Power tier

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In IC², power tier refers to a range of EU per tick (EU/t) by which blocks and items are grouped, which defines certain ways they behave.

Incorrectly matching power tiers between equipment usually results in either a lack of functionality or a surplus of explosions. (Even if it's only one, any number of unwanted explosions is a surplus!)

Power tiers

Tier Name Range Tier-appropriate cable
1 Low Voltage (LV) 32 EU/t or less Grid Tin Cable.png Tin Cable
2 Medium Voltage (MV) 128 EU/t or less (down to LV) Grid Copper Cable.png Copper Cable
3 High Voltage (HV) 512 EU/t or less (down to MV) Grid Gold Cable.png Gold Cable
4 Extreme Voltage (EV) 2048 EU/t or less (down to HV) Grid HV Cable.png HV Cable
5* Insane Voltage (IV) Technically anything above EV range
Typically identified as 8192 EU/t
(Glass Fibre Cable max transfer rate)
Grid Glass Fibre Cable.png Glass Fibre Cable

Machines (if they are EU acceptors or producers) typically have tooltips including Power Tier: followed by a number, to help you avoid explosions (or trigger them, if you're the HAYO-ish sort).

*As of 2.6.121-ex110, nothing in IC² is labeled as Power Tier: 5.

Block interaction

Any EU acceptor, meaning a machine or EU storage block, can accept up to the maximum EU/t for its power tier without problems. Anything above that usually* causes it to explode, destroying it completely and possibly taking a bit of the surroundings with it. It can accept lower tiers of EU/t, though if it only has a little EU storage (or none, as in the Mass Fabricator) or is significantly overclocked, providing less than the maximum EU/t can cause interruptions. Storage blocks just fill a bit more slowly.

If a machine is compatible with Transformer Upgrades (which are stackable), each one installed will raise the machine's power tier by 1, allowing originally low-tier machines to be directly powered by higher-tier cables, generators, or storage blocks.

*The Creative Generator being a notable exception.

Item interaction

Electric items also have a power tier, though the tooltip does not indicate it. An item can only be charged by something of the same or higher tier; an Electric Wrench (which is tier 1) can be charged in anything from a BatBox to an MFSU, but a Nano Saber (which is tier 3) can only be charged in an MFE or MFSU. (This is also true of EU charging items, and what they can charge.)

Likewise, lower-tier machinery cannot be powered by higher-tier energy items (at least without the use of Transformer Upgrades); an Energy Crystal cannot be discharged to power a Macerator.

List of blocks and items by power tier