|This article is about an older version of DF.|
A pressure plate is made from one mechanism and works somewhat like a lever, acting as a trigger for one or more systems that have been linked to it. However, instead of being deliberately tasked to be toggled by the player (and then pulled by the first dwarf to respond to fill that job), they're activated by the weight of something on them, either a creature or a certain depth of a fluid.
Pressure plates can be linked to all the same objects levers can. The effects (and any delays associated with them) are listed in the Lever article.
Pressure plates are not configured during use, but upon placement. While placing a pressure plate, you can configure it to trigger when the following things are on it:
- Water - choose minimum and maximum levels
- Magma - choose minimum and maximum levels
- Creatures - choose minimum and maximum size; creatures of the size selected will be listed as example. You can pick whether your own citizens will trigger the plate or not. Friendly NPCs (traders etc.) count as civilians. Berserk dwarves count as enemies.
You can select more than one of the above (e.g. water and magma), but each extra trigger type will require an additional mechanism for linking.
Pressure plates default to toggleable, where they send an On signal when the determined weight is upon them and send an Off signal when it's released. Note that while a pressure plate will send its "On" signal the instant it is triggered, it will not send its "off" signal until it has been in the untriggered state for 100 steps.
Some toggleable trap designs may prove useless when there are a large amount of invaders walking back and forth over the pressure plate, as there will not be enough time for it to activate before it is switched again.
Pressing will change them to one-use mode, where upon being activated, they do their work then deconstruct themselves, destroying their mechanisms in the process; thus, it is a bad idea to use masterwork mechanisms in one-time pressure plates.
For a basic overview of how the different machine parts work and work together, see machinery.
Permanent Effect Pressure Plate System
It is possible to hook a toggleable pressure plate up to a device which makes its effect permanent until a lever is flipped. One way to do that is to build a water-sensing pressure plate in a 1x1 room, link that to your trap (a drawbridge, for example), build a hatch above it, link the hatch to the original pressure plate outside, and then put water on the hatch. When an enemy steps on the pressure plate, the hatch opens, the water falls onto the other pressure plate (water-sensing pressure plate), and it raises the drawbridge.
To make it resettable, you can use pumps controlled by a lever or by dwarf-power to move the water back to where it started. You can also build a flood-gate next to the water-sensing pressure plate (linked to a trigger obviously) and have the water flow and spread-out into a room where it can evaporate (water from a 1x1 tile will not require much room to evaporate).
You can use this pressure plate system as an inverted trigger system. In other words, a lever that controls the permanent-effect pressure plate system can be flipped from off to on and subsequently trigger a trap or mechanism from on to off as a result, and vice versa. It depends on the water level settings used for the water-sensing pressure plate:
- 3 to 7 - Normal, on is on and off is off
- 0 to 2 - Inverted, subsequent state is opposite the main trigger
The water-sensing pressure plate can be set to trigger for water levels 0 to 2 or 3 to 7 because if the room above is filled to the brim with water, then the 1x1 room will fill-up to level 7 quickly and when opening the floodgate or pumping it out will drop to level 2 or below quickly.
- Shortcut --
- Components used: Mechanism
Closing a floodgate when submerged
For this example, say we want to close a floodgate when a reservoir reaches a depth of 5.
- Build the pressure plate, set to activate under water () from 0 (, ) to 4 (, ). Make sure it is set to reset () (The default is to reset; it's in the correct state when the screen reads 'Resets').
- Place the floodgate
- Connect a lever to the floodgate, and open it.
- Optionally remove the lever.
- Connect the pressure plate to the floodgate.
- Allow the pressure plate to be submerged.
The floodgate should close a few seconds after the water reaches a depth of 5 or more, and open again when the depth falls to 4 or less.
It's worth noting that the reaction time of the pressure plate-floodgate system is quite large - the reservoir may overflow before the floodgate shuts. In order to prevent this (for example, when building a well filled from a river or brook), build a run-off pool. This allows the gate enough time to close, and the water will spread out instead of overflowing as it would have in a smaller pool.
A Word of Warning
Depending on your setup, it can be dangerous to rely on pressure plates for automatic drains. Because of the opening/closing delay on Floodgates, a pressure plate can sometimes become 'de-synchronized' with the floodgate it's connected to. Floodgates ignore any ON/OFF message they receive while they're in the process of opening or closing, so if your pressure plate is triggered multiple times over a short period (for example if the water on top of it is "sloshing around"), they can sometimes become 'stuck' in a position where a 7-7 plate is covered with 7 water, but the connected floodgate remains closed. It is strongly recommended that if you're building a pressure plate operated drainage system, you also link an "emergency lever" to the floodgate to avoid flooding your fortress in the event this happens. Also, if you intend to flood a passageway as a trap with a pressure plate, ensure that the plate is either one-use or uses the "permanent effect" system described above, otherwise goblins will march back and forth across it, opening and closing the floodgates as they do so.
See Also: Repeater
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