In one of the first episodes, I believe Season 1, Episode 3, Doctor McKay aquires a device which shields him from various kinds of damage. While he initially fails to turn it off, it becomes clear that he can do it, when he really wants to. The device is visible on his chest in the picture below:

shield glowing on McKay's chest

In the subsequent episodes there are many occasions, where McKay would have had time and incentive to wear this device. I am specifically thinking of Season 2, episode 1, when he goes to activate the shield with only 2 guards, whining about the dangers, as he sets off. He ends up pointing a gun to Wraiths and being saved by Teyla. But several episodes with Kolya should provide further instances where this device would have been used.

So, why does he not use it?

  • 1
    Why not buy it and find out? :-) Stargate Live Auction Preview – Part Three
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 21:24
  • @Valorum Thanks a lot. I tried to narrow it down and used the correct term.
    – Ludi
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 21:28
  • 2
    He uses it again, repeatedly. But only once he's worked out how to use it safely. Presumably at this point in the show, he's not 100% certain that he can remove it again; stargate.wikia.com/wiki/Personal_shield_emitter
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 21:29
  • @Valorum: That article names one time it was worn again, in a book. Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 0:45
  • @lightnessracesinorbit - That particular one, yes.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 7:31

2 Answers 2


This is because the personal shield emitter was drained in that episode. McKay's alternate had one, and Lucius Lavin had one, but that makes 3 overall and if I recall correctly all 3 were drained in the episode that they appeared in. (The alternate McKay we can't be certain of, but it's probable.)

The wiki article says that McKay uses it in a novel. In that case the writer either doesn't pay attention or made up that it recharges over time, which we never see in the show.

  • 1
    McKay's alternate used it to return to his reality (and, thus, took it with him). Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 0:43
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit And presumably it was used up and the energies were such that it wasn't even sure Alt McKay would survive.
    – Durakken
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 0:57
  • Is there any mention of it having been drained in the series?
    – Ludi
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 8:07
  • Rodney's and Lucius'... yes they did. They said what I pointed out about Alt McKay...
    – Durakken
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 14:56
  • @Lightness Races in Orbit that was the Alternate McKay's (AKA "Rod") own personal shield, not our Rodney's (that he himself admits he had depleted.)
    – John LA
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 4:58

The battery dies at the end of the episode where he finds​ it. Presumably they either can't be recharged or the Atlantis team never figured out how to recharge them

It's also probable that the devices are somewhat rare, IIRC we only see 2 of the shield devices in the entire run of the show.

Alternate McKay also has one.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.