In this question, I learned that lightsabers are powered by

a high-output Diatium power cell

Has there been an instance where a lightsaber's "battery" has run out? (Leaving a Jedi in a precarious situation, perhaps?)

  • They have definitely been destroyed. That would be the equivlent situation. – Jack B Nimble Jan 4 '12 at 17:52
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    @JackBNimble: Not really...that's like saying your laptop running out of power is the same as it being run over by a truck. – Jeff Jan 5 '12 at 18:17
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    In either case the Jedi would be left in a precarious situation. – Jack B Nimble Jan 5 '12 at 19:24

Yes, here is a quote from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace script. You could also find it in unused footage.

The two troops fire laser bolts at OBI-WAN. QUI-GON deflects the bolts back, and the STAPS blow up. One-two. OBI-WAN is exhausted and tries to catch his breath.

OBI-WAN : Sorry, Master, the water fried my weapon.
OBI-WAN pulls out his burnt laser sword handle. QUI-GON inspects it, as JAR JAR pulls himself out of the mud.
QUI-GON : You forgot to turn your power off again, didn't you?
OBI-WAN nods sheeplishly.
QUI-GON : (cont'd) It won't take long to recharge, but this is a lesson I hope you've learned, my young Padawan.
OBI-WAN : Yes, Master.

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    This didn't make it into the film, did it? – user1027 Jan 4 '12 at 18:40
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    @keen no, as I said, it's "unused footage". – DavRob60 Jan 4 '12 at 18:44
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    @DavRob60 I think it's more Keen thinks it should've been in the film – AncientSwordRage Jan 4 '12 at 19:37
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    If you ever played the lego star wars videogame where obi-wan keeps shaking his lightsaber till it ignites. just a thought that it may be the reason. – Master Skorh Dec 17 '13 at 15:47
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    'Pulls out his burnt laser sword handle.' Laser sword? That is hideous. – SDH Jun 19 '17 at 16:14

The novel I, Jedi touches on lightsabers, their construction, and their power. They have power cells that discharge very slowly (like a laptop that's turned off) and this power drain isn't significantly affected by simply being active - they are incredibly efficient.

The power is drained faster when something hits the blade, be it a solid object, a blaster bolt, or another lightsaber.

In The Krytos Trap, a novel from the X-Wing series, Corran Horn (pre-I, Jedi days) discovers a wing of a Jedi museum on Coruscant and finds several lightsabers in it. One of them, which he 'borrows' briefly, still works and helps him immensely in the culmination of the book's plot. Later, Luke talks with Corran about the museum and the lightsabers, and comments that the lightsaber Corran found was one of three in the entire exhibit that functioned without recharging.

This demonstrates that lightsabers DO have power cells that can run dry, even when deactivated, AND that this can take decades - the lightsaber in question hadn't been recharged since before the Clone Wars, and the novel was set post-ROTJ.

  • Further to these examples In the 1978 novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster, who also ghost wrote the novelisation of Star Wars: A New Hope Luke has to recharge his lightsaber from a power source he uses his blaster pistol switched to charge to do so. – Sarriesfan Sep 18 '16 at 23:19

In the Legends novel Shatterpoint, Mace Windu's lightsaber runs dry in the middle of combat following his capture and interrogation by local security troops. He assumes at the time that this is due to sabotage, but it's eventually shown that

it was unintentional; its power was simply drained by having been extensively tested cutting and deflecting various substances over the course of a number of hours. (It's not clear exactly how long, since he was unconscious for most of it, but it probably wasn't more than a day.)


In the fight between Darth Vader and Obi Wan, in a New Hope, Obi Wan's lightsaber blade clearly begins to fizzle. There is one scene in particular where he is batting away Vader's blade with what looks more like a sparking wire than a weapon.

Obi Wan's saber appeared to work just fine a little later, for his death scene, but I would not discount the possibility of a failing power cell... though sand in the contacts might be a more likely culprit.

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    i think that was just bad camera angles – Skooba Feb 19 '16 at 6:06

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