Shielded ships in scifi- why all the sparks?

Sluis Van Shipyards

Legendary Member
One thing that has always kind of bugged me about scifi, Star Trek I'm looking at you, is that ships that supposedly have shields always throw sparks out of consoles and equipment. If your ship still has shields, regardless of whether they are at 100% or 20% your ship is sustaining absolutely no damage until the shields are totally down. So why do they keep doing this? The only thing I can think of is that they think the audience is stupid and can't figure out they're under attack unless they give us this false feedback. You could still show the ship rocking from impact, just no sparks!
 

Wes R

Legendary Member
I think they do it to create drama and partly they probably figure we're stupid. I could see sparks in an episode say when the shield overload or something but yeah the ships sure seem to spark a lot and then are suddenly fixed.
 

DarkHelmet

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I always reasoned that if that many sparks flew, with plumes of smoke..nothing is going to be working afterward.
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
I always reasoned that if that many sparks flew, with plumes of smoke..nothing is going to be working afterward.

My thoughts exactly. When I did my avionics training in the Navy, our instructor used to joke that a resistor works because of the smoke inside of it. Once you let out the smoke, it needs to be replaced. :p

I guess we have to believe that whatever components in ST tech is way superior to current electronic components. I guess they are self correcting.
 

CessnaDriver

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You have to understand why things work aboard a starship!

Shields must oppose any force with an equal amount. That force must be generated internally by the ship by redirecting massive energies to the shield generators. It must happen nearly instantaneously, normally this results in mere jolting, however....under extreme conditions, the protective circuits cannot react quickly enough because so much energy is being transferred to the shield generators. Protecting the ships internal systems takes great energy as well, You either fully protect your circuits and sacrifice shield energy to do so, or bite the bullet and let some circuits fry, redundancy has been designed with this in mind, back up circuits exist.

Yeah, that's the ticket.
 

0neiros

Master Member
In trek it has been explained that there are no fuses because the systems need a lot of energy and are direct energy plasma powered. No wiring etc.
 

Sigma-LS

Sr Member
Forget shields, how about some higher rated fuses. That's all they need.

So how did you fix the shields Jordie? I thought we were out of good fuses.

Just wedged a penny in the fuse box. It's only a temporary fix but it should work for now. Let's just hope the feedback isn't too much for the generators to handle.:lol
 

Wes R

Legendary Member
So how did you fix the shields Jordie? I thought we were out of good fuses.

Just wedged a penny in the fuse box. It's only a temporary fix but it should work for now. Let's just hope the feedback isn't too much for the generators to handle.:lol

Use .22 rounds like on mythbusters.
 

terryr

Sr Member
It's as if the main power cables are running right through their consoles. When it would be just a button that signals something down in Engineering. So the sparks should be down there if anywhere.

I worked in power plants with 600volt wiring. They all had circuit breakers. I guess that technology got lost.
 

DarkHelmet

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I remember putting tinfoil in the fusebox of my car once while in the Army. Fuses kept shorting out so a buddy said to try it.... yeah..young and dumb..
as soon as I turned the key, all hell broke loose. I watched a line of fire burn its way up the molding along the driver side window, straight to the dome light and burst. Looked like a lightsaber was cutting through it.

Killed my car.
 
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MasterDurangus

Well-Known Member
Actually, I think it's the actual intertia and force exerted. Most of the sci-fi shielding on ships isn't meant to stop physical force, such as a bullet, but more of energy, such as an energy based weapon or DEWs. But, these beams are still shot out at a tremendous amount of force (similar to a gun), and that force is constant in space. So while the shields absorb and redirect the energy, stopping that blast, the kinetic energy from the force makes the ship "jolt" or "shake" as you see in shows such as Stargate. I don't agree with the sparks/smoke, but the actual "ship quake" makes a little bit of sense.
 

SSgt Burton

Sr Member
...I can't believe I'm about to post this but...

[Trekkie Nerd hat on]


It is my understanding that shields can stop physical objects, otherwise common space debris would tear the ship to pieces. The shielding is supposed to be strong enough to protect against photon torpedoes (which are physical in nature).

Energy weapons drain shields. So nearly every space battle in Trek for example starts with phaser strikes to drain an enemy's shields, followed by photon torpedoes to destroy the ship.


[Trekkie Nerd hat off] ;)


Kevin
 

MasterDurangus

Well-Known Member
Haha, Kevin, I actually haven't watched very much Star Trek. I'm more of a Stargate/Star Wars kinda guy. Maybe even if the shields do stop physical objects, the kinetic force still exists to exert itself against the ship? I'm not sure!
 

SSgt Burton

Sr Member
Maybe even if the shields do stop physical objects, the kinetic force still exists to exert itself against the ship? I'm not sure!

Heh (more nerd answers ahead)---

The kinetic force "does" exert itself against the ship. Not too sure how that works (you would figure the shields would act like shock absorbers yet they don't. They're more like an umbrella you are holding onto in a bad storm).

However... The ship itself is equipped with "inertia dampeners" which are designed to prevent someone sitting in the ship from being moulded to the back wall when the ship goes into warpspeed.

You would figure the inertia dampeners would also prevent the crew from being violently jolted about when the ship takes a hit BUT...

The inertia dampeners have a slight lag; they can't keep up with an unexpected strike to the ship.


Wow... I need to get outside more often. :lol


Of course the real answer to all the sparks, jolts etc is drama. :angel


I'm going stop showing my nerdness for now. :lol


Kevin
 
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Treadwell

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The main deflector dish projects a field that nudges aside physical objects, and is on all the time when the ship is moving, or the tiniest particle collision could destroy the ship. In the early TOS days, they'd say "raise deflectors and shields". AND. So, originally, shields were apparently for energy only. They kinda got mooshed together over the years.
 
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