There was a recent question about using photon grenades on the Borg, and that lead me to wonder:

In the original Star Trek, the phaser could be set to a feedback loop which would cause it to self-detonate after a minute or two (whenever was convenient for the story of course). I'm most familiar with TNG, less so with later series, but I don't remember ever seeing this done with other series' phaser models. So I'm curious if this was ever done later, and if the mechanic was at all changed.

After doing a bit of digging, I see that at least in the TNG Technical Manual piece on the phaser, it mentions there being the ability to disable the safety interlock with the intent to blow it up. So to be a touch more specific- have we ever directly witnessed (or had reference to) a phaser safety override in any Star Trek series besides TOS?

1 Answer 1


Yes, we see it done (or attempted) a bunch of times in each of the various series. I've selected an example from each:


In Ent: United, Tucker sets a phase pistol to overload inside a wall panel. It causes substantial damage.

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IN DS9: Empok Nor, O'Brien uses his combadge to signal a phaser to overload. It explodes and causes a substantial diversion.

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In TNG: The Hunted, Danar sets two phasers to overload. One in the turbolift (which Worf averts) and another inside a security panel which then explodes.



This one's a bit tricky. In Voy: Worst Case Scenario, we see a phaser set to overload but in a way that causes a backfire.


  • 1
    Lightening Round: what about the different Animated Series?
    – Broklynite
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 14:01
  • @Broklynite - There was only one animated series and the answer seems to be "no". chakoteya.net/StarTrek/episodes.htm
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 14:19
  • 1
    Also, in the TNG episode "The Next Phase", Ensign Ro sets a Romulan disruptor to overload and explode. Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 22:47
  • 2
    @Remy - Oh, there's a few other examples from TNG. I felt it would be better to have one from each than just listing every occurrence.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 7:29

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