[1.1.2] Okram Industries Fuel Cells (OIFC v1.1)

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This is an update to my original thread as I no longer have access to that account, and I've split the parts and the plugin into different parts.

Included is a collection of two types of fuel cells--radial and stackable--each available in three different sizes.  Originally these parts were created alongside a plugin I wrote to demonstrate its capabilities, but they ended up shaping its development and are more polished than a simple cube or cylinder.  The plugin behind them will let the electric charge of your craft float up and down, and, by default, only generate power (and thus consume fuel) when your craft is very low on power and there is additional demand for it.  You won't have to constantly turn the fuel cell on/off to conserve fuel on hybrid-power vehicles when they're in the shadow of a celestial body.

It also gives you different modes to generate power, and you can switch between them at will.  There's also much more eye candy than the stock parts have, though as of the 1.1 update there are a few graphical glitches I'm still trying to iron out.  However, the plugin working the magic has been extensively tested, and I'm unaware of any bugs in the current version.  Plugin source code, discussion, and additional resources for modders using it can be found in its respective thread.

Download at SpaceDock here, or at DropBox here.  Also available on CKAN.


Q: Why is it not generating power?
A: Check to see what the "Status" says in the tweakable (right-click) menu.  "Nominal" means it is generating power.  If it says "No Demand", see the next question.  The other states are fairly self-explanatory.

Q: Why does it the "Status" say "No Demand" when my ElectricCharge is less than 100% full?
A: The fuel cells are meant to only provide power when it is needed, i.e. "on demand."  As vessels often have several means of generating power, such as solar panels, RTGs, or engines with alternators, it is best to let the ElectricCharge (EC) stored in batteries (or any other part of the vessel) "float" up and down with supply and demand.  Only when there is still demand for power, without additional supply to compensate, will the fuel cell burn precious fuel to produce the required EC.  The "Threshold" tweakable can be used to decide at what point the fuel cell should generate power, in percent of total vessel EC.

Q: Should I ever raise the "Threshold" setting?
A: In most cases, no, and this is why the default value is the minimum.  It's best to leave this setting as low as possible to make the best use of a vessel's limited resources.  There are, however, a couple cases where it may be beneficial to raise this value, permanently or temporarily.

	The first case is when you have several fuel cells on a single vessel, operating in different modes (if they are in the same mode you want identical threshold settings).  You may want one fuel type used over another, e.g. (with the included parts) LiquidFuel + Oxidizer to be preferred over MonoPropellant.  The simplest way to do this is just to raise the threshold of the fuel cell burning the preferred fuel by one increment above the other.  Then, only if the power demands rise above what the higher threshold fuel cell can provide, and sink below what the secondary fuel cell's threshold is, will it start burning the more precious or desirable fuel to make up for the difference.

	The second case is if you are separating a single vessel into multiple vessels, via a decoupler, separator, or docking port, and one of the parts will be limited in its ability to produce ElectricCharge.  For example, imagine a battery-powered Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) separating from a Command/Service Module (CSM) that holds the fuel cell(s) but only a fraction of the total EC.  You would want the LEM to be fully charged before separating, so you can get the maximum charge out of its batteries for landing on the Mun.  Here you would want to temporarily set the threshold to 100%, just before you plan to separate the LEM.  As soon as things are fully charged, set the threshold back down and separate the LEM, and continue your Mun landing with full power.

Q: I've set the "Threshold" to 100%, and despite having enough power from other sources, it keeps burning fuel!  Why?
A: I'll avoid a full technical description of why this happens, but suffice it to say it's due to a limitation within the Unity engine.  For this reason I strongly recommend never leaving any fuel cell "Threshold" at 100% for anything more than a brief instant, or you may be wasting fuel.  It's also theoretically possible, though less likely, for this to occur at even lower percentages, in cases where you have large power draws (e.g. several ion thrusters), large alternative sources of power (e.g. big solar panels in full sun near Kerbol), and very little maximum ElectricCharge for a craft (no batteries).

	The only case where setting the "Threshold" tweakable to 100% will not waste fuel is when there are no alternative sources of power (remember, some engines generate power) for this stage or any later stage containing the fuel cell, and there will be no docking with the vessel ever.

Q: I really like your plugin.  Can I use it with parts I make, and is there any documentation?
A: Yes, you can use it with your own parts as long as you follow the plugin's license.  The documentation pertaining to the plugin are HTML files that are included in the plugin-only release, along with its source code.  See the "On Demand Fuel Cells" mod to obtain these.

Known Issues:

Known issues with v1.1
 - At certain angles, the particles from an emitter can disappear
 - When highlighted, the particles from an emitter can disappear, and you can occasionally see through areas of the parts
 - Components of the fuel cells may disappear when viewed from certain angles

Change Log:

 - Release split into two pieces; plugin is now distributed separately from the OI parts, to ease CKAN support
 - Parts rebalanced, to be closer to the stock KSP fuel cells released in KSP 1.0 (compared to the previous release, the OI fuel cells are now ~5x more efficient but provide 50% of their previous maximum power)
 - Recreated parts in Unity 5.x and using the new PartTools; may look slightly different from the previous release

 - Initial release (for KSP v0.90)


All files contained within are copyright `Orum on the KSP forums.  This license also grants the following rights and restrictions.

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Edited by `Orum

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I like.

I never use fuel cells because I hate the management, but this should work as I intend to use fuel cell!


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Nice mod, at first I wondered "do I need more fuel cells.., hmm on demand fuel cells, that's a great idea!, let's have a look - whoa those look funky and even in flight, time to install this"

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