Prison Architect – How Do Backup Generators Work?

There isn’t much info about how Backup Generators work in-game. This Guide is to help clear up any confusion about the item.

How to Place a Backup Generator and Conditions for Activation

A single Backup Generator can be put only on 1 power grid. You cannot attach multiple Power Stations/Transformers to a single Backup Generator or have multiple Backup Generators on a Power Station/Transformer Grid. Backup Generators can be placed Anywhere on a grid as long as they’re attached to a Single Grid and it’s a wired connection. They can be right next to your Power Station or on the other side of the prison.

The Backup Generator will automatically turn on in the event of the power being cut for the grid it’s connected to. You will mostly see this with Thunder Storms cutting power to Power Stations but simply turning the stations off will also activate the Backup Generator. There is no player intervention required.

How Do They Function?

A Backup Generator Will Generate 600 Units of Power. This is the same output as a Power Station with 11 Capacitors. A Power Station with all 16 Capacitors installed has a Max Output of 850. This is something important to keep in mind.

In these images I have 2 different power grids. One has 60 CCTV Monitors (They consume 10 Power each) and a Power Station with a Max Output of 600 and a Backup Generator. The other Grid has 61 CCTV Monitors and a Power Station with 850 being the Max Output.

When I turn off The Top Power Station you can see the grid changes color because it’s now being fully powered by the Backup Generator.

With the Backup Generator in use the bar on the side will slowly drain. Once the bar fully depletes that Power Grid will go dark. Once the main source of power turns back on the Backup Generator will charge during daytime hours back to a full charge.

However, when I turn off the 2nd Power Station something else happens.

The Backup Generator will enter an infinite loop of turning on followed by being overloaded and shutting off. It’ll keep on doing this with pauses of being down getting longer and longer until the Power Station is turned back on. If your prison relies on a lot of remote doors for staff to get around you may be in a lot of trouble if you are over the 600 Output and the power gets cut.

Conclusion

Backup Generators are a worthwhile investment to make if you are playing with the new Weather System but they come with strings attached. You have to play around them to ensure your Grid won’t overload them when the power gets cut. Either have your power stations produce less power than they could to keep your entire grid in line or have a way to cut the extra power when the main grid goes offline and you need to use backup power.

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