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Fargius
06-08-2008, 23:17
I was curious if there was much in the fluff about how power armor is powered and how long it is supposed to run on a single "charge." Is it like the rhino, able to run on just about anything that burns, or like the the lasgun where some models have the batteries be able to be recharged with solar power, or user motion (i.e. the user doing exercises recharging the battery such as those hand cranked flash lights)? I know it functions in multiple power levels (in the Horus Heresy book series Loken fights an interex commander, and activates more of the power armor's systems with a thought, so apparently power armor has rest mode).

I've got a narrative campaign of sorts running along with a few squads of Ultramarines and Dark Angels trapped behind enemy lines (chaos and traitor guard forces). I've come up with some evolving rules to deal with ammo tracking and use, salvaging ammo and weapons (and in some cases vehicles), and casualties (I made apothecaries independent characters; always thought it was silly that the unit medic followed a commander around instead of wandering the field treating the troops). I've had the players running through an enemy cruiser with a couple of squads of terminators down to throwing dirty looks and power fists; it as amusing watching the improvisation that can go through people's minds...). So, to mess with them more, I want them sweating fuel for their vehicles and power charge for their armor (if that can even be an issue at all).

Of course, I've read the fluff where Capt. Shrike's unit of the Ravenguard was waddling around behind orcish lines for years, scavenging what they needed... I'd just like to know specifics if they are available...

Felwether
06-08-2008, 23:58
I think I remember reading that SM armour is powered by some form of fusion and that it can operate indefinitely.
It can even operate for a certain amount of time without a backpack.

Holy_Combat
07-08-2008, 00:13
The Killing Ground by McNeill had a part where Uriel hooked up a suit of power armor that has not been used in hundreds of years to a rhino to recharge.

talos935
07-08-2008, 00:55
Well space marines have a "sub atomic core" [ref 3rd ed SM codex] inside the back pack, so I assume it's ment to some type of nucular reactor/generator. So I would expect their power supply to last a while.

Koryphaus
07-08-2008, 01:34
Yeah, that's the way I see it. IIRC they can hook up to their Rhinos to recharge if need be. I guess they need to power the startup batteries or something, similar to the way cars run on fuel but need the battery to actually start.

freelancer
07-08-2008, 02:02
According to both the 3rd ed and 4th ed Space Marine Codex's, Space Marine Power Armour is powerd by cold fusion. As Felwether said, yes it is a form of fusion, and theoretically last many MANY years.

Freelancer

Joe Kutz
07-08-2008, 02:04
More likely something like a low level Strontium generator like is used to power remote relay sites in the real world.

They provide power for a very long time - but it is a relatively small amount. The backpack could have a storage system that recharges and is used to actually power the armor - but over extended periods of use that battery may become drained. As opposed to waiting for the core to recharge the battery - plug it in and get a quick charge.

Granted that interpretation doesn't make sense in regards to the "Killing Ground" - but it does provide a long term...mostly safe power supply.

madd0ct0r
07-08-2008, 11:07
No, it fit's killing ground.

The stontium generator provides a trickle charge into the main battery. The battery is only drained during periods of intense activity. Under normal circumstances the drain would be nearly nil and the strontium generator fills it back up again.

In Killing Ground the strontium generator has clearly run out (maybe they last 200yrs or so?) So as a short term measure they hook the armour up to the rhino and charge the main battery. Back in the fortress later the techmarine can replace the strontium generator.

Kage2020
07-08-2008, 12:18
Hazy recollection of the schematics of Beaky armour from the RT days, but was not their reference to "stacked atomic chain reactors"? Fairly sure there was, since that's one of the reasons that when I went all "gear-heady" and created a version of Marine power armour for GURPS (RPG) I selected the "radiothermal generator," which is the same gig as a strontium generator...

Erm, but there we go. 12kW to power Power Armour. :D

Kage

Sai-Lauren
07-08-2008, 14:51
12kW? Well, what does it actually need to run?

Life support systems (a pump for dialysis to exchange toxins out and nutrients and support drugs in, and maintain fluid level, plus recycling systems to turn the toxins back into nutrients if possible), plus atmospheric systems. Possibly also suit temperature (probably done mostly by maintaining the heat of the marines blood as it pushes it through the dialysis systems (*), with some heaters for the vital electronics). Pretty much running constantly.

Comms (multi-channel, including visual systems and biomedical info) and external sensors/HUD systems.
Running most of the time.

Limb movement systems (including the mag-grappels in the boots, and the vac-seals (helmet) as required). Presumably run at low-medium power outside of combat situations, and switch into "battle stations" when a Marine's adrenaline levels reach a certain point.

Oh, and the "Bagman" arm for the Devastator with the Missile Launcher. ;)

There's not really a lot else, Jump Packs and Techmarine servo-arms presumably have their own extra power supplies/fuel, but there's no automation, power feeds for weapons and so on that would be a significant power drain.

(*) Although here's a thought, considering a marine's size and probable metabolic rate, it may be that the suit actually cools his blood down to lower his core temperature rather than does anything to raise it - a marine trying to fight for extended periods outside their suit could wind up suffering the effects of extreme heat stroke.

Kage2020
07-08-2008, 15:18
12kW? Well, what does it actually need to run?
From memory? The neuromuscular fibre bundles took up much of the power draw (10kW), with around 1.2 kW in other systems (many of which you highlight), and the rest as 'spare'.

Of course, that models the replacement of the Marine's strength with the fibre bundles. Another version had something akin to a 2-3 kW draw because it was additive...

Kage

Chaos Undecided
07-08-2008, 15:23
IA3 describes it as a sub atomic core with a secondary emergency backup power source that can be recharged via a micro solar panel. It mentions the backup power source can last 1 month before needing resupplying but I guess the main core would be able to function for much longer unless damaged.

Depends how much faith you put in Imperial Armours technical data.

Sai-Lauren
07-08-2008, 15:37
Of course, that models the replacement of the Marine's strength with the fibre bundles. Another version had something akin to a 2-3 kW draw because it was additive...

Probably additive - maybe the equivalent of bench pressing an extra 50-100 lbs (considering marines without armour can probably do 500-600 lbs easy) plus enough to offset the weight of the armour itself, Sororitas don't get S4 just for wearing PA for example (and I don't think the Active control systems/Black Carapace adds any additional strength, just links in and allows it to be used more efficiently).

But the fibre bundles were where I was putting most of the power as well. Maybe down in the 6-7 kW range, with a small redundancy factor (I'd say 1/2 to 1kW at most, but they can almost certainly turn down or switch off quite few systems (especially comms) to reduce the power drain if needed), and the rest for the other systems - I don't see Imperial electronics as being all that power efficient to be honest, and there's probably at least one redundant backup running on hot standby (on full power and receiving/processing inputs, just not outputting anything unless it loses the main systems signals) all the time as well.

Kage2020
07-08-2008, 18:08
Probably additive...
Now I would tend to agree with you, leaving the strength "replacement" to Terminator armour.


...considering Marines without armour can probably do 500-600lbs easy...
That's not actually far from where I statted them out to, out of interest, though I would hardly call it "easy." It's the outside of their limit before they have to really start straining, at least for me, but there we go.


But the fibre bundles were where I was putting most of the power as well. Maybe down in the 6-7 kW range, with a small redundancy factor (I'd say 1/2 to 1 kW at most...
The original version was just a full power model and is perhaps, as above, more appropriate for terminator armour. For all intents and purposes, if you were going for efficiency then you could have had a lower power draw since also included in the suit was an 8hr battery supply. (Ha! Slightly more than Dark Heresy would have it! ;)) Non-continuous draw items could just dip into the battery, which would then be recharged as and when the batteries could be recharged (i.e. off the main power plant).

Keep on meaning to rework AAPA to include the new thoughts, but I've been putting it off in favour of finally getting pain to paper to get the psyker system "out there," while simultaneously juggling with Anargo[/i], thinking about some cool projects to do with starship blueprints, etc. That and I was hoping that GURPS Vehicles 4e would be out by now... ;) Guess I should just have some fun and design it as a character. :D

[b]Kage

icegreentea
07-08-2008, 22:48
The idea of cooling a Marine's blood is actually really interesting. DARPA has a company building a device called 'the glove'. Basically, its an airconditioner that chills the blood flowing through the hand (which means, eventually all the blood in the body). They found that a significant section of fatigue is because of the muscles overheating, and overwhelming the blood/body's ability to cool itself down. So by using a heat exchanger and airconditioning, they're basically allowing the body to overclock itself.

So it would seem logical that a Space Marine would have something similar. Now... when you look at the sheer amount of blood a Space Marine probably has, as well as the operating envelope, as well as the sheer physics of it (you CAN'T hand wave away the limits of efficiency without breaking all of physics), it probably draws a significant amount of power. More over, because the amount of cooling needed (all depends on the external temperature) has such a large possible range depending on environment, then the cooling systems has to have some amount of power reserved for it at all times, even when its doesn't need that much.

ScytheSwathe
07-08-2008, 23:01
So thats what power fists are, its a cooling system allowing the marines to hit harder :)

PondaNagura
07-08-2008, 23:59
i'm guessing most people are going off current industry standards, i feel like the servos/actuators that marines use would probably be a bit more sophisticated/durable (backwards society aside, they do have like 28k years to improve these things), not to mention whatever materials are actually being used, could cut down on the necessary output. if the power draw is less, then the power source could go for longer.

icegreentea
08-08-2008, 00:09
i'm guessing most people are going off current industry standards, i feel like the servos/actuators that marines use would probably be a bit more sophisticated/durable (backwards society aside, they do have like 28k years to improve these things), not to mention whatever materials are actually being used, could cut down on the necessary output. if the power draw is less, then the power source could go for longer.

There are still physical limits and realities to deal with. If your Astartes masses in at 500kg, and you make the whole thing accelerate at 5m/s^2 for just one second. Thats 6250watts of power right there. Even if you say that the Astartes by itself supplies a significant amount of that power (say 4000 watts), it just illustrates that there are hard limits on how 'efficient' you can be. There are physical limits dictated by the laws of physics on maximum efficiency, both in power generation, as well as power-mechanical energy conversion.

Joe Kutz
08-08-2008, 00:20
The efficiency can improve...parts can get smaller - but ultimately, you can never get more out than you put in.

While the math wouldn't be simple, you can figure out the power in needed in order to make the power out that you figure it will need over a given time span. Needless to say though, it would be significant even at low levels of additive strength. The 12 kW estimate may actually be conservative (too much math and not enough interest to put together a guestimate of the minimum draw it might have).

Fargius
08-08-2008, 00:46
Wow, thanks for all the information. It's always interesting to see the conversations that pop up with these inquiries.
Well, I'll have to find some other fun and interesting way of torturing my poor victims...

Sai-Lauren
08-08-2008, 07:53
For the blood cooling, remember the Black Carapace as well - it'll act as an insulator, meaning the Marine will be relying on sweating alone for heat loss - which isn't easy in full power armour. :D

This is an essay I wrote for the next time one of the usual PA topics came up (usually, do Marines live in it their entire lives ;)).

Power Armour
Power armour is something of a contentious topic – what it is, how much does it weigh, do marines ever take it off, how can non-marines wear it without the black carapace? This essay is an attempt to answer some of those questions.

What is it?
Power armour is a full body suit of combat armour, sealed against hard vacumn, airborne toxins and radiation, with integral life support systems and combat support equipment – such as communications and sensory aids/buffers.
In addition, the limbs have supplementary artificial “muscles” which help to offset the weight of the armour, and increase the strength and endurance of the wearer, allowing them to carry heavier weapons and more ammunition, to strike harder in combat, and to fight for longer before requiring rest.

How much does it weigh?
This is where things fall down for power armour. All those systems come with a weight penalty, so that even the lightest person in a suit of power armour would fall through a weak floor, where that same person out of armour would be able to walk across it with no problem at all. The wearer may not feel the additional weight, but they would still have to bear it in mind when looking for where to tread.

However, we cannot give any thing other than educated guesses for the weight of power armour – it is made of (so far) non-existant materials, such as Ceramite, which we simply have no physical properties for, and there is no indications as to it’s thickness, the weight of the power source and (as it’s supposedly a radiological power source) its shielding and control systems.
If we assume the armour is roughly 1 cm thick all over, and is fitted for someone 1.8 metres tall (6 feet-ish), weighing 80kg (roughly 12 ˝ stone), then the volume of their armour is roughly 0.02m^3.

For that volume, made of different materials we currently have, it would weigh:
Printer Paper 800kg/m3 16kg
Carbon Fibre 1750kg/m^3 34kg
Alumina 3970kg/m^3 79.4kg
Titanium 4500kg/m^3 90kg
Steel 7850kg/m^3 157kg
Steel/Carbon Fibre 50/50 Mix -- 95.5kg

These figures assume that the additional systems are the same density as the armour surrounding them, and do not figure in the backpack, which, in my opinion, can be considered as weighing roughly half as much as the armour. They also assume the armour is homogenous throughout, where in reality they would be made of multiple layers of different materials – a more likely example is given by the Steel/CF 50/50 mix, and of equal thickness all over, where the dorsal plates could be thinner because the backpack would protect them.

However, armour thickness and protection ability tend to be proportional, and even 1cm Steel would be penetrated by most modern medium calibre weapons, especially where armour piercing rounds are available.

So, as a rough guide, I would suggest that the suit itself weighs roughly as much as the wearer. The heavier it is, the more it protects, but the more unwieldy it becomes and the more it costs to produce and maintain – the imperium itself may be considered to be significantly wealthy, but that does not necessarily mean that any armed force can have anything it wants - and the more power it needs to be able to move, which then increases the weight of the power plant and any transporting vehicles.
Also, if the armour is too light, then concussion from explosions and impacts from weapon hits would be transmitted through to the wearer, which even if it doesn’t cause any injuries on it’s own, may cause them to stumble or even be knocked over much too easily, the armour may be able to compensate to some extent, but it would still affect the wearer – a far cry from the fiction where marines stride unconcerned through a swathe of incoming fire, the bullets bouncing off their armour.

At this time we also need to consider additional weapons, ammunition and so on, in order to be combat effective, a soldier will need grenades, extra magazines, possibly a pistol (with it’s own magazines), a melee weapon, plus some medical equipment (bandages, pain relief etc for immediate care until a field medic and/or a doctor can stabilise their condition), any equipment for hostile environments (gas masks for example) and so on. Power armour will have some of this equipment integral to itself, but the vast majority will have to be carried, preferably on the person rather than in a transport vehicle which may be destroyed, all of which adds onto the overall weight of the soldier (whilst transport vehicles will almost certainly be mobile armouries, but the soldiers will have their own personal supplies, which they then replace from the transport vehicle after the battle).

Do Marines ever take it off?
Yes. Of course they do. Next question.

You want more? Ok. Firstly, there’s maintenance issues, if the armour is damaged, then parts will have to be removed – for example, if they take a penetrating hit to the upper arm, then the gauntlet, lower arm and the joint pieces at the wrist and elbow will have to be disconnected and removed before the upper arm piece can be removed and repaired or replaced.
For more general maintenance outside of campaigns, the armour will also be removed, diagnostics performed on the individual parts to ensure everything is still in working order and then rebuilt into full suits on diagnostic rigs to ensure they all work correctly together after any maintenance.

Secondly, the first company of a marine chapter can take the field in either terminator armour or power armour. As power armour does not fit inside terminator armour (unlike Star Wars Stormtroopers using Spacetrooper armour), the suits must be removable. In a similar vein is the fact that some chapters use older marks of armour for ceremonial occasions, and of course, the artefacts of previous heroes being passed onto new bearers.

Thirdly, there is the possibility that the marine may begin to become dependant on their armour, and in a way, take it for granted. I would suggest that when marines are not on campaign, they spend roughly half their time training in their armour and half out of it.

Finally, the inside of the armour would become a breeding ground for bacteria – increasing the chances of debilitating infection, not to mention that the marines skin will begin to suffer from pressure sores, build up of dead tissue and lack of sunlight – a marine coming back off an extended campaign probably has a skin tone like the Borg as it is (the Black Carapace showing through virtually translucent skin). And yes, they could be given supplements to counteract this, but why bother when a more simple mechanism exists – take the armour off?

How do non-marines wear it?
Outside of the Astartes, the main users of power armour are the Adepta Sororitas, who don’t have the Black Carapace to links them into it. Therefore, I believe that there are essentially two types – active control and passive reaction.
Active control is otherwise classed as Astartes armour, and is the most technologically advanced and therefore, the most expensive to produce and maintain. A series of spikes on the dorsal armour plate link into plugs in the marines CNS (Central Nervous System), and when the marine makes a significant movement (for example, lifting an arm), the suit also picks up these signals within the nervous system, interprets them and sends a signal to the arm telling it to lift.
This would of course lead to issues if a marine’s nervous system started to break down past their own natural ability to heal. A condition similar to Parkinson’s could lead to the armour losing it’s own fine control, and could be a reason for a marine to be removed from active status and placed as a tutor for new initiates.

Most of the connection plugs would actually be at the base of the neck, whilst the plugs lower down would not only link into the CNS (and may be able to provide something close to a backup CNS in case the marine suffers a spinal injury – although considering such an injury would either cause significant trauma to the marine himself or to the backpack and connection plugs, this is an unlikely scenario for the marine to be able to take advantage of), but also the marines kidneys and liver – allowing for the removal of toxins, and the major veins for the transfer of nutrients (possibly including oxygen when the suit is sealed, although this is probably filtered into the helmet allowing them to breathe as normal) and drugs to counteract toxins and heal wounds. Some chapters may also inject combat drugs as well.
Active control systems do have an additional drawback that the plug points, especially those for non-CNS connections, are potential sites for infection to gain access to the body. It is highly likely that when the armour is removed, the plugs are treated with broad spectrum antibiotics and anti-virals, and then sealed over with a black carapace material cover (like a sticking plaster), until the marine is next required to don their armour, when the spikes are sterilised and the covers removed.

Passive control, or Sororitas armour is much cheaper, and is likely how the first couple of marks of power armour were controlled. These suits do not have the spikes on the dorsal armour plate, instead, the internal systems constantly monitor the wearers movements and respond – if the wearer lifts their arm, the suit detects it, and moves the suits arm at the same speed until it detects the wearers arm has stopped moving, when it ceases movement also.

This is much cheaper than active control, but the suit will lag slightly behind the wearer, affecting their agility and reactions, wheras active control will move with the wearer, giving no such lag. Sufficiently rapid movements could cause the suit to either overcompensate or lock up however.

In addition, the wearer will not have the same life support connections to the armour as marines do, meaning that the wearer likely has to insert catheter tubes for urine and faeces collection, and have water dispensing tube and oxygen mask easily available in their chest armour or helmet. The wearers will have to eat normally however, which gives a lower limit to their endurance, wheras marines can be supplied nutrients constantly, and have most of their waste products recycled back into nutrients – the Sororitas almost certainly will have to empty the life support waste store tanks on a regular basis, although even for them, all possible nutrients will be extracted and reprocessed back for reconsumption, leaving the minimum possible un-recycled waste.

As an aside, other groups that have power armour or an equivalent available to them, such as Inquisitors, wealthy rogue traders, some members of the Adeptus Mechanicus will probably also be able to have active control implants inserted – the black carapace is possibly the simplest of a marines’ extra organs, and the plugs themselves could be inserted with very little difficulty.

Kage2020
08-08-2008, 14:57
...and increase the strength and endurance of the wearer, allowing them to carry heavier weapons and more ammunition...
Yeah, but proportionately not by much. Without the armour they can personally carry four times what any one squire (average human; sorry for the Knight analogy! ;)) could carry. The only thing that would get in their way would be volume, and even then what is one squire going to carry that the Knig... Marine could not?

Ah well. If only we could have most of the strength provided by the power armour rather than the Marine himself. <wink>


How much does it weigh?
IIRC from the "overdone" version of power armour, as much as that means anything, a Marine in PA came to about 1,000-1,200 lbs... So something like 1.5 times as heavy as the Marine in it.

Erm, just out of interest.


...but the more unwieldy it becomes and the more it costs to produce and maintain...
Again going from memory, but the above design cost something in the realms of 36 lasguns, and took something like... No, I cannot remember the number of hours of maintenance.


...a far cry from the fiction where marines stride unconcerned through a swathe of incoming fire, the bullets bouncing off their armour.
Tanks and small arms fire... relatively. <wink>


Therefore, I believe that there are essentially two types – active control and passive reaction.
There isn't going to be a huge amount of difference between the two different types, and where there is it would primarily be in reaction time. Some might say "flexibility" or some other reference to the purported ability of a Marine in armour to act like he's not wearing it, but I think that even a basic look at the armour itself and show that's not going to be the case. ;)


As an aside, other groups that have power armour or an equivalent available to them, such as Inquisitors, wealthy rogue traders, some members of the Adeptus Mechanicus will probably also be able to have active control implants inserted – the black carapace is possibly the simplest of a marines’ extra organs, and the plugs themselves could be inserted with very little difficulty.
Given that DNI's aren't that hard to come by in the 40k universe, I wouldn't be surprised. ;)

Of course, I would imagine that Marine armour is still, on average, a tad more advanced than the majority of individuals are going to be able to get their hands on. :D

That's just me, perhaps.

Kage

madd0ct0r
08-08-2008, 16:10
Of course, I would imagine that Marine armour is still, on average, a tad more advanced than the majority of individuals are going to be able to get their hands on. :D

That's just me, perhaps.

Kage

It probably depends on the chapter. the difference is too small to notice in 40K and probably too small even for Inquisitor

Kage2020
08-08-2008, 17:38
Aye, at least in terms of "armour protection," although we have a cludge from that brought over from the Wargame (how easy it is to kill Marines vs. their armour saves, etc. :rolleyes: ).

With that said, I see less difference between armour from Chapter to Chapter than I do between Astartes Power Armour and that which is available to normal humans. Mostly weight for Chapter armour, but a whole suite of differences for non-Marine power armour (e.g. less power, less "gubbins" in it in terms of tactical interfaces, etc.).

Kage

madd0ct0r
08-08-2008, 22:47
Astartes Power armour would be a good two foot bigger for a start. You can't scale structual elements up linearly. The Marines suit would have to be even thicker inorder to support the extra weight. This extra thickness is also extra weight and so on.

Marine Armour would be seriuosly heavy duty compared to that of Inq's or sisters.

Sai-Lauren
11-08-2008, 08:14
Astartes Power armour would be a good two foot bigger for a start. You can't scale structual elements up linearly. The Marines suit would have to be even thicker inorder to support the extra weight. This extra thickness is also extra weight and so on.

Marine Armour would be seriuosly heavy duty compared to that of Inq's or sisters.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgggghhh!

Can we have it in forty foot high letters of fire please - marines are seven feet tall, not eight. :p



IIRC from the "overdone" version of power armour, as much as that means anything, a Marine in PA came to about 1,000-1,200 lbs... So something like 1.5 times as heavy as the Marine in it.

I'll admit I was kind of surprised with how the weight numbers came out, a little light for what I expected too. But if a marine himself is in the 300-350 lb range (NFL lineman weight territory, but with a linebacker-styled physique - get above that weight and they're into serious medical issues), then with armour and full equipment, they're probably up at around 1,000 lbs gross weight.



Again going from memory, but the above design cost something in the realms of 36 lasguns, and took something like... No, I cannot remember the number of hours of maintenance.

Yes, but presumably there's the techmarines, servitors and chapter serfs to do all the work. Total turnaround would be the time for the longest work (helmet, backpack and maybe the chest plate), plus tests of the rebuilt suit on diagnostic rigs.

Or maybe the marine simply drops their armour off, finds a chaplain to bless their spare suit and goes off to war again.



There isn't going to be a huge amount of difference between the two different types, and where there is it would primarily be in reaction time. Some might say "flexibility" or some other reference to the purported ability of a Marine in armour to act like he's not wearing it, but I think that even a basic look at the armour itself and show that's not going to be the case.

Didn't I say that about the reaction time (suit lagging slightly behind the wearer)? :D
The neural links will help Marines move like they're not wearing it, but the rest will be down to training. I don't believe in the back flips and somersaults of the worst of the fluff, and they'll certainly be more agile out of their armour, but they'll still be used to what they can and can't do in it.



Of course, I would imagine that Marine armour is still, on average, a tad more advanced than the majority of individuals are going to be able to get their hands on.

Hmm, ok, go for three types of armour - passive response (sororitas and anyone who can't afford the surgery), active control (neural connections) and Astartes (which has everything, including the biomedical connections)?

Sojourner
11-08-2008, 08:27
I would like to draw attention to one thing;

12kW? That's a lot of power. And that statement alone pretty much proves that it's impossible to run power armour at full capacity in vacuum. Interesting, no? It'd be hard enough to dissipate that much power in our atmosphere, in vacuum you're relying on radiators, and satellites operating on maybe 1% of that power need huge, fragile radiators of such a size as to be totally impractical on an armour suit. There's a rather good chapter in The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - I'm sure many of you have read it - where the platoon are in harsh environment training on Pluto and a trooper damages his suit's radiators - the rest of them have to build a shelter in vacuum and pressurise it so that he can get out of the rapidly-overheating suit and into an undamaged one to keep him alive.

So, the point I'm making is that though we see power armoured marines operating in hard vacuum now and then, I'd say that they're going to be extremely limited in duration simply by the power required to operate their armour.

Joe Kutz
11-08-2008, 09:35
Power which is used to move wouldn't generate a lot of heat. It will be translated into kinetic energy not thermal.

On the wind turbines I have here on the ranch, they generate power all the time. In order to keep them from burning out the internal grid - some of that power gets dumped onto the main power grid...however a good bit of it is pushed towards a water pump that simply recirculates water in the irrigation reservoir. The load provided prevents an electrical overload of the rest of the circuits.

While there may be resistive heat generation within the internal workings of the armor - there is nothing to say that there would need to be. Again, that is a function of efficiency of the conductors and similar materials. If you run a current through something with 0 resistance...there is 0 heat generated. We do not have access to those types of materials...but the 40K universe may very well have access to them.

More to the point - most electric cars (cars - not those golf cart things) use around 10-23 kW per hour at around 80% efficiency. So a futuristic armored tank in the form of a suit of armor may very well use 12 kW (or significantly more...).

leo_neil316
11-08-2008, 10:11
According to dark heresy full power armour (for a human) weighs 65kg, costs 15 000 thrones increases the users strength by 20% and your size by one step (taking an 'average' height human to 'hulking' which, I just noticed has the side affect of letting you move faster). It also requires a power source (normally in the form of a backpack) to work. Non-military standard sources only work for a few hours.

An 'average' human has a strength and toughness of just over 30. Still going by dark heresy they can.

(weights are determined by adding your strength and toughness bonus [the first number of the stat so 3 each for a human] together)

Carry comfortably: 36kg
Lift off the ground: 73kg
Push along the ground: 144kg

In power armour that would be.

Carry comfortably: 56kg
Lift off the ground: 122kg
Push along the ground: 225kg

Now a marine starts at size 'hulking' has a strength and toughness of just over 40 -and- the unnatural strength and toughness traits (which double the bonuses) Astartes grade power armour provides more protection (by alot) includes autosenses (photo-visors, magnoculars etc), rebreathers, respirators and it's own power supply which lasts to the point it's almost irrelevant. And the usual +20% to strength of course.

So a Marine is hulking and can...

Carry comfortably: 675kg
Lift off the ground: 1,350kg
Push along the ground: 2,700kg.

And in his power armour is enourmus (and consequently moves twice as fast as a human) and can....

Carry comfortably: 1,350kg
Lift off the ground: 2,700kg
Push along the ground: 5,400kg

Thats enough to easily pick up a human in power armour -and use him as a weapon-.

So with the huge power requirements (much more mass to move, dozens of extra systems to operate -and- the incredible amount of strength, even with the marine doing most of the work) -and- the almost indefinite power source we're looking at some kind of incredibly efficient, possibly self sustaining to a point, reaction.

Now what would be -awesome- is if it was some kind of strontinum generator thingy that drew in as much ambient energy as it could get away with. To the point the air tempreture -dropped- around marines?

madd0ct0r
11-08-2008, 13:06
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgggghhh!

Can we have it in forty foot high letters of fire please - marines are seven feet tall, not eight. :p

The neural links will help Marines move like they're not wearing it, but the rest will be down to training. I don't believe in the back flips and somersaults of the worst of the fluff, and they'll certainly be more agile out of their armour, but they'll still be used to what they can and can't do in it.



A historical recreationist I know has a full suit of plate armour. Not only can he move in it (and quickly) but until his daughter snapped his kneecap he used to be able to do handstands in it.
This is plate armour, no active support, no servo muscle fibres.

icegreentea
11-08-2008, 13:37
A historical recreationist I know has a full suit of plate armour. Not only can he move in it (and quickly) but until his daughter snapped his kneecap he used to be able to do handstands in it.
This is plate armour, no active support, no servo muscle fibres.

Plate armor is relatively uniform over the body. Power armor isn't. The backpack alone would make many moves extremely hard to do because it shifts the center of balance around. Dive rolls from a full sprint, or side ways combat rolls using the entire body (flinging arms and pushing off with legs) is probably possible. But the really acrobatic stuff is probably out of the question. I don't even think a Marine could raise his hands enough to do a real hand stand. The shoulder pads and all.

Also, for operation in vacuum. I think we can ignore that for sake of fluff consistency. If you want to argue that power armor cannot operate in vacuum due to heat dissipation, you also have to argue that practically no super-tech/warp imbued ship in 40k can actually operate due to heat dissipation. Have you looked at the lines of a Imperial battleship? The closest thing they have to dissipators are the giant churches spires stuck ontop. Aside from that, they are giant metal boxes.

Sai-Lauren
11-08-2008, 13:42
A historical recreationist I know has a full suit of plate armour. Not only can he move in it (and quickly) but until his daughter snapped his kneecap he used to be able to do handstands in it.
This is plate armour, no active support, no servo muscle fibres.

A marine probably can do a handstand in power armour - so long as he could also do one out of it, and that kind of acrobatic physical control is probably something that isn't really taught - at best they would have melee combat blocking and dodging and zero-g maneuvering, not rhythmic gymnastics.
It's just that some of the fluff has them bouncing and spinning around like amphetamine-dosed Harlequins entering a breakdancing competition on a trampoline. ;)

As for the figures from Dark Heresy, I'd just like to point out that the laws of physics still apply - a marine lifting a tonne plus is just about to tip over because there's nothing acting as a counterweight, and he himself is certainly not able to absorb that kind of weight distribution - even if his armour and skeleton could actually handle the weight in the first place (that's pretty much the weight range of a family car BTW).

Although I must say that I've neither seen the DH rule set myself, nor do I have any real desire to do so. ;)

icegreentea
11-08-2008, 13:43
Now what would be -awesome- is if it was some kind of strontinum generator thingy that drew in as much ambient energy as it could get away with. To the point the air tempreture -dropped- around marines?

That's not possible. To generate power, you need a thermal gradient. So your strontium reactor has to have a hot spot and a cold spot. Since the generator works by tapping into the heat of radioactive decay, your strontium is your hot spot, and the surroundings is the cold spot.

If your generator is somehow absorbing heat energy, that either means you have a temperature gradient going the other direction (your surroundings are already hotter than your generator), or you are using energy to cool the surroundings (which increases the overall heat in the system of generator-surroundings). The first case does not allow you to produce energy, because your generator will quickly reach equilibrium with surroundings (no more gradient). The second will not allow you to produce 'extra' energy compared to using a straight RTG. Because the extra heat/energy required to cool the surroundings will also be greater than the extra gained. Laws of Thermodynamics, and also why we cannot have perpetual motion machines (the generating kind).

Kage2020
11-08-2008, 14:19
I'll admit I was kind of surprised with how the weight numbers came out, a little light for what I expected too. But if a marine himself is in the 300-350 lb range (NFL lineman weight territory...
The original calculation was based on a 350lb Marine, but there we go.


Yes, but presumably there's the techmarines, servitors and chapter serfs to do all the work. Total turnaround would be the time for the longest work (helmet, backpack and maybe the chest plate), plus tests of the rebuilt suit on diagnostic rigs.
Actually, now that I think about it, the price would be closer to perhaps as much as 180-360 lasguns. I modeled Marine armour at the very extremes of what the Adeptus Mechanicus can produce, while the lasgun is something that is solidly in their manufacturing capability and thus, for me, tends to be divvied out on a franchise.


The neural links will help Marines move like they're not wearing it, but the rest will be down to training. I don't believe in the back flips and somersaults of the worst of the fluff, and they'll certainly be more agile out of their armour, but they'll still be used to what they can and can't do in it.
Of course they'll be used to the physical limitations imposed by the suit itself and, as you say, better than someone without that DNI in the same shapedsuit.


Hmm, ok, go for three types of armour - passive response (sororitas and anyone who can't afford the surgery), active control (neural connections) and Astartes (which has everything, including the biomedical connections)?
I would be tempted to up the tech of the Adepta Sororitas armour in terms of materials, unless of course the argument is that the armour is created by the Adeptus Ministorum (cannot remember), in which case the above is broadly fine with me! :D


12kW? That's a lot of power.
Aye, I know. To be fair, though, that was as mentioned above built on a "too strong" version of power armour.


According to dark heresy full power armour (for a human) weighs 65kg, costs 15 000 thrones increases the users strength by 20% and your size by one step (taking an 'average' height human to 'hulking' which, I just noticed has the side affect of letting you move faster). It also requires a power source (normally in the form of a backpack) to work. Non-military standard sources only work for a few hours.
Nyargle. To be honest, though, the figures are broadly the same as Inquisitor, and the creative assumption seems to be is that power armour is just "heavy full plate armour," rather than being a true technological system.


And in his power armour is enourmus (and consequently moves twice as fast as a human) and can....
This, for me, indicates borderline... well, silliness, especially with the values you indicate. Comfortably carrying over a ton!?

(Didn't go through the calculations myself in case there was a slight error, but there we go...)


The shoulder pads and all.
Aye. And a Marine in power armour might not be able to boast about the size of the critter he just killed... ;)


Although I must say that I've neither seen the DH rule set myself, nor do I have any real desire to do so.
If you like RPGs that are incredibly themed, which is to say quite parochial in that they deal with a very small subset of the 40k universe, then it might be the game for you. Well, you've also got to like the theme of "dark medieval fantasy in space" taken up and sprinted with... :D

Kage