During my re-watching of some of the early SG-1 seasons, I came across a classic episode, "The Fifth Race". During this episode, using purely Terran technology, O'Neil constructs what is discovered to be a 'Power Booster Device'. While O'Neil DID have the entire repository of Ancient knowledge at his disposal, his materials (excepting the staff weapon power source) were entirely Terran.

This device, draining the entire power source for a Staff Weapon, was able to open a wormhole to an Asgard planet by supplementing the existing power source for the Earth gate.

They learned how to recharge it in a later episode, "Point of View", but left the device in an alternate reality.

Obviously, this device wouldn't solve all their problems - it's a one-shot device which requires some amount of rework before it can be used a second time, and it's doubtful it would work on non-Earth gates (without the power generators it's designed to hook into).

But why didn't they build a few more of these - they can be made from spare parts, powered by the plentiful staff weapons, and would have provided the Tau'Ri with a method of calling the Asgard in case of a serious emergency (prior to them gaining a reliable method of doing so). It also could have potentially served to open the wormhole to Atlantis...so why did they drain the Earth ZPM instead of building and using one of these?

In-universe answers preferred, the storytelling reasons are fairly obvious.


Just because it's made from Terran parts, must it be able to be duplicated by a non-Ancient? We know unstable Stargates can be built from purely Terran parts, for example. If I handed Archimedes a 386 CPU and blueprints for it, how long would it take before he understood even the basic principles of electricity?

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    True, but would you still say that if you'd just seen him re-solder a northbridge chip? They watched him assemble it and have shown limited ability to modify and repair it. – Jeff Apr 18 '11 at 21:06
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    @Jeff Given that it took 2 Carters to even get it to accept a fresh power source, it seems like there's definitely something incredibly advanced in its construction. – user1027 Apr 18 '11 at 21:30
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    I tend to agree that there's something advanced in the construction, but they had two years to study it. They had all that time where they could look at every connection and evaluate every bit of the hardware. And they DID manage to learn how to recharge it... – Jeff Apr 19 '11 at 14:45
  • Also bear in mind, that we have regular ancients, and also ascended ancients - they themselves had a massive age of technology, it's like a regular human from today, bringing the concept of horsebased warfare to cave men. We'd be seen as awesome yet a bunch of drunk jaffa with a ship could take over the planet today ... man i love this site! – Mister IT Guru Apr 22 '11 at 9:52

I don't think that it drains a ZPM much to open a wormhole to another galaxy really, it's more of a sharp charge to begin with. Think of starting a car.

The one time devices, while very interesting, might be limited on the storage time, might involve complex geometry. They could have any number of restrictions that we just don't know about, preventing their use. It was very rare for humans to want to leave the galaxy until much later on in the series, maybe the technology just didn't work that well, so...


A ZPM is not only required to dial another galaxy but also to maintain a stable wormhole. Once the worm hole is established the ZPM is used to keep it active. It's not at all like jump starting a car, it's more like starting a car that doesn't have an alternator: once you remove the battery the car stalls. The same is true with a Stargate dialing another galaxy - remove the ZPM and the gate shuts down.

What you have to keep in mind is that the gate uses an large amount of power just to dial within a galaxy, so to dial from our galaxy to Atlantis in the Pegasus galaxy the gate needs the boost to establish a stable worm hole and then keep it open. When you're using an already nearly dead ZPM to start with you run the risk of killing it. When the earth gate uses a ZPM it doesn't have a DHD to maintain and control the flow of energy which can drain the ZPM. Atlantis has a DHD with a special control crystal and city power control systems that control the flow of power from the ZPM to the gate preventing the ZPM from being depleted.

  • Hi and welcome to Sci-Fi Stack Exchange! Thanks for your apparent desire to participate in our site. I'm going to edit your answer for clarity and grammar, but it would be nice if you could add some references. I also recommend removing your personal e-mail address - that's just asking for it to be picked up by spambots. – Jeff May 30 '14 at 13:10
  • There we go, I think that's a bit better. I do wonder, however, about your assertion about the Atlantis DHD's 'special crystal'. As I recall, that was more of a special security thing that permitted the Atlantis gate to dial Earth, not something that was designed to keep the ZPM from losing energy. There's no indication that Atlantis uses less power to dial an intergalactic address than any other gate does. – Jeff May 30 '14 at 13:16

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