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This is sort of three questions, but intimately related. The ZPM pages on Stargate SG-1 Solutions and the Stargate Wikia have some information, but not all reliable of referenced.

The questions are:

  1. How were ZPMs fabricated by the Ancients?
  2. Did they require charging or did they just spring into existence at full charge?
  3. Do all ZPMs (before being used) carry the same charge?
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We don't have a lot of information about ZPMs beyond what the show tells us:

  • They store a lot of energy
  • Modern humans have no way to recharge them
  • The Ancients made them
  • There aren't many left
  • Three of them could power the Atlantis shield against the weight of an ocean for 10,000 years.
  • They can enable a Stargate to dial intergalactic addresses.

Suffice to say that if humans knew how they had been constructed, we'd be making attempts to construct them ourselves.

We do know that they can't be recharged. They draw power from an artificial subspace region that they are tied to (presumably when created). Once that region has reached maximum entropy, the ZPM is dead.

There is no indication that the ZPMs had any significant difference in maximum charge. Presumably, one subspace pocket is substantially similar to all others, and contains the same potential energy. It may stand to reason that a smaller pocket would contain less potential energy, but there's no reason to suspect that the Ancients ever made a ZPM with less than their maximum potential output. It's possible that while they were being actively developed and produced, the Ancients had ZPMs with smaller maximums, but the ZPM seems to have been standardized in the final known form long before the Alterans began doing all the things they're known for.

  • re: "There aren't many left", the Asurans apparently had hundreds.... – Valorum Nov 5 '18 at 9:07
  • 1
    @Valorum - 'hundreds' quite easily fits into 'not many left' when they were the single most common power generation tool of a race that spanned multiple galaxies. – Jeff Nov 5 '18 at 14:56
  • Atlantis was the Ancients single largest outpost and the Asuran homeworld was many times many times larger and more complex. On top of that the Asurans had hundreds of ships, each presumably outfitted with ZPMs. Unless I'm mistaken, there are probably more ZPMs in Asuran control than ever existed in the entire Ancient civilisation at its height – Valorum Nov 5 '18 at 15:12

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