In T-3, the T-850 removes its backup battery and shoves it in the T-X’s mouth. It then says “You’re terminated” while still holding on to the T-X’s wires. How did the 850 keep functioning for so long after its second battery is removed? Do terminators have a third battery?

  • 3
    I was thinking the Terminator might have had some kind of emergency back-up battery, like when he started running again after being shut down in the second movie.
    – Clockwork
    Oct 20, 2019 at 17:43
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    This isn't an answer, but it's possible to design electronics to have a very small amount of power to be available (without a power supply) for a very short amount of time after running for a bit -- storing energy in a capacitor from a connected power source is the key. Perhaps used in the case of an emergency shutdown to save important information or to share a few last words. Real world example electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/153306/…
    – tolos
    Oct 21, 2019 at 14:57
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    It would be surprising to see the T-850 immediately shut down when the battery removed. Almost all critical systems have an emergency temporary power system, and most high power equipment takes time to shut down - they have large capacitors storing energy. Unplug your laptop power supply and watch how long it takes the power light on the supply to go out. That is the capacitors discharging.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 22, 2019 at 6:28
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    Ow darn you! You've ruined the film.
    – Damon
    Oct 22, 2019 at 12:14
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    All Schwarzenegger-shaped terminators are built with enough emergency power to get off at least one final cheesy one-liner.
    – komodosp
    Oct 22, 2019 at 13:17

3 Answers 3


This appears to be a filming error. In the original script (on which the film's official novelisation is based), the fuel cell seems to be still wired to the Terminator right up to the point that it exploded. Even in its damaged state it would, presumably, give out sufficient power to allow one last quip.

Without hesitation he yanked the cell out of his chest, trailing wires and mechanical parts, sparks and fluids flying in all directions.
With his free hand he grabbed the T-X by a piece of tubing protruding from her hip and dragged her back.
She turned and fixed him with a baleful gaze.
"You are terminated," he told her.
Terminator crushed the fuel cell to rupture it, and thrust it into the T-X's mouth, driving it deep into her throat.
"Eat me," Terminator said, and the fuel cell erupted with a tremendous explosion.

  • 1
    I can see the "eat me" part being cut off because it might appear as sexual innuendo. I.E. Terminator is shoving in a female character's mouth a part of himself that is longer in one dimension even though it has a square cross-section. And is located in his abdomen. Oct 22, 2019 at 13:36
  • @Mindwin - As innuendos go, this one is pretty damn overt
    – Valorum
    Oct 26, 2019 at 21:52
  • I don't think that "he yanked the cell out of his chest, trailing wires and mechanical parts, sparks and fluids flying in all directions" at all implies that the battery is still wired and can still provide power. Also, the fact that he "ruptures it" and can still shoving it in her mouth suggests he's not getting power from the fuel cell. Jun 2, 2021 at 19:36

Endoskeleton components have emergency power sources

In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the head of the Cromartie T-888 retained power(1) when detached from its body and separated from the body's fuel cells:

Judging by how its eyes glowed and darkened, the head apparently had to ration its remaining energy while the body was en route to recover the head. The head's backup power supply seems to be limited.

The T-888 series is a more recent design than the T-850 from Terminator 3, but they have similar frames, and so it's reasonable to suppose that they have similar capabilities such as emergency power for their components. Even if only the head has an emergency power source, we know from the closing battle of Terminator 2 that a terminator can re-route its power supply to bypass internal damage:

Terminator's alternate power diagram from T2

It seems that a terminator's head can deliver enough power for a triumphant final taunt.

(1) And the body still had visual sensors and a robust wireless link to the CPU in the head, but I think we're supposed to forget that ever happened.


From a design perspective I wouldn't build sophisticated electronic/mechanical equipment like a murder-cyborg with just fuel cells.

For example, anything with flash RAM would want a battery for when it powers down or gets unplugged. Or the mechanical system might want something like super capacitors for very high load tasks like benching a car that the fuel cells either can't instantaneously deliver or would suffer huge loses to efficiency from the high current draw that the task requires.

  • This strikes me as a useful answer, quite similar in spirit to Gaultheria's -- supercapacitors could well have powered it for just long enough, and that would be more sensible than a third battery for the reasons indicated.
    – Charles
    Oct 21, 2019 at 17:54

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