Assuming railguns and their guass/coil equivalents exist, what would be required to maintain them?

Newbie12

TH.net Regular
Whoa, this site's still alive! Great I have a question for my short story; so let's say we're in the future, we managed to create a working portable railgun or guass rifle equivalent, instead of being mounted onto something and we managed to create a battery pack of some sort that is able to deliver the sufficient juice to use the weapons adequately. What sort of upkeep would I be looking at if I were to keep on using such a weapon, whether for sports or military action? Would the maintenance be the same as if they were mounted instead of handheld portables? Or there isn't really much maintenance required and all that's to do is make sure your battery pack is charged(or whatever power source you draw from is working) before going in with it?

I'm not much of a gun nut as you can probably tell...

Thanks,
Newbie12
 

Varine

And as the moon rises, we shall prepare for war
You would also need to make sure whatever the barrel consists of is clear and the loading mechanism is functional, the sights need to be accurate, etc. Basically all of the normal checkpoints of a gun, a portable version probably needing more maintenance than a stationary cannon since it's getting moved around, and dropped and stiff. Plus you would need to check things like your power supply is functional and not damaged, none of your connections are corroding or loose, the power cells aren't leaking or something, I'd imagine there would be some kind of GFI to stop you from electrocuting yourself that could be tripped. You'd also probably have to check the magnetic system in the rails periodically to ensure they are activated in sequence, and I'm sure there are plenty of other things that could go wrong with them. I doubt they would be particularly care free weapons.
 

Newbie12

TH.net Regular
Basically all of the normal checkpoints of a gun
Oh I see, what are the all the checkpoints of a gun?
I'd imagine there would be some kind of GFI to stop you from electrocuting yourself that could be tripped.
What's a GFI?
and I'm sure there are plenty of other things that could go wrong with them. I doubt they would be particularly care free weapons.
Hm, so I should just make some of it up or have them care free on the assumption the build quality is so exceptional that nothing could go wrong?
 

Varine

And as the moon rises, we shall prepare for war
Well, the biggest thing is keeping it clean. Clogged barrels are scary and not good to have, they can blow up in your face, and it needs regularly sighted in as the sights are sensitive. Dropping it, for instance, tends to bump them around. Even just firing it continuously can throw them off a bit, depending on the type of sights you have and how accurate they are. Whatever the feeding mechanism is needs to be functional and clear of debris, as well as the action system (which, in this case, would be a surge of electricity through magnets I guess) is working and charging.

A GFI is a ground-fault interrupter. You see them on things like outlets in washrooms a lot, basically it's a little circuit breaker. That way if something breaks or shorts out, it won't damage the electrical system or electrocute the user.

As far as whether or not you should make up how exactly the weapons work is up to you. I presume it's for some kind of story, and unless you're writing some hard sci fi or the details are relevant to the story, I wouldn't worry too much about making a theoretically real concept of how it would work. Just have a general and consistent idea of how it functions (can you overcharge it, for instance, to fire a faster or bigger bullet for things like sniping or anti-armor, and then use a lower power level to fire lower velocity bullets at automatic speeds for close engagement? Or is it a specific use weapon and you would need a totally different model for different tasks?), and just skip over the specifics of how it exactly works or how exactly faults happened. For instance, saying that the coils are misfiring or the circuit breaker tripped would probably suffice in the event that the gun was malfunctioning, you don't need to describe HOW exactly that happened most of the time. If you want to talk about them cleaning it or something you can be somewhat vague, and just describe the major systems, like the battery/powerbank, barrel, receiver, etc. Unless you want to, of course, in which case I would advise looking up regular guns a bit. They aren't very complicated.
 

Newbie12

TH.net Regular
Ah I see, thanks for your input!

Yes, it is indeed for a story (of my own creative writing and not related to anything in real life, that I know of anyways...besides some various elements that persist - if you want, I can upload a copy of the *short* story when I'm done (whenever that will be...) so you can check it out and see if any of the details are correct or not? And maybe for some grammar, spelling and consistency (plot or otherwise) too if you want(of course I'm not gonna force ya if you don't want to), since I'm not that great at English...only decided to write up a story because I just felt like it...) if you somehow flew past that tidbit in the thread post....

Other than that, this thread was posted in the Writer's corner forum section....unless you also somehow missed that too or this section isn't exactly specific to this particular topic....hmmmm...

Also, happy new year - late I know but better late than never!
 

Varine

And as the moon rises, we shall prepare for war
Eh, writing can be related to things other than short stories and novels, sometimes people ask about things for game story lines and we have a couple people here that make movies, and each medium handles details quite differently. In games, for instance, most information like that can be delegated to a manual or something and can get exceptionally detailed. Movies tend to need less specifics on how a device would actually function, and more you need to know what it looks like, or what it would do, since you're unlikely to have time to give exposition about it. And then in stories like books, you can go either way, but generally want more details than a movie, since at some point you need to describe it in a way that the average reader will understand.

And then sometimes you have people that just have ideas they want to explore, and are mostly just looking for a discussion about a topic.

Regardless, though, it would be awesome to read it once you've finished!
 
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