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Old 04-11-2020, 04:53 PM   #31
Luke Bunyip
 
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

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First up I apologise for leading you astray about fuel cells...
You're good. As a rather productive part of the hive mind, in my mind you've earnt the right to be occasionally less than on the money. But it's times like this that it's good to know that there's an underemployed physics researcher out there when you need one.

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If you fudge geography a bit or possibly add a "recent discovery" to your world, you have the possibility of using the "great artesian basin"* as a power source.
My crew would baulk at that. Suspension of disbelief is a delicate thing....

Improvised wind powered generation is possibly a better fit.

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*Australians use the word great in a lot of geography, and here's me going over my fantasy world building in the past to edit out the word because I thought it came up too much.
To the immediate NW of the PCs starting point is a geographical feature known as the Little Desert. If we are anything, it's that we are consistently inconsistent.
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Old 04-11-2020, 05:42 PM   #32
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

Here's one for you:
Water or wind power turning a shaft. The shaft is connected to a motor salvaged from a Tesla car, and the motor is being used as a generator. All the electronics for charge management etc would be long broken and not repairable, but you could get some pretty good power out of the motor itself as it was designed with regenerative braking in mind. You could also possibly cobble together a lead-acid battery or the like to provide more steady voltage, but you'd still want some sort variable transformer to avoid blowing the cells during charge. This could be done with hand-wound coils if necessary. Note that none of this would be efficient, but it could work and give a reasonably steady supply of electricity.
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Old 04-11-2020, 06:24 PM   #33
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

One thought that might help with the electronic and software issues that come up.
Various companies including most notably john deer, have been introducing features that limit who can repair their products. As a result of this there are farmers who have been teaching themselves how to hack and bypass the electronics and software present in their tractors. A useful skillset to have in an AtE world.

https://www.agriculture.com/news/tec...g-your-tractor

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vic...inian-firmware
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Old 04-11-2020, 08:07 PM   #34
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

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Here's one for you:
Water or wind power turning a shaft. The shaft is connected to a motor salvaged from a Tesla car, and the motor is being used as a generator.
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... there are farmers who have been teaching themselves how to hack and bypass the electronics and software present in their tractors. A useful skillset to have in an AtE world.
Perfect. Cobbled together? Repurposed vehicle parts? Specific electronics skills? Sounds like an excellent reason to scavenge from scrapyards in abandoned ruins, and a job for a touring merchant that can fake being a sparky.
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Old 04-12-2020, 10:42 AM   #35
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

I am imagining an old electric vehicle being powered directly by a steam or IC engine stuck on the back. Sort of like a hybrid, but without the battery storage.
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Old 04-12-2020, 11:53 PM   #36
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

An important point about relic tech of all sorts: it makes a huge difference how the relic is stored and where. If the storage site is sheltered from direct sunlight and the elements, is fairly clean and reasonably protected from extremes of humidity and temperature, a lot of things might still be working, or in a state that could be restored to working, after very long periods.

OTOH, direct sunlight, high humidity, extreme temperatures, etc. will shorten the working life of most things considerably if not compensated for somehow. Salt water, or even salt-water laden air, is an esp. good way to screw up a lot of things, for ex.
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Old 04-13-2020, 03:09 PM   #37
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

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Perfect. Cobbled together? Repurposed vehicle parts? Specific electronics skills? Sounds like an excellent reason to scavenge from scrapyards in abandoned ruins, and a job for a touring merchant that can fake being a sparky.
Another one: It's also possible to *briefly* run an internal combustion engine with compressed air with some modification. The problem is storing enough air; so you would need a salvaged pressure tank in good condition. This gives some added drama as you never know when that old tank might blow out...
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Old 04-13-2020, 05:13 PM   #38
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

Not sure if they've been mentioned, but a properly stored steam engine, AFAIK, could still be workable or repairable quite some time later, and if in use, shouldn't be that difficult to maintain. It also has the advantage that all you definitely need to run it are reasonably clean water and something flammable, though different flammables are of different degrees of utility (one of my great-uncles ran an old traction engine on burning corncobs, and it worked, though my mother tells me it smelled 'funky').
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Old 04-13-2020, 11:16 PM   #39
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Default Re: [AtE] Heirloom tech?

Solar panels lose power at @1% per year, so they won't just quit working -- they will put out useful amounts of power for a very long time. And considering that the first solar panels built in the 1880s were just a layer of selenium covered in gold foil, it's possible to make your own. They were only 1-2% efficient, but they worked. If a settlement was bootstrapping their own solar panels they might be willing to trade for gold to hammer into the foil. Selenium is often found with sulfur deposits, which you'll want along with potassium nitrate for gunpowder.

Homemade and reconditioned batteries work just fine. They may not work like new, but there's no reason you'd have to give up electricity. And big arrays of homemade batteries also provide a means for trade for lead (mostly from -- yep old car batteries), aluminum cans, and copper sheets and wire. Basically any kind of metal scraps and wire can be fashioned into a battery. These will be huge and inefficient, but for stationary uses that's fine. The battery solution can just be saltwater, which ought to be plentiful.
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