Star Frontiers Powerclip by Sings-With-Spirits

Energy weapons in the Frontier are capable of drawing power from various devices. One of the most commonly used is the Powerclip.


Powerclips are made of selenium[1] and encased in sturdy plastic boxes of various sizes. Powerclips cannot be recharged.

Types of Powerclip Edit

Standard[2] Edit

Standard powerclips are approximately 8 cm x 5 cm x 2.5 cm in size[3][4] and hold 20 SEU. Standard powerclips cost 100 credits. They do not display the number of SEU available. More advanced versions may include a small LED or LCD display showing how many SEU remain or that interface with the weapon's power level display.

Miniclip beside regular

Miniclip compared to standard powerclip

Minipowerclip[5] Edit

A minipowerclip is a smaller version of the standard powerclip. It is roughly 4 cm by 1.25 cm by 2.5 cm in size.[6] Minipowerclips are not normally used by equipment that uses standard power clips. The most common usage for a minipowerclip is in rafflur weapons.

A minipowerclip holds10 SEU and costs 50 credits.

SEU Microdisc Edit

This smallest version of powerclip is approximately the size of a 21st century quarter. It is ordinarily used with micro-circuitry items.

The microdisc holds a 2 SEU charge[7] and costs10 credits.

Technological Base[8]Edit

Often, players have wondered why powerclips (and by extension minipowerclips and microdiscs) cannot be recharged, while Power Beltpacks and Power Backpacks are easily recharged. The answer is simple: the amount of energy held in a single SEU is staggering;[9] beltpack and backpack power supplies use relatively heavy systems to generate "active matrix" virtual capacitors to contain the charge until used; this allows each SEU to be safely contained and discharged without damage to the storage unit, allowing it to be used and reused indefinitely.

On the other hand, the powerclip uses physical capacitors to hold the SEU charge; once the SEU (single or multiple) is discharged, the capacitor is rendered useless, thus it is incapable of being recharged. A good analogy of this would be the flashbulbs on cameras; electronic flashbulbs use electricity to generate the bright flash in such a way that the bulb can be used over and over again, while disposable flashbulbs, once fired, are rendered individually useless, though other unused bulbs in the cube/bar are untouched.

The key to this lies in the "clip" part of the name "powerclip"; it might be useful to visualize the device much like a modern pistol's magazine; with 2, 10 or 20 enclosed capacitor "bullets" that are much like disposable flash bulbs in a flash bar; if a 5-SEU shot is fired, five capacitors are drained for the shot.


Reusable adapters have been developed which permit the use of a smaller powerclip in a weapon not equipped to use the smaller device;[10][11]

  • Minipowerclip to Power Clip Adapter - can hold a single Minipowerclip. Cost: 2 Cr
  • Microdisc to Minipowerclip Adapter - can hold one or two Microdiscs. Cost: 2 Cr per disc
  • Microdisc to Power Clip Adapter - can hold up to 4 Microdiscs, depending on model. Cost: 2 Cr per disc

See AlsoEdit

Notes and References Edit

  1. Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space pp.63
  2. Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn
  3. Approximately the size of a deck of playing cards or a pack of cigarettes.
  4. Practical considerations and canon artwork call these dimensions into question. Based on canon artwork from AD, it is more likely that the size is closer to a half-pack of cigarettes, closer to 8.5 x 3 x 2 cm.
  5. Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space pp.63
  6. Half the size of the standard powerclip or roughly the size of a 15-count softpack of chewing gum.
  7. Speculation.
  8. Non-canon speculation. Does not fit with equipment descriptions in Zebulon's Guide.
  9. Generally accepted to be 1 kilojule (1,000 jules).
  10. House Rules
  11. Because weapons only use power in full-SEU increments, microdiscs used to power weapons normally discharge all their energy in one shot. See specific weapons for any departure from that standard.
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