Re: Some questions about EPACs, ECAPS, and magnetic bottles answered?

Mark Simmons (
Mon, 14 Dec 1998 10:37:16 -0800

Probe ponders,

> So far we've talked about EPACs and ECAPs when refering to various
>Gundam weapons. There are weapons that have capacitors, such as the
>original gundam rifle and the GMII rifle that we call ECAPs. There are
>weapons with basically removable capacitors that we call EPACs. So far
>it's not been totally clear to me whether these devices hold simply power,
>or pre-charged Minofsky particle 'ammo' or what!

  The Japanese texts are always very clear on this: E-caps store Minovsky
particles in a very compressed state, teetering on the brink of collapsing
into mega particles (which must then be released immediately). Since
they're pre-compressed, only a small amount of energy is required to tip
'em over the edge.

>Clearly, a weapon requires not just M-Particles but energy to operate.

  Absolutely. Though I'd long resisted this conclusion, I'm starting to
think that the ignition energy must come from the mobile suit, or else its
generator would have no bearing on the use of beam weapons. This does leave
us with the mystery of a couple of instances where beam weapons fire while
detached from the mobile suit, but I guess you could always posit some sort
of built-in battery reserve...

>I guessed that the EPAC or ECAP actually stored the highly charged
>particles and that the MS itself provided the 'firing' power... though
>it doesn't really explain how the original GM's ECAPless gun worked.

  I'm pretty sure that's correct - the first part definitely, the second
probably. As for the GM, I guess it must have some way to "pipe" particles
into the gun from the mobile suit's reactor, though at a very slow pace and
thus with very low beam output.

> Then I looked at the Gerbera Tetra! To my surprise, the HUGE rifle that
>this mecha carries has BOTH a large bottle-shaped magazine on it AND a
>GP-01-styled EPAC clip on the rear of the rifle! What can this mean? Well,
>there's one thing I can think of.... The EPAC/ECAP provides raw power to
>the rifle, while the large bottle-shaped device is actually a Magnetic
>bottle providing highly-charged particles for the weapon to fire.

  Nope, sorry; since Gundam Century was written, it's been established that
the E-cap is the "magnetic bottle" in question. I believe the bottle
attached to the Gerbera Tetra's rifle is identified as a coolant tank,
presumably to prevent the rifle from overheating when fired in burst mode.

  More generally, some of the latter-day gun designs are of dubious
accuracy. The Alex's "beam rifle" has an anachronistic clip, the GM Sniper
II's "beam rifle" contains actual bullets, and Cima's original "beam
machine gun" was originally designed as a 180mm machine gun with a drum
magazine (subsequently retconned to a beam machine gun with an E-pack that
_looks_ just like a drum magazine). I think Mika Akitaka, the designer of
Cima's various weapons and, I believe, of the 0080 weapons, just likes
putting bottles on beam weapons.

> My bet is that we can look at the way power and particles factor into
>beam-rifle power as similar to E=1/2MV^2. The more particles, the more M
>"Punch", the more power from an EPAC/ECAP, the more V "Shot Speed".

  Judging from the VSBR, the trade-off between impact and penetration is
also a factor of particle speed; if they're moving more slowly, the beam
spreads out over a larger area and does more damage.

> Of course, it is also possible that the bottle is nothing but some sort
>of coolant supply for the beam-rifle. The GM-GS has some sort of tubing
>going from the back of the gun to a 'sleeve' like structure under the
>barrel of the weapon, while the GT has a large, thick 'jacket' wrapped
>around the barrel of its beam-rifle, perforated with cooling vents, which
>can suggest a sort of heat exchanger running fluid from the coolant 'tank'
>around the super-hot beam-rifle barrel.

  As I noted above, this is what the call-outs on the line art claim. As
usual, Probe thinks of everything. :-)

-- Mark
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Mark Simmons <>
MacAddict: the magazine! <>
Gundam: the Project! <>

Collecting is for butterflies and stamps.
And at least butterfly collectors take 'em out of the jar.

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