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Luke famously wants to go to Tosche Station to get some power converters rather than doing his job or helping his family.

What did he need them for?

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  • 16
    Anyone who says "to convert power" will suffer my wrath,
    – Valorum
    May 13, 2016 at 19:38
  • 35
    To convert power?
    – Wad Cheber
    May 13, 2016 at 19:44
  • 8
    he was going to trade them in for one quarter portion. Oh, wait....
    – Paul L
    May 13, 2016 at 19:56
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    This is pure speculation, but since Owen assumes he's just going to waste time with his friends, maybe the power converters are just an excuse to go to the station. Perhaps they're used in moisture farming, so Luke thought he could get out of doing work by pretending to do other work. May 14, 2016 at 0:48
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    I'm going to go with: "George Lucas wanted to throw in some technobabble that sounds spacey and futuristic (long-long-pasteristic?)"
    – Mike Clark
    May 18, 2016 at 18:15

2 Answers 2

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+500

Well , the real reason is given in the film:

He wanted an excuse to slack off and play hooky with his friends

From the script:

LUKE: But I was going into Toshi Station to pick up some power converters...

OWEN: You can waste time with your friends when your chores are done. Now, come on, get to it!

Why did this seem like a plausible excuse, though? Luke must have had something he needed power converters for.

Power converters may be necessary for moisture farming

“Moisture farming. Spectacularly dull. Some weeks were so boring that I actually looked forward to going into Tosche Station to pick up some … power converters. Huh!”

“What?”

“I just remembered I never did pick up my last shipment. Wonder if they’re still there.”

Heir to the Jedi

This seems to indicate that power converters were necessary for something that Luke did regularly, with the implication that it's a chore related to moisture farming.

In this case, perhaps the converters are for the moisture vaporators:

A light wind whips at him as he adjusts several valves on a large battered moisture vaporator which sticks out of the desert floor much like an oil pipe with valves.

Legends provides further evidence that the power converters are necessary for the operation of the moisture farm:

enter image description here

The text says: Owen Lars emerges from storage area with replacement parts for power converters.

It is possible that the converters are for the vaporators in this case, but it is also possible that they are for the step-down transformer (also circled).

Either way, the fact that Owen is carrying them makes it likely that their purpose is for moisture farming, not powering vehicles, droids, or weapons.

Thanks to Richard for suggesting this last one.

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    On a desert planet with two suns solar power would seem like a valid energy choice. If moisture evaporators used AC and the solar energy system generated DC, then they'd need power converters to hook them together.
    – Xantec
    May 18, 2016 at 20:43
  • @Xantec - It's possible, I suppose.
    – Adamant
    May 18, 2016 at 20:44
  • That Heir to the Jedi quote is pretty good, now that I've read the whole answer. Not really proof, but still. +1
    – Molag Bal
    May 18, 2016 at 20:49
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    In the working world this is the, Oh, we need a part? I'll go shopping on my (soon to be 3 hour) lunch break trope.
    – Mazura
    May 19, 2016 at 1:15
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Luke didn't want to do his chores. That is the reaction most teenagers have to being told no. Luke would go get the converters, but then wind up spending time screwing around with his friends. also something kids do in a galaxy, far far away

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