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I'm watching the first two seasons of Voyager and various episodes have commentary on having energy limitations -- but we constantly see crew using extremely complicated holodeck simulations. Why would they allow use of the holodeck if they need to conserve energy?

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up vote 25 down vote accepted

The holodecks on Voyager run on an independent power source.

This can be seen in the season five episode Night, when main power is suppressed yet the holodeck continues to run. For whatever reason, this power source doesn't appear to require any significant amount of fuel:

SEVEN: Independent subsystems are operational. Environmental controls, holodecks. Reroute power from this holodeck to the emergency relays.

PARIS: Yes, ma'am. No luck. The hologrid is frozen.

In the episode Parallax, there was even a time when Janeway suggests trying to use the holodeck to provide additional power, which Kim shoots down as not possible due to a system incompatibility;

JANEWAY: What about alternative energy sources? Ensign Kim, have you had any luck getting power from the holodeck reactors?

KIM: Not yet. We tried hooking them to the power grid and we ended up blowing out half the relays. The holodeck's energy matrix, it just isn't compatible with the other power systems.

This is in opposition to the holodecks on Enterprise D, which were shut down when the ship was low on power (TNG:Booby Trap).

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I've accepted this answer but I'm still a little confused. Wouldn't the reactors need some sort of... supply or fuel? I would assume that the reactors would still need to generate the power from something since they had to go find that something in the early episodes. Wouldn't a shortage of that something mean you shouldn't start consuming all of it on alternative systems, independent or not? – MrHen Apr 27 '14 at 23:34
Duh, once it's bootstrapped from ship's power it's run off holographic power from simulated plasma. Obviously that power isn't going to work well outside the holodeck. ;) – Michael Apr 28 '14 at 3:59
@Michael: They could at least make holographic bonfires, leave the holodeck doors open and reroute the energy from the life support heating systems ;) – PlasmaHH Apr 28 '14 at 10:38
@Kromey: I am sure there is non-holographic air in the holodecks that gets heat up by the holographic fire which then can travel through the door ;) – PlasmaHH Apr 30 '14 at 8:28
@PlasmaHH That is assuming that holodeck fire is hot. – Xantec Oct 21 '14 at 20:19

I think its because the energy that is used to produce a hologram is converted back into the same energy when the program ends. So although a holodeck uses a lot of energy while in use, its just borrowing it, not using it up. They say in Star Trek that transporter and holodeck technology is on the same principal (Energy matter convection. Or E=Mc2). I think that means these technology are about reorganising energy, not using it. Though some kinetic energy must get used in order for a hologram to interact with a human.

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This kind of violates the laws of thermodynamics. – amaranth Apr 9 at 7:44

The replicators run off the EPS (Electro-Plasma System) conduits which get power from a manifold linked to the Power Transfer Conduits that carry warp-plasma from the Warp Core to the drive nacelles. Apparently they had to choose between using power for the Warp Drive or luxuries like the replicators. As other folks have mentioned, the Voyager Holodeck systems apparently run on a separate system (possibly a fusion reactor?) that doesn't easily connect to the EPS conduits. Voyager needs both antimatter and dilithium crystals to run the Warp Core, and the search for both were central to several episodes (searching for Dilithium crystals in S1E4 "The Phage", and searching for a replacement for antimatter particles in S1E5 "The Cloud").

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Although the information you've listed is broadly accurate, it doesn't really explain where the holodecks get their power from. – Valorum Apr 9 at 8:54

Because if the crew doesn't, they would go out of their minds, being stuck thousands of light years away from home.

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Just like the death star – user16696 Jan 9 '15 at 4:10
Other ships have managed it. – Valorum Apr 9 at 8:55

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