Would a phaser have problems with overheating? This issue hasn't been raised during any altercations in the show that I know of - the operator keeps firing the weapon without a worry.

General knowledge of heat based weapons would indicate that there must be some threshold where the weapon would overheat. Has this ever come up in any of the series?

  • Well, there's certainly instances of overloading, but I don't think that has anything to do with overheating. My best guess would be there are safety mechanisms that prevent such overheating Nov 8, 2015 at 0:22

1 Answer 1



That's why they have phaser coolant: to stop overheat from happening. In the TOS episode Balance of Terror, there's a leak in the phaser coolant with disastrous consequences.

Slightly less canonically, according to the novel Vendetta, every time a type-2 phaser is fired at level sixteen, there is an automatic six-second cool-down period, otherwise the phaser will overheat and possibly explode.

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    Mate, you seriously have to start watching Trek! +1 Nov 8, 2015 at 0:25
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    @TheDoc Maybe I'll wait to get a [star-trek] tag badge or two and then start watching it? ;-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 8, 2015 at 0:27
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    @randal'thor : +1 When the new Trek series comes around on television, I'll petition the writers to name a star system "Rand-al'Thor". The inhabits of Rand-al'Thor have never met the Federation or Starfleet, yet know massive amounts of information about them.... ;-)
    – Praxis
    Nov 8, 2015 at 0:30
  • Does this also apply to hand phasers? What about phaser rifles?
    – forest
    Feb 28, 2021 at 4:21
  • @forest The Vendetta info is about hand phasers, apparently; I've edited to clarify.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Feb 28, 2021 at 12:18

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