Project: Fusion Reactor - a chronicle (WIP)

Discussion in 'Community Showcase' started by Ieldra, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    I have just found out that you can't shut down the reactor. More specifically, you can shut down the preheaters and the reactor will eventually cool down and generate no more power, and then you can safely shut down the solenoid and the toroid VDGs, but - and Reika confirmed this - there is no way to flush the remaining fusion plasma from the containment pipes so that you can shut down the VDGs powering the pipes without getting a lava lake.

    I can't see how anyone can NOT see this as a critical design flaw. I have no intention of working on a system with the constant threat of drowning in lava when I point my pickaxe the wrong way hanging over my head. Unfortunately, the pipes are also the most distributed subsystem, so it's basically impossible to make its power failsafe and the only other method - breaking the pipes - is also unfeasible because of the wide distribution and the fact that some pipes are within multiblock structures.

    I've thought of ending the project because of this. However, I just succeeded in building the main component, it would be sad to let it go now, so instead, I will being doing this: I will revert to a pre-startup backup and revise my cheating policy. With any new feature I add, I will revert to a pre-startup backup after I've successfully built it and tested it if necessary, and for anything that requires a power level where I'd need the reactor to have run, I will cheat. I already spent several hours filling an auroral battery twice, and testing power-down conditions also took hours since it takes so long for the preheaters to cool down, and inevitably all my power-down tests ended in lava. I will not be doing that again.

    No more progress for today since I have RL obligations...

    One good thing though: apart from having a functional reactor, I think I have so far succeeeded in integrating the reactor site into the landscape in an aesthetically pleasing way.
     
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  2. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    Today I started moving my fusion fuel production, so that the reactor can produce its own fuel. Obviously, I can't move the heavy water extraction, but I dismantled my tritium breeder and my electrolyzing setup and rebuilt some here. I had run some longer tests with the reactor active for several hours, and I *still* got some neutron absorbers melting. About one per hour, and it were always the same ones. Since they apparently get too many neutrons for their health, I thought why not put my irradiation chambers there. The result is this:

    [​IMG]

    There are 8 irradiation chambers set two block spaces away from the endangered absorbers. They're fed deuterium by the tesseracts on top and tritium is extracted by enderio conduits (covered by facades) and fed into more tesseracts hidden in the floor. I thought of avoiding magical transportation but this looks really nice, and anway I try to avoid performance problems, which means avoiding more tile entities than necessary. What you also see is that I've started prettying things up a but. The water pipes are covered by covers and the marble floor has a less unform look.

    My old electrolyzer setup wouldn't produce enough deuterium - I need 400 mB per second - so I built a bigger one. Should that turn out to make too much, i can always reduce the power. Also deuterium production is now powered by induction motors fed by an ElectriCraft battery which - unfortunately in a roundabout way - gets its power from the reactor:

    [​IMG]

    I may have found a way around some of the tick lag (or the latest update changed something), but that needs further testing. For now I'll be moving batteries rather than connecting them, filling one up with the reactor while the others power my facility, and hot-plugging a new battery in if the old one gets empty. However, I filled two auroral batteries in my tests, they should last a while. I should mention that I cheated to simulate having run and shut down the reactor completely, which is not possible (see above). I did run it in my tests, but as I said above, I reverted to my pre-startup backup because I refuse to work under conditions where pointing my pickaxe the wrong way results in my reactor site turning into a lava sea. I must say that I see the impossibility of flushing hot fusion plasma from the pipes after powering down the other components as a critical design flaw.

    Anyway, the project goes on. I'm now learning PneumaticCraft for the tower elevator. I'm scratching my head about how to automate farming those plants. Also I will need a much bigger canola farm for the turbines are rather thirsty.... *sigh* I had looked forward to doing away with the need for farming. Then came...the next update.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  3. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    Excellent news! I have my reactor running with an acceptable tick time of less than 50ms, AND I have it running while generating power routed directly into the battery that powers its subsystems. I haven't connected the electrolyzing directly, but I have a switch by which I can route the reactor's power into the battery that runs the electrolyzers. With some timed redstone switching I'll be able to run everything constantly powered by the reactor.I have achieved an important milestone in the project.

    The solution to the tick rate problem appears to be this: my buffer batteries did output power much more slowly than the main battery was able to refresh it, so that the power routed into the buffer batteries intermittently switched on and off, resulting in variable output which causes lag. Also, while the turbines are powering up, there is significant tick lag the intensity of which depends on how many of my turbines are either inactive or maxed out, down to 170ms with three variable-output turbines. That vanished, however, as soon as the turbines were maxed out.

    And yet another piece of good news. My tritium production is more than sufficient with the 8 irradiation chambers I'm using, and it appears that their placement also solved the problem with the remaining melting neutron absorbers. All in all, a very successful chapter of this story. I am quite pleased.

    Meanwhile, I also built some more stuff:

    The new elevator shaft and the helipad which is the main access point to the reactor.
    [​IMG]

    A PneumaticCraft elevator connects the different levels of the facility. This is not yet powered by the reactor, since the engine I need to do that requires climbing the PneumaticCraft tech tree for a bit more. That will have to wait for a while since I'm not in the mind for that rather complex stuff at the moment. Figuring out how I'll do the status displays for the reactor is quite enough. The elevator runs....on charcoal for the moment, controlled by a computer. With 11k left over from my tree farming and steam boiler days, this should last a while.
    [​IMG]

    Riding the elevator:
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    No pictures today. I'm experimenting with ways to harvest the 30 canola sees per second needed by my base while the HP turbines are running. I also found out how to create a temperature display for my preheaters. More to come, just not today.
     
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  5. madnewmy

    madnewmy New Member

    ,
    check reika latest video
     
  6. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    I have been redesigning my control room. I thought it wouldn't be a good control room if it didn't display all sorts of information about my reactor is doing. That has taken quite a bit of time. I had to downgrade ComputerCraft to 1.58 because 1.6 for some unfathomable reason doesn't work with ReactorCraft blocks (I'm told many mods are affected that way), and what followed was quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work: programming, testing, debugging etc.. I'll add some power bars to the existing display to make it more aesthetically appealing, but as a first step it was important to gather all that information in the first place. Here's how things look:

    Power-up Phase:
    [​IMG]

    Ignition:
    [​IMG]

    Generating power:
    [​IMG]

    How does this work, you ask? Here's a short description:
    I have dynamometers everywhere (and if you have not, this works the same way with induction motors). If you put computers on top of them, you can wrap them as a peripheral and access the power they're measuring through the method "getPower()". With the preheater temperature this was a little more tricky since the computer needs to be placed adjacent to the preheater block within the multiblock structure, which is normally blocked by two ingoing pipes. However, I used a fluid export bus to put both deuterium and tritium in from the same side, leaving one side free for a computer. I could now access the preheater temperature using the method "getTemperature()"
    After that, I put wireless modems at the computers front. This is the only option for the preheaters so I did this for all of them. Unintuitive as it may be, in RL these would be monitor-less computers anyway. The computers read the power or temperature and send them along a wireless connection on a dedicated channel. The computer in my control room listens to message events and interprets and displays the contents of the messages. The setup itself is simple:

    [​IMG]

    The programming is easy if you're familiar with programming and shouldn't be all that difficult even if you have almost no experience. I'll give my code to anyone who asks but I won't publish it since it's all uncommented and less structured than I'd do if this was professional work. I should mention that I changed the CC config to add more range to the wireless modems (one of my turbines is out of standard range because of its height) and reduce the effect of thunderstorms on range. In RL I would have wireless relays or some other form of range extender
    .
    Anyway, one of the advantages doing things this way is that I won't have to deal with turbine dynamometers, wireless analogue redstone and signal scalers. For a power bar display, I can make the necessary calculations with my program since I already have the power output of the turbines, and just send an appropriate redstone signal out on a rednet wire. That's probably what I'll be doing next, though I admit I'm getting fed up with all the programming. I like programming (it would be bad otherwise since my RL job involves a lot of it), but it takes forever before I have something to show for it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  7. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    All right.....version 2 of my control room is finished:

    The Control Room:
    [​IMG]

    The power-up sequence starts with this switch, which switches on the main battery (unfortunately it was not possible to rotate the information panel the way I wanted it)...
    [​IMG]

    ...and continues with throwing these switches for the reactor components...
    [​IMG]

    ...and here we have it: everything about the state of the facility at a glance.
    [​IMG]

    In the empty space on the main monitor I'll put the power display of the electrolyzing setup. It's just too bad that the batteries don't export a method to read their charge. Anyway, now I can move on to the last elements I need to add: another turbine that directly produces RF with a turbine generator and a big canola farm.
     
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  8. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    And...what I can say...this day is seeing a third update. Building HP turbines is a bother so I thought I'd better get that out of the way and build the remaining two I was planning. And then these are to be my RF source, so I continued and built the turbine generators and connected the whole setup to my oversized capacitor bank room.

    The second turbine tower...
    [​IMG]

    ...and the capacitor banks
    [​IMG]

    With this, the reactor site itself is now functionally complete. All that remains are a few minor adjustments like adding the power display for the electrolyzers to the control room, and aesthetics. The latter will occupy me for quite some time I think. The last function I need to add is the canola and lubricant production, but that will be set in a Mystcraft age. I've already cleared the site, but you won't be seeing that today.

    BTW, this set of giant capacitor banks looks big, but it's small fry compared to the Auroral Battery. It can hold just a few GRF, the fusion reactor will fill that in a matter of minutes.
     
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  9. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    Yeah, I've seen that. Hilarious. Unfortunately, I don't have DartCraft installed and haven't played Twilight Forest in this world, but I think I can achieve something similar with lilypads of fertility and AM2 sigils.
     
  10. madnewmy

    madnewmy New Member

    actually TF blocks i dont even think you can get them legit...
    so yea pads, sigil and you might want to try a bit of blood magic (under 9 lilypads = ZOMG SO FKN FAST)
     
  11. japanese_pie

    japanese_pie New Member



    Magical crops but works even better with canola seeds
     
  12. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    All right.....good news all around. I have achieved what I set out to do at the start of this project. I have a functional fusion reactor where all facilities necessary for its continued operation, from the canola farms and the lubricant production, the electrolyzers and the reactor subsystems themselves, are powered by the reactor itself, either through the two Auroral batteries the reactor is filling while it is running, or by the giant capacitor bank filled by the turbine generators I added yesterday. I think I have also achieved my goal of integrating my reactor into the landscape in an aesthetically pleasing way. All that remains are minor adjustments....and aesthetics.

    But first things first. The last step in the functional part of this project was making the lubricant production facility the turbines need to run, and setting up a system whereby its operation can be controlled from the reactor's control room. Here's what I came up with:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The fans harvest the seeds and blow them towards the vacuum hoppers. From there they're piped into a buffer chest and from there into the grinders, so that no more canola seeds than those produced by my mini-farm at home ever enter my ME network. Growth is sped up by lilypads of fertility and AM2 sigils of nature's bounty. There isn't a video of this, but believe me, in operation this looks every bit as crazy as the setup in Reika's recent videos. The craziest thing is that I actually need it. I disabled the top three patches because the bottleneck in my setup isn't the farm but my two grinders, each powered by 8MW, who can't keep up with the full farm's output, and the two grinders produce what I need: somewhere between 3 and 4 buckets of lubricant per second, which should be enough for my five turbines. Note that according to the RotaryCraft handbook (and a comment by Reika when I posted an early version on the MCF thread), this should not work. I should need gearboxes between the DC engines and the fans, but the setup works as it is and since the next RotaryCraft update will be for 1.7 and won't affect this world, why not take advantage of this little bug.

    I've read the suggestions to use Blood Magic rituals in this setup, but I haven't done anything with Blood Magic in this world yet, and getting there would take more time than I'm willing to invest at this point.

    Meanwhile, I added two switches to the control console:
    [​IMG]

    And with this last step, my fusion power facility is functionally complete!
    ==================================================================

    This means I'll update this thread more slowly from now on since I'll be doing aesthetics and I'm not in a hurry. I also want to play something else for a while, this project has taken up quite a bit of my free time. Before I sign off, though, a few things I thought I should add: I described building the multiblocks of the actual reactor complex, but didn't do the same for the turbines and the turbine generators. Given how long it took me to find the schematics, I think it would be useful if I posted them here:

    This HP Turbine schematic was made my Demosthenex (credits see also in the image) and it's proven invaluable, since as opposed to the tokamak components, this is not at all intuitive:
    [​IMG]

    And this guide for building the turbine generators was posted by Reika on his thread on the Minecraft Forums. I found it somewhat hard to find in the hundreds of pages:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Lastly, some panoramic views I found quite pleasing. The second tower needs some more work on its aesthetics. I'll also add some more PneumaticCraft elevators for maintenance access to the turbines, as well as some walkways for the same purpose.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Building this has been easily the most complex project I've ever undertaken in modded Minecraft. Many thanks to Reika for making this possible. While the fusion power facility is now functionally complete, there's still more to come, albeit quite a bit more slowly from now on.

    Edit:
    Turns out my claim of functionality was a bit premature. My turbine generators don't work. It appears I still have one thing to do. No idea why they're not working, I'm using the same setup as for the induction motors. At least I know my reactor can run five turbines at full capacity. 43 GW!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
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  13. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    All right, the final function test is done. I had to remove the dynamometers on the turbines whose output goes into the RF generators and connect the HP turbine block directly to the generator rotor shaft, and also the RF transfer cables refused to output directly into my EnderIO capacitor banks so I had to use tesseracts. Not sure why that was, but anyway my reactor is fully functional now, and my lubricant production does keep up with the needs of the turbines with a small surplus. Nice. The only bad thing is that I need to think of another way to get at the output of turbine #4 and #5, since there's no more block where I can attach a computer.

    Another thing: actually playing with this setup and a running reactor will have to wait until I get a faster computer. fps is in the single digits in many places around the reactor site, most notably around the turbines. Tick rate is ok, but very likely block update requests are through the roof with that many functional blocks in a relatively small space.
     
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  14. Kirameki

    Kirameki New Member

    I found out something *very* interesting tonight when I fired mine up that might explain some of the behavior in yours; specifically why your center absorbers tended to overheat. The game had trouble loading the actual blocks so all I saw were entities, and I noticed the neutrons, rather than radiating out in a full circle as expected, follow a simple box pattern. As shown in the screenshot, neutrons follow a perpendicular path to the gap between the injector and solenoid, creating essentially a # shape:

    [​IMG]

    Predictably, boilers along that path experience the most heat, and the temperature drops the further away from those streams they get. I believe your overheating absorbers/boilers were right in the path of these streams. I wonder if this is intended behavior, or if it's just never been addressed? Note I'm still on the Monster 1.1.2 stock version, you may want to verify this for yourself.
     
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  15. Ieldra

    Ieldra Popular Member

    I already figured that unequal neutron distribution must be the cause of the melting events, since it always happened to the same neutron absorbers. Thank you for confirming it. I'll bring this up on Reika's thread on the MC forums if you haven't already done that.
     
  16. Kirameki

    Kirameki New Member

    Since I'm behind version-wise, I have not reported it due to the 'no support for you' policy. Would be more credible if you reported it since you're on the latest version. :)
     
  17. Pyure

    Pyure Not Totally Useless

    I can tell you that he did and credited you properly :)

    Reika also mentioned (and Iedra commented on it) that he has made a rather substantial improvement to ElectriCraft performance. If so I may need to resurrect my Horizons world and check it out.
     
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  18. Giantawesomemeep

    Giantawesomemeep New Member

    It looks like your having tons of fun on your world how many hours have you logged into it?
     

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