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James
16-07-2002, 01:01 AM
How exactly are beam sabers powered? I've heard of several ways...

First off I've heard of the beam saber being powered directly by the Gundam. This being done by the saber connecting too a circuit in the hand which then can transfer power directly from the Gundams main power supply to the saber itself. Thus giving it a seemingly unlimited power supply. This seems to be how it works as shown in The 08th MS Team in episode 7 where the RX-79's beam saber is used to melt the snow and ice. There is a brief shot of a circuit connecting when the Gundam grabs ahold of the saber hilt before activating it.

Now the second way I've heard that a beam saber is powered is through a charger which would be where the saber hilt is held. Over time the saber is charged sort of like a battery, and is then used when needed but only for a limited time as it would eventually drain empty. This can be somewhat supported by the fact that in 0083 Gato throws one of Gundam Physalis's sabers which remains active after leaving the Gundams hand.

So which one is right? Are they both really, and are just design advancements the Federation made over time? Is there some other way that the Federation made to power the beam saber later on down the UC timeline that I haven't heard of or are these the only real two?

Kerensky
16-07-2002, 10:11 AM
I'd go for the battery charger idea. As they have an internal power supply (that handle is at least a meter long after all) and it would charge when put into its sheath. Could probably last a good amount of time on, since that handle could hold an awful large battery in it. Then its just charged off the Gundam's power supply when not in use and put in its sheath.

I can't see the circuit being to plausable because then you'd have to plug in the beam saber everytime you wanted to use it unless it was permanently attached to the hand. Or the hand could be the charger like some razonrs today where the connection is made when the two pieces touch but thats probably not very likely either.

DarkPrimus
16-07-2002, 11:30 AM
Both beam saber power options are/were used by the Federation, and presumably by Zeon. However, the 'battery charged' beamsaber was what the RX-79 had, and was more common than the 'direct charge' beamsaber.

James
16-07-2002, 12:58 PM
So if the RX-79 used the charging method what was that bit of circuitry they showed connecting for when the Gundam grabed ahold of the saber hilt? My only assumption is that it was what allowed Shiro to change the beams intensity since he seemed to have to go into the Gundams arm to make the adjustments.

Here's another question that got brought up to me one time...

Now I'm not familiar with the mechanics of the Zaku's heat hawk, but I've always made the assumption that a beam saber and heat hawk could never actually clash since they've never really shown them come together in a duel. I've always assumed that since the beam saber is pure energy it would probably cut straight through the heat hawk if they actually did cross. However, someone pointed out that in the original Mobile Suit Gundam there was a particular fight between Char and Amaro where the beam saber and heat hawk did cross and the heat was fine. Although I've only seen the original show once I seemed to remember this as well which just got me wondering...

Could a heat hawk (or any other Zeon non-beam saber weapon) and beam saber cross, or was this just because it was the first show and they weren't really too big on the technical aspects of the whole series yet? I'd say they can't cross but besides that one incident we never really see the two weapons clash again. So what would you say? Can only a saber clash with another saber or do the Zeon's non-beam saber weapons work too?

James
16-07-2002, 01:09 PM
So if the RX-79 used the charging method what was that bit of circuitry they showed connecting for when the Gundam grabed ahold of the saber hilt? My only assumption is that it was what allowed Shiro to change the beams intensity since he seemed to have to go into the Gundams arm to make the adjustments.

Here's another question that got brought up to me one time...

Now I'm not familiar with the mechanics of the Zaku's heat hawk, but I've always made the assumption that a beam saber and heat hawk could never actually clash since they've never really shown them come together in a duel. I've always assumed that since the beam saber is pure energy it would probably cut straight through the heat hawk if they actually did cross. However, someone pointed out that in the original Mobile Suit Gundam there was a particular fight between Char and Amaro where the beam saber and heat hawk did cross and the heat was fine. Although I've only seen the original show once I seemed to remember this as well which just got me wondering...

Could a heat hawk and beam saber cross, or was this just because it was the first show and they weren't really too big on the technical aspects of the whole series yet? I'd say they can't cross but besides that one incident we never really see the two weapons clash again. So what would you say?

Lt Amada
16-07-2002, 08:55 PM
For some clarification, here is an article from Gundam Project on beam weapons.

Beam Weapons

The new weapons derived from Minovsky physics are referred to by the generic term "beam weapons." There are actually two distinct varieties of beam weapon - one that uses regular Minovsky particles, and another that employs the mega particles formed by fusing positive and negative Minovsky particles. As beam weapons continue to evolve, the technology is used to produce defensive devices and even propulsion systems.

The Mega Particle Cannon
The ubiquitous mega particle cannon - variously referred to as the beam cannon, beam gun, mega beam cannon, ad nauseum - is the standard armament of the Gundam world's warships and mobile armors. This weapon fires a focused beam of massive, high-velocity mega particles, which cannot be deflected by magnetic fields and tears through any conventional armor material.
To create the mega particles, a cannon-toting vehicle must first gather Minovsky particles from the vehicle's fusion reactor. The Minovsky particles are collected in a device called an energy condenser, where they are compressed in a high-density I-field until they fuse into mega particles. The performance of the mega particle cannon is thus limited by the reactor's ability to produce Minovsky particles.
Though it quickly becomes the standard armament of space warships, the mega particle cannon's high energy requirements and the sheer bulk of the energy condenser at first preclude its use in mobile suits. The Principality of Zeon's MS-05 Zaku and MS-06 Zaku II are thus armed with conventional projectile and missile weapons, rather than beam weapons.

The Beam Rifle
In order to work around the mega particle cannon's energy demands, the Earth Federal Forces develop the E-cap (a contraction of "energy capacitor"). This device stores Minovsky particles in a high-energy compressed state, so that only a small amount of additional energy is required to trigger their fusion into mega particles. The E-cap is charged by energy condensers at the mobile suit's home base or carrier ship, and then functions like a battery until its supply of particles is exhausted, at which point the weapon becomes useless. During the One Year War the Federal Forces perfect the E-cap and use it to create a miniaturized mega particle cannon called a beam rifle, with which their first prototype mobile suits are equipped.
The limited capacity of the E-cap proves to be a significant shortcoming. The RX-78 Gundam, for example, can only fire about 15 shots from its beam rifle before exhausting the E-cap's supply. Shortly after the end of the war, the beam rifle is further refined to use a removable E-cap module called an E-pack. A mobile suit equipped with spare E-packs can thus swap them in during a battle to replenish its beam rifle's particle supply.

Mega Particle Cannon Variants
The basic principles of the mega particle cannon and beam rifle are employed by a long list of spinoffs. Here are a few variations on this weapon design...
The self-sufficient mega bazooka launcher used by the MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki combines a powerful mega particle cannon with a dedicated reactor. The mega bazooka launcher even has its own thruster system, making it independently mobile - the only thing it needs the mobile suit for is aiming.
The FXA-08R Mega Rider, a development of the mega bazooka launcher which also serves as a support craft for transporting mobile suits, has its own cockpit so that it can be operated independently. Meanwhile, the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam's hyper mega launcher is a scaled-down version of the mega bazooka launcher. Lacking its own propulsion system, the mega launcher must be carried by the mobile suit.
The MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam's hyper mega particle cannon is a powerful built-in mega particle cannon, powered by the mobile suit's own reactors. Its mega particles are produced by a highly compact mega condenser. However, firing the weapon depletes the ZZ Gundam's energy reserves, rendering it powerless and immobile.
The beam smartgun used by the MSA-0011 S Gundam and MSZ-006C1 Zeta Plus is likewise powered by the mobile suit's reactor. The frame structure that connects the beam smartgun to the mobile suit serves as a conduit for both energy and sensor data, making the weapon highly accurate.
The Variable Speed Beam Rifle or VSBR, a new type of beam weapon introduced around UC 0120 and first installed in the F90-V and F91 Gundams, lets the pilot change the velocity of the emitted mega particles. A slow beam produces increased raw damage over a wider area, while a fast beam yields higher penetration - in this mode, it's capable of piercing a beam shield! Despite the "beam rifle" nomenclature, the VSBR is actually connected directly to the mobile suit's reactor. It's typically integrated into the mobile suit's movable frame structure, and is equipped with apogee motors to increase the mobile suit's manueverability.
The beam launcher, or beam bazooka, is another application of this speed-control technology. This bazooka-like weapon, powered by an ordinary E-pack rather than by the mobile suit's reactor, fires slow-moving mega particles for increased damage. It's introduced simultaneously as an optional weapon for the F90III-Y Cluster Gundam, F91 Gundam and XM-07 Vigna Ghina, and later becomes a fairly common weapon.
At the same time, the RX-99 Neo Gundam and its Generative Beam Rifle Device, or G-BRD, are introduced. This VSBR-like weapon is powered by its own built-in reactor and includes supplemental thrusters, enabling it to serve as a booster for the Neo Gundam's core fighter.
The mega beam rifle used by the LM312V04 Victory Gundam and LM314V21 Victory 2 Gundam, and the mega beam cannon wielded by the ZMT-S29 Zanneck, are later applications of the VSBR's mega particle acceleration technology. The Zanneck's cannon, capable of firing on ground targets from the stratosphere, is likely the most powerful weapon ever wielded by a mobile suit.

The Beam Saber
Unlike the beam weapons discussed above, the beam saber doesn't use mega particles. Instead, it emits high-energy Minovsky particles to form a blade-shaped I-field, and then fills this I-field shell with superheated plasma to produce a lethally effective cutting blade. The Minovsky particles are stored by E-cap in the beam saber's hilt, which is recharged by the mobile suit's reactor when the saber is returned to its socket. Thus, once activated, beam sabers don't rely on the mobile suit's reactor and can be thrown or discarded as decoys (as demonstrated in Gundam 0083).
As the beam saber's I-field enclosure repels plasma, it not only keeps the blade's contents in but also keeps other blades' contents out, allowing one beam saber to block another. And, since the I-field can be formed into a variety of simple shapes, it's pretty trivial to create exotic variants like the beam tomahawk, beam sword, beam sword/axe, beam fan, beam mace, beam cutter and beam tonfa - glorified beam sabers, all. Here are a couple of less trivial spinoffs...
The beam jitte attached to the RX-78GP01 Gundam's beam rifle is a specialized beam saber designed to catch enemy beam sabers, allowing the Gundam to ward off enemy blades on those occasions when there isn't time to draw its own full-sized beam saber.
The whimsical beam flag used by the Crossbone Vanguard's command mobile suits is strictly for show. This uses beam saber technology to generate a customized symbol so that squadron leaders can be easily identified by their underlings.

The Beam Shield
The first defensive application of beam saber technology is the beam barrier projected by the RX-93 Nu Gundam's fin funnels. This barrier creates a geometric shell around the mobile suit, with a fin funnel at each vertex and planes of energy akin to beam saber blades forming the surfaces of the shell. Unlike the classic I-field barrier, this beam barrier deflects physical attacks and missiles as well as beam weapons. It can, however, be collapsed by a sufficiently powerful attack.
By about UC 0120, the decreased size and increased power output of modern mobile suits make it possible to use a simplified version of this barrier on all mobile suits. This beam shield is composed of a simple plane of energy, radiating from a central generator unit, which can be used like a physical shield to deflect enemy attacks. Since the edges of the beam shield are as deadly as a beam saber blade, the mobile suit's computer automatically deactivates sections of the shield that would otherwise lop off the mobile suit's own limbs.
Though it's limited to a single direction - and, like its beam barrier ancestor, can be collapsed by a powerful attack - the beam shield's lower energy requirements and effectiveness against every type of weapon make it a perfectly satisfactory alternative to the I-field barrier. By about UC 0150, even some warships are equipped with beam shields.
The mega beam shield wielded by the LM314V24 Victory 2 Assault Gundam is a throwback of sorts to the Nu Gundam's beam barrier. In addition to a central generator unit, it uses three remote-controlled barrier bits to form the vertices of an oversized beam shield.

Beam Weapons as Propulsion Systems
The sophisticated technology of the beam shield is eventually applied to create a combined defensive device and propulsion system. The beam rotor, developed by the Zanscare Empire around UC 0150, generates a shield using spinning beam blades rather than a solid plane of energy. As a side-effect, the rotating blades create lift in exactly the same fashion as a helicopter. This allows a beam rotor-equipped mobile suit to fly through the air without expending its finite propellant supply, while using just a fraction of the power required by a Minovsky craft system.
A far more advanced use of beam weapon technology is the Victory 2 Gundam's incredible Minovsky drive system. Much like the ion drive contemplated by real-world physicists, this system uses the particle-acceleration technology introduced by the VSBR to boost Minovsky particles to relativistic speed. Now moving at a substantial fraction of the speed of light, the accelerated particles are redirected by an external I-field to create up to 20 gees of thrust in the desired direction. The "wings of light" generated by the Victory 2 Gundam's Minovsky drive units can also function as giant beam sabers or beam shields, and can be extended up to a kilometer in length!

Atticus
16-07-2002, 11:09 PM
a kilometer.... i bet lumber jakcks would love to have one of those. 8)

James
17-07-2002, 10:38 AM
Well, that was some nice info Lt Amada. Thanks.

isamu1111
21-07-2002, 03:16 AM
hehe anyone have info on the weaponaries of GUndam X?