Arc Furnace automation that supports ores queued up in Chutes.
60W Logic chip power spendage, plus the Arc Furnace power spendage.
At some point we all want to automate our Arc Furnace so here is one way of accomplishing Arc Furnace automation. The really neat thing about this setup is that it’s fairly low power (only 60W) and fully supports ores being queued up in input Chutes, so you can even use this setup for an Arc Furnace in a room so you can mop up the gases.
For this automation you will have to have aquired and built an Electronics Printer, so you can print out the Logic I/O chips needed.
In my show-case screenshot here, I have opted to keep power (Red cable) and data (Green cable) separated and I also added in an LED display showing the power spendage. Yes, the display shows 65W which is the 60W used by the 4 Logic I/O chips and the Arc Furnace idle power spendage of 5W, for a total of 65W.
As long as you can cable connect the 4 Logic I/O chips, you can place them pretty much any way you like.
2 x Slot Reader
2 x Logic Writer
Then connect power and data with the Arc Furnace. When you are done, grab your Labeller and put some names on the Logic I/O chips. I recomend being specific when picking names for your Logic chips so you know exactly which chip does what. You can see which names I’ve chosen in the image above. These names will be referenced in the next section where the automation Logic is configured.
Now that the Logic chips are placed and named, we can configure them:
There are differences between how these “dumb” Logic chips work and how the Programmable ICs work in terms of when they actually update. The “dumb” Logic chips only update when their input data changes, which can be a bit troublesome when you want specific things to happen. The Programmable ICs can force update data pretty much every logic tick as needed.
Fairly recently a new method was added to Logic Writers called ForceWrite, which can be used to instruct another Logic Writer to forcedly resend it’s value to it’s output. This circuit makes use of ForceWrite to re-activate the Arc Furnace while it is still in an Active state.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how things progress in this setup, let us first set the scenario.
We will assume that we have hooked up the Logic circuit as described here and that we have placed down some Chutes leading into and out from the Arc Furnace, including some means of dumping ores into the input Chutes (Inlet or Bin for example).
Let us assume that we have say 5 stacks of ore queued up in a Chute system leading to our Arc Furnace with a 6th stack already in the import slot of the Arc Furnace.
As the first stack of ores enters the Import slot of the Arc Furnace, the input slot closes and Import Occupied changes from 0 (zero / false) to 1 (one / true). The slot is now occupied. We don’t really care how many ores are in the slot, as long as we know there are some inthere. The first Slot Reader (“Furnace Import Occupied”), reads Import.Occupied (which is now 1) and the first Logic Writer (“Activate Furnace”) then changes the “Activate” on the Arc Furnace from zero to one, thus triggering the furnace to start the smelting process (provided you have switched it on of course).
Now the Arc Furnace happily starts grinding through the stack of ores producing the ingots of the metal, however the ingots are not ejected from the Arc Furnace until the entire smelting process is completed, as we all know.
At some point the Arc Furnace will take the last ore from the Import slot to start the smelting cycle of this last ore. Now that the import slot is empty, the Arc Furnace will open up the input slot again, which allows the attached Chute to push the next stack of ores into the Arc Furnace’s input slot. The Arc Furnace generally ignores if you attempt to send a zero to Activate and usually the next ore stack being pushed into the Arc Furnace happens so fast that the Logic chips hardly ever have the time to see that the input slot was empty for a very short time. The Arc Furnace now has the next stack sitting in it’s import slot and since this has happened faster than the Logic chips can see their input values are still the same: 1. This basically means that the Arc Furnace will not be re-activated for this next stack and would stall if it were not for the second pair of Logic chips.
At some point, the Arc Furnace finishes smelting up the last ore of the first stack. When this happens, the Arc Furnace will automatically eject the stack of ingots it has produced and this is where the magic happens. For a brief moment the Arc Furnace’s Export slot will become Occupied as the stack of ingots are leaving the output slot of the Arc Furnace. The Slot Reader “Furnace Export Occupied” will pick this up, because it’s input value changes from zero to one, so “Furnace Export Occupied” updates it’s output value sending it to the Logic Writer “Force Activate”. Since “Force Activate” is configured to ForceWrite and send that to the other Logic Writer (“Activate Furnace”), this then triggers “Activate Furnace” to forcedly re-write Activate to the Arc Furnace, thus causing the Arc Furnace to start smelting this second stack of ores.
This dance of signals continues until the Chute queue is empty at which point the first pair of Logic chips have entered a zero state: “Furnace Import Occupied” is zero, because there is nothing in the input slot of the Arc Furnace, so “Activate Furnace” will also be zero. When the last stack of ingots leave the Arc Furnace, the other pair of Slot Reader (“Furnace Export Occupied”) and Logic Writer (“Force Activate”), will still trigger the first Logic Writer (“Activate Furnace”) to re-send it’s current value, but since it is now zero the Arc Furnace’s Activate will also be zero, thus stopping the loop.
At least until next time you dump in a bunch of ores 😉
As you can see the Arc Furnace spends 5W in idle mode, while on.
We have 2 x Slot Reader, which each spend 20W for a total of 40W.
We also have 2 x Logic Writer, which each spend 10W for a total of 20W.
So; 5 + 40 + 20 = 65W in idle mode.
The actual power spendage for the entire setup depends on which ore is being smelted:
This setup is fairly low power and fairly cheap to achieve at a fairly early point in the game, while you only have one Arc Furnace.
You could save 10-15W in idle mode, by making use of a Programmable IC and a suitable MIPS program that does the same reducing the power cost by 10W because the Programmable IC only uses 50W or have the program optionally include switching the Arc Furnace on and off as needed for an additional 5W power reduction in idle mode. Using a setup like this however would require either writing the program or finding a suitable program in the Workshop somewhere, plus a Computer (which spends 200W while on) to program the IC.
I know there are IC programs in the Workshop that can handle multiple Arc Furnaces in a single IC, which drastically reduces the overall circuit power expense.
I would say use the setups that best fit your play style and power supply 🙂