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Once we have built an Extractor in Starfield and powered it up, does it run and gather resources forever?

Or does it "empty" the position over time and stop extracting resources?

If production is reduced over time, where can I see the remaining amount of resources?

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    I don't have an official source yet, but testing so far seems to show they pretty much run forever at full capacity, from what I can tell.
    – Mufasa
    Commented Sep 8, 2023 at 14:29

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So long as your extractors are powered, they will run continuously. There isn't any exhaustion point in the game currently for resource nodes. Bethesda may add that in a later patch... who knows?

The power sources for extractors vary, and you want to make sure the right kind of power source for your extractors and your outpost are installed. It doesn't make much sense to use solar generators on a planet that spends the majority of its time in the dark/night, for example.

You can also connect helium generators up to helium extractors, and create a continuous power cycle that way, so long as your generator-to-extractor ratio is not too low (I don't know the math on how many extractors a single generator can run, especially in a self-feeding cycle like this).

However, if an extractor's storage area is full, and they aren't connected to the appropriate type of storage unit with available space, the extractor won't produce any additional resources--you're essentially just wasting effort at that point.

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    I believe extractors have an internal storage of about 15 mass, which is quite small, so making sure you have at least some storage is important to produce much materials.
    – Dragonrage
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 23:05
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Continuing from what Tyler said about using H-3 to power generators, you can see the current production rate of an extractor when you hover over it in the build mode. You will get under 1 unit per minute for a fresh install (0.8 I think is the base), and fuel powered generators take 1 H-3 per minute to run (the upkeep listed in the build menu). You can connect an extractor directly to a fuel generator, however you are better off connecting the extractor to a gas storage and then the storage to the generator as this will allow the generator to consider all of the stored gas as it's current fuel (it will still only burn 1/minute).

In my testing, the extractor cannot place fuel beyond the upkeep capacity directly into the engine and the extractor itself has only a 1 unit storage capacity itself, so you will have constant problems with the generator turning on and off. Additionally, base extraction speed is slightly too slow for a single extractor to keep up with a generator. This can be solved with robots however.

Each of the cleaner bots (the top option) increases all inorganic yield by 10%, and with 3 of them you will be extracting 1.1 H-3 per minute, which is enough to completely cover a single generator and then some. You can probably run 1 extractor per generator at 2 bots, but it might extract only 0.99 or something smaller than the 1.0 that it actually displays. You will also need to power your first extractor using a different power source (I have 2 solar arrays directly powering one of my helium extractors so that I am always making some fuel). Each generator can power 4 extractors (generators are 20 power out, extractors are 5 power in) so you can easily have an extra 15 power from each extractor/generator combo to power things like other extractors for other resources and things like cargo links.

An additional note, you can chain resource storage to each other so that it flows through them all. I strongly suggest building a couple of resource storage objects (I have a chain of 3 gas storage) and have all of your extractors pouring into the same one on one end, each one in the chain connecting directly from that one to the one next to it, and the last one connecting to all of your generators. You can also use this design to make sure you always have helium for power by connecting say the second to last storage when you are using helium in another process so you don't accidentally starve your power grid as all resources flow to the last container in the chain before filling up. Processing should always be extractors into a line of resource storage, and storage into machines that process that due to internal inventories in the extractors being really small. Also build as many robots as you can as they do strongly increase your outputs.

For now, resource containers are incredibly magnetic to each other and only on one of the horizontal axes based on the container that is already placed (if you rotate a single container, you can get them to make a vertical line instead of horizontal, but currently it doesn't seem possible to make things like squares/cubes).

It is best to place your first outpost on a planet that has helium fuel as a resource and set up mining there. Normal cargo links can connect to any location in the same star system for "free" so you can make an industrial sized mining operation for fuel and ship that out to other outposts that don't have it to use for power. You can also set up an interstellar cargo link on the same outpost so that you can send cargo to other systems from where you have fuel to power it, but it might be a good idea to set up a second outpost in the system that has standard cargo links to all other outposts in the same system to consolidate your resources in one place for manufacturing.

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    Same critique here: you're not addressing the question, but expanding on an existing answer. Don't get me wrong, it might be helpful (I don't have the game yet), but it's not how this site works. What you always can do if you have information you think is valuable, is to write a new question, and immediately answer it yourself (this can be done on the New Question page).
    – Joachim
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 20:44
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In addition to the general answer "Yes, the Extractor runs (basically) forever" I like to add the following:

  1. The Extractor itself has a limited capacity to store resources. My Uranium Extractor is limited to a mass of 10.

  2. If the Extractor is linked to a Transfer Container: The Transfer Container itself is limited to a mass of 200. This is the equivalent of 286 Uranium.

  3. If the Transfer Container is linked to a Cargo Link Inter-System: The Cargo Link Inter-System storage container itself is limited to a mass of 300. This is the equivalent of 429 Uranium.

Even if the Extractor runs forever, it can not produce any more resources than there is free capacity in the linked storage facilities.

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  • Capacity goes up the more you have robots at that outpost. Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 9:47

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