Electricity Tutorial

Credits go to SimpleGuy and jimmy guile, who loves niamh :3

Note that this is still a Work in Progress.

Electricity Transport (IndustrialCraft 2)

I connected everything but my electricity won't flow!

In IndustrialCraft 2, you'll have power generators and places/things you want to power. How that power gets itself from the generation point to where you want to use it is the focus of this Section, and it is probably one of the most important. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of pictures for where we are starting, so be prepared for a long read. So let's get on with it already.

Why is my machine not being powered?

There are a couple of reasons why your machine is not being powered (by electricity). Here are some common reasons.

-If you have a Batbox or a MFE connected to the power source before the actual machine, check to make sure the storage device (MFSU, MFE, Batbox)has its little dot facing the way you want the electricity to flow.

-Make sure the cables are not over 61 blocks, (more info below), or are too far that the power dissipates.

-Make sure the cables are strong enough to hold the electricity. (Try some higher tier cables, they will give better electricity flow)

-If you have a transformer before the machine you want to power make sure that the cables are wired into the correct hole. Most likely, you have a MFE that is powering low voltage things and is blowing them up in your face. When you add a transformer to stop this unpleasant thing from happening, it stops the power altogether. To fix this, make sure that the 3 holed side is facing the medium voltage current and the one holed side is facing the low voltage cable.

-The same is true for a high voltage transformer. Make sure the sides are correctly aligned to the correct cables you want to transform. If you want to convert high voltage to low voltage, (You can also upgrade your machine so you don't have to do this), you must first use the MV then the LV transformers to make sure it works correctly. Double check that everything is aligned correctly. If not, use a wrench to turn it.

These are noobish tips, if you want to dig deeper, keep reading.


Surprise, cables are how we transfer power between machines in IC2! :) Through a thorough understanding of their use, you should be able to distribute your power in an incredibly efficient manner possible. With your newfound knowledge of the pEU, EU and their "per tick" variants you should be OK. And there are even pictures! Let me be clear and say that when measuring distances, I may say "1 meter" or "1 block" or "1 block length", but all of these are equivalent to the dimension of the side of exactly 1 block in minecraft. So please don't get confused.

First, the most important thing to remember in Minecraft is, that like in the real world, cables are not perfect and not created equally! Different cables will lose energy per packet at different, but set, rates. This 1 EU loss in a distance is known as energy dissipation, and it happens in discrete amounts. That is, if you fall short of the distance that an EU would dissipate, none dissipate! The following picture shows the length of the wire needed to lose at least 1 EU/t within each packet travelling along the wire. Also, notice how cables are able to be insulated, and even doubly insulated. Note that not all wires can be insulated, and not all can be insulated to the same degree. (Note: Like real life, if you try to touch an uninsulated wire you may get shocked... possibly to death)


From left to right the cables are: Ultra-Low Current cables, Copper cables, Gold cables, High-Voltage cables, and Glass Fibre cables. From bottom to top the cables are: Uninsulated, 1x Insulated, 2x Insulated, 4x Insulated

As you can clearly see, different wires lose different EU/t per packet at different lengths. Furthermore, each cable is not able to carry equal sized pEU/t within them, although every cable can carry an infinite (theoretically) number of packets per tick. This next image shows the maximum size of packets of EU (pEU) each wire can carry, and each wire is 5 meters tall.


From left to right the cables are: (Same as previous image)..

Ultra-Low Current cables, Copper cables, Gold cables, High-Voltage cables, and Glass Fibre cables.

Colors of Wool:

Red = 1 pEU. Yellow = 10 pEU. Green = 100 pEU.

So, what you should see between these to pictures are the following:

  • Insulation has [i]no effect[/i] on the pEU each the cable can carry, only the amount of energy dissipation over a distance.
  • In general, the lower the pEU capacity of the wire, the longer it is able to be without energy dissipation.

However, these are merely pictures to give you an appreciation for the relative amount each can handle. For exact numbers here is the table for exactly how many lengths of wire it takes to lose 1 EU in each packet, and the maximum pEU capacity of the wire:

Ultra-Low-Current Cable Copper Cable Gold Cable HV Cable Glass Fibre Cable Detector / Splitter Cable
EU/b EU loss EU/b EU loss EU/b EU loss EU/b EU loss EU/b EU loss EU/b EU loss
Uninsulated 0.025 1 EU every 40 blocks 0.3 1 EU every 3.33 blocks 0.5 1 EU every 2 blocks 1.0 1 EU every block 0.025 1 EU every 40 blocks 0.5 1 EU every 2 blocks
Insulated (1") --- 0.2 1 EU every 5 blocks 0.45 1 EU every 2.22 blocks 0.95 1 EU every 1.05 blocks --- ---
Insulated (2") --- --- 0.4 1 EU every 2.5 blocks 0.9 1 EU every 1.11 blocks --- ---
Insulated (3") --- --- --- 0.8 1 EU every 1.25 blocks --- ---

So why is this important? Well, let's suppose you have a 1 EU/t generator and you want to link it to a machine with 61 blocks between. Guess what, no matter what cable you use, the 1 EU/t will dissipate before it reaches your machine! In fact, you could have an infinite number of 1 EU/t generators 61 blocks away from where you want the power to be, and you still won't gain any energy. There would be an infinite number of 1 pEU travelling in whatever wire you chose, and at the 41st block of cable, every packet would have lost 1 EU, becoming 0 EU packets, or effectively disappearing.

Let me illustrate overcoming this problem by supposing you only had one temporary storage machine to use. One way to overcome this dissipation problem is by breaking up the distance by putting it exactly in the middle (creating two lengths of wires, each 30 blocks in length). Thus, if you use Ultra-Low Current cable or Glass Fibre Cable, the packets would be preserved in each 30-block length wire segments, assuming that the storage machine outputs 1 pEU.

The other way to overcome this problem is by brute force. Let's assume for a second that your temporary storage machine only outputs a gigantic 2000 pEU. Let's put it right by the generators, so that there's no EU loss between generators and this storage machine, but the storage machine is still 60 blocks away from your goal. So after your generators feed it 2000 EU, it will spit out one packet of 2000 pEU. Let's say you're using uninsulated High-Voltage Cable, which is the only cable that can handle such huge packets, but loses 1 EU every block. That means, losing 1 EU per block, the packet will arrive at its destination with one 1940 pEU, for a net gain of 1940 EU. So instead of producing 2000 EU and losing it all in 1 pEU, you are producing 2000 EU and delivering a 1940 pEU! So while the higher rates of dissipation for the larger pEU cables may seem discouraging, it may be effective at delivering power great distances.

If you don't feel like losing alot of EU into the cable resistance you can "update" the current with a transformer as seen below.

Cable Splitting


Cable splitting is the fancy term for essentially having a fork in your cables. That is, a cable is a fork if you can point to a spot of cable that has more than two adjacent cables to it:


Anything non-cable such as transformers, machines, or storage units do NOT count as forks.

Although it may seem incredibly useful, it is actually harmful for a few reasons. I have done limited empirical analysis of cable forks, but did not want to try to derive any set of definite equations (as they would more than likely be more complex than useful). Here are the general principles when you want to make a fork:

  • When a fork is made, packet sizes (or pEU) are roughly split by a factor of the fork size and sent down every path. So in the image above, pEU would be split by a factor of two.
  • The number of packets passing through each cable is also roughly split according to wire type. This ratio is dependent on the incoming wire and each of the outgoing wires. The smaller the pEU the wire is able to handle, the more packets that will be sent down it.
  • Forks cause immense overall EU loss through dissipation, depending on the wire used. The best dissipation I found (so far) was only 95% loss of overall pEU size (yes, two 32 pEU can become 1 pEU).
  • The more forks you have, the more your CPU will hate you, as it has to do the above calculations really quickly.

Because of these huge inefficiencies, try to not fork cables when outputting power. Instead, like in the above picture, put an intermediate storage unit, transformer, or other input-output machine where the fork would be. Since it's not a cable there anymore, it's not a fork!

Do not create cable loops. Your computer may hate you to the point of permanently crashing your world due to the number of calculations.

Be careful placing machines next to each other, and pay attention to inputs and outputs. Two machines side by side will try to~ transfer power, so if you then try to connect them with cables you may create a loop!

~Only machines that have outputs will transfer power, such as transformers, generators, storage units, etc. Consumer machines like Macerators, Furnaces, etc. will not transfer power to adjacent machines, as they have no output.

That being said, it is usually OK to have a Batbox output connected via short (10 squares or less) 1x insulated copper wires to various machines you want to use with forks. This is because the machines will draw discrete amounts of EU directly from the storage as needed. The above scenarios encompass cases where arbitrary EU could be sent in any fork.

Yes, there is a difference in qulitay , perhaps. But for short runs (less than 15 feet), that won't show up in the qulitay of the picture. The more expensive cable may have better construction, less likely to break, and could look better. Unless you plan to do a lot of meddling with the cable and its connections, it shouldn't matter.


So now that we are experts at EU calculations and cable management, it's time to introduce the big guns. Transformers don't seem that exciting, but they exist to allow you to, say, take Micro Voltages and convert all the way up to Extreme Voltages and back down to Low Voltages at your leisure! Once you are able to do this, you truly are able to power anything since you can manage dissipation well, and provide power at the correct packet size.

First, let me introduce some common terminologies for IC2 packet sizes (or "Voltages") and the cables that can be used with them:

Packet Size Name Usable Cables
5 pEu Micro Voltage All Cables
32 pEU Low Voltage Copper, Gold, Glass Fibre, High-Voltage
128 pEu Medium Voltage Gold, Glass Fibre, High-Voltage
512 pEu High Voltage Voltage Glass Fibre, High-Voltage
2048 pEu Extreme Voltage High-Voltage

Note that from now on, I will distinguish whether a transformer has been powered by redstone or not by using these acronyms to save my fingers some trouble:

  • "NR-transformer" to distinguish a non-redstone powered transformer.
  • "RS-transformer" to emphasize a redstone powered transformer.

Now if you have ever placed a transformer, you have probably noticed that one side has three dots, and the other five sides have one. This is because what wires you run to which sides matter! No matter which transformer you use, the pattern is always the same: the more dots a side has, the higher pEU it handles. That is, if you want to transform between two packet sizes, always assume the bigger packet comes through the side with three dots, regardless whether you're transforming up or down. Note that when you first place a transformer, the side with 3 dots will be facing you by default. Using a wrench on a 1-dotted side will move the 3 dots to that side, and using the wrench on the 3-dotted side will remove the transformer.

Here is an image of an example setup:


What the hell? I ran my generator twice and I got more energy out the second time!

If you understand the setup above and how it works, then you're good to go. If not, and are still puzzled as to why more energy was gained than put in the generator, then understand that when redstoned, transformers have a tiny amount of storage capacity for EU! In order to transform up, it has to save enough EU from smaller packets to generate and send out a bigger packet. So when a piece of coal was first put in the generator, only 2,048 EU made it to the batbox at the bottom. The other 1,952 EU is "stuck" in the transformers since it isn't enough to fire a 2,048 "Extreme Voltage" pEU. Then, when a second coal is placed, it looks like you got 4,096 EU out of a 4,000 EU item, when really the EU from the coal used some of the the stored EU to fire two 2048 pEU from the HV RS-transformer. The lesson here is to be careful with transforming to high pEU size when your overall EU production is low.

So if you aren't convinced of how awesome transformers are then keep reading!

A simple and intleleignt point, well made. Thanks!

Current Control

Why not use the fact that transformers allow current to flow one way to create a remote storage that can be tapped into at any time?

Imagine the problem: You want to deliver power to a location from remote storage, but you also want to store energy there without putting generators all the way out there. That is, you want to be able to generate power in your house, store it in a huge array of EU storage devices elsewhere that isn't your house, but deliver power back to your house. If you run cables all the way out there and back, imagine all the EU dissipation!

Instead, you can use a combination of transformers and the "cable-splitting with Transformers" concept to control flow using redstone. The following two images should nicely convey what I mean. Note I used Eloraam's awesome RedPower 2 mod for Redstone Wiring (which can go up to 255 blocks without losing signal) and for small edging to separate the adjacent wires.


When the lever is in one state, you can power your batteries remotely...


...but flick the lever, and you can use the batteries at home!

Power Storage (IndustrialCraft 2)

Section to be continued...

Sample Problem Solutions

The EU

SP #1: The first case would indeed blow up the storage unit. The storage unit can only accept 32 pEU. The Generator outputs 64 pEU. However, in the second case the two generators, in one tick, each produce 32 pEU for a total of 64 EU. The storage unit accepts 32 pEU, so it would store 64 EU/t.

SP #2: a) 128 EU

b) 128 EU

c) 32 EU

d) No answer is possible.

e) 8 pEU

f) 256 pEU

g) 4 packets

h) No answer is possible.

i) No answer is possible.


SP #1: The storage unit is receiving 0 EU/t from your generator, using the following logic:

Look up loss rate of 2x insulated gold cable: 1 EU loss per 2.5 blocks.

[Total # of EU loss] / [Total # blocks traveled] = [Loss Rate of Cable] [size=8pt][i](Now we plug in values)[/i][/size]

[Total # of EU loss] / [80 Blocks] = [1 EU / 2.5 Blocks]

Total # of EU loss = 32 EU

    Production Rate - Dissipation Loss = Total EU Gain per tick
    32 EU - 32 EU = Total EU Gain per tick
    0 EU = Total EU Gain per tick

Thus, it'd be more efficient to use 1x insulated copper cable, as the above equations would instead yield a total EU gain of 16 EU/t. If the generator instead outputs 128 EU/t, the total gain in the storage unit would be 96 EU/t. Only Glass Fibre would be more efficient, but none is available. Thus, 2x insulated gold cable is the most efficient in this instance.

SP #2: Optimally, we will want to start using copper cables from the generator, since Ultra-Low-Current cables cannot handle 10 EU/t packets. A storage unit could be placed right next to the generator to accept power immediately with no EU loss, but then 59 blocks of distance would remain. If four 1x insulated copper cables are used before using a storage unit, then only 55 blocks would remain and no EU loss would occur. So this configuration is optimal.

The remaining 55 blocks need to be analyzed. Either two 5 pEU can be emitted and Ultra-Low-Current cable can be used, or one 30 pEU can be emitted and copper cables be used. EU dissipation occurs only once for the Ultra-Low-Current cable, since it happens over 40 blocks. However, it happens across two 5 pEU, so two EU is lost. This means for every 10 EU/t produced, 8 EU/t reaches the storage unit. If 1x copper wire were used instead with 30 pEU, loss occurs eleven times for 11 EU dissipation. So for every 30 EU/t produced, 19 EU/t reaches the storage unit. Using percentages, the Ultra-Low-Current cable keeps 80% of the EU produced intact, while only 63.3% of the EU produced is intact when using 1x insulated copper cable.

Thus, four 1x insulated copper wires would be used to go from the generator to the 5 pEU intermediate storage device, and then 55 Ultra-Low-Current cables would be used for a maximum efficiency of 80%.

Recipes, Information & "What can I make!?"

In this section you'll find how to build pretty much everything that somehow touches an Energy Unit. You'll see the item name, a list of all the basic resources you need to craft one, pictures that show step-by-step how to craft one from scratch, and then a thorough description and EU knowledge about the machine. Note that when it comes to ingots, I will list the amount of dust you need (assuming you macerate ores), the amount of ore you need (assuming you don't macerate ores), and the amount of ingots you need (assuming you just keep everything as ingots). These are all equivalent, you do not need to have all 3. Also realize that refined iron and steel are equivalent.


Ultra-Low-Current Cable






Maximum Packet Size: 5 pEU

EU Dissipation: 1 EU per packet every 40 blocks

This cable is uninsulated and cannot be painted. Since it is in fact uninsulated, it is capable of shock. Field trials with over 150 Solar Panels and a batbox could not produce enough current to shock a creature.

Uninsulated Copper Cable

1x Insulated Copper Cable

Uninsulated Gold Cable

1x Insulated Gold Cable

2x Insulated Gold Cable

Uninsulated High-Voltage Cable

1x Insulated High-Voltage Cable

2x Insulated High-Voltage Cable

4x Insulated High-Voltage Cable

Glass Fibre Cable

EU Storage Devices

MFSU (Ten million EU Outputs 512)

MFE (Six hundred thousand Outputs 128)

Batbox (Fourty thousand Outputs 32 Machine Current)

EU Generators


Solar panels

Solar Arrays

Nuclear Reactors


EU-Using Machines




Induction furnace



Wires:5x copper cable / 3x glass fiber cable / 1x gold cable

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