 29, 2019
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Has anyone figured out a good way to have the same machine process different Recipes (say electrum and hardened glass) with just one interface without the possibility of the two recipes mixing and crashing the entire craft process (e.g. you get 1 gold and 1 lead ingot in your induction smelter)?

I generally know how to use logistics pipes, but even with those I can't think of a way to make sure that only exact pairs get injected.

In 1.5.2 there's the blocking mode for Interface recipes. This prevents the mixing of different recipes.
 

Niels Henriksen

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Has anyone figured out a good way to have the same machine process different Recipes (say electrum and hardened glass) with just one interface without the possibility of the two recipes mixing and crashing the entire craft process (e.g. you get 1 gold and 1 lead ingot in your induction smelter)?.
I had the same problem and test for my system where one machine can have several jobs turned out to be a bad way to craft. Now its one machine one task. So i have 7 compressor standing to make each their own job. Now its faster for me to make more crafting jobs without delay.
 

DREVL

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Jul 10, 2013
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I keep wanting to, but I just can't seem to push myself to use buses, terminals, or crafters. I get completely satisfied with setting up storage, then a wireless remote. I craft outside ME. Crafting is such a pain in the ass, but I just don't ever want to automate it.
 

ShneekeyTheLost

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Dec 8, 2012
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Has anyone figured out a good way to have the same machine process different Recipes (say electrum and hardened glass) with just one interface without the possibility of the two recipes mixing and crashing the entire craft process (e.g. you get 1 gold and 1 lead ingot in your induction smelter)?

I generally know how to use logistics pipes, but even with those I can't think of a way to make sure that only exact pairs get injected.
Okay, here's what is going on:

In effect, this requires two inputs going into two different slots. For Electrum, it requires one gold and one silver, for hardened glass it requires Pulverized Obsidian and Lead. However, if you get one from one combine and one from the other combine, you get nothing and the process gets stuck.

You can have multiple recipes on a machine if they only require one item being input (for example, you could have all of your IC2ex plates on the same machine, because it just requires one ingot to make one plate). It is only when you start getting into machine recipes requiring multiple items that you can get this problem if you start queuing up different recipes.
 

Runo

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Has anyone figured out a good way to have the same machine process different Recipes (say electrum and hardened glass) with just one interface without the possibility of the two recipes mixing and crashing the entire craft process (e.g. you get 1 gold and 1 lead ingot in your induction smelter)?

I generally know how to use logistics pipes, but even with those I can't think of a way to make sure that only exact pairs get injected.
For gregtech, buffers and advanced regulators work great. For unleashed, you can just use diamond pipe to two hoppers, add chests if you need a bigger buffer. Hoppers process in order.
 

Strill

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Jul 29, 2019
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Instead of a bunch of import busses, I have one import bus attached to a diamond locked ender chest. All of my other things just dump their stuff into diamond locked ender chests in order to return items to the network.
 

MigukNamja

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Thanks, Shneeky. Some really great tips.

Another one is not using an ME Interface at all - just an ME Controller, ME Chest, and 4K memory. Period. The ME Chest is indeed a chest. Just pipe or push stuff into the chest. I did that my first ME setup and it worked great. I didn't need hardly any Certus to get that going.

As for mid-to-late-game power gen, it's not Railcraft, per se, that promulgated this. 'Always on' certainly doesn't need boilers. Combustion engines, for instance, while requiring some BC gate work to turn off when red - are nearly as efficient. I've seen quite a few 'Combustion Engine' spam builds.

From the first infinitely renewable resource gathering device (charcoal, saplings, wheat, sugarcane, etc.,.), 'always on' has been with us. Solar and lava are no exception, either. The recently-added oil-rich desert and ocean biomes are incredibly easy to harvest as well, even moreso if you MystCraft such an age. But, that's from BC which I believe was added by CJ himself,. who did RC.

As for efficient setups these days, a REC is huge and TE in general is huge. The first thing I'll build after coming back from my 1st Nether trip is almost always a Magma Crucible to make a REC. I'll do that before energy conduit. Letting early-game engines charge a REC is what I consider a watershed between early game and mid game.
 

budge

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Thanks, Shneeky. Some really great tips.

Another one is not using an ME Interface at all - just an ME Controller, ME Chest, and 4K memory. Period. The ME Chest is indeed a chest. Just pipe or push stuff into the chest. I did that my first ME setup and it worked great. I didn't need hardly any Certus to get that going.
Save yourself more certus by skipping the controller. The chest will function with just a power supply.
 
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twisto51

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Any things to consider when using an interface instead of an input bus? I went through my UHSP factory today and moved/reconfigured some TE machines so that pairs would use one interface instead of two input busses. Works. :p
 

Wekmor

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So I guess I'll put my question in here:

Just for testing I set this up in my flat world:

me controller, chest+4k storage, crafting terminal, electric furnace, interface on top of that. The interface has the pattern Nether Quartz -> Silicon. When I go into the terminal it shows me the little 'craft' on the silicon, but when I request it to craft it just does nothing.
Anyone knows why it is not putting Nether Quartz into the furnace?

Edit: I tried putting the interface on any side of the furnace, doesn't work.
Oh and I tried a crafting monitor just to see. Says it is crafting silicon, no material is missing.
:s
 

ShneekeyTheLost

Too Much Free Time
Dec 8, 2012
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Lost as always
Thanks, Shneeky. Some really great tips.

Another one is not using an ME Interface at all - just an ME Controller, ME Chest, and 4K memory. Period. The ME Chest is indeed a chest. Just pipe or push stuff into the chest. I did that my first ME setup and it worked great. I didn't need hardly any Certus to get that going.
The setup I use is easily expandable. A bit of initial infrastructure, all of which you will be using throughout the build, but that disk drive will hold ten disks, so you have plenty of expansion room. However, for you to expand, you'd need to make the disk drive, you'd need to make the terminal, you'd need to then rip out the chest, replace the automation around the chest with an ME Interface, find another place to stash said disk drive, and everything else. Can it be done? Certainly. But now you've got a now worthless ME Chest sitting around, forever gathering dust.[DOUBLEPOST=1380061969][/DOUBLEPOST]
So I guess I'll put my question in here:

Just for testing I set this up in my flat world:

me controller, chest+4k storage, crafting terminal, electric furnace, interface on top of that. The interface has the pattern Nether Quartz -> Silicon. When I go into the terminal it shows me the little 'craft' on the silicon, but when I request it to craft it just does nothing.
Anyone knows why it is not putting Nether Quartz into the furnace?

Edit: I tried putting the interface on any side of the furnace, doesn't work.
Oh and I tried a crafting monitor just to see. Says it is crafting silicon, no material is missing.
:s
1) it's nether quartz dust which is turned into silicon, not the crystal.
2) Is the furnace properly set up to handle the task? The ME Interface will need to be adjacent to the input side, and the output side will need to have a pipe wrapping back into the ME Interface.[DOUBLEPOST=1380062041][/DOUBLEPOST]
Any things to consider when using an interface instead of an input bus? I went through my UHSP factory today and moved/reconfigured some TE machines so that pairs would use one interface instead of two input busses. Works. :p
If something is automatically put into it, use an Interface, not a bus. If something can draw from an adjacent inventory, use an Interface, not a bus. Consider a Bus something like a wooden pipe with an autarchic gate: it is when you need to actively pull something out of/push something into an inventory.
 

CascadingDragon

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One of the players on my server wants to get into AE, but wants me to teach him (despite me teaching him the basics like 2 times). I might just link him to this article as well, maybe it'll finally click for him. Haha :)
Good job Shneekey
 

Larmonade

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Jul 29, 2019
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Hey Shneekey!

I just wanted to say thanks for the great post! If it weren't for your "AE for beginners" post on your site, I probably would never have given this mod a chance. Your posts are always so darn comprehensible that even an imbecile like me can get an ME network up and running!

Thanks for the help and keep up the good informing!
 

Dorque

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You need to write more blog posts, Shneekey, I've been copying them into books for my in-game library ;)
 

Wekmor

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The setup I use is easily expandable. A bit of initial infrastructure, all of which you will be using throughout the build, but that disk drive will hold ten disks, so you have plenty of expansion room. However, for you to expand, you'd need to make the disk drive, you'd need to make the terminal, you'd need to then rip out the chest, replace the automation around the chest with an ME Interface, find another place to stash said disk drive, and everything else. Can it be done? Certainly. But now you've got a now worthless ME Chest sitting around, forever gathering dust.[DOUBLEPOST=1380061969][/DOUBLEPOST]
1) it's nether quartz dust which is turned into silicon, not the crystal.
2) Is the furnace properly set up to handle the task? The ME Interface will need to be adjacent to the input side, and the output side will need to have a pipe wrapping back into the ME Interface.[DOUBLEPOST=1380062041][/DOUBLEPOST]
If something is automatically put into it, use an Interface, not a bus. If something can draw from an adjacent inventory, use an Interface, not a bus. Consider a Bus something like a wooden pipe with an autarchic gate: it is when you need to actively pull something out of/push something into an inventory.
The quartz was the problem, thanks :)
 

AlanEsh

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Jul 29, 2019
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Good stuff!
With every iteration of my AE systems, I find ways to make them more efficient and satisfying. From non-AE quarry pre-processing, to swapping out buses for Interfaces, the fun just never stops :D