Alright, you maggots, fall in! I am Sergeant Major Thom Hendricks, Crew Chief of the Flying Tigers, and I'll be in charge of seeing that you become the best engineers and technicians in Starfleet. And if I hear anyone say 'But The Book says...' at any time except when I ask you a question, you'll be doing 50 pushups.
Power and Fuel
Any of you who've gone through Spaceflight 101 taught by Major Ito will have turned the power on full and had some excess power left over following the steps outlined. This is just waste. You can route the power to some other system, like shields which is usually useful in a variety of situations, though you still will have plenty of power left over most likely or you'll not have enough power for the basic systems outlined in 101 if you're dealing with a small ship.
Now the difference between just an average Engineer or Technician and famous ones like Montgomery Scott, is the difference between following The Book and pushing what your ship can do.
So if you turn on your main power plant and your secondary power plant to 100%, you'll be burning fuel as fast as it's possible for your ship. And it's entirely possible that you'll be needing every gigawatt that comes out as well, though hopefully those situations are very rare.
Most of the time, you should have your power turned down to the minimum needed to power the systems you are using. And there are at least two schools of thought on the proper balance between your main power plant and your secondary power plant.
Perfect Balance School--This school of thought believes in the perfect balance between main and secondary power to the point where your antimatter and deuterium fuel supply runs dry at the same exact time. The main positive is you'll get every possible gigawatt of power out of your fuel supply, the main negative is you've got nothing left as a reserve. Also, it's difficult to maintain that perfect balance across different engine settings. This is ideal for smaller ships which have limited range or flight duration and will be refueled often. (See Fusion Power Coefficient)
Reserve School--This school of thought believes in having a limited reserve of fuel on hand, usually deuterium to run the secondary power plant. That way, when a ship gets in a situation, they can still call for help and limp back on the reserve power. The positive is that there's power available in an emergency. The negative is that the power is rather limited. This is ideal for larger ships that aren't likely to be able to refuel often.
Ideally, you'll have your power configured to meet the needs of your ship, whether it's just a Sunday drive around Saturn or a 5 year mission exploring. And the best of you will have your power so efficiently set, your Captains will be wondering whether you actually are using the fuel on board or something secret.
Power and Efficiency
Now I'm sure some of you will be wanting to quote The Book on what is considered proper power levels for warp drive, shields, etc. And while The Book's recommendations are perfectly adequate, they aren't the most efficient.
Let's take an example of a typical Excelsior class Battleship. At full power, it cranks out 3900 GW, it's warpdrive can use up to 2400GW, which let's it reach warp 9.75. Cruise is warp 6, which The Book recommends around 720GW or 30% power. It's possible to fly around at warp 6 just fine at 480 GW or 20% power, maybe even lower. So, if the ship is flying for extended periods at it's cruise rating of warp 6, you can turn the power allocated down by 80% and the power generated by as much, thus saving considerable fuel.
Larger ships can get away with being less efficient because they typically generate more than enough power to power every system or near enough. Smaller ships, like shuttles and fighters, aren't so fortunate to have a surplus. So learning the limits of what the ship can do is more beneficial with the smaller ships, but shouldn't be neglected on the larger ones. We'll go into more detail on this in the combat training.
Power and Configurations
Once you get your ship all tuned the way you like it, you'll want to make sure that you don't lose the power configuration. The way to do that is with the engsave <profile name> command. So, in the example above with the Excelsior at cruise, you would save it with engsave cruise, giving the configuration the name of cruise which will make it obvious for someone else to figure out what it's used for. Engineering configurations should have short, obvious names to make it easier to find and load up by other crewmembers.
In order to see what configurations are already created, you can use the engload command. If you see a configuration you'd like to use, then engload <profile name> such as engload cruise to reset the power levels to the configuration you came up with for cruising in an Excelsior.
There are a few special profile names that you should be aware of. Those are esm, green, yellow, and red. Any time any of those alerts are issued, whether it's External Support Mode, Green Alert, Yellow Alert, or Red Alert, the corresponding profile will be automatically loaded. _If_ your ship is capable of maintaining power to all of the systems you need, then you might want to consider using these special profile names. If your ship is not, then I'd recommend avoiding them. It would not be a good thing to have your ship suddenly drop to warp 3 while in a warp 9 pursuit, just because your captain issued a red alert, and the power was shifted over to weapons and shields away from the warp drive.
That covers the basics of how to be a better Engineer or Technician. After the lunch break we'll be jumping into the sims and giving you all hands on training to see how much you actually learned this morning. It will be amusing to see how well you maggots really do. Dismissed!