In "48 Hours" they destroy the last functioning DHD on Earth in order to save Teal'c, however at the same time they establish at least a rudimentary knowledge about how to hook up and unhook a DHD device. It has also been proven in many other times that they can dial the gate without the DHD.

What stopped them from going to some uninhabited back water world, unhooking the DHD there and bringing it to Earth so that they could have a fully functional DHD?

  • 5
    This is a very good question. While it might have been unworkable in the early episodes (before they had naq'dah generators to power the off-world gate, or ships to get there, it should certainly have been possible later on in the show. Heck, once they had the ships, they could've picked up both the off-world DHD as well as the gate itself, and had a backup gate on earth too.
    – eidylon
    Feb 16, 2012 at 17:51
  • 6
    Agreed that this is a good question, I would add that not only the DHD problem occurs, but there are several episodes involving negotiating with the Russians about borrowing the gate that they have. I always was confused as to why they didn't simply retrieve one from another planet. They don't seem to have qualms about doing this for say the Pegasus-Milky Way bridge.
    – NominSim
    Feb 16, 2012 at 18:26
  • Also by the time getting the Russians a replacement DHD would have been easy, the Russians were in the process of building the Korolev, rendering the need to do it "on camera" moot. Feb 17, 2012 at 1:02

9 Answers 9


The SGC in the early days before the Prometheus, they tried to avoid cutting off worlds from the gate network. Removing a DHD could potentially trap someone who arrived on the world and with no way to effectively survey a world beyond 10 to 15 miles from the gate it wasn't worth the risk.

As far as gates go, until Prometheus they didn't have a reliable means of interstellar travel that they didn't have to negotiate for. And I would assume that the Jaffa Rebels and the Tok'ra would both not approve of loaning the SGC a ship to break a part of the gate network. Everyone seems to be a bit pissed when Anubis does it.

By the time they could gather DHD's they had sufficient knowledge of the gate control systems that they no longer needed one, and their own "MacGyvered" had more precise controls and was resistant to DHD system failures like Baal's DHD virus. And by the time they built the McKay-Carter Intergalactic Bridge they had such mastery of the gates no longer needed DHDs.

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    I understand they avoided these things, but the benefit must outweigh the risk, especially for planets they knew were doomed/inhospitable.
    – Ashterothi
    Feb 16, 2012 at 21:52
  • In those cases they had the power and control problem. By the time they had the generators to allow it, they had detailed specs of a DHD from research at Beta Site and elsewhere. By the time the expense of sacrificing a generator was less then the perceived gain of a DHD they had pretty much replicated all the functionality, and improved on it in some cases. Feb 16, 2012 at 22:49
  • Also, no further episode plots required them to have a DHD, if they had the heroes would have found a way. Feb 16, 2012 at 22:50
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    One note: Sending the DHD through the gate while powering it is fine; after all, it's what puddle jumpers do all day, every day. Apr 18, 2014 at 9:37
  • Good point, I forgot about that. Now that you mention it once the gate is engaged it does not need an external power source. So opening a gate and bringing back a DHD is completely possible. But it would turn the destination world into a trap. Apr 21, 2014 at 15:42

Early in the SG-1 era, it would have been difficult, as you need a ship to transport the DHD, and until the Prometheus Earth didn't have one. Once they got the Prometheus and the later, more advanced ships, it became feasible. However, any time they needed an extra DHD, it was an emergency, so they didn't have time to grab one from a nearby system anyway.

In the late-SG-1/mid-Atlantis era, they should have had a ton of extra DHDs lying around. After the McKay-Carter Intergalactic Bridge was built, they should have had a maximum of 17 Milky Way DHDs and a maximum of 17 Pegasus Galaxy DHDs sitting in storage somewhere.

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    Actually you don't really need a ship to transport a DHD, you just need to power its gate and dial manually. So the issue is you need a naquida reactor or something, rather than a ship. On your second point, it's possible that all of those DHDs were needed to power the bridge gates. Sep 14, 2016 at 20:51

A good reason they might have stuck with the dialing computer over a DHD could have been security. The computer allowed for other things, such as biometric security.


Maybe SGC was afraid that it will somewhat break the status quo achieved with Russians. Of course they could just not tell them that they brought the DHD, but I believe Russians would sooner or later know and be angry, because that would mean another advantage of USA Stargate program. Russians could demand restoration of their wormhole travels as a "recompense" or something like that.


I think they certainly could have once they had the Prometheus, but honestly I don't think it would be worth the hassle, because while they did have a need for a second gate several times, they never needed a secondary way to dial their gate.

I also agree with some of the others who answered this first, in that an Earth-made DHD was better than the normal DHDs because of the added security, and also no one else could try to hack into Earth's homemade DHD because they did not have another one to reverse engineer, which made them impervios to Ba'al's gate virus.


It's worth noting that after twelve years or so, when the SGC has plentiful knowledge about how to interface with a Stargate and about how to properly implement a dialling computer, when given the chance to start from scratch on Icarus they did blend a dialling computer with a DHD. Presumably, if the SGC didn't already have a fully functional integrated system itself, this would have been a viable option by that point.


They should already have a DHD from Antarctica. They never explained what happened to that device after they recovered the gate itself. Additionally in Atlantis they salvaged unused gates to build a space bridge. But what did they do with those DHDs?

Come to think about it, since they managed to go salvage gates for this gate bridge, why continue paying rent to the Russians for the gate that they have. If it were up to me, they could just give the thing back and get another one. It made sense at the time they started renting the gate because they did not have any ships, but later the Russians wanted to take their gate back and the SGC was forced to hand over one of their ships to buy the Russians out of the contract.

  • The gate bridge was created after SG-1 ended, though
    – Izkata
    Oct 3, 2014 at 23:38

Didn't the Gate need to have a specific configuration to be able to be used as a starting point?

In first movie they said that Abydos gate had a completely different configuration of symbols. So if you took Abydos gate to Earth you would not be able to start sequence, because of lack of Earth's seventh symbol?

Not saying that you could not use it as an end point i.e. any gate at set coordinates would be able to accept incoming wormhole.

But you could not set the Earth's seventh symbol as point of origin on some gates.

So maybe the choice of which gate would be usable on Earth is quite limited.

  • I don't think you even need a DHD for an active endpoint - doesn't the endpoint receive its power from the origin gate?
    – Iszi
    Jan 25, 2013 at 14:46

DHD from Antarctica:

Battery was completely drained with no (known) way to recharge it.

DHD from off-world:

Definitely could have/should have, especially in the earlier years of the program. Didn't, probably because of worries of stranding people, but that fails the intelligence test (just "bury the gate" after they take the DHD). Maybe didn't because they weren't sure they could get it to work with our gate, but still should have been tried/mentioned in the series.

Russian DHD/gate:

Continued "renting" due to political pressure AND the need for secrecy (Russian's threatened repeatedly to reveal the program to the world). So it was politically expedient to pay to keep the Russians quiet and the rentals provided a pseudo-legitimate way to do that.

A stripped down MALP would have been more than sufficient to carry a DHD back through an open Stargate, which doesn't require a DHD to maintain an open wormhole (see also: "manual dialing"). Alternatively, they could have taken the Antarctic DHD and swapped in a replacement power crystal from any of the many, many DHDs where the interface was blasted, but not the power crystal.

Out of universe: why spend the money to re-vamp their primary stage setting when what they had was working great already?

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