|Release Date: |
May 28, 2017
1.16 1.15 1.12
Mekanism is a technology-themed mod, and provides tiered machines and tools that are interesting at most if not all stages of the game. There’s energy generation, pipelines for items, energy, liquid and gas, and teleportation. It’s got a bit of everything, though there’s no in-game manual, so you’d have to do a bit of wiki surfing. The official mekanism wiki has most of the more important stuff up to date, but still leaves a bit to be desired in terms of details and polish.
This page is not intended to replace the Mekanism wiki, but more to provide information, tips and tricks about how to make progress and to make use of the tools offered within the context of Valhelsia 3.
Some notable benefits offered by Mekanism:
- Ore Doubling, Tripling, Quadrupling, Quintupling
- Energy generation solutions through out the game
- Remote Mining
If you ever get confused about a specific setup, chances are you can find some explanations in RagePlaysGames’ mekanism video series.
Follow Mekanism’s official Getting Started guide; notably, grab the “osmium ore” you see that litters the underground. One of the key selling points of Mekanism is its tiered ore processing system, which allows you to go from vanilla’s 1-ore-1-ingot system to up to 1-ore-5-ingots at mid-late game, making resources much less of an issue.
Some Heat Generators in passive mode (i.e. submerged/surrounded) by lava is enough to provide for some decent stable generation to sustain you up to Tier 2 ore processing. Do NOT spend resources and energy on making large numbers of normal and advanced solar panels. They are decent for quickly getting some temporary generation in far-off locations, but do not scale very well. Instead, explore the world and make sure to keep an eye out for melons.
Pipelines and Machine Faces
A frequent head-scratcher for new players when it comes to Mekanism is the sides of machines, and how to get stuff from one place to another. In Mekanism, there are 5 main kinds of “stuff” that can be moved around: Energy, Items, Liquid, Gas, Heat. You start off with the first being your main issues, and more comes into play as you expand your tech tree. Each of these resources have their corresponding pipeline type -- universal cables, logistical pipes, mechanical pipes, pressurized pipes, and thermodynamic pipes. If you mismatch the resource type with the pipe type, stuff won’t move.
Additionally, most machines in mekanism can have their sides configured to do different things. When you look in the UI of a machine, say an electrolytic separator, you’d see the main progress UI, some “tanks” that indicate internal cache of resources, as well as side tabs for energy usage, redstone signal mod, and sides. The sides UI again has its own tabs, for things from items to energy to gases and such, as long as they are applicable. This might be a lot to take in at first, but fortunately the machine input complexity rises as you go through the game. With an Energized Smelter, for example, things are simplish -- you can have one type of item input, energy input, and one type of item output. Typically the “front” of the machine is the side facing you when you plop the machine down and the side with little screens, and the other sides are based off of that, instead of where you are when you click the machine, so keep that in mind.
Typically, as long as you connect the right types of pipes to machines and set the sides correctly, the resources should flow no problem, though sometimes you need to set a pipe to pull from machines -- mechanical pipe to pull from sinks or dynamic tanks, for example -- or the liquid won’t flow even if the pipe appears connected (the pipes won’t appear connected if the target block is incompatible). To do that, you craft a configurator, and shift-right click the connecting bit of the pipe with the block. When you aim at the pipe, you’d notice that within a block’s space, a pipe is split into a central portion (the part that floats in the air if you just put the pipe down on dirt) and end portions that actually connect with the machines. The end portions you can configure to push (turns the pipe to a funnel shape into the machine) or pull (turns the pipe into a suction cup shape from the machine), and pull typically does the job.
Digital miner takes a lot of energy to run, but in return teleports ores in an area around it directly to its inventory. Even if you don’t have the power generation to sustain it, you can still save up and run it manually to get some of the harder-to-find stuff, such as diamonds in the early game -- just mining out your local area is enough to sustain you into the mid game. Moving it around with an energy cube is also a valid means of early resource gathering.
Things that you might not realize this allows you to do:
- Extremely easy access to diamonds in the early game
- Extremely easy access to rare magical ore used for other mods
- Unlimited Eternal Stella. Durability won’t be an issue any longer. Use them with any tool that has a durability stat to it (except tetra) in a smithing table to get the indestructible version -- Elytra, Sandpaper, Hoe, Armor...
Melons are important in that they grow as a normal crop, but the resulting crop can be split into multiple slices. Why is that important?
Introducing the Gas Burning Generator (GBG) and the Pressurized Reaction Chamber (PRC). The PRC allows you to combine water and hydrogen and biofuel (which you get by crushing biomatter), and acquire ethylene, a type of gas fuel that is extremely energy-dense -- 1mb/t of burning ethylene generates about 11 kFE/t, and this bad boi can burn up to 6.4mb/t for about 70 kFE/t. Compare that to the advanced solar generator, which produces 105 FE/t, or the heat generator, which is about 30 FE/t, and you’ll realize why this is something you might want to rush a bit to acquire.
Melons, as it turns out, crushes into 5 biofuel. However, if you turn it into slices first -- we recommend the Compacting Drawer from Storage Drawers -- you get 9 slices that each individual crushes into 4 biofuel, making melons the most energy efficient crop to grow. That, and it also conveniently can grow inside a Garden Cloche from Immersive Engineering. The Garden Cloche, some basic generation to kick start the process, a PRC and a GBG, and you’ll be on your way to increasing your energy production by 10000%.
Manually feeding the GBG gets a bit boring though, which is why you should, at this point or preferably earlier, consider automation of crafting and planting -- we recommend Refined Storage.
You absolutely want the Energy upgrades, and usually also the Speed upgrades.
Speed upgrades improve machine speed, each increases operation speed, but also increases energy cost.
TicksRequired = DefaultTicks x pow(UpgradeMultiplier, -NumberOfUpgrades/8)
EnergyUsage = DefaultUsage x pow(UpgradeMultiplier, (2 x SpeedUpgrades - EnergyUpgrades)/8 )
Since the default Upgrade Multiplier is 10, 8x SU and 8x EU yields a net result of 10x energy cost per item, but at a vastly improved speed.
- If you have plenty of energy to spend, 8x SUs give you 10x production speed (10% production time), and at 10x the energy cost if you have 8x EUs. Seems fair!
- If you like your current energy situation, having twice the number of EUs as SUs will maintain current levels of energy usage.
- If you have more materials than energy generation (for some reason), at 8x EUs your energy consumption is 1/10x of its normal state.
- If the machine uses gas, make sure you have as many Gas Upgrades as you do SUs, or else you’ll see a severe uptick in gas usage.
Fission Reactors are big, spooky, require lots of setup, and might go boom if not handled correctly, and yet don’t really produce all that much power, so overall they are more liabilities than assets. However, if you want to get to Mekanism’s end game, you are required to do them, as you need something produced from its by-products.
So how do you prepare for the live-bomb that is the fission reactor?
- The boom. You don’t build the reactor for it to go boom, but you must be aware that it could. The explosion itself will annihilate the reactor proper, leave a crater about the size of a few charged creepers, and leave a whole bunch of radiation floating in the air in an area with a 5 chunk radius (total area of about 100 chunks) around it. As such, don’t build it anywhere near places you like to frequent, and don’t put anything you like keeping (as you can visit radiated zones with hazmat suits) immediately around it, perhaps with a berth of 16+ blocks.
- How to build the reactor. Rage’s series has enough on the topic, so I won’t go into this.
- Positioning. Do not build the reactor on chunk borders. Make sure the reactor and its coolant solutions are chunkloaded.
- Cooling. If you are not confident with your water sources, probably build a turbine to create a closed loop for water.
- Reactor automated SCRAM. The reactor logic ports allow you to either send redstone signals based on reactor events, or to activate/deactivate it on signal/the lack thereof. Make use of this. Personally, I have the following setup where I have 2 reactor ports reporting high temperature and full nuclear waste signals, both feeding into the same redstone line for a natural OR gate, piping into a redstone negater, which then connects to a reactor port with the activation mode, so that after manually starting the reactor, the signal is on and aligns with reactor state. The hazard-signal redstone line also feeds into a piston ready to remove the redstone in front of the activation port, so if anything goes wrong, the reactor won’t attempt to reboot after the hazard situation is temporarily relieved.
- Note, fissile fuel and all its precursors are safe -- you can break containers or pipes with them in it and have no risk of radiation. HOWEVER, breaking any machinery, container or pipeline with nuclear waste, polonium, plutonium or spent nuclear waste will irradiate a 5-chunk radius; radioactive gases cannot be removed with a gauge dropper, cannot be stored in chemical tanks, and cannot be turned into fluids. If you have a pipeline containing any amounts of them, either plan to keep it forever, or extend it towards waste barrels. Oh, and waste barrels can only delete waste / spent waste. It does nothing to polonium.
- Sodium. Some claim that sodium cooling is literally the same as water and there’s no point to it. The github code on the reactor says otherwise, notably that sodium is twice as good at drawing away heat from the reactor as water is, which aligns with Rage’s video, where sodium coolant is then used in a boiler to power up a turbine.
The reactor can go boom because it reaches too much heat, and starts to take damage if it remains in high temperature.
0. Your reactor normally reduces heat via coolants. If you are not keeping up with the water/sodium supply, your reactor will go boom.
1. If you didn't setup pipeline loops between your reactor and turbine properly, it might go boom.
2. Your stable closed-loop reactor/(boiler)/turbine setup might be disrupted if your are not using your energy fast enough.
3. Your turbine will lose water if it's on Dumping. It should NOT be on Dumping. Probably not even dumping excess, as that also indicates water lost.
4. If your nuclear waste are not being drained fast enough and they accumulates, they will leak and also increase reactor heat.
5. If your nuclear waste processing machine -- notably the Solar Neutron Activator -- is not procesing the waste fast enough, almost definitely due to night fall, waste might build up in the pipes. If you used low grade pipes, they might not have enough internal buffer, and that could lead to waste accumulation. Additionally, if you are not making any more pellets due to, say, insufficient fluorite, guess what, that can also cause a waste buildup and eventually to a boom.
6. Alternatively, if you are not extracting outputs from your downstream machines, you could still get a waste buildup.
7. Funnily enough, few people actually get a reactor accident from the wastebarrels. But do checkups on them periodically and provide new barrels anyway.
8. Even if you have a reactor SCRAM circuit, if the redstone circuit leading to the activation port is not set to get disabled after a reactor failure event, it might cool down a bit and go right back into overheat.
So, what can you do?
1. Closed loop turbine setup that, when stabilized, can fully handle your steam output.
2. Fully automated waste processing -- including collection of pellets.
3. A breaker circuit that does not reset itself.
4. An energy sink on the turbine or somewhere in your energy system.
5. Do NOT go max burn rate on an untested setup.
How large should my turbine be?
- Energy generation is based on the number of blades.
- Blades are 2 per shaft.
- Shaft height is limited by base width -- [2xW - 5], up to a max of 14. For a 5x5 base, your shaft can be at most 5-tall (i.e. 10 blades). For up to 9-tall shaft, you need 7x7 base, and for 13 tall, you need 9x9.
- The base is at most 17x17, though the max shaft height is still only 14 due to the total height limit of 18.
- The sides of the cuboid must all be turbine casing.
- The bottom must be entirely turbine casing.
- The sides can be structural glass, turbine casing or turbine valves, UP TO the same height as the top-most shaft piece.
- The 1st level above the shaft should have 1 rotational complex, surrounded by all pressure dispensers all the way to the edge of the square, where it should be all turbine casings.
- Above the rotational complex there should be an electromagnetic coil, and more should be placed contiguous to it, up to a certain number -- you need one EM Coil per 4 blades. For the remainder of that level, you can put in Saturating condensers, which determine the rate at which you can turn steam back to water.
- Above them you can have internal levels filled with either more condensers or air, anywhere inside the space.
- Above (but not including) the rotational complex level, you can use turbine vents instead of turbine casings on the exterior faces of the upper turbine, including the top face.
Notes about turbine usage
- Like other mekanism machines, you can vent excess steam if they are piling up. HOWEVER, this should not happen if you are reaching input/output equilibrium in a closed-loop system.
- Like other mekanism machines, if there’s not enough demand for the energy it’s generating, and its internal buffer is full, the turbine will slow down to only match the demand, no matter how much steam your reactor is pumping into it. IF your turbine appears to be underperforming, check this first before tearing it down and adding more vents/condensers.